Tag Archives: Europe

Mark Steyn on Paris terrorist attacks: the barbarians are inside the gates

Consider this article from Canadian writer Mark Steyn. The article’s title is: “The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates”.

Steyn writes:

As I write, Paris is under curfew for the first time since the German occupation, and the death toll from the multiple attacks stands at 158, the vast majority of them slaughtered during a concert at the Bataclan theatre, a delightful bit of 19th century Chinoiserie on the boulevard Voltaire. The last time I was there, if memory serves, was to see Julie Pietri. I’m so bloody sick of these savages shooting and bombing and killing and blowing up everything I like – whether it’s the small Quebec town where my little girl’s favorite fondue restaurant is or my favorite hotel in Amman or the brave freespeecher who hosted me in Copenhagen …or a music hall where I liked to go to hear a little jazz and pop and get away from the cares of the world for a couple of hours. But look at the photographs from Paris: there’s nowhere to get away from it; the barbarians who yell “Allahu Akbar!” are there waiting for you …when you go to a soccer match, you go to a concert, you go for a drink on a Friday night. They’re there on the train… at the magazine office… in the Kosher supermarket… at the museum in Brussels… outside the barracks in Woolwich…

Twenty-four hours ago, I said on the radio apropos the latest campus “safe space” nonsense:

This is what we’re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.
Almost. When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

With his usual killer comedy timing, the “leader of the free world” told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning, America” this very morning that he’d “contained” ISIS and that they’re not “gaining strength”. A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by ISIS slaughtered over 150 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb to within a few yards of the French president.

Now why was France attacked? France has been in the lead of all the other “multicultural” European countries at welcoming in unskilled immigrants from countries that do not like Western values very much:

Muslim population in European countries
Muslim population in European countries

Mark Steyn continues:

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.

And all Chancellor Merkel and the EU want to do is make that large comfort zone even larger by letting millions more “Syrian” “refugees” walk into the Continent and settle wherever they want. As I wrote after the Copenhagen attacks in February:

I would like to ask Mr Cameron and Miss Thorning-Schmidt what’s their happy ending here? What’s their roadmap for fewer “acts of violence” in the years ahead? Or are they riding on a wing and a prayer that they can manage the situation and hold it down to what cynical British civil servants used to call during the Irish “Troubles” “an acceptable level of violence”? In Pakistan and Nigeria, the citizenry are expected to live with the reality that every so often Boko Haram will kick open the door of the schoolhouse and kidnap your daughters for sex-slavery or the Taliban will gun down your kids and behead their teacher in front of the class. And it’s all entirely “random”, as President Obama would say, so you just have to put up with it once in a while, and it’s tough if it’s your kid, but that’s just the way it is. If we’re being honest here, isn’t that all Mr Cameron and Miss Thorning-Schmidt are offering their citizens? Spasms of violence as a routine feature of life, but don’t worry, we’ll do our best to contain it – and you can help mitigate it by not going to “controversial” art events, or synagogues, or gay bars, or…

…or soccer matches, or concerts, or restaurants…

On Friday night, my Dad messaged me to tell me about the story. The first thing in my mind was Obama’s comments about how we Christians needed to “get off our high horse” when we tried to judge Islamic terrorism, because of the Crusades (which were intended as a defensive reaction to Muslim expansion).

Investors Business Daily explains what Obama said:

In remarks at a prayer meeting Thursday, President Obama implied Christianity, just like Islam, is filled with people who “hijack religion for their own murderous ends.” This is the progressive disease of moral equivalence at its worst.

In recent days and weeks, the world has watched grimly as the horrific barbarity of fundamentalist Islam has been put on full display.

With routine beheadings, crucifixions, tortures, mass killings of civilians, burying children alive, and, most recently, burning a prisoner alive and filming his death agony to the approving yells of onlookers, it’s clear something is horribly wrong within Islam.

And yet, apart from rather routine denunciations of the savagery, Obama used his appearance at a National Prayer Breakfast to upbraid Christians for their sins.

“Unless we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Remember, the Obama administration describes Islamic terrorism as “senseless violence“. Democrats describe shootings my Muslims at army bases as “workplace violence“. Democrats describe attacks on Israeli civilians as “random violence“. Democrats called shooting at Jews in France “random“. Democrats describe investigations about the Benghazi terrorist attack a “sideshow“, after they lied and tried to say the attack was a spontaneous reaction to a video. And this is the party that more than half of our country votes for at election time.The trouble with the Democrats is that they don’t have the resources in their worldview to call evil evil, and good good. They just want to feel “nice”, and be perceived by others as tolerant and non-judgmental. They want to be generous to enemies with your taxpayer dollars, and risk your lives in pursuit of their goal of watering down American exceptionalism and Western civilization.

If you want to know what Democrats really think of the Paris terrorist attacks, then all you have to do is look at their position on welcoming in Syrian refugees.

European leftists want to welcome in refugees, but can they handle it?

Muslim populations in Europe
Muslim populations in Europe

Let’s just take a look at a couple of European countries in this post, Germany and Sweden.

First, Germany.

Breitbart News reports:

Germany will import 1.2 million completely unskilled migrants this year, many of whom will go straight onto unemployment benefits, according to a leaked government document.

The Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit, BA) October migration estimates document outlined a number of key statistics previously not in the public domain.

Among the revelations is that fact over 80 per cent of migrants have no qualifications, the majority are under the age of 45, and the agency expects 400,000 new benefit claimants next year to be migrants.

[…]As the document explains, the sheer number of new unemployment benefit applications that will need processing and managing means the agency will have to employ 3,500 new staff.

The new claimants and the staff come with a cost, estimated to stand at €855 million next year (£620 million) in addition to the €35 billion already budgeted for 2016. The additional cost includes €640 million for benefit payments and €65 million for new staff — convenient empire building for the agency at a time of national crisis.

[…]Just eight per cent of migrants have any kind of academic qualification, while 81 per cent have none at all. If Germany received 1.5 million migrants, as the present — if rapidly ascending — figure has it, that means some 1.2 million people will arrive in the country without a level of education even as high as a school leavers certificate.

Wow, everything is awesome! There will be lots of hiring of new government workers to process all of the new 400,000 people on welfare. See, letting in unskilled immigrants who cannot speak the language and do not accept Western laws and values pays for itself – it creates jobs! What could go wrong? Well, I guess someone has to pay for the welfare for all these people… but we can just add that to Germany’s national debt, right?

Well, that’s Germany, now on to Sweden.

Breitbart News again:

Sweden is facing collapse thanks to the recent huge influx of migrants into the country, the Swedish foreign minister has said. As 190,000 migrants this year alone pour into the country, law and order is beginning to break down as the country plays witness to numerous arson attacks, stabbings and gang rapes.

The Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom has warned that Sweden, a country of just 9.8 million people, cannot continue to take migrants at the present rate without services breaking down. In an interview, Mrs Wallstrom said: “I think most people feel that we cannot maintain a system where perhaps 190,000 people will arrive every year – in the long run, our system will collapse.

[…]Once thought of as one of Europe’s most peaceful nations, Sweden is rapidly becoming a fragmented nation, at war with itself. Almost 26.8 per cent of the population is now foreign born or has at least one foreign born parent. With no way to assimilate such large numbers, the outcome has been the creation of ghettos in which crime and extremism are allowed to flourish.

Malmo, which just two years ago played host to that most unifying of events, the Eurovision Song Contest, now has “no-go zones.” Last month, retired Chief Superintendent Torsten Elofsson told Breitbart London: “We have a number of no-go-zones in Sweden and they are expanding… police can go to these places, but you have to take precautions.

“Years ago you could go with two officers, no problem. Now you have to send four officers and two cars – if the fire brigade want to go, they have to take a police escort. They throw stones and try to stop the fireman from putting out fires.”

He added: “Of the number of people arrested and dragged into police stations, the majority are of foreign origin to be honest. There is an over-representation of violent crimes committed by people from other countries”.

The city has also seen grenade attacks similar in style to those seen in the middle east,gang rapes, and fatal shootings.

Two similar knife attacks, each of which claimed two victims, open a window into the cancer of liberalism eating away at the heart of Sweden: while a random stabbing of a Swedish mother and her son in Ikea by an Eritrean migrant who was angry at having his asylum claim refused was swept under the carpet by the establishment; yet the deaths of an immigrant teaching assistant and student by a native Swede frustrated by immigration were lamented by the media, politicians, and even the King, and labelled racist terrorism.

I am really glad that we have such wonderful, compassionate people in charge of spending our tax money. Obama has done a particularly good job of spending taxpayer money – it’s just been reported that his new budget deal will drive the national debt up over $20 trillion before he leaves office! What a hero he is, especially to the young millenials who will be stuck with the bill.

How well are Democrat Party policies working out in socialist Europe?

Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com
Brain vs Heart, from: theawkwardyeti.com

Last night, I watched the Democrat debate, and I saw a bunch of people “solve” all of the worlds problems with their hand-waving and happy-talk. Almost no evidence for the effectiveness of any policy was offered, and rarely did anyone pointed to numbers showing that their past actions had succeeded.

At one point, the King of the Clowns Bernie Sanders pointed to Denmark as proof that his socialist ideas would all work.

So I thought we might take a quick look at see how socialism is doing in Denmark, and in Europe more generally.

This is from the government-run news media in Canada, the CBC.

They write:

More than a quarter of Japan’s citizens are at least 65, making it the world’s fastest aging country. In Canada, about 16.1 per cent of us are seniors.

Right now in Japan, there’s a higher demand for adult diapers than children’s diapers, economist Michael Moffatt says, a “stunning statistic” that illustrates one of the main reasons why the country’s economy has been treading water for the better part of two decades.

“They haven’t been able to find a way to get their economy to grow in a significant way while still being able to support an older population,” the Richard Ivey School of Business professor said.

Japan’s GDP has grown at an average rate of 1.3 per cent for the past 25 years, according to the World Bank, dropping from averages of more than five per cent annual growth in earlier decades.

Yes, that’s because Japan’s solution to economic growth has been the Democrat solution: stimulus spending, massive borrowing, low (and decreasing) interest rates. It’s Obamanomics, and guess what? It doesn’t work there, either.


Sweden and Denmark are the “places we need to turn to,” Foot said, in crafting economic and health policy to manage the shift in demographics. While the countries take different approaches, they all focus on health care, offering programs akin to pharmacare or following up with seniors in their homes after a visit to the hospital.

And while Sweden’s residents are not collectively older than Japan’s, about a quarter of the country’s 9.5 million residents are at least 60, according to Global Age Watch.

The public purse covers most home-care and long-term care in both Sweden and Denmark.

Unsurprisingly, they are among the highest taxed countries in the European Union, according to Eurostat. In 2013, Sweden topped the list, while in 2014 it was Denmark.

Policy-makers in Canada will have to make similar choices when it comes to taxes, Foot said, arguing more tax revenue will be needed, although there may be alternative ways of collecting it.

Foot said Ottawa and the provinces could look at taxing different sources, like foreign exchange or stock market transactions.

“If the state or government doesn’t step in, we’ll see poverty rise amongst our senior population,” he said. “We’ll go back to the days when poverty rates in that population were upwards of 30 per cent.”

So, massive government intervention in the free market in the areas of health care has not actually helped them, it has hurt them. And what happens to marriage rates and birth rates when you take 50-70% of a man’s salary? Does it make him start a business and hire other people? Does it make him want to marry? Does it make him want to have children? Are men happy when their wives are forced to work, and when their children are taught by public school teachers and monitored by government social workers? Do men like it when they pay taxes to other people to decide what their family will amount to and what their children will believe? Big government has a corrupting influence on character, turning people away from marriage, family and work.

The Democrat candidates in the debate want to turn us into Greece. They assume (somewhat naively) that all other behaviors will remain constant as they ramp up government spending and then borrow and tax to pay for it. But anyone who thinks about the problem for more than 5 seconds can see that businesses and individuals do not keep on doing what they were doing when spending and taxes increase. To be a Democrat is to not understand basic economics. It is to persist in childhood, having tantrums, ignoring how incentives change for everyone who is affected by childish policies.

Maybe the CBC is too conservative… let’s go to the BBC, they are hard leftists. What does the BBC say?

They say this:

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel is fond of repeating, the EU accounts for just 7% of the world’s population and a quarter of its gross domestic product (GDP) but as much as half of its welfare spending.

[…]Social expenditure per person in the EU in 2012 (the most recent year available, using a harmonised definition) was €7,600 (£5,540), but with a range from €18,900 (£13,800) in Luxembourg to just €927 (£675) in Bulgaria. The UK figure was €8,700 (£6,340).

Interestingly, average EU spending per citizen is almost the same as in the United States and well below that in Switzerland, after adjusting for price differences. Typically, poverty relief, health and pensions are much the biggest components of welfare spending, whereas unemployment benefits cost relatively less.

Sounds like a Democrat paradise, right? This is the Holy Grail to socialists like Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.


Over the past 15 years, the average fertility rate (children per woman) in the EU has been 1.54, ranging from barely over 1.3 in Hungary and Spain, and 1.36 in Germany, to 1.8 in the UK and just under two in Ireland, France and Sweden.

According to the “main scenario” of the latest Eurostat population projections, Germany’s population has already started to shrink and is expected to fall from 82 million in 2013 to 74 million by 2050.

Well, wait now. Democrats told me that if we just nationalize everything that the private sector does, and raise tax rates on job creators and investors, and make all the women get out of their homes and work like men, and criminalize homeschooling, and marginalize Christianity, and abort the next generation of workers, and pay single mothers welfare to raise future criminals, and enact no-fault divorce to get men out of the homes, and teach children to have premarital sex at age 12 so that men get sex without having to marry first, then men and women would just be as interested in starting businesses, working hard, getting married and parenting as they were before? Are you telling me that letting the government control everything, and taking most of what people earn to pay for it, actually discourages people from starting businesses, working, marrying and having kids? Who is going to pay for all these expensive social programs, then?

And this is what Democrats hold up as perfection – heaven on Earth. Instead of closing their eyes to reality and wishing we were Europe, why don’t they actually look at Europe first? And maybe take a first-year course in economics.

Making a difference as a Christian: advice on fundraising, ministry, and missions

Ratio Christi event at Ohio State University featuring Frank Turek
Ratio Christi event at Ohio State University featuring Frank Turek (10/12/2015)

What’s the ideal balance between work and missions? In this post, I will argue against going abroad to do full-time missions.

Do apologetics ministry in your spare time, and work full-time

A full-time job and part-time ministry makes the most sense from a cost-benefit point of view. I have friends who are software engineers who studied enough science, history, and philosophy part-time, who are able to do public debates with atheists, which influence many more people than one-on-one interactions. One of my friends has several Masters degrees, and is in a PhD program, but his full-time career is in software and network management. He is 100% self-funded. He has worked in a successful apologetics career with a full-time career in technology, and he is debt-free. This is the best option . Your debts get paid off. Your resume stays gap-free. You bring a nest egg to your future spouse. You can afford to have children. You can afford a stay-at-home mom. You can afford either homeschooling or private schools, should you decide to go that route.

You have to start saving and investing early if you want to be independent in your old age. With full-time work and part-time ministry, you still make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom over time, while avoiding a financial crisis that could cost you your family, your friends, and even your faith. This is an especially wise way to proceed, given the economic struggles we are likely to face from housing bubbles, student loan bubbles, rising interest rates, entitlement crises, state pension underfunding, environmental regulations, the ever increasing national debt, demographic crisis, etc. Read the culture and be cautious about the future.

Use the Internet to make a difference in other countries for free

One cost-effective way to make a difference is by using the Internet to reach other countries. You can work full-time, and then use your spare time to blog. This blog gets an average of 24,000 page views per week. About 45% of that traffic comes from NON-USA countries. If you keep working full-time and just start a blog for free, then you can maintain your gap-free resume and have a much easier time marrying and raising children.

The university next door is a great place to have an influence

I do think full-time ministry is OK in two cases: if you don’t go abroad, or if you go abroad with a full-time job or full-ride scholarship. My friend Eric Chabot was able to host Frank Turek at Ohio State University last night (see photo above), for example. He got a great crowd. He is donation-driven, but he runs a lean operation since he lives near the campus where he serves. When it comes to having an impact, the American university is the place to make a difference. We have enough trouble in our own country, especially in the universities, where so many young people lose the faith of their childhood – there’s no need to travel and incur heavy expenses.  I think it also makes sense financially to go abroad for missions, if you get a scholarship that pays your way or if you have a job offer where you can work full-time and do missions part-time. What does not make sense is sending an unskilled missionary to a foreign country at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars that could be used much more efficiently in smaller, effective Eric-Chabot-style operations.

Your feelings and desires are not God speaking to you

Now some people who want to go into overseas missions will tell me that they feel led to go. This method of decision making is not Biblical, as I explained in one of my previous posts. If you believe the Bible, then feelings are a pretty poor way of determining what God wants from you. In fact, left to themselves, humans typically choose what feels best for them, not what does best for God. If God really calls you to do something, like he called Jonah, then you probably won’t feel like doing it. Missionary work is especially suspect when God is supposedly calling you to go to a country that you always dreamed of traveling to while you were a non-Christian. Normally, conversion causes you to have different desires – not the same desires you had as a non-Christian. Unless you hear an audible voice, like an Old Testament prophet would, then it’s best not to think that God is speaking through your feelings and desires. A good book to read on this is “Decision Making and the Will of God“, by Garry Friesen.

Don’t go into missions in order to have fun or go on an adventure

I am suspicious of people who try to turn Christianity into a mechanism for achieving the same goals that non-Christians want to achieve. These days, it seems as if everyone wants to travel to exotic places. If there is evidence of hedonistic, fun-pursuing, thrill-seeking behavior in your past, then consider that you may just want an “adventure”. I have a friend who went to Russia for a year just after graduating college, and she admitted to me that she just went “to have an adventure”. To me, that’s not a good reason to spend thousands of dollars, and put gaps in your resume. It’s not a cost-effective way to make a difference, given the other alternatives. Your goal should be to make yourself defensible so that you can put out a sustained effort that lasts, not burn out and then be ineffective for the rest of your life. Think about what J. Warner Wallace says about living wisely and prudently so you position yourself to make a steady contribution in the second half of your life. Don’t wreck your long-term impact for short-term fun. God will not honor that.

Don’t go into missions to make up for an immoral past

Anyway, if you look in your past and see lots of wild behavior – drinking, drugs, premarital sex, cohabitation, abortions, gambling, divorces, etc., then consider that you may be interested in missions for the wrong reasons. You don’t need to go on a missions trip to dramatically declare to everyone that you are now completely reformed from your wild party days. I actually managed to talk a friend out of a short-term missions trip who felt that it was a good way to do something meaningful to “make up” for her past. By being responsible with her job and saving money, she’s managed to avoid burning out, and to instead put out a steady stream of effective activities. And she was financially stable enough to get married and have children, as well – another excellent way to make a difference.

Do not go into missions if your resume and balance sheet do not demonstrate maturity

We already talked about the need for sound planning in the Bible study we did with Wayne Grudem.  The Bible praises hard work, stewardship, prudence and wisdom. And this is especially true for people who are getting older and need to be thinking about marriage, children and retirement. It’s not a good witness for Christians to be financially unstable. When you are able to stand on your own two feet financially, and help others from your earnings, you gain credibility with non-Christians. We don’t want people to think that we are doing this for the money. The best option is to be self-funded, like Paul and his tent-making-funded ministry.

By the way, if you’d like to read a related post by Eric Chabot, this one is a good one.

Correcting four myths about the history of the Crusades


Here is an interesting article from First Principles Journal.


The verdict seems unanimous. From presidential speeches to role-playing games, the crusades are depicted as a deplorably violent episode in which thuggish Westerners trundled off, unprovoked, to murder and pillage peace-loving, sophisticated Muslims, laying down patterns of outrageous oppression that would be repeated throughout subsequent history. In many corners of the Western world today, this view is too commonplace and apparently obvious even to be challenged.

But unanimity is not a guarantee of accuracy. What everyone “knows” about the crusades may not, in fact, be true. From the many popular notions about the crusades, let us pick four and see if they bear close examination.

The four myths:

  • Myth #1: The crusades represented an unprovoked attack by Western Christians on the Muslim world.
  • Myth #2: Western Christians went on crusade because their greed led them to plunder Muslims in order to get rich.
  • Myth #3: Crusaders were a cynical lot who did not really believe their own religious propaganda; rather, they had ulterior, materialistic motives.
  • Myth #4: The crusades taught Muslims to hate and attack Christians.

Here’s the most obvious thing you should know. The Crusades were defensive actions:

In a.d. 632, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, France, Italy, and the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica were all Christian territories. Inside the boundaries of the Roman Empire, which was still fully functional in the eastern Mediterranean, orthodox Christianity was the official, and overwhelmingly majority, religion. Outside those boundaries were other large Christian communities—not necessarily orthodox and Catholic, but still Christian. Most of the Christian population of Persia, for example, was Nestorian. Certainly there were many Christian communities in Arabia.

By a.d. 732, a century later, Christians had lost Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa, Spain, most of Asia Minor, and southern France. Italy and her associated islands were under threat, and the islands would come under Muslim rule in the next century. The Christian communities of Arabia were entirely destroyed in or shortly after 633, when Jews and Christians alike were expelled from the peninsula.6 Those in Persia were under severe pressure. Two-thirds of the formerly Roman Christian world was now ruled by Muslims.

What had happened? Most people actually know the answer, if pressed—though for some reason they do not usually connect the answer with the crusades. The answer is the rise of Islam. Every one of the listed regions was taken, within the space of a hundred years, from Christian control by violence, in the course of military campaigns deliberately designed to expand Muslim territory at the expense of Islam’s neighbors. Nor did this conclude Islam’s program of conquest. The attacks continued, punctuated from time to time by Christian attempts to push back. Charlemagne blocked the Muslim advance in far western Europe in about a.d. 800, but Islamic forces simply shifted their focus and began to island-hop across from North Africa toward Italy and the French coast, attacking the Italian mainland by 837. A confused struggle for control of southern and central Italy continued for the rest of the ninth century and into the tenth. In the hundred years between 850 and 950, Benedictine monks were driven out of ancient monasteries, the Papal States were overrun, and Muslim pirate bases were established along the coast of northern Italy and southern France, from which attacks on the deep inland were launched. Desperate to protect victimized Christians, popes became involved in the tenth and early eleventh centuries in directing the defense of the territory around them.

If you asked me what are the two best books on the Crusades, I would answer God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades by Baylor professor Rodney Stark and The Concise History of the Crusades by Professor Thomas F. Madden. If you get this question a lot from atheists, then I recommend you pick these up. Anything by Rodney Stark is useful for Christians, in fact.