What the Sultan Saw

Wall Street Opinion Journal Matthew Kaminski April 11, 2006

Practicing a tolerant strain of Islam, the Ottomans clashed with fundamentalists.

The Ottoman Empire passed into history in 1922, a mere lifetime ago. Yet in a certain way it feels as distant as ancient Athens or Rome, known to us mostly through architectural relics, a few striking events and a mythical aura. Kemal Atatürk’s secular Turkish republic, the empire’s successor state, consciously rejected much of the Ottoman heritage and most of its traditions, while the empire’s colonial outposts have reverted to the imperatives of their local identities.

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Why I’m Leaving My Home — Again

Wall Street Journal NALIN PEKGUL January 30, 2006

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Stockholm

When I was 13 years old my family had to flee from Turkey for political reasons. My father fought for the Kurdish peoples’ human rights.

We came to Sweden in 1980 and, like many other Muslim immigrants, settled down in Tensta, a Stockholm suburb. In those days Tensta was either poetically described as a celebration of the multicultural society or defamed by others as a ghetto where young people are doomed to fail because of drugs, unemployment and crime. Neither of these images painted a complete picture. Yes, we had unemployment and prejudices that led to ethnic tensions. But we also had happy children and ambitious young people with bright hopes for the future.

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Toward Europe?

Townhall.com Michael Barone November 28, 2005

Will the United States become more or less like continental Europe? That’s one way to frame the central question of domestic policy. In Europe much higher percentages of gross domestic product are absorbed by government; welfare state protections and restrictions on labor markets are greater, health-care and pension provisions are dominated by the central government. The result, say advocates of the European model, is greater leisure and greater protection against risk. The result, say advocates of the American model, is economic stagnation and high unemployment. Over the last 25 years, the number of jobs has increased by 57 million in the United States. The figure for Europe is 4 million. Unemployment is around 5 percent in the United States. In France and Germany it tops 10 percent.

Given those numbers, Americans, through the workings of the political marketplace, are not likely to choose the European model. But certain features of our society — the aging of our population, the increasing percentage of gdp any affluent society will spend on health care — move us in a European direction, unless some effort is made to counter that trend. One question to ask, as we approach the end of the fifth year of the Bush administration, is to what extent it has countered that trend.



Faith Groups Join Forces Against Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia

Open Letter in United Kingdom Warns of Fallout If Law Changes

PDF, attached, signed by Greek Orthodox Abp Gregorios of Great Britain.

LONDON, OCT. 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Nine leading figures from the six major faith groups have joined forces to warn about any proposed change in British law to allow assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia.

The unprecedented action came just a few days before last Monday’s high-profile debate in the House of Lords on the Select Committee report on Lord Joffe’s Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill.

Today, the nine leaders, representing many millions of adherents, including Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims, signed and published an open letter that will be sent to all members of both Houses of Parliament.

The Office of Media Relations of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales published the letter, describing the move.

According to the joint letter, the legalization of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia “would radically alter the moral basis of our society by severely undermining respect for life.”
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What Europe Really Needs

Wall Street Opinion Journal Paul Johnson Friday, June 17, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

The Continent has turned its back on both the past and the future.

That Europe as an entity is sick and the European Union as an institution is in disorder cannot be denied. But no remedies currently being discussed can possibly remedy matters. What ought to depress partisans of European unity in the aftermath of the rejection of its proposed constitution by France and the Netherlands is not so much the foundering of this ridiculous document as the response of the leadership to the crisis, especially in France and Germany.

Jacques Chirac reacted by appointing as prime minister Dominque de Villepin, a frivolous playboy who has never been elected to anything and is best known for his view that Napoleon should have won the Battle of Waterloo and continued to rule Europe. Gerhard Schröder of Germany simply stepped up his anti-American rhetoric. What is notoriously evident among the EU elite is not just a lack of intellectual power but an obstinacy and blindness bordering on imbecility. As the great pan-European poet Schiller put it: “There is a kind of stupidity with which even the Gods struggle in vain.”

The fundamental weaknesses of the EU that must be remedied if it is to survive are threefold. First, it has tried to do too much, too quickly and in too much detail. Jean Monnet, architect of the Coal-Steel Pool, the original blueprint for the EU, always said: “Avoid bureaucracy. Guide, do not dictate. Minimal rules.” He had been brought up in, and learned to loathe, the Europe of totalitarianism, in which communism, fascism and Nazism competed to impose regulations on every aspect of human existence. He recognized that the totalitarian instinct lies deep in European philosophy and mentality–in Rousseau and Hegel as well as Marx and Nietzsche–and must be fought against with all the strength of liberalism, which he felt was rooted in Anglo-Saxon individualism.

In fact, for an entire generation, the EU has gone in the opposite direction and created a totalitarian monster of its own, spewing out regulations literally by the million and invading every corner of economic and social life. The results have been dire: An immense bureaucracy in Brussels, each department of which is cloned in all the member capitals. A huge budget, masking unprecedented corruption, so that it has never yet been passed by auditors, and which is now a source of venom among taxpayers from the countries which pay more than they receive. Above all, règlementation of national economies on a totalitarian scale.