Barrel Strength

Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Barrel Strength - Over-Proof Opinion, Smoothly Aged Insight

Remember: the correct term is “climate change”

The Left – the bananarama sort anyway – are nominalists. Things are according to what they are named. A rose to them, by any other name, might be a sign of moral turpitude. Or it might be the new name we call those things formerly known as roses, but which are now called “pink exfoliated flower ovaries” on pain of apology and social exclusion.

I shall never forget a Canadian woman of this sort who corrected an American for calling them “Eskimos”. She said, with great kindness: “the preferred name we use in Canada is Inuit”. A smile of gladness spread across the face of the American leftie as she received the communion wafer of political correctness: she had a new stick with which to beat the politically incorrect back home.

So it is with the transition from  “global warming” into “climate change”. Say “global warming” and you are actually referring to a real thing (or not); say  “climate change” and , as well as showing yourself to be one of the enlightened, you have also escaped any pretence of holding a disprovable proposition. Heating up – climate change; cooling off- climate change.

The difference between weather and climate is whatever the Left says it is.

Thus this weekend’s comic pages had this gem from the usually astute Wiley:



“First of all,” says dad from the armchair, “the correct term is climate change, and the increasing severity of storms is all indicative of….”

“No preachy science junk on a Saturday, okay?”

Dad asks the well-behaved daughter: :How long is his anti-knowledge trend going to last?”

-“As long as there’s an Internet”.

The obvious implication, for the politically minded, is to regulate the Internet so that no facts contradictory to the dominant  man-made global warming narrative are allowed.

Just you wait my friends, this is coming to us, and its backers will not be confined to the political Left, or the Muslims, though they will lead the way in being offended.

It will not be justified on the basis of science, or knowledge, because the proponents of this sort of repression are ignorant of science and lacking in knowledge. It will be justified on the basis that some narratives are just too insensitive to be tolerated.

Remember, the correct term is climate change. Correct as in 2+2-4? Ah no! Correct as in “in conformity with the latest emanation of the anti-church of political correctness”.

The one thing I will say in favour of Islam is that, in Islam,  what is correct and incorrect does not shift weekly. It is ordained by God from the time of Mohammed’s revelations for evermore. That is why the cultural Left and Islam are on the same course, and will eventually converge. People of that sort, having developed no internal morality, and believing no internal morality is legitimate or possible,  will seek certainty and permanence in Islam’s arbitrary rules about what is correct – or incorrect (haram).

In Islam they are neither Eskimos nor Inuit; they are only kuffar, and may be treated accordingly. Islam claims to be a simple and practical guide to all of life’s problems, and its unflinching, unyielding rules are intended to avoid precisely the moral confusion which freedom allows.

With Islam, the labels are attached by the culture/religion/society rather than by personal inclination, and they never change.

So when Islamic Dad says “the correct term” for this is that, he is backed up by an entire culture, society and legal system, by force of death, if necessary, administered by one’s male relatives to general applause.

It is a Leftist’s dream come true. Stay tuned folks, this is where we are heading.


When Pat Condell and Thomas Friedman agree

We are now at a stage of convergence between Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and Pat Condell of the white-walled upstairs bedroom. Note the date: 23rd of January 2015.

Pat Condell has been railing against Islam as such for the past ten years; he is a crank, he is outside mainstream media, and I am sure he has as much influence as Thomas Friedman among those inclined to be aware of existential threats. He makes acerbic videos of himself talking to the camera from his suburban home somewhere in England. He does not speak in public. You almost certainly are aware of him if you have been a reader of this site. [We know all about our readership].

Thomas Friedman writes for the New York Times on Middle-Eastern Affairs. He has authored several well-received books; he lives in a gigantic house with his rich wife, and he wields considerable influence with those who think they are important. I have heard him speak at a conference and I can assure you from direct observation that he is a pompous ass, a talented writer, and a fair barometer of American liberal opinion.

And yet, despite every possible distance in social and economic class, and religion, Thomas Friedman is now in agreement with Pat Condell. The problem is Islam, not just hard-line interpretations of it.

