Equality vs. Freedom (American Dilemma)

Bryan Garsten writes an essay at the Tablet that assesses the deep tremors in today’s USA. And the tensions first described by Tocqueville are also on display in other western nations, though perhaps not in the same ways. The article is Will Tocqueville’s Dilemma Crash America? Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Is equality a danger to freedom in a democratic United States?

The fundamental challenge that Tocqueville’s book poses to American dogma arises from his refusal to assume that equality and freedom are always mutually reinforcing. The American creed since the Declaration of Independence and especially since Lincoln has linked the two values, assuming that an increase in one naturally accompanies an increase in the other. Tocqueville suggested that we tend to ignore the threats that equality poses to freedom. Freedom was not, like equality, a naturally expanding feature of society. Nor was it a necessary consequence of equality of conditions.

It is too simple to say that Tocqueville presented equality and freedom as principles sometimes in tension with one another. His point was different. Equality was not merely a moral principle. Nor was it merely a material fact. More fundamentally, equality was a passion that gave rise to a certain dynamic in politics. Freedom, on the other hand, he portrayed as a set of skills and habits that required practice, an art that could be learned but also forgotten.

The danger of democratic life, Tocqueville thought, was that the passion for equality would lead us to stop practicing the art of freedom.

To see how equality works as a passion, we have to notice the fundamental effect of looking at any actual social world with the ideal of equality in mind. You will see mostly inequalities. In fact, it seems that the more inequalities we succeed in eliminating, the more remaining inequalities stand out and the more striking they become. As society becomes more equal, the pressure for yet more equality does not subside but instead grows stronger:

Democratic institutions awaken and flatter the passion for equality without ever being able to satisfy it entirely. Every day this complete equality eludes the hands of the people at the moment when they believe they have seized it, and it flees, as Pascal said, in an eternal flight; the people become heated in the search for this good, all the more precious as it is near enough to be known, far enough not to be tasted. The chance of succeeding stirs them, the uncertainty of success irritates them; they are agitated, they are wearied, they are embittered.

Societies characterized by the love of equality therefore have a particular revolutionary energy, which is always ready to upset its inheritances because of new inequities it identifies in them. But nature is constantly throwing up new inequalities—especially among intellects, Tocqueville remarked—and the nature of democracy is to set itself against these inequalities. Even without revolution, the pressure for equality presses into more and more spheres of society, eventually influencing not only laws but also relations between employers and workers, husbands and wives, parents and children; it exerts pressure on habits of thought and feeling, affects the sciences and the arts, the sort of history and poetry that people write, the sort of religion they practice and believe. The old saying, “the cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy,” captures the passion for equality but neglects, Tocqueville would say, the need to “instruct” democracy in the art of staying free.

Tocqueville admired Americans for having learned the art of freedom as well as they had. The most famous and perhaps most often quoted parts of his book are those about the settings in which Americans learn that art—the relatively small political venues in which citizens debated and deliberated and decided how to manage their communities. The ideal versions of such places that Tocqueville believed he had found were New England townships, juries, and the civic and political associations.

In the 1990s political scientists rediscovered Tocqueville and described the sort of skills, trust, and relationships that develop in these small social settings as “social capital.” Countries or regions where citizens engage in these sort of face-to-face interactions with one another were said to have more social capital, and political scientists have shown that these places tend to sustain more stable and successful forms of democracy.

Tocqueville himself did not use the economists’ language of “capital,” but instead the educator’s language of learning. He noted that through learning to work with others in the small and easily regulated context of a town, the citizen “habituates himself to the forms without which freedom proceeds only through revolutions, permeates himself with their spirit, gets a taste for order, understands the harmony of powers, and finally assembles clear and practical ideas on the nature of his duties as well as the extent of his rights.” The myriad small associations that Tocqueville noticed Americans loved to form drew individuals out of their private lives and accustomed them to what Tocqueville called “the reciprocal action of men upon one another.”

To identify democracy with the busyness of social life was to offer an alternative to the view that elections are the central feature of democracies. A Napoleonic program of plebiscites might claim to produce a government in some ways “representative” of the people, but it left individuals mostly passive, asleep in their civic lives, content to allow the state to act for them in between isolated and infrequent moments of voting. Equality frees individuals from the domination of families, estates, social orders, and churches, but it thereby risks producing a sea of individuals without strong ties to one another, held together only by a distant national government. Tocqueville thought the United States had avoided this result by giving “political life to each portion of the territory in order to multiply infinitely the occasions for citizens to act together and make them feel every day that they depend on one another.”

Tocqueville’s great hope in the first volume of Democracy in America was to put forward an argument that would show that “the free association of individuals could replace the individual power of nobles.” But what if the passion for equality swept away not only the nobles but also the practice of association that was meant to replace them?

It might be tempting to dismiss Tocqueville’s relevance today because we seem to observe precisely the opposite of what he did: Whereas he began with the constantly growing equality of material conditions, we have witnessed decades of growing inequality. But Tocqueville has a challenging view to offer on this point, too. In the second part of the second volume of Democracy in America, he offered a sustained analysis of how the democratic passion for equality (the subject of its first chapter) might well produce a tendency toward material inequalities and oligarchies, what he called “industrial aristocracy” (the subject of its last chapter).

Tocqueville argued that the passion for equality could weaken social ties, promote materialism, and fuel the inequities of capitalism. He explained that egalitarian sentiments lead us to ignore our links to our ancestors, since our lineage should not determine our fate, and also to sever ties to social superiors and inferiors. With these vertical chains broken, every individual family is more on its own. Each feels a new freedom and a new possibility of rising, but also a new vulnerability and insecurity. These hopes and fears lead us to devote most of our attention to securing the material comfort of our immediate family and friends, and so we embrace materialism and withdraw into a political passivity that Tocqueville called “individualism.”

Tocqueville insisted that old regime aristocrats felt compelled by laws and customs to take some care of their servants, that they were bound, however distantly, to their peasants by the land they shared and their regular interactions. The new industrial oligarchs would find themselves free of even these weak bonds. Tocqueville was not arguing for a return to feudalism; he was trying to show just how bad the new oligarchs would be. Workers and masters would see one another only at the factory and otherwise have no point of contact and certainly no sense of responsibility. “The manufacturing aristocracy of our day,” remarked Tocqueville, “after having impoverished and brutalized the men whom it uses, leaves them to be nourished by public charity in times of crisis. This results naturally from what precedes. Between worker and master relations are frequent, but there is no genuine association.”

Perhaps the state, by reducing material insecurity and regulating industry, could offer a partial escape from the logic of Tocqueville’s argument. But it would not fully counter the dynamic that concerned him unless it also somehow brought into existence the “genuine association” that he thought was necessary for true freedom. The more pessimistic second volume of Democracy in America presses us to worry, however, that a state powerful and centralized enough to effectively regulate the industrial economy would also, by virtue of its power and centralization, crowd out the local politics most conducive to the arts of association.

Can the love of equality and the mobile commercial world it creates be satisfactorily combined with the art of association and the art of freedom?

Can we escape this conundrum?  No sensible reader would suggest that a 19th-century aristocrat can answer this question for us. Instead, reading Tocqueville can keep us from forgetting the question, a question that neither major political party in America is now grappling with directly. Tocqueville felt politically homeless in his time, and his book may leave us feeling the same way in ours.

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The Truth System Fail

It used to be that “Pravda” was a joke in the US. (Not Prada, you airhead). Pravda means “Truth” in Russian, and everyone knew whatever you read in that rag, the opposite was more likely to be true. Now, the tables have turned: You can’t trust most of what the traditionally reputable US media publishes.

Lee Smith writes at the Tablet System Fail The Mueller Report is an unmitigated disaster for the American press and the ‘expert’ class that it promotes

First, after nearly two years, the special counsel found no credible evidence of collusion. It found no credible evidence of a plot to obstruct justice, to hide evidence of collusion. The entire collusion theory, which has formed the center of elite political discourse for over two years now, has been publicly and definitely proclaimed to be a hoax by the very person on whom news organizations and their chosen “experts” and “high-level sources” had so loudly and insistently pinned their daily, even hourly, hopes of redemption.

Mueller should have filed his report on May 18, 2017—the day after the special counsel started and he learned the FBI had opened an investigation on the sitting president of the United States because senior officials at the world’s premier law enforcement agency thought Trump was a Russian spy. Based on what evidence? A dossier compiled by a former British spy, relying on second- and third-hand sources, paid for by the Clinton campaign.

Instead, the special counsel lasted 674 days, during which millions of people who believed Mueller was going to turn up conclusive evidence of Trump’s devious conspiracies with the Kremlin have become wrapped up in a collective hallucination that has destroyed the remaining credibility of the American press and the D.C. expert class whose authority they promote.

Mueller knew that he wasn’t ever going to find “collusion” or anything like it because all the intercepts were right there on his desk. As it turned out, two of his prosecutors, including Mueller’s so-called “pit bull,” Andrew Weissman, had been briefed on the Steele dossier prior to the 2016 election and were told that it came from the Clintons, and was likely a biased political document.

And now, after all the Saturday Night Live skits, the obscenity-riddled Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert routines, the half a million news stories and tens of millions of tweets all foretelling the end of Trump, the comedians and the adult authority figures are exposed as hoaxsters, or worse, based on evidence that was always transparently phony.

The Mueller report is in. But the abuse of power that the special counsel embodied is a deadly cancer on American democracy. Two years of investigations have left families in ruins, stripping them of their savings, their homes, threatening their liberty, and dragging their names through the mud. The investigation of the century was partly based on the possibility that Michael Flynn, a combat veteran who served his country for more than three decades, might be a Russian spy—because of a dinner he once attended in Moscow, and because as incoming national security adviser he spoke to the Russian ambassador to Washington. What rot.

While the length of Mueller’s investigative process may have protected the FBI from the president’s immediate rage, the release of the report has exposed the deep corruption and personal narcissism of the press and its professional networks of “experts” and “sources.” Instead of providing medicine, the press chose instead to spread the disease through a body that was already badly weakened by the advent of “free” digital media. Only, it wasn’t free.

The media criticism of the media’s performance covering Russiagate is misleadingly anodyne—OK, sure the press did a bad job, but to be fair there really was a lot of suspicious stuff going on and now let’s all get back to doing our important work. But two years of false and misleading Russiagate coverage was not a mistake, or a symptom of lax fact-checking.

Russiagate was an information operation from the beginning, in which dozens of individual reporters and institutions actively partnered with paid political operatives like Glenn Simpson and corrupt law enforcement and intelligence officials like former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr to smear Trump and his circle, and then to topple him. None of what went on the last two years would have been possible without the press, an indispensable partner in the biggest political scandal in a generation.

The campaign was waged not in hidden corners of the internet, but rather by the country’s most prestigious news organizations—including, but not only, The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC. The farce that has passed for public discourse the last two years was fueled by a concerted effort of the media and the pundit class to obscure gaping holes in logic as well as law. And yet, they all appeared to be credible because the institutions sustaining them are credible.

Michael McFaul was U.S. ambassador to Moscow—he knows everything about Russia. He wouldn’t invent stuff about national security matters out of thin air. Jane Mayer is a national treasure, one of America’s greatest living journalists who penned a long profile of Christopher Steele in the pages of the New Yorker. Susan Hennessy is a former intelligence community lawyer, who appears as an expert on TV. And how about her colleague at the Lawfare blog, Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution fellow and a personal friend of James Comey? You think he didn’t have the inside dope, every time he posted a “Boom” GIF on Twitter predicting the final nail just about to be hammered in Trump’s coffin?

Many more jumped on the dog pile along with them, validating each other’s tweets and breathless insider sourcing. The point was to thicken the echo chamber, with voices from the right as well as the left in order to make it seem real. Hey, if this many experts are saying so, there must be something to it.

Except, there wasn’t—ever.

American democracy is premised on a free press that does its best to provide the public with information. Misinforming the public is like dumping toxic waste in the rivers. It poisoned our democracy—and it continues to do so. In fact, the most important thing for the public to understand is that Russiagate is not unique. It’s the way that the expert class opines on everything now, from immigration to foreign policy.

Take for instance last week’s big news that President Trump had decided to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The decision was universally praised in Israel, by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by opponents like Yair Lapid. Yet Obama’s former ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, insisted that the decision was politically motivated, telling the Washington Post that “the timing seems pretty transparent.” Surely, like his ambassadorial colleague, McFaul, Shapiro knew exactly what he’s talking about when he tweeted that the decision was made without “any policy planning process to consider potential reactions by Russia, Assad regime, Hezbollah, Arab states, Europe, etc., some of which may not be immediate. A decision like this should factor in such questions. No evidence it has.”

Shapiro was dead wrong. As the Atlantic noted in a detailed reported piece posted hours after Shapiro’s tweet, “the push for Trump to make such a move has been going on for more than a year, due to parallel efforts by Israeli officials and members of Congress.”

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But whatever. Experts can say anything they like—the Saudis hacked Jeff Bezos’ emails and photos of him and his girlfriend; Jamal Khashoggi was an American journalist; Jussie Smollett was nearly lynched by Trump supporters; Brett Kavanaugh was part of a rape gang, etc., etc. And reporters will print it, and editors will shrug, because that’s what the press is now—a pass-through mechanism mostly used for manipulative, ill-informed and often nonsensical propaganda.

Americans still want and need accurate information on which to base their decisions about their own lives and the path that the country should take. But neither the legacy media nor the expert class it sustains is likely to survive the post-dossier era in any recognizable form. For them, Russiagate is an extinction level event.

Lee Smith is the author of The Consequences of Syria.

Best of Bizarro

Social Science?

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Don’t you trust in science?

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Brexit Anyone?

What?  Have you no respect for diversity?

Not only Polar Bears are flourishing.

Are you listening IPCC?

Don’t take the Green New Deal without Helium!

Your Spell checker Knows Best.

Gender Confusion Abounds

Who’s afraid of witches?

Wait! How about probiotics?

The Reinvention of Chess

Doesn’t Anyone Like My Green New Deal?

 

 

 

New Sheriff Still in Town

Sheriff Trump has survived and prevailed in this gunfight.  After 3 years, two of them under the relentless Mueller, and after spending more than 30 million dollars investigating, the accusation of treason falls for lack of evidence.

(H/T  Tony Heller for video) But of course, the reporters and newscasters who foisted the fictional rumor upon the public will now double down on their deceit.  They are banking on something Mark Twain said:

Those who are fair-minded will say, “Enough.  Get Real, and get on with the nation’s business.”  Never-Trumpers, unfortunately, will have to find the courage to admit they bought into a lie, or else descend further into unreality by continuing to fool themselves.

no crime

NZ Religious Attack in Context

There is a lot of press coverage condemning the attack on two Mosques in New Zealand, and rightfully so.  It is appalling for any people to be killed for practicing their religion.  And such killing is against the teaching of Christianity, presuming that the shooter was raised in a society based on that tradition and moral code.

The larger context is that Muslims themselves are guilty of systematic slaughter of both non-Muslims and other Muslims.  Strangely, this deadly violence is not reported and not equally condemned in the media.  Here are the 2019 statistics of confirmed attacks and killings by Muslim extremists:  This bloodshed in no way justifies what happened in New Zealand.  But where is the morality in ignoring all of these victims when this issue comes up?

This is part of the list of killings in the name of Islam maintained by TheReligionofPeace.com. Most of these incidents are terror attacks. A handful are honor killings or Sharia executions.  During this time period, there were 359 Islamic attacks in 32 countries, in which 2013 people were killed and 2019 injured.

(TROP does not catch all attacks. Not all attacks are immediately posted).

I don’t claim to have an answer to all of this.  But we should start with the truth, even when (or especially when) it is politically incorrect.   Yes, there are a few Muslim victims in Christian countries, but as the table below shows, most of the time people are attacked and killed for their beliefs, the perpetrators are Muslim.

Date Country City Killed Injured Description
2019.03.15 Syria Baghouz 6 0 Three female suicide bombers strike families fleeing the caliphate, killing six members.
2019.03.15 Afghanistan Helmand 1 0 A TV journalist is shot to death in his car by suspected radicals.
2019.03.14 Cameroon Sandawadjiri 3 0 Three villagers are murdered in the middle of the night by Boko Haram.
2019.03.14 Afghanistan Sawki 1 13 Suspected Taliban clear out a bazaar with a deadly bomb blast.
2019.03.14 India Gulzarpora 1 0 A civilian is abducted and killed by Islamic militants.
2019.03.13 Iraq Qara Tapa 1 6 Women and children are among the casualties of an ISIS rocket attack.
2019.03.13 Iraq Rutba 1 0 A man collecting truffles is captured and executed by the Islamic State.
2019.03.13 Afghanistan Farah 1 0 A local official is murdered by suspected terrorists.
2019.03.13 Afghanistan Farah 10 0 The Taliban storm a checkpoint and massacre ten local security personnel.
2019.03.13 Somalia Gof-Gadud 8 40 al-Shabaab bombers murder eight patrons at a livestock market.
2019.03.13 India Pingleena 1 0 Islamic militants gun down a 25-year-old civilian.
2019.03.12 Burkina Faso Banh 1 0 Suspected Jihadists murder a local constable.
2019.03.12 Syria Amour 4 2 Four people searching for mushrooms are aerated by Sunni shrapnel.
2019.03.12 Mali Dialoube 6 0 Six local security personnel are killed by a landmine planted by extremists.
2019.03.11 Afghanistan Uzbekparida 4 4 Four policemen are shot to death by the Taliban.
2019.03.11 Nigeria Anguwan Gamu 46 0 A pastor and his wife are among forty-six villagers massacred by Fulani terrorists.
2019.03.11 Afghanistan Bala Murghab 16 13 The Taliban massacre sixteen local soldiers.
2019.03.10 Nigeria Shuwa 0 1 A girl is injured when two suicide bombers detonate prematurely during an attempt to kill church-goers.
2019.03.10 Syria Suwaiyah 1 1 Sunni shrapnel brings down a civilian.
2019.03.09 Niger Gueskerou 7 0 A Boko Haram attack on a border patrol kills seven.
2019.03.09 Syria Arak 8 11 ISIS explosives claim the lives of eight civilians.
2019.03.09 Syria Najm al-Zuhour 2 0 Two children are sectionalized by an ISIS landmine.
2019.03.09 Afghanistan Daman 1 0 A local farmer is disintegrated by an Islamist IED.
2019.03.08 DRC Beni 6 0 At least one woman is among six civilians hacked to death by ADF Islamists.
2019.03.08 DRC Virunga 1 0 A park ranger is murdered by the ADF.
2019.03.08 Afghanistan Anar Dara 3 3 A Taliban attack on a security post leaves three dead.
2019.03.08 Iraq Mosul 2 10 A child is among two Iraqis picked off by Jihadi bombers.
2019.03.07 Somalia Mogadishu 2 5 An al-Shabaab near a theater leaves two dead.
2019.03.07 Yemen Aden 1 5 Religious extremists open fire on a police patrol, killing one.
2019.03.07 India Jammu 2 32 Hizb-ul-Mujahideen throw a grenade into a bus station, killing a teenager and one other.
2019.03.07 Afghanistan Kabul 11 90 Sunni bombers strike a Shiite political gathering, killing eleven.
2019.03.07 Somalia Mogadishu 7 9 A group fighting for Sharia sets off a car bomb outside a restaurant, killing seven.
2019.03.06 Afghanistan Khewa 3 0 A schoolteacher is among three gunned down in cold blood by Islamic militants.
2019.03.06 Pakistan Abbottabad 1 0 A man is shot dead by extremists linked to an earlier honor killing.
2019.03.06 Afghanistan Jawzjan 1 0 Fundamentalists shoot an 8-year-old child to death.
2019.03.06 Iraq Makhmur 6 31 An attack by ISIS leaves six dead.
2019.03.06 Afghanistan Jalalabad 16 10 Sixteen employees at a construction company are massacred by Fedayeen in a massive suicide assault.
2019.03.06 Syria Jourin 1 6 Sunnis send a rocket into a Shiite village, killing one.
2019.03.06 Iraq Tawakol 1 3 An ISIS bomb blast leaves one dead.
2019.03.06 Nigeria Addamari 5 20 Five farmers are blown to bits by a Boko Haram landmine.
2019.03.06 Afghanistan Qala-e-Zal 10 12 The Taliban storm a government checkpost, killing ten.
2019.03.05 France Normandy 0 2 A ‘radicalized’ inmate screams “Allah Albar” as he stabs two guards with a knife smuggled to him.
2019.03.05 Syria Sha’afah 2 0 Two civilians lose their lives to an ISIS IED.
2019.03.04 Yemen Hodeidah 3 6 Children are among three family members dispatched by an Ansar Allah rocket.
2019.03.04 Afghanistan Yangi Qala 3 7 The Taliban storm a market and kill three civilians.
2019.03.04 Afghanistan Imam Sahib 10 9 Ten people are killed when Islamic militants storm a security checkpoint.
2019.03.04 Yemen Taiz 1 11 A bomb planted at a market kills one bystander.
2019.03.03 Nigeria Tse-Kuma 16 0 At least sixteen villagers are killed by Miyetti Allah.
2019.03.03 Syria Masasna 27 0 Ansar al-Tawhid Jihadists kill twenty-seven rivals in a brutal attack.
2019.03.03 Iraq Waqf 1 0 A farmer is shot to death in his grove by terrorists.
2019.03.02 Syria Karamah 3 12 A suicide bomber attacks a group of Religion of Peace rivals, killing three.
2019.03.01 Syria Bassirah 4 0 Four people at a water pump are murdered by ISIS gunmen.
2019.03.01 Syria Idlib 10 0 Ten perceived rivals are rounded up and excuted by Tahrir al-Sham
2019.03.01 Syria Idlib 9 18 A suicide bomber opens fire on a restaurant before denotating, killing nine.
2019.03.01 Somalia Mogadishu 29 80 Fundamentalists slaughter thirty civilians during an assault on a hotel.
2019.03.01 Afghanistan Shorab 23 15 A brutal attack by the Taliban on a local security base kills over two dozen.
2019.03.01 Mali Boulkessy 9 0 al-Qaeda militants plant a landmine the kills nine peacekeepers.
2019.03.01 Iraq Rutba 5 0 Five people abducted while hunting for truffles are executed in cold blood.
2019.03.01 India Handwara 4 8 Lashkar-e-Toiba members open fire on police, killing four.
2019.02.28 Nigeria Kardamari 4 3 A Boko Haram attack leaves four dead.
2019.02.28 Philippines Cotabato 1 0 A young man is shot off his motorbike by Bangsamoro Islamists.
2019.02.28 Philippines Sambolawan 2 1 A car carrying two off-duty soldiers is fired on by Muslim militants, killing both.
2019.02.28 Thailand Narathiwat 1 0 Muslim ‘rebels’ shoot a man as he is leaving a soccer game.
2019.02.28 Afghanistan Balkh 5 0 Religious radicals attack a police outpost, killing five.
2019.02.28 Somalia Mogadishu 6 20 Six people are exterminated by al-Shabaab car bombers.
2019.02.28 Iraq Mosul 4 26 Four people at a university are plowed under by a Jihadi car bomb.
2019.02.28 Yemen Hodeidah 5 0 Five children are pulled into pieces by an Ansar Allah rocket.
2019.02.27 Somalia Mogadishu 2 2 Islamists hurl a grenade into an Internet café, killing two users in mid-click.
2019.02.27 Iraq Jadida 2 4 ISIS sends mortar shells into a village, killing two residents.
2019.02.27 Kenya Girilley 3 0 Three Kenyan security personnel are brutally killed by an al-Qaeda linked group.
2019.02.27 Thailand Pattani 1 0 A civilian is shot to death by Muslim militants.
2019.02.26 Thailand Narathiwat 2 0 Two off-duty police are pulled out of a tea shop and executed by Muslim terrorists.
2019.02.26 Syria Shoula 1 10 Islamic State members pick off a civilian with a landmine.
2019.02.26 Syria Jibeh 3 1 Terrorists kill three villagers with an IED.
2019.02.26 Iraq Nuaimiya 3 3 Islamic State members bomb a bus carrying construction workers, killing three.
2019.02.26 Thailand Ban Ubae 1 1 Muslim separatists plant two bombs that kill a passing policeman.
2019.02.26 Mali Diankabou 18 15 Jihadists murder a young herdsman, then booby-trap his body with a bomb that kills seventeen others, including family.
2019.02.26 Nigeria Maro 32 0 Thirty-two people are killed in a targeted attack on a Christian community.
2019.02.25 Syria Hama 1 5 Sunni groups send rockets into populated areas, killing a resident.
2019.02.25 Somalia Lafole 9 2 Six woman are among nine street cleaners massacred by al-Shabaab.
2019.02.24 Afghanistan Torkham 1 1 Militants shoot two people on their way home from a restaurant, killing one.
2019.02.24 Syria Idlib 1 3 A car bomb blast in a city square sends a bystander to Allah.
2019.02.24 Syria Hama 24 0 Two dozen innocents are flattened by an ISIS landmine.
2019.02.24 Mali Aguelhok 8 0 Eight African peacekeepers lose their lives to a Jihadist attack on their base.
2019.02.24 Yemen al-Buqa 12 60 Ansar Allah fire a rocket at a group of local soldiers, killing twelve.
2019.02.23 Mozambique Matapata 1 0 Jihadists behead a villager.
2019.02.23 Mozambique Quelimane 3 16 Three locals are murdered by Islamic extremists.
2019.02.23 Syria Baghuz 50 0 The severed heads of fifty Yazidi sex slaves are discovered in the former caliphate stronghold.
2019.02.23 Nigeria Maiduguri 1 20 Boko Haram fire rockets into a city, killing one person.
2019.02.23 Somalia Mogadishu 1 0 An Islamist group assassinates a secular lawmaker.
2019.02.23 Iraq Therthar Lake 5 0 Five fishermen are attacked and murdered by the Islamic State.
2019.02.22 Niger Diffa 4 7 Four people are left dead after Boko Haram attack a small village.
2019.02.21 Iraq Bazwaya 26 0 Twenty-six members of the Shabak religious minority are discovered in a mass ISIS grave.
2019.02.21 Mozambique Bengaluru 1 6 An oil company worker is killed by a local Islamic group.
2019.02.21 Syria Shahil 22 10 Shahid suicide car bombers plow into a bus carrying oil workers, killing twenty-two.
2019.02.21 Tunisia Mkhalfia 1 0 A family man in his fifties is abducted and beheaded by Islamists.
2019.02.20 Iraq Arar 2 1 Two border guards are leveled by Mujahid bombers.
2019.02.20 Burkina Faso Madjori 1 0 An al-Qaeda group abducts and murders a police officer.
2019.02.20 Yemen Hodeidah 3 6 Ansar Allah drop a mortar round into a market, killing three patrons.
2019.02.20 Somalia Hodon 1 0 A prosecutor is assassinated by al-Shabaab.
2019.02.20 Afghanistan Balkh 2 2 Two civilians are shot to death by the Taliban.
2019.02.19 Thailand Raman 1 0 A 26-year-old man is shot to death in his car next to his wife.
2019.02.19 Iraq Nassaf 2 0 Islamists use an IED to disassemble two children on a playground.
2019.02.19 Afghanistan Qarghaee 6 0 Six civilians are blown to bits by a well-place Taliban bomb.
2019.02.19 Iraq Mahalibiya 47 0 Forty-seven victims of ISIS execution are discovered in a mass grave.
2019.02.19 Chad Baubaura 5 14 A group fighting for Sharia murders five villagers.
2019.02.18 Afghanistan Kabul 1 0 Militants attach a bomb to the car of a doctor, killing him as he left his clinic.
2019.02.18 Syria Idlib 24 51 Two bombs planted to kill civilians and first responders leaves two dozen of them dead, including four children.
2019.02.18 Egypt Cairo 3 3 A suicide bomber at a mosque claims three guards trying to stop him.
2019.02.18 Syria Raqqa 1 0 A pharmacist is picked off by ISIS gunmen.
2019.02.18 Iraq Haditha 1 2 Mujahideen blow up a child with a landmine.
2019.02.18 Afghanistan Batikot 8 0 A Taliban leaves eight dead.
2019.02.18 Iraq Rashad 1 0 A shepherd is brought down by Mujahid bombers.
2019.02.18 Iraq Umm Jezan 8 0 Eight people gathering mushrooms are kidnapped and executed by the Islamic State.
2019.02.18 Nigeria Koshebe 18 0 Eighteen people collecting firewood are brutally murdered by an Islamist group.
2019.02.17 Somalia Mogadishu 2 0 At least two bystanders are leveled by al-Shabaab shrapnel.
2019.02.17 Niger Bossa 4 0 Four refugees are murdered at their camp by two suicide bombers.
2019.02.17 Nigeria Banki 2 6 A medical doctor is among two killed by Boko Haram.
2019.02.17 Iraq Rashad 2 0 Two unarmed civilians make easy pickings for ISIS gunmen.
2019.02.17 Pakistan Loralai 2 1 Two guards at a market are smoked at close range by Muslim terrorists.
2019.02.17 Nigeria Buni Yadi 9 0 Jihadists attack a small town, killing ten.
2019.02.17 Saudi Arabia Asser 9 0 A cross-border attack by Ansar Allah leaves nine guards dead.
2019.02.17 Pakistan Turbat 9 11 Nine Pakistanis are sent to Allah by a Baloch Raji Ajoi Sangar suicide bomber.
2019.02.16 Afghanistan Ghazni 1 3 A civilian succumbs to injuries following a Religion of Peace bomb blast.
2019.02.16 Afghanistan Sar Asyab 6 0 The Taliban murder six guards at a gas pipeline.
2019.02.16 India Rajouri 1 1 Terrorists plant a bomb that kills a border patrol member.
2019.02.16 Syria Diban 3 0 Three men at a market are gunned down in cold blood by suspected ISIS.
2019.02.16 Afghanistan Mandesar 3 0 A child is among three aerated by a Jihadi bomb blast.
2019.02.16 Egypt Sinai 11 4 Eleven security personnel are left dead following a fundamentalist attack on a checkpoint.
2019.02.16 Iraq Nassaf 2 1 Two shepherds are disintegrated by an Islamic State landmine.
2019.02.15 Iraq Khalis 1 0 An 80-year-old shine caretaker is reportedly executed by gunshot.
2019.02.15 Nigeria Kushari 6 15 Eight worshippers are blown to bits in their mosque by two suicide bombers.
2019.02.15 Afghanistan Kandahar 32 0 Thirty-two border guards are massacred by Islamic extremists.
2019.02.15 Burkina Faso Nohao 5 0 Five customs officials are killed by rampaging Jihadis
2019.02.15 Burkina Faso Cinkansé 1 0 A Catholic missionary is shot to death by Muslim radicals.
2019.02.15 Niger Chetima Wanou 7 6 A Boko Haram raid leaves seven others dead.
2019.02.15 Nigeria Maiduguri 2 0 Two residents are shot to death in their neighborhood by Boko Haram.
2019.02.14 Burkina Faso Dijbo 2 6 Two people are killed when militants plant a bomb in a corpse.
2019.02.14 India Pulwama 49 48 A Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rams a bus carrying Jawans, killing nearly fifty.
2019.02.13 Iraq Alikhan 1 0 A religious minority is stabbed to death by suspected Islamic State.
2019.02.13 Niger Bagaji 3 0 Islamic militants kill three in an unprovoked attack on a village.
2019.02.13 Syria Raqqa 1 0 Suspected ISIS assassinate a local councilman.
2019.02.13 Iraq Rashad 2 0 Two brothers are kidnapped and murdered by ISIS members.
2019.02.13 Iran Sistan-Baluchistan 27 13 A Jaish al-Adl suicide bomber takes out twenty-seven IRG passengers on a bus.
2019.02.13 Nigeria Gajibo 5 10 Boko Haram ambush and kill five people along a highway.
2019.02.13 Pakistan Mir Ali 1 0 A tribal elder is disassembled by a Sunni IED.
2019.02.13 Yemen Mahfed 3 3 An al-Qaeda bomb blast exterminates three passersby.
2019.02.13 Yemen Hodeidah 3 0 Two women are among three family members exterminated by Ansar Allah.
2019.02.12 Egypt Rafah 2 2 Two policemen are picked off by an ISIS sniper.
2019.02.12 Somalia Mogadishu 1 0 Islamists attack a bomb to a car and kill the driver.
2019.02.12 Syria al-Rai 2 7 A suicide car bomber kills two policemen.
2019.02.12 Pakistan Dera Ismail Khan 5 2 Five local cops are machine-gunned point blank by religious radicals.
2019.02.12 Syria al-Dana 1 0 A civilian is caught in the cross-fire when two Islamist groups work out their differences.
2019.02.12 Afghanistan Takhar 3 8 A Taliban mortar round ends three lives.
2019.02.12 Mali Mopti 3 2 Jihadists are suspected of ambushing and killing three local cops.
2019.02.12 Nigeria Madagali 5 0 At least five locals are reported dead following a Boko Haram attack on a town.
2019.02.11 Pakistan Karachi 1 1 The office of a secular political party is the target of a terror attack that leaves one dead.
2019.02.11 Syria Deir Ez-Zur 6 0 Three suicide bombers exterminate a half-dozen ‘apostates.’
2019.02.10 Iraq Kanaqin 1 1 A border guard is gunned down by ISIS.
2019.02.10 India Kulgam 0 11 Terrorists lob a grenade into a packed market.
2019.02.10 Afghanistan Sayyad 8 4 Eight local cops are machine-gunned by Islamic extremists.
2019.02.10 Nigeria Effurun-Otor 2 0 Two people are killed when Miyetti Allah burn dozens of homes.
2019.02.10 Iraq Qaradar 1 2 An overnight ISIS attack on a village leaves one dead.
2019.02.10 Nigeria Angwan Barde 10 0 An unborn child is among ten Catholics massacred by Muslim militants.
2019.02.09 Philippines Maluso 1 0 A logger is shot dead by Abu Sayyaf after being unable to recite from the Quran.
2019.02.09 Afghanistan Kabul 1 0 An intel officer is assassinated by fundamentalists.
2019.02.09 Nigeria Madagali 2 0 Two others are left dead when Jihadis fire in to a village.
2019.02.09 Afghanistan Sargodar 8 0 Eight policemen are murdered in cowardly fashion by a colleague who became ‘radicalized.’
2019.02.08 Nigeria Ngwom 3 0 Boko Haram attack a security patrol, killing three members.
2019.02.08 DRC Rwangoma 7 0 Seven civilians are pulled from their beds and hacked to death by ADF Islamists.
2019.02.08 Iraq Baiji 3 0 Three brothers collecting truffles are kidnapped and murdered by the Islamic State.
2019.02.08 Syria Salamiyeh 7 1 Seven civilians are vaporized by a militant bomb blast.
2019.02.07 Iraq Baaj 46 0 Forty-six victims of ISIS execution are discovered in a mass grave.
2019.02.07 Nigeria Ago’Oyo 1 0 A young farmer is hacked to death by militant Fulanis.
2019.02.07 Saudi Arabia Medina 1 2 A Sunni cab driver beheads a young Shiite child in front of his mother after confirming their minority status.
2019.02.07 Mozambique Cabo Delgado 7 5 A group from the mosque beheads seven villagers.
2019.02.07 Israel Jerusalem 1 0 A Palestinian terrorist rapes and murders a 19-year-old woman.
2019.02.06 Somalia Sanguni 6 0 A half-dozen are killed by a well-placed al-Shabaab rocket.
2019.02.06 India Kumbakonam 1 0 A Hindu man is murdered for “resisting” a conversion to Islam.
2019.02.06 Afghanistan Nimroz 6 8 A half-dozen Afghans are laid out by Taliban gunmen.
2019.02.06 Syria Salamiyah 1 0 A civilian is killed in a suspected sectarian attack outside a Shiite school.
2019.02.05 Somalia Dhanaane 2 0 An al-Shabaab bomb blast shatters two lives.
2019.02.05 Afghanistan Jalalabad 1 0 Islamic State members gun down a local cop in cold blood at a city square.
2019.02.05 Mali Hombori 3 0 Jihadis plant a landmine that hits a public bus returning from a fair, killing three.
2019.02.05 Syria Awasi 1 2 A civilian is brought down with an IED.
2019.02.05 Afghanistan Kunduz 26 12 The Taliban stage a brutal assault on a local army base, killing twenty-six.
2019.02.05 Afghanistan Taloqan 2 0 Two radio journalists are brutally murdered in their station by suspected Jihadists.
2019.02.05 Pakistan Nandpur 2 0 A wife and daughter are honor killed by their family members after one suffers sexual assault.
2019.02.04 Thailand Sungai Kolok 1 1 A civilian is shot off his motorcycle by Muslim militants.
2019.02.04 Nigeria Shuwa 1 0 Boko Haram fire RPGs into a village, killing one resident.
2019.02.04 Nigeria Kirchana 2 0 Islamists loot shops, burn homes and kill two people.
2019.02.04 Nigeria Tubba 3 0 Three goat herders are shot full of holes by Islamic radicals.
2019.02.04 Afghanistan Baghlan-i-Markazi 11 24 Eleven local police officers are cut down by Taliban gunmen.
2019.02.04 Burkina Faso Kain 14 0 Fourteen civilians make easy prey for armed Jihadists.
2019.02.04 Burkina Faso Oudalan 5 3 An Islamic group attacks a security patrol, killing five members.
2019.02.04 Somalia Mogadishu 11 10 al-Shabaab bomber send shrapnel through a shopping mall, claiming eleven lives.
2019.02.04 Syria Tayyana 3 0 Three captives are beheaded by ISIS.
2019.02.04 Somalia Bossasso 1 0 A Maltese port manager is shot several times in the head by Religion of Peace proponents.
2019.02.03 Iraq Balad 1 3 Terrorists bomb a tourist bus, killing one passenger.
2019.02.03 Iraq Buhriz 1 0 A guard at an oil plant is murdered by the Islamic State.
2019.02.03 Iraq Karbala 1 0 A 56-year-old novelist is assassinated after criticizing the Islamic Revolution in Iran.
2019.02.02 Iraq Hafta Ghar 3 0 Three villagers are kidnapped and executed on video by the Islamic State.
2019.02.02 Afghanistan Gosfandi 1 0 An official is gunned down outside a mosque by religious radicals.
2019.02.02 Syria Manbij 1 5 One person is killed when terrorists target a bus carrying teachers.
2019.02.02 Somalia Bardhere 2 2 A Fedayeen suicide car bomber targets AU peacekeepers, killing two.
2019.02.02 Iraq Qaim 1 1 Islamic State members murder a border guard.
2019.02.02 Pakistan Saddar 1 0 A prominent Sunni is shot to death in a suspected sectarian attack.
2019.02.01 Niger Bague Djaradi 6 0 A half-dozen villagers are shot to death by Boko Haram.
2019.02.01 Iraq Zuwiya 3 5 A family picnic is interrupted by an ISIS bomb blast, killing a mother and two children.
2019.02.01 Syria Jdoua 1 0 A civilian is killed by an ISIS IED.
2019.01.31 Afghanistan Gorkab 6 7 Taliban storm a police checkpoint and kill a half dozen.
2019.01.31 India Dangerpora 1 0 Islamists kidnap a young woman and shoot her twice in the head as she is begging for her life.
2019.01.30 Philippines Maharlika 2 4 A ‘sectarian feud’ at a mosque leads to a grenade attack in which two teachers die.
2019.01.30 Yemen Taez 1 1 A 13-year-old is killed when Ansar Allah fire a shell into a school.
2019.01.30 Nigeria Dikwa 8 0 An Islamic group ambushes a local security convoy, killing eight members.
2019.01.30 Pakistan Karak 1 0 A transgender person is shot to death by an ‘armed group’.
2019.01.29 Pakistan Dera Ismail Khan 1 0 A patron is shot to death at a bazaar by terrorists.
2019.01.29 Iraq Tarmiyah 3 1 Suspected ISIS gun down three innocents at a coffee shop.
2019.01.29 Pakistan Loralai 9 21 Three suicide bombers attack a police complex, killing at least nine.
2019.01.29 Somalia Banadir 2 5 Jihadis set off a car bomb at a petrol station, incinerating two bystanders.
2019.01.29 Mali Tarkint 2 10 A Shahid suicide bomber rams a local military base, killing two Malians.
2019.01.29 Syria Idlib 1 3 A suicide bomber kills one other person.
2019.01.28 Iraq Haditha 2 1 ISIS members murder two civilians and kidnap another.
2019.01.28 Afghanistan Bodana Qala 6 3 A brutal attack by armed fundamentalists on two police checkpoints leaves six dead.
2019.01.28 Nigeria Rann 60 0 A brutal massacre of displaced citizens by Boko Haram leaves at least sixty dead.
2019.01.28 Syria Mahajah 1 2 Terrorists kill one civilian with an IED.
2019.01.28 Nigeria Molai 4 0 Islamists slit the throats of four farmers.
2019.01.28 Burkina Faso Soum 4 0 Four people are killed when Jihadists attack a security camp.
2019.01.28 Yemen Mocha 7 26 An Ansar Allah bomb targeting a restaurant crowd kills at least seven, including two children.
2019.01.28 Pakistan Sargodha 1 0 A 71-year-old imam is gunned down by suspected rivals.
2019.01.28 Niger Bossa 4 4 Sharia proponents murder four villagers and set fire to their homes.
2019.01.27 Iraq al-Shura 2 0 A husband and wife are viciously shot to death in their home by terrorists.
2019.01.27 Iraq Shirqat 4 8 Two bombs aimed at a bus and first responders leaves four dead.
2019.01.27 Philippines Jolo 27 111 Twenty-seven worshippers at a Catholic church are laid out by Muslim bombers.
2019.01.27 Burkina Faso Sirkire 10 2 Jihadists pour machine-gun fire into a village, taking out ten residents.
2019.01.27 Afghanistan Kandahar 1 0 The prosecutor for a secular court is assassinated by Sharia proponents.
2019.01.27 Syria Baghouz 11 0 Eleven people are blown up by four suicide bombers.
2019.01.26 Syria Baghouz 1 5 A female suicide bomber kills one other person.
2019.01.26 Germany Salzgitter-Lebenstedt 1 0 The shooting by a Syrian Muslim of an Iraqi Christian is said to be motivated by religious differences.
2019.01.26 Yemen Haradh 8 30 Ansar Allah members fire shells into a displaced persons camp, killing eight unfortunates.
2019.01.26 Afghanistan Tala Wa Barfak 5 20 A bomb blast at a volleyball court leaves five dead.
2019.01.26 Afghanistan Jalalabad 1 2 A girl is disassembled by a bomb blast at a university campus.
2019.01.25 Somalia Afgoye 6 0 Three women are among six people at a market gunned down by Sharia extremists.
2019.01.25 CAR Ippy 18 23 UPC terrorists pour gunfire into a funeral, killing eighteen.
2019.01.25 Mali Douentza 2 1 Two UN peacekeepers succumb to injuries following an al-Qaeda bomb blast.
2019.01.24 Afghanistan Sayyad 2 4 Sunni militants fire into a playground, killing two people.
2019.01.24 DRC Beni 3 2 Three innocents are slain by ADF Islamists.
2019.01.24 Iraq Abu Karma 1 0 An ISIS sniper brings down a civilian.
2019.01.24 Afghanistan Ghoryan 1 0 A Hajj director is assassinated by Religion of Peace rivals.
2019.01.24 Syria al-Bab 1 7 A suicide bomber takes out a civilian.
2019.01.23 Somalia Mogadishu 2 3 An al-Shabaab incendiary device toasts two civilians.
2019.01.23 Iraq Kirkuk 2 2 A suicide car bomber plow into a checkpoint, killing two local cops.
2019.01.23 Nigeria Geidam 8 12 At least eight people are left dead after a Boko Haram attack on a college town.
2019.01.22 Pakistan Ferozabad 1 0 A Shiite cleric is assassinated by Religion of Peace rivals.
2019.01.22 Syria Latakia 1 14 Terrorists kill a civilian with an IED.
2019.01.22 Syria Maar Shamarin 1 1 A civilian is murdered in cold blood by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
2019.01.22 Yemen Taiz 1 13 A woman is killed by the Ansar Allah group.
2019.01.22 South Africa Johannesburg 1 0 A critic of Islamic extremism is gunned down outside a mosque.
2019.01.22 Nigeria Awoyaya 1 0 A man is stabbed to death over his refusal to accept Islam.
2019.01.21 Afghanistan Kabul 36 58 A Taliban suicide attack on a military base kills thirty-six.
2019.01.21 Syria Rifqa 3 1 Three people are exterminated by a Fedayeen suicide bomber.
2019.01.21 Iraq Abu Saida 2 1 Two Iraqis are shot to death by Mujahideen.
2019.01.21 Syria Hasakeh 5 2 Fedayeen suicide car bombers kill five people.
2019.01.21 Kenya Garissa 0 1 A woman is injured when Somali Islamists attack a construction company.
2019.01.20 Iraq Khanaqin 2 0 Two local cops are murdered by Jihadists.
2019.01.20 Afghanistan Logar 10 10 Islamic fundamentals attempt to assassinate a secular governor with a suicide bomber, killing ten others.
2019.01.20 Syria Afrin 3 9 Terrorists plant a bomb on a civilian bus that kills three.
2019.01.20 Mali Aguelhoc 10 25 An al-Qaeda linked group attacks a UN peacekeeper base, killing ten.
2019.01.20 Nigeria Konduga 1 0 A motorist is slain by Boko Haram terrorists.
2019.01.20 CAR Zaoro Sangou 13 0 A pastor is among a dozen killed during Fulani violence.
2019.01.19 Syria Idlib 8 0 Eight captives are executed by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
2019.01.19 Syria Idlib 1 5 A Jihadi car bomb takes out a woman.
2019.01.19 Somalia Kismayo 8 0 Eight local soldiers are killed when a group of religious radicals overrun their base.
2019.01.18 Afghanistan Nad Ali 1 3 The Taliban attack a wedding, killing one of the members.
2019.01.18 India Shopian 4 0 Four cops at a guard post are cut down by Jaish-e-Mohammed gunmen.
2019.01.18 Thailand Narathiwat 2 2 Two Buddhist monks are shot to death by Muslim ‘insurgents.’
2019.01.18 Nigeria Gamboru Ngala 3 0 Suicide bombers claim three other lives.
2019.01.18 Syria Idlib 15 20 A suicide car bomber targets a rival Islamist group, killing fifteen.
2019.01.18 Egypt al-Arish 3 1 Three people are killed when Islamic radicals kidnap a religious minority.
2019.01.17 Syria Hasakah 1 0 A civilian is kidnapped and murdered by a Sunni group.
2019.01.17 Norway Oslo 0 1 A terrorist stabs a woman at a supermarket.
2019.01.17 Nigeria Kamuya 6 14 A group fighting for Sharia puts six local security personnel in the morgue.
2019.01.17 Afghanistan Kabul 1 0 The owner of a pharmacy is targeted and killed by Sunni bombers.
2019.01.16 Syria Manbij 16 24 Four Americans are among sixteen patrons blown to bits by a Shahid suicide bomber at a restaurant.
2019.01.16 Burkina Faso Tiabongou 1 0 A Canadian mining industry worker is kidnapped and murdered by Islamic militants.
2019.01.16 Afghanistan Panjawai 4 0 Four police officers are gruesomely killed by a Taliban insider.
2019.01.15 Iraq Kirkuk 1 0 Hashd al-Shaabi is suspected in the assassination of a Kurdish official.
2019.01.15 Kenya Nairobi 21 30 Twenty-one guests and guards are slaughtered during a violent suicide attack on a luxury hotel by al-Shabaab.
2019.01.15 Afghanistan Kabul 1 0 Religious radicals blow up a Toyota Corolla, along with the driver.
2019.01.15 Pakistan Karachi 1 0 A radical cleric has his assistant killed.
2019.01.15 Mali Menaka 20 0 Elderly people are among twenty killed in Jihadist attacks on two villages.
2019.01.14 Afghanistan Kabul 4 110 Children are among the casualties when a suicide car bomber detonates along a busy road.
2019.01.14 Iraq Qausayat 1 0 A civilian is shot in his own home by suspected ISIS.
2019.01.14 Nigeria Rann 14 0 At least fourteen people are killed when Boko Haram overrun a town and burn homes.
2019.01.13 Mali Gao 3 5 A Jihadist attack on UN peacekeepers leaves three dead.
2019.01.13 Thailand Thung Phala 1 0 A Muslim drive-by shooting on a police station leaves one dead.
2019.01.13 Iraq Kirkuk 1 2 A Mujahideen bomb blast kills a woman and injures her two children.
2019.01.13 Somalia Mogadishu 2 5 Islamists hurl a grenade at a residence, killing two people.
2019.01.12 Mozambique Manilha 4 4 Four passengers in civilian vehicles are murdered by militant Islamists.
2019.01.12 Syria Raqaa 1 2 An ISIS booby-trap claims a civilian.
2019.01.12 Afghanistan Herat 5 4 Civilians and police are killed during a Taliban assault.
2019.01.12 Pakistan Loralai 1 4 Gunmen on motorcycles fire on charity workers campaigning against terrorism, killing one.
2019.01.12 Iraq Manbij 2 1 Former caliphate members kill two security personnel with a roadside bomb.
2019.01.11 Iraq Qaim 2 23 A Fedayeen suicide bomber takes out two patrons at a market.
2019.01.11 Burkina Faso Gasseliki 12 2 A dozen villagers are massacred by Muslim terrorists.
2019.01.11 Yemen Haradh 8 10 Six children and two women are blown to bits by Ansar Allah bombers.
2019.01.10 CAR Bambari 2 30 Muslim ‘rebels’ fire into a crowd, killing at least two.
2019.01.10 Syria Idlib 1 0 A Syrian is crudely beheaded by a Sharia scholar.
2019.01.10 Iraq Haramat 1 0 A village chief is assassinated by the Islamic State.
2019.01.10 Yemen Aden 6 20 Ansar Allah fly a bomb-laden drone into a military parade, killing at least six.
2019.01.10 Thailand Pattani 4 0 Four guards at a school are cut down in cold blood by Muslim ‘insurgents.’
2019.01.10 Afghanistan Khwaja Ghar 7 6 Seven cops are murdered at their station by religious radicals.
2019.01.10 Afghanistan Husainhil 9 6 Nine police are shot to death by the Taliban.
2019.01.10 Afghanistan Qala-e-Zaal 10 11 Ten Afghans are laid out by fundamentalist gunmen.
2019.01.10 Afghanistan Badghes 16 0 Sixteen Afghans are murdered by the Taliban.
2019.01.09 Syria Idlib 1 1 A suicide bomber kills a civilian.
2019.01.09 DRC Beni 7 2 Seven civilians are purged by ADF Islamists.
2019.01.09 Iraq Haftaghar 1 2 ISIS bombers take out a villager.
2019.01.09 Iraq Qabra 38 0 Thirty-eight women are discovered in a mass grave following ISIS executions.
2019.01.09 Nigeria Mwuaga 1 0 A farmer is shot dead in his field by Miyetti Allah.
2019.01.09 Pakistan Korangi 1 0 A Sunni activist is shot to death by suspected Shiite rivals.
2019.01.08 Austria Amstetten 1 0 A woman is stabbed 38 times in front of her children during an argument over wearing a burqa. The killer was previously investigated because of “religiously-motivated activities.”
2019.01.08 Thailand Songkhla 1 2 A retired teacher is hanged by Barisan Revolusi Nasional members.
2019.01.08 Syria Tal Maraga 3 5 Three civilians are cut down by ISIS shrapnel.
2019.01.08 Thailand Yarang 0 2 A 12-year-old girl is severely injured by a Muslim bomb blast at her school.
2019.01.08 Afghanistan Kabul Addah 2 20 Two civilians are disassembled by an Islamic bomb planted on a motorcycle.
2019.01.08 Yemen Mahfad 2 12 Two civilians are shredded by al-Qaeda shrapnel.
2019.01.08 Afghanistan Khost 2 26 A Sunni bomb lays out two civilians and injures twenty-six others.
2019.01.08 Syria Raqqa 1 3 A suicide car bomber takes out a bystander.
2019.01.08 Iraq Tikrit 3 4 Terrorists detonate a bomb at a checkpoint during morning commute, killing three.
2019.01.07 DRC Malvivi 10 1 Children are among ten hacked to death by ADF Islamists.
2019.01.07 Nigeria Sajeri 3 0 Sharia activists shoot a rival cleric in the head and hack two other civilians to death.
2019.01.07 Syria Raqqa 4 8 Four civilians are racked up by a Shahid suicide bomber.
2019.01.07 Afghanistan Jani Khel 10 13 A Taliban bomb claims ten civilians at a bazaar, including two children.
2019.01.07 Somalia Elasha Biyaha 2 0 An al-Shabaab bomb targeting an AU vehicle leaves two dead.
2019.01.07 Bangladesh Kismat Bidyabagis 1 0 A Hindu man is stabbed to death by the parents of Muslim woman with whom he was involved.
2019.01.07 USA Fountain Hills, AZ 0 1 A police officer is stabbed by a ‘lone wolf.’
2019.01.06 Mozambique Nailwa 1 0 A farmer is killed and cut into pieces by Religion of Peace proponents.
2019.01.06 Afghanistan Ab Kamari 7 9 Seven Afghans are shot to death by a group fighting for Sharia.
2019.01.06 Mozambique Mpundanhar 7 7 Seven civilians are hacked to death with machetes by suspected Jihadists.
2019.01.06 Afghanistan Farah 2 10 Two civilians are killed by the Taliban.
2019.01.06 Iraq Dibis 1 6 Terrorists kill a civilian in a targeted bomb attack.
2019.01.06 Afghanistan Qadis 14 0 An attack by a Sunni group leaves fourteen dead.
2019.01.06 Afghanistan Kilagi 1 0 A highway guard is murdered by the Taliban.
2019.01.05 Yemen Taiz 2 16 An elderly woman and a child are reduced to rubble by an Ansar Allah mortar round.
2019.01.05 Yemen Mudiya 2 0 An al-Qaeda attack leaves two dead.
2019.01.05 Egypt Nasr City 1 2 A bomb left outside a church kills a police officer.
2019.01.05 Pakistan Mehmoodabad 1 3 A group of radicals attack rivals at a mosque, killing one.
2019.01.04 Afghanistan Nawa 7 0 Seven border guards are cut down by Taliban gunmen.
2019.01.04 India Tral 1 0 A Sikh minority is shot to death by suspected Muslim militants.
2019.01.04 Somalia Hamar Bile 1 0 A man driving through a village is shot in his car by al-Shabaab.
2019.01.03 Iraq Mosul 3 0 Three brothers are murdered in cold blood by the Islamic State.
2019.01.03 Afghanistan Baghlan 8 2 Eight Afghan police manning a checkpoint are machine-gunned by Sunni fundamentalists.
2019.01.03 Tunisia Jilma 0 0 Two suicide bombers manage to kill only themselves.
2019.01.03 Syria Daraa 2 0 Two civilians are taken apart by Sunni shrapnel.
2019.01.03 Philippines Basilan 4 1 A Muslim gunmen takes down four civilians.
2019.01.03 Nigeria Banki 2 7 Boko Haram open fire on a group of traders, killing two guards.
2019.01.03 Pakistan Zaman 1 0 A Shiite activist is shot to death by Sunni rivals.
2019.01.02 Nigeria Damasak 5 0 Five aboard a helicopter are killed when it is fired on by Boko Haram.
2019.01.02 Nigeria Kwata 6 0 A half-dozen villagers are slaughtered by gunmen shouting praises to Allah.
2019.01.02 Libya Sabha 3 1 Three Libyans are killed by two suicide bombers.
2019.01.02 Afghanistan Maiwand 5 2 Religious radicals tunnel into a local barracks and kill five soldiers.
2019.01.01 Afghanistan Kabul 1 0 A toddler dies from horrific injuries suffered during a Taliban roadside attack.
2019.01.01 Afghanistan Chemtal 6 7 Sunni fundamentalists attack a police post, killing six officers.
2019.01.01 India Pulwama 1 0 A police officer is assassinated at his home by Islamic ‘separatists’.
2019.01.01 Pakistan Loralai 4 2 A Fedayeen suicide bomber detonates at a security camp, killing four members.

Weather is Not Climate (again): Marine Heat Waves

Currently, the fashion is to prove global warming/climate change by pointing to “extreme” weather events. This week we have a new candidate for alarms: Marine Heat Waves. For example:

Suffering in the heat—the rise in marine heatwaves is harming ocean species Phys.org08:40

Marine heat waves threaten fish, corals SBS00:28

Ocean heat waves remake Pacific and Caribbean habitats Ars Technica06:56

Study: More Marine Heat Waves Threaten Fish, Corals Voice of America20:55 Mon, 04 Mar

More marine heatwaves threaten fish and corals — study Gulf Times16:55 Mon, 04 Mar

Ocean Heat Waves Are Threatening Marine Life The New York Times13:55 Mon, 04 Mar

Background

Variation in sea surface temperatures is not new. Cliff Mass of U. Washington, Seattle, educated us some years ago regarding a persistent patch of N. Pacific warm water he named: “The BLOB.” A series of posts at his blog covered this event starting in Autumn 2013, waxing and waning until finally disappearing in 2018. Most informative is The Blob Strengthens Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The original BLOB, named by Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond, formed the previous winter (2013-2014). The BLOB was defined as a persistent region of anomalously warm water in the northeast Pacific. With the air reaching the Northwest generally passing over the BLOB, the result was warmer than normal temperatures.

And by the first week of this month, the BLOB seems to have returned, and with it, its evil twin, El Nino, indicated by the warm waters in the eastern tropical Pacific. Now we have a problem. Note that the temperatures in the BLOB are 2-3 C (roughly 4-5F) above normal.

The effects of the BLOB have become more than a little evident to everyone living in our region. Temperatures are way above normal because of the warming effects of the ocean…it is hard for our minimum temperatures to fall much below the ocean temperatures this time of the year. Want to see evidence of this? Here are the surface air temperatures at Seattle Tacoma Airport for the last 4 weeks, with the average highs and lows shown. We have been warmer than normal, with minimum temperatures consistently 3-4F above normal.

The BLOB itself is not an independent player. It has been forced by an anomalous atmospheric circulation, including anomalous high pressure (ridging) centered north of our region (see map showing the height (pressure) anomalies (difference from normal) at 500 hPa (about 18,000ft) for the last 30 days. Yellow indicates higher heights than normal.

An article from that time (2016) at Climate Central took mainly the alarmist view, but also quoted a reasonable statement from Cliff Mass. California Drought, Marine Heat More Likely With Warming

“The atmospheric variability that forced the warm blob is the same that forced the drought,” said Emanuele Di Lorenzo, an ocean and climate dynamics professor at Georgia Tech who coauthored the analysis, published in Nature Climate Change. “This atmospheric variability is increasing under greenhouse gases.”

The new findings could help scientists predict when similar marine heatwaves and droughts will strike in the future. They also suggest such heatwaves will become more common and intense, which could mean greater drought risks in the West. (By increasing evaporation and reducing snowfall, warmer temperatures are already making Western droughts worse.)

“This could potentially provide predictability,” said Cliff Mass, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor who wasn’t involved with the research. “This is natural variability that we’re dealing with.”

What Are “Marine Heat Waves?” (From Marine Heat Waves.org)

We use a recently developed definition of marine heatwaves (Hobday et al. 2016). A marine heatwave is defined a when seawater temperatures exceed a seasonally-varying threshold (usually the 90th percentile) for at least 5 consecutive days. Successive heatwaves with gaps of 2 days or less are considered part of the same event.

Marine heatwaves can be caused by a whole range of factors, and not all factors are important for each event. The most common drivers of marine heatwaves include ocean currents which can build up areas of warm water and air-sea heat flux, or warming through the ocean surface from the atmosphere. Winds can enhance or suppress the warming in a marine heatwave, and climate modes like El Niño can change the likelihood of events occurring in certain regions.

[Note: the phrase about the atmosphere warming the ocean is misleading. The ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity of the air, and the heat transfer is upward. From Columbia U. on the Ocean/Atmosphere Heat Flux:

Solar heating of the ocean on a global average is 168 watts per square meter

Net infrared radiation cools the ocean, on a global average by 66 watts per square meter.

On global average the oceanic heat loss by conduction is only 24 watts per square meter. (If the ocean were colder than the atmosphere (which of course happens) the air in contact with the ocean cools, becoming denser and hence more stable, more stratified. As such the conduction process does a poor job of carrying the atmosphere heat into the cool ocean.)

On global average the heat loss by evaporation is 78 watts per square meter. (The largest heat loss for the ocean is due to evaporation, which links heat exchange with hydrological cycle.) ]

The trigger for the current concern is Marine heatwaves threaten global biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services published March 4, 2019 at Nature Climate Change. Dan A. Smale is lead author with 17 co-authors. The media were quick to misinterpret the study and claim a link to burning of fossil fuels.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Abstract: The global ocean has warmed substantially over the past century, with far-reaching implications for marine ecosystems. Concurrent with long-term persistent warming, discrete periods of extreme regional ocean warming (marine heatwaves, MHWs) have increased in frequency. Here we quantify trends and attributes of MHWs across all ocean basins and examine their biological impacts from species to ecosystems. Multiple regions in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans are particularly vulnerable to MHW intensification, due to the co-existence of high levels of biodiversity, a prevalence of species found at their warm range edges or concurrent non-climatic human impacts. The physical attributes of prominent MHWs varied considerably, but all had deleterious impacts across a range of biological processes and taxa, including critical foundation species (corals, seagrasses and kelps). MHWs, which will probably intensify with anthropogenic climate change, are rapidly emerging as forceful agents of disturbance with the capacity to restructure entire ecosystems and disrupt the provision of ecological goods and services in coming decades.

My Comments

The authors managed to produce an hockey stick graph by means of attaching an high-resolution instrumental record to low-resolution proxy estimates of the past. The method is described in the paper:

Global time series and regional trends in total MHW days were derived using a combination of satellite-based, remotely sensed SSTs and in situ-based seawater temperatures. First, total MHW days were calculated globally over 1982–2015 at 1/4° resolution from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Optimum Interpolation SST V2 high-resolution data. Then, proxies for total MHW days globally over 1900–2016 were developed on the basis of five monthly gridded SST datasets (HadISST v.1.1, ERSST v.5, COBE 2, CERA-20C and SODA si.3). A final proxy time series was calculated by averaging across the five datasets. The five monthly datasets were used since no global daily SST observations are available before 1982.

The three peaks in the modern record are clearly the result of the major El Ninos 1997, 2009 and 2015. And it is likely that mining the daily satellite records since 1982 identified marine heat waves that would not show up in the proxy monthly datasets.

Conclusion

This is another example of a natural process that threatens our livelihoods but which we struggle to predict and to adapt. As with other short-term weather events, humankind has a great stake in better understanding in order to forecast, prepare and manage adapations as required. There have always been major variations in warming and cooling sea surface temperatures. And yet the Global average anomalies vary by a few tenths of a degree celsius, with significant difference in the two hemispheres. This implies both that marine heat waves are offset by cold waves elsewhere, and that the well-mixed CO2 molecules are not to blame.

See Also: On Climate “Signal” and Weather “Noise”

Empirical Evidence: Oceans Make Climate

Trump So far: A Balanced Reflection

The Trump presidency has this train wreck quality by which observers are obsessed with the unfolding drama, a presidency so unconventional and so volatile that both detractors and amused supporters do not know what is coming next.  It is easily the most captivating and entertaining US Presidency Evehhh!

Just now we have the best and most balanced reflection so far upon this amazing experience writen by the insightful Victor Hanson in the Spectator Donald Trump the paradox: Trump’s election caused a self-created contradiction  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

John Ford’s most moving scene in his best film, The Searchers, is the unloved Ethan Edwards’s final exit from a house of shadows, swinging open the door and walking alone into sunlit oblivion, the community he has saved symbolically closing the door on him.

If he is lucky, President Trump may well experience the same self-inflicted fate. By his very excesses, Trump has already lost in conventional terms of being admired or considered presidential, but in his losing he might alone be able to end some things that long ago should have been ended.

No one can still quite calibrate whether Trump’s combativeness and take-no-prisoners management style always hurts him as president, or is a necessary continuum of his persona that ensured his unlikely election and early political effectiveness as president. And no one quite knows either whether Trump’s inexplicable outbursts are sometimes planned by design to unnerve his critics and the media, or are instead spontaneous expressions of indiscipline and crudity. Conventional wisdom squares these circles by concluding that Trump’s ferocity shores up his base, but his base is not large enough to give him a reliable 51 percent popularity rating among voters. Most also have concluded that Trump’s unorthodox style, speech, and comportment likewise are designed to advance his agendas, but are usually overtaken by his fury. But how often the last three years has conventional wisdom been right?

When Trump entered office, he was immediately faced with a self-created contradiction. He had won the key midwestern and purple swing states on promises of ‘draining the swamp.’ That refrain was taken by his base to mean both dismantling the permanent deep state and staffing his administration with unorthodox appointments that would lessen the opportunities for corruption.

Yet Trump needed some tried old hands who knew the deep state and yet were not part of it. But how many such loyal fellow iconoclasts were there?

Added to Trump’s conundrum were two other challenges. One was certainly political. Trump’s agendas that had won him the presidency were deeply antithetical to those of most of the bipartisan Washington hierarchy. In terms of economic policy, Trumpism, at least in theory, did not appeal to many Republicans with prior government service, blue-chip academic billets, and directorships of major companies and corporations. The usual Republicans eager for high office were precisely those most likely to oppose Trump’s promises to leave Afghanistan, avoid most overseas interventions, level tariffs, or build a border wall.

Trump also forged a management style foreign from almost all prior presidents, born from Manhattan real estate brokerage, reality television, and entrepreneurial salesmanship. Drama, even chaos, was considered ‘energy,’ even creativity. Loyalty and compatibility above all were prized, even over competence. Looks and fashion mattered, on the principle that both drove up ratings. How something was said and who said it were as important as what was said.

Hiring and firing for Trump were also organic processes. Trump consulted outsiders in the private sector almost as frequently as he did his own team. Turnover was a necessary means of finding those with ‘talent’ whose personalities jived with Trump’s own mercurial moods.

In prior administrations, ‘stability’ and ‘continuity’ were more prized. Difficult or even unimpressive figures who should have been promptly fired often were not, on the principle that their abrupt departures might signal poor presidential judgment or incur crises of confidence at the center of the global order, or, more mundanely, earn a spate of incriminating, get-even, tell-all memoirs.

Did the apparent bedlam bother Trump? Hardly.

Amid the disruptions, lost was the fact that in terms of process, Trump met the press frequently. He was far more candid and accessible than had been Barack Obama. His inner team was as diverse in terms of race, sex, class, and prior political leanings as most prior administrations. His tweets held back nothing. And yet that accessibility and informality were mostly lost on the press. Or such familiarity with Trump only bred more media contempt.

As far as the nation’s soul was concerned, America’s elites — academic, journalistic, and political — were ironically revealing to the American people the sort of crude put-downs, stereotyping, and biases about Trump supporters that questioned the value of their cultural advantages, higher education, and privilege, given that they had proved so unsteady, profane, and unhinged since the appearance of Trump in 2015. No establishmentarian quite figured out that any success that Trump enjoyed was often seen as a de facto negative referendum on the past performance of the status quo—and by extension themselves.

It was hard to see how US relations with key allies or deterrent stances against enemies were not improved since the years of the Obama administration, at least in the sense that there was no more naïve Russian reset. China was on notice that its trade cheating was no longer tolerable. The asymmetrical Iran deal was over. And the United States was slowly squeezing with sanctions a nuclear North Korea. Was chaos or predictability the more dangerous message in dealing with thuggish regimes?

Yet an ‘adults in the room’ anti-Trump narrative was hyped through deliberate media massaging and disloyal leaking. ‘Anonymous’ senior officials winked and nodded on ‘background’ to reporters that, if had it not been for their own sober stewardship, the entire Trump administration would have imploded. . .

Still, the real moral question is not whether the gunslinger Trump could or should become civilized (again defined in our context as becoming normalized as ‘presidential’). Rather, the key is whether he could be of service at the opportune time and right place for his country, occasionally crude as he is said to be.

After all, despite their decency, in extremis did the frontier farmers have an orthodox solution without Shane? The town elders of Hadleyville in High Noon had no viable plan without Marshal Will Kane in the streets. Even Agamemnon’s ego did not convince him that he would ever have had any chance of killing ‘man-slaughtering Hector’ without use of a petulant and dangerous Achilles.

Trump’s dilemma was always that at some likely point his successes on the economy and in foreign policy might create a sense of calm prosperity — and thereby, in counterintuitive fashion, allow voters the luxury of reexamining the messenger more so than the message. In other words, if crudity got results, then the results might appear no longer to hinge on further crudity. Every tragic hero realizes that he can be driven out of town, not just after the original threat is ended, but the moment it first appears that soon the danger will be neutralized. For civilized society, the perceived coarseness of the tragic hero always remains nearly as repugnant as the threat that brought in its deliverer in the first place.

In sum, the nation may believe that it could not withstand the fire and smoke of a series of Trump-like presidencies. But given the direction of the country over the last 16 years, half the country, the proverbial townspeople of the classic Western, wanted some outsider, even with a dubious past, to ride in and do things that most normal politicians not only would not, but could not do — before exiting stage left or riding wounded off into the sunset, to the relief of most and the regret of a few.

 

Realistic Alternative to Green New Deal

 

Alex Berezow takes up the challenge from factually-challenged AOC in his article at American Council on Science and Health Okay, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Here’s An Alternative To Green New Deal Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Does all that sound ridiculously arrogant and scientifically illiterate? Of course it does. Yet, that’s basically how new Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) has responded to the critics of her Green New Deal. We’re all idiots. She’s a visionary.  

AOC’s remark to “come up with your own ambitious, on-scale proposal” is precisely the sort of uneducated statement a person who knows literally nothing about a topic says. It’s reminiscent of the anti-vaxxers who say, “If vaccines are so safe, show me the evidence!” There are entire research papers and books dedicated to energy policy. AOC just hasn’t bothered to read any of them.

As it turns out, the solution to climate change isn’t all that complicated. It won’t be accomplished in 12 years; we couldn’t even rebuild the World Trade Center in 12 years. But it can be done. I wrote a brief, 550-word article that gives a general outline. If even that’s too long, here’s the TL;DR version. [ I had to look it up; TL:DR means Too Long; Didn’t Read]

  1. Start building Generation IV nuclear power plants right now. Not next year. Not tomorrow. Right now. They are meltdown-proof and the best source of carbon-free energy on the planet. Research suggests that the entire world could be on nuclear power within 25 years.
  2. In the meantime, phase out coal while embracing natural gas. Natural gas burns cleaner than coal. If you object to this, then do #1 faster.
  3. Upgrade our energy infrastructure with a smart grid, smart meters, better capacitors, and better transmission lines. All of this is necessary if we want to rely at least in part on solar and wind. (But solar and wind aren’t really necessary; see #1.)
  4. Invest in solar and fusion power research. Current solar technology is too inefficient. The breakthrough we’ve been seeking in solar hasn’t happened yet, but it could. Similarly, fusion is theoretically the best source of energy (even better than nuclear), but scientists haven’t figured this one out yet. It turns out that recreating the sun on earth is kind of hard.
  5. As our energy infrastructure improves, electric car technology will improve along with it, making fossil fuels largely obsolete. (Airplanes might always need fossil fuels, though, much to AOC’s chagrin.)

That’s it. It’s not a sexy plan, but it’s a realistic one. We could actually accomplish this, but so far, there has been no political will whatsoever to do it. Oddly, the biggest opponents are environmentalists, people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

What is Populism?

 

Christopher Caldwell writes an article What is Populism? at Claremont Review of Books. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Le monde, the French newspaper of record, admitted last summer that readers had been complaining about the indiscriminate way its journalists flung around the word “populist.” It seemed to describe dozens of European and American political actors with nothing in common except the contempt in which Le Monde held them. The meaning of “populist” was nonetheless easy to decode. A dispatch in that same edition of Le Monde, about a new political alliance between populist governments in Italy, Austria, and Hungary, was titled: “Europe’s hard right lays down the law against migrants.” To call someone a populist is to insinuate that he is a fascist, but tentatively enough to spare the accuser the responsibility of supplying proof. If one sees things as Le Monde does, this is a good thing: populism is an extremism-in-embryo that needs to be named in order that it might better be fought. Others, though, will see populism as an invention of the very establishmentarians who claim to be fighting it, an empty word that allows them to shut down with taboos any political idea that they cannot defeat with arguments. In Europe, populism is becoming the great which-side-are-you-on question of our time.

Whatever populism is, it is prospering across Europe. By late September, in the wake of Chemnitz, support for the AfD had risen to 18% nationwide, placing the party level with the once-colossal Social Democrats as the country’s second largest, behind Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). In Hungary, Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz Party has held roughly two thirds of the seats in the country’s national assembly since regaining control in 2010. Italy’s two populist parties—the Five Star Movement and the League—were mocked when they came together to form a coalition last May. After four months of pursuing a hard line on migration, their government has become one of the most popular in Italy since the Second World War. Between the two of them, the parties had the support of 64% of the public by early October.

Populist movements, however, even when strong, can be checked by social convention and threats of ostracism. Few call themselves populist. In Sweden, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats took 18% of the vote at elections in September but at their own demonstrations their supporters are sometimes outnumbered, and always outshouted, by activists massing in the name of anti-racism or anti-fascism. That populists have a hard time seizing and holding public platforms is a problem for the movement. It may mean, though, that sympathy for populism runs deeper than it appears to. The decision of Britain’s voters to withdraw from the European Union in a 2016 referendum won only narrowly, with a 52-48 margin in favor of the Leave option. But when London’s Independent asked Britons days before the vote how the results would make them feel, 44% said they would be “delighted” with a Leave vote, while only 28% said that about Remain. There seems to be more support for populism in citizens’ inmost hearts than on the Letters to the Editor page.

Migration and Merkel

Europe has entered a period of demographic, institutional, and ideological convulsion. Mass migration is the focus of populist concern. After World War II, Europe’s countries, while not ethnically homogeneous, all had stable populations of European descent. The need to rebuild spurred many countries in wrecked northern Europe to import workers—primarily from southern Italy, Portugal, and what was then Yugoslavia. A boom ensued that intensified the short-term need for labor, and brought new workers from further afield. Turks and Moroccans came. Decolonization and war untethered vast populations from their Pakistani, Algerian, and Indonesian homelands. Soon storefronts were being converted into mosques. Europeans learned words like “couscous,” “Ramadan,” and “jihad.”

Europeans assumed migration would end when their own need for migrant labor did. That was naïve. Middle Easterners and North Africans simply liked Europe better. What is more, at roughly this time European women stopped bearing babies, to the point where the population of native Italians was projected to fall by a quarter, from 60 million to 45, before the middle of the 21st century. This had society-transforming consequences. By the beginning of this century there were tens of millions of Muslims living in western European lands where there had never been any. Now minarets towered over the urban neighborhoods where those storefront mosques had been, cities (including London) came under the control of ethnic political machines, and Islam replaced Christianity as the main source of religious zeal, if not yet as the professed belief of the largest number of residents.

The change riled Europeans. In virtually every western European land, when pollsters ask members of the public to list their country’s most pressing problems, immigration ranks either first or second. But it seemed no one could do anything about it. The values that European elites proclaimed—a mix of post-Holocaust repentance and emulation of American civil-rights institutions—made it seem hypocritical and xenophobic to regulate the country’s frontiers in any way at all. Europe no longer had the conviction to say “no” to anyone making a reasonable case for political asylum, and no longer had the will to deport even those whose petitions were deemed unreasonable. One of these was Daniel Hillig’s alleged murderer Yousif Abdullah, who had accumulated a long criminal record in his three years in Europe. Abdullah’s own asylum application had been rejected, and then reopened on a technicality.

Episodes of terrorism and crime do shift thinking in a populist direction. If there was a moment when public sentiment about mass migration began to swing, as if on a hinge, it came in the days after New Years’ Eve 2015-16. Hundreds of women reported having been sexually assaulted by gangs of immigrants in the center of Cologne that night, but police took such pains to play down the attacks that news of the disorder did not reach newspapers for days. Notoriously, the city’s mayor advised women to avoid such unpleasantness in the future by keeping suspicious-looking men “at arm’s length.”

Still, the ultimate impetus for populism among native Europeans probably lies not in any individual incident but in the prospect, more vivid with every passing year, of demographic decline and even extinction. By this decade, several countries had lost control of their borders—above all, Sweden, where almost a third of babies are born to foreign mothers. The Pew Research Center recently projected that Sweden will be 30% Muslim by mid-century if refugee flows continue and 21% Muslim even if they stop altogether.

The wave of migration from the Arab and Muslim world may be as nothing compared to what awaits. Sub-Saharan Africa is now seeing the largest population explosion any region has undergone in the history of the planet. By 2050, Africa is expected to double its population to 2.5 billion. That increment of 1.25 billion young people is roughly twice the present population of Europe. At mid-century, Africa will still be the poorest place on earth, but it will be the richest in young men of military age. Until 2017 charitable rescue ships were transporting hundreds, sometimes thousands, of African migrants across the Mediterranean to Italy daily. These provide the merest foretaste of the population pressures that await.

Merkel’s invitation to Syrian migrants in 2015 was a detonator. Suddenly Germany had a million-odd Syrians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, and Afghanis on its soil—culturally alien, hard to employ, and making claims for the admission of millions more wives, children, and siblings. Germans were thus forced to choose between (a) welcoming an even larger second wave of dependent family members, and (b) damage control. This would mean stepping up expulsions, revoking longstanding rules on family reunification, and overturning various longstanding taboos against discussing Germany’s national interest and ethnic identity. Germans have opted for (b). They have shifted their votes from establishment parties (not just Merkel’s Christian Democrats but also the Social Democrats) to radical ones (not just the AfD but also the post-Communist Left party).

New Problems, New Solutions

In Italy, interior minister Matteo Salvini has become one of the most popular politicians in Europe by turning his party, the League, from a regional separatist group into a nationwide anti-immigration force. For years now, foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been chartering boats to mount extensive rescue operations of African migrants adrift in the Mediterranean. Salvini derided these efforts as taxi services to deliver migrants from the North African coast. Extraordinary maps published by the New York Times in June 2017, which showed rescue operations moving steadily closer to the port of Tripoli as humanitarian operations increased, provide considerable justification for Salvini’s view. But he went further. Salvini accused humanitarians of acting as go-betweens for two mafias: one that trafficked humans in Africa, and another that scammed Italy’s social-welfare system in Europe. He then closed Italy’s ports to such rescue vessels—first foreign-registered ones, then Italian ones. The result is that Salvini, called an “extremist” in many newspapers in the run-up to elections last March, now commands the support of 60% of Italians.

European leaders have assailed Salvini in the name of their values, none more volubly than French President Emmanuel Macron. In early June, when Salvini refused landing rights to 629 migrants aboard the German rescue ship Aquarius, Macron denounced him as irresponsible, cynical, and extremist. Salvini replied that, if Macron cared so much about European values, perhaps he could take some of the migrants himself. Macron did not. Indeed, when the same ship, the Aquarius, made for the French port of Marseille in late September with only 58 migrants aboard, Macron’s government denied it authorization to dock. In mid-October, newspapers across Europe reported that French authorities had apprehended African illegal migrants in the Hautes-Alpes region, driven them across the Italian border in a police van, and dropped them off in the woods.

The debate between Salvini and Macron revealed something formulaic and flawed in the latter’s way of thinking. Macron and his globalist allies sometimes acted as if the problems of human conflict had been solved by the Western “values,” and as if history were done presenting contingencies and surprises. That made it easy to “build a legacy” or win an honorable “place in history.” All one had to do was consult these values and order correctly from a menu of historical roles. With the rise of Salvini, the European Union’s economic commissioner Pierre Moscovici warned of “little Mussolinis” in the continent’s politics, and Luxembourg’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Asselborn accused Salvini of using “fascist methods and tones”—which presumably made Moscovici and Asselborn the Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt of our times.

Populists, by contrast, argued that today’s events are not a replay of the 1930s—they are today’s events. “What people call ‘right-wing populism,’ ‘the new right,’ or ‘a return to nationalism,’” wrote Frank Böckelmann, editor of the contrarian German quarterly Tumult, “is only a reaction to specific new conditions.” That is the way Salvini saw it: he was just reacting pragmatically to problems as they came up. He wanted Italy to include in every trade deal it signs with a developing-world country a “repatriation clause” linking economic ties to a willingness to take back migrants. “I think I am paid by my citizens to help our youth to have the babies they used to have a few years ago,” Salvini said, “and not import the best of African youth to replace the Europeans who, for economic reasons, don’t have many children.”

Was this reasonable or was it racist? In matters of identity politics, the two adjectives can describe the same action. National identity is maintained by preferring one’s own people to others. This proposition sounds obvious and uncontroversial when you are saying, for example, that Italy’s destiny is a matter for Italians alone to decide—and not for Frenchmen to meddle in, even Frenchmen as powerful as Macron. It is perfectly innocent to prefer Italians to French people in that case. But is it okay to prefer Italians to Africans? Europeans are less comfortable answering “yes” to that question. When a boatload of migrants steams into a Sicilian harbor, and the law calls for them to be sent back to Libya, and thence to Chad or Niger, and they sue to stay, politicians who assert European values begin to hem and haw. But if one cannot argue against interlopers on behalf of fellow citizens, then the long history of Italy will soon come to an end. At least that is how the populists see it.

Class and Competition

The establishment view reflects a difference not just of ideology but also of class. Perhaps because he is yet a political novice, Macron has been vocal on the subject of human inequality. He is in favor of it. The president’s role in French life should be “Jupiterian,” he argued, while describing those who collected welfare as “illiterates” (illettrés) and “freeloaders” (fainéants). Like Matteo Renzi, the pro-business former prime minister whose center-left party was ousted by Italy’s populist coalition, Macron has behaved as if business were all: entrepreneurs and captains of industry are the only modern heroes. Cutting taxes, delaying retirements, and permitting Sunday shopping are the highest achievements to which a sensible politician could aspire. At the opening of Station F, a clearinghouse for high-tech start-ups, Macron found the name appropriate, because this would be the place that determined the entrepreneurs’ worth. “A station,” he said, meaning a railway station, “is a place where you run into people who succeed and people who are nothing.”

It was in this vein that historian Anne Applebaum, writing in the Atlantic, lamented the rise of two populist parties in Central Europe: Orbán’s Fidesz in Hungary, and Jaroslaw Kaczyński’s Law and Justice party (PiS) in Poland. Applebaum, attentive and logical in all her books about Eastern Europe, showed little perspective or sense of context in writing about contemporary political clashes. She denounced the Polish and Hungarian upstarts as a threat to democracy, comparing them to Lenin’s Bolsheviks, Hitler’s Germany, and Apartheid South Africa.

Ceding Authority

All across the West, the intelligent, credentialed people who held the commanding heights of the economy were making the same mistake. They viewed the rise of populism as a misunderstanding or a glitch. Ashoka Mody, a gifted macroeconomist at the International Monetary Fund, cautioned against reading too much into the 2016 referendum on which Renzi had staked his political career: “Italians rejected the changes to the electoral system,” Mody wrote, “not because they had thought very deeply about the changes proposed but, rather, because the referendum gave them an opportunity to vent their economic and political frustrations.”

If such votes are only a “venting of frustrations,” then they don’t mean anything, and they certainly contain no specific instructions that deserve to be heeded. Last June, when Salvini began to change Italy’s immigration policies, Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, voiced her objections: “Using migration in an instrumental way for a political objective is irresponsible,” she said in an interview, “because this reflects immediately not only on the lives of migrant and refugees, but also on the lives of the hosting communities of the Italians, pitting the one against the others.”

The verb “instrumentalize,” meaning “to make a political issue of,” is multinational shop talk. It is used to mark off an area of policy where public opinion has no legitimate role, and is therefore unwelcome. The duly elected constitutional government of Italy should step aside from making policy for Italy—Mrs. Sami will handle it! One might predict that no one would put up with such effrontery. In fact most people are willing to cede authority to judges and multinational bodies for as long as things are going well.

Where does this willingness to cede authority come from? Its sources run deep. Sociologist Norbert Elias, in his 1965 study The Established and the Outsiders, described the “monopoly on the means of orientation” that Brahmins in India held, just by virtue of being Brahmins. Most elitism is like this. To say that progressive elites control things is not a conspiracy theory, it is a tautology—they control the culture by definition.

Similarly, populists are wrong by definition. They usually internalize the idea of their inferiority and immorality. An establishment, as Elias sees it, always offers an alternative that the public can passively fall back on. Outsiders and populists do not. They will be subject to a “paralyzing apathy” unless a leader is there to light a fire under them. The challenge is keeping it lit. Hence the importance of Salvini’s social media videos and Donald Trump’s tweets. Constant motion is of the essence. One can see the difference between successful populist governments (such as Salvini’s) that act quickly, bringing rapid change; and unsuccessful ones (such as Trump’s over his first year-and-a-half) that do not, permitting all the playing pieces to roll back down the unlevel board into their pre-election positions.

A Democracy Movement

Margaret Canovan, one of the most sensitive academic analysts of populism, has described it as something that “haunts even the most firmly established democracies.” It would be more accurate to say that populism haunts especially the most firmly established democracies. It arises in democracies that are so built-out and specialized that a class of sophisticated political initiates is required to run them effectively. Any such class will be tempted to nudge the system to produce results more in line with what it sees as society’s needs. These “needs” may grow hard to distinguish from that class’s “values.”

Americans, living in the home of modern judicial review, will understand that judges are often guilty of trying to correct electoral results that don’t correspond to insider thinking. The civil rights laws of the 1960s, for example, have been interpreted to require transgender bathrooms, regardless of how democratic majorities might feel about them. Certain western European democracies work under analogous constraints. In Italy, both investigative magistrates (the equivalent of federal prosecutors) and adjudicative magistrates (the equivalent of federal judges) are members of the judiciary branch, and the bench, for the most part, operates as a self-perpetuating guild. Judges, not legislators or executives, appoint and approve judicial hires. Like Americans, Italians had plausible 20th-century reasons for enhancing the prerogatives of judges. Americans wanted to smash segregation. Italians wanted to ensure—in the wake of Mussolini, fascism, and defeat—that no prosecutor working on behalf of a strongman would use his office to throw political opponents in jail.


As it turned out, allowing the judiciary to be “independent” in this way was an even bigger risk. For, in Italy as in the United States, the judiciary is both a powerful regulatory body and a subset of what we now call the One Percent. Italian lawyers and judges, like our own, have a cultural affinity with intellectuals and progressive politicians. The result is that, when conservative governments come to power, the judiciary joins the opposition. Silvio Berlusconi, the madcap media billionaire who after 1994 became the longest-serving postwar Italian prime minister, was in and out of courtrooms for long-ago business irregularities for the whole two decades he was in or near power. He was convicted of tax fraud in 2013 and banned from politics for six years, until 2019.

Since the new League-Five Star coalition took power in mid-2018, Italy’s situation has paralleled that of the United States even more closely, with judges seeking ingenious ways to thwart a government they oppose on ideological grounds. A Genovese judge threatened to seize the League’s entire €49-million treasury, for an embezzlement case that antedates Salvini’s takeover of the party. After Salvini delayed the disembarkation of 177 Eritreans who had arrived aboard the Italian Coast Guard boat Diciotti, a prosecutor in Agrigento indicted him for kidnapping.

Where the United States is unloved among European populists, it is sometimes as the source of such judicial chicanery. American forces wrote or inspired a number of postwar constitutions, including the German Grundgesetz, which contains guarantees that many blame for the country’s impending “dissolution” by migration. “It is high time,” writes Frank Böckelmann, “for a constitution that is of the German people and for the German people.” For another thing, the United States tax code provides the model for various activist foundations that have left governments feeling surveilled and threatened in their sovereignty. That has been particularly so in Hungary, which in recent months has moved to close the Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros’s charities and to shutter a university he founded.

Orbán’s philosophy has been described in Western headlines as an attack on democracy. It is more accurately described as a passionate defense of his own vision of democracy. Orbán’s vision is different from the one that prevails in the West today. It is closer to the understanding of democracy that prevailed in the United States 60 years ago. For Orbán, democracy is when a sovereign people votes and chooses its destiny. Period. A democratic republic need not be liberal, or neutral as to values. It can favor Christianity or patriotism, if it so chooses, and it can even proudly call such choices “illiberal,” as Orbán did in a 2014 speech.

The detractors of Orbán-style democracy consider democracy a set of progressive outcomes that democracies tend to choose, and may even have chosen at some time in the past. If a progressive law or judicial ruling or executive order coincides with the “values” of experts, a kind of mystical ratification results, and the outcome is what the builders of the European Union call an acquis—something permanent, unassailable, and constitutional-seeming. If a democratic majority were to overturn, say, a country’s membership in the European Union, or a state’s laws establishing gay marriage, that outcome would be called “undemocratic.” Of course it would be no such thing. What would be threatened in this case would be somebody’s values, not everyone’s democracy.

That is our problem. Liberalism and democracy have come into conflict. “Populist” is what those loyal to the former call those loyal to the latter.

See Also Patriotism vs. Multiculturalism

The Real Reason They Hate Trump

David Gelernter is a professor of computer science at Yale.  I first learned of him when he wrote The Closing of the Scientific Mind, which is a plea for scientists to celebrate and enhance humanity rather than belittle human life. My synopsis was How Science Is Losing Its Humanity

Now Gelernter has written an insightful essay on what to like and not to like about Donald Trump (President of the United States).  Reprinted below in italics with my bolds.

The Real Reason They Hate Trump

Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared.

The contrast with the Obama years must be painful for any honest leftist. For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.

This has happened before, in the 1980s and ’90s and early 2000s, but then the financial crisis arrived to save liberalism from certain destruction. Today leftists pray that Robert Mueller will put on his Superman outfit and save them again.

For now, though, the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful.

Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.

Mr. Trump lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton.

But my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it.

The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.

Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet. Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious. Mr. Trump is no genius, but if you have mastered the obvious and add common sense, you are nine-tenths of the way home. (Scholarship is fine, but the typical modern intellectual cheapens his learning with politics, and is proud to vary his teaching with broken-down left-wing junk.)

This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?

True, Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen. Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies. (Mr. Trump is improving in these two categories.) You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.

Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself. To turn away is fair. But to hate him from your heart is revealing. Many Americas were ashamed when Ronald Reagan was elected. A movie actor? But the new direction he chose for America was a big success on balance, and Reagan turned into a great president. Evidently this country was intended to be run by amateurs after all—by plain citizens, not only lawyers and bureaucrats.

Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve itnot such fancy-pants extras as network commentators, socialist high-school teachers and eminent professors, but the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.

Mr. Gelernter is computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC. His most recent book is “Tides of Mind.”