rtg24

Switzerland

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Well, considering the recent news...

The Swiss have just banned, massively (that is, the entire population voted, at 57%, for the interdiction) the construction of any minarets on Swiss territory. It's on its way to be ingrained within the Swiss Constitution. Doubly amusing, since their elites predicted an easy fail and are now screaming "poor Muslims". The People have spoken and are giving the European neighbours second thoughts on being limp-backboned pacifiers.

This is a bit annoying timing-wise, since I'm actually flying back to Switzerland today!

Other great things about the Swiss:

- No major war for 600 years. Simple: the entire population is the Army. Every male has an SG-550 and 50 rounds. The entire country can be mobilized within 2 hours. Kids start shooting at the age of 12:

http://www.stephenhalbrook.com/articles/sw...e_festival.html

My friends who take part in rifle competitions are frustrated because the Swiss almost always come on top.

Side-effect: streets are super-safe, because people are walking around with assault rifles casually slung on their shoulder.

- Low, low tax rates! Some counties have an even better scheme: the tax rate DECREASES as you are richer!

- Semi-secret banks (this is no longer the case, unfortunately, but it's still one of the best places to keep a few bars of gold).

- Everybody speaks fluent French, English, Italian and German.

- Trains are so on time you can use them to set your clock.

Care to add more to the list? To be honest I mainly admire their moral fortitude in the face of the next European colonization wave by the Moors.

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- Trains are so on time you can use them to set your clock.

I flew in to Zurich and took a train from the airport to my destination, Basel, where I was covering a numismatic fair for Coin World newspaper. I went to the window to buy a ticket, saw the clock. The clerk was smiling and working methodically, but not quickly. "Ich habe nur drei Minuten!" I said. "Sie haben noch drei Minuten," he replied, nodding in the direction of the train -- it wasn't going anywhere for a full three minutes: I could set my watch by that.

After three days in Basel, I was standing on a street corner waiting for the light to change and I saw a McDonald's wrapper in the intersection. Inside my head, I heard, "My god, who left that there?" with a picture of a tram car crowded with foreign students. I wanted to run over and pick it up.

I had a hard time practicing German because everyone wanted to speak English to me.

Stuck with jet lag the first day, I was awake at 3:00 AM watching American sit-com reruns in three languages. Tool Time is not funny in German, but Frazier is perfect. Niles is so German. Roseanne's family was out of context, but she was in place speaking Italian.

For a class in Modern Europe a couple of years ago, I wrote about the women's right to vote in Switzerland. In truth woman suffrage is old and deep -- at the local level, where life is really organized.

All of that being as it may ... the history of Switzerland and life in Switzerland is not Galt's Gulch. They had labor protests in the 1930s and at one of them, some of those well-oiled Swiss infantry panicked and opened fire on a crowd, killing marchers and bi-standers alike. The Swiss (con)federal government is comprised of politicians, not inventors and any reading of the news from the last 50 years -- say, via Time or the WSJ online -- will demonstrate that as "conservative" as they are, conservatism comes with its own baggage.

I fell in love with Basel... but I deplaned in New York City... and remembered why I always choose to remain an American: we make things happen here. "Predictable" is not always good. The postmodernist collectivists excoriate capitalism for being risk-based. They want a predictable world. ... which is why the global ruling class meets in Davos, Switzerland.

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I fell in love with Basel... but I deplaned in New York City... and remembered why I always choose to remain an American: we make things happen here. "Predictable" is not always good. The postmodernist collectivists excoriate capitalism for being risk-based. They want a predictable world. ... which is why the global ruling class meets in Davos, Switzerland.

I find this Memorable Quote from the motion picture The Third Man relevant.

Harry Lime: Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.

This isn't quite fair. The Swiss did produce Euler and the Bernouli Brothers.

Bob Kolker

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I don't see how this mob-rule decided ban can be seen in any positive light. So much for freedom.

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I don't see how this mob-rule decided ban can be seen in any positive light. So much for freedom.

That is a topic no one so far seeks to discuss because such interactions have yet to prove fruitful.

As you note, a democratic election decided who can build what. Minarets are not to be allowed. How about castle keeps .. or church bell towers... or just tall thin cylindrical structures...? On public land, or private?

What happens on some Objectivist message boards is that some people target Islam as the source of all evil -- which would be fine if we included Christians and Jews at the very least and held Father Abraham's Children (legit, otherwise and self-adopted) all morally culpable for all of the world's evils. Ultimately, that becomes unproductive.

Better to focus on one's own immediate choices... and keep the conversation light...

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I don't see how this mob-rule decided ban can be seen in any positive light. So much for freedom.

As you note, a democratic election decided who can build what. Minarets are not to be allowed. How about castle keeps .. or church bell towers... or just tall thin cylindrical structures...? On public land, or private?

We both know very well that this was not the issue.

Having just been back from the US I assure you you have nowhere near the same problem as we do.

Next time you visit Europe make sure to visit the parts which contain the mosques. I suggest not going alone, since you're probably white and well dressed.

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We both know very well that this was not the issue.

[...]

Next time you visit Europe make sure to visit the parts which contain the mosques. I suggest not going alone, since you're probably white and well dressed.

Why not name the principle that grants the majority this sort of power over the individual?

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Self defense.

How is putting up a mosque of a particular architectural style an initiation of force?

Mosques are where the radical Jihadists recruit young men for Martyrdom. Step right up and collect your 72 dark eyed virgins! Underneath every Mosque is a potential Sleeper Cell.

Bob Kolker

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It is extremely hard to fight the colonization of Europe by this culture. We don't have a strong cohesive culture like the US, we're not religious anymore (if I remember well the US is 95% Christian?) and anyway those people don't integrate, they get the government to build them nice tall towers with taxpayer money where they can go and curse those who provide them with food and lodging for free. It gets to the point where girls cannot go to school wearing a skirt, because they will be called "whore" everywhere; they might even get raped if they walk through a muslim area. Some teachers carry the Q'ran with them, to quote back bits at irrational students, because nothing else works to pacify them. I really recommend watching La Journee de la Jupe:

- it was so shocking (daring to present the truth, e.g. people walking around with plastic bags because handbags got stolen so often) that it was not shown in most cinemas. It makes the US ghettos, with their drug crimes and high gun death rates, sound positively heavenly.

Banning minarets sends a strong message. What else are you going to do? You can't just ban every muslim. Some are productive members of society. Some bring large fortunes in gold bars to be stored underground (and look! not a single one took their money out. I guess safety goes before religion). What this was about was to say that no, Islam is not superior to the local culture. No, the Swiss will not have the weak backbone of their neighbours and will stop the encroaching. No, Swiss girls will not be insulted and beaten for being female when they go to school.

This is why I see it as fitting under self defense rather than a restriction of freedom of speech.

Watch the panicked reaction of (particularly the French) left to this decision; it shows they too understand what this is about, which is why you have people like Cohn-Bendit asking for a blanket boycott of Swiss goods and services.

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(for the record I went to school in those areas although had the chance to avoid living in them - so this is not the ramblings of a "nanti" comfortably installed in his Neuilly mansion, but very much based on experience. And at the time it was nowhere near as brutal and violent as now.)

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Mosques are where the radical Jihadists recruit young men for Martyrdom. Step right up and collect your 72 dark eyed virgins! Underneath every Mosque is a potential Sleeper Cell.

Bob Kolker

It's not just (or indeed not at all) about terrorists (who statistically represent an insignificant risk to your life anyway). It's about a culture that directly affects everybody within its radius, in a negative manner. On a daily basis. They can be normal citizens like everybody else. No privilege for you (

).

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Next time you visit Europe make sure to visit the parts which contain the mosques. I suggest not going alone, since you're probably white and well dressed.

How about having couscous at the Mosquee de Paris (the only minaret in Paris, as far as I know), with my Jewish partner, our kid, and in the midst of a bunch of other non Muslims? Do you know what you are talking about?

Anyway, that's a question of private property. Until and unless we can prove objectively that terrorist-supporting activities take place in a specific Mosquee, there's no reason to invoque self defense. This is in my opinion a completely non-objective reaction.

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Banning minarets sends a strong message. What else are you going to do? You can't just ban every muslim. Some are productive members of society.

As Harry Binswanger suggested on HBL, you discourage immigration by the non-productive. You forbid all immigrants from receiving government benefits for five years after they arrive.

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Banning minarets sends a strong message. What else are you going to do? You can't just ban every muslim. Some are productive members of society.

As Harry Binswanger suggested on HBL, you discourage immigration by the non-productive. You forbid all immigrants from receiving government benefits for five years after they arrive.

100% agree. This would most probably sort out the French problem (and British, and German...)

What I should say is that the problem stems from socialism (as do most). However, since the removal of socialism from Europe is about as likely as Obama suddenly deciding to reduce Federal power and cancel his healthcare plans, you have to settle for self-defensive measures. Anything goes, to stop the spreading of this culture and way of life.

Joss - sure, and when I was in Dubai people were extremely hospitable, I had a great time. And in Mumbai, when muslim families invited me for dinner, also great. And in the US, when helpful muslim fund managers taught me a lot of stuff about investing in MENA. Doesn't change the reality of the ZEPs and banlieues. Perhaps you should go and eat a couscous there? I am sorry if you are already familiar with those areas, when I am implying that you are not. But I have seen that problem a lot in India actually - the middle and upper class really has absolutely no idea how people in the rural parts live (or, indeed, how their rickshaw driver lives) and so they automatically attack Slumdog Millionaire as "unrealistic" and "not India" - sure, it's not their India. I worked with those people. Slumdog is... skimming the surface.

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Well, I don't know anything about India. As to the French suburbs, I certainly agree that there is a problem and a risk there (even though 90% of the inhabitants are victims rather than perpetrators), but it has exactly nothing to do with the minarets of established mosquees. The really radical groups are meeting in caves and appartments, not in public mosquees, with or without minarets.

The Swiss vote is simply a xenophobic and completely un-objective attack on property rights.

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You mean like how they close off streets to women because the mosque is on it? Very underground and discreet.

What, specifically, are you talking about? Who closes which street where?

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In many areas of the banlieues (and even mainstream Marseilles etc.) women are not welcome in certain streets on Fridays. Sometimes they actually block off the entire street for prayer. Illegally. Whatcha gonna do?

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Sorry taht wasn't accurate. Google search brings up a few examples, but have to run. Also, friends who live in or near those areas confirm this is the case.

We're not quite at Denmark levels yet but it's only a matter of time.

(I'll grant you that French muslims, for the most part, actually try and integrate within the population. They certainly do not have anywhere near the level of islamization and isolation that a lot of British muslims have. In my experience.)

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A couple of points:

- As long as these streets remain public, and assuming there aren't provisions in the law that prohibit certain "types" of citizens from using these streets at specific times, the law must be enforced and everyone should have access to these streets at all times. The fact that the law isn't being enforced cannot add up to an argument to prohibit the building of mosques, or mosques with architectural features which symbolize concepts X% of the population deplores.

- If it's true that schools in X% mosques insight to violence, then the specific schools that do so need to be shut down. The fact that X% of mosques host such schools cannot justify either the banning on mosques or restrictions on their styling.

-- There's the very real possibility that in a free society the owner of the mosque would own the street in front of his building. That would give him the right to set any terms he cares to for its use.

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I completely agree with John on all points.

This is some weird version of mob rule ran amock. The idea that some objectivists can see any good in this makes me very worried.

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Well, I'm putting my money (or rather, getting my money :D) where my mouth is and will be moving to the German part of Switzerland later this year. My intent is to determine whether it is a potential half-Gulch to park myself in before the US economy picks up again (which could take as long as it takes to remove the socialists from power) and the job market is good enough to actually allow foreign workers to get visas. Or, alternatively, to get transferred to NYC.

It's looking good so far. My income will be taxed 15-20% maximum (less if I find a place to live in Zug, which is unfortunately quite expensive) vs. an effective 54% in France. I can buy a .44 revolver for 100 USD (120 CHF), all it takes is for me to show my residence permit (although I will probably spend more). Oh, and most drugs are legal (I'm not a user, but I consider drug laws a good indication of how a country views liberty) - there was even a limited experiment in Zurich where heroin addicts could openly shoot up in "Needle Park" (a semi-island) although that has been closed down and replaced with "shooting rooms" throughout the city. There is only one - very limited - Federal drug law. And you can fly fighter jets in the Alps for as little as 17,000 CHF (vs. 100,000 USD in South Africa or Russia). The place is so safe it has become a cultural habit for people to book restaurants by leaving their wallets on their seat - with the biggest fear being that somebody moves the wallet and takes the seat - and don't think twice of leaving their door unlocked before going to work. There is even a joke about the "person who knows a person who has seen a train arrive late" - the train authorities will apologise for a 4 second delay.

The downsides appear to be the Swiss' extensive desire for a quiet life, which involves, in a city environment, ridiculous rules such as no shower after 10pm (I will most probably come home from work later every night!) and no vacuuming on Sundays. They can and will send the police. But these are not laws; rather, they are privately determined rules much like the coop system in New York. Also, the Socialists managed to get ammo banned in private homes in 2007 (although their repeated attempts at a gun ban keep failing) - but ammo is still subsidized as it is seen as vital that the population is well versed in the arts of the powder (in case the Northern neighbours get ideas again). It is amusing that most gun crime in Switzerland happened in gun-free areas (where guns are verboten), and that afaik the gun crime rate in gun-full Switzerland is a tenth of that in neighbouring developed countries like Germany, France and the UK where guns have been banned for decades.

I'm also not looking forward to the cold. I hate Alpine winters.

And of course, the Swiss don't speak German, but "Schweizerdeutsch" (whatever Alemannic dialect is spoken in your region). But it's a wealthy country and most people speak fluent English (on top of French, Italian, German, and their dialect).

I'll sum up the culture: a woman, fresh off a jet fighter flight through the Alps, was approached by leftist media (is there a place in the world, aside from Fox News, where media is not leftist?) which tried to guilt her by asking her what she thought about the terrible environmental impact of what she just did (burn up 3 tonnes of kerosene and scream at 100+dB at the peaceful, but not purple, Kuhen). "Guilty? No, I feel GREAT!" Oh, and that woman is 40 and runs a large law firm. People like her are probably the reason why the Europeans find it so difficult to apply their extensive freedom curtailing measures to the Swiss.

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