Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 3, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

FRIDAY DANEBROGGING....I fully realize that I should be taking this more seriously it involves issues of free speech, national sovereignty, gratuitous religious insults, Islamic radicalism, etc. etc. but it's hard. I mean, just look at whose flag they're burning in the Middle East right now: Denmark's.

Cuddly little Denmark! Home of Hans Christian Andersen, delicious pastry, and tasteful furniture. Home of Tivoli and the Little Mermaid. Denmark!

If there's a lesson to be learned here and I assure you there won't be it's that Arabs rather obviously don't hate America any more than any other country. We just provide them with more opportunity to show it. If the Danes would just step up to the plate more often, maybe we could sneak our troops home from Iraq and no one would notice.

Kevin Drum 12:54 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (268)

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Comments

It's hard to feel sorry for people with such thin skins. And I'm on the liberal team!

Posted by: craigie on February 3, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, you can see the cartoons that set them off here

Posted by: craigie on February 3, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm trying to figure out where they got ahold of a Danish flag in the first place...

Posted by: tam1MI on February 3, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Also the home of the author of "Fear and Trembling Unto Death" Soren Kierkegaard, who once wrote, the only truth is uncertainty, passionately held. It is also the home of Hamlet.

That, notwithstanding, if I have to change my lifestyle to avoid pissing off every person who gets up early in the morning to stand in line waiting to be offended, I ain't gonna do it.

I respect peoples right to practice their religion, and if composing icons of their spiritual leaders is forbidden to them--that is great. They don't want to become unreasonable victims of a cult of personality. Wait a minute..unreasonable, cult od personality????????? I think somebody has lost touch with their roots, and the original reasons for their iconoclasm.

Posted by: c4logic on February 3, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

tam1MI: I'm trying to figure out where they got ahold of a Danish flag in the first place...

Like American flags, they're made in China.

Posted by: alex on February 3, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we should distribute them T-shirts listing the number of Iraqis dead in the little American misadventure.

Posted by: lib on February 3, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's okay to commit mass murder in his name, just don't draw him.

Posted by: Pat on February 3, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's okay to commit mass murder in his name, just don't draw him.

Oh Snap!

Posted by: drjimcooper on February 3, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

craigie,

As a liberal, I can't say I feel sorry for them either. Probably, it's because I see no difference but degree between these idiots and the Christianists who whine every time a gay person ends up in a God-friendly movie. My advice to both types:

Cry more, nubs. Cry more.

Posted by: Monstertron on February 3, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone please point out to the Catholics that, if you are going to get all upset at the elephant dung Virgin Mary, piss Christ, and Last Temptation of Christ, you need to learn tactics from these Muslims? Catholics need to learn to threaten to blow up embassies, take people hostages, and burn stuff in violent demonstrations. I mean, little prayer vigils ain't gonna get it done.

Posted by: Al on February 3, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

It's curious how people in other countries simply cannot comprehend the concept of freedom of speech and of the press. When some person or newspaper prints something they find offensive, they demand that the government do something about it. The implication seems to be that the people or government in power must either be behind the article (as would be the case in their own countries) or else condone the article (something we would not assume).

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

The Muslims make zero sense on this. A prohibition against representing God makes theological sense, but against representing a prophet? Does the Koran forbid this?

Posted by: Ace Franze on February 3, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Crazy Dutch. Or whatever.

Posted by: adam on February 3, 2006 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

As a Muslim, I find this whole episode really sad. Yes, the cartoons are and were meant to be an insult. Yes, it is a sin as far as Muslims are concerned to make images of Muhammad. But so is drinking, eating pork, men wearing gold etc. Muslims can't go around holding other people to their own standards.

This is what people do when their leaders are neutered. Sweat the small stuff while your leaders sell your future for an f-16.

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Remember that the Danes are deployed as part of the NATO force in Afghanistan (IIRC the first time their military has deployed outside the homeland since 1850), although not in Iraq.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on February 3, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION GO TO HELL!!

Posted by: m on February 3, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget Legos! Danes make that insipid symbol of western capitalism: Legos.

Posted by: do on February 3, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Arabs rather obviously don't hate America any more than any other country.

WTF are you talking about? Yes, they do hate America more than any other country. They've said that in opinion polls over and over again.

The American government installs puppet dictators in their countries. They know that; and they hate us for it.

Posted by: Gary Sugar on February 3, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, I'm the last to know. What is "brogging"?

Posted by: shortstop on February 3, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the pictures were meant as an insult. Perhaps later publications, but not the originals. Rather, they were commissioned by Danish newspaper because an author was unable to find artists willing to illustrate a book he had written. Apparently, they were afraid of exactly what is happening now: a bunch of radical Islamists going ape-shit on their asses.

Cheers!

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

If I'm not mistaken, the Dutch artist is not muslim therefore he is not beholden to the prohibition of making images of the profit...er, prophet.
Also, I think the muslims should just tell the artist, "hey you know what, that offends us," and have the joyful experience of watching their complaints end up in the same round-file as Christian complaints when they complain about Hollywood depictions of Jesus.

Posted by: sheerahkahn on February 3, 2006 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Japanese blogging?

I refer you to www.engrish.com.

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

This is what people do when their leaders are neutered. Sweat the small stuff while your leaders sell your future for an f-16.
I'm not sure what you mean. The leaders are both 'neutered' and 'selling out' the futures of their constituents?

Pat- I have to say I'm with you (and probably the rightwing blogosphere). The protests of this cartoon draw the silence against terrorism into stark relief. It doesn't seem like the protesters are quite ready for democracy afterall.

Posted by: Preston on February 3, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's okay to commit mass murder in his name, just don't draw him.

I didn't know this was a General Boiken thread.

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

I went to a wedding in Copenhagen once. At the reception, all they served was 2000 different variations on pickled herring. Fuck that! Call that a civilization?!

Posted by: craigie on February 3, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

I propose we have the cartoons (I've seen them) redrawn. Insert The name of Jesus Christ in place of Mohamad. Publish them here in the US.

... maybe Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell would have a heart attack. Then, at least some good would come of all this.

If Christ's name were substituted, only one of those cartoons would not apply. That's the one where Allah is holding back the suicide bombers entry into heaven saying, "Stop, stop! We're out of virgins!"

Posted by: Eclectic Floridian on February 3, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

If the Danes would just step up to the plate more often, maybe we could sneak our troops home from Iraq and no one would notice.

You're stealing ideas from Fafnir I see.

Posted by: Ugh on February 3, 2006 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Were you including that bastion of "Freedom is on the March" democracy, Turkey? "Insult to Ataturk" and off to jail - Check the numbers of journalists imprisoned in the past 12 years.

Or that new bastion of freedom, Kurdistan?

Did like the "Stop, We're out of virgins" - of course, the bomb in the turban must have started the war. But, hey, when their Imans refuse to condemn the bombers, to hell with 'em.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 3, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

I just heard on the radio news that the American Goverment has blasted the Danes for publishing the cartoons. So much for supporting free speech.

Posted by: eric on February 3, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Marx was right - religion is the opiate of the masses. Commit to a religion (or "cause") and check your brain at the door.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Any problems with an Iranian newspaper running a poster of the anti-Semitic film, "Jud Suss", as an illustration of the perils of Zionism? I didn't think so.

Posted by: barrisj on February 3, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Read the comments about this on BBC News. Some people just don't get it. They don't understand the concept of free speech. And they don't understand that they wouldn't be so offended about this if the media and imams weren't waving it in their faces.

Posted by: Librul on February 3, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Cartoons that speak to violence in current manifestations of Islam get responded to by Islamists burning and blowing stuff up. Don't have much of a sense of irony do they

Posted by: John on February 3, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Eric,

Is it really rational to expect this administration to stand up for the principles of free speech? I don't think so. I'm reading the book Perilous Times and it certainly seems to suggest that free speech is, at best, a tenuous value here in the US in times of "war".

Cheers!
Everett

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

I went to a wedding in Copenhagen once. At the reception, all they served was 2000 different variations on pickled herring.

Sounds like the inside of our refrigerator at home. The husband once bastardized a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem by shouting happily through a mouthful of olives, "Glory be to God for pickled things!" I married a strange man.

Posted by: shortstop on February 3, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Until there is the equivalent in the Islamic world of a reformation, the people of the ME will never be ready for democracy and civil society.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

As I unherstand it (someone can educate me) it is also against Islam to render Jesus or Moses. BUt anyway, I am no right winger, but the sheer madness of it all makes me feel like I am taking crazy pills. Of all the things going on in Islam right now, THIS is the one to worry about?

It reminds of that female suicide bomber a few years back. She backed out at the last minute because Hamas (or whoever) had her dress in western clothes in order to sneak into Isreal and detonate in a public place. She told police after she turned herself in that she didn't think it was the right thing to fulfill her suicide mission BECAUSE DRESSING IN WESTERN CLOTHING IS UN-ISLAMIC, and thus it couldn't be right.

Posted by: Pat on February 3, 2006 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone have access to investment capital? We are a group of Danish entrepreneurs who would like to begin producing toilet paper with an image of the Prophet on every wipe...

Posted by: lars on February 3, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: Can we get a second Christian reformation while we're at it? One that thickens up some skins and steps up some senses of humor?

Posted by: shortstop on February 3, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure what you mean. The leaders are both 'neutered' and 'selling out' the futures of their constituents?

My point is that the leaders in most Muslim countries are satisfied to let foreign powers do all kinds of actions that are not in the best interest of their constituents in exchange for financial aid. They prop themselves up by encouraging the rubes to blame America and others.

This works most of the time, but every once in a while you get a Muhammad Atta or a Timothy McVeigh.

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Now we need some enterprising young cartoonist to portray Christ in an unflattering light. The fundamentalist radicals of Christiandom and Islam can march in fury down the street.

Now we know the REAL enemy.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 3, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

The Danes certainly have freedom of expression. But let me ask Liberals a hypothetical question: pretned a US newspaper had just published a cartoon showing black americans in a classic racist way, complete with oversized lips, lying under a tree in the shjade, with a wrathful God throwing a Hurricae at them to kill them? It certianly is freedom of expression, but it says more about the cartoonist than the situation. Oh, wait, Pat Buchanan pretty much did that, and was crucified (oh, the irony) for it. some things are hateful, and although hate speech is certainly free speech, it is highly regulated here in the US, mainly by LIberals.

funny, no?

Posted by: Chris on February 3, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

OBF,

If that cartoon included the two aforementioned religious figureheads in a threesome with Zoroaster. Man! Homosexual themes. Groups sex. The primary movers and shakers in monotheism. What a ruckus we'd have!

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Twice this morning I have heard representatives of Islamic groups being interviewed. On both occasions, they emphatically stated that such representations were a sin.

When asked about the level of violence caused by this, they both basically said: "We are tired of being prortayed as a barbaric people with primitive beliefs."

No shit.

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: Can we get a second Christian reformation while we're at it? One that thickens up some skins and steps up some senses of humor?
Posted by: shortstop

Better idea - how about just getting rid of religion all together?

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me the obvious conclusion one can draw from this is that Islam is a vile religion. It should be treated the same way Communism and Nazism were treated, in that it should be destroyed.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 3, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

It reminds of that female suicide bomber a few years back

Serious question...What awaits her in paradise?

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Chris. I think there is a difference here (not too subtle, actually, but hey, I'll point it out for you) between finding something offensive and condemning it, and denying someone's ability to draw such a cartoon. That's the difference here. But then again, any straw man to label "THE LIBERALS."

Posted by: Pat on February 3, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

pretned a US newspaper had just published a cartoon showing black americans in a classic racist way,

Ok, let's pretned, or even better, let's pretend:

Here's what doesn't happen - Jesse Jackson doesn't denounce the United States government for allowing this to happen. Al Sharpton doesn't threaten to blow up churches or supermarkets or, I don't know, himself, in protest.
The newspaper that publishes them gets a lot of shit, and the artist goes on Oprah and says he is a reformed person, and praise jesus, and everyone goes about their business.

Now, what was your point?

Posted by: craigie on February 3, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Chris,

I think your example is flawed. Nobody here really cares that Islamic folks are getting mad. I think we all accept that the cartoons were insulting and contrary to their religious dogma. What we, liberals and conservatives alike, care about are the violence and threats of violence that accompany that anger. Pat Buchanan is an asshole, but nobody threatened to kill him for any cartoons he drew.

This episode is an excellent illustration of how the pluralistic values and individual freedoms (i.e. speech) that undergird the American version of modern democracy are barely if at all present in the Middle East, and that our President's pollyana-esque expectations that democracy will suddenly blossom ignore the fact that many of the perquisites for successful democratization still don't exist there.

Cheers!

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Serious question...What awaits her in paradise?

An opportunity to found a new chapter of GLAAD?

Posted by: nut on February 3, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

aw, nut.....before you go making jokes about my people....

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

It is established fact that Muhammad regularly had sex with camels, and usually anal sex. I want everyone, muslim and non-muslim, to bow your head and imagine a naked old Muhammed, propped up on a stool, bent over a camels behind.

Posted by: Matt on February 3, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

If you guys are really interested, the actual "sin" committed is two-fold.

First, Muslims aren't supposed to worship men. On the day of Muhammad's death one of his companions said roughly "For those who worshipped Muhammad, let them know that he is dead. For those that worship God, let them know that he lives and never dies."

Second if you want to get really fundamentalist about it, Muslims aren't supposed to draw any living form, because it is considered akin to competing with the creator.

Maybe this stuff is stupid, but it's what people believe, and it has had positive repercussions. Calligraphy, geometric artwork, and even architecture flourished because of the need for Muslims to express themselves without committing what they perceived to be a sin.

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The husband once bastardized a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem by shouting happily through a mouthful of olives, "Glory be to God for pickled things!" I married a strange man.

Hey, at least his well read! ;)

Your average sofa, beer and football sorta guy wouldn'ta pulled that one out!

Posted by: bob on February 3, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Serious question...What awaits her in paradise?

Uh ... 72 black-eyed T-Broszes?

Posted by: Pat on February 3, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Ok, let's pretned, or even better, let's pretend:"

The fact that you have to pretend sorta proves his point doesn't it?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 3, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

FF,

Why limit yourself to Islam? It ain't all that different from the other monotheistic sects. Perhaps your panties are all in a wad because them durn "islamofascists" are brown? Or maybe you just had an especially large draught of the Blood of Jesus this morning and it made you even thirstier.

Pinche hoto,

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe this stuff is stupid, but it's what people believe, and it has had positive repercussions. Calligraphy, geometric artwork, and even architecture flourished because of the need for Muslims to express themselves without committing what they perceived to be a sin.


Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK


For anyone in the Washington DC area, or visiting, the Freer Gallery, just off the Mall steps from the Washington Monument, has the most amazing collection of Islamic art, and is worth it for anyone who is A. an art lover, B. Hoping to better understand Islamic culture, or C. Both.

Posted by: Pat on February 3, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe this stuff is stupid, but it's what people believe, Posted by: enozinho

Not maybe.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

So, what's the difference between radical Islamists who threaten violence over a cartoon and US anti-war activists?

Apparently NOTHING:

"The Capitol police officer who arrested activist Cindy Sheehan went home from work early on Wednesday after receiving death threats. He's a plainclothes officer when Congress is in session and in uniform when they are out of session..."

http://www.dcexaminer.com/articles/2006/02/03/gossip/karen_feld/31buzzfeld03.txt

Extremists are the same all over the world. The people who are issuing death threats in the Middle East are no different than the Cindy Sheehan fanatics here.

Posted by: Al on February 3, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Or the lunatics at LGF threatening to string liberals up by their entrails.

Al, your devotion to moderation is just so awe-inspiring, it brings a tear to my eye.

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Enozinho,

Precisely. 800+ years ago, the Islamic world was diverse, intellectually curious and in many ways much more accepting of differences than the western world at that time. WTF happened?

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

I sure hope that was fake Al above.

If not, Al, I have two words for you: Timothy McVeigh

OK? Now, effin deal with it.

Posted by: bob on February 3, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G,

800 years ago a bunch of blood-thirsty Christian savages came and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Islamic folk, including their best and brighest thinkers, leaders and scientists. We continue to deal with the fall out from the Crusades. Kill a couple of generations of any culture's intellectual and political elites and they're bound to suffer severe cultural degradation.

Cheers!

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

It has only been of late in western societies that liberal opinions have prevailed (I mean this is the broad sense of toleration and a belief in common humanity). In the past and in many traditional societies there could only be one truth, one way of understanding and one way of governing a just society. Under this doctrine you would not say Oh, his religion is not mine, and I find his understanding perverse and full of error but I appreciate the passion of his beliefs. I can see his humanity.. This is a liberal outlook. In a traditional society a passionate belief in a heterodoxy doctrine would require, not understanding, but oppression, conversion or destruction.

Although political correctness is regarded in American politics as liberal it is not a liberal doctrine at all. Louis Menand made exactly this point at the end of his excellent book The Metaphysical Club. He believes that the Cold War understanding of toleration is different from the notion of toleration Americans created after the Civil War. I think he uses the phrase toleration of steel instead of toleration in the liberal pragmatic or pluralist sense. There is a great deal to say about this historical change.

Liberals often feel conflicted when they find the outside cultures they wish to make a common human world with dont return the favor. We can only hope to find those with liberal opinions within other communities. Contemporary communication systems put pluralistic liberalism, including anti-liberal xenophobic conservatism, directly into the heart of traditional cultures. We should expect conflict.

Also liberalism in the 20th century was interested in finishing the democratic revolution that gave birth to the United States and the promise of liberty for all by including those who had long been oppressed. To do this it was necessary to take the illiberal step of banning forms of racism, sexism, and anti-ethnic attitudes in political and economic life. I think is a necessary measure for the same reason banning Nazism in Germany is necessary. But the exact limits are always hard to define.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 3, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Where's Bert in that picture?

Posted by: ogmb on February 3, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Islamic folk,

Wow, I didn't read that book.

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Serious question...What awaits her in paradise?
70 raisins?

Posted by: Preston on February 3, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

not even one date?

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

No, I think Chris makes a good point. It wasn't just a straw man to attack "the liberals."

A blatantly racist cartoon in a major US newspaper (say, USAToday) would have rather enormous implications. Can anyone really say how Compton or South Central would react?

I'm not saying this to equate the two types of outrage. Certainly there's something bottomlessly ironic about wrecking things and threatening violence to protest being portrayed as backward and violent. But we really can't judge this through our smug democratic eyes alone. Obviously Muslims feel this is a grave offense (and I think this prohibition is in the Sunnah -- the collection of traditions around the prophet Mohammed -- rather than in the Koran itself). And yes, you can look at Turkey who called off a prosecution of one of its more prominent authors because he said a few lines about the Armenian genocide. Their leaders realized that their dream of joining the EU would immediately go down the crapper if they imprisoned this guy for "insulting Turkish honor."

How do we, as Westerners, disabuse people of this kind of mindset? Of the kind of infantile narcissism that says even people in an entirely different culture can't act in ways prohibited by their own?

I don't know. I do know that it sure seems to help make Benjamin Barber's arguments that democracy demands a certain degree of cultural requisites before it facilitates progressive values ...

This incident doesn't bode well for what we can expect from Hamas, either, sad to say ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

As usual, I'm the last to know. What is "brogging"?

Posted by: shortstop on February 3, 2006 at 1:24 PM

It's actually a (rare, but) fairly clever pun by Kevin on the word "blogging", as the term "Dannebrog" (which, I think, means, "Danish cloth"), IIRC, is their word for their flag: the white-cross-on-red design which dates back to the 13th Century (as, apparently, do the attitudes of the clowns torching it in this photo).

Posted by: Jay C on February 3, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

Every so often I start to feel a little sympathy for Arab Muslims, having fallen so far down the rabbit hole from the time theirs was the most progressive, advanced, and intellectually vigorous society on Earth.

Then they pull shit like this, and remind me of exactly how and why they fell down the rabbit hole. I really like Jeff II's idea, that what the Islamic world needs is a Martin Luther. In fact, I don't understand why there hasn't been one. The Catholic Church was just as repressive, punitive and warmongering then as the mullahs are now, yet the Reformation happened anyway.

Posted by: CaseyL on February 3, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G,

You should have. You might consider starting with Hourani's History of the Arab Peoples. I might have exaggerated. Maybe the Crusades only slaughtered tens of thousands. Whatever, slaughter is the operative term here.

Posted by: Everett Volk on February 3, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Why limit yourself to Islam? It ain't all that different from the other monotheistic sects."

Really? How come I don't hear much of other sects blowing up places of worship in India, enslaving blacks in Africa, gunning down school children in Russia, decapitating monks in SE Asia, bombing malls, cafes, buses, office buildings, etc. all over the world? Is this a common trait shared by all other "sects" or is it just this one? Seems an easy distinction to anyone other than a liberal.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 3, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I didn't read that book.

What History 101?

Here, feel free to brush up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades

Wasn't just Mulisms either; thousand of Jews were killed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

WTF happened?

I honestly don't know. My guess is that the Muslim world has been on the verge of a revolt for a long time. Mostly due to a lack of representation. The west has done everything they can to hold these countries together to protect their interests. That's a dangerous mix.

That's just a guess though.

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G,

800 years ago a bunch of blood-thirsty Christian savages came and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Islamic folk, including their best and brighest thinkers, leaders and scientists. Posted by: Everett Volk

Everett, get your facts straight. The Levant represented just the Western edge of a vast region dominated by Islam. While the Crusaders surely killed some useful and decent folk, they never ventured beyond the Holy Land, which was hardly the creative center of the Islamic world.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Tim McVeigh - yea yea i get it. Not quite the same, though, is it? I mean, since that was - what is it now? - 15 years ago.

If we had, say 3-5 McVeighs PER WEEK, and 3-5 of them per day on busy bomb-days, then it would be comparable.

Posted by: GBH on February 3, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

bellumregio:

Great, perceptive comments with a good historical and philosophical overview, as always.

It is precisely a balancing act. It requires illiberal prohibitions precisely in the name of liberalism.

And the idea of tolerance based on cultural relativism may be as old as pre-Socratic conventionalism, but its incorporation into societies -- I will defend to the death your right to disagree -- is a relatively new idea.

Certainly the Christian Crusaders had it nowhere in their minds when they sacked Jerusalem.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You ever heard of need to blow some steam off?

Posted by: Raj Limbaugh on February 3, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Really? How come I don't hear much of other sects blowing up places of worship in India, enslaving blacks in Africa, gunning down school children in Russia, decapitating monks in SE Asia, bombing malls, cafes, buses, office buildings, etc. all over the world? Is this a common trait shared by all other 'sects' or is it just this one? Seems an easy distinction to anyone other than a liberal."

'Taint an easy distinction, it's an easy answer for the intellectually challenged. You want lists of horrors, you can find them for ANY religion. In fact, skip the religion part, you can find them for any human undertaking.

Fact is, the violence you list is hardly endemic to islamic states. We're busy dropping bombs on Iraqi towns. You call that civilized? You call that Christian? You call that justified? That's bullshit, that's what that is.

But for you, this isn't about a devotion to non-violence, is it? No, it's more about not liking them stinky brown people. Just a bunch of sand-niggers, aren't they?

Feh.
Seamus

Posted by: Seamus on February 3, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

If we had, say 3-5 McVeighs PER WEEK, and 3-5 of them per day on busy bomb-days, then it would be comparable.

I know that this is a completely impolitic thing to say, but my guess would be that you would see a lot more Tim McVeighs if our beloved right-wingers didn't have an outlet in U.S. Army.

'Fight em over there so we don't have to fight em here' and all that.

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Really? How come I don't hear much of other sects blowing up places of worship in India, enslaving blacks in Africa, gunning down school children in Russia, decapitating monks in SE Asia, bombing malls, cafes, buses, office buildings, etc. all over the world? Is this a common trait shared by all other "sects" or is it just this one? Seems an easy distinction to anyone other than a liberal.
Posted by: Freedom Fighter

Not much of history buff, are you FF? I guess you've been away from civilaztion for the last three hundred years of so. I guess you missed the Hindu on Muslim violence in India (and vice versa), the history of Western slavery, the Vietnam War, Stalin, Hitler (extreme ideology is the same as religion), Latin American death squads, etc., etc.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

No, the West drove out an important and progressive center of Muslim civilization from southern Spain in 1492.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

If we had, say 3-5 McVeighs PER WEEK, and 3-5 of them per day on busy bomb-days, then it would be comparable.

Actually, that's not the point I was making, at all. Al (or fake AL) was comparing a nutty Sheehan supporter to radical Islam. My point is you can find better comparisons on the right. for some reason, it's also the right that attracts hate groups like the Klan, skinheads, abortion clinic bombers, etc.

And, no, I'm not trying to paint the entire right with the same brush, I'm just pointing out th eunmitigated silliness of Al's statement.

And 10, not 15 years ago, is hardly a long time in the history of the United States. I'm sure the parents of the many infants in that daycare who were blown to pieces that day don't feel like it was that long ago.

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:
No, the West drove out an important and progressive center of Muslim civilization from southern Spain in 1492. Posted by: rmck1

Good. "Progressive" and "religion" are mutually exclusive terms. But in any case that wasn't the Crusades, and I doubt "hundreds of thousands" of Muslims were involved.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

what the Islamic world needs is a Martin Luther. In fact, I don't understand why there hasn't been one.

Luther had several advantages

1) Timing: the very beginning of the Enlightenment
2) The Pope: It pays to have your opposition concentrated in a non-to-bright bureaucracy
3) Embryonic German nationalism


Bob Im more than acquainted with college hist. My quibble was with the phrase hundreds of thousands slaughtered. That point has been addressed.

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

"It's okay to commit mass murder in his name, just don't draw him."

How dare you say we're violent? We'll kill you if you say it again!

Talk about taking the bait. There always seems to be a special on at Fatwas-R-US.

We need to start a new religion devoted entirely to anger management.
Oh, right: that's Buddhism.

Posted by: Kenji on February 3, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

enozhino:

I tend to agree with you, as I think FF stands as an objective correlative to presicely the point you're making.

Also very good to have a Muslim on this thread. I understand how this whole incident must be rather painful for you, as it must be to most educated Muslims living comfortably in the West ...

Cognitive dissonance and all of that ...

Cognitive dissonance is a quintessentially Western affliction.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

What I find ironic is the fact that many Arab papers have no problem demonizing Israel and Jews.

I am always amazed that people see nothing wrong with something until somebody else does it, and even then it never occurs to them to reexamine their own behavior

Posted by: Historical Observer on February 3, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Forgive Freedom Fighter. He is, as longtime posters here know, and by his own admission, a teenager who still lives at home. Seriously. So the young man may not have yet gotten to the grade (7th or 8th?) where they teach the crusades in world history.

Posted by: Pat on February 3, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Nice to see someone else taking the heat(har har) for once. Sorry Old Gustav, just apply some aloe, and I'll see ya at the World Cup!

Posted by: Old Glory on February 3, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

I understand how this whole incident must be rather painful for you, as it must be to most educated Muslims living comfortably in the West

First, I'm an American. Yes, Al, a real American, if you know what I mean.

Second, I wouldn't call having the FBI at your house multiple times "living comfortably".

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

Well, that's a pretty pig-ignorant thing to say, coming from a guy who's attempting to make a historical argument in the name of Western values.

1492 was also the inauguration of the Spanish Inquisition. They drove the Jews out of Spain as well, and persecuted many tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people.

Islam is almost singlehandedly responsible for the revival of ancient Greek throught that sparked the Renaissance. Their meticulously copied manuscripts were traded thoughout European cultural centers, notably Venice and Florence.

While we were farting around in the Dark Ages, killing and believing in monstrously ignorant superstitions, Islamic scientists were mapping the stars and formulating algebra ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

What I find ironic is the fact that many Arab papers have no problem demonizing Israel and Jews.

But that's totally different! The Jews are, you know, Jewish. Plus they control all the banks and stuff. Completely different.

Posted by: craigie on February 3, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

enozhino:

Point taken.

throught = thought

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Aaaah. You guys are great. And I really, really am more than impressed with Cheneys Third Nipple - how the flying fuck do you know about the Counts Feud??? That's like almost 500 years ago ... I'm in awe, unless You're a Dane in hiding :-)

Cranky: Nope - Danish troops have been deployed as peacekeepers quite a few times before this, both under UN as well as NATO flag. You might want to check up with "Operation Bllebank" in Tuzla in Bosnia at the Freepers; they seriously believe that was a conspiracy against the (christian) orthodox Serbs (a danish armoured battalion blew up appr. 200 Serbs when they hit an ammo dump while defending a Swedish outpost under attack from the Serbs). But you're right as far as Afganistan was the first time Danish troops have been involved in offensive operations; at least operations planned offensive.

Whatever. Perhaps Jyllands Posten went a bit over the top with a few of the cartoons, but the Muslim community at large has blown the lid. "We demand that the Danish PM apologize and furthermore punish the guilty (probably with a bit run of the mill ME torture thrown in as good measure, Id guess)".

Ain't gonna happen people. Get over it.

Enozinho: If only more Muslims could think like that.

Anyway, I got some body armour and a Canadian made M16, I've got to prepare. Have fun, and I'll see you in the afterlife ;-)

And, did I mention: I'm sooooo happy to see support for Denmark in somewhat more librul plcea than LGF and Assrockets place. Thanx.

Regards.

Posted by: Ole on February 3, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Then they pull shit like this, and remind me of exactly how and why they fell down the rabbit hole. I really like Jeff II's idea, that what the Islamic world needs is a Martin Luther. In fact, I don't understand why there hasn't been one. The Catholic Church was just as repressive, punitive and warmongering then as the mullahs are now, yet the Reformation happened anyway. Posted by: CaseyL

Someone was discussing this on NPR about a year ago. He explained that this is unlikley to happen because there really is no centrallity in Islam, unlike "the Church" and the central "authority" (bullshit, cough, bullshit) embodied in the Pope at the time of the Reformation.

If you look at the myriad sects of Islam and the competing imans, I think it's pretty remarkable that there hasn't been more religious conflict in the ME than there has. Though most worshipers are grouped within three dominate sects, there isn't even a single undisputed leader within each sect.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

What I find ironic is the fact that many Arab papers have no problem demonizing Israel and Jews.

Yes, I agree! And it's such a novel idea. Point to a foreign, threatening bogeyman to deflect from criticism for failures at home. It's a good thing that doesn't happen here!

Posted by: enozinho on February 3, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

As Oscar Wilde said of Japan: Islam is a pure invention. There is no such country, there are no such people. This is not just sophistry. Islam, and certainly not Arabs or Middle Easterners, is not some unitary thing. There is certainly no catholic church as there was in the Middle Ages. They have already had their Martin Luther perhaps 10 of them. This unity exists only in the minds of the folks at the American Enterprise Institute and Osama bin Laden. These Islamic people, the minority of radicals and the majority of ordinary working people with families and pets and ipods just want Westerns to go home and leave them to their own ends. But since they listen to their ipods in houses with oil underneath we cannot leave them alone.

We are the ones with the perverse doctrine of utility and progress:

Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the law of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused. Woodrow Wilson 1907

Posted by: bellumregio on February 3, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that there is a long tradition in Buddhist art, Zen art in particular, of depicting Bodhisattvas and even the Buddha himself in what might be considered an unrespectful, cartoonish, charicaturish manner.

For example, Bodhidharma, the legendary Indian monk credited with bringing Buddhism to China, is often depicted as a wild-eyed, disheveled, ill-groomed, obese person clothed in rags, looking like nothing more than a crazed hobo.

And then there are the (to say the least) irreverent remarks of the ZEN masters, e.g. "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him" or "What are the scriptures after all? Bring them to me and I'll wipe my ass with them!" or, in reference to the central Zen Buddhist practice of sitting in meditation for hours at a time, "A dead man who lays down and does not sit, a living man who sits and does not lay down -- what are these but dirty skeletons!"


Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 3, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

enozinho is right, I think: Islam, or at least some parts of it, forbids representation of any human or animal form, not just the Prophet. Which makes the whole controversy very odd, given that there's not a newspaper in the Middle East, so far as I know, that doesn't have photos and cartoons in it. To say nothing of, er, all that television and video. Isn't Al-Jazeera's very existence contrary to the Qu'ran?

Even the Saudi Arab News had the late unlamented cartoonist M. Kahil. His work generally featured guys with big noses and Stars of David on their chests comitting atrocities or chuckling over ones already committed. No one could possibly be offended, right?

But I don't know how seriously the representational-art ban is taken. Certainly there have been Islamic regimes that ignored it completely; the Indian Mughal dynasty, for one, produced tons of stunning representational art, as well as the geometrical art Islam is better known for.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 3, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

... make that librul places. And forgive my weird Danish characters popping up.

Damn, it's Friday :-)

Posted by: Ole on February 3, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK
I doubt "hundreds of thousands" of Muslims were involved.Posted by: Jeff II
Check out the 1st sacking of Baghdad in 1258
Plus they control all the banks and stuff.Posted by: craigie
Hollywood liberals too, dang 'em Posted by: Mike on February 3, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Fair enough, Keith G - I didn't know what you were referring to specifically. We have holocaust deniers, so I didn't know if we were somehow witnessing a Crusades denier. Lord knows, they're probably out there! Al?

Posted by: bob on February 3, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

I sure hope that was fake Al above.

If not, Al, I have two words for you: Timothy McVeigh

OK? Now, effin deal with it.

Um, what's your point? That nutty Sheehan supporters are like nutty Islamic radicals AND like Tim McVeigh?

My clever retort to that is... YUP! I AGREE COMPLETELY.

Posted by: Al on February 3, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that there is a long tradition in Buddhist art, Zen art in particular, of depicting Bodhisattvas and even the Buddha himself in what might be considered an unrespectful, cartoonish, charicaturish manner. Posted by: SecularAnimist

Buddhism isn't a religion. It's a philosphy.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

How about this violent English legend? Talk about being angry at Danes!

"Since time beyond memory, children and tourists have been shown the doors of some Essex Churches, and told the story of the Danish Pirate who caught pillaging the church, was flayed alive, and had his skin nailed to the church door where it lies to this day underneath the ironwork. Unsurprisingly, it is a piece of local history that tends to stay in the mind when the finer points of church architecture are long forgotten.
It is hard to forget the idea that Danes once suffered such a terrible punishment as a warning to all who might approach churches with unhallowed and evil intentions, as a terrible memento of the villains who dared to raise their sacrilegious hands against the house of God, and as a ghastly memorial of ecclesiastical vengeance."

"Several Essex churches have the story of a Danes' skin. Usually the story goes that a Danish pirate decided to sack the church and was caught red-handed. An outraged mob then turned on the Dane and flayed him, skinning him and nailing the skin to the church door as a warning to anyone with the temerity to consider such a wicked act ever again." http://www.foxearth.org.uk/DanesSkin.html

Later DNA tests of one church door shows the skin to be that of a cow.

It's simple social anthropology. If someone does not belong to your tribe, then they are capable of great atrocities, real or imagined.

Leave the Muslims alone. They are no better or worse than you. They vast majority want to live peaceful, productive lives.

Posted by: deejaays on February 3, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

So enozinho, have you told th suits to fuck-off, yet?

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

"it's also the right that attracts hate groups like the Klan"
posted by: Bob

Oh yeah?

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2003/11/20/173004.shtml

So who on the right is a clan member?

Posted by: Lurker42 on February 3, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Um, what's your point? That nutty Sheehan supporters are like nutty Islamic radicals AND like Tim McVeigh?

Not quite. Keep scrolling down, Al.

Though I would agree that nuts can be found in *all* camps, but that was NOT your point was it?

Nice to see you cave so early, tho.

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Al,

Man, your cognitive skills are nearly as impressive as your devotion to moderation. Your willingness to lump anti-war activists in with mass murderers like Tim McVeigh and Osama bin Laden truly highlight the keen analytical insights you regularly grace us with. So incisive! So enlightened! Perhaps you could bless us with a brief discourse on the fundamental oneness of Muhatma Ghandi and Adolf Hitler.

Posted by: Seamus on February 3, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Though I would agree that nuts can be found in *all* camps, but that was NOT your point was it?

Yes, it was.

Posted by: Al on February 3, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

So who on the right is a clan member?

Er, likely 90% of the membership of the Klan?


BTW, linking to anything on Newsmax.com hardly does much for your cause.

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

And Lurker42, your devotion to using principled and balanced news sources like the highly-esteemed Newsmax makes your well-honed arguments (e.g. "Oh yeah.") even that much more impressive in their depth.

Posted by: Seamus on February 3, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Buddhism is a religion and/or a philosophy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism

If you've lived in a country where Buddhism is actually practiced by a large number of people (unlike its Hollywood variety so many follow here), this is patiently explained to you quite often.

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Add the Turks to the denier list - Armenians, Who?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 3, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I still think we're all going a little bit too unnecessarily deep in this argument.

It's very silly to pretend that Western cultures have some sort of pure free-speech ethic, despite the laws (probably because we have the free speech protections in the first place). We don't. There are all sorts of cultural taboos that any newspaper would pay a price at the newsstand for violating.

An outrageously sexist and salacious caracature of Condi Rice, for instance -- say, portraying her as a dominatrix in hip boots administering a punishment to a simpering George Bush -- would not be allowed on the editorial page of USAToday without wailing protests from all sorts of quarters left and right.

All I'm saying is that we need to put this in perspective ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Islam is almost singlehandedly responsible for the revival of ancient Greek throught that sparked the Renaissance. Their meticulously copied manuscripts were traded thoughout European cultural centers, notably Venice and Florence.Posted by: rmck1

True. But, again, you're taking about the Dark Ages. The Inquisition occurred during the Renaissance, a time when Islamic/ME culture was already in decline, and the West was coming back into dominance.

Remember, what started this whole subthread was someone making the idiotic statement that the Crusades somehow destroyed the intellectual center of Islam.

In any case, at this point in human history, no sentient being should have the least use for the superstitious silliness of religion. And if anyone in the ME or elsewhere wants the West to take Islamic culture (yes, I use this term ironically) seriously, they'd all better try and relearn the tolerance and openness that existed in their culture some thousand years ago.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

3rd Paul:

Absolutely.

And the Turks wisely -- and in the nick of time -- backed off that prosecution.

Had they gone through with it, they would have set back EU entry by another five years at least ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

And Lurker42, your devotion to using principled and balanced news sources like the highly-esteemed Newsmax makes your well-honed arguments (e.g. "Oh yeah.") even that much more impressive in their depth.
Posted by: Seamus

Ok smart guy, prove the story wrong. I wasn't arguing. I was showing you that your finger is pointed at the wrong side of the aisle if your looking for clansmen.

Posted by: Lurker42 on February 3, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. I would additionally say that Christianity is increasingly becoming both a philosophy and a religion. Of course, this idea incenses Christian fundamentalists.

However, I've met multiple people who consider themselves Christians and yet will confess to being agnostics in the next breath.

Now, I may be flamed by someone who says that you can't be a Xian if you don't believe in the divinity of Christ, etc, but my response would be that, like it or not, you don't get to determine who is a Christian and/or what the characteristics of an individual must be before they can call themselves a Christian.

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"We're busy dropping bombs on Iraqi towns. You call that civilized? You call that Christian? You call that justified? That's bullshit, that's what that is."

If we were actually dropping bombs on Iraqis towns, there'd be no Iraqi towns left. Of course to a liberal, there's no difference in targetting combatants firing AK47s and rocket launchers vs targeting school children.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on February 3, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Further up the thread Chris, Everett Volk, and others have speculated on what was driving the Muslims to complain so voiciferously. Chris' example of a black man being caricatured on the front page of a newspaper is offensive and violates our cultural standards of decency. But, the act of publication and society's reaction take place within this society alone. Kind of like a self censorship.

Which brings me to my point. The Dane's purpose in publishing the cartoons was to challenge the notion of self censorship imposed by forces outside of thier society. The issue is civilizational. Why should the Danes sacrifice a tenent of thier society in order to placate alien cultures? To do so is, in effect, to give de facto control over one's of affairs to an outside power. That's the overarching issue, the assetion of civilzational supremacy.

Posted by: dana on February 3, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

An outrageously sexist and salacious caracature of Condi Rice, for instance -- say, portraying her as a dominatrix in hip boots administering a punishment to a simpering George Bush -- would not be allowed on the editorial page of USAToday without wailing protests from all sorts of quarters left and right.

All I'm saying is that we need to put this in perspective ... Bob Posted by: rmck1

Bob, climb off your highhorse (horse high?).

While it's true that a (truly distrubing) image of Rice as a dominatrix isn't likely to find itself as the op-ed cartoon in the WaPo is NYT, that very image and countless other caricurates and send ups of the Bush administration (and the Clintons before that) have appeared all over the web and in less "august" publication than those mentioned above. The difference is that probably 99.999% of us think it's funny and have laughed at one, the other or both. We didn't, wouldn't all pour into the streets, set something on fire (me, I've got a job) or proclaim Pat Oliphant, David Horsey or Mike Luckovic infidels and threaten to kill them.

Until you see the same sort of tolerance in the Islamic world, I won't take it seriously.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Wasn't just Mulisms either; thousand of Jews were killed:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Crusade

So how does this support your original statement? If the Jews and Arabs (much larger group) were wiped out, and Jews again in Europe in the last 100 years, why are the Jews burning flags, threating to kill Europe? Is your point that they are a superior race? Quit making excuses.

Posted by: sinop85 on February 3, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Condi as a dominatrix: what like this?

http://www.rockcitynews.com/photos5b/antibushwar8/thumbnails/condi-sm-dom.jpg

or this

http://www.theillustrateddailyscribble.com/daily.scribble.jpgs.05/02.28.05.condi.dominatrix.jpg

or this

www.korlapundit.com/.../ images/condipeel.jpg

sorry, couldn't resist!!!

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

"I know that this is a completely impolitic thing to say, but my guess would be that you would see a lot more Tim McVeighs if our beloved right-wingers didn't have an outlet in U.S. Army."

No, that's not impolitic, encino. Unpatriotic and disgusting is more like it.

Posted by: GBH on February 3, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Bob wrote: Actually, Buddhism is a religion and/or a philosophy

Actually, Buddhism is the recognition that suffering (dukkha) exists, that suffering has a cause, that suffering can be ended, and that there is a path that leads to the cessation of suffering (nirvana). Those are the Four Noble Truths taught by the monk Siddhartha Gautama, who came to be known as "the Buddha" which means "one who is awake", in his first discourse to five fellow monks after he realized enlightenment.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 3, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

I give you points for honesty, though. Most of the lefties here spout the same kind of crap, but always hide behind the i'm-not-unpatriotic-i'm-just-against-OIF/cheney/chimpymcbushhitler/etc/etc dodge.

Posted by: GBH on February 3, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

So how does this support your original statement? If the Jews and Arabs (much larger group) were wiped out, and Jews again in Europe in the last 100 years, why are the Jews burning flags, threating to kill Europe? Is your point that they are a superior race? Quit making excuses.

Is it just me or this unintelligible nonsense?

BTW, I didn't make the original statement. I simply provided links that describe Christian oppression against Jews and Muslims alike.

Posted by: bob on February 3, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

"that insipid symbol of western capitalism: Legos. "

Hah! That great heroic achievement of human life Legos, you mean!


That article on the Crusades at Wikipedia simply isn't very good. It gives the impression, for instance, that something that lasted 300 years, the Reconquista in Spain, was a single unitary episode and that the primary necessity of the Crusades was as an outlet for some necessarily innate Christian violence.

The important thing about the Crusades is, the Muslims started it; and the reason it was a popular movement in Europe was because the newly organized feudal states were pretty close to being the fascist paradise, organized on a basis of permanent warfare with 'Christianity' in place of nationalism, and with a lot of ambitious, landless, younger sons who needed something to do. The Papacy, feeling it's temporal power threatend by the surrounding Gothic world order leaped at the opportunity to offload a lot of aggression onto the external power that had really been it's worst threat for hundreds of years.

But it couldn't have happened if the Muslims hadn't gotten on to this hobby of murdering Christian pilgrims in the first place.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

> "Islam is almost singlehandedly responsible for the revival of
> ancient Greek thought that sparked the Renaissance. Their
> meticulously copied manuscripts were traded thoughout European
> cultural centers, notably Venice and Florence."

> True. But, again, you're taking about the Dark Ages.

No, I'm talking about the Renaissance.

> The Inquisition occurred during the Renaissance, a time when
> Islamic/ME culture was already in decline, and the West was
> coming back into dominance.

First, the Renaissance was *facilitated* precisely by the
superiority of Islamic learning that flourished during that
time. After the Alexandria library was burned, it was Muslim
scholars who kept alive most of the secular literature in the
Hellenic world. It's hard to imagine the Renaissance, let alone
the Enlightenment, without access to those texts of antiquity
the preservation of which we directly owe the Muslims.

Secondly, the Inquisition was a reaction *against* progress,
and did much to help facilitate the eradication of Islamic (and
Jewish) outposts in southern Europe, which were progressive,
pluralistic and quite learned relative to their Catholic oppressors.
Islamic civilization did not go into a decline in a vaccuum, and
though it had its own causes to be sure -- we did everything we
could to help it along by severing all ties between our civilizations.

> Remember, what started this whole subthread was
> someone making the idiotic statement that the Crusades
> somehow destroyed the intellectual center of Islam.

The Crusades certainly didn't help matters, but it was
in the Late Middle Ages where the persecution got intense
enough to matter to cultural exchange. Catholic hostility
to Islam (and Islam had administered pluralistic societies
where minority religions were protected long before this
idea ever occured to Christians) has always been a regressive
force in history. Catholics struck the first blow, as it were.

> In any case, at this point in human history, no sentient being
> should have the least use for the superstitious silliness of
> religion. And if anyone in the ME or elsewhere wants the West
> to take Islamic culture (yes, I use this term ironically)
> seriously, they'd all better try and relearn the tolerance and
> openness that existed in their culture some thousand years ago.

Well, that's just smug cultural supremecism, and it's really more
the problem than the solution here, whichever culture it comes from
-- or whether it comes out of dogmatic atheism or dogmatic religion.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

The insults that hurt the most contain the truth.

Posted by: Tripp on February 3, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ok smart guy, prove the story wrong. I wasn't arguing. I was showing you that your finger is pointed at the wrong side of the aisle if your looking for clansmen.

Here's an alert for you: Byrd hasn't been in the Klan for about 60 years. And he has repudiated the Klan many times since.

Now, here's a question for you: what percentage of Klan members do you think are Republicans and/or conservatives?

No one, no one said there are Republican sentaors who are currently klansmen. And Byrd isn't one.

However, since you're asking, one NC gent Doug Hanks - a Republican - did try to run for city council recently, but was kicked out when it was discovered he was posting compulsively to StormFront. To their credit, his own party did go to great pains to distance themselves from him.

But all that is irrelevant to the fact that it is conservatism in the United States that attracts the violent hate groups. I mean, ask yourself honestly, which party is your average Klansman more likely to vote for? Your abortion bomber? Your StormFront poster?

Posted by: bob on February 3, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Everett Volk

eric
Is it really rational to expect this administration to stand up for the principles of free speech? I don't think so.

Neither do I. My post was supposed to be sarcastic. Im sorry if I could not pull it off.

In related news, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, has now chimed in by squarly blaming the Danes for the whole thing.

Furthermore the flagburning etc has resulted in huge increase in support for the xenophobic Danish Peoples Party. Maybe that does not diplease those Muslims that seek war between civilisations

And Mike. It is a stretch to blame the west or Cristianity for the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258

Posted by: eric on February 3, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

Check out the 1st sacking of Baghdad in 1258

The Mongols were Crusaders? Try again.

Despite the millenium long attempt to pick that scab, the Crusades were no more or less moral than any of the other territorial/imperial military adventures humans have pursued for thousands of years, including the Muslim wars of conquest they were a response to. The Holy Land (insert your own scare quotes if you prefer) was part of the Byzantine Empire until conquered by the Muslims. European Christians attempted to recapture the territory for Christendom, ultimately without success. Both sides fought with the savagery typical of the times.

Ascribing superior morality to either side is as foolish as doing the same to the Steelers or the Seahawks on Sunday. Root for your own side or not as you choose, but don't confuse the issue. If this old Muslim grudge about the Crusades (or the reconquista) is valid, then the West is just as justified to hold the same grudge about the conquest by Islam of so much of the Mediterranean world that had been part of the Western cultural sphere. Either way, we're even.

Posted by: VAMark on February 3, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Buddhism is the recognition that suffering (dukkha) exists, that suffering has a cause, that suffering can be ended, and that there is a path that leads to the cessation of suffering (nirvana)....

Which doesn't change the fact that it has evolved into both a religion and a philosophy. Trying to put semantic limitations on a thing does not change how it is actually/eventually practiced socially, historically.

Your same points could be made about Christ. Do you think he intended to start "Christianity"? So is Christianity not a religion?

Posted by: bob on February 3, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

"800+ years ago, the Islamic world was diverse, intellectually curious and in many ways much more accepting of differences than the western world at that time."

"Every so often I start to feel a little sympathy for Arab Muslims, having fallen so far down the rabbit hole from the time theirs was the most progressive, advanced, and intellectually vigorous society on Earth."

Who tells you these things? None of that was any truer then than it is now.


"Islam is almost singlehandedly responsible for the revival of ancient Greek throught that sparked the Renaissance. Their meticulously copied manuscripts were traded thoughout European cultural centers, notably Venice and Florence."


Yes, that's what they like to say, alright, and after they overran and looted Byzantium it had a shred of truth. But it's nearly complete horseshit.

Most of the unique impetus of the Renaissance was a Western reaction to Byzantium's collapse and the influx of refugees, from the east, who came with their own intellecutal traditions, exatly like the influx of European academics into the US during the 20th century.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK
Of course to a liberal, there's no difference in targetting combatants firing AK47s and rocket launchers vs targeting school children.

That's odd. Because I could have sworn it was the Republicans who claimed that shooting someone who was firing a rocket launcher was the same as shooting children.

Not that I'd expect someone with Freedom Let-Others-Fight-For-Me's nescience to see the distinction.

Posted by: Dobby on February 3, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, point taken about Condi the dominatrix ...

Condi was probably a bad example because the West (especially America since NYT v Sullivan) has given people in positions of power a special pride of place in the halls of ridicule ...

But imagine a caracature of a stereotypical black person, like Chris's initial example. Say, suffering Katrina because he's, well, shiftless and unambitious enough to live in the Ninth Ward.

Where would that be published other than some white supremecist website?

And if it was published somewhere more mainstream -- how do you think people would react to it?

You honestly think violence is out of the question?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

800+ years ago, the Islamic world was diverse, intellectually curious and in many ways much more accepting of differences than the western world at that time. WTF happened?

The prevalence of cousin marriage, with rates in some locations nearing 80%, some country level rates at about 50%. The resulting inbreeding depression and the cultural stagnation of owing fealty to family and tribe rather than society are the results of such clan practices.

Now, allow this to unfold for centuries and you can get a pretty good handle on some of the important dynamics that led to the current state. If you measure the economic output of the whole Islamic Crescent and exclude oil, the output of those 800 million people equal that of Spain.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 3, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

Before jumping into Classics Illustrated, try a good Wikipedia article,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. We are a planet of loons.

Not that this is any recent revelation.

Posted by: E. Henry Thripshaw on February 3, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK
If there's a lesson to be learned here and I assure you there won't be it's that Arabs rather obviously don't hate America any more than any other country.

I don't think you understand how comparisons like "more" work. The fact that people are right now burning Danish flags does not mean that the momentary anger directed at Denmark or any other country in any equals the degree of anger in the Middle East directed at the "Great Satan" (US) and "Little Satan" (Israel).

Posted by: cmdicely on February 3, 2006 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, that's what they like to say, alright, and after they overran and looted Byzantium it had a shred of truth. But it's nearly complete horseshit.

Not quite. For one thing, while the Ottomans did indeed conquer Constantinople in 1453, they were merely continuing the work started by the Western Europeans, who had sacked the Byzantine Empire several times during the course of the Crusades hundreds of years earlier.

Most of the unique impetus of the Renaissance was a Western reaction to Byzantium's collapse and the influx of refugees, from the east, who came with their own intellecutal traditions, exatly like the influx of European academics into the US during the 20th century.

No, that's wrong. The cultural/economic/technological etc. innovations that led to the Renaissance in western Europe were already well-established by the fall of Constantinople. It was the well-established merchant trading system that encouraged the free flow of ideas and capital, most of all, that enabled the Renaissance to flourish.

Posted by: Stefan on February 3, 2006 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Danes certainly have freedom of expression. But let me ask Liberals a hypothetical question: pretned a US newspaper had just published a cartoon showing black americans in a classic racist way, complete with oversized lips, lying under a tree in the shjade, with a wrathful God throwing a Hurricae at them to kill them? It certianly is freedom of expression, but it says more about the cartoonist than the situation. Oh, wait, Pat Buchanan pretty much did that, and was crucified (oh, the irony) for it. some things are hateful, and although hate speech is certainly free speech, it is highly regulated here in the US, mainly by LIberals.

Pat Buchanan was crucified? Well, that certainly explains the stigmata....

Posted by: Stefan on February 3, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

Before jumping into Classics Illustrated, try a good Wikipedia article, Posted by: cld

Hey! Bill "7 come 11" Bennett highly recommends that series, especially to negros not yet killed or aborted (to hypothetically impact the crime rate).

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

So far, Muslims in this country haven't gotten that mad that there is a depiction of Mohammed in a frieze at the supreme court as a "Law Giver." In fact, Rehnquist said " the Muhammad sculpture "was intended only to recognize him, among many other lawgivers, as an important figure in the history of law; it is not intended as a form of idol worship."

If you want to catch up on more idiocy, try the book "Why I'm not a Muslim" that describes Islamic mob action through out the world. Yes, yes, Christians tore down pagan temples, censored art, etc. But I think it would be could for everyone to see fundamentalism as applied in another context.

Posted by: Go Red Ox on February 3, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Just look at the abuse Jesus gets in college funny papers.

So far, no one's burnin' nothin'.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 3, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to catch up on more idiocy, try the book "Why I'm not a Muslim"

And while you're at the bookstore, be sure to pick up "Why I Am not a Christian" (which undoubtedly inspired the former title) by Bertrand Russell.

Great read. Someone should start a campaign to leave one in hotel rooms along with Gideon Bibles.

Posted by: Bob on February 3, 2006 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

""Every so often I start to feel a little sympathy for Arab Muslims, having fallen so far down the rabbit hole from the time theirs was the most progressive, advanced, and intellectually vigorous society on Earth."

"Who tells you these things? None of that was any truer then than it is now."

Huh?

"Under 'Abd al Rahman II (822-852), Andalusia had grown to support a population of 30 million, who lived in hundreds of cities, manufacturing centers, where textiles were produced, and trade and education flourished. The capital city, Cordoba, was the largest city in the West, with 130,000 households within its walls, 3,000 mosques, and 28 suburbs, with villas, palaces, and splendid gardens.

"Farmers who took advantage of irrigation techniques, financed through taxation, paid only 5% rather than 10% of their yield in taxes. Dams, irrigation canals, and pumps contributed to productivity levels which far outstripped those in Northern Europe for centuries to come. The textile industry, which employed 13,000 persons out of the 130,000 households in Cordoba, produced cotton, linen, wool, and silk. State as well as private textile mills were equipped with spindles and horizontal looms.

"Hakem II extended education to the needy, by building 27 elementary schools in Cordoba for children of poor families. Three of these were located near the great mosque, and the remaining 24 in the suburbs 'to impart free education.' One chronicler reports that in Cordoba alone, there were 800 schools. In addition, a large orphanage was built in Cordoba, as in many other towns. Thus, 'the majority of Muslims could read and write.' The German philologist Gustav Diercks remarked that 'there were even in the smallest villages public schools and schools for the poor in such numbers, that one has good reason to assume that under Hakem II (916-976) at least in the province of Cordoba, no one was ignorant of reading and writing.

"In the 9th-10th Centuries, the mosque schools evolved into universities, the first in Europe, which flourished in every city, drawing Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scholars and students like magnets, from all over the world. Finally, there were the academies, separate from the mosques, the most famous of which were the House of Wisdom (Dur al-Hikmah) and the House of Science (Dur al-'Ilm), which were libraries, translation centers, and astronomical observatories. In the 10th and 11th Centuries, the madrasah, a state-sponsored educational institution, appeared in Persia and Baghdad, as well as in Andalusia."

And that doesn't even mention the municipal lighting and sewage services, the women who owned property and operated their own business, or the invention of algebra and optics.

Was there anyplace in Christendom that had any of those things at that time?


Posted by: CaseyL on February 3, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

> "Islam is almost singlehandedly responsible for the revival
> of ancient Greek thought that sparked the Renaissance. Their
> meticulously copied manuscripts were traded thoughout European
> cultural centers, notably Venice and Florence."

> Yes, that's what they like to say, alright,

"They," being, you know, standard-issue historians.

> and after they overran and looted Byzantium it had
> a shred of truth. But it's nearly complete horseshit.

Where do you think the Renaissance scholars got the manuscripts
from -- if not from the Muslims who sacked Byzantium?

> Most of the unique impetus of the Renaissance was a Western
> reaction to Byzantium's collapse and the influx of refugees,

That's the strangest interpretation of the Reniassance *I've* ever
heard. Refugees? More like trading empires that had the money
behind them to commission art and learning alongside the Church.

> from the east, who came with their own intellecutal
> traditions, exatly like the influx of European
> academics into the US during the 20th century.

"Exactly." Speaking of, you know, Classics Illustrated.

TangoMan:

> The prevalence of cousin marriage, with rates in some
> locations nearing 80%, some country level rates at about
> 50%. The resulting inbreeding depression and the cultural
> stagnation of owing fealty to family and tribe rather
> than society are the results of such clan practices.

Which becomes significant when you have the concept of the
nation-state imposed on your region by external powers.

> Now, allow this to unfold for centuries and you can get
> a pretty good handle on some of the important dynamics
> that led to the current state. If you measure the economic
> output of the whole Islamic Crescent and exclude oil, the
> output of those 800 million people equal that of Spain.

Man, you know few things are as depressing as a thread about
Islamic culture on a putatively liberal blog. Oil tends to do
this to a developing nation, whether Nigeria, Venezuela or the Gulf
States -- it's a massive disincentive to develop human capital.

But it's positively perverse to hear Westerners decrying this,
considering what a sweet deal it is for *their* economies ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

stefan,

I was responding to the popular myth of the Islamic contribution to world culture, my point being that nearly every part of it is phony.

When they finally captured Constantinople, it was after about two centuries of careful effort hacking off one part after another until 'Constantinople dropped like a ripe fruit into our palm'. During this period there was a steady stream of people moving west. The influences of these refugees hasn't been really sufficiently analyzed, but is it a coincidence that priestly celibacy appeared shortly after Constantinople fell and the tradition of the Court eunuchs went with it?

That Islamic merchants were reselling stuff looted from Byzantine provinces is undeniable, but it's like saying the guy who sold Einstein his steamer ticket is responsible for Einstein.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

While Muslims did keep Greek classical texts in circulation, the Byzantine Empire had them in regular rotation. Just because the West became ignorant, ie "Greek to me," don't make it seem that Islam did the world a favor. In fact, Carl Sagan viewed the destruction of the Byzantine Empire as setting back technology hundreds of years. So, without Islam, you'd have East-West rapprochement earlier, not later.

Thanks to the person who mentioned who started the Crusades. Spain was occupied territory. So was the Middle East. Do you think the Coptic and Syriac Christians showed up after Islam?

Posted by: Go Red Ox on February 3, 2006 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

CLD, didn't see your comments when I posted but I concur!

Posted by: Go Red Ox on February 3, 2006 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

'there is a depiction of Mohammed in a frieze at the supreme court as a "Law Giver." '


Is there really? I had no idea. Where is there a picture of it?

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

No, Bob, this is not unintelligible nonsense. This is a point well taken that Muslims are the way they are because their best and brightest were slaughtered...hence they are barbarians.

Well, if the same slaughter holds true for the jews, then why aren't they...so silly...so barbaric?

Personally I am glad that the lines are finally being drawn...this eventuality should have been apparent with the Salman Rushdie problem when the British Gov. put him in hiding rather than stand up to this foolishness.

Dana, up thread is right, It is a dominance of Civilizations question...and no quarter can be given.

To put this more succinctly...some ideas, like people are just no damned good. Muslim intolerance falls into this category.

Best Wishes,

Traveller

Posted by: Traveller on February 3, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

How come I don't hear much of other sects blowing up places of worship in India, enslaving blacks in Africa, gunning down school children in Russia, decapitating monks in SE Asia, bombing malls, cafes, buses, office buildings, etc. all over the world?

The sect your thinking of is called Christianity, perhaps you've heard of it?

It's slaughtered millions upon millions of people, enslaved millions of people, tortured and beheading tens of thousands (if not millions) and also has bombed all kinds of buildings all over the world.

I'm sorry, but Islam has nothing on Christianity when it comes to a body count or sheer distructiveness.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 3, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's actually a (rare, but) fairly clever pun by Kevin on the word "blogging"...

Ah, thank you, Jay C. I suspected there was considerable cleverness involved, but until you arrived it was an enigma to me.

Great read. Someone should start a campaign to leave one in hotel rooms along with Gideon Bibles.

I'd prefer we went the other route and kept every publication dealing with religion, spirituality, faith or the lack thereof out of my hotel room. I want to see a phone book, voicemail instructions and the little card explaining how to reuse my towels. Maybe a room service menu if I've been working really late. That's it, baby.

Posted by: shortstop on February 3, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Right! So other than textiles, schools, irrigation methods, women's rights, municipal services, libraries, observatories, algebra and optics --

wha' have the Muslims ever done for us?"

Posted by: Andalusian Windhorse on February 3, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

But imagine a caricature of a stereotypical black person, like Chris's initial example. Say, suffering Katrina because he's, well, shiftless and unambitious enough to live in the Ninth Ward.

Where would that be published other than some white supremacist website?

And if it was published somewhere more mainstream how do you think people would react to it?

You honestly think violence is out of the question?

Well, I don't, but it would be a very different sort of violence here, Bob. Here, you'd get random looting of whatever stores looked promising in the way of easy-to-take-away consumer goods. There, you'd get death threats against the cartoonists, possibly subsequently carried out. And if the offensive cartoon is published by an Arab paper, and maliciously caricatures Jews, you'd get nothing at all, because the Israelis are too damn used to this stuff to care about it any more.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 3, 2006 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Great read. Someone should start a campaign to leave one in hotel rooms along with Gideon Bibles.
Posted by: Bob

Nah. Then the effing Scientologist would insist on an equal presence with Dianetics. Just how many more Tom Cruises do we need?

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Which becomes significant when you have the concept of the nation-state imposed on your region by external powers.

The custom of cousin marriage and the resulting cultural/societal practices originated many centuries before nation-states were imposed upon the regions. Granted, the clumping together of different groups into arbitrary nations isn't an aid to national cohesiveness. No doubt. However, it also isn't the kiss of death for the process of forging national identity.

Oil tends to do this to a developing nation

I'm not disputing this. However, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Pakistan, etc are not oil-rich economies. The point I was making was focused on the region where Islam and cousin marriage are the dominant features of the cultures. You get a hint of the problem if you look at the situation in England where Pakistani's have birth defects at about 10x the rate of the national average, and are at the bottom of the sociol mobility index, and do much more poorly than immigrants from India. They, of course, are distinguished by their through the roof rates of cousin marriage, and that's in England.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 3, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

'there is a depiction of Mohammed in a frieze at the supreme court as a "Law Giver." '

Is there really? I had no idea. Where is there a picture of it?


http://tinyurl.com/77wpx

Posted by: Windhorse on February 3, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'd prefer we went the other route and kept every publication dealing with religion, spirituality, faith or the lack thereof out of my hotel room.

I agree with that. shortstop - I was really joking.

And Traveler - I'm glad you could divine that - I didn't see it. Maybe I'm just dumb (a distinct possiblity). I agree that some ideas/religious beliefs, etc are just bad/wrong. I would include hell and damnation among those, and I don't think God, angels, demons, eternal life, heaven and much better - just ostensibly less harmful.

And just to confirm, I never stated that Muslim culture devolved because of Christian intervention. I simply directed folks to the fact that Xians did, in fact, kill tens of thousands (maybe more) of Jews and Muslims during the Crusades.

Posted by: bob on February 3, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

And if the offensive cartoon is published by an Arab paper, and maliciously caricatures Jews,

Like these cartoons published in Arab papers?

Posted by: TangoMan on February 3, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Where do you think the Renaissance scholars got the manuscripts
from -- if not from the Muslims who sacked Byzantium?

Actually, westerners had been getting them since the 12th century, and looted many of them during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked by -- [wait for it] -- Christians.

> Most of the unique impetus of the Renaissance was a Western reaction to Byzantium's collapse and the influx of refugees,

That's the strangest interpretation of the Reniassance *I've* ever heard. Refugees? More like trading empires that had the money behind them to commission art and learning alongside the Church.

Well, I don't know what interpretations you've been hearing, but refugees from throughout the period 1453 - 1460 flooded westward, manuscripts in hand.

But much of what the Muslims passed on was not dependent on the "Byzantine" Empire (whatever that is). Exchanges continued over centuries in places like Acre and Toledo.
.

Posted by: Grand Moff Texan on February 3, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Right! So other than textiles, schools, irrigation methods, women's rights, municipal services, libraries, observatories, algebra and optics --

wha' have the Muslims ever done for us?"
Posted by: Andalusian Windhorse

Nice try, Bruce. My we call you Bruce? It would be a lot less confusing.

"Woman's rights"? Other than algerbra, the rest is of Grecco-Roman origin.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

As a former Danish resident, can we please stop referring to these people as "Dutch." Nobody wants to be from Holland.

Posted by: Justin on February 3, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

CaseyL,

Where from the massive quote? From the Wikipedia article on Universities,

"The first European medieval university was the University of Magnaura in Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey), founded in 849 by the emperor Bardas, followed by the University of Salerno (9th century)University of Bologna (1088) in Bologna, Italy, and the University of Paris (c. 1100) in Paris, France."


Medieval Europe gets a really bad rap in the popular mind. Not that it wasn't horrible, it just wasn't horrible in the way most people imagine. It's problem was that it was mired in a grotesque social conservatism, not that it lacked technical development.


rmck1,

Yes, you just have to force yourself past the wooziness. A lot of the academic reaction to Islamic culture over the last 30 years has been the worst kind of cartoonish, and grossly illiberal, political correctness.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Alright, that's it -- I'm out. This thread has become completely toxic.

I'll read about these issues in scholarly publications; the level of grotesque prejudice, projective identification and cleverly denied cultural supremecy is just not worth wading through atm.

This Clash of Civilizations garbage is completely demoralizing. It's like talking to people about race in the early 60s ...

CaseyL and Windhorse -- keep up the good work.

Off to do email ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Cultural chauvinism is the province of the illiterate and untraveled.

He who is without sin may cast the first stone.

And other useful clichs.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 3, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

If you look at the myriad sects of Islam and the competing imans, I think it's pretty remarkable that there hasn't been more religious conflict in the ME than there has. Though most worshipers are grouped within three dominate sects, there isn't even a single undisputed leader within each sect. Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 2:48 PM

That's not really different than Protestantism. But I think the (relative) lack of violence between Protestant sects might be due to the fact that they had Catholics and Jews to beat up on.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 3, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Can we get over the Crusades already? Can we recognize that the chronology was roughly this:

(1) Muslims take over the Holy Land (not to mention the Iberian peninsula) by force;

(2) European Christians try to take the Holy Land back, sometimes succeeding briefly;

(3) Muslims attack Vienna, twice, substantially, within a hundred years, and not apparently because Vienna had attacked them, but rather because they saw a nice city and wanted a piece of that.

I really don't see that the Muslims count as victims here. The Eastern Orthodox of Constantinople are another matter.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 3, 2006 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

> Now, allow this to unfold for centuries and you can get a pretty good handle on some of the important dynamics that led to the current state. If you measure the economic output of the whole Islamic Crescent and exclude oil, the output of those 800 million people equal that of Spain.

Man, you know few things are as depressing as a thread about Islamic culture on a putatively liberal blog. Oil tends to do this to a developing nation, whether Nigeria, Venezuela or the Gulf
States -- it's a massive disincentive to develop human capital. Bob Posted by: rmck1

I guess this helps explain Ted Steven's popularity?

Bob, the presence of oil as the center of the economies in the ME is crucial. But it does not explain entirely the complete inability to parlay this enormous advantage into more diverse and dynamic economies. Islam and Arabic culture have a great deal to do with that as well (or Islam and Persian in the case of Iran). It pains me to write this, but Fareed Zakari has written convincingly on this (as have many other school or the ME and Islam).

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Lurker42,

It's well-accepted that Robert Byrd belonged to the KKK as a youth. It's also well-accepted that he has apologized a number of times and publicly renounced his prior membership. More importantly, Sen. Byrd has proven to be an effective advocate for civil rights and civil liberties during his membership in the Senate. So, yeah, you're right in a tiny way, but it doesn't prove your point.

The fact that a liberal Senator belonged to the KKK 40 years ago proves only that fact. Meanwhile, there is no rational person willing to debate whether the KKK is composed of right-wing hate mongers.

Posted by: Seamus on February 3, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II:

Fareed Zakaria -- the Arab word's answer to Tom Friedman.

*gagging on pre-vomit saliva*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

dr. morpheus, "I'm sorry, but Islam has nothing on Christianity when it comes to a body count or sheer distructiveness."


Arabs invented African slavery. Islam is the most destructive and vulgar force ever invented. It is based on slavery and the justification of slavery. Literally.

Read the first four or five pages of The Koran and the tell us how that is a recipe for how to live with others,

http://www.hti.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

There would not be thorougbred horses without the Arabian foundation.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 3, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

If any of your skepticism is directed at the points I made all you have to do is ask me to provide citations to the scientific literature in support of those positions. I'd be happy to point you to the literture.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 3, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, what is wrong with you today?

This is your worst piece of writing ever...wrong on so many levels, beginning with just a rank variety of laziness and insensitivity (to real world issues, not the feelings of this or that people).

Posted by: Jimm on February 3, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I should point out in Mike's post above that the Mongols were later allied with the Christian West during the Crusades. So the sacking of Bagdad wasn't just a Mongol atrocity, it was part of the Crusade campaign.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 3, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II: Fareed Zakaria -- the Arab word's answer to Tom Friedman. *gagging on pre-vomit saliva*
Bob Posted by: rmck1

Hardly. Freidman's never had an original thought in his life. Zakaria's no Bernard Lewis. But then neither are you.

Now, go away like you said you would.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Waterfowl writes of the attacks on Vienna - However, had not they attacked and been defeated, would we have "croissants" today? Made by the bakers in Vienna to celebrate the victory.

Posted by: stupid git on February 3, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

But it couldn't have happened if the Muslims hadn't gotten on to this hobby of murdering Christian pilgrims in the first place. Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 3:28 PM

Sorry cld, but that's absolutely untrue. That was a popular rumor just before and during the Crusades, though. I can't remember which Pope gave it official sanction (one of the "Innocents", IIRC).

But in any case there were no "slaughter" of Christian pilgrims.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 3, 2006 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

As the suject seems to have veered from the burning of the Dannebrog to history, specifically that of the Crusades, it is approriate that the Dannebrog is originally a Crusader flag. According to Danish legands it fell from the sky the night before a battle during a Danish Crusade in heathen Estonia. The Danes won the battle and ruled Estonia briefly, but long enough to give name to the Estonian capital of Tallin=city of the Danes

Posted by: eric on February 3, 2006 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

But in any case there were no "slaughter" of Christian pilgrims. Posted by: Dr. Morpheus

Maybe not. But there should have been!

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

All kidding aside, Islam fit the violent mold of the Arabs, not the other way around. Kids become Islamic for the same reason they become Nazi or Democratic Liberals, they feel cheated and want to use collective action to steal from others. Actually, the major problem for the Arabs is the desert, no water.

As far as the Islamic invasion of Europe, it continue to this day by these people.

They are mainly pissed at Israel because we got one back, we also beat them back from Vienna, and we engage them in Turkey. But they still propogate, they still invade. Islamics drove the Christians, and continue this day to do the same, out of the Levant.

Arabs, desert Arab culture, coming from Saudi Arabia stinks. It is that culture that is primitive. Iraq, in olden times, was invaded and destroyed by these desert maniacs, and they do not stop coming. Just look at the mafia style royal government in Saudi Arabia. These guys are barely past camal jockeying.

Posted by: Matt on February 3, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Can we get over the Crusades already? Can we recognize that the chronology was roughly this:
(1) Muslims take over the Holy Land (not to mention the Iberian peninsula) by force;(2) European Christians try to take the Holy Land back, sometimes succeeding briefly;(3) Muslims attack Vienna, twice, substantially, within a hundred years, and not apparently because Vienna had attacked them, but rather because they saw a nice city and wanted a piece of that. I really don't see that the Muslims count as victims here. The Eastern Orthodox of Constantinople are another matter.

Well, that chronology starts a little late. It should be "(1) Christians take over Europe, North Africa and the Middle East by force."

Pity the poor pagans....

Posted by: Stefan on February 3, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

dr. morpheus,

The immediate chain of causality is started by this guy,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Hakim_bi-Amr_Allah


History is full of stuff, like massacres and slaughters, and Arabs killing and enslaving people years before the Crusades started,

http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/History/History-idx?type=turn&entity=History002800620083&q1=massacre

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Pity the poor pagans.... Posted by: Stefan

Especially those in Europe. Look how the Christians fucked-up the Winter Solstice.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Other than algerbra, the rest is of Grecco-Roman origin

Many of the contributions of Islamic culture were Greco-Roman in origin but were mastered, built-upon and advanced by Muslim scientists, physicians, teachers, and philosophers.

And by that token, we might just as well point out that many American contributions are European in origin -- and on and on. I suppose everything is reductive to the sea-faring group of pyramid-builders that predated the Egyptians -- or even the Clan of the Cave Bear, I suppose.

The first academic observatory, the astrolabe, algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, advanced hospitals, the treatment of smallpox and meningitis, the discovery of the circulatory system, advances in irrigation, architectural innovations -- all of these were just some innovations that came out of Islamic civilization, in addition to the understanding of metallurgy, cartography, geology and mineralogy that they acquired from previous civilizations.

I don't understand the need to deny Muslims credit for these important discoveries and for the overall accomplishments of the "Golden Age" of their civilization.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 3, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

This whole episode is very depressing.
Islam is primitive.
And its primitive nature makes it unsuitable for integration into the Western European community.
The only good Western muslim is the apostate muslim.

The muslims of the West will become apostate or they will be ejected by the electorates of the Europe. I think it is that straightforward.

Europe oh Europe you lost so much when you lost your Jews and replaced them with Arabs.

Posted by: Nemesis on February 3, 2006 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Not sure that's exactly right. I suppose you could say that Constantine took over the Roman Empire by force, but it was already there; and evidently he didn't suppress most pagan usages. (Apart from little details like having people who consulted diviners burned alive, evidently. But then it was those clever pagans who came up with crucifixion. I don't think any culture has managed not to invent nasty tortures.)

Posted by: waterfowl on February 3, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Matt,

Resentment and vindictiveness are specific characteristics of social conservatives, who understand nothing but themselves and their own selfish guttural urges, which they project onto others.

The Crusades involved two large masses of Yahwistic armies attacking each other.

We're better than that. Republicans and Muslims are not.


In Islamic societies any kind of social organization higher than the tribal is said to be corrupt and evil and consequently only the place of evil people, so they are able to rationalize why evil people rule them, and so only evil people rule them.

Which is why they can't organize a war that doesn't end up with a disproportionate amount of themselves dead.

And much the same can be said about Republicans and government.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

But Matt,
The towel-heads in Saudi Arabia are one of America's chief creditors. The loan us money to pay for Paris Hiltons tax cut, the Iraq war and so we can buy more Chinese goods at Wal-Mart. They also keep the oil prices low so we can buy even more Chinese goods. Unfortunately our kids will have to pay them back with interest but that isnt too bad. We can print more money. Anyway, President Bush likes 'em enough to walk hand-in-hand with 'em on sunny afternoons down on the ranch, so they cant be too smelly. Hangin' out with the camels like they do.

Posted by: bellumregio on February 3, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Windhorse, "I don't understand the need to deny Muslims credit for these important discoveries and for the overall accomplishments of the "Golden Age" of their civilization."


Because the Arab contribution to those areas is wildly overstated. Everyone of those things existed as trade secrets, or trade knowledge, or priestly knowledge, what the Arabs did was simply loot the material of the societies they overran, dump it in a pile and put a new name on it, then brag it up throughout the world.

The Arabic expansion is part of the general barbarian expansion in the first part of the Dark Ages, they are the southern-most barbarians and the only group with an idiosyncratic gimmick, Islam, to justify their action. Not just a religion, Islam was created from the beginning as a political theory.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Moderate Muslims please stand up and do it now and not just on television and in print. Riot in the streets against this fatally narrow minded world view, declare yourself with toleration and open mindedness. No amount of anger I feel at Western governments and their hypocrisy can equal the hatred I feel for this (very prominent) strain of violent ignorance so visible in Islamic societies. Tell me I don't have all the facts, or that this type of reaction is to be expected, it doesn't matter, something has got to change on their side of the debate and soon.

Or fuck it, force the issue and print cartoons af Allah doing bong hits in every newspaper in America. Alongside Jesus and Zarathustra, just to be fair.

Posted by: Blame America on February 3, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Or fuck it, force the issue and print cartoons af Allah doing bong hits in every newspaper in America. Alongside Jesus and Zarathustra, just to be fair.
Posted by: Blame America

Bongs hits with big-breasted hippy chicks in halter tops and bell bottoms, sort of Zig-Zag Manish artwork, man. Keep on truckin'!

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm. Not one mention of American mobs attacking (and sometimes killing) those who offended them. What you are criticizing is part of US history, too.

Posted by: Bob M on February 3, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK


The only American group to stage a political riot in the past 30 years were Republicans in Miami. And not one of those idiots even went to jail.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

cld

In all seriousness if you could point me to scholarly work that supports your surprising claim, I'ld appreciate it...

Because the Arab contribution to those areas is wildly overstated. Everyone of those things existed as trade secrets, or trade knowledge, or priestly knowledge, what the Arabs did was simply loot the material of the societies they overran, dump it in a pile and put a new name on it, then brag it up throughout the world.

This is news to me and I want to read up on it.

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Another thing about Buddhists. When they are very, very upset about something, as the Buddhist monks of Vietnam were upset about the death and destruction of the war there, they don't set flags on fire in protest. They set themselves on fire in protest.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 3, 2006 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Another thing about Buddhists. When they are very, very upset about something, as the Buddhist monks of Vietnam were upset about the death and destruction of the war there, they don't set flags on fire in protest. They set themselves on fire in protest. Posted by: SecularAnimist

That, perhaps, is unique to SE Asian Buddhist monks. In Japan in the 9th century, they just went to war with each other over the best building sites in Nara and Kyoto.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I would have to know more about who exactly are these people setting the fire and what the context was.

I don't think Arabs hate everyone equally, and I don't think they hate more that any other ethnic group.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on February 3, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK
That, perhaps, is unique to SE Asian Buddhist monks.

Not unless you stretch the definition of "Southeast" beyond reason; its certainly been known in Korea in the last few decades, for instance. IIRC, Japan, too.

In Japan in the 9th century, they just went to war with each other over the best building sites in Nara and Kyoto.

True, though I think the key distinction here is not "In Japan" but "in the 9th century". Though, actually, I seem to recall seing recent footage of street fights between members of rival Buddhist monasteries, as well -- Buddhism, like every major religion, have a range of adherents with wildly different responses to situations which anger them. And Buddhists are hardly the only people who ever have used public suicide as a protest action.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 3, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Nooooo ... we definetely don't want to be called Dutch. We're Danes, dammit.

Calling us Dutch is an insult that might trigger a storm of the US Embassy in Denmark, demanding an apology from Bush, Cheney, Alito and the Pope, delivered as a barbershop accepello, as the only means to stop us from running over completely innocent ducklings.

Nobody wants that, really. Specially not the barbershop part.

Posted by: Ole on February 3, 2006 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

The sack of Jerusalem included not only the resident Muslims and Jews, but also the resident Christians.

The mention of Islam needing something akin to the Protestant Reformation and question of where is the muslim Luther to lead it could be a dangerous one. To at least a minimal degree, the muslim world has a reformer, and his name is Osama bin Laden. A few parallels:
Luther protested against the corruption that wealth had brought the Catholic Church. OBL is protesting against the corruption that oil wealth has brought Saudi Arabia.
Luther was aginst the strict determination of dogma and scriptural interpretation by a select few theologians. OBL was not from the right family and did not have the right training to be accepted as a muslim scholar but he feels that his interpretation of the Koran and sharia should be acceptable, just as protestant reformers looked at more individualistic interpretations of religious works.
Both Luther and OBL had(have) powerful backing from political entities that had a beef with entrenched political power.


And now for silly season:
I guess those arabs will stop importing all that good Danish ham.

Posted by: natural cynic on February 3, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Calling us Dutch is an insult that might trigger a storm of the US Embassy in Denmark, . . .
Posted by: Ole

Embassy in Denmark? What the hell do we need that for. Hell, we bought New York from the Dutch fair and square a few hundred years ago. And nothing is sillier than a people who wear wooden shoes.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G,

Is it surprising? By it's nature most of that kind of knowledge was not freely available, but the province of trade guilds and societies the like. We regularly read about surprising ancient gizmos that have turned up, like the Antikythera Mechanism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_Mechanism) . Other things, like the circulation of the blood, said to have been discovered in 1628, seem so obvious that it's hard to imagine thousands of years of temple priests performing animal sacrifices would never have noticed it. There were Roman and Byzantine devices that did elaborate tricks with steam or compressed air.

If you want to say letting it loose generally was the great Arabic contribution, that's a good argument, but to say they made fundamental contributions is a real stretch because we do not see any noteworthy or exceptional advances over the capacities of Byzantium in any of those areas. If there had been, you know they would be well-hyped.

Arabic architecture is a seamless evolution from the Byzantine, with a new freedom of abstraction, which is their singular achievement, but it's not new technology.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Litlle Ole Jim in flyover country ;-) :

I don't know who these people are, but they're burning my flag (and let them, by all means) because a Danish daily Jyllands Posten four months ago printed 12 more or less satirical cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. A couple of these might be seen as somewhat offensive (one showed Mohammed wearing a bomb instead of a turban) - on the other hand, in terms of offensive, Muslims perhaps ought to ask themselves how a couple of Danish satirical newspaper cartoonists might have got that notion.

Whatever.

In a Danish context, the reason for Jyllands Posten to actually print these drawings was this: A Danish author Kre Bluitgen was writing a book about Islam, and had approached some illustrators asking them to draw Mohammed for the book. He was turned down by all of them - they all said they where feared repercussions if they did it (rightfully so, one might add in 20/20 hindsight.

That's some of the context, at least. Another part of it is the timing. We've had a somewhat heated debate about Islam in Denmark the last year, and perhaps the timing of Jyllands Posten wasn't really that great. And yes, a couple of the drawings might be seen as offensive.

Surprisingly, though, the Muslim community hasn't rallied mainly against the "offensivenes" of some of the drawings, but rather rallied against Jylands Posten merely depicting the prophet Mohammed - which is forbidden by the Quran.

For what it's worth, I don't think Jyllands Posten should have printed those drawings, but that's in an isolated Danish context.

In a larger context, non-Muslims simply can not be bound in any way by any rules laid down by the Quran. As a Christian I certainly don't expect Muslims to obey the word of the Bible, so why should I be bound the other way around? (not that I'm a fundie in any way, though, but still) - and that's kind of where the fuss is heading. Should we self censor ourselves to please any and all whims of any Muslim in this world, or will Muslims simply have to accept the fact that we have a free press in the West?

Another part of if is that there has been demands for the Danish Prime Minister to officially apologize on behalf of Denmark and to "severely punish the ones responsible for printing these drawings". In a free society, that's simply a no-go. The Danish PM can not, in any way what so ever, apologize for the acts of a Danish newspaper. No way Jose. And I guess some of the angry people in these mobs really can't grasp that concept; the head of state they know can do anything he damned well pleases, up to and including that wee bit of torture, so why can't the Danish PM simply shut down that stupid newspaper?

In a global context, they'll simply have to get over it.

Posted by: Ole on February 3, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

This is just another example of how most people are incapable of keeping anything other than simple "us good; them bad" views of the world.

Is it so hard to think both that the cartoons are crude and that burning things in protest is not a good idea? Is it so hard to think that occupation of Palestine is wrong and that suicide bombing of civilians is wrong also? Instead we treat everything like it is a football game with our worst rival.

Part of why we think the west is so morally superior is that we cant see what we are doing. Weve defined staying safe while dropping bombs from airplanes on civilians as collateral damage a regrettable mistake but if you kill yourself while you kill a civilian, that is terrorism. We say we have freedom of speech, because the government doesnt censor, and never notice that companies do it for us.

We are all standing around now issuing patronizing messages to Hamas to renounce violence. But Israels violence is invisible to us and in large part because our media does not exercise free speech. You do realize that civilized, western democracy Israel has killed about three times as many civilians as barbarian, Arab Hamas? And that Hamas has kept the truce as well or better than Israel has? But the Arab is the barbarian and we are civilized.

As for the cartoons. I am offended by them because they are crude, because the anti-religion message is as prominent as the anti-Islam message. And I am offended that so many in Islam have not taken this opportunity to educate and peacefully witness against them. I was offended by the Christ in the urine as well and I would be offended by a cartoon of Condi servicing Bush, as so many have implied. None represent how I think public argument should proceed. Is this too complex for us to get?

Posted by: JohnN on February 3, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

cld,

So in other words, your comments were personal speculation. Cool.

Posted by: Keith G on February 3, 2006 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

For all the tough comments in the blog, we might point out that our media is too candy-ass to publish the cartoons. The "bold" ones might link to website (not theirs) that has them. What a bunch of weenies.

Posted by: spaceman on February 3, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff, that's it. No more are we going to stand by and let the world taunt us so grievously.

These ducklings are no more, and you are to blame ...

Posted by: Ole on February 3, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Keith G,

No, my comments are not personal speculation, what I said is as self-evident as saying the sky is blue.

Your comments are a little thin, though.

Why many feel this inexplicable, unreflective need to respect the most illiberal and debilitating cultural group in history is a personal failing that we really need to address while we still can.

If we cannot muster the obvious anti-Islamic argument from the liberal view, when it is clear we would be the first to get knocked off if we lived under sharia law, we simply lose all credibility on every issue.

It is the one single thing that could most directly lose us the next election.

Just because they've gotten into a fight with Republicans at the moment is meaningless. Hitler and Stalin got in a fight and I can't imagine you like either one of them either. . . but that's personal speculation. Maybe you like them both.

But I don't, and I don't like Republicans or Islam, and I don't think anyone else should, because Islam and Republicanism validate exactly the same kind of personal characteristics and behaviour, and promote the same kind of paternalistic authoritarianism, and are grotesquely destructive to whatever society they gain a place in.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Oh it's so good that our violence is so mechanized
We can drop cluster bombs on Muslim families
And it's buried among the other lies
And omissions and distortions of our so called
"Free press"

Which is actually owned by our corporate masters

Oh we are so sophisticated
We don't react to those who insult us
We just buy them out
Or lock them up
Or, again, blow them to pieces with our
nicely mechanized weapons

We are so superior, aren't we

Posted by: baked potato on February 3, 2006 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff, that's it. No more are we going to stand by and let the world taunt us so grievously.

These ducklings are no more, and you are to blame ... Posted by: Ole

As I posted here a couple days ago, I have a friend who has been all over the world. Copenhagen would is his city of choice to retire in. Alas, he has to settle for Dublin.

Posted by: Jeff II on February 3, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl:

> "You honestly think violence is out of the question?"

> Well, I don't, but it would be a very different sort of violence
> here, Bob. Here, you'd get random looting of whatever stores
> looked promising in the way of easy-to-take-away consumer goods.

And this is based on ... what? Our looking in from a television
screen and interpreting the motives of the rioters based on ...
what? Our pre-conceived notions of what motivated poor black
people when they trash stuff? How do you know that they'd trash
stuff, necessarily -- as opposed to just very loudly protesting?

This was, of course, the same kind of "analysis" we suffered through
during the Rodney King riots. The implication being that poor blacks
just found an excuse to do stuff that they would have liked to do
anyway (who doesn't want more consumer goods?) Their own rage at the
verdict was shunted to the side; the larger point became that poor
blacks in inner cities are just chock-full of anti-social impulses.

> There, you'd get death threats against the
> cartoonists, possibly subsequently carried out.

Well, from what I understand of the story there have been no death
threats, no kidnappings, no riots (save in Gaza, where riots are a
fairly common occurance). There *have* been well-organized boycotts
that have hurt Danish businesses and the burning of the Danish flag.

I understand the European itch to publish those cartoons as
a statement that this is their culture and irreverence toward
religion is a part of it. But I'm also capable of putting
myself in the shoes of a Muslim who feels that the cartoons
amounted to a gratuitious insult of a minority population. I
think there's been an overreaction on *both* sides. I do not
begrudge Muslims their power to boycott or to protest -- as
much an exercise of free speech as publishing those cartoons.

> And if the offensive cartoon is published by an Arab paper, and
> maliciously caricatures Jews, you'd get nothing at all, because the
> Israelis are too damn used to this stuff to care about it any more.

How many Jews live in Arab countries? If the cartoons appeared
in an American paper, you'd see a different kind of reaction,
because we have a much less pressing problem with large segments
of an unassimilated Muslim population than does Europe. No
doubt Israeli papers publish similarly scurrilous cartoons and
invective-laden editorials about Arabs and Islam, but you don't
hear protests about it because the issues between Arabs and
the dominant population are much larger than in European
countries which allegedly tolerate Muslim immigration.

In America, no newspaper would publish blatantly racist
caracatures that made fun of, say, black Pentecostals holy
rolling in church. It just wouldn't happen. So you have
to ask yourself why it happened in Europe. And part of it is
that our tradition of pluralism isn't the same thing as the
twin European poles of assimilationism and multiculturalism.

Our traditions are a little healthier, and our immigration problems
-- stark as they appear to us -- aren't as pressing as in Europe.

cld:

> Yes, you just have to force yourself past the wooziness.
> A lot of the academic reaction to Islamic culture over
> the last 30 years has been the worst kind of cartoonish,
> and grossly illiberal, political correctness.

Well, to be honest, cld, politically correct or not, your posts
on this subject exemplify cartoonish illiberality. What we're
seeing here is not an advance in scholarship, it's cultural
pessimist historical revisionism. You know, like Nietschze's take
on Christianity, or Oswald Spengler's The Decline of the West. It's
not "objective scholarship;" it's the momentary popularity of Bernard
Lewis, Daniel Pipes and Samuel Huntington. It's an argument from
a-priori assumptions that Islam and modernity are incompatible.

> If any of your skepticism is directed at the points I made
> all you have to do is ask me to provide citations to the
> scientific literature in support of those positions.

This is not some kind of an objective issue that's settled on
the basis of scientific inquiry. The last time people debated
a clash of cultures with the club of Science was, umm, the Social
Darwinists? The Nazis? There's no literature that can "prove"
one way of life or set of traditions is better than any other,
or the cultural evolution proceeds in one direction to one
inevitable end (that we in the West of course exemplify).

What's flabbergasting to me watching this thread is that so many
liberals seem to buy into this simpleminded picture of cultural
evolution which pretends to universalism but in reality is the
most grotesque form of particularism. We're confusing the rights
of individuals with the rights of a culture to determine its own
destiny and find paths to progress that may be divergent from
our own. I'm not arguing for cultural practices that I as a
Westerner find abhorrent. I *am* saying that cultures have a
right to cherish values that conflict with our own. When cultures
collide -- as Islam and the West are doing right now in Europe
-- then both sides are going to give and arrive at a synthesis.
Tariq Ramadan, an extremely well-respected scholar of Islam,
argues forcefully that Islam and modernity are indeed compatible.

It is going to take some time, though, to arrive at that synthesis.

I suggest unbunching our boxers in the meantime.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,

Please don't get rid of that US Embassy in Copenhagen - I might lose my US Passport again - Left it on a streetcar years ago in Copenhagen - went to the embassy - they thought I had sold it - Going price was 5 grand in Trieste at that time - fortunatly a honest citizen found it and turned it into the embassy the next day. Might have been a man without a country, but the pastries were great and there were always Carlsberg and Tuborg.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 3, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

It's like shooting fish in a barrel to mock the idiot Islamists who don't see the irony in fomenting violence in reaction to cartoons that suggest they are violence. In fact it is pretty fun back here where we all sit.

However, the ugly truth is that these violent Islamists are really just thugs and they are holding their respective nations hostage in many countries in the Middle East. Do we really think that there is a sudden wave in religiosity - or is it in fact the case that it is the religious parties that are the most organized? We can attack the Moderate Muslims for being quiet in the face of this but these guys are intimidating.

Posted by: Jomo on February 3, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

"But all that is irrelevant to the fact that it is conservatism in the United States that attracts the violent hate groups. I mean, ask yourself honestly, which party is your average Klansman more likely to vote for? Your abortion bomber? Your StormFront poster?"

Not quite sure actually, I don't run with those assholes.
Byrd used the "N" word on nat. TV three times in 2001. Thats not 60 yrs ago.
I agree, it's irrelevant.
The point here is that I wouldn't paint ALL liberals with a hate group brush just because you have an x-clansman in your midst.
I expect the same courtesy from level headed adults who expect to be taken seriously during political discussion.
Unfortunately if you want to find hate, read some of these posts. Some of them seeth with hatred. But I've heard your leaders speak recently so it's understandable I guess. It's sad really but I understand.

Posted by: Lurker42 on February 3, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

I know you didn't mean to give the impression you were attributing TangoMan's comment to me, it just kind of looked that way.


"It's an argument from a-priori assumptions that Islam and modernity are incompatible."


I would say. . . . it isn't. I think it would be great if you could provide a single example of where Islam and modernity are compatible.

Middle Eastern societies have a notably different idea of what modernity is than we do. To them it involves only military power and, through that, cultural hegemony.

Islam cultivates a tribalistic state, of a pre-settled, nomadic culture and applies its manners to dealing with complex societies, by denying the complexity and destroying what refuses to be converted, or classifies them as 'dhimmis'.

You asked, "How many Jews live in Arab countries?" I think that answers itself. It is illegal for Jews to live in Saudi Arabia and Christians can reside there only temporarily.

http://www.yahoodi.com/peace/dhimma.html

Is this a culture compatible with modernity?,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4260170.stm

"When we went to seek justice, (from a muslim judge in Iraq) the judge said the Muslims had the right to steal from us. He said we were a sin in the world."

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Here's some perspective from the NYT:

By ALAN COWELL
Published: February 4, 2006

COPENHAGEN, Feb. 2 As a Danish citizen of Pakistani descent, a onetime
television anchor and now a prominent author married to a Dane of
Danish descent, Rushy Rashid has led what could be depicted as a
high-profile life.

But, she said, nothing has forced her to define her attitude to fellow
Muslims quite so much as Denmark's bitter dispute with much of the
Islamic world over a newspaper's decision to print unflattering
cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad a dispute that has spread to
many other European countries.

"For the first time I feel I have to stand up as a Muslim," she said
in an interview on Thursday, referring to her concern that the voice
of Denmark's 200,000 Muslim immigrants a small minority in a land of
5.4 million has been monopolized by what she depicted as a minority
led by radical imams with ties in the Middle East.

"Up to now I have stood up as a woman, as a journalist, as a writer,"
she added. "But for the first time I have to stand up and say I don't
like what's happening. I don't approve of the fact that one group of
Muslims talk for the whole community."

Her sentiments reflected the nuances of immigrant societies across
Europe, where the cartoons have produced raw anger among some and more
complex feelings among others like Ms. Rashid.

Indeed, for those in the second and third generations of immigrants,
the debate seems once again to have evoked the dual tug of parental
homelands and adopted places, pitting faith against newer, secular
loyalties.

When Palestinians burned the Danish flag in Gaza this week to protest
the cartoons, Ms. Rashid said, "I was crying because it really hurt."

She said: "We live in this country. This is where our children will
grow up. We have a responsibility for this country."

At the same time, she felt pulled to the argument of those who
published the cartoons, that this was an issue of Denmark's vaunted
freedom of expression, which has been possibly the most entrenched in
Europe. Her support, though, was qualified.

"I will fight in the name of free speech," she said, "but not without
respect for the consequences. Even if this freedom of speech is very
broad, it is not unlimited. You have limits where your morals come
in."

When she saw the cartoons first published here in September and
republished in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain on
Wednesday, Ms. Rashid, 37, said she asked herself, "Why is it
necessary to provoke like this?"

"I have been brought up in the faith of Islam and you don't make
pictures of the prophet," she said. "But when you decide to do that,
you should show more respect. You cannot make a fool of someone who
means much to so many people around the world."

Her remarks reflected a broader soul-searching and perhaps some second
thoughts in Denmark as protests against the cartoons spread Thursday
across the Islamic world, from the Middle East to North Africa,
Indonesia and Pakistan.

Indeed, there have been threats of unaccustomed violence, unsettling
many in this tranquil outpost of northern Europe, not least Carsten
Juste, editor in chief of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten which first
published the cartoons.

"If I had known that the lives of Danish soldiers and civilians would
be threatened," Mr. Juste said, "if I had known that, as my finger
hovered one centimeter above the send button for publishing the
drawings, would I have hit it? No. No responsible editor in chief
would have done."

Yet, the cartoons have come to be a milestone, for immigrants and
their Lutheran hosts alike.

Tim Jensen, a professor of the study of religions at the University of
Southern Denmark, said immigration began in the 1960's, was restricted
in the 1970's and started up again in the 1980's as crises around the
world sent refugees seeking safe havens.

"Denmark has been so remarkably homogeneous in terms of religion that
the changes in the past 15 years have been as if they were something
much bigger," he said in an interview.

With immigrants from Turkey, Pakistan, the Arab world, Afghanistan,
Iran and, most recently, Somalia, he said, "There has been a very
marked xenophobia and Islamophobia, not only because of Sept. 11,
2001. That was just the culmination."

Politically, this is shown in the rise of the right-wing Danish
People's Party, which holds 13 percent of the seats in Parliament and
whose support is vital for the survival of the coalition government.

In one way, Professor Jensen said, the dispute over the cartoons may
help Muslims.

"They have managed to prove that they want to be respected," he said.
"They don't want to be second-class citizens. They don't want people
to say just what they like about Muslims." Indeed, after the
publication of the cartoons, there is talk some of it divisive of
spending public money on a grand new mosque to show Danes' respect for
Muslims.

At the Betty Nansen Theater here, a show running since last month
titled "The Headscarf Monologues" seeks to explore the experience of
80 Muslim women living in Denmark, distilled into 18 monologues.

One speech, said Anne Marie Helger, one of three actors in the show,
reflects the experience of an unidentified Iranian woman who came to
Denmark from Tehran to escape religious pressure in the 1980's, only
to discover that, in Copenhagen, "she is insulted on the street as an
immigrant."

Some monologues, said Vibeka Bjelke, the show's director, discuss
anger among non-Muslim immigrants at Muslim counterparts who do not
wish to abandon their Islamic roots and traditions in favor of social
integration.

"It's a picture of the discussion going on among women," she said. In
making the show, she said, "we have all been confronted with
prejudices we did not know we had."

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

> I know you didn't mean to give the impression
> you were attributing TangoMan's comment
> to me, it just kind of looked that way.

No, I simply forget to attribute his quote. My bad.

> "It's an argument from a-priori assumptions that Islam and modernity
> are incompatible."

> I would say. . . . it isn't.

That in itself is an unsupported a-priori assertion.

> I think it would be great if you could provide a single
> example of where Islam and modernity are compatible.

I think it would be great if you google Tariq Ramadan.
He's written volumes on the subject. Tony Blair also
made him a government adviser after the London bombings.

> Middle Eastern societies have a notably different idea of
> what modernity is than we do. To them it involves only
> military power and, through that, cultural hegemony.

Oh please. Like the America isn't knee-deep
in military power and cultural hegemony?

> Islam cultivates a tribalistic state,
> of a pre-settled, nomadic culture

"Pre-settled, nomadic culture" That's pretty funny. You really are,
like, a university-trained expert on the Middle East, ain'tcha? :)

> and applies its manners to dealing with complex societies,
> by denying the complexity and destroying what refuses
> to be converted, or classifies them as 'dhimmis'.

And this is an attribute of ... which branch of Islam?

Oh right -- the Sufis! I shoulda known :)

> You asked, "How many Jews live in Arab countries?" I
> think that answers itself. It is illegal for Jews to live
> in Saudi Arabia and Christians can reside there only temporarily.

And I say more power to 'em. Or ... what ...
you're angry that you'd suffer stiff resistance
if you decided to go live in an Amish community?

> "When we went to seek justice, (from a muslim judge in
> Iraq) the judge said the Muslims had the right to steal
> from us. He said we were a sin in the world."

[insert random inane George Bush quote here]

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

Some muslims are rioting, threating etc. because of an offensive cartoon.

It's quite plain that this says little about the hundreds of millions of Muslims. Christian right wing nuts say a little about Christianity, but they hardly define it. Though the masses of Christians and Muslims have not raised an outcry against their fanatical neighbors, this does not implicate the masses in their crimes.

The previous point supports the liberal position that governments shouldn't suppress speech merely for being offensive, or because some small percentage of those offended might be incited to violence.

Posted by: Boronx on February 3, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

By the blood of my fathers, and by the blood of the fathers who lived before, oh holiest of holy blood soaked shrines of Allah, you infidels shall fall down the stairs and hit your heads upon an uncarpeted part of the floor where there is a bit of an edge to it and you shall be most righteously discouraged about getting up.

Posted by: Ibrahim al-Rider el Pale on February 3, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

> Windhorse, "I don't understand the need to deny Muslims
> credit for these important discoveries and for the overall
> accomplishments of the "Golden Age" of their civilization."

> Because the Arab contribution to those areas is wildly overstated.

Bullshit.

> Everyone of those things existed as trade secrets, or trade
> knowledge, or priestly knowledge, what the Arabs did was simply
> loot the material of the societies they overran, dump it in a pile
> and put a new name on it, then brag it up throughout the world.

And the Japanese reverse-engineered the musket and met the
next British ship with it two decades after the Cook landing.

Your point?

> The Arabic expansion is part of the general barbarian
> expansion in the first part of the Dark Ages,

"Barbarian," of course, is an anthropologically meaningless
term. The word "barbarian" is a Greek onomapoea approximation
of what a foreign language sounds like to a Greek, and became a
term which simply applied to any non-Roman invader of its empire.
So your statement is trivially true by definition and thus vacuous.

> they are the southern-most barbarians and the only group
> with an idiosyncratic gimmick, Islam, to justify their action.

I'd check the history of the Arian heresy, if I were you. The
Germanic tribes which converted to Christianity had a radically
different christology than what the Romans considered orthodox.

> Not just a religion, Islam was created
> from the beginning as a political theory.

Bullshit twice. All monothesims have a theocratic
potential. The most doctrinnaire Salafism isn't any
more innately theocratic than Augustine's City of God
or Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.

> No, my comments are not personal speculation, what I
> said is as self-evident as saying the sky is blue.

Bullshit three times. Assertions aren't arguments, dude.

> Why many feel this inexplicable, unreflective need
> to respect the most illiberal and debilitating
> cultural group in history is a personal failing
> that we really need to address while we still can.

Do you have *any idea* how much this sounds
like vintage 1930s German anti-semitism?

> If we cannot muster the obvious anti-Islamic argument
> from the liberal view, when it is clear we would be
> the first to get knocked off if we lived under sharia
> law, we simply lose all credibility on every issue.

Riiigghhht ... if we're not with you, we're with the terrorists.

*Speaking* of, you know, a properly liberal view of things.

> It is the one single thing that could
> most directly lose us the next election.

Ask me if I care, bro. You wanna play Rove's game -- go run along
and play Rove's game. Demonizing 2 billion people isn't exactly
a worthy ideal of any liberal or progressive *I* care to know.

> Just because they've gotten into a fight with Republicans
> at the moment is meaningless. Hitler and Stalin got in a
> fight and I can't imagine you like either one of them either
> . . . but that's personal speculation. Maybe you like them both.

Cheesy, flaccid argument ad-hominem, not even true in its own terms.
Al Qaeda and the neocons have a perversely symbiotic relationship.

But that's strictly tactical and doesn't
speak very deeply about their essences.

> But I don't, and I don't like Republicans or
> Islam, and I don't think anyone else should,

You know, the reason you have no credibility on this, cld,
and why I'm doing little more than mocking your views is
because you talk of "Islam" -- a religion encompassing
nearly 2 billion people -- as if it were a monolith.

And then you say that no one "should" like it. I mean,
dude. Who fucking cares what *you* like? Do you have
any idea how *juvenile* that sounds? Tell me what music
you listen to; no doubt I'll fucking despise most of it :)

> because Islam and Republicanism validate exactly the
> same kind of personal characteristics and behaviour,

"Exactly" the same kind. Do you think in
cardboard cutout stereotypes about *everything*?

> and promote the same kind of paternalistic authoritarianism,

In the broadest possible and thus the most meaningless sense
that many Muslims and many Republicans are also conservative.

> and are grotesquely destructive to
> whatever society they gain a place in.

Why don't you ask Muslims themselves how they feel about that, eh?

Oh ... right. Like Republicans, they must be *brainwashed* :)

Sheesh.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

'adjust your snarkdar' is to become my new favorite phrase.

rmcki1,

"That in itself is an unsupported a-priori assertion." -- Not unsupported. I place in evidence the Koran and the whole history of Islam.

"Like the America isn't knee-deep
in military power and cultural hegemony?" --Yes, the Republicans are, and those they fool into voting for them, that's why I've been comparing Republicanism to Islam.

"ain'tcha? :)" --have to cut and paste cuz ya can't spell it yourself? Yes, I had too much coffee earlier, but I think we know what it means.

"And this is an attribute of ... which branch of Islam?" --everyone of them. It's fundamental to the entirety of Islam.


I'll be happy to Google Tariq Ramadan.

But have a look at this, on the place of slavery in Islam,

http://www.uq.net.au/slsoc/manussa/tr05manu.htm

or this,

http://answering-islam.org.uk/Silas/slavery.htm


More than the decadence of the Ottoman Empire, it was when the colonial empires outlawed slave trading in the early 19th century that the international Islamic economy went drastically into decline.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

> 'adjust your snarkdar' is to become my new favorite phrase.

*rolling eyes*

> "That in itself is an unsupported a-priori
> assertion." -- Not unsupported. I place in
> evidence the Koran and the whole history of Islam.

Conclusions aren't evidence, Jesus Christ. You're not "placing"
the Koran or the whole history of Islam anywhere, least of all
asserting them as any a-fucking-priori -- you're merely citing
your warped, Islamophobic and personal *interpretations* of them.

The Koran? How 'bout Deuteronemy? Leviticus? Joshua?
Have you ever actually *read* the Old Testament, bro?
Like the parts where Jehovah tells the Hebrews in goriest
sadistic detail how to committ righteous genocide?

> "Like the America isn't knee-deep in military power
> and cultural hegemony?" --Yes, the Republicans are,
> and those they fool into voting for them, that's
> why I've been comparing Republicanism to Islam.

Your "comparison" is simplistic in the extreme. Religions,
cultures, political parties are not remotely the same things.

> "ain'tcha? :)" --have to cut and
> paste cuz ya can't spell it yourself?

No ... why would you think that?

> Yes, I had too much coffee earlier, but I think we know what it means.

What *what* means?

> "And this is an attribute of ... which branch of Islam?"

> --everyone of them. It's fundamental to the entirety of Islam.

Right now you're just a gadfly. Don't become an asshole.

You obviously know next to nothing about Islam, so I
wouldn't know where to begin -- except to say that ignorant
Islamophobia deserves no more dignity than racism, sexism or
homophobia. It's entirely possible to offer a scathing critique
of Islam on any number of grounds, don't get me wrong -- you're
just nowhere near capable of it, because you start off gleefully
asserting that your ignorance on the subject doesn't matter.

You can't possibly be a liberal and hold the views that you do.

> I'll be happy to Google Tariq Ramadan.

Good. That's a step in the right direction.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 3, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

I could repeat your own arguments to you about your own arguments and it would make as much sense.

"And the Japanese reverse-engineered the musket and met the
next British ship with it two decades after the Cook landing.

Your point?"

Your point? The Japanese didn't invent it.


Quibbling over the use of the word 'barbarian' when the understood sense and context is appreciated by all is trivia.


The Arian heresy was still part of Christianity, and understandable within the context of Christianity. It spoke from the same source, like other Christian heresies, or schisms. The Arians might think they were on to something truer, but they couldn't think they were totally different, and they couldn't justify enslavement.

Islam as a gimmick was unique because it presented an illiterate people with a theocratic rationale for looting and pillaging all before them, and, most importantly, becuase it was new. It presented itself as, by definition, supplanting all the established civilization of the areas it overran.

Islam was invented as a political theory first, a method of organizing the Arab tribes, via religion. No other religion, that I can think of offhand, is from its origin a political theory.

And I really think this is all self-evident.

Now, I really have to wonder what you mean,

"> Why many feel this inexplicable, unreflective need
> to respect the most illiberal and debilitating
> cultural group in history is a personal failing
> that we really need to address while we still can.

Do you have *any idea* how much this sounds
like vintage 1930s German anti-semitism?"

Earlier, when I pointed out that it was illegal for Jews to live in Saudi Arabia, your reply, which I took to be in reference to Arabs, was "More power to them!"

This is another point where I just make your argument back to you: Do you have any idea how much this sounds like vintage 1930s German anti-semitism?

Tariq Ramadan, incidentally, is supporting a moratorium on stoning. Evidently he's against it.

It's not the people, it's the ideology that's demonic.

You complain of an ad hominem attack and then insult me.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

snarkdar, ref. oops. something from another thread.


"The Koran? How 'bout Deuteronemy? Leviticus? Joshua?
Have you ever actually *read* the Old Testament, bro?
Like the parts where Jehovah tells the Hebrews in goriest
sadistic detail how to committ righteous genocide?"

I have no sympathy for any kind of Yahwistic religion. But Islam has really been historically the most detrimental.

"Your "comparison" is simplistic in the extreme. Religions,
cultures, political parties are not remotely the same things."

In Islamic cultures they are the same thing. A political party is more or less Islamic. That's the fundamental point of reference.

"No ... why would you think that?" --oh, I don't know.

"What *what* means?" --dear god by now I've forgotten.


If we can't get rid of the Republican administration over the next two elections, we'll really be in trouble. The Democrats most consistent weak flank has been the perception they are weak on national security. A detailed left-sided critique of Islam and it's really apalling substance, it's attitudes toward violence, slavery, sexual abuse, women, from a humanistic perspective is what is deeply needed and exactly what can counter that impression.

It's the humanistic attitude that becomes the basis of national security that brings liberalism forward.

Posted by: cld on February 3, 2006 at 11:59 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

This is not some kind of an objective issue that's settled on the basis of scientific inquiry. The last time people debated a clash of cultures with the club of Science was, umm, the Social
Darwinists? The Nazis? There's no literature that can "prove" one way of life or set of traditions is better than any other, or the cultural evolution proceeds in one direction to one inevitable end (that we in the West of course exemplify).

This is one HUGE strawman that has no relation whatsoever to anything that I wrote. I take it that the reference to the Nazis was the icing on the strawman.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 4, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

TangoMan:

> "This is not some kind of an objective issue that's settled on
> the basis of scientific inquiry. The last time people debated
> a clash of cultures with the club of Science was, umm, the Social
> Darwinists? The Nazis? There's no literature that can "prove"
> one way of life or set of traditions is better than any other,
> or the cultural evolution proceeds in one direction to one
> inevitable end (that we in the West of course exemplify)."

> This is one HUGE strawman that has no relation
> whatsoever to anything that I wrote.

Well, it would help to make that point if you left in
to what it was that I responded. Here it is again:

> If any of your skepticism is directed at the points I made
> all you have to do is ask me to provide citations to the
> scientific literature in support of those positions.

> I take it that the reference to the
> Nazis was the icing on the strawman.

I don't really GAF about Godwin's Law if the shoe
fits. I'm not calling *you* a Nazi, Tangoman, merely
saying that the last time it was au courant to use
science to justify comparative cultural arguments
was back in the bad old days when anthropologists
used calipers to measure intelligence by skull size.

My overarching point is correct. Cultural values don't submit to
scientific analyses. We can claim that Culture A doesn't live up
to our values and use a variety of scientific proofs to determine
that -- for example, that clitoridectomy has averse consequences
for women. But ultimately our arguments against clitoridectomy
are made on behalf of *our* values. To attempt to claim that these
values are universal rests on a moral, not a scientific, argument.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

cld:

> I could repeat your own arguments to you about your
> own arguments and it would make as much sense.

Okay ...

> "And the Japanese reverse-engineered the musket and met the
> next British ship with it two decades after the Cook landing.

> Your point?"

> Your point? The Japanese didn't invent it.

But they certainly made good use of the technology they stole from
us, didn't they? Nor would anyone consider the Japanese pikers in
technology when they fielded a modern air force and navy in WW2.

Just as the Muslims made very good use of the knowledge
they acquired from the Byzantine and Hellenic worlds,
whether through conquest or trade. And in the Dark Ages,
they blew the Western world away in the sciences, technologies
and arts. The question of whose ideas they were originally
is kind of beside the point, as it is with the Japanese.

> Quibbling over the use of the word 'barbarian' when the
> understood sense and context is appreciated by all is trivia.

The point is that your calling Arabs "barbarians" is pointless,
because all a barbarian is is a hostile opponent of the Roman
Empire. That implies zero linkage between Arabs and Visigoths.

IOW, all the term illustrates is cultural chauvinism.

> The Arian heresy was still part of Christianity, and
> understandable within the context of Christianity.
> It spoke from the same source, like other Christian
> heresies, or schisms. The Arians might think they were
> on to something truer, but they couldn't think they were
> totally different, and they couldn't justify enslavement.

Where do you get the idea that Christianity doesn't justify
enslavement? The ancient Hebrews had slaves, and there are
passages in Deuteronomy that set out the proper treatment
of slaves. Then there's the story of Ham in Genesis, when
he walked into his father Noah's tent and saw him naked, and
for that Ham was driven away from his father and his progeny
was cursed to live as the enslaved and wretched of the earth.

That passage was used routinely by preachers in the Old South
to justify slavery, cld. The Africans were the sons of Ham.

> Islam as a gimmick was unique because it
> presented an illiterate people with a theocratic
> rationale for looting and pillaging all before them,

This is just Islamophobic nonsense. First of all, the vast
majority of Europeans weren't exactly literate in the 7th
century either, so calling Muhammad's people "illiterate" is a
gratuitous perjorative. Secondly, Christianity also supplies
a theological imperative to a people, especially after Constantine
converted, to go subjugate by force the rest of the planet.

> and, most importantly, becuase it was new. It
> presented itself as, by definition, supplanting all
> the established civilization of the areas it overran.

And Christianity wasn't "the fulfillment of the Law?"
And it didn't go out and conquer every pagan civilization
it could find in the name of the greater glory of god?
And it didn't propogate the "blood libel" of the Jews --
the earlier civilization -- and set the stage for their
righteous persecution all throughout European history?

> Islam was invented as a political theory first, a method of
> organizing the Arab tribes, via religion. No other religion, that
> I can think of offhand, is from its origin a political theory.

This is an egregious misreading of Islam, whose political
implications flow directly from its theology and not the
reverse. Islam literally means submission, and the goal of
total submission to the will of Allah implies things about how
one conducts all aspects of one's life, including those in the
political realm. There are famous passages in Romans and Acts
where Paul delineates the responsibilities a Christian has to
his worldly rulers, and there's of course Jesus' "give unto
Ceasar" which support a possible separation of church and state,
and this is an oft-cited difference between Islam and Christianity.

But it's possible to make too much of this. Shi'ite Islam, for
instance, is based on longstanding traditions taught by a particular
school of clergy, with much talmud-like commentary on the Koran and
the hadiths (the traditions of Muhammad). The Ayatollah Khomenei's
theocratic "rule of the jurist" is entirely different than the Najaf
school of Sestani, which is quietist and supports a separation between
the realm of religion and the impure worldly-political realm. Sunni
Islam is more like Protestantism in that each imam has a lot more
lattitude to emphasize different aspects of the Koran. That's why
the preachers of violent jihad don't represent a majority of Muslims,
and yet each side can support a claim of their Islamic provenance.

Christians can, conversely, read less into those passages of Paul
and Jesus, and formulate a total theocratic doctrine, the modern
form of which is called presuppositionalism. If you think for a
second that there aren't modern Christian theocrats who literally
support slavery and the stoning of adulterers -- go google
Dominionism and/or Christian Reconstruction. *Very* scary.

> And I really think this is all self-evident.

*ahem*

> Now, I really have to wonder what you mean,

""> Why many feel this inexplicable, unreflective need
> to respect the most illiberal and debilitating
> cultural group in history is a personal failing
> that we really need to address while we still can.""

> "Do you have *any idea* how much this sounds
> like vintage 1930s German anti-semitism?"

> Earlier, when I pointed out that it was illegal for
> Jews to live in Saudi Arabia, your reply, which I took
> to be in reference to Arabs, was "More power to them!"

Sure. Absolutely. And then I brought up the Amish -- who
certainly wouldn't appreciate you, an "English," deciding to
live in their midst and yet somehow I doubt you'd disapprove of
this. Why should we mandate that every community of the world
adopt our particular brand of pluralism? Israel administers an
apartheid state in the Occupied Territories and yet everybody
calls it a democracy. Well, even Israel realizes that it can't
remain both Jewish *and* a democracy by ruling over so many
Palestinians whose birthrate is going to overtake Jews in a few
decades -- and that's why Sharon the Uber-hawk pulled out of Gaza.

> This is another point where I just make your argument
> back to you: Do you have any idea how much this sounds
> like vintage 1930s German anti-semitism?

Yeah, right. Me and Ariel Sharon. Heh, don't laugh *too*
hard. That's precisely what the crazy-ass right-wing settlers
have called Arik, so I suppose I'm in good company :)

Your above statement, though, still reeks of vintage
anti-semitism and you didn't do a good job of defending it.

> Tariq Ramadan, incidentally, is supporting a
> moratorium on stoning. Evidently he's against it.

Evidently. Heh :)

> It's not the people, it's the ideology that's demonic.

It's neither. It's a complex interation of culture, politics,
history and religious doctrine -- which is more justification
after the fact than it is motivating force. The key issue is
pride and shame, and the movement from ascribed status relations
to contract relations necessitated by relating in a modern economy.

The same basic process the feudal Germans went through when they
united under Bismarck, and which was described well by Max Weber.

The Arabs are in truth only a century or so behind the curve ...

> You complain of an ad hominem attack and then insult me.

Adjust your, umm, snarkdar :)

> "The Koran? How 'bout Deuteronomy? Leviticus? Joshua?
> Have you ever actually *read* the Old Testament, bro?
> Like the parts where Jehovah tells the Hebrews in goriest
> sadistic detail how to committ righteous genocide?"

> I have no sympathy for any kind of Yahwistic religion. But
> Islam has really been historically the most detrimental.

You can't make that argument based on a comparison between the
Bible and the Koran. There are beautiful, poetic passages of
the Koran that veritably glow with forgiveness and wisdom -- and
there are vengeful passages that drip with the blood of infidels.

But there are the very same things in the Old Testament.

> "Your "comparison" is simplistic in the extreme. Religions,
> cultures, political parties are not remotely the same things."

> In Islamic cultures they are the same thing. A political party is
> more or less Islamic. That's the fundamental point of reference.

Brain teaser: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan,
Indonesia are all Muslim-majority countries. Each has
a different political form, a different culture and a
different level of political integration with Islam.

Why do you think that is?

> If we can't get rid of the Republican administration
> over the next two elections, we'll really be in trouble.
> The Democrats most consistent weak flank has been
> the perception they are weak on national security.

In strictly political terms, that's probably true.

> A detailed left-sided critique of Islam and it's really
> apalling substance, it's attitudes toward violence, slavery,
> sexual abuse, women, from a humanistic perspective is what is
> deeply needed and exactly what can counter that impression.

Well, this is never going to happen for a number of reasons.
First, because it can't even happen on the hard, hawkish right.
Do you remember after 9/11 and Bush called our impending response
a "crusade"? Whoopsie ... And then the mission to Afghanistan
"Operation Infinite Justice"? Double whoopsie ... Bush made certain
to invite an imam to the dias when he gave his first speech after
9/11 and bent over backwards to say that this wasn't a war on Islam.

Why do you think that is -- when the Rovian calculus would certainly
be to whip up a lotta fervor against all thim smelly diaper heads?

Because first of all, there are a lot of Muslims in this country,
more every year. And not all of them are cabdrivers and convenience
store clerks; a lot of them are high-tech people. As a bloc, the
Muslim vote tends to split, though I think since the Iraq war it's
gone mostly Democratic though not overwhelmingly so. So this is
not a voting bloc that Bush would get mileage out of alienating.

What Bush has done instead, along with Karen Hughes, is to talk up
the similarities between his brand of Christian social conservatism
and Muslim social conservatism -- to great titters and eye-rolling
when Hughes takes her road show to the Islamic world. I think this
is a silly strategy because both conservatisms are too exclusive to
feel genuinely comfortable with the other (oh, we like big families
too!), and it just looks like pandering. But this is Bush's game.

Now ... what would liberals gain by talking up the intolerant aspects
of Islam? First, we'd piss off Muslims in this country, threatening
their votes for Democrats. Secondly, we'd make the Islamic world
feel even *less* comfortable with America than it does with Bush. Is
that wise? Third, whether or not Islam is as tolerant as we Western
liberals would like it to be, the fact remains that Sharia law in
other countries doesn't threaten our national security. Al Qaeda
threatens our national security. And al Qaeda is a tiny cult of
stateless fanatics scourged by every Muslim government on earth.

> It's the humanistic attitude that becomes the basis
> of national security that brings liberalism forward.

Humanism must be universal in order to live up to its name.

It cannot exclude a major world religion on the
basis of things that Westerners dislike about it
anymore than humanism could exclude the Jews.

If that's a cross that Democrats have to bear politically,
we certainly bear it for the right and honorable reasons.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, that's what they like to say, alright, and after they overran and looted Byzantium it had a shred of truth. But it's nearly complete horseshit.


Posted by: cld

Well, actually by that point all that was left was whatever the Venetians, good Christians that they were, hadn't plundered during the 3rd Crusades when, fearful that they might not get paid for their ships and supplies, they instigated the looting of Byzantium in 1075 (I think that's right).

Hey, don't believe me. Ask the Venetians where they got those lovely bronze horses. Used to grace the Arch of Constantine.

It's believed that they also carried off tons of gold, silver and precious gems obtained by melting down ancient religious (Christian) artifacts. Oh, and killing many thousands of Eastern Christians in the process.

Ironically, they still manage to muster enormous 'moral indignation' over Napoleon having later relieved them of so much of the plunder they got by looting the capital of Eastern Rome in the first place.

Posted by: CFShep on February 4, 2006 at 7:05 AM | PERMALINK

If we were actually dropping bombs on Iraqis towns, there'd be no Iraqi towns left. Of course to a liberal, there's no difference in targetting combatants firing AK47s and rocket launchers vs targeting school children. - Freedom Fighter

So, those are pretend children being killed and injured by our weapons? And bombs dropped on towns... Wait, I don't even know what you're saying there. The Iraqi insurgents are in towns, we drop bombs on them every day, and civilians get hurt because they also live in these towns.

Why do you fight against freedom, anyhow?

Posted by: Crissa on February 4, 2006 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

It's not the people, it's the ideology that's demonic.

Christians supported lynching until when?

Oh, that's right. Some still do...

Posted by: Crissa on February 4, 2006 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

A little history behind the story: the Danish newspaper is the most right wing in Europe, the cartoons were specially ordered, not made as a result of some incident, and were meant to provoke.

Practically all the newspapers in Europe who reprinted the cartoons are also ultra-right wing.

And, if freedom of expression means being able to print these cartoons, then surely it also means being able to protest the printing of them!

Most Europeans think that this was a deliberate provocation and that these should never have been printed, including my French friends from Marseilles, where the French and Muslims live in relative calm together.

So, like the Judy Miller freedom of speech issue, there is another side of this story which hasn't been told...

Posted by: Michele on February 4, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who uses religion to kill innocent people deserves to be cartooned and provoked. And provoked and provoked and provoked. Muslim, Christian or Jew.

Tak lille Danmark.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 4, 2006 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Has anybody looked at moorish girl for her comment on the cartoon fracas? Representative of secular, reasonable Muslim reaction.

http://www.moorishgirl.com

Some of you people are so bigoted, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. How can you characterize 1 billion plus people on the basis of a few guys who got in front of a camera? Would you want to be lumped in the same boat with some mob of Kiss fans partying before a concert? Puhlease!

Posted by: Leila on February 4, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

Sorry I was writing a response last night, and had to ditch it due to an interruption. Starting from scratch here.

[you:] You honestly think violence is out of the question?

[me:] Well, I don't, but it would be a very different sort of violence
here, Bob. Here, you'd get random looting of whatever stores
looked promising in the way of easy-to-take-away consumer goods.

[you:] And this is based on ... what? Our looking in from a television
screen and interpreting the motives of the rioters based on ...
what? Our pre-conceived notions of what motivated poor black
people when they trash stuff? How do you know that they'd trash
stuff, necessarily -- as opposed to just very loudly protesting?

You go on to talk about the Rodney King riots. Let me just say that I know a little about the Rodney King riots or rather their sister riots in Berkeley, because I was there. Listen, there was at least as much jubilation as outrage. A close friend heard a fast-food worker tell a friend the day before the verdict, mind you "Ooh, I hope they hit The Gap! There's a lot of stuff I want out of there!" As a matter of fact, when the riots happened in Berkeley, they were exactly as I said above. City Hall: undamaged. Symbolic centers of government or capitalist power, like police stations or banks: untouched. Clothing and record stores: different story altogether. (The manager of the Tower Records I then worked for stayed in the place all night trying to defend it. No good. Of course, once the thugs found out it was the classical annex, they weren't especially interested, but that didn't make the broken glass &c. disappear.) Obviously the severe beating of a dangerous motorist has some intimate connection with CDs and hip jeans that I can't fathom. So, of course, must beating completely random people nearly to death with bricks and then stealing their wallets, because they were "driving while white."

[me:] There, you'd get death threats against the cartoonists, possibly subsequently carried out.

[you:] Well, from what I understand of the story there have been no death threats, no kidnappings, no riots (save in Gaza, where riots are a fairly common occurance). There *have* been well-organized boycotts that have hurt Danish businesses and the burning of the Danish flag.

Ooookay. The Danish Embassy in Damascus was just put to the torch, and the Danish Embassy in Jakarta was evacuated due to bomb threats. And there's a lot more where that came from.

[me:] And if the offensive cartoon is published by an Arab paper, and maliciously caricatures Jews, you'd get nothing at all, because the Israelis are too damn used to this stuff to care about it any more.

[you:] How many Jews live in Arab countries? If the cartoons appeared in an American paper, you'd see a different kind of reaction, because we have a much less pressing problem with large segments
of an unassimilated Muslim population than does Europe. No doubt Israeli papers publish similarly scurrilous cartoons and invective-laden editorials about Arabs and Islam, but you don't hear protests about it because the issues between Arabs and the dominant population are much larger than in European countries which allegedly tolerate Muslim immigration.

You're contradicting yourself. It can't be about where people live if Palestinians are burning Danish flags, and Syrians are setting the Danish Embassy on fire.

In America, no newspaper would publish blatantly racist caricatures that made fun of, say, black Pentecostals holy rolling in church.

Certainly not. White Pentecostals, no prob.

It just wouldn't happen. So you have to ask yourself why it happened in Europe. And part of it is that our tradition of pluralism isn't the same thing as the twin European poles of assimilationism and multiculturalism.

Our traditions are a little healthier, and our immigration problems -- stark as they appear to us -- aren't as pressing as in Europe.

Bob, I'd like to hear a little more about that "pressing" business.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 4, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody see the Dateline special on entrapping sex perverts? If Sautrday Night Live had a hair on it's ass, it would do a take-off on the sting showing Mohammad walking into that house looking for a 13 year old.

Posted by: red state mike on February 4, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Michele - Jyllands Posten is right wing, certainly. But I would have a very very hard time believing it to be the most wight wing daily in Europe.

That's a pile of cow manure.

And yes, in a sense they where meant to provoce. But even the provocation might be seen as a bit juvenile, it didn't pop up out of the blue:

In a Danish context, the reason for Jyllands Posten to actually print these drawings was this: A Danish author Kre Bluitgen was writing a book about Islam, and had approached some illustrators asking them to draw Mohammed for the book. He was turned down by all of them - they all said they feared repercussions if they did it (rightfully so, one might add in 20/20 hindsight).

Whatever, Things have spun comletely out of control by now, the Danish, Swedish and Norwegian embassies in Syria in flames.

Posted by: Ole on February 4, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Leila:

I took a look at moorishgirl, thanks. While it looks like a fascinating site and her views certainly seem copacetic to my own (and I consider myself a philo-semite, semite in the broadest sense which includes Arabs and Persians as well as Jews), to be perfectly honest I don't fully agree with her dismissive "cartoon shamartoon" reaction.

I'm much more in sympathy with Rushy Rashid's deeply pained and conflicted reaction posted above in the NYT article. I don't think this is a trivial matter in the least.

Here's the thing. We in First Amendment America have deeply ingrained self-censorship which some have mocked at "political correctness" but which extends across all political ideologies.

Let's say, for example, after some national incident where blacks behaved badly -- say, after the Rodney King riots in South Central LA -- that a cartoonist drew a stereotyped depiction of blacks running away with TV sets and the like, and made them look like they were having the time of their lives pillaging the stores of Da Man.

While this sort of thing is sadly routine on underground white supremecist websites, there isn't a single conservative and/or right wing magazine of national scope -- not the National Review, not the Weekly Standard, not the American Spectator, not a gun-rights mag or even Soldier of Fortune -- that would publish that cartoon. Not a one.

And if a national magazine did publish that cartoon -- blacks would go ballistic. There would be major organized protests. And rightly so.

Alright, to be perfectly fair, let's say that, like the Danish incident, there were a series of cartoons, all making the same racist points about the bad character and criminal proclivities of inner city blacks. And that the publication that printed them called it -- as the Danish paper did -- a provocation. I don't think one cartoon would cause national protests. A series of them, though, would for sure.

I realize that the Danes are even more hardcore about freedom of expression than Americans (Denmark is a haven for child pornographers) -- but they're also, like the French, hardcore assimilationists, or at least their current right-wing government is. And I think this illustrates the difference between American pluralism and the center-right assimilationism in Europe that helps not only to cause friction, but also helps to create an unassimilated underclass of Muslims who we saw erupting into nihilistic violence last summer, in a triumph of perverse consequences.

American pluralism is not Dutch multiculturalism. