Video: Daniel Pipes on Popemania

posted at 5:34 pm on September 18, 2006 by Allahpundit

Not a guy who gets a lot of offers to do TV, but perhaps that’s changing now that he’s been name-checked by Al Qaeda.


Bryan’s post from this morning about atheists and secularists is drawing some attention, so here’s a little equal time for my colleagues in godlessness. First, Bill at INDC wonders how one squares support for Iraqi democracy with blanket condemnations of Islam:

[N]on-distinctive anti-Islam rhetoric fails to acknowledge the realistic solutions to terrorism that have to come from shared humanistic values – be they a desire to stop radical co-religionists from killing innocents or to watch Yasmine Bleeth run down a beach in a red bathing suit. These theological arguments about the structure of Islam, while worthwhile, persistently look past the fact that real solutions will also come from Western cooperation with and within the Islamic world, the former contingent upon the practicality of not wholly trashing our allies’ religious identity.

He then blames the rising tide of American anti-war sentiment partly on, um, Vent.

Meanwhile, Kathy Shaidle reads Hitchens’s take on the Pope’s speech and says it’s time to throw him under the bus. From my cold dead hands, Kathy. Saith Hitch:

He pretends that the word Logos can mean either “the word” or “reason,” which it can in Greek but never does in the Bible, where it is presented as heavenly truth. He mentions Kant and Descartes in passing, leaves out Spinoza and Hume entirely, and dishonestly tries to make it seem as if religion and the Enlightenment and science are ultimately compatible, when the whole effort of free inquiry always had to be asserted, at great risk, against the fantastic illusion of “revealed” truth and its all-too-earthly human potentates. It is often said—and was said by Ratzinger when he was an underling of the last Roman prelate—that Islam is not capable of a Reformation. We would not even have this word in our language if the Roman Catholic Church had been able to have its own way. Now its new reactionary leader has really “offended” the Muslim world, while simultaneously asking us to distrust the only reliable weapon—reason—that we possess in these dark times. A fine day’s work, and one that we could well have done without.

Eh. Hitch didn’t like Fallaci, either.

Update: Coulter a big draw for the Christian Coalition!

Update: Clint Taylor e-mails to say Hitchens did too like Fallaci. He just thought some of her writing on Islam was over the top.

Update: Kathy Shaidle e-mails to say I’ve buried the lede in that Coulter link:

In fact, Coulter was upstaged by the man who introduced her, conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher. He described what he said was an off-the-record session with Bush and a gaggle of radio right-wingers, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham.

Bush told them “we’ll lose” if the War on Terror becomes a fight between Christianity and Islam, Gallagher said.


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As for Hitch, never trust the former leader of the other side once he switches over. Once a backstabber, always a backstabber.

Niko on September 18, 2006 at 5:55 PM

Eh. Hitch didn’t like Fallaci, either.

I still like Oriana’s writing, courage, uniqueness, ‘cojones’, elegance and vulgarity, all in the same package. I miss her already.

Kathy Shaidle doesn’t like Hich any more.

On the WoT, or whatever it is, Hitch is absolutely courageous and on the right side.

And if you excuse your continued affection for the man with a plea to his incomparable prose style, that’s the moral equivalent of admitting you hired your secretary just because she has big boobs. You’re shallowness should shame you.

We don’t need you, either.

I still love “his incomparable prose style” and didn’t hire my secretary for her big boobs, but rather for the big brain. I also don’t ever desire to be needed by strangers and don’t depend on them to tell me when I’m no longer needed by them.

Entelechy on September 18, 2006 at 6:05 PM

He then blames the rising tide of American anti-war sentiment partly on, um, Vent.

I knew it – I’m going to DU where it’s nice and safe.

Rick on September 18, 2006 at 6:52 PM

Well, here are 10 other reasons why we’ll lose the war on terror, according to David Selbourne. It’s a good read.

Islam is not even a religion in the conventional sense of the term. It is a transnational political and ethical movement that believes that it holds the solution to mankind’s problems. It therefore holds that it is in mankind’s own interests to be subdued under Islam’s rule. Such belief therefore makes an absurdity of the project to “democratise” Muslim nations in the West’s interests, an inversion that Islam cannot accept and, in its own terms, rightly so. It renders naive, too, the distinction between the military and political wings of Islamic movements; and makes Donald Rumsfeld’s assertion in June 2005 that the insurgents in Iraq “don’t have vision, they’re losers” merely foolish. In this war, if there is a war, the boot is on the other foot.

The number 1 reason we would lose? Because of the divide between those who think this is a war and those who do not, as shown so well by the conflicting viewpoints above.

NTWR on September 18, 2006 at 7:19 PM

He seemed way too subdued and compromising.

The answer to the talking head’s question about “how do we stop the violence” is convert to Islam or else face eternal war with the Islamicists.

Merely asserting our rights to debate Islam is weak and defensive at this point.

Perchant on September 18, 2006 at 7:43 PM

Bush told them “we’ll lose” if the War on Terror becomes a fight between Christianity and Islam, Gallagher said.

I wish I knew what he meant here. Christians outnumber Muslims 2:1. Did he mean we would lose Middle East oil? What will we lose? Not seeing the virulent ideology behind the terrorist movement is further proof that George “McClellan” Bush has yet to identify the enemy in this war on terror- disenfranchised non-assimilating adherents of Islam.

Valiant on September 18, 2006 at 9:01 PM

Merely asserting our rights to debate Islam is weak and defensive at this point.

True, but failing to do that is even weaker.

The answer to the talking head’s question about “how do we stop the violence” is convert to Islam or else face eternal war with the Islamicists.

This is nonsense. One can destroy the faith, one can kill the believers, and one can take away or destroy their economic resources. The three choices muslims have offered to infidels have been conversion, death, or tribute. Their technique has been very effective in expanding the Dar al-Islam, and we can adapt that technique for use against them: destroy the holy sites; kill muslim rulers, both religious and governmental; dispossess and drive out muslims; and seize muslim oil fields and bank accounts. Do as Allah and Mo tell muslims to do to unbelievers: “…[F]ight and slay…[them] wherever ye find them, an[d] seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war).”

Kralizec on September 18, 2006 at 9:10 PM

Greetings to all! I just registered with Hot Air, have been enjoying the comments, and look forward to taking part in the discussion.

Hitchens has made a lot of sense when it comes to the WoT. He should definitely stay away from the subject of religion, however, or at least the subject of Christianity. There, his ignorance seems to know no bounds, and his propensity to willfully distort matters is, shall we say, unfortunate. His statement that Pope Benedict tells “us to distrust the only reliable weapon—reason—that we possess in these dark times” makes me wonder if he bothered to read Benedict’s lecture at all.

Athanasius on September 18, 2006 at 9:30 PM

Bill at INDC wonders how one squares support for Iraqi democracy with blanket condemnations of Islam:…He then blames the rising tide of American anti-war sentiment partly on, um, Vent.

Well, put aside what the source of the Muslim world’s problematic behavior is (Islam, a kind of Islam, poverty, what have you), the problem is… the problematic behavior.

There seems to be a contradiction between the Iraq democracy goal and the increasingly-evident fact of many…(Muslims? Radical Muslims? Islamofascists?)) …people…over there… behaving in ways that would seem incompatible with a prosperous liberal-pluralist-no-need-to-kill-us-anymore democracy. Again, forget for the moment why they behave that way, they are, and so the tension between the two can’t be traced to anybody making blanket condemnations of Islam, or any other kind of condemnation. At worst, Vent and Robert Spencer et al have just got the diagnosis wrong. What’s indisputable is that…people… over there (and their immigrant relatives over here) keep doing things that make the prospects of a liberal-pluralist-etc government over there—or harmonious coexistence over here—look dimmer and dimmer.

That’s also the thing with the Harris LA Times article every Righty is so excited about today. Yes, how many engineers and so forth have to do crazy religious things before the silly Left gets that it’s the religion, stupid? But then how is a prosperous pluralist-etc democracy going to change anything? How is inviting them over here, to become part of our wonderful land of material wealth and freedom, going to change anything?

Is it poverty? Illiberal government? A nasty (“false”!) form of Islam? True Islam itself? Whatever “it” is, what’s empirical is that the part of the world from which these people who want to kill us come from seems to have a problem pursuing the kid of society we’d like them to have…and when they migrate over here they, if anything, change us, rather than changing themselves.

And though I sympathize with Bill at INDC on Iraq, Vent and Spencer et al didn’t create the tension, it’s a fact of the Muslim world’s behavior. I tend to think the Islam diagnosis has a lot of truth to it (but I think the main problem with the Muslim world is its clannishness, caused by polygamy and inbreeding; this may intwined with Islam but there are presumably other factors as well) but that’s not the point: the symptoms are what needs to be squared with Iraqi democracy, the symptoms are what make people think our leaders–the see-no-evil left obviously but also the freedom-will-light-a-fire Right that has been taking their crack these past five years–aren’t being straight with them about what’s going on in the world today.

Alex K on September 18, 2006 at 10:08 PM

Athanasius, greetings back at you – welcome aboard :)

Entelechy on September 19, 2006 at 12:28 AM

Kathy Shadlie got it wrong when she said:

“Now its new reactionary leader has really “offended” the Muslim world, while simultaneously asking us to distrust the only reliable weapon—reason—that we possess in these dark times. A fine day’s work, and one that we could well have done without.”

Benedict is not reactionary. He spoke not of Reason in opposition to Faith, but as entirely compatable and he spoke of working toward and understanding of Faith through Reason. He did not tell us to “distrust” reason. In fact, the point he made about Islam was about discerning the divine through the use of our human reasoning — which is in the nature both of humankind and of God.

If the Islamo-Totalitarians in the far corners of Earth can get their knickers in a twist by getting it so wrong, and by dwelling self-indulgently on the an ahistorical account of the distant past, I suppose we can also expect that others closer to home and non-Muslem may also miscomprehend.

F. Rottles on September 19, 2006 at 3:49 AM

Hitchens has made a lot of sense when it comes to the WoT. He should definitely stay away from the subject of religion, however, or at least the subject of Christianity. There, his ignorance seems to know no bounds, and his propensity to willfully distort matters is, shall we say, unfortunate.

Well said. And welcome Athanasius

CrimsonFisted on September 19, 2006 at 8:20 AM

I’m wondering when it’s going to be time to start cut off all that free money we have been sending to the ungrateful and the absolutely corrupt countries.

Egfrow on September 19, 2006 at 8:24 AM

F. Rottles: Just to be clear, it was Christopher Hitchens who said that. Kathy S. was only quoting him. She certainly doesn’t agree with him.

And thanks for the welcome, folks!

Athanasius on September 19, 2006 at 9:25 AM