My Photo

« Forty Foot Jesus in Tulsa Watch! (Real Christians) | Main | Red State Has Launched! »

July 11, 2004

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515c2369e200d83465570c69e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Drunken Confessions:

Comments

In margaritas, veritas.

Fine post.

I don't really see why any of those statements could possibly be seen as unreasonable in any light. It's possible to disagree with some of them (Kucinich's Left Wing? Please!) but the tenor of your post was not offensive in the least.

Gary Farber had a point: so did you. Gary was as stubbornly refusing to acknowledge your point as you were stubbornly refusing to acknowledge Gary's - and Gary was (IMO) pursuing it well past the point at which two reasonable people ought to throw up their hands and agree to disagree.

I am heartsick over losing Katherine, and wish the rest of the ObWing collective could have kidnapped her and made her continue. But I guess that wouldn't have been very moderate.

One doesn't have to be very far into one's cups to miss Katherine. Hell, I'm still shedding sober tears and this is the third time she's left. But one has to be dipping from well into the barrel to prefer Kucinich. Nothing against the man or his politics, but I think Kerry-Edwards is one of the strongest tickets imaginable. The best way to scare the hard right is to run a winner and we are in the process of doing just that.

You're fourth point is kind of touchy-feely and might drive the conversation in a nuanced direction. Since I'm not there to drink a toast to lovely average Muslim mothers I'll have to discourage you from persuing this line of discussion since we'd lose our conservative friends.

My current defense of gays against the militant anti-gay (who happen to belong to all races and political persuasions) is to begin by insisting that I don't want special rights for gays - I just expect that they have the same rights as the rest of us. It's not a winning argument but it does tend to confuse them for a minute.

Huh. Everyone's the same and basically decent.

You'd think New Yorkers, of all people, would know better.

I dip into this blog every now and then. Being British I can't claim to understand much about American politics but it does seem that all the issues are very polarised and militant. You are either anti-this or pro-that.

This side of the pond, you get a fairly militant pro-gay lobby who seem to push their own agenda but I am always left wondering whether it is truly representative of gays, some of whom like me, just like to be left alone and can't get terribly excited about it all. The homophobic crowd is quiet and manifests itself in the more evangelical wings of the Church of England. For the majority of the population of the UK, one feels gays are post-controversy. Legislation going through the UK parliament concerning same-sex relationships has the support of all the politcal parties - you get the odd voice of discontent but there is little fuss.

You Americans have your much heralded Constitution proclaiming equality under the law but it seems just to polarise your politics even further away from consensus. Perhaps it is too proscriptive? Here in the UK the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination have been enshrined in our law for decades without argument. Discrimination of the grounds of sexual orientation has been banned in the United Kingdom. It is not perfect, some of it goes too far and has become too politcally correct but it seems to serve us well.

As to the specifics of gay marriage and rights, I would make the following points:

[i] Why should it matter that gays want to make 'married' commitments to one another?
[ii] Why should they be prevented from doing so in the US while all other adults, equivalent in all other ways, are allowed to do so?
[iii] What has done more to weaken the institution of marriage and social cohesion? Is it gays wanting to make a commitment to each other or heterosexual infidelity, divorce, single-parent families? Or is it the alcoholism, drugs, domestic violence, arguments about money that take place within marriages that destroy love and the cohesion of society?
[iv] Some argue that marriage is about children. Absolutely and children should be brought up by a father and a mother. But marriage is not always about children and permitting gay 'marriage' does not alter that.
[v] For those that argue that marriage is a religious act, here Mr Bush and I agree, you are still able to ask whether it is the duty of the state to impose a religious choice? I don't think it is.

As I said before, I can't get terribly excited about it but here in Britain I do not feel like a second-class citizen.

Authors and commentators: There are more important things in this world to worry about.

Retarded, Edward?

Tequila can do that to you, I know. Sometimes it strips off that urbane exterior and...makes you dance on the tables, if only verbally.

Now, to steer the thread off course, a bit:
The best margarita I've ever had was at: El Patio, in Las Cruces, NM. Probably it could have been made anywhere, but when you've spent the last couple of days on four hours sleep, sweating over a hot computer, the utter necessity of a good margarita or three pushes the El Patio concoction head and shoulders above the rest.

Huh. Everyone's the same and basically decent.

You'd think New Yorkers, of all people, would know better.

Given how many New Yorkers protested the Iraq invasion, I'd say New Yorkers know well enough that even though we're facing a serious enemy, a convenient dividing device like religion serves only the spin doctors and propagandists. I know you really really really want the US to adopt the stance that "Islam is the new Communism" Tac, because, well, we know how to fight a war like that, and so we could move the whole effort forward with pithy slogans and symbolic iconography and we can reach back centuries to dredge up justifications for killing untold numbers of innocents. The branding and marketing possibilities are breathtakingly endless.

Sure would be easier if Bush would just come out and say "La-a-a-a-adies and Gentlemen!!! It's the Christians vs. the Muslims in a Fight to the Death!!!" Wouldn't have to handicap ourselves by playing nicey nice with the Saud's or even pretend we give a rat's ass about the Palestinians (not that I'm accusing you of giving a rat's ass about the Palestinians, mind you). We could simply bomb the hell of the Middle East and then, when all the people are dead, send in Halliburton to put out the burning oil wells, and divide the spoils among Exxon, BP, and Shell.

I know I've fast forwarded through all the parts where we're giving adorable big-eyed children candy and spreading democracy via CIA-backed puppets, but I'm just a teensy bit hung over, so...

"Everybody's the same and basically decent."

I would except some sociopaths and pyschopaths from this characterization but after them, well, yes.

Oops. The good margarita place is La Posta, not El Patio. Both of them are in Mesilla, not Las Cruces.

Retarded, Edward?

Yeah, that was the bit I was apologizing for in the last line. Tequila has a way of making you feel younger...like you're in the third-grade, apparently.

Which is one of its charms. Despite the occasional downside, and the even more occasional OD.

Edward, I can agree with your sentiments, apart from 3. The more I read about two-party politics the happier I am with our multiparty system. There seem to be *so many people* who would rather vote for someone els but feel forced by the two party system to support someone they do not hold in high regard. On both sides of the spectrum.

Brian: Isn't it nice to be in the EU so that equal rights for gay military can be enforced ;^)?

Dutchmarbel,

#3 was not the best explained of the items, I agree.

I believe the Dems have a shot at reclaiming the White House, so I would not really prefer Kucinich. Even a multi-party system requires that a candidate be able to appeal to independent and undecided voters, so Kerry is a fine choice. It's just that Edwards was my choice in the primaries because of the optimism he instills. The fact that some of that seems to be rubbing off on Kerry is heartening, though.

My point about Kucinich was really based on the idea that the GOP is trying to paint Kerry as that most awful of political creatures...the dreaded East-coast liberal. As if that means he'll tax little old ladies into extreme poverty so he can realize his secret goal of funding more anti-American art or something.

If folks think Kerry is a Liberal (in the most scary sense of that term), I'd ask them to focus on Kucinich for just a while. Kerry looks positively hard right in comparison.

Here in the UK the principles of equality and freedom from discrimination have been enshrined in our law for decades without argument.

Well, not without argument, as I recall.

Discrimination of the grounds of sexual orientation has been banned in the United Kingdom.

Not for decades, though, Brian. Is it months, or does it add up to a year by now?

And how long is it since the UK Parliament repealed the infamous Section 28?

Given how many New Yorkers protested the Iraq invasion....

To say nothing of the New Yorkers who protested the Afghan invasion. (And let's not pretend there weren't significant numbers of those -- I was there, and I know many of the culprits.) I'll say this for NYC folks: you can slaughter 'em by the thousands, and they won't give up their lethal idee fixes in the face of it. I guess we Southerners have more in common with them than we'd like to admit.

....a convenient dividing device like religion serves only the spin doctors and propagandists.

Religion is a "convenient dividing device"? Come now, Edward. As if religion and its attendant ideas and ideologies mean nothing. As if they don't directly affect actions and attitudes. As if they don't directly shape culture. As if religion means nothing. As if it's a mere tool, value-neutral in itself.

Risible. False.

I know you really really really want the US to adopt the stance that "Islam is the new Communism" Tac, because, well, we know how to fight a war like that....

Funny you mention that. We have long experience confronting and defeating totalitarian ideologies. Noted that you fail to address whether or not Islam promotes or at the least abets such ideologies. But then, I wouldn't in your shoes.

....we can reach back centuries to dredge up justifications for killing untold numbers of innocents.

Ah yes. Because "killing untold numbers of innocents" is what I want. Of course.

Anyway, no need to "reach back centuries" for casus belli against aggressive Islam, Edward. One only need reach back a few months. A few weeks. A few days.

Sure would be easier if Bush would just come out and say "La-a-a-a-adies and Gentlemen!!! It's the Christians vs. the Muslims in a Fight to the Death!!!"

