« Sounds about right. | Main | Enlightenment is where you find it. »

May 13, 2004

Comments

"In other words, you don't get to define what "moderate" means. We do. You don't get to have universalist designs, we're talking about how your religion assimilates to our ideals"

Absolutely. They don't get to define moderate as we only kill half your children. They don't get to define moderate as 'we won't actively kill you but we will help hide those who do'.

Would you have trouble with that sentence if you were addressing say a Christian in the U.S about anti-homosexual laws in New Mexico?

Would you have trouble with that sentence if you were talking about Catholics having to deal with the problems of overpopulation in Latin America?

Do you think a definition of Muslim moderate that doesn't attack Americans but still locks women away and engages in female genital mutilation would be ok?

Please distinguish.

In other words, you don't get to define what "moderate" means. We do.

That sounds right Edward. I mean, the determination of whether any word I use is racist or bigoted is made by an aggrieved party. We, Americans, are the aggrieved party in this war. So in this country, just as homosexuals decide if legislation attacks their rights and work to rally others of us to the cause, or African-Americans determine what speech is appropriate for non-African-Americans to use or I get to decide whether or not I will skydive, we will determine if supporting second class citizenhood for women or believing the Mossad was behind 9/11 or giving money to charities that use it to fund terrorists is moderate behavior.

And yes, in the United States, where our universalist designs, our live and let live traditions have always tried to be bound by "as long as you do not abridge the rights of others" we will determine if someone else's universalist designs fit with that credo or not.

I think you are misreading McCarthy. (Fair warning -- I am basing this merely on your quotes, not the original article.) When he says "talking about how Islam assimilates to American ideals and traditions," I assume he actually means "Islam", not "militant Islam". In other words, he seems to believe that it's possible for this planet (and for the USA) to contain both Islam and America. According the the poster-boys of militant Islam, this is impossible. So, what you want to do is convince moderates that the Osamas of the world are wrong, and that Aziz Poonawallas of the world are right. (Fair warning repeated -- I am basing this merely on your quotes, not the original article.)

Nah, I think you're projecting here, Edward. I think it's actually pretty defensible, and not bigoted at all. Surely he's not asking too much, and there very much does need to be some internal wrangling with the concepts of jihad and dhimmi in order to bring them in line with world norms.

Consider the caste system in Hinduism. It's utterly and completely wrong. I don't think it's cultural imperialism to say that. Or FGM.

The real question is, can you simply denounce these things or declare war on them? I think McCarthy and I would come to vastly different conclusions as to how to skin that particular cat.

The real question is, can you simply denounce these things or declare war on them? I think McCarthy and I would come to vastly different conclusions as to how to skin that particular cat.

You allude to a middle ground between denouncing and war, a plan perchance?

" some internal wrangling with the concepts of jihad and dhimmi in order to bring them in line with world norms."

They're both eminently in line with world norms.

crionna, what I mean is that you can't simply kill everyone who holds immoderate beliefs, as McCarthy seems to want to do. And an American foreign policy predicated on endless military conquest is a recipe for further radicalization.

Sidereal, can you expand on that a bit? My understanding of dhimmi is that there are some more modern interpretations that allow for equality of non-Muslims under the law if not under the eye of God. And my understanding of jihad is that there are more modern interpretations that allow it to be about more of an internal struggle with one's beliefs. So when folks like VDH and Tacitus cite 7th century dogma, throw up their hands like that depressed piano player on Sesame Street and say, "they're never going to change! Never! Never!" I find that counterproductive.

Here's some thoughts on mideast transformation by a guy with some real experience in civil/military issues in unstable regions:

(snip)
"This is evidently not the case in the Middle East. The Enlightenment never much penetrated the Ottoman frontiers, and so the great conflicts of faith versus reason and the value of each individual and his conscience which defined Western civilization were largely screened out there. Modern states in the Middle East emerged after the Ottoman Empire crumbled, and except in the cases of Turkey and Lebanon, there was nothing comparable to a Western democracy. Instead, "state socialism" was eventually imposed upon tribal and colonial heritages in many Arab states--replacing the Ottoman Empire with Western-drawn boundaries, authoritarian rulers, and, at best, pseudo-democratic institutions. Through it all, Islam--with its commingling of secular and religious authorities, and the power of its mullahs and its more fundamentalist, anti-Western sects--remained a significant force. As the example of Iran shows, elections and parliaments can be subverted by other means of control."

(snip)
"Seeking to intervene and essentially impose a democracy on a country without real democratic traditions or the foundations of a pluralist society is not only risky, it is also inherently self-contradictory. All experience suggests that democracy doesn't grow like this. But we are where we are, and we must pull together to try to help this project succeed."