Friedman was commenting in the New York Times this week on President Obama’s pussy-footing around the issue, and when the Times talks tougher on Islamic jihad than the US President, then you know some important shift in public opinion is occurring.


When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.

After citing the administrations excuses for the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Friedman writes:

This makes it sound as if the Charlie Hebdo terrorists set out to commit a random act of violent extremism and only subsequently, when they realized that they needed some justification, did they reach for Islam.

The day before, Earnest had conceded that there are lists of recent ‘examples of individuals who have cited Islam as they’ve carried out acts of violence.’ Cited Islam? According to the Earnest theory … purposeless violent extremists rummage through the scriptures of great faiths, looking for some verses to cite to support their mayhem and often happen to settle on the holy texts of Islam.”

President Obama knows better. I am all for restraint on the issue, and would never hold every Muslim accountable for the acts of a few. But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that this spreading jihadist violence isn’t coming out of their faith community. It is coming mostly, but not exclusively, from angry young men and preachers on the fringe of the Sunni Arab and Pakistani communities in the Middle East and Europe.

I observe that the Charlie Hebdo murders have finally budged the nearly immovable liberal consensus to start talking a new language that we have being saying for years: it is jihad, stupid; it is part of a thousand four hundred year war against everything not Islamic. It is not new, it is ancient.

The violence, murders and enslavements carried out by Islamic warriors are intimately tied to a religious doctrine called Islam. Jihad is their sacrament. It is as central to Islam as baptism, communion, and burial are to ours.

The New York Times ran an op-ed piece by Marine LePen, of all people, and that she rightly called Islam a totalitarian ideology. What Geert Wilders was nearly sent to jail for, several years ago, and cost him many a trial, is now being said in the New York Times.

Let us call things by their rightful names, since the French government seems reluctant to do so. France, land of human rights and freedoms, was attacked on its own soil by a totalitarian ideology: Islamic fundamentalism. It is only by refusing to be in denial, by looking the enemy in the eye, that one can avoid conflating issues. Muslims themselves need to hear this message. They need the distinction between Islamist terrorism and their faith to be made clearly.

Yet this distinction can only be made if one is willing to identify the threat. It does our Muslim compatriots no favors to fuel suspicions and leave things unspoken. Islamist terrorism is a cancer on Islam, and Muslims themselves must fight it at our side.

LePen is still making a distinction between Islam and Islamism, but  this attempt to make of Islam a political ideology by adding the suffix “ism” is just a way that we westerners have of denoting an ideology. For the Muslim, there is no distinction between the realms of God and Caesar, for as I said before, in Islam, God is Caesar. Our attempts to analyze Islam with Christian concepts constantly get us confused.

The distinction between Islam and Islamism is a polite fiction. Sooner or later it will be dropped, because there is no distinction between them in substance. With the Charlie Hebdo murders and Boko Haram’s mass slaughters, the western world draws nearer to the moment when we get clear on the concept.

At some point a future ruler  will do the same to Mecca as the Emperor Titus and the future Emperor Tiberius did to Jerusalem in AD70: besiege it, defeat it, and carry the inhabitants off into slavery.  This will occur after the nuking of Rome by Islamic militants, or some such outrage.

The shock of the fall of Jerusalem diverted the entire Hebraic religion away from a Temple-oriented live-animal sacrifice cult into the study of the Torah under the direction of rabbis. It is not beyond possibility that the occupation of Mecca and the destruction of the central temples of Islam will have an equivalent pacifying effect. Then again, the Jews have learned from history, and the Muslims – so far-  have not.

Nevertheless, regardless of these asides, the day of reckoning with Islam is coming.

In case you were wondering whether belief in AGW is dead


I sit on the Board of a not for profit corporation that has both Canadian and Americans, and is composed of intelligent and accomplished people.

After altogether too many self-congratulatory asides on the issue of “climate change” by two of the  members, I launched into an extended exposition of the arguments against man-caused climate change, which they were open-minded enough to endure.

Top arguments:

80% of the time in the last billion years there has been no ice at the poles

Global CO2 has gone from 18% of atmosphere to trace amounts in a continuous step function decline over the past 30 million years, which geologists associate with the rise of the Himalayas as the Indian plate crashed into the Asian plate. Monsoon rains  have leached out vase quantities of atmospheric CO2 as rainwater dissolves rock.