No need. Legions of Islamic leaders and their followers have done so already.

....not that I'm accusing you of giving a rat's ass about the Palestinians, mind you....

Certainly not. You wouldn't have the decency to do so.

We could simply bomb the hell of the Middle East and then, when all the people are dead, send in Halliburton to put out the burning oil wells, and divide the spoils among Exxon, BP, and Shell.

A pity, Edward. Between this incoherent hard-left raving and your moronic post on Reagan killing more gays than anyone in recorded history, you've apparently gone off the deep end.

....but I'm just a teensy bit hung over, so...

A wonderful excuse indeed.

A pity, Edward. Between this incoherent hard-left raving and your moronic post on Reagan killing more gays than anyone in recorded history, you've apparently gone off the deep end.

Ah, well, so it must seem to some. You, on the other hand, went for an easy out with this, and I don't mind calling you on it.

In between all the ranting, as you well know, is a point. I'd appreciate your comments on it.

Is it necessary to rally the nation to the propagandist position that we're in the final days of some ancient fight to the death, in order to defeat this new wave of terrorism. Defeating radical Islam and terrorism are certainly worthy of our efforts, but is the polarizing rhetoric the only option here? Are there not, at this point in history, more sophisticated tools at our disposal? Or are we really just the sort of binary fools this simplification of the overarching picture works so well on, let the collateral damage be damned?

In between all the ranting, as you well know, is a point. I'd appreciate your comments on it.

If you sincerely want a person's constructive comments on something, accusing them of support for outright murder and genocide is a hell of a way to elicit that.

Is it necessary to rally the nation to the propagandist position that we're in the final days of some ancient fight to the death....

First of all, I do not endorse any "final days" nonsense. Partly because I don't know; partly because it utterly precludes a reconciliation between the liberal West and Islam (which, thought I think it's almost certainly impossible, I don't want to absolutely preclude); partly because that sort of rhetoric leads the pragmatic-minded directly to the obvious, efficient solution to the trouble -- namely, genocide. That which you accuse me of endorsing.

Second, yeah, we are in an "ancient fight to the death." The violence you see in Islam today is not some new development. It's an intrinsic expression of the faith, and has been such since the time of the Prophet. It waxes and wanes according to historical moment, but it's always there.

....is the polarizing rhetoric the only option here?

Try focusing less on whether the rhetoric is "polarizing," and more on whether it's accurate.

All RIGHT, then. I've had to pop into a Kinkos on my lunch hour to address how this thread is going, and if you think that I'm happy about that, think again. We are skirting the edge of "reasonably civil" here, and I'm frankly surprised at both Tac and fabius for it. Folks cool down, please; I know it's Monday and people are grouchy, but let's all practice our deep breathing, 'kay?

Moe

but is the polarizing rhetoric the only option here?

Edward? Is that really you, decrying polarizing rhetoric?

Try focusing less on whether the rhetoric is "polarizing," and more on whether it's accurate.

You know I can't allow the rhetoric to become polarizing. Even if I could, I would work for ways to avoid it, because it's logical conclusion is the same genocide you and I both want to avoid, only you seem to refuse to see is it's the unavoidable consequence of such rhetoric.

Focus on the possibility that Muslims and Christian can reach a compromise like the Reform Church and Catholic Church reached in the Swiss valleys of the Graubunden in the early 16th century. Sure, plenty of bloodshed was yet to be spilled in the name of religion, but when, finally, the two realized coexistence was possible, a precedent was set. Bush is right to insist that we can let the precedent be set here in the US. Muslims and Christians side by side, coexisting peacefully, with no need to declare Islam as the new Communism.

Edward? Is that really you, decrying polarizing rhetoric?

There's history here Slarti. Polarizing rhetoric that logically leads to genocide is much more dangerous than any leading to this or that politician losing an election.

Tacitus recognizes the danger here, but feels we must proceed with this course anyway. I feel we have better options. Not easier ones, but certainly less dangerous ones.

I'll accept some of the responsibility for Moe's need to pop into Kinko's though, and drop it for civility's sake. It's just that I've seen alarming calls for a holy war in darker corners of the blogosphere lately and the rhetoric needs knocked down a few pegs. I'm not talking about Tacitus's site either, but he came to their defense, so he's the one I'm arguing with.

Tacitus recognizes the danger here, but feels we must proceed with this course anyway.

Caution flag up for mind-reading. And I don't think many Christians are calling for Holy War. Just sayin'...the Holy War cries mostly seem to be emanating from the ME.

Caution flag up for mind-reading.

No mind reading. Just reading.

The violence you see in Islam today is not some new development. It's an intrinsic expression of the faith, and has been such since the time of the Prophet. It waxes and wanes according to historical moment, but it's always there.

Conclusion? The violence won't end, so the religion must. If you see any other conclusions, please let me know.

I see no conclusion, Edward. There are choices other than the one you claim is the only one possible. Surely you don't need me to point them out to you.

Surely you don't need me to point them out to you.

It might help me sleep better if you do, Slarti.

What are they?

You know I can't allow the rhetoric to become polarizing.

If your significant other doesn't himself endorse the traditional notions of jihad and dhimmi, what's the problem? And if he does, well....that's your personal decision, but it's not something you of all people should be defending. You'd be up against the wall long before I would in an Islamic world. And not just because of my nice, full beard.

....it's logical conclusion is the same genocide....

This is entirely false. Recognizing that the only acceptable option from your foe is unconditional surrender and massive social/ideological change didn't doom American Southerners, Germans or Japanese to extinction. It need not for Muslims, either.

Focus on the possibility that Muslims and Christian can reach a compromise like the Reform Church and Catholic Church reached in the Swiss valleys of the Graubunden in the early 16th century.

That would be nice. Let me know when and if it seems even slightly foreseeable that Christians may enjoy the same freedoms in Muslim nations as Muslims do in Christian (or secular) nations.

I don't mean to be flippant. It really would be nice. But you have to admit that the barrier to this outcome is neither Christianity nor the West nor people like me.

Bush is right to insist that we can let the precedent be set here in the US.

When Sheikh Yassin memorials in Brooklyn stop filling up, I'll believe.

It's just that I've seen alarming calls for a holy war in darker corners of the blogosphere lately....

After, apparently, ignoring it from most of the Islamic world for the past several years, eh? Come now.

If your significant other doesn't himself endorse the traditional notions of jihad and dhimmi, what's the problem?

The problem is people lumping him in with others who do. The problem is people insisting he can't interpret jihad peacefully and still call himself Muslim just because others who call themselves Muslim don't interpret it peacefully.

You'd be up against the wall long before I would in an Islamic world.

We were very warmly received in Turkey, even at a Turkish wedding, so I hold out hope for the rest of the Muslim world.

Recognizing that the only acceptable option from your foe is unconditional surrender and massive social/ideological change didn't doom American Southerners, Germans or Japanese to extinction.

Bad examples. Choose a religious one.

Let me know when and if it seems even slightly foreseeable that Christians may enjoy the same freedoms in Muslim nations as Muslims do in Christian (or secular) nations.

Help Turkey enter the EU and your wish will come true.

After, apparently, ignoring it from most of the Islamic world for the past several years, eh? Come now.

Nonsense. I condemn it there as well.

The problem is people insisting he can't interpret jihad peacefully and still call himself Muslim just because others who call themselves Muslim don't interpret it peacefully.

My guess is that there are a lot more Muslims who insist that than non-Muslims. Unfortunately, he is, judging from your description, in a decided minority amongst his co-religionists worldwide.

We were very warmly received in Turkey, even at a Turkish wedding, so I hold out hope for the rest of the Muslim world.

Hope is a good thing, but it shouldn't blind us to reality.

Bad examples. Choose a religious one.

I did: Japan. See the explicitly religious, Shinto-derived aspects of pre-1945 Japanese fanaticism. Here's another: the Boers, who conceived of themselves as, literally, the latter-day Israelites (Calvinist Israelites, natch) forging a new Canaan amongst the Bantu. The British didn't push their victory home, else we'd not have had apartheid, but they did secure a nice victory indeed in '02.

Help Turkey enter the EU and your wish will come true.

Ha. Seriously, this is absurd. Are you really contending that the EU's spurning of Turkey is preventing the Turks from eliminating the laws and practices of dhimmitude? (Which are very extant, mind you -- my father has been there in his capacity as a Christian Orthodox priest and experienced it firsthand.) I suppose the problems in Palestine are what's preventing free elections in Syria, too.

Really, the Turks can put their house in order any time they choose to. Blaming the Europeans is utterly inappropriate.

Nonsense. I condemn it there as well.

Equal vigor, equal time? No.

Not that they're equal threats. The Islamic half is massively more dangerous.

Are you really contending that the EU's spurning of Turkey is preventing the Turks from eliminating the laws and practices of dhimmitude?