(snip)
"Democracy and freedom have been ascendant in most parts of the world for at least the last 15 years, and it's hard to imagine that they aren't also destined to take root in the Middle East. But to play a constructive role in bringing this about, we must understand the facts on the ground and the lessons of history clearly. Our efforts should take into account not just the desire for freedom of those in the Middle East, but also their pride in their own culture and roots and their loyalty to Islam. We should work primarily with and through our allies, and be patient as we were during the four decades of the Cold War. More than anything else, we should keep in mind the primary lesson of the fall of the Soviet Union: Democracy can come to a place only when its people rise up and demand it."

(snip)
"We should also recognize that it is not merely democracy itself--a popular vote to elect a government--that we seek for the Middle East, but rather more enlightened, tolerant, and moderating decisions and actions from governments. The tolerance, aversion to aggression, and openness which we hope to see emerge from a democratic transformation in the Middle East will require much more than just censuses, election registers, polling booths, and accurate ballot counts. We must avoid what Fareed Zakaria calls "illiberal democracy," governments which are elected but which routinely ignore constitutional limits on their power and deprive their citizens of basic rights and freedoms. Only by creating a system of pluralistic and overlapping structures and institutions that check the power of their leaders can the nations of the Middle East avoid this fate."

(snip)
"Any attempt to build democracy in the Islamic world must begin by taking into account Islam itself, the region's major source of culture, values, and law. There has been no "Protestant reformation" within the Muslim world. The teachings of the Koran tend to reflect an absolutism largely left behind in the West."

(snip)
"We can't know precisely how the desire for freedom among the peoples of the Middle East will grow and evolve into movements that result in stable democratic governments. Different countries may take different paths. Progress may come from a beneficent king, from enlightened mullahs, from a secular military, from a women's movement, from workers returning from years spent as immigrants in Western Europe, from privileged sons of oil barons raised on MTV, or from an increasingly educated urban intelligentsia, such as the nascent one in Iran. But if the events of the last year tell us anything, it is that democracy in the Middle East is unlikely to come at the point of our gun. And Ronald Reagan would have known better than to try."
----
Broken Engagement: The strategy that won the Cold War could help bring democracy to the Middle East-- if only the Bush hawks understood it.

Gen. Wesley Clark
May 2004

Washington Monthly

Clark would be a great choice for VP under President Kerry.
(US Regime Change is a prerequiste for restoring US influence in the mideast)


We, Americans, are the aggrieved party in this war.

I'd be very, very careful about that statement if I were you, crionna. It's not that I necessarily disagree with it -- certainly we're the aggrieved party with respect to the 9/11 attacks, or, more generally, against Al Qaeda -- but that it's the kind of statement that can expand until it's a justification for almost anything at all.

By way of illustration: even if you believe that we are the aggrieved party w.r.t. militant Islam (which I do) and even if you believe that the war in Iraq constitutes a central component in "this war" (which I don't), I don't think there's any way to consider us the aggrieved party in the war in Iraq despite the seemingly obvious logical implication of the two hypotheses. This kind of nontransitivity* is incredibly hard to track and requires constant vigilance in one's arguments.

* It's only loosely nontransitivity; it would be better described as a related phenomenon whose name I don't remember: a property possessed by the whole that is not inherited by one of its determining constituents.

"My understanding of dhimmi is that there are some more modern interpretations that allow for equality of non-Muslims under the law if not under the eye of God. And my understanding of jihad is that there are more modern interpretations that allow it to be about more of an internal struggle with one's beliefs."

My understanding of Christianity is such that there are some more modern interpretations who don't believe that Jesus was a real figure in history.

But in neither your case nor mine are they ascendant beliefs.

I am dreadfullly, woefully ignorant in this area but isn't it an article of faith among Muslims that doctrinal differences are kept "within the family"? I.e., you don't criticize fellow Muslims on doctrinal issues to non-Muslims?

what I mean is that you can't simply kill everyone who holds immoderate beliefs. Edward, well, of course, but I guess there's a line right? If they believe that martyrdom is their highest purpose then let's help them along. If they knowingly contribute to terrorist "charities" then let's jail them. If they believe that Mossad pulled 9/11 then let's scorn them. And truly, if these seem unreasonable, I'd have to deem that person immoderate.

Anarch, I hear ya.

Jim, I'll say it again. Its a pity that The General didn't identify where he thought the ME was on "the communism destroys itself timeline", 1950 or 1988. Where do you think it is?

Sorry Edward, that was a response to asdf.

"Sidereal, can you expand on that a bit? My understanding of dhimmi is that there are some more modern interpretations that allow for equality of non-Muslims under the law if not under the eye of God."

Maybe, but if so they're in the minority. Regardless, dhimmi of nearly any kind is a profoundly intolerant form of ethnic and religious descrimination.

"And my understanding of jihad is that there are more modern interpretations that allow it to be about more of an internal struggle with one's beliefs."

I'm sure there are definitions of Crusade that encompass internal struggles, but we (most of us, anyway) have wisely abandoned the term due to the disturbing and antagonistic connotations it has.