I live in a city that was under 4,000 feet of ice 11,000 years ago, and over 9,000 feet 21,000 years ago, so yes, there has been enormous natural global warming and cooling. We are in an interglacial period lasting about  10 to 15,000 years, which is nearing its end.

There is no reason to suppose the ice age in which we find ourselves has come to an end, and that the ice will fail to advance again.

Most measurements of global temperatures are proxies, no one actually recorded temperatures consistently until an English Quaker did so on the 1820s, and then only around Manchester, England. All other temperature records are inferences from proxies.

The Western Roman Empire and the period 1350-1850 were characterized by sudden climate worsening. Olives and vines grew as far north as southern Belgium in AD 400, by AD 425 that line was down south in Massif Central near Aix-en-Provence. The collapse of the Western Roman Empire can be attributed to sudden climate cooling forcing the Germanic tribes to move south into warmer climes.

It has got warmer since 1850 by a centigrade degree or two, which is what you would expect if you are coming out of a mini-ice age.

Current CO2 predictions vastly over-estimate the influence of CO2 in the climate models, for 18 or 22 years there has been no increase in average global temperature, despite the fact the atmospheric CO2 has grown past 400 parts per million.

To the extent that AGW was ever a scientific proposition, as opposed to a religious one, the “pause” is a powerful blow to the “anthropogenic” portion of global warming.


The Chairman looked at me  with mouth agape. I do not think he had ever encountered a colleague disagree with the AGW consensus, in twenty years. It was his first encounter with a skeptic in a confined social space. He was polite enough to hear me out, to his credit.

No, I do not believe in man-made global warming. And I think the word “believe” is the correct one to use, because to the extent that global warming was ever a scientific proposition, that is to say disprovable – it has been very largely disproved.

I failed to mention that I do not know a geologist – which is to say a person concerned with very long periods of time – who takes AGW as anything other than a scientific fraud.




 North America 18,000 years ago.


Are we in a depression?

1. Probably.

2. Maybe

This is a serious question for which I do not have answers, or the professional competence to assess,  but something is weirdly amiss when interest rates are so low, growth is nearly stagnant, oil prices have crashed, and the central bank warns us that Canadian housing prices are overvalued.

What can be asserted safely is this:

Central banks are devaluing currencies by printing lots of money. There is a race to the bottom, to try to increase competitive advantage by devaluation of the currency.

So says William White, a former chief economist at the OECD, quoted in article in the Daily Telegraph.

Beggar-thy-neighbour devaluations are spreading to every region. All the major central banks are stoking asset bubbles deliberately to put off the day of reckoning. This time emerging markets have been drawn into the quagmire as well, corrupted by the leakage from quantitative easing (QE) in the West.

“We are in a world that is dangerously unanchored,” said William White, the Swiss-based chairman of the OECD’s Review Committee. “We’re seeing true currency wars and everybody is doing it, and I have no idea where this is going to end.”

Mr White is a former chief economist to the Bank for International Settlements – the bank of central banks – and currently an advisor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

William White has a special relevance because he was one of the few in authority who thought the real estate market was dangerously unhinged before – and not after – the 2008 wipe out of Lehman Brothers. Says Mr. White speaking at the World Economic forum at Davos, Switzerland:


Mr White said QE (quantitative easing)  is a disguised form of competitive devaluation. “The Japanese are now doing it as well but nobody can complain because the US started it,” he said.

“There is a significant risk that this is going to end badly because the Bank of Japan is funding 40pc of all government spending. This could end in high inflation, perhaps even hyperinflation.

The dark view is held by Torontonian  Alex Jurshevski, an economic expert – read: rescuer of distressed companies and failing economies – in his blog at Recovery Partners. His article is worth reading.

Jurshevski’s thesis is that, once the crash of 2008 occurred, we ought to have let a lot of large companies fail, and taken the hit. The managers of the world decided to avoid anything so drastic. Since that time, policy makers have been engaged in a policy called quantitative easing – government in the form of central banks buying government debt – and holding interest rates low. With low interest rates you can borrow more money cheaply, and prolong the party.

Rising piles of debt may be setting off significant deflation, or reduction in prices, of which the oil price reductions of late may be a harbinger.

This is consistent with what William White is saying at Davos.

He deplores the rush to QE as an “unthinking fashion”. Those who argue that the US and the UK are growing faster than Europe because they carried out QE early are confusing “correlation with causality”. The Anglo-Saxon pioneers have yet to pay the price. “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. There are serious side-effects building up and we don’t know what will happen when they try to reverse what they have done.”

The painful irony is that central banks may have brought about exactly what they most feared by trying to keep growth buoyant at all costs, he argues, and not allowing productivity gains to drive down prices gently as occurred in episodes of the 19th century. “They have created so much debt that they may have turned a good deflation into a bad deflation after all.”

Jurshevski believes that actual distress is being masked by

  • a vast expansion of entitlement programs,
  • including a large withdrawal from the work force as people go on disability pensions, and
  • ultra-low interest rates, which allow “zombie” corporations to stagger on, with dire consequences for investment, productivity, and growth.

and that economic growth is all but wiped out by population increases. He contends that shares of zombie corporations are being foisted on professional money managers, and much else besides.

The oil price reductions of recent weeks may not be the sign of hope that we take them for, but a signal that actual demand for oil is not being sustained.

Somehow I think that world economy is a bit like Wiley Coyote out over the chasm, and that awareness of how bad things are would cause us to plunge. Expect therefore a great deal of propaganda to persuade us that mere air will sustain our weight.

wiley coyote

They do not have enough to do


This is the picture of an estimated 100 thousand Muslims protesting yet again Charlie Hebdo cartoons, this time in Grozny (Russian for “dreadful”), Chechnya.


charlie hebdo

This is a picture of the crowd of Canadians who showed up for a memorial for the nearly 3,000 people killed by the Islamic terrorists after 9/11/2001.


parliament hill 9-11

Just about every person who showed up for the 9/11 memorial was employed or self-employed. Just about every person who showed up at the mosque was unemployed and moreover had never held a job. One group was expressing sympathy for the living and respect for the dead. The other group was protesting blasphemy.

Which is the morally serious society?


“The Congress” or, I am sorry, ma’am but I think there was acid in the water

I was sitting on the plane and, finding nothing of interest in the main section of movies, tried “avant garde”, whereupon I opened  “The Congress”. It was as if  I fell into the world of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, while still seated in an airplane.

The movie is based inspired by the wonderful work of Stanislaw Lem, the Polish science fiction writer, who wrote “The Futurological Congress” in 1971 in the depths of Communist Poland. Lem’s book has the same relationship to the movie as “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” has to “Blade Runner“.


I do not know quite how to describe this movie, except that it is a brilliant science fiction parody of where life seems to be heading. It starts with the bodaceous Robin Wright, as a fictional version of herself, playing an actress receiving her final offer ever, to be digitized, whereafter she may never act again. In order to earn enough money to help her son, who is going blind and deaf, she takes the money. For the next twenty years Miramount-Nagasaki Corporation uses her digital imaging to create new movies with her as the heroine. Cut to the scene of Robin Wright, twenty years older, driving down the Mojave desert highway in her equally shapely Porsche convertible, stopping at the guard booth. She is given an ampoule of something by the attendant, which she snorts, and then things get really weird.

The film switches from realistic to cartoon, and goes from there. It is not clear at any further point in the film whether it is all in her mind, so to speak, or whether the hallucination is collective. My bet is that we are meant to believe that Miramount-Nagasaki’s drugs are intended to create a consensual hallucination. That’s just the start.


I really think you would like this movie, or even if you do not exactly like it, you will be overwhelmed, but DO NOT take your remaining acid before watching it, please.


First day I take power

Every person as concerned with politics as I am has a “first day” list. The first day list are the people or things you would act upon in your first day in power. If you took power by force, your first day list would obviously look different from the first day list in a constitutional democracy.

My fantasy first-day task would be to take Anne Maria Tremonti off the air. Tremonti is the CBC’s excuse for its daily dose of anti-Harper propaganda. This morning’s provocation used the fact of “unfriending” on social media for a snide and indirect attack on the German movement “Pegida“. It was not a discussion of “unfriending” in general. It was how Germans were being called upon to “unfriend” on facebook those Germans who had expressed sympathy for the campaign to assert German values against the creeping Islamization of Europe.

The segment allowed an opportunity for some lefties to vapour on about how dismayed they are that some other Germans are getting pissed off with the high rates of crime, sexual assault, cultural assault and hostility from their domestic Islamic citizens and neighbours.

Cute! Get in your punches about Pegida but do not actually talk about Pegida or why it exists.

The unfriending segment was preceded by a section on why Harper would be a villain if he called an election before the fixed date in October, featuring a discussion between Errol Mendes, a left-wing Ottawa university law professor and others. Harper is a villain if he does  what almost no one expects him to do, which is to call an election at the fixed limit he set in legislation. The point of these stories is to talk about Harper every day, whether he does something or nothing, in the most unfavourable light possible.

Duggan’s Dew and I were sitting at our breakfast joint watching CBC Newsworld this morning, when an article appeared on Stephen Harper’s guitar collection, of which he has a few, some donated, and  some bought from semi-famous guitar players in rock bands. Pictures showed him and son Ben playing, father on piano and son on guitar. It is a curious fact that our less than charming Prime Minister has a musical side that quite escapes his frozen stereotype, but I am happy he has some private existence where he can be his softer or kinder self.

Duggan leaned across the table with a wide grin on his face and said: “He is going to destroy the opposition in the next election.” For a moment I had this heart-warming vision of a solid Conservative majority after the next election. Then I returned to cautious optimism.

Swiss politician calls it as it is

My wife keeps telling me that my views on Islam are absolutist, and that real life Muslims in Canada are not like the fanatics. Of course she is right, but most of the Muslims who have fled here are seeking escape from the tyranny of their home countries and integration into a liberal democracy. If you can pardon the term, I am less interested in Muslims – who can be anybody – than I am with Islam.

Can you imagine a Canadian politician levelling such a blast?


Christianity and Islam: A comparison of axioms and effects

All religions are ultimately propositions about the nature of reality. They are axioms – unproved and unprovable assumptions – about God, man and law. From these axioms civilizations and cultures proceed and develop.

Second, people who are used to treating Islam as a “religion” and only a religion, have a great deal of trouble understanding how its axioms could be so different from ours. Their axioms are fundamentally different, and they produce the effects we see.

Hence Muslim apologists attempt to suppress discussion of the scale and scope of its differences from Christianity and modern political institutions evolved from Christian precepts. If we actually saw what it proposed, we would laugh it to scorn.

A. Love


God loves His creation, and especially our souls, which are his direct creation.
Ch. -Man is obliged to express the love he has been given by God with love towards all.


God is infinitely remote, all-powerful, and does not love his human subjects.
Obedience to God’s Laws is his supreme command; human love is just another source of distraction from that obedience. Human love should never stand in the way of God’s Laws.

Life is subjected to a comprehensive and minute regulation of mechanical (behavioural) obedience to laws. Fathers and brothers may kill daughters and wives  rather than have them bring disgrace upon the family for disobedience to God’s laws. Honour is more important than love.

B. Intelligibility of the Universe


The Universe, being created by God, is governed by laws and is intelligible to human reason. God has no power to make 2+2=5, substantially, and because he cannot deceive us, we can know accurately.
1. Science is possible. The discovery of physical processes and laws is part of the work of man.

2. Interpretation is a legitimate activity of the human mind.

3. That error is possible or even likely, does not invalidate the capacity of human reason to try to know the truth.


The universe is held together moment to moment, by God’s will alone. God may choose to deceive us. 2+2 may well equal 5, if that is God’s will. Our only surety is a revelation once offered which is complete, unalterable, and beyond judgment.
1. Science is impossible, and essentially a blasphemous activity.

2. There is no cause other than God’s will; intermediate causes are without significance. Absence of curiosity about cause and effect.

3. Absence of science in the Islamic world, after the last Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, and pagans were driven out.


C. Free Will


The soul, that part of us most like God , is free. There is free choice to do both good and evil; to sin and err, and to repent and recover, and to discover truth even by a passage through error.


There is a standpoint outside history by which to judge what happens in the world of human doing. There is a morality by which to judge history. Truth may speak to power. Progress in understanding is possible,and we are called upon to make it.


All that happens is God’s will. There is only one choice, to submit to God’s laws as propagated one time, in one place, in one revelation. There is no standpoint from which to judge the world because, by definition, everything that happens is God’s will.


In practice, total absence of a moral judgment save insofar as an action conforms or not to Islamic practice. Vast amounts of historical events cannot be judged, save only as they advance Islam, or not.

If I rob a bank, and shoot the guard, then the issue for Islam may well be limited to whether I may show up to prayers sweating from the activity, not the robbing of the bank and not the shooting of the guard. If the guard shoots me, insh’allah. If I shoot the guard, insh’allah. If the car stalls and I cannot get to the robbery, insh’allah. No cause for anything but Allah.

The morality of robbing banks may or may not be relevant, unless specifically covered in the Koran and Hadiths, and may turn only on whether the bank is Islamic owned or owned by Kuffar. There is no tendency to a universal morality independent of Islam (see mechanical obedience, above).

D. The legitimacy of human institutions


There is a division between the realm of God and the realm of Caesar.
Ultimately, a justification for a regime of action independent of, though influenced by, beliefs. Likewise a zone of belief in which the state has no or very limited jurisdiction. God is not especially concerned with the composition of the next government, save only insofar as human arrangements conduce to godly citizens.


There is no division between the realms of Caesar and of God. In the well-run Islamic state, God acts as Caesar (a theocracy).
All political struggle is religious, and all religious struggle, political.
Establishment of any other system is a blasphemy and idolatry. Shut down parliaments and non-Islamic courts.

Defending Islam’s right to kill for blasphemy

According to Anjem Chaudhary, the killers at Charlie Hebdo were only defending Islam, and since there is no such thing as free speech in Islam, or free thought, the killers were entitled to take matters into their own hands. The French government at fault for allowing Islam to be offended. He is not joking; he is defending Islamic orthodoxy.

Contrary to popular misconception, Islam does not mean peace but rather means submission to the commands of Allah alone. Therefore, Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people’s desires.

Although Muslims may not agree about the idea of freedom of expression, even non-Muslims who espouse it say it comes with responsibilities. In an increasingly unstable and insecure world, the potential consequences of insulting the Messenger Muhammad are known to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, “Whoever insults a Prophet kill him.”

However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.

Within liberal democracies, freedom of expression has curtailments, such as laws against incitement and hatred.

The truth is that Western governments are content to sacrifice liberties and freedoms when being complicit to torture and rendition — or when restricting the freedom of movement of Muslims, under the guise of protecting national security.

So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?

It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world’s population was protected.

As another kind of Prophet said in the 20th century:

“The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”
Adolf Hitler

“I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty.”
Adolf Hitler

Lawlessness, the overcoming of all restraints, the disregard and if necessary the crushing of state, society and religion in service of the Leader, his Party and his ideology: is Islam fundamentally different from the government of the Leader? In both systems, has not Caesar become God? Or has God become Caesar?

As became clear to me in reading Rebecca Bynum’s Allah is Dead, in Islam the idolatry is of Islam itself, as a total, complete, practical, and essentially godless system of belief and ritual behaviour. By “godless” I mean that there is no avenue of personal access to the Godhead except through the practices of the religion. There is no standpoint of inspiration or revelation for anyone outside the mechanistic behaviours imposed by Islam. There is no interiority, no development of the soul by the making of free choices, which may be wrong choices. No free choice is allowed. Muslims may talk much about Allah but they operate under the most chilling and limiting assumptions of what God could ever be: an infinitely remote tyrant who hates us to the extent we do not obey Muhammad’s laws to a ‘t’.

Ask a pious Muslim about free will and he will not know what you mean. How can will be free?

I am not saying this to be mean, I am saying it because I think two fundamentally wrong ideas animate Islam: that the soul is not free and that God hates us, except as we obey his revealed dictates. From these two deeply important ideas the damage continues to  flow.