Not at all. I'm contending a bit of motivation goes a long way. Turkey is systematically battling all sorts of nonacceptable behavior across the country to try and entice the other EU countries to accept them. It will take years. But it offers real hope.

When was your father last there? It's changing radically even as we speak.

Really, the Turks can put their house in order any time they choose to.

And they are. My suggestion was simply one in which Americans could focus on something positive, not an accusation that blames the West for the lingering hman rights abuses in that ancient culture. Again, Bush does this very well (focus on the positive). I don't understand why his example doesn't do more to counter the fear in the US.

Equal vigor, equal time? No.

I'd be a mere echo of you then...what would be the point...you've clearly got that covered.

;p


I did: Japan. See the explicitly religious, Shinto-derived aspects of pre-1945 Japanese fanaticism.

Which Muslim state has declared war on the US then?

Tacitus: Huh. Everyone's the same and basically decent.

You'd think New Yorkers, of all people, would know better.

As long as we are talking about folks in the aggregate, I'd agree with at least the first half of the original proposition. Prior to September 11, 2001, the worst act of terrorism carried out on U.S. soil had been perpetrated by radical Christians. Followers of Christ blew up a day care center as an expression of their hatred, Tacitus. To suggest that radical clerics and the likes of those 19 hijackers speak for Islam is as ridiculous as suggesting that someone like Timothy McVeigh speaks for Christianity. Until you are prepared to make war on religion itself (something I hope to avoid, personally), you've got no righteous ground on which to stand. For the moment, I might suggest contemplating the differences between "Islam" and "religious extremism".

Oh, and Edward would be persona non grata in plenty of extremist Christian communities, or have you forgotten the realities of life in the south? Your apparent failure to recognize the pattern here is really disheartening. The road down which you are walking leads straight to another kind of religious extremism.

Turkey is systematically battling all sorts of nonacceptable behavior across the country to try and entice the other EU countries to accept them. It will take years.

I think you're way too complimentary to the Turks in your rhetorical formulations. But let's hope for the best and wait for it to happen before urging the EU to admit the nation that is, after all, a historic nemesis of Christian Europe. And yeah, that matters.

When was your father last there?

Last year.

Again, Bush does this very well (focus on the positive). I don't understand why his example doesn't do more to counter the fear in the US.

If you are mystified, I suggest lifting your eyes from the isolated positive examples and gazing upon the overwhelming field of mayhem, woe, and oppression that is the norm.

Which Muslim state has declared war on the US then?

Irrelevant on two counts: that wasn't the example you were contesting, and it's certainly enough that huge segments of Muslim society have indeed done so.

Irrelevant on two counts: that wasn't the example you were contesting, and it's certainly enough that huge segments of Muslim society have indeed done so.

Let me clarify then. You're arguing that Muslims (assumedly all Muslims in all states because you haven't clarified otherwise) must submit to "unconditional surrender and massive social/ideological change." Because Muslims transcend states, your examples of the American South (which had formed the Confederacy at that point) and Japan and Germany are not good parallels. As individual states it was easier to define geopolitical boundaries and implement measures within them.

What would such an attempt look like stretched across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia? Really, other than apocalyptic chaos, what would that look like?

I'm asking for an example that accounts for the scope of the task you demand.

Gromit:

Followers of Christ blew up a day care center as an expression of their hatred, Tacitus.

I seem to recall that McVeigh was an atheist, but as I can't find any cite for that now, let's accept what you say at face value. (Although characterizing the entirely of the Murrah Federal Building as a "day care center" is really stretching things.) My response: so what? Were McVeigh's actions considered just by many orthodox Christians? Were they specifically motivated by an understanding of Christian orthodoxy? Were they demonstrably derived from the commandments or doctrines of orthodox Christianity? Were they lauded by substantial numbers of Christians worldwide? Was he part of a movement with pan-Christian appeal around the world? Did Christian clerics in large numbers assert that there are instances in which terroristic truck-bombings are justified by God? Did he proclaim his belief in a divine reward for his actions? Did numbers of young Christians around the globe rush to follow in his footsteps?

The answer to all these questions is no.

To suggest that radical clerics and the likes of those 19 hijackers speak for Islam is as ridiculous as suggesting that someone like Timothy McVeigh speaks for Christianity.

Wrong. Substitute "Islam" for "Christianity" and "9/11 hijackers" for "McVeigh" in the questions above, and the answers are all yes.

For the moment, I might suggest contemplating the differences between "Islam" and "religious extremism".

I might suggest a better understanding of Islam, and the place of the doctrines of jihad and dhimmi within it.

Oh, and Edward would be persona non grata in plenty of extremist Christian communities....

Quite true. Operative word there? Extremist. Contrast with Edward's persona non grata status in, well, pretty much most Muslim communities on the planet. Especially if he was born Muslim himself. These aren't extremists: they're the Muslim mainstream.

The road down which you are walking leads straight to another kind of religious extremism.

Please. It's appalling how evil is so ably abetted by those determined not to recognize it.

Edward, think about this: you're not arguing that a thing is right or wrong any more. You're just arguing that it's too big to be done. Defeatist.

What would such an attempt look like stretched across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia? Really, other than apocalyptic chaos, what would that look like?

It would look like a sustained, uncompromising, generational effort. It would look like the Cold War. Why the quailing at the thought?

Monotheists are by definition not very tolerant IMHO, because they all claim that their variety is the one and only really worthy kind and they have the moral highground. In all religions you have fanatics and people who like the authority and structure of more fundamentalistic groups. Which religion they "defend' depends on the whole on where they grow up; the person ranting against Islam now would be ranting just as much against christianity/western values if (s)he was born in the ME.

I grew up in Europe, which means that my attitude towards quite a number of things is different from the attitude of the average American. Communism was never perceived as such an overwhelming threat as in the US and socialism (aka 'labour') is just another political direction. Terrorism has been associated with politics, nationalism and christianity in the past decades and 9/11 does not suddenly change that for us. Adding nuance is considered a good thing, done by wise people, and speaking foreign languages is actually considered an asset ;-)
We have learned that with violence everybody loses so it really should be a last choice - not an easy way out. And painting a specific group of people black, assigning negative attributes to them, is a wrong and dangerous thing to do.

Hitler was not elected on a campaignpromiss to exterminate the Jews: there was a gradual proces of painting people who were different as dangerous, as a big contrast to all the fine qualities of the group the majority belonged to. He did not just send Jews to death camps: he sent handicapped people, communists, homosexuals and gypsies too, after years of 'dehumanisation' of those groups. Be very very wary of the 'they are all bad/worthless' attitude.

Edward: at about the time I got banned from Tacitus's blog, Tacitus was (with apparent seriousness) arguing that Muslims and Christians don't worship the same God, because Allah is an idol. I doubt if you're going to get anywhere, though I sincerely applaud the attempt.

It would look like a sustained, uncompromising, generational effort. It would look like the Cold War. Why the quailing at the thought?

The Cold War spelled the end of a relatively shortlived political system, not a centuries old religion. The comparison doesn't work for me, sorry.

I don't believe Islam needs to go the way of the USSR to resolve the threat of terrorism. I do believe political pressure/incentives on Muslim states to democratize their governments is needed. I do believe a resolution to the Israeli Palestinian problem is needed.

There were plenty of people living in the Soviet Union and its satelites who could remember a time before communism. There are no Muslims living who remember a time before Islam. Citizens of the USSR were happy to lose a relatively new system imposed on them. Muslims won't let go of their religion with anything like the same ambivalence.

The parallel is not as strong as you suggest.

I believe you got banned for violating the posting rules, Jesurgislac. Violating them here, serially, would almost certainly get you banned as well. I can't speak for Moe, but he's been quite emphatic of late in this matter.

"It would look like a sustained, uncompromising, generational effort. It would look like the Cold War. Why the quailing at the thought?"

Are you suggesting that mass conversion away from Islam & its ceasing to exist as a religion should be the ultimate goal in the same way that the end of Communism was the ultimate goal of the Cold War? That's what it sounds like, but perhaps you are only talking about more limited Islamic concepts like jihad and dhimmi.

If you are suggesting the goal is the end of Islam itself, I don't think it's a legitimate end AND even if I thought it was, I don't think you could accomplish it except through heinous means AND even if I were willing to use those means I don't think they would work. Edward and I can make all three of those arguments at the same time.

If that is your goal, what, specifically, do you have in mind? "Like the Cold War" doesn't tell me much, as far as specific policies we would pursue.

How would it look like the Cold War? We're not dealing with one superpower; to a large degree, we're not dealing with states at all. You're not going to have a mutual nuclear deterrent. They don't have nuclear weapons yet; if and when suicidal non-state terrorists get them they will not be deterrable. I think it's fair to say that Communism has to be imposed from above by an extremely repressive government, and people reject it given the choice. I don't see Muslims rejecting their religion given the choice. Etc. etc.

