Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Muslims, the British way of life, and advice for Bill Buckley

The British government has a new program in place--a kind of curriculum taught by "forward leaning imams"--that encourages Muslims to become better citizens (subjects?). The curriculum is based on the Koran. In other words, these Muslim teachers in Muslim schools use the Koran to justify British citizenship. Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he means to show "the importance we attach to the dignity of each individual" and "the importance we attach to non-violence." I repeat, the curriculum is based on the Koran. Some Muslims are asking why Muslims should be singled out for civics lessons.

Bill Buckley considers the Muslim issue in Britain, and is concerned about saving "the British way of life." Do note Mr. Buckley’s musings in the last paragraph. He seems surprised that the Brits have this problem and we don’t. He implies that it should be easier for the Brits to handle this problem (after all, they do have an established religion) than it was for us to handle Mormon polygamy when they became "inconvenient" to us, who live in a regime of religious liberty. I suggest that Mr. Buckley glance at the Republican Platform of 1856which denounced the "twin relics of barbarism, polygamy and slavery," and ask himself how the two are connected in principle.

Furthermore, I respectfully suggest that he reflect on the connection between a religion that allows polygamy and a territory (in which that religion predominates) forming itself into a state, and the constitutional provision (Art IV, Sect 4) that calls for each state to have a "Republican Form of Government." This makes for interesting musings (which both Douglas and Lincoln considered in the debates of 1858, of course; Lincoln using the polygamy issue to reveal Douglas’ inconsistency in using popular sovereignty). The Muslims, or the Mormons, or the Catholics, or the Baptists (but you get the point) can become citizens, but not on the same terms as Gordon Brown’s curriculum thinks Muslims may become citizens of Britain. And all that has to do with the American way of life, a much harder nut to crack than the British way of life. It would seem that Mr. Buckley doesn’t see why that is the case. What a shame.

A species of prudence

Mac Owens argues that Lincoln was an effective military leader. Another very good essay on the war, albeit slightly longer than the norm. If Mac keeps this up, these will turn into a book! And that would be fine by me.     

Outsourcing the drive through window

"The owner of a fast food joint in Montana�s booming oil patch found himself outsourcing the drive-thru window to a Texas telemarketing firm, not because it�s cheaper but because he can�t find workers.

Record low unemployment across parts of the West has created tough working conditions for business owners, who in places are being forced to boost wages or be creative to fill their jobs."

The Old Urbanism of Crunchy Europe

Dr. Pat explains, using what he saw with his own eyes, why they’re in some ways more conservative and more libertarian than we are.

Bush’s VFW speech

Mac Owens on the President’s speech to the VFW claiming that leaving Iraq too early could be compared to leaving Viet Nam. This kind of Viet Nam analogy doesn’t sit well with some of Bush’s political enemies, but a la Bugs Bunny, Mac calls them "Maroons".

Back Home

Welcome home Joe and family. Too bad about the mangled flights. But, you’re home. Relax a bit and, by all means, put pen to paper (as it were) and write thoughts and impressions from the trip. I’d love to read them all.

Innocents back home

We’re back in Atlanta, having endured a long train ride from Salzburg to Amsterdam, an unexpected opportunity to explore the charms of Schiphol Airport (thanks to mechanical difficulties), and (thanks to the same difficulties) the chance to spend yet another night in a hotel (near Dulles, after we arrived too late to make any connections). I’d bet that whatever profit margin the airline had on our flight vanished (and then some) in its attempts to accommodate a planeload of people with meals and rooms.

I’m going to try to put some (I hope interesting) thoughts on "Europe" into a column for the main site, once I can recover my energy and gather my wits. For now, it’s all I can do to keep from falling face-first into the keyboard.

Happy Birthday Big Mac

More than one friend has suggested to me that the epitaph on my tombstone should read: "You Going to Eat That Burger?"

So it is perhaps fitting that I should observe that today is the 40th anniversary of McDonald’s Big Mac. McDonald’s stock continues its slow upward climb. Happy birthday Big Mac!

Nunn of the Above

Sam is talking up the Unity ’08 party. At one time I thought he would be a fine president.

Mark Lilla on Political Theology

Here’s a preview of Mark’s new book. It’ll be big. Mark is surely right that the God of liberalism is stillborn. But he’s surely wrong that our understanding of politics is unilluminated by revelation. How else do we know that true theology is not political or civil theology? The very phrase "political theology" seems un-American, and that’s one reason, among many, why true religion has a true home here.

The always incisive Spengler adds the complaint that Lilla doesn’t really love reason, but only hates Christianity or the Christian conception of the human person. And that explains, for example, why he identifies all religius resurgence in our country with fanatical "political theology."
Not to mention why he’s so indulgent and hopeful when it comes to Muslim "renovators."

The Best Colleges Are Looking for Authenticity

And sometimes find it in typos. Here’s what they’re against: perfectionism.

GOP’s opportunity

Andy Busch claims that the upcoming battle on spending is giving the GOP an opportunity "to reclaim their position as a party that can be counted on by mature people to stand athwart fiscal imprudence and onrushing socialism." OK, let’s play some poker. What are the odds that the opportunity will be taken?

The Danes pay up

Somali Pirates got about a million and a half buck from the Danish government for the release of the crew of a cargo ship hijacked a few months ago. Not good.

Not just perspective

Writing in the Investor’s Business Daily, Tom Krannawitter attacks both Ward Churchill (the former professor) and his public antagonist David Horowitz. He claims both are multiculturalists.

Funny Numbers from China?

Lester Thurow, not always the most reliable prognosticator in the past, has a compelling article in yesterday’s New York Times that China’s economic growth numbers are exaggerated or perhaps even phony. Worth a look. I know from trolling for Chinese data that it can be very inconsistent and contradictory.

French Foreign Minister

arrived in Iraq today: "Now we have to face the reality, including the American view ... but this is an Iraqi problem and it must be solved by the Iraqis." He spoke to the press in English.


Iraland�s population has grown to 4.4 million, and is younger than any other European country, with a median age of 33. And, combined with the population of Northern Ireland, by the year 2032 the whole island could match the 8 million before the famine set in in the 19th century. The population had grown by over 300,00 since the previous survey four years ago; the growth is split between births and immigrants. The largest increases in immigration since 2002 have been from Poland, Lithuania and Nigeria. The latest census showed 63,276 Poles living permanently in Ireland, up from 2,124 four years earlier.