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August 12, 2006

Comments

"This is depressing."

Yes, it is.

Very depressing, indeed. But not surprising, unfortunately. (I've been called a Pakistani terrorist before while walking on the street, and I can't say I look Middle Eastern nor Central Asian.)

Andrew,
This post follows well from your previous one, because strongly held beliefs that remain unexamined are the primary force driving people into various camps.

Maybe religious groups have a legitimate moral gripe and maybe they don't, but holding God's law as paramount, however that is defined, will always have serious tensions with secular law. The list of atrocities carried out in the name of an absolute belief system is long and bloody.

To be fair in that regard, secular humanists should also be less militant in erasing all signs of belief and creed from the public square. A little charity goes a long way towards soothing troubled waters.

Step2, I doubt that there are many secular humanists in that 39%. Then agains, there aren't many secular humanists anyway.

"To be fair in that regard, secular humanists should also be less militant in erasing all signs of belief and creed from the public square."

Fairly few are trying to do that. Opposing people who want to use the power of government to endorse their specific religious sect and creed isn't remotely opposing religion in "the public square."

Lots of people follow Jefferson's and the other founders' position that government should not, must not, endorse religious sects, and have no problem whatever with private religious displays in public.

Want to put up a giant cross on your storefront on a public street? More power to you.

Just don't ask the government to put it up on government-owned land, is all.

Pray in school? Who could stop you? Just don't ask the government-run school to sponsor it.

Etc.

Step2, I doubt that there are many secular humanists in that 39%. Then agains, there aren't many secular humanists anyway.

Eh. I'd bet that there are. An awful lot of the fake libertarians aren't at all religious, and they seem to have some pretty strong tendencies to like to brand people as different.

I suspect that this highlights a human failing, rather than a religious failing.

Then agains, there aren't many secular humanists anyway.

/me waves at charley :)

That may be depressing, but so is this.

We really do get the government we deserve, don't we?

We just foiled a plot that might have killed thousands of people thanks to...a British Muslim who was worried about something he'd seen in the wake of the 7/7 London bombings
Andrew: Thank you so much for mentioning that. I hadn't seen it anywhere else, which may be my own damned fault, but still, thanks. And I'm particularly glad to see that sourced to a post at The Corner, where frankly I wouldn't have expected that, and sourced further to a source in the mainstream media that people can confirm.

"That may be depressing, but so is this."

That seems very familiar.

6 hours and 2 minutes ahead of me? You're slipping, Gary.

Testify! I'm glad to see that Prof. Bainbridge is highlighting this argument, too -- especially as he is still on RedState's (short) blogroll.

Thanks, Andrew -- for the post, and for highlighting the Muslim tipster.

Like all polls we should probably take this with a grain of salt. All Muslims? Some Muslims? It would be nice if they made a distinction.

But, if you want to be worried I think this statistic would be much worse: "Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D. That same number admit that they do hold some "prejudice" against Muslims."

You get 10% for almost any fool thing. That other 30% does worry me.

this is also a bit depressing, too.

Almost four in ten, 39%, advocate that Muslims here should carry special I.D.

You know, this wasn't a good idea when it was yellow stars, and it hasn't gotten any better being traded in for green crescents.

So what does this mean? Looks like a bold-faced threat to me.

cleek: "this is also a bit depressing, too."

You'd prefer closer to the election?

While blaming the extremists, of course. It's extortion, but excusing it because other, more extremist parties are making the threat. Pretty bad form, I'd say.

So what does this mean? Looks like a bold-faced threat to me.

More like canary in a mineshaft. Or Cassandra on the wall.

So, informing the government you serve in that your actions abroad are not sufficiently showing the people whose opinions you are trying to court that you value the lives of all civilians everywhere is "a threat?" ANd that in such failure you are radicalizing people who could prove dangerous to you in the future? That's a "threat?" Good christ, Dave, see a doctor, please.

Looks like a bold-faced threat to me.

I understand that many troubled people often perceive reality as a threat.

Warnings about global warming are threats against the oil companies.

DaveC: given the quite extensive comments about urging the government to do more to work against those who target civilians, etc., it sounds more like a plea to me.

You'd prefer closer to the election?

i'd prefer they behaved like adults

I don't think the drive to find "enemies next door" is the paramount issue; I think it's the drive to find enemies - towering, huge enemies; enemies that are an "existential threat."

It's the same impulse that underlies apocalyptic philosophies of all kinds, and I think it comes from a desire to dramatize one's existence, on a personal and cultural level. Everyone, it seems, wants their generation to be the End Times generation.

The problem is, by granting our Enemy of the Day with such weight and power, we're also feeding their apocalyptic pretentions.

I have a dream - well, a fantasy, really - of marooning all the End Times existentialists on their very own planet, and let them destroy themselves to their hearts content, and leave the rest of us, who aren't fans of Armageddon and who don't need a Monstrous Maximus to define us, alone.

DaveC, your own message seems much more threatening than the Muslim criticisms of British foreign policy. They criticize their country's policies as they have the right to do and their critique is probably accurate. You, however, choose to perceive people behaving as responsible citizens as a threat. Very bad form, Dave.

We just foiled a plot that might have killed thousands of people thanks to...a British Muslim who was worried about something he'd seen in the wake of the 7/7 London bombings.

This needs to be emphasized again and again. Jim Henley had a good post a few weeks ago about the muslim community and how our actions and prejudices can push people from a category of willing to report suspicious activities of their neighbors to a category of not willing to do so (but not willing to take up jihad either). It is the former category that is so critical to preventing future attacks.

This is also why it is important that security measures be applied equally to all. Yes, it may seem like a waste of time to search the 75 year-old grandmother in a wheelchair, but at least it demonstrates that "we are all in this together." And helps prevent resentment from building in the muslim community if the only people pulled out of security lines are young muslim men.

Finally, this is why post after post at redstate.com (which I can't get into right now for some reason) questioning Islam's position as a "religion of peace," sometimes in mocking tones, is ultimately counter-productive.

ultimately counter-productive

'Ultimately'? It's counter-productive (not to mention bigoted) at the beginning, through the middle, and at the end. And all the way down.

'Ultimately'? It's counter-productive (not to mention bigoted) at the beginning, through the middle, and at the end. And all the way down.

I don't necessarily disagree; I would have made a stronger statement had I been able to access those redstate posts and verify my recollection of them, but I couldn't get into the site.

Ugh, it's not just to show we're all in this together. If you never search 75-year-old grandmothers in wheelchairs, then the terrorists obviously will see that they can bypass security by planting their stuff on 75-year-old women in wheelchairs.

CaseyL: "I have a dream - well, a fantasy, really - of marooning all the End Times existentialists on their very own planet, and let them destroy themselves to their hearts content, and leave the rest of us, who aren't fans of Armageddon and who don't need a Monstrous Maximus to define us, alone."

I had a similar thought once, as a result of which I seriously considered the idea of writing a spoof called "Left Behind!", whose premise was that all and only the people who whip themselves into this sort of lather were raptured, and the rest of us were lucky enough to be Left Behind. But I got caught up in trying to get the backstory straight -- e.g., how St. John of Patmos saw this but utterly mistook its message, what God's point really was and why, etc. -- and never got to writing it.

KCinDC - Yes, that too. It's just the point that we need the help of the Muslim community in this is lost on many people, who then go about offending them left and right. Why help out someone who hates you?

RE: The end times. Aren't all these people who hope to bring about the rapture convinced that they're going to heaven anyway when they die, and so, at best, they're hoping to make it to heaven a few years earlier than they otherwise would have? And isn't it a bit presumptous of them to think that they can bring about the rapture in the first place? As if God's sitting up there and sees the Middle East in flames and says "Oh sh!t! I guess it's time for the rapture, how did I miss that?" Jesus pipes up and says, "This place has been going to hell ever since the enlightenment."

"I don't necessarily disagree; I would have made a stronger statement had I been able to access those redstate posts and verify my recollection of them, but I couldn't get into the site."

It's hardly a particularly Redstate trope; you'll find it in far more vicious terms at LGF (or at least, last I looked; I confess I've not looked at a comments thread or post there in the better part of a year, at the least; I haven't the stomach), and its ilk and imitators, which is to say, many dozens, if not hundreds, of extremist rightwing blogs.

They all work off the same trope: Muslims are a homogenous bunch, Islam is a disgusting religion whose Prophet is a child-molesting person of evil, Islam is only and all about violent conversion and slaughter of everyone in the world who doesn't convert, all Muslims have this as their secret or not-secret goal, all Muslims are lying if they deny it, Muslims will do anything to achieve this goal, and anyone who doesn't realize this is a fool and a naif.

The fact that equal evidence can be found to prove that the same is true of Christians and Jews isn't, of course, relevant.

It's a bit reminiscent of Knowing, in the Sixties and later, that there really was no Sino-Soviet split, and that the Communists, a uniform bunch worldwide, all were dedicated to world revolution and conquest and would stop at nothing, including the deaths of billions of their own, to achieve their goal.

In both cases, there's a little truth at the core: there are some Muslims who meet the description, and they're willing to kill and die for their cause -- but they're a tiny minority of Muslims; and there were equally some small numbers of Communists who were fanatic -- but the leaders of the Soviet Union, overall, were no more interested in a fun game of thermonuclear war than we were, and while Mao was a bit nuttier and a bit more cavalier, he was generally inclined to be patient, as well.

But people love to feel threatened, and they love their theories that Explain Everything Simply. The left isn't in the least immune, either, of course, as we see from the ever-increasing popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories about the towers being done in by government-planted explosives imploding them, the Pentagon being hit by a cruise missile, the Pennsylvania flight being shot down by the Air Force, the conviction of some that the failure in Iraq is a Deliberate Plan, and so on and so forth.

Paranoid thinking is about as widespread as the common cold.

Ugh, Fred Clark's Slacktivist is the blog for all your end-times needs. He frequently writes about how the "Left Behind" believers really want to get into heaven without having to go through that unpleasant dying business that everyone before has had to.

Hilzoy, if you're writing a spoof, you're allowed some absurdist literary license. In this case, try a Pratchett-style jest about how St. John wound up reading the relevant texts backwards (because he didn't realize Hebrew is read right-to-left, say) and therefore interpreted them backwards.

Actually, anent my comment, the point wasn't that Christianity has an End Times mythos, but that most theistic religions, ancient to less-ancient, do as well. Painting the WoT as an "existential" conflict plays into that mythos on both sides which, of course, makes it all the likelier to become a self-fulfillling prophecy.

The Administration may stop searching 75 year-old women in wheelchairs but they will make it up to them by cutting Medicare, which is why it is so important to not let Ned Lamont win.

The “End-Time” eschatology is primarily an American low-church Protestant phenomenon.

Since the age of St. Augustine, Christians began to reject an apocalyptic eschatology. The interpretation of the Book of Revelation was seen as something already having had happened, instead of something predicted to happen. The destruction of the temple at Jerusalem (70AD) and the persecution of Christians and their churches under Nero (The Beast, 666) were all events ending the Book of Revelation.

Christianity is spreading by leaps and bounds, and the spread of God’s universal law used to be proof, for many non-“End-Timers” that the prophesy of the fulfilling nature of the Cross was complete. The whole notion of “progressive” and “Hegelianism” were reflections of Christianity’s basic theology that “things were progressively getting better” for Christ’s final return. Traditionally, Christ’s return was contingent on “things being better” NOT “things being worse”. The most terrorizing times for believers were to have already happened under Nero.

When the Puritans and other sects speak of the New Jerusalem, they are not referring to an Apocalyptic End-Time scenario, but instead but the spread of the Gospel.

It wasn’t until the late 1800s and early 1900s do you see the rise of “End-Time” eschatologies again. Mormonism, Seventh-Day Adventists, certain Methodist Sects, Pentecostals, Jehovah’s Witnesses etc, begin embracing the “End-Times” world view. Even the introduction of separate covenants, one for Jews and one for Believers (Christians). When the State of Israel was created, “end-timers” were a small minority of Protestants, yet they saw this as proof of the End Times. Traditional Protestants spoke of the creation of Israel as a land-grab or a “reverse racism” that was proof of the U.N.’s socialist tendencies.

But as "end-times" sects grow and ignorance of Christian theology grows, so will panic...

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