Finally: I don't think many people, or any in power in the West, have advocated genocide. The day may come, but it hasn't yet. Bin Laden has; he has called for the murders of 4 million Americans including 1 million children, and there is far too much support for this goal in the Islamic world. The threats are not comparable; there's no need to pretend they are.

But polarizing, dehumanizing rhetoric that falls far, far short of calls for genocide can be a bad idea. It can also contribute to real dangers to innocents like Edward's partner. And I don't see what it does to lessen the danger from terrorists.

It would look like a sustained, uncompromising, generational effort. It would look like the Cold War.

Tacitus, my question is, assuming we won this new war, what in your view would the end result look like? Would there be no more Muslims (i.e. all either dead or converted), or would there be no more militant, anti-West Muslims?

I believe you got banned for violating the posting rules, Jesurgislac.

You'll never dent the sense of victimization. But, moving on....

The Cold War spelled the end of a relatively shortlived political system, not a centuries old religion.

Now hang on, here. Given that I have consistently maintained that it is specifically the doctrines of jihad and dhimmi that we need to smash, rather than Islam per se, one of two things is happening with you, here:

You're misunderstanding me, or....

....you do not think the pernicious, violent and orthodox manifestations of those two doctrines are at all separable from Islam itself.

Now, that latter bit may well be true -- that's for Muslims to decide -- but let's not act as if it is quite yet, yes?

I don't believe Islam needs to go the way of the USSR to resolve the threat of terrorism.

Islam as generally constituted absolutely does. And let's not hide behind calling it "the threat of terrorism." That's a mere method -- as if defeating Nazi Germany ended the threat of mechanized divisions, eh? It's the threat of jihad that concerns us here.

Muslims won't let go of their religion with anything like the same ambivalence.

Again, you retreat to the complaint that it's so very difficult; ergo, we shouldn't try.

There is no accomodation with those who want you and yours exterminated or reduced to helotry, Edward.

Jes,

As much as I appreciate your posting here (and I do, believe me, you were the topic of conversation at dinner the other night and all the feedback was good) I know the history of your banning at Tacitus, and it did seem to have more to do with a reluctance on your part to avoid calling him a bigot. At a certain point, such labels get in the way of understanding.

I support Tac's right to believe Allah is an Idol, although I disagree. His religion teaches that, I suppose. Fine.

I know what you're saying with regard to my not being able to get anywhere (it's like Ground Hog's Day, I swear), but I really didn't expect Tacitus to pick up on this line in this thread...it was a challenge to someone else (someone I'm still waiting for) from another site.

Sparring with Tac, though, is a good warm up.

That's not meant to be dismissive either. Really. Tac knows his stuff, it's just he didn't inspire this rant of mine.

Katherine, see my prior post above for an answer to your query.

As for Edward's partner, the fact is that most effective thing he can do to safeguard him is to work for reform within the Muslim community itself. Social perceptions do not always arise in a vacuum.

I support Tac's right to believe Allah is an Idol, although I disagree. His religion teaches that, I suppose. Fine.

My religion doesn't teach that. 99% of the folks at my church would assert that Allah and the Christian God are one and the same.

'Course, if they don't, their kinfolk back in the old country get their throats cut. But we can credit them as sincere for the sake of argument.

I just don't see the historical justification for asserting that Allah is anything but a pre-Islamic tribal deity grafted onto an appropriated notion of the Judeo-Christian god.

Edward, apologies for stirring the pot (in any case, Wilfred seems to have shifted the stir to the pot, I mean thread, about The Onion, I mean The Red State). I'd be happy to discuss the situation about Tacitus's blog on my livejournal, which is why I posted the link to it.

It's kind of disconcerting, though, to find that people are talking about me over dinner. Really. I feel like I should offer a recipe or buy a drink or something.

There is no accomodation with those who want you and yours exterminated or reduced to helotry, Edward.

You know, at first I thought you were talking about my partner here and I was pleasantly surprised. After re-reading though, I think you're talking about you and yours, not me and mine.

There's always that unstated conclusion hanging over your view on this Tacitus.

Muslims MUST abandon the doctrines of jihad and dhimmi. They are free to choose not to, but if they do not...

what?

Communism was never perceived as such an overwhelming threat as in the US . . .

Um. You did want our missiles and bases there to prevent the Red Army from ever sweeping back through the Eastern Bloc into your countries, no? I mean, my family lived in Germany for three years on just that premise.

Hitler was not elected on a campaignpromiss to exterminate the Jews:

As if he never wrote Mein Kampf.

I just don't see the historical justification for asserting that Allah is anything but a pre-Islamic tribal deity grafted onto an appropriated notion of the Judeo-Christian god.

Wow.

You ever consider becoming a Rabbi?

Given that I have consistently maintained that it is specifically the doctrines of jihad and dhimmi that we need to smash, rather than Islam per se, one of two things is happening with you, here:
You're misunderstanding me, or....
....you do not think the pernicious, violent and orthodox manifestations of those two doctrines are at all separable from Islam itself.

Hmm -- the third option is that he read your earlier comment, where you said:

The violence you see in Islam today is not some new development. It's an intrinsic expression of the faith

Maybe you and I have different definitions of the word "intrinsic", but that statement (and many similar ones you've made at your site) leaves the impression you see Islam as inherently, irrevocably violent, and indeed you've admitted that you think that might be the case. If you think Islam is inherently broken in that way, then the natural conclusion is that you want to see Islam gone.

Oh, I'm aware that there are Jews who feel the Christian God is a similar false appropriation. That's perfectly fine. They're free to do so.

You know, at first I thought you were talking about my partner here and I was pleasantly surprised. After re-reading though, I think you're talking about you and yours, not me and mine. There's always that unstated conclusion hanging over your view on this Tacitus.

I am forced to admit that I have no idea what you're talking about here.

Muslims MUST abandon the doctrines of jihad and dhimmi. They are free to choose not to, but if they do not...what?

War or containment.

Edward:

I don't believe Islam needs to go the way of the USSR to resolve the threat of terrorism. I do believe political pressure/incentives on Muslim states to democratize their governments is needed. I do believe a resolution to the Israeli Palestinian problem is needed.

I sincerely hope you are right but I don't honestly believe that it's our (meaning the U. S. or the West's) call. I believe that this is a call that belongs to Muslims. I'm not very optimistic right now. It looks to me from this great distance that it's two steps backward for each step forward right now.

Katherine:

Finally: I don't think many people, or any in power in the West, have advocated genocide. The day may come, but it hasn't yet.

I for one believe we should be trying to avoid genocide as the tactic of choice. And I think that one of strongest arguments for decisive action now by the West is to avoid genocide later. What do you believe would be the appropriate response to the murder of a million Americans—as has been suggested is planned by al Qaeda in news reports today? It's a question that must be confronted squarely and confronted now.

Slarti, I have to say that I'm usually not in favor of mixes, but Williams Sonoma makes a dang good one*. Its especially good after ballgames while the steaks grill (my apologies to the herbivores).

*Although the recipe seems to have reversed the proportions for mix and tequila. But then, don't they all?

What do you believe would be the appropriate response to the murder of a million Americans—as has been suggested is planned by al Qaeda in news reports today?

Track down and kill Al Qaeda.

Stop projecting the valid reasons for such action onto pre-existing desires to invade other, unrelated countries.

Come down hard on Saudi Arabia's monarchy (that might not be anywhere near as unpopluar as CW wisdom suggests it would, so long as it didn't include US troops on holy ground). Come down harder on Pakistan.

These two countries help al Qaeda so much more than Iraq ever did...why the hell we're pretending they're our friends is a mystery.

The irony in the approach being advocated is folks are perfectly happy to declare war on a religion and by extension the mostly poor devout followers of that religion, but stop shy of aggrevating the two governments most in bed with the terrorist organization we are most directly threatened by.

Edward:

I like all of those suggestions. How?

Tacitus pointed out that he just don't see the historical justification for asserting that Allah is anything but a pre-Islamic tribal deity grafted onto an appropriated notion of the Judeo-Christian god.

....no comment necessary.

Tacitus: I seem to recall that McVeigh was an atheist, but as I can't find any cite for that now, let's accept what you say at face value.

It has always been my understanding that he was strongly associated with the Christian Identity movement, who believe that a bloody battle must be waged (against non-whites and, presumably, the American government) to establish a Christian theocracy as preparation for the Second Coming, or something along those lines. Whether this was an important motivation to McVeigh, I don't know for sure, but this would not have been a novel concept to him, and I have always assumed it played a role.

(Although characterizing the entirely of the Murrah Federal Building as a "day care center" is really stretching things.)

It sure would be if anyone made such a characterization. I'll assume you quibble because you think I didn't adequately encapsulate the horror of the act. You are right; I don't think any words can adequately describe it.

Were they lauded by substantial numbers of Christians worldwide? Was he part of a movement with pan-Christian appeal around the world?

You can be sure that Christians were disproportionately represented among those who supported the attack, but these are fringe groups precisely because we have a highly secular government and a culture that is becoming increasingly tolerant as the years go on. Were North America a block of Christian theocracies, I suspect the situation would be quite different. Was there not widespread support for the atrocities committed by the church in years past, including the destruction of native cultures, the deaths of "heretics", and the holy wars waged against Islamic nations? You're a student of history: did the vast majority of mainstream Christians stand up against the inquisition or the crusades, or did they keep their mouths shut or even voice their support to avoid falling prey themselves? Was this behavior intrinsic to the Christian faith (which also calls on its followers to be "soldiers")? Or was it a more generic sort of wickedness that found an outlet through the church?

Humans have a remarkable faculty for organizing themselves into the same patterns regardless of the ideologies they profess to serve. Islam is no different from any other major religion in this regard. Getting caught up too much in which religion is inferior only gets you mired down in the same muck as those you oppose.

Gromit: Oh, and Edward would be persona non grata in plenty of extremist Christian communities....

Tacitus: Quite true. Operative word there? Extremist. Contrast with Edward's persona non grata status in, well, pretty much most Muslim communities on the planet. Especially if he was born Muslim himself. These aren't extremists: they're the Muslim mainstream.

This is, I'm afraid, a game of definitions. Does supporting the FMA make one an extremist? Does hounding gay teachers out of the public schools make one an extremist? Because many "mainstream" Christians do both. And many mainstream Christians don't. Hmm, if even mainstream Christendom isn't ideologically monolithic, what might that suggest about other religions?

Please. It's appalling how evil is so ably abetted by those determined not to recognize it.

I'm also determined not to recognize the Harry Potter series as evil. I suppose I'm a lost cause.

Track down and kill Al Qaeda.

And when the attacks and jihad don't stop when al Qaeda is stopped -- what then? Because they won't.

Come down hard on Saudi Arabia's monarchy (that might not be anywhere near as unpopluar as CW wisdom suggests it would, so long as it didn't include US troops on holy ground).

Good luck with that. By the way, you familiar with whole concept of dar al-Islam? Namely, the notion that all Muslim lands are sanctified ground?

The irony in the approach being advocated is folks are perfectly happy to declare war on a religion and by extension the mostly poor devout followers of that religion, but stop shy of aggrevating the two governments most in bed with the terrorist organization we are most directly threatened by.

I certainly am not.


Communism was never perceived as such an overwhelming threat as in the US . . .

Um. You did want our missiles and bases there to prevent the Red Army from ever sweeping back through the Eastern Bloc into your countries, no? I mean, my family lived in Germany for three years on just that premise.

I remember the demonstrations against those. This picture is 1981, Amsterdam; 400.000 people protesting against nuc.missiles. Of course there were heated debates, but quite a number of people appearantly did not perceive the threat as being so overwhelming. Hence my statement.


Hitler was not elected on a campaignpromiss to exterminate the Jews:

As if he never wrote Mein Kampf.

A perfect example. Have you ever read it? It does not say that all jews should be killed, it mainly focusses on the grandness of the white men and the dangers of racial degradation. Only real white germans should be citizens, only the healthy ones should get permission to procreate. Women exist mainly to breed more white men and can only become full citizens upon marriage. Jews should be "foreigners" and as such prevented from holding positions of power and if the economy demands it they should be thrown out of the country. Loads and loads of 'us versus them' and 'we are the best'.

You can be sure that Christians were disproportionately represented among those who supported the attack

Who, exactly?

Gromit:

Whether [Christian Identity] was an important motivation to McVeigh, I don't know for sure, but this would not have been a novel concept to him, and I have always assumed it played a role.

Okay. That's fine. I'm not quite sure what your point here is, considering CI and its ilk are pretty clearly fringes, whereas the advocates of jihad and dhimmi are, within their religious milieu, not.

It sure would be if anyone made such a characterization.

Deeply, deeply disingenuous of you, Gromit.

....but these are fringe groups precisely because we have a highly secular government and a culture that is becoming increasingly tolerant as the years go on.

They're also fringe groups because nothing intrinsic to orthodox Christianity supports such views. Can't exactly dismiss that as irrelevant.

Were North America a block of Christian theocracies, I suspect the situation would be quite different.

Funny you mention that. On the whole, explicitly Christian political organizations these days are fairly humane, fairly tolerant, fairly socially conscious groups. The Christian Democrats of Europe being the prime example. The Christian leftists of the US (think Dorothy Day) being another. The Christian pro-democrats of east Asia (think Korean dissidents seeking refuge at Myongdong Cathedral; think Chinese Christians agitating for political liberalization) being another. The Christian social activists of Latin America (think Oscar Romero, think liberation theologists, think the Varela Project) being another. And yes, the Christian right of the American South being another. That last may surprise those more accustomed to knee-jerk demonization of that group; but the reality is that there's a lot of charitable work, and a lot of social involvement going on in its various organizations.

So, I think your suspicion about imaginary Christian theocracies is hardly a reasonable or informed one. The general pattern is a positive one.

Was there not widespread support for the atrocities committed by the church in years past, including the destruction of native cultures, the deaths of "heretics", and the holy wars waged against Islamic nations?

Look, please, to the role that Spanish clerics and the Roman Church played in protecting the Indians of Latin America (free clue: the Pope had to intervene to declare them fully human, so the Spaniards would not slaughter them all). Look to the role that Christian religious societies in Britain and the United States played in their respective abolition movements (clue no.2 -- they drove that train). Look, in short, to examples that don't conform to your prejudices, and you'll find that a different picture emerges.

Oh, by the way: the "the holy wars waged against Islamic nations?" Defensive counterattacks. Lasting a few centuries. Mostly failures. Not manifestations of basic Christian doctrine in any sense. Contrast, please, with the Islamic assaults from the seventh century through today upon Poitiers, Constantinople, Vienna, New York.

Was this behavior intrinsic to the Christian faith (which also calls on its followers to be "soldiers")?

Again, disingenuous. You assuredly know better. Christianity has a just war theory derived from Greek and modern thought on the subject. It has no holy war doctrine emanating from and sanctified by the very founder of the faith.

Again, contrast with the bellicosity of The Prophet.

Islam is no different from any other major religion in this regard.

False. It takes a willful foolishness indeed to refuse to recognize the essential differences in thought and culture between Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, et al. They are not simply the same creed with different proper nouns appended. Each represents a unique approach to life and afterlife, with differeing prescriptions, concepts, and commandments. Is there overlap? Sure. It does not follow that they are the same.

This is, I'm afraid, a game of definitions.

No, it's a "game" of plain numbers.

I'm also determined not to recognize the Harry Potter series as evil.

Yeah, remember that Harry Potter book that slaughtered 3,000 in NYC that one morning? Remember those Harry Potter books that got together and beheaded some screaming innocent? Remember the Harry Potter book that poured gasoline over his sister and set her alight?

Fatuous.

Good luck with that. By the way, you familiar with whole concept of dar al-Islam? Namely, the notion that all Muslim lands are sanctified ground?

Um. I would suggest that this is not a universally-accepted definition of dar al-Islam.

ME
Communism was never perceived as such an overwhelming threat as in the US . . .

PHIL
Um. You did want our missiles and bases there to prevent the Red Army from ever sweeping back through the Eastern Bloc into your countries, no? I mean, my family lived in Germany for three years on just that premise.

ME NOW
I remember the demonstrations against those. This picture is 1981, Amsterdam; 400.000 people protesting against nuc.missiles. Of course there were heated debates, but quite a number of people appearantly did not perceive the threat as being so overwhelming. Hence my statement.

ME
Hitler was not elected on a campaignpromiss to exterminate the Jews:

PHIL
As if he never wrote Mein Kampf.

ME NOW
A perfect example. Have you ever read it? It does not say that all jews should be killed, it mainly focusses on the grandness of the white men and the dangers of racial degradation. Only real white germans should be citizens, only the healthy ones should get permission to procreate. Women exist mainly to breed more white men and can only become full citizens upon marriage. Jews should be "foreigners" and as such prevented from holding positions of power and if the economy demands it they should be thrown out of the country. Loads and loads of 'us versus them' and 'we are the best'.

Some disjointed thoughts:

many of the commenters are guilty of parsing with a fine-tooth comb prior posts, in order to respond to single sentences instead of overarching themes. this may be a good debating strategy, but it's lousy at persuading us lurkers.

Even though I'm a card-carrying member of the anti-invasion group, I'm still trying to understand both the substance (what are you trying to achieve) and the procedure (how are you trying to achieve it) of the pro-war group.

The substance is becoming more clear: that the Middle East become more tolerant of the West and Israel, and that Middle East governments be more representative.

But here's my first question: how do the pro-war folks resolve the tension inherent in those goals? Except for the Iranian youth movement, which has been chafing under strict Islamic rule for long enough to want a revolution, virtually the rest of the ME is virulently anti-American. Overthrow the totalitarian governments of Syria, Egypt or especially Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic fundamentalists will step in.

Example 1: Turkey. It stepped close to the edge of civil war, and appears to be stepping back. Both the religious political groups and the military have moderated their messages.

Example 2: Algeria. Democratic elections were held recently. But the country paid a terrible price in a bloody, ruthless civil war.

What are the lessons to be drawn? Can the US assist ME countries in achieving velvet revolutions at all? There are two powerful factions to overcome: the governments in power, and the forces of radical Islam. Is there any role for US meddling in the affairs of these governments?

Process: It is possible for pro-West democracies to emerge from US occupation. (Japan/Germany/Italy/Confederate US). Other countries have not fared so well. (Lebanon, Viet Nam, Somalia, Haiti etc.)

2nd major question: what are the characteristics of US successes, both at home and in the occupied country?

3rd question: what are the characteristics of US failures?

It seems to me that the US saw Saddam as a cancer, that could be excised from the body politic leaving a healthy community behind. In retrospect, that view was naive; Saddam appears to have created a strong enough national identity that Iraqis see the war as one of occupation, not liberation.

So now that we are seen, fairly or not, as aggressors and occupiers, it seems that we're hosed. Put it this way: if the US were invaded by the Chinese in 20 years from now to put an end to US meddling in the rest of the world, how long would each of you resist? I may loathe the current government, but I would never greet an occupier with flowers.

Remember that line from Star Wars? It went something like this: The more you tighten your grip, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

As far as I can tell, successful occupations generally require mass slaughter (in japan, the slaughter took place before the occupation) and/or ethnic cleansing. Is this what we want to become?

The run-up to next January's elections should be fascinating. Will the anti-US parties be allowed to run? Will the elections even be held? Will the various factions be able to form a coherent government?

Interesting times. Very interesting times.

cheers

Francis

fdl:

I'd love to answer your questions but since I'm not pro-war (best described as a skeptic) I'm not qualified.

Process: It is possible for pro-West democracies to emerge from US occupation. (Japan/Germany/Italy/Confederate US). Other countries have not fared so well. (Lebanon, Viet Nam, Somalia, Haiti etc.)

You should add the Phillipines and S. Korea to your list of US occupied-successes and remove the Confederacy. The Confederacy was part of the United States.

Also remove Lebanon and Somalia from the list of US occupied failures. We had troops stationed there but never by any stretch of the imagination occupied them.

The only time we occupied Haiti was after World War I and it could reasonably be termed a success.

My reaction is that success or failure had more to do with how dysfunctional the individual societies were when we went in than any other factors. Perhaps not propitious for Iraq.

Edward:

I like all of those suggestions. How?

  • Track down and kill Al Qaeda.

    That one seems straight forward enough, and I assume, as well as the resources allotted for it allow, we're doing that. I am suspicious/annoyed about the reports that Bush is putting a bit of extra pressure on Pakistan to find some "high-value targets (HVTs) before Americans go to the polls in November" though. This story didn't get much traction though, so I suspect it's mostly hearsay.

    Tacitus argues that some other organization will spring up in its place and I suspect he's right, but the longer AQ lasts, the bigger their myth becomes. What are we waiting for?

  • Stop projecting the valid reasons for such action onto pre-existing desires to invade other, unrelated countries.

    Given the current climate, I doubt even the Bush Adminstration would attempt to do this one again. Folks who feel they haven't done it yet, I've heard your arguments. No disrespect, but I disagree.

  • Come down hard on Saudi Arabia's monarchy (that might not be anywhere near as unpopluar as CW wisdom suggests it would, so long as it didn't include US troops on holy ground).

    I think this should involve all the nonmilitary resources at our disposal first. Schumer is becoming more vocal in criticizing the US-Saudi ties.

    "There's been much too close a relationship between Saudi royal family, the White House and big oil. We have to be much tougher with the Saudis," he said in an interview broadcast Sunday on WNBC-TV's "News Forum."

    He criticized Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayaf for "talking favorably" about terrorism and for blaming suicide bombings in Riyadh earlier this year on a Zionist plot.

    Others need to follow his lead. Turn up the heat. Make these stories front page news. Make a bigger deal of which Gas Stations are selling Saudi Oil, make it uncomfortable for anyone benefitting from these practices to benefit.

    There's a growing "Blaming the Saudi's is racist" movement. Nip it in the bud. Repeat 10 times a day that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi.

    Make the monarchy sweat until they beg us to tone it down. Tell them the price for doing so is their taking more concrete steps to democratizing SA.

  • Come down harder on Pakistan.

    Here we pull no punches. I know the situation is more precarious because of Musharraf's nukes, but the fact that he merely slapped Abdul Qadeer Khan on the wrists should have led to strong condemnation by Bush. I know we're still relying on them to help us find bin Laden...but how long does that buy them wiggle room? Reportedly they're getting cozy again with the reforming Taliban. At a certain point we cut off the fake friendship and put them on notice. Clean up your act or we'll put the Bush Doctrine to good use.

    Admittedly, I have no data to tell me how potentially disastrous threatening Pakistan might be, but, again, promoting some vague war on "Islam" while we play nicey-nice with real, known enemy states is maddening.

  • Tacitus: Deeply, deeply disingenuous of you, Gromit.

    How so? The bomb was placed, if I recall correctly, right under the day care center of the Murrah building. How is it disingenuous to characterize that act as "blowing up a day care center"? Simply put, it was a monstrous thing to do.

    They're also fringe groups because nothing intrinsic to orthodox Christianity supports such views. Can't exactly dismiss that as irrelevant.

    A true statement, but slightly tautological, which diminishes its relevance. If I you were to remove the qualifier "orthodox" then I suspect the members of these groups would disagree with the assertion that their views are not intrinsic to the faith. Of course, if I know anything about Christianity they would be completely wrong, but this is a perfect illustration of how two sets of people who purport to follow the same faith have dramatically different interpretations of doctrine (one with violent consequences, one perfectly peaceful).

    Funny you mention that. On the whole, explicitly Christian political organizations these days are fairly humane, fairly tolerant, fairly socially conscious groups.

    Yes, "these days". How has the intrinsic nature of Christianity changed since the times when this was not the case?

    It takes a willful foolishness indeed to refuse to recognize the essential differences in thought and culture between Jainism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, et al. They are not simply the same creed with different proper nouns appended.

    Again, you are absolutely correct, which is why I would never express such a view. The view I did express was that human behavior is relatively consistent throughout history among the more widespread religions, regardless of the specifics of the creed. Power structures are, in my experience, much more potent determinants of human behavior than ideology, religious or otherwise.

    Yeah, remember that Harry Potter book that slaughtered 3,000 in NYC that one morning? Remember those Harry Potter books that got together and beheaded some screaming innocent? Remember the Harry Potter book that poured gasoline over his sister and set her alight?

    Are you simply saying the acts described above are evil? If that were your original thesis, we would not be having this conversation, because I agree entirely. Or are you saying mass murders, beheadings, and honor killings are the special domain of Islam? Which religions get blamed for the actions of a fraction of their adherents (in these cases behaviors that transcend cultures and go back to before the inception of Islam) and which get the benefit of the doubt?

    Hmmm...I have to say this is the first time I've seen anyone suggest that McVeigh's prime motivation for the OKC bombing was religious. Well, you learn something new every day.

    Still, it'd be interesting to know which Christian groups applauded the bombing. Maybe I can learn two things today.

    The view I did express was that human behavior is relatively consistent throughout history among the more widespread religions, regardless of the specifics of the creed. Power structures are, in my experience, much more potent determinants of human behavior than ideology, religious or otherwise.

    You're being naive if you don't believe that the ideology or scripture in religion doesn't influence what kinds of power structures exist. The bible doesn't tell you how to conduct political matters; the Koran does. Jesus doesn't tell you to conduct wars on his behalf; Mohammed does.

    This isn't irrelevant to the history of either religion, or to the present day. Making all religions equal makes your intellectual life easier, but it's just a way to ignore complexities and differences.

    Edward, I know you said you didn't want me to mix in.

    But there was a reason why I decided to accept being banned at Tacitus's blog: because it seemed to me important to speak out for the truth - even if, as actually happened, Tacitus than censored what I'd said and deleted the link to the post in which I'd said it. Which is here.

    Because, yes, sometimes it's better to play along and make nice and not actually use the divisive word "bigot". But sometimes, where the bigot is articulate, has an audience, and (as most bigots do) claiming that theire bigotry is actually just a well-thought-out recognition of the facts: at that point it seems to me to be morally irresponsible not to stand up and say "No, you're a bigot" and walk out.

    And, sometimes, it's just easier to play the martyr than to win on the debate floor. I think you've plugged your POV amply, Jesurgislac.

    Moe Lane says: "We are skirting the edge of "reasonably civil" here, and I'm frankly surprised at both Tac and fabius for it." He apparantly sets the bar for civility fairly high since I assume that the bit of snark he objects to is my comment: "You're fourth point is kind of touchy-feely and might drive the conversation in a nuanced direction. Since I'm not there to drink a toast to lovely average Muslim mothers I'll have to discourage you from persuing this line of discussion since we'd lose our conservative friends."

    Now I thought it was some tame snark, especially as I claimed friendship for conservatives, perhaps something that's not reciprocated. Be that as it may, I rarely make my affections conditional and prefer to look on the sunny side of life. But what makes my statement almost uncivil? Am I wrong to insinuate that conservatives have no affection for nuance?

    Many conservatives how visit this site also inhabit Tacitus.org. A few taglines their provide some evidence for the insinuation.

    Timmy uses the following as his tag as he was so impressed by alk's wit: "The Left is looking for a nuance that does not exist in this particular war. -Wisdom by alk"

    Sulla proclaims that: "Speak clearly, if you speak at all" or nuance is foolish double speak"

    Ken White insist that: "Superior firepower beats nuance everytime."

    Now, insinuation and nuance likely share a root word. And one couldn't hardly do snark without employing one or the other. Perhaps Moe's objection to my snark is further demostration of the right's war on nuance. But perhaps I'm wrong to try to generalize behaviors from this small dataset. Are there examples of leading conservatives that are loath to use nuance?

    And according to Bob Woodward, George W. Bush "Doesn't do nuance." He will, in fact, refuse to answer a question on the grounds that it nuanced. A mythology of straight-shooting, never-wavering, gut-deciding leadership surrounds the man who has ended nuance in our time. Perhaps its for the best, I'm not making value judgements here. All's I was doing is trying to disuade Edward from employing a method of debate that seems unappreciated by many here at OW.


    Slartibartfast: Hmmm...I have to say this is the first time I've seen anyone suggest that McVeigh's prime motivation for the OKC bombing was religious. Well, you learn something new every day.

    No, it isn't. Try rereading. His primary motivation was, as far as I know, retaliation for the deaths of the Branch Davidians. And for more information on hate groups (Christian and otherwise), might I refer you to the Southern Poverty Law Center?

    And, sometimes, it's just easier to play the martyr than to win on the debate floor.

    True. Tacitus opted out of winning on the debate floor by banning me: I don't see that makes him a martyr, particularly, but I'm sure it could be spun that way.

    "the fact is that most effective thing he can do to safeguard him is to work for reform within the Muslim community itself."

    Let's leave the rights and wrongs out of it. As a practical matter this is false. A non-Muslim living in Soho, whose main tie to the Muslim community is a relationship strongly disapproved of by religious conservatives, has approximately as much chance of ending the threat of Islamist terrorism as Fred Korematsu did of ending the threat of imperial Japan.* Meanwhile, we have an administration that has wrongly detained, deported, and allowed the abuse of immigrant Muslims. (see my last post for the evidence.) It's gotten somewhat less dangerous as we've gone longer without a terrorist attack, but I fully expect there to be another terrorist attack and I fully expect it to get worse again. A new administration, with a new attorney general, would pose less of a danger to innocent Muslims and immigrants, and this will probably be a close election. If it's not, well, maybe Congress can regain its independence and sense of decency one of these days. Public opinion will matter.

    Of course, the most effective means are probably impeccable immigration papers, and a cell phone with the number of a good lawyer.

    "Social perceptions do not always arise in a vacuum."

    Cop out. The existence of guilty Muslims does not excuse avoidable abuses of innocent Muslims.

    *Not saying that anything equivalent to the detention camps has gone on; it's just the historical example of this kind of collective guilt with which I'm most familiar. The Palmer raids may be a closer parallel, but I don't know much about them.

    OT--well, actually it's on-topic, when I look at the original post: Remember to write to your Congressman and Senators about the Federal Marriage Amendment today! An attempt to exclude a particular despised minority from the Fourteenth Amendment for political gain should not be taken lying down, even if it's not likely to succeed.

    If anyone supports it, well, God. I don't really know what to say to that.

    not that Edward lives in Soho. I was randomly picking an artsy NYC neighborhood.

    Gromit:

    How is it disingenuous to characterize that act as "blowing up a day care center"?

    Come now. There was a day care center in the WTC, too. Going to use that characterization of that building as well? I repeat: disingenuous indeed.

    If I you were to remove the qualifier "orthodox" then I suspect the members of these groups would disagree with the assertion that their views are not intrinsic to the faith.

    No doubt. But irrelevant. There is such a thing as a broad orthodoxy within faiths, and it is definable. Even if you refuse to recognize this fact, you are still faced with the issue of what the preponderance of believers believe: and, let's be quite clear, within Christianity they don't believe in killing for God.

    Yes, "these days". How has the intrinsic nature of Christianity changed since the times when this was not the case?

    Not much, really. Christianity has one evil flaw encoded within its holy texts: anti-Semitism. That has been faced down and rebuked pretty well by the Western churches (not so much so by the Eastern churches). Beyond that, though, you can't really argue that the various crimes of Christians throughout history were expressions of the intrinsic faith.

    The view I did express was that human behavior is relatively consistent throughout history among the more widespread religions, regardless of the specifics of the creed.

    This view is false. Buddhists and Hindus never developed warlike, expansionist empires. Christians let most of their global empires go. Pace the fools of Hindutva, none of these three faiths proved inimical to social pluralism. Why, by contrast, did Islam produce warlike expansionism, a tenacious will to hold on to every inch of territory at all costs, and an extant system of religiously-based apartheid?

    Beliefs and doctrines matter, and they do produce massively differing behaviors. It's not all economic determinism and pure power dynamics.

    Are you simply saying the acts described above are evil?

    More like it's silly to implicitly compare the "threat" of Harry Potter to the modern crimes of Islamists.

    Or are you saying mass murders, beheadings, and honor killings are the special domain of Islam?

    I hear the Unitarians are into beheadings.

    I kid. Seriously, yeah, it's mostly Muslims you get this stuff from these days. Pity, but true.

    Which religions get blamed for the actions of a fraction of their adherents....

    A fraction? I guess the majority who endorse the jihad and dhimmi technically constitute a "fraction."

    No, it isn't.

    Ok, if you say so. Am I lying, do you think?

    And for more information on hate groups

    No one's said that hate groups don't exist. Again, I'm still not seeing evidence of even fringe support for the OKC bombings.

    Katherine:

    A non-Muslim living in Soho, whose main tie to the Muslim community is a relationship strongly disapproved of by religious conservatives, has approximately as much chance of ending the threat of Islamist terrorism....

    He doesn't have to end the threat of Islamic terror. What he can do is support the work of those trying to get American Muslims to stop supporting it -- and its apologists.

    The existence of guilty Muslims does not excuse avoidable abuses of innocent Muslims.

    No one is arguing that. I am arguing that one can't bemoan that, as a Muslim, one is subjected to extra public scrutiny, while doing nothing whatsoever to address the legitimate sources of that scrutiny.

    If anyone supports it, well, God. I don't really know what to say to that.

    Shocking, I know.

    Actually we do live in Soho, Katherine...cliched as that may be.

    Still, it'd be interesting to know which Christian groups applauded the bombing.

    You and me both, S.

    Tacitus opted out of winning on the debate floor by banning me

    Again, not to speak for Tacitus, but I suspect you were banned for a) calling him a bigot, and b) supporting this accusation with a circular argument. And this latest routine, which boils down to "I know you are, but what am I?", isn't any more compelling than your livejournal entry.

    But there was a reason why I decided to accept being banned at Tacitus's blog....

    Heh. That reason being: you had no choice, having totally blown it? Right.

    Free clue, Jes: while you're braying bigotbigotbigotbigot, there's a discussion going on here. Join, perhaps. Or not, more likely. Just saying.

    And this latest routine

    Slarti, in any online argument, the loser is the one who has to resort to banning to "win". Tacitus lost.

    Heh. That reason being: you had no choice, having totally blown it? Right.

    Tacitus, if you bothered to read my journal
    before you erased the link to it and replaced my last post on your blog with your own words, you'd know that I recognised I did have a choice: to keep quiet about your anti-Muslim bigotry, arguing your opinions on Islam/Muslims as if you were basing them on thoughtful observation rather than on bigotry, or to stand up, say my piece, and walk out, letting you slam the door behind me. I chose to stand up and say my piece, aware of how you'd promised you would react to it. Your choice was to ban me or to honestly address your own bigotry. Apparently you're still working on the assumption that you can't be a bigot, because the negative opinions you hold about Islam are true.

    *shrug*

    I chose to stand up and say my piece....

    And say it. And say it. And say it. And say it.

    How noble.

    Look, in the absence of you, say, refuting any of my critiques of Islam -- you haven't, and you can't -- forgive me if I don't take you seriously. In any sense. A man who substitutes invective for argument, and maintains that an SS trooper is a "hero" merely for dying for his beliefs, is a poor excuse for an interlocutor. Or a moral actor, frankly.

    Jesur/Tac - get a room. You know, a IM room.

    Fabius - You're right, and I apologize.

    Before Moe steps in and does his kindergarten teacher bit, I bow out.

    Jes, I don't think it's useful to rehash banning decisions at other sites.

    Tac, I thought you said once that a constitutional amendment was "supremely unneccessary"? Perhaps I am mis-remembering. If you have changed your mind, why?

    Here's my prognostication about what will happen if the amendment does not pass:

    1) The Supreme Court will uphold DOMA, or find it superfluous, as far as one state recognizing gay marriages in another state--the full faith and credit argument against it won't succeed. (I don't know much about the full faith and credit clause, but as I understand it the consensus is that this would be the correct decision.)

    2) The Supreme Court will strike down DOMA as regards the federal government. (This is also the correct decision, in my view.)

    3) The Supreme Court will reject the Equal Protection argument against state bans on gay marriage. (This is the wrong decision, in my view.)

    4) Some liberal state supreme courts will follow Goodridge, and some liberal state legislatures will allow gay marriages or civil unions. Most states will not for a while.

    5) Eventually, all or most states will, because there is a large generational divide on this issue. But it will take a long time and the courts will not move very far ahead of public opinion.

    6) This will not threaten mine or any other straight person's marriage in any way at all. It will improve life, a lot, for some very close friends of mine.

    The prediction I'm least confident of on this list is #2. The prediction I'm most confident of is #6.

    Jes, I don't think it's useful to rehash banning decisions at other sites.

    Tac, I thought you said once that a constitutional amendment was "supremely unneccessary"? Perhaps I am mis-remembering. If you have changed your mind, why?

    Here's my prognostication about what will happen if the amendment does not pass:

    1) The Supreme Court will uphold DOMA, or find it superfluous, as far as one state recognizing gay marriages in another state--the full faith and credit argument against it won't succeed. (I don't know much about the full faith and credit clause, but as I understand it the consensus is that this would be the correct decision.)

    2) The Supreme Court will strike down DOMA as regards the federal government. (This is also the correct decision, in my view.)

    3) The Supreme Court will reject the Equal Protection argument against state bans on gay marriage. (This is the wrong decision, in my view.)

    4) Some liberal state supreme courts will follow Goodridge, and some liberal state legislatures will allow gay marriages or civil unions. Most states will not for a while.

    5) Eventually, all or most states will, because there is a large generational divide on this issue. But it will take a long time and the courts will not move very far ahead of public opinion.

    6) This will not threaten mine or any other straight person's marriage in any way at all. It will improve life, a lot, for some very close friends of mine.

    The prediction I'm least confident of on this list is #2. The prediction I'm most confident of is #6.

    Moe should get a bigger whistle.

    But the steel cage match amongst Edward, Jes, Fabius and Tac, simply put is an awful lot of the same old stuff.

    Edward, I leave you with this one question, if you lived in an Islamic country how would you and your partner be treated (as compared to the US)?

    Jesur/Tac - get a room. You know, a IM room.

    Oh, finally I respond to the steady stream of calumnies, and this is what I get. Bah, Fabius.

    ....I bow out.

    As usual.

    Honestly, Katherine, it probably is unnecessary (I thought it was necessary from a full faith and credit standpoint, but it seems I may have been wrong). At this point, though, I'm so immensely tired of being derided as a "bigot" for supporting the principle behind it -- namely, that marriage is an explicitly heterosexual institution -- that I'm just going to support FMA out of pure irritation with those who oppose it.

    Yeah, I know it won't pass. But after watching the debate, I wouldn't be sad if it did.

    Tac, can you point me to evidence that the corrupted definition of the term jihad which is embraced by militants is also embraced by a majority of muslims worldwide? I would be suprised. I do, however, feel that things are going in that direction, in no small part due to the way the U.S. tends to use a hammer where a soldering iron would do (particularly in terms of rhetoric).

    "It's an intrinsic expression of the faith, and has been such since the time of the Prophet."
    I disagree. Even if it were an intrinsic expression of the faith, I think you would have to date that to some of the prophet's later successors, rather than the prophet.

    "I just don't see the historical justification for asserting that Allah is anything but a pre-Islamic tribal deity grafted onto an appropriated notion of the Judeo-Christian god."
    And the Judeo-Christian god is not an appropriated notion?

    One more comment that I feel compelled to make is that every major religion has, at some time or another, been interpreted in such a way as to give some minority a great measure of secular or political power. I concede the point that Islam is currently the world champion of corrupted textual interpretation to serve political ends, but it's never been a one horse race and never will be.

    (This last bit is slightly off topic.) To paraphrase some of the comments above, the world's just not a black-and-white, for-us-or-agin'-us kind of place. Especially for those of us who are Americans. Why we of all nationalities can't seem to grasp this is beyond me. People where I live sometimes ask me about "a typical American". I can only respond that there is no such thing. Our leaders' thinking should reflect this.

    I don't believe you really take positions on what Constitution should say based on pique. Anyway, they may be talking about Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Paul Weyrich, etc., not you. Those folks really are bigots.

    Trivia: I got married the same day of the year that the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified. To see it asterisked, by people claiming to defend my marriage, at the expense of good friends who were at my wedding, just pisses the hell out of me. And I'm not even personally affected.

    I don't throw around "bigot", since it's not useful and not accurate for most FMA supporters; I don't throw around "homophobe", which is more often accurate (why do this, except fear?) but equally useless. But this is a personal issue, and it's not surprising that emotions run high and manners get bad.

    Edward, I leave you with this one question, if you lived in an Islamic country how would you and your partner be treated (as compared to the US)?

    I'm sorry, Timmy. I know how hard straight folk work to treat me and my partner real kind and all, much much better than those mean ol' Muslims would, almost human some would argue, but here I was thinking the standard in the US was "equal."

    I'll fight for my rights, thank you. I don't need anyone's charity.

    Yeah, I know it won't pass. But after watching the debate, I wouldn't be sad if it did.

    And I'm sorry for you too Tacitus, that by fighting for my rights I'm so heavily taxing your patience.

    You wouldn't be sad if discrimination was written into the constitution? You don't have much respect for the document then, I'd say.

    I know both of you will take offense at these comments. I know both of you won't feel you deserve this from me. I don't think either of you have a good sense of just how humiliating having other people pontificate on the validity of your relationship is, as if you're cattle, though.


    Tac, can you point me to evidence that the corrupted definition of the term jihad which is embraced by militants is also embraced by a majority of muslims worldwide?

    It's not a "corrupted" definition. It is, rather, the historical and preponderant definition as established by the Prophet. Don't take my word for it: scholars of Islam like Robert Spencer, Bernard Lewis, and Daniel Pipes have written on this at length. And if you don't want to take their word for it, troll MEMRI and see how the terminology is used and understood.

    And if even MEMRI doesn't satisfy you, even Edward reports that his Muslim friends all understand jihad in that way.

    People where I live sometimes ask me about "a typical American". I can only respond that there is no such thing.

    But there is. All Americans ought to have -- and, I think, do have -- at a minimum a belief in some form of classical liberalism and a reverence for the Constitution as the foundation for their beliefs.

    Timmy--
    I would be treated worse in a Muslim country too. Does this mean I shouldn't complain if I was prohibited from driving only at night, or allowed to go to college but only certain schools, or allowed to work but only at discriminatory wages?

    So would my husband. Does that mean he shouldn't complain if he is merely discriminated against for being Jewish, with no danger to his life?

    Of course it doesn't. And you know that full well.

    Edward, I took Timmy's query as trying to draw forth from you an admission that maybe you're pretty much dead wrong on your assessment of Islamic societies and their capacity for tolerance -- not a comparative exercise.

    And I'm sorry for you too Tacitus, that by fighting for my rights I'm so heavily taxing your patience.

    It's not a right you have, in my book. But it's the mouth-breating invective that taxes my patience far more than your efforts.

    You wouldn't be sad if discrimination was written into the constitution? You don't have much respect for the document then, I'd say.

    Would you really? Who bore arms in its defense between the two of us? Thanks, Edward. (And please don't riposte with the military's gay policies -- I'd give credit even if you wanted to. But let's be honest, here.) In answer to your question, it would trouble me no more than "discriminitory" Constitutional age limits on officeholders.

    I don't think either of you have a good sense of just how humiliating having other people pontificate on the validity of your relationship is, as if you're cattle, though.

    Take that up with those pushing this issue into the public sphere. Sort of invites the "pontification," I'd say.

    Timmy--

    I would be treated worse in a Muslim country, too. Exactly what does that have to do with anything?

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    Whatnot


    • visitors since 3/2/2004

    November 2014

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
                1
    2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    9 10 11 12 13 14 15
    16 17 18 19 20 21 22
    23 24 25 26 27 28 29
    30            
    Blog powered by Typepad

    QuantCast