Jesus and the Canaanite woman

Last Sunday’s gospel is not a popular one, but one could argue that it’s the key to the whole Bible.  That key is

God loves the Jews best.

People tend to respond emotionally to this and think it means that if they are not Jews then God doesn’t love them.  No, it means that if you’re not a Jew, God doesn’t love you as much, but He still does love you, just as a man can love his dog, just not as much as his children.  Remember, in Dante’s telling, even the inhabitants of the humblest level of Heaven are satisfied with their place.

This key to the Bible shouldn’t be so surprising.  Most of the Bible is the Old Testament, which is not exactly shy about our God being the tribal God of the Hebrews.  Thus, chunks of the Old Testament seem boring or meaningless to most Christian readers.  Some Christians probably feel guilty about this and are loathe to admit to themselves that they find the Old Testament much less enjoyable than, say, The Odyssey.  For others, it is a scandal that must be overcome by theologians teasing out deep spiritual truths from every grisly episode of Israelite military history.  The Bible being God’s book, such truths are not infrequently to be had, so these theologians have done worthwhile work.  However, perhaps the guilt and the scandal can be eased if we acknowledge that most of the Bible is not written primarily for us.  Imagine sitting at a friend’s house listening to your friend converse with his family as they share family anecdotes.  Perhaps you would find some of them interesting or charming, but you would not expect to be interested in another family’s stories the way that they are.  With the Old Testament, the case is more analogous to reading love letters written to someone else.

Paul in the second reading is also clear that the salvation of his “race” is part of God’s ultimate plan.  It may even be the most important part (like “life from the dead”!), but Paul seems to think the salvation of the Gentiles is valuable in itself, not only as a way of making the Chosen People jealous.

God’s favoritism toward the Jews is manifest, even apart from the Bible, from their spiritual ascendency over Christians.  Christians accept the condemnation of their civilization, their “legacy of shame”, because they recognize from their inmost hearts the superior authority of Jewish prophetic revolutionary moral critique.  Unlike the case of Catholics, no one has to worry about whether there will still be Jews in a hundred years.

The danger of trading tribal deities for monotheism is that, even if it turns out that the one true God’s plan does center on a special people, that special people is unlikely to happen to be yours.  In fact, the universe being a very big place, perhaps we should feel lucky that God chose to concern Himself particularly with any group of homo sapiens.

Some lives mattering more than others

Steve Sailer finds an interesting contrast:

  • Ottawa to build Victims of Communism memorial.  Elite opinion:  What for?  It didn’t happen in Canada.  The thing’s too big.
  • Ottawa to build a National Holocaust Monument, with a 50% larger budget.  Elite opinion:  General silence.  No controversy.  Implication is–What took so long?  Canada is the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument in its capital.

Commenters note a further asymmetry between the two memorials.  The former commemorates all victims of communism, while the latter will certainly focus on a subset of the victims of Naziism.  Millions of dead Slavs don’t interest anyone, whether it was Stalin or Hitler who killed them.  They were only goyim.

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A priori reasons to doubt the Judeo-Manichean narrative

Put simply, the Judeo-Manichean narrative is that Jews have always been blameless victims and their opponents and critics always wrong and wicked.  In my experience, Christians are actually more hysterically committed to the narrative than Jews, not because (as Kristor claimed a while back) Jews are particularly prone to self-criticism, but because Christian partisanship on their behalf is so over-the-top it would be hard for anyone to match it.

It’s impossible to overstate how simplistic the narrative is.  In my infamous now-deleted Orthosphere post, I tried to exaggerate the narrative to highlight its internal tensions and implausibilities.  I got a hundred comments telling me how wicked it is to doubt the narrative but I don’t recall one telling me that I had oversimplified it.  Here was the core part:

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America’s WASP-Jewish ruling alliance

Kevin MacDonald is very good at finding articles on his favorite subject.  Here is David Samuels interviewing Benjamin Ginsberg, author of How the Jews defeated Hitler.  Excerpts with shocking levels of honesty follow.  Samuels in bold.

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On the Middle East

As I’ve said before, I prefer for the two rival monotheisms to be at each others’ throats rather than united against Christianity.

Islam and Judaism are closer to each other than either is to Christianity, so it’s silly to think that we have to pick one or the other to favor.  I often hear from fellow conservatives that the Muslim God isn’t really God because Muslims reject the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation.  This is never said about the Jewish God.

I know this is kind of perverse, but don’t you kind of feel jealous of Islam that so many young men are ready to kill and die on its behalf?  I can’t imagine what it must be like for masses of young people to be inspired enough by Christianity to make any sacrifice at all for it.  We imagine that we’re doing pretty well if we can keep our children from defecting to the Left.  How the heck do those Mohommedans, with their false revelation, do it?

I appreciate a good neocon-bashing round as much as the next man, but at some point doesn’t what happens in Iraq become the responsibility of the Iraqis?  When do we get to that point?  To me, the instant association of “misfortune in Iraq” with “Bush” is starting to smack of American parochialism.

How to explain America’s overwhelming partiality toward Israel?  The Palestinian leadership is a nasty piece of work, but no worse than many “freedom fighters” we’ve supported in the recent past.  If Israel were the weaker party, I could understand supporting it as a move to weaken and destabilize the Muslim world, but Israel is certainly not weak.  Why not wash our hands of the whole damn mess?  Some blame Christian fundamentalists and their kooky End Times theology, but this is a group that is obviously powerless to affect policy on any other issue, so I doubt they would be all-powerful on this one.  Others say that the Jews are bribing or blackmailing the US government to do Israel’s bidding.  This explanation at least names a genuinely powerful interest group, but my impression is that American Jews are not as uncritically Zionist as many other groups.  To me, it is clear that American Zionism is a side-effect of Americans’ strong conditioning to regard any criticism of Jews as unacceptable.  It’s been drilled into all of our heads that only a bigot would say bad things about Jews or the way they use their influence.  (One may, of course, criticize individuals who “happen to be Jewish”, but not recognizably Jewish communities as such.)  Certainly, groups of Jews were heavily involved in setting up this conditioning process.  However, like all ideological weapons, it is no longer under the control of its creators.  If the American public comes to regard something as Jewish, then even the protest of all American Jewry will not keep it from enjoying immunity from criticism.

Our island of communism in the Middle East

Traditional Christianity linked to this news:

In the past months, a lot of debate has been going on in Israel about providing government-funded preschools from the age of 3. Recently, the Knesset approved compulsory education from age 3.

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), who chairs the Knesset’s Committee on the Status of Women, welcomed the new law.
“I welcome the Prime Minister’s full commitment to changing national priorities,” she said. “Education is one of the central obligations of any state to its citizens and it cannot be that so many families have to bow to the burden of educating their children while other families avoid proper education of their children for financial reasons. This is the essential first step in the revolution that would give free education already from the age of thee months.” (emphasis mine)
No doubt that free education at three months will only the be first step in a further revolution, in that it would soon be compulsory as well.  It must be, since any education that would allow one to escape incorporation in the Leftist hivemind wouldn’t be “proper”.  This in turn brings us closer to the liberal endgame:  complete state control of children, the eradication of parenthood, the replacement of personal dependency with impersonal dependency.
The day the State owns children from birth is the day that liberalism has definitively won.  The family would ipso facto cease to exist, meaning marriage would have no rationale and men and women would become practically interchangeable.  Every religion and regional tradition would disappear in precisely one generation, as would all memories of past generations that the liberal State does not explicitly choose to retain.  Equality and homogeneity would finally reign, but this wouldn’t even have the side benefit of removing liberalism’s reason for existing, since they’ll be able to keep themselves busy tormenting toddlers  by trying to force girls to act like boys and vice versa and by suppressing friendship.  Everything the Left does pushes at least indirectly toward the ultimate goal.

Because they care so much about the children

As you all know, the media jihad against the Catholic Church is driven entirely by their caring so much more about our children than we do.

Interview with Dave Pierre: (H/T:  Mark Shea)

When I was living in Los Angeles, I became a contributing writer to, the popular media-bias blog of the Media Research Center. I would frequently look at the Los Angeles Times. A number of years ago, I noticed that the paper published a very large, 3,800-word piece on the front page about decades-old abuses that were alleged to have been committed by Catholic clergy in remote villages of Alaska. Indeed, many of the stories were heart-wrenching, painful, and tragic. However, months later, the shocking story of a Southern California teacher who may have molested as many as 200 children was buried on page B3.

I soon began to notice a trend: the Times was often giving front-page coverage to stories about Catholic priests alleged to have committed abuse decades ago. Meanwhile, arrests of public school teachers for abuse happening today were often not reported or buried in the “news briefs” section.

The double standard was glaring.

A 2004 report commissioned by the US Department of Education relayed the shocking finding that “nearly 9.6 percent of [public school] students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.” Yet the report was barely touched in the major media. The author of the report, Hofstra University’s Charol Shakeshaft, later said, “Think the Catholic Church has a problem? The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.”

Another section of that report chronicled an early 1990s study that revealed that zero of 225 cases of teacher sex abuse in New York were reported to police.

Two hundred and twenty-five abusers. None of them reported to police. By all measures, this would be defined as a cover-up. Yet the media has never seemed too motivated to follow up on this.

As far as statistics of false accusations, I have read credible estimates that as many as one-half of all abuse accusations against Catholic priests are “completely false” or “greatly exaggerated.”

However, the most recent and reliable numbers in this matter come from the Archdiocese of Boston. In August, the archdiocese released sweeping lists of all of its diocesan priests who have been publicly accused of abuse in past decades.

One can examine the number of Boston priests who were found to have committed abuse versus the number of those whose cases were studied and found to be false. In the end, one can demonstrate the sobering figure that one-third of accused priests in the Archdiocese of Boston were accused falsely. (I provide all of the supporting numbers in my book.)

Again, this is an important matter that the media has not been eager to explore.

One Church leader who once thought that it would be productive to reach out to SNAP is Archbishop Timothy Dolan. When he was a prelate in Milwaukee years ago, he believed that making himself available to the group would be a constructive expression of support to abuse victims.

He soon learned the hard way that such an overture would not be welcomed.

At a contentious visit to a parish in Milwaukee, a member of SNAP actually spat in Archbishop Dolan’s face. The member then roared that he would not be silent “until there was a ‘going out of business’ sign in front of every Catholic parish, church, school, and outreach center.”

“That’s when I knew I should have listened to those who told me that working with them would not be helpful,” recalled Archbishop Dolan.

I also asked the reporter, “What if someone anonymously telephoned the newspaper today and said, ‘(I used the reporter’s own name) abused me 30 years ago?’ Would it be OK if the newspaper published this accusation and publicly suspended you while it conducted a months-long investigation?”

The reporter seemed genuinely sobered by such a thought. He understood the point I was trying to make. It’s easy for people to agree that a Catholic priest should be publicly suspended when someone lodges a decades-old accusation against him. But would people accept this same strict policy at their own workplaces and apply it to themselves? Most people would not, especially if it meant that their name was going to be plastered across the media landscape as a “credibly accused child molester.”

Also, I’m sure that the New York Times, in its boundless concern for THE CHILDREN, is going to be all over this story any day now:

Speaking of little boys, leave it to The New York Times to find a front-page story unfit to print because it wasn’t anti-Catholic: The Brooklyn DA recently arrested an astounding 85 Jewish Orthodox men on charges of child sex abuse. Back in 1985 a Hasidic “therapist” was indicted for abusing five boys, but police suspected he abused more than a hundred. Avrohom Mondrowitz fled to Israel, where he remains to this day a free man. Those nice guys who shoot rock-throwing Palestinian children refuse to extradite him. Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes now has to tread carefully. Fifty rabbis have signed a public announcement in Yiddish denouncing the Hasidic family who went to the cops. They asked—now get this—for any believer to kill the family that informed “on fellow Jews.” So what will happen to the 85 perverts? All I know is the Times has not published a word, whereas when the Catholic Church sex scandal broke, it led the news in the front page for months.

So far, about 38 cases in the Brooklyn D.A.’s Project Kol Tzedek — which the [New York] Post translates as Hebrew for “voice of justice” … — have been closed, with just under two thirds resulting in the perps walking free. Many pleaded to lesser changes, with the Post claiming that some got off mostly scot-free because “victims or their parents backed out under community pressure.” (see here)

Liberalism and its hosts

I tend to be suspicious of claims that liberalism is some big Jewish conspiracy.  The ideology of liberalism obviously has a life of its own.  Plus, liberalism is eating away Jewry just like all other particular groups.  True, Jews are overwhelmingly liberal, but that’s natural given that they’re a subculture that wants to, if not displace the majority culture, at least overthrow that culture’s prominence; Jews are also vastly overrepresented in revolutionary movements, but that also is natural given their Leftism, high IQ, and verbal aggressiveness.  It would seem natural for Jews in Israel–where the established culture to be preserved is theirs–to be more conservative, and that is more or less what we find.

Still, Daybreaker presented an intriguing theory which would mean a tighter connection between liberalism and the Jews.  It would be a shame for it to get lost in my comments:

The main problem liberalism would theoretically face is that man must have religion, sex roles and in-groups with some degree of genetic solidarity, and that liberalism, by deconstructing essential aspects of human life will erode any distinct, particular and thus potentially sustainable people that becomes the bearer of its message and the enforcer of its laws. This horse gallops fast, but it kills its rider, and so it doesn’t seem likely to win many races.

That problem could be overcome if the horse could be passed on to any rider with equal success. But Haiti, for example, shows that’s not the case. The sentiments of liberalism had knock-on effects that led to the utter destruction of the Whites there, but post-genocide Haiti did not become the new bearer and enforcer of the liberal message. Nor did Zimbabwe become a liberal Mecca, nor is South Africa becoming a liberal mecca.

The other solution would be an un-killable rider. An ethny with great resistance to the virulence of liberalism, and with great inner resources to regenerate the damage that liberalism imposes, could enjoy the kind of advantage over its ethnic rivals that disease-carrying Europeans had over the the natives of the Americas. And this is the situation that we have.

If it was not so, such a fierce plague would have burned itself out centuries ago.

Since it is so, the plague will not burn itself out, or not till everything that I for one care about has been exterminated from the world, and not till a new and much worse world will have been created.

Liberalism would be long-gone if it really created a world opposed to religion, but what it really creates is a part of the world called for by one supremely tough, survival prone religion, that is the profane, empty, demoralizing, deracializing and ultimately all-destroying world outside the boundaries of the only really holy people and the one true God’s special concern with that people.

It can even support healthy demographics through strong sex roles, ethnic solidarity and genetic segregation, by supporting a distinction between us the holy and them the vile. This is how the Amish get by.

But woe unto them that don’t have such a demographic hinterland to call on to refresh their numbers.

And woe unto those who don’t have within the same collective an elite able to dominate events in the corrupted world, for they have lost all control of their destiny in a world where the highly leveraged financial instrument, the all-media blitz and the predator drone dominate the piggy bank, the weekly sermon and the horse and buggy.

And woe, black woe, unto those who can’t set up the complicated kind of social arrangement needed for long-term collective survival in a world where public space is being flooded with social poison, because the authorities and institutions they look to will not do it, or because the first movers in this poisoned environment have marked them out as enemies and won’t let them segregate themselves and survive.

We conservatives are always telling ourselves that liberalism is unstable, it destroys its own basis, it’s on its last legs.  We always have pretty good arguments for these predictions, but they always end up being spectacularly wrong.  In fact, when a conservative announces the imminent demise of liberalism, that’s a pretty good sign that liberalism is about to have a great victory leading to several more decades of unquestioned hegemony, while its opponents disappear in a puff of smoke.  What gives?  My suspicion is that a lot of this “liberalism is social suicide” talk is just wishful thinking on our part.  We may not like liberal society, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to collapse on its own.  On the other hand, maybe liberalism really is as host-destroying as it seems it should be.  Then there needs to be an explanation of why it didn’t already fall apart long ago.  Hence Daybreaker’s theory:  a culture that bears liberalism but is immune to its host-destroying effects.  If I read him right, the Jews are the example par excellence.  If they were the only example, then liberalism would be in big trouble, because I think that nut has been cracked via increasing intermarriage.  Liberalism is pulling down the Jews.  However, the liberal elite itself might be thought of as another example.  They live fairly conservatively, taking care not to experiment with their own marriages.  While they proudly disdain loyalty to their countrymen, they are intensely loyal and chauvinistic regarding their true people–the international liberal elite itself.  They have a common creed from which they do not brook dissent.  They yield liberalism as a weapon to remove the resources of family, group solidarity, and religion from their rivals.  The ruin liberalism does to these groups actually makes the system more secure.

Which brings me back to my original belief.  Liberalism itself isn’t suicidal on a foreseeable timescale.  True, there may be an economic or environmental collapse on the horizon, but this may not discredit liberalism, and it may actually strengthen it.

Categories of antisemitism

One of the things that I hate most about the Left is that they identify their enemies by their alleged feelings rather than their stated beliefs.  For example, a “racist” is supposed to have certain feelings–negative ones–toward non-white wedge minorities.  One amusing consequence of this is that one can make any statement one wants about a designated group so long as it is formulated in an approving way.  For example, it was a commonplace observation in books I had read about Islam that Muslim thinkers tend toward occasionalism and divine command ethics.  When the Pope said this, though, he got labeled an ignorant bigot, because he seemed to disapprove of these positions.  One person can praise third-world tribal peoples to the skies, saying that “their thinking isn’t constricted by Western standards of rationality, but is more holistic and intuitive”.  If I say “third-world tribalists don’t think logically”, that would make me a horrible racist; I’ve said basically the same thing, but I’ve implied disapproval rather than approval.

Lots of Leftist have written about antisemitism.  It’s one of their favorite topics.  All their writings are worthless, however, because they weren’t interested in understanding their subject.  They had not the slightest interest in studying what antisemites believe, what reasons they give for their beliefs, and how their beliefs tie together.  Antisemitism is defined as a feeling.  As it is rejected out of hand that anyone might have reasons–even fallacious ones–for disapproval of Jews, the study of antisemitism has long been the province of psychology.  What is wrong with these people that they should hate the Jews for no reason?  Did their mothers drop them as babies or something?

Let me start a chart of ideological space–always a useful exercise, I find.  Let’s list the types of anti-Jewish beliefs one might hold.

  1. Moderate antisemitism:  The moderate antisemite does not think that Jews are any worse than any other people.  He may even admire some aspects of their culture.  He believes, though, that Jewish and Gentile communities cannot both coexist and thrive.  Some kind of semi-voluntary separation is necessary.
  2. Robust antisemitism:  This type believes that Jews are a strong and pernicious influence on Gentile culture.  The rights of individual Jews must be respected, but their nefarious deeds should be exposed, and Gentiles should countermobilize against Jewish influence.
  3. Extreme antisemitism:  Like the robust antisemite, the extreme antisemite believes in strong, pernicious Jewish influence, but he thinks drastic measures will have to be taken to curtail it, going as far as restricting the rights of Jews to participate in wider society in various ways.

By this classification system, I am a moderate antisemite.  I like and admire the Jewish community, but I have concluded with sadness that their ardent hatred of Christianity makes it impossible for us to live together without one or the other culture having to mutilate itself.  (One might say that a moderate antisemite is someone who knows that he’s hated by Jews.)  Maybe a little more separation will make each of us better able to see the good in the other.  Kevin MacDonald would be a robust antisemite, if I read him correctly.  Extreme antisemitism is almost unheard of outside the ADL’s imagination.

Turn the nouns around, from antisemitism to anti-Christianism, and we see that many Leftists are robust anti-Christians.  They believe Christianity is an evil force in the world and that it must be counteracted, while grudgingly admiting that the rights of individual Christians must be respected.  Most of the rest of the Left belong to the extreme anti-Christian tendency, in that they feel that Christians’ civil and social rights should be restricted to promote the agenda of sexual libertinism.  For example, most of them agree that serious Christians, because they will not be party to abortions, should be effectively expelled from the medical professions.

Of course, what we mostly find in the Christian world is philosemitism.  Here again, there are degrees:

  1. The moderate philosemite doesn’t think that Jews deserve any special treatment, but he admires them for their disproportionate contribution to the wider culture.
  2. The robust philosemite believes that in every conflict between Jews and any other group throughout history, the Jews have been absolutely right and blameless.  No other group has ever had any legitimate grievance against the Jews.  On the contrary, every other people bears an indelible mark of shame for their past antisemitism.
  3. The extreme philosemite demands that every particularist community on Earth be smashed because they might make Jews feel excluded.

I am also a moderate philosemite.  Moderate antisemitism and moderate philosemitism are compatible.  Robust philosemitism seems to be ubiquitous in evangelical and neoconservative Catholic circles.  Their historical claim sounds absurd when you spell it out, but that is what they’re asking us to believe.  Jody Bottom, ex-editor of First Things, is an extreme philosemite.  He used to make an ass of himself on Postmodern Conservative blog discussions; when someone would praise local community as an important part of the good life, he would chime in with “What about the Jews?!  What about the Jews?!”

Pope Benedict endorses my Muslim strategy

Wow, this blog must be getting influential.  The Thinking Housewife quotes the following from the successor of Saint Peter:

Dear friends, on the basis of what I have outlined here, it seems to me that there can be fruitful collaboration between Christians and Muslims. In the process, we help to build a society that differs in many respects from what we brought with us from the past. As believers, setting out from our respective convictions, we can offer an important witness in many key areas of life in society. I am thinking, for example, of the protection of the family based on marriage, respect for life in every phase of its natural course or the promotion of greater social justice.  I got this idea from the magnificent blogger “Bonald” at “Throne and Altar”.

Okay, I made up that last sentence.  Still, you’ll recall how we tossed around this very idea on this blog a while ago.  You’ll also recall that Bonifacius called me a heretic for even considering the idea.  My interlocutors eventually convinced me that the strategy probably wouldn’t work, not because it’s a bad idea for either party, but because the Muslims almost certainly wouldn’t go for it.

Laura Wood and Larry Auster are outraged.  They think the idea is not only impractical, but wicked and cowardly.  They seem to embrace the idea, which I’ve combatted here and here, that Muslims worship a false god, rather than worshipping the true God falsely.  Mrs. Wood takes it farther, denying any common ground between Catholics and Muslims, saying that the marriage covanant, fetal rights, and social justice defended by Muslims has nothing to do with that defended by Catholics.

Readers will know how greatly I admire both Mrs. Wood and Mr. Auster.  Indeed, I look on them as leaders of our movement, and I’ve benefitted greatly from both of them.  Here, though, my must defend Pope Benedict–not because he is my spiritual father, although that would be reason enough–but because these attacks are more extreme than reason will allow.  They say that we may never ally ourselves with Muslims against a common, and vastly more dangerous, liberal foe, because the Mohammadans deny the divinity of Christ.  It is true, to the great sorrow of the world and especially to the souls of Muslims, that they do deny this truth.  But so do the liberals and so do the Jews.  Elsewhere, Mrs. Wood has stated that she would rather the western world commit suicide by multiculturalism than that we cease to be accomodating to the Jews.  Now, I agree that that the Jews are an admirable people, and it would impoverish us if we could not appreciate their many admirable traits.  I also would not want to see the Jews expelled from the West–despite their long history of hostility to Christendom and the certainty of their continued hostility–because a Jew who’s lived in the West his whole life has as much right to his home as I have.  I have no doubt that those few Jews who do believe in God believe in and worship the one true God.  However, we must conclude then that denying the divinity of Christ doesn’t automatically set one beyond the pale for any of us.  Indeed, while Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, many of the Jews think Him a false prophet now boiling in excrement in Hell.  The Jews do not support any kind of heteronormative marriage or any restrictions on abortion, and they and their pet organizations have done far more to secularize America than the Muslims have.  To be consistent, we must admit that a Muslim who’s lived in the West his whole life has rights we must respect.  Muslim civilization, too, is brilliant in many ways, and we should give it its due.  Of course, though we should admire the Muslims and the Jews, we should remember that they do not reciprocate our esteem.  They mean harm to our culture (although they don’t see it as harm; they sincerely believe that marginalizing our faith is for our own good), and we must respond to that prudently but proportionately.

A Christian-Muslim alliance against liberalism would be much less corrupting than a Christian-liberal alliance against Islam.  If the former marginalizes belief in the Incarnation, the latter marginalizes belief in God Himself.  I no longer recommend either coalition:  the latter because it is too monstrous to contemplate, the former because it wouldn’t work.  The fact of the matter is that we have a Muslim-liberal coalition, and it’s pretty stable.  Both sides see Christianity as the greatest evil, and both sides are contented enough that they’re gaining from their alliance.  It seems almost impossible to peel away either to our side.

How does one win a two-front war?  Generally speaking, one doesn’t.  It looks, though, like that’s what we’re stuck fighting.  Pope Benedict is right to be looking for ways to postpone hostilities with our less-dangerous enemy.  If it doesn’t work (and I expect it won’t), we’re none the worse off for trying.  Even if he doesn’t succeed in building an Adam Webb-style virtuocratic alliance, if he can at least create some friction between our two enemies, if he can put the thought into their heads that their interests might not be identical, this could really pay off.