We hold ourselves to a high standard of ethical and civic behavior, including painstaking avoidance of discrimination and gratuitous offense. Holding Arabs and Muslims to a lower standard is a compromise of our principles and is either racist (if you think they aren't capable of it) or criminally conciliatory (if you think they are capable, but are under no obligation)

sidereal, sebastian-

I guess what I'm trying to get at here, fundamentally, is whether there can be a resolution of Islam and the West.

Can it be done without rejecting certain concepts outright?

Can it only be done by fudging established dogma?

Is modernity and social progress sufficient to accomplish reform of Islam itself?

So I'm not really talking about whether *they* can be held to higher standards, but rather it can happen within the framework of Islam.

Perhaps I'm touching on sensitive ground here, so please understand that I ask these questions with the best of intentions.

"Is modernity and social progress sufficient to accomplish reform of Islam itself?"

I'd say a general level of prosperity. The Saudi upper class is as modern as it gets, and they're the font of Wahhabism. For that reason, the Iraq sanctions were a terrible solution. They assumed that you could tuck the Iraqi people away and forget about them while they foundered and died.

The question is how to keep the fanatics at bay while you kindle that prosperity.

McCarthy was right about one thing. It is up moderate Muslims to take their faith back, ostracism be damned. (And I would define moderates as those who are generally accepting of our country's principles and tolerant of those outside their own faith.) Again, where are those moderates? Women have no power so it must come from men. Who will be that imam? Who will be that mullah? What I would like to see is for some MLK type to stand up, both here and abroad, and condemn bin Laden and Wahhabism, proclaim the universal ideals of peace and goodwill, then unequivocally pronounce that the principles of freedom (as embraced here in the US) are consonant with the principles of Islam.

One other thing that bugs me. Some folks dislike being labeled, but I don't mind it. It's a nice shorthand way to generally know where a fella's coming from. If I say I'm a conservative with a libertarian bent who's fond of Reagan, readers get a quick heads-up of where I'm coming from and what my principles are. Is there a similar kind of shorthand that applies to Muslims? Is there a way to conveniently identify a moderate versus a more militant intolerant type? If a group of moderates identify themselves as Kareem Abdul Jabbars or Mohammed Alis, then let's know who they are and get behind them.

This is tangential, but: FGM (female genital mutilation) isn't so closely correlated to Islam. It seems to be an older tradition, because in countries where it's practiced--almost all in Africa, as far as I know--the Islamic and non-Islamic tribes tend to practice it in comparable numbers.

In general, it is absurdly easy for good guys to get shouted down by the bad guys in this world.

"Is modernity and social progress sufficient to accomplish reform of Islam itself?"

Certainly Qutb thought so. It's why the existence of the U. S. is considered a threat independent of its military or economic power.

from what I can gather, Qutb was mostly anti-sprawl and afraid of female sexuality.

I must be dense -- can someone tell me what the point of this discussion is, apart from letting us Westerners feel morally superior? Let's say we conclude that "moderate" Muslims, by our definition, are a small and shrinking minority. What then? We can't eliminate all Muslims or convert them to Americanism en masse. It seems to me that regardless of what the precise percentage of "moderate" Muslims is, we need to be doing our best to encourage them.

If I were Muslim, I think I'd be afraid that the assertions about the pervasiveness of militancy in contemporary Islam were simply a prelude to justifying violent treatment of all Muslims.

We, Americans, are the aggrieved party in this war.
You're not going to win the US any friends with such a narcissistic, nationalistic, self-centered attitude. Hindus, African animists, Filipinos, Indonesian Chinese and Indonesian Christians were aggrieved parties in this war long before September 11th, kind of like the Poles and the Czechs before Pearl Harbor.

Instead of viewing this conflict as between Islam and America or Islam and the West, it would be best to view it as the mujahedin do, as between Muslims and non-Muslims. There are a lot of people in this world who have suffered as a result of Islamic extremism and Americans would have more of their sympathy and that of their governments were it not for the ineptitude and parochialism of the Bush Administration.

"I guess what I'm trying to get at here, fundamentally, is whether there can be a resolution of Islam and the West.

Can it be done without rejecting certain concepts outright?"

No. There are certain aspects of Islam that are wholly incompatible with the West. So long as they are ascendant in Islam, they will try to kill us. We can either let them do so, or kill them in return.

So long as Islam is unwilling to tolerate other beliefs AND willing to kill people to do so it is incompatible with the West. The West is willing to tolerate a wide range of beliefs so long as it isn't otherwise threatened. The problem with fundamentalist Islam so far as the West is concerned is a problem of intolerable temptation. They believe that our hedonistic example is too tempting and needs to be destroyed in order to stop the temptation of their people. So long as they believe that we must fight them because the very mode of our existance is the threat.

crionna:

"where's Islam on internal change (ala Sov. Union - 1950-1988) according to Wes Clark?"

I don't speak for Clark,so my "I think he" comments are really me, trying to project his thoughts. I generally agree with his point that we can't force change, or democracy. That would especially seem true post-Clinton, when our posture on Israel/Palestine and the Iraq II war have created more ill-will than will be changed in decades perhaps.

I think Wes would say somewhere prior to "detente" whenever that was. Early anyway. Maybe Clark would say that our goal should be to withdraw enough for a few years to allow us to try detente with mid-east Islam.

I think his point is that we have to mostly leave them alone, be helpful but not pushy, and wait a few decades. I think he'd make an exception on our activity for active pursuit of organized terrorist rings, but only working with the Europeans, and the mid-east governments involved. I don't know how he'd view carrots and sticks for governments that won't crack down on organized terror rings, or provide substantial money support for them.

You might want to email him at the Wash Monthly and see if he responds. I suspect he's got some free time waiting to see if he's tapped by Kerry for VP (which I surely hope for).

What I like about his plan is the willingness to take steps back to really understand and interact with the Moslems, and think out of the box of the usual kant.

Jim, I don't want you up for a Sarnak award so, my question was in fact directed at you ;)

Detente it seems started in the mid-70's. Honestly, I'm unsure that our enemies in the ME are interested. Nor am I sure I'm comfortable living with Al-Qaeda et. al. for another 30 years.

Unless you're referring to my former advisor, I think you mean a *Carnak* award, crionna ;)

I see Jim has brought up the Washington Monthly article again, since he never responded to my first retort on the article and can't respond to the time line question I think that say enough about Wes's article.

Edward, I've enjoyed artilces on Islam and was going to revisit where we left off at Tac but this Heresy and History article is a better historical analogy of the current civil war gripping Islam than I could ever put together.

I hope you enjoy it.

I am going to jump in on this late in the game, and pugnaciously.

First, when Mr. Holsclaw writes, "There are certain aspects of Islam that are wholly incompatible with the West. So long as they are ascendant in Islam, they will try to kill us. We can either let them do so, or kill them in return" he neglects to mention that there is another option. We can not let them in. We can leave them to their own devices. We can heed Kipling's admonition, "East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet." It is a plain pulverizing fact that September 11 would have been impossible in a country which enforced its immigration laws.

Someone will reply -- usually a liberal who has suddenly become the most dreary of traditionalists -- this is not America's heritage; our tradition is a nation of immigrants; globalization is inevitable. Very well: we can have the argument (though perhaps here is not the place). But the point is that it is an argument. To utter all the unmeaning immigration and globalization cant, though it is often designed to end the argument before it's begun, in fact only begins it.

Secondly, I am very uneasy with Crionna's formulation: "the determination of whether any word I use is racist or bigoted is made by an aggrieved party." This seems to suggest a subjectivism that is quite incoherent. Who will make the determination about who is, in fact, and aggrieved party? Who will determine when an offense is sufficiently grievious to bestow the lofty title Aggrieved Party? Who will be the king-makers in this new Aristocracy of Grievance?

More broadly, I would like to see a discussion of the ancient though protean confrontation between Islam and the Christian West (decayed though it is) that -- just once -- does not assume that bigotry is the most horrible sin a man can commit. I would like to see it entertained that perhaps murder and mayhem exceed in sinfulness discrimination. I would like to see a solemn and sentimental modern townhall meeting, perhaps broadcast on MSNBC with a mass of attendant pollsters, in which a old man in the back stands and cries, in that ringing tone of truth left unspoken for too long, "well I for one would rather be a bigot than a beheader!" and then sit in that hushed silence of monotony shattered by something irrefragably human.

But perhaps I dream.

"well I for one would rather be a bigot than a beheader!"

Those are our choices???

Just a note, Bird Dog has favorably commented on your three parts series on moderate Islam.

Who will make the determination about who is, in fact, and aggrieved party?

Paul, you know as well as I that the answer to that is, you and me and Edward ;)

Edward, I'm afraid that even a ton of articles in the publications you mention will not do the trick. Rightly, or wrongly, Muslims are the last to the party here and they not only must denounce these events, they must reach out. In and earlier thread I cited an Op-ed* in Arizona from a Muslim Dr. who said:

It is impossible as an American not to feel the growing palpable distrust toward the Muslim community. With attacks targeting innocent civilians across the globe, it has sadly at this time gone far beyond the initial prideful question of "Why are Muslims being singled out?" It is time now only to rally and provide an unmistakable resounding reply.

and then organized a march in support of America. Sounds like good PR to me despite the lack of turnout (See Pipes). Would that really be so hard to do in NYC? Would a million Muslim march in DC be such a crazy thing to expect for a people who wish to save their religion from hijack in the American public's eye?

*Arizona Republic Op-Ed by Dr. Jasser

*Pipes' comments

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy

I'd certainly support any such effort Crionna, and will march with them in NYC if they do so, but I won't DEMAND they do so as proof of their commitment to the purity of their religion or their nonsupport of terrorism.

I don't need that proof from the Muslims I know. They prove who they are to me each and every day.

Edward, I get you, but you and I live in places where the chance of meeting and getting to know Muslims is much higher than other places. That makes it easy for us to apply the "I know a number of (insert group name here) and they're good people, so I'll attribute their characteristics to the whole", rule.

I mean jeez Edward, you're a marketer of the obscure (because local artists are nothing if not that). I can't count how many times I've heard "If I could just get people in the door to try Naan, or listen to this music or see this work, people would like it!" And in this case you don't need to get them in the door, you just need to assemble the work often enough and in great enough numbers and the people, through the media, will have the work shoved in their faces.

Aaah, what's the use? If Muslims are happy with the way things stand right now, fine. You'll shout down and cite up everyone who comes to OW with an attitude and when someone pipes up about Muslims, I'll say "Hey, you're wrong, I know a few Muslims and their nice folks" Think that'll turn the tide in Springfield, MO??

I won't DEMAND they do so as proof of their commitment to the purity of their religion or their nonsupport of terrorism.

The demand is that they demonstrate loyalty to this country, especially those who are not her citizens. Their religion is their business; but the country is ours.

Muslims in America should be offered the same choice that potential subversives, insurrectionaries, and revolutionaries have been offered in civilized, decent states since Athens: submit to our laws and demonstrate your loyalty, leave our nation, or face the consequences of disloyalty. In short, Socrates' choice: submission, exile or death.

A state has no obligation to extend its benefits to those who will repay it with disloyalty.

A state has no obligation to extend its benefits to those who will repay it with disloyalty.

How frequently would they have to march to convince you they're not disloyal, Paul? Would it need to be biweekly? More? Would they need to dedicate, oh I don't know, say 95% of their press and websites to denouncing terrorism, vs. the 10% or so they currently do? Would you pay attention if they did? Do you currently read the American Muslim press? Talk to American Muslims? Do they have to drown out all the sources of information you receive to convince you?

Aaah, what's the use? If Muslims are happy with the way things stand right now, fine. You'll shout down and cite up everyone who comes to OW with an attitude and when someone pipes up about Muslims, I'll say "Hey, you're wrong, I know a few Muslims and their nice folks" Think that'll turn the tide in Springfield, MO??

No, Crionna, but then that's because I don't think Springfiled, MO, will be persauded by anything short of superhuman efforts and there's something innately racist and xenophobic about that that I can't tolerate.

Bird Dog may be spot on when he says a MLK is needed now. Some Muslim with incredible patience, who'll lead American Muslims in protests and marches, and impress the nonMuslims. But you can't call up 1-800-Dial-a-MLK and order one. With the Patriot Act in place, who would be that daring anyway, if what it took was also the sort of civil disobedience MLK had to resort to at times?

that's because I don't think Springfiled, MO, will be persauded by anything short of superhuman efforts

And on what do you base that? Because if you haven't lived there or know enough ex-residents to make the same determination about them that I can make about Muslims, then you and Katherine are just two peas in a pod.

I'll go back to my comment in an earlier thread but with one addition. What do I demand of them? The same thing I'll expect if the SHTF. Nothing.

That would be civil disobedience against Jim Crow. I missed the enactment of the Muslim Laws Eddie so maybe you can bring me up todate.

Oh, and really Edward, comparing the struggles of African Americans to Muslims in this country? That doesn't wash with me. Muslims benefit every day from the battles MLK and African Americans (for more than 100 years)fought. I think there's a willingness in this country to see the other person's side and learn from them that you and Katherine* may not ever see. All I'm saying is that perhaps Muslims might want to do a little more to take advantage of that. Or not. Its up to them.

*Sorry Katherine to drag you into this. I've just lived in the Midwest and now in SF so I can see both sides pretty clearly. I'm not sure if those who've lived exclusively in cities in the East or West can.

How'd everyone's knickers get all bunched up over this?

First I was born and raised in the MidWest. I took my Muslim partner there to meet the family at Christmas. I do consider myself a bit of an authority on how Mid Western people feel about Muslims.

Second, you offered up Springfield as an example, a rhetorical device, if I had known it was a trap set to expose the East Coast elitist I would have chosen some other place. I thought we were using it as any example of a place where folks don't know any Muslims.

I agree the Civil Rights movement and the American Muslim situation are not perfectly parallel, but Bird Dog offered the MLK analogy, jump all over him for it.

All I meant by it is a Muslim leader with a strong vision and conviction might be able to raise the volume on the moderate Muslim protest against the terrorists...twist that into some objectionable comparison between African and Muslim Americans if you must, but that was never what I was saying.

Hmmpf!

Paul Cella: I would like to see it entertained that perhaps murder and mayhem exceed in sinfulness discrimination.

I've never once seen anyone argue that discrimination is somehow a greater evil than murder or mayhem. [Please feel free to correct me on this matter should you have citations to that effect.] The standard position that I believe you are misrepresenting is that we are holding ourselves to a higher standard than merely not committing murder and mayhem; that part of what compromises the notion of "America" or "The West" is adherence to a set of ideals far greater than mere survivalism.

This position can be phrased badly, to be sure, and this can be further exacerbated by people's tendency to cavalierly throw around words like "Naziesque" or "Stalinist" without regard to the moral weight behind those two words -- or, perhaps, an utter lack of knowledge about the atrocities those words represent -- but I think the hyperbole of your (melo)dramatic scene undermines what might well be a good point.

Paul,

The term "bigot" has had a pejorative sense for several hundred years, surviving the trip from French to English and the many changes in the word's referential domain. I don't think you'll have much success in rescuing it from this fate.

On the other hand, I'll readily admit that one can argue for "irreconcilable differences" between the West and even mainstream Islam without thereby qualifying as a bigot. I'd probably disagree, but I'd certainly be willing to entertain the idea.


First I was born and raised in the MidWest. I knew there was something reasonable about you ;)

Sorry Edward, S.O. gone for 5 weeks a nd I'm inside painting walls not outside in the sun, so maybe I am a bit cranky. I've lived all up and down the MW and the South so Sfld was the first of my many homes that came to mind first. And yeah, Sfld is a place where few Muslims are located. But that's just the point. I don't think that precludes the residents from understanding the differences in Islamic followers if given the chance. I just think that since they don't have the chance, then the onus is kinda on Muslims to figure out how to make them understand and articles in the Muslim press won't really cut it IMHO.

And the MLK thing? Well, I recall and agree with BD's idea that a leader is needed, but not that the civil disobedience would be required. That's what leapt up to me in your comment.

I guess in the end its very interesting to me how people who've never even met and have such different beliefs in, oh heck, pick, say, who should be president, better understand each other the more they know about each other.

"well I for one would rather be a bigot than a beheader!"

'Cause god knows the one never follows from the other...

Edward:

Perhaps it is the fact that organizations like CAIR receive a disproportionate amount of coverage in the various controversies since 9/11; or the ancedotes like the one linked to by Crionna, where a patriotic Muslim tried to organize a pro-American rally, and hardly any Muslims showed up.

I am sure that many, many American Muslims have indeed demonstrated their loyalty: by assisting the FBI, denouncing terrorism in private, etc. But the public face of Islam in American is hardly reassuring. I do know think I have seen one example of an Muslim guest on an American television network defending an anti-terror policy propounded or implemented since 9/11*. It would be impressive to me, for example, if a group like CAIR had acknowledged back in, say, October 2001, that a racial or religious element would be necessary in the profiling of airline passengers; and reassured us that American Muslims, being American, would be willing to submit to some discomfort for the security of their country.

Anarch:

My sketch may have included some hyperbole, but the point is this: the theoretical horror of bigotry paralyzes us more than the practical menace of terrorism steels us. The rapidity with which any discussion of this arrives at the Jim Crow comparison; the near-total focus on the minority, as if the majority did not exist; the absence of much discussion of loyalty as the principle which should guide our efforts; indeed, the vague assumption that the very concept of loyalty is an unacceptable imposition -- to my mind these things are evidence of a real imbalance or corruption in our intellectual life, sort of a mirror image of mania that made up the witch hunt.

KenB:

I am not trying to rescue the word "bigot," but merely place it properly on the scale of error and sin.
_____
* With the possible exception of Fouad Ajami, but I don't know that I have ever since him on TV.

Andrew McCarthy...he was good in Heaven Help Us, but most of what he's done since has been crap.

Sarnak Award...doesn't one win that for eating people and digesting them slowly over a thousand years? Oops, that was Sarlacc; my bad.

Slarti: Sarnak Award...doesn't one win that for eating people and digesting them slowly over a thousand years?

You *have* met my advisor!

Paul Cella: My sketch may have included some hyperbole, but the point is this: the theoretical horror of bigotry paralyzes us more than the practical menace of terrorism steels us.

Well, I think that falls under what I said earlier: America stands for more than mere survivalism. The underlying framework of the ?oT, as I understand it, is to bolster our national security and reform the world while simultaneously preserving those things that America "the shining city on the hill": our civil liberties, rule of law and representative democracy. [And if that isn't, it bloody well ought to be.] There are literally dozens of ways we can attain a Pyrrhic victory in the ?oT; let's try to aim higher.

indeed, the vague assumption that the very concept of loyalty is an unacceptable imposition...

Loyalty insofar as "not committing treason" is a most acceptable imposition, and one to which I think everybody accedes. If you mean something beyond that, however, I'll be happy to listen to your proposals provided you can come up with an objective, normative "loyalty test" that does not unduly impinge upon civil liberties.

IME, however, virtually every "loyalty test" bruited nowadays is tantamount to "shut the hell up and do what we tell you" which, though admirable in its simplicity, somewhat undermines the whole concept of civil liberties. I'll be happy to hear a more nuanced alternative, but forgive me if I don't hold my breath.

You *have* met my advisor!

Your advisor cares enough to digest? Mine just let his collective advisees sit until he puked up the collective lot of us years later.

if blacks would act like whites...there would be no problems...if jews would act like christians, they would not be hated

and if you post here again with any such nonsense you will be banned

I direct you to the posting rules

Bird Dog wrote:

"If I say I'm a conservative with a libertarian bent who's fond of Reagan, readers get a quick heads-up of where I'm coming from and what my principles are."

I would assume you were a cosmopolitian racist. Looking at the positions euro-americans have taken throughout history would justify my prejudices...

Well, you know where assuming gets you. Scratch that; it appears that you don't.

Edward,

I was attempting to be ironic.

It seems many folks demand that Muslims should act in a particular and familiar way. MLK was viewed as a "radical" until someone like Malcolm X comes along and then MLK begins to look "moderate"...when the Black Panthers come onto the scene, some begin to yearn for Malcolm. At some point some should really begin to know the other culture within their own context and stop trying to get them to be brown WASPs.

Sorry, Neo...your name's a bit alarming...

carry on.

If people wish to parse the theological discourses from another culture and assume much,

well then,

the political choices of the hero of white-American conservativism (Ronald Reagan) seems to represent much of what MLK spoke and fought against. Thus...a kind-hearted and well-meaing bigot should not stand as a hero of American values...or am I taking him out of context?

What is alarming is the amount of “moderate” and secular Muslims who do speak out and make (and demand) many suggestions to and from the West and are ignored.

Many, very pro-Western Muslims said invading Iraq would slow the progression toward representative government and focusing on the Israeli/Palestinian would do well in the ME and the list goes on, yet the excuse to ignore them is “they are Leftist”

"I would assume you were a cosmopolitian racist."

And I am sure that you agree that such an assumption would be false in Bird Dog's case. Correct?

If I limited the scope of my context to only include the prejudices and assumptions of my personal background, racist is all I could see…at some point I have to make room for many folks who admire Reagan and appreciate the context with which they view him…I do not have to like it, but I have to respect it and sincerely make an effort to understand it…I do this to be a “good neighbor” there must be some ground I can communicate and appreciate my political adversaries and neighboring cultures…it seems the many of us (I’m guilty) have just lumped all Arabs and Muslims into one group and allowed only the extremist to articulate their experiences.

Someone please translate the above. I think maybe NeoTroll is far, far too clever for me to understand without wounding myself horribly.

I too find his writing style rather obscure. The main points from his posts seem to be:

(1) A westerner saying that "Muslims need to be more like us" is as offensive and ignorant as a white person saying that blacks need to be more like whites;

(2) We should recognize the diversity of viewpoints within other cultures and not lump all Muslims together.

As an analogy, he says that by inclination he would assume that anyone who admires Reagan is a racist, but he tries hard to understand their point of view rather than just writing them off. We should make the same effort with Muslims.


So, my initial point about assumption was on target.

I get NeoTroll totally.

It's something I've noticed the more I post on conservative blogs.

There's an emphathy gap between what I'd term "true" liberals and conservatives and even other liberals.

A true liberal can only ever become so much a wing-nut because it's part of their psyche to consider others' points of view and to value them. Using his example of racism, what he's saying is that from his world view (his values, his experiences) everything about the Reagan era seemed overtly racist. There were definitions and standards he used to judge racism and using those, he would have come to that conclusion.

However, a true liberal will also consider other peoples' values and experiences in their final judgement. As painful a process as that often is for them.

Is that any clearer?

Edward, I stopped caring when it assumed that anyone who had any regard at all for Reagan had to be a racist. Any conclusion based on such a nonsensical premise would be be a complete waste of time to examine.

Slarti,

if you apply a bit of what I described in the opposite direction (even assuming Neo was 100% wrong), and try to understand where he's coming from, you'll at least appreciate what he's trying to communicate.

It requires putting your natural aversion to such a "nonsensical premise" on hold momentarily. You can't do it (i.e., value both opinions) if you cling to that assessment.

It won't hurt you. I promise.

I didn't say I didn't consider value both opinions, Edward. I've just evaluated them and decided what value to place on each. If and when new bits of relevant information come to light, I'll reevaluate.

I know, that's crazy talk.

Slartibartfast.

Well then this is the problem...should I now teach my children that you have proven yourself to be a bigot/racist because you insist on clinging to Reagan? This is how quick many of us have shut each other out. If you were a good and moderate euro-American you would like the conservatives I feel comfortable with, instead of the radical right-wing extremists you insist on. I have a list that I judge “good” and “proper” and unless you work from this list I must make sure that everyone in my community knows you are right-wing extremist. What makes you dangerous is you operate under the notion that you are “moderate” and “normal” I teach my children and family members that there is really nothing of value that could come from Reagan (a right-wing nihilist from Hollywood, the amount of wives he’s taken and the people he surrounded him self with in that degenerate environment) and those that call him a hero (self delusional white people who seem to get weak at the knees watching dominate alpha-males pretend to be moralist cowboys that stick IT to people of color and puts them in their place). Now my child and community know where to place people like you…and so it continues. (You have now glimpsed at a paradigm common within the African-American community…shit, they whole African diaspora, throughout the world).

I mean even thinkers that have/do appreciated the West (Edward Said, Tariq Ali and Asad Abukhalil, off the top of my head) are written off (I mean a Christian and two atheist). Yet, if they are not appreciated for their insights, what the hell is “moderation?” I don’t buy the “why aren’t the good Arabs/Muslims saying anything” I think you are waiting for conservative journals and a couple of liberal journals to filter your information. Just because certain thinkers do not go out of their way to highlight their critiques of their community the way you think they should and mail them to the proper “politically correct” conservatives of America…maybe you should learn to read Arabic or expand your vision to include “other” journals. Many Leftists in the ME are not shrinking violets in the face of their opponents, however they are mindful how these battles are to be waged, academically and intellectually within their context/community.
Or see Edward’s post.

(Sorry for the jumble of thoughts but I’m a stay-at-home at home father working from home, so I am typing and working between children, self editing is a luxury)

Ah, I just knew there had to be deliberate fallacy at work there.

My answer is this: check your premises again. You can argue this point with others, perhaps, but not with me. I, on the other hand, can address your initial fallacy quite legitimately.

I can concede the point that perhaps Reagan-aficionados are racist to the extent that they fail to condemn and avoid racism themselves. Likewise, Muslims are rabid dogs to the extent that they celebrate mad-dog actions on the part of other Muslims.

But since I've never been a fan of "this is a war on Islam" or even "this is a war on militant Islam", the idea that we ought to visit consequences on Islam in general has never been central to any argument of mine. So, point not taken.

oh

LOL

I've battled Slarti enough to know he's no one to trifle when the discussion digresses into fallacies (it's sort of his secret weapon), but I am curious to see this fallacy spelled out here.

Edward, it was so vague a premise to begin with that I was reluctant to assign it a name. Let's just say that example number 1 here comes close, as far as I can see.

Then again, I just might be a domestic house cat.

The labored point I was trying to make was, standards for “moderation” and “good” [insert group here] couldn’t, only, be judged and measured from the standpoint/context I exist within.

An Amish person (still living within that community and active in it’s political business) asserting, “Reagan was too conservative, there were ‘good’ Republicans, he was not one of them” is certainly different than a Libertarian running a whorehouse in Las Vegas who might assert the same thing or a Leftist Southern Baptist African-American activist going to school in New York. So it would be in my best interest (as a political animal and a person who values being a “good neighbor”) to understand “where those people are coming from” before I then go on to claim, “See, across the board Americans really thought Reagan was an extremist!”

McCarthy seems to read little, by way of the political, within the community he is criticizing. Instead, I keep hearing the tired old meme, “Where are all the moderates/good Arab/Muslim.” And when confronted with some respected thinkers that, by all counts within their own community are just that, I then hear, “Well, he is not saying what he is supposed to be saying.”

I used the ad hominem racist/bigot theme for Reagan (and his admirers) because I am always surprised how many people do not realize how unpopular and mistrusted Reagan was in many communities.

I mean, could you imagine the National Review attempting to take Edward Said (bless his soul) and Tariq Ali advice conserning the Middle Esat?

Okay, I've been doing some more thinking about this. I have a diagnosis but not a solution.

Not only do we need moderates to stand up and defend themselves (and we can do far more to help them), but we also need to divorce plain old Islamists from militant Islamists. Republicans are supposed to be good at wedge politics, but it seems like in this case we're driving them together.

So, is your point that there's some point of view we ought to have any regard or respect (not to mention, tolerance) for that places some positive moral value on, just as an example, videotaping a beheading? Just trying to understand where you're coming from, here.

That last, of course, was directed at NeoTroll.

flood insurance rate map los angeles renters insurance canada private health insurance california health insurance provider affordable health and life insurance insurance life life term whole home owners insurance question alberta car insurance quote home owners insurance uk affordable health insurance self employed compare home owners insurance cheap life insurance new york home owners insurance homeowners insurance calculator free home owners insurance quote self employed health insurance quote renters insurance rate progressive homeowners insurance cheap car insurance company insurance life quot quot quote term online auto insurance quote california health insurance law car insurance on line quote home owners insurance maryland instant whole life insurance quote select quote life insurance illinois homeowners insurance health insurance in florida kentucky life insurance quote family health insurance medical renters insurance ny smoker term life insurance affordable life insurance quote uk

http://desamil.descom.es/slsrbp/free_gay_voyeur.html complimentwhosewondered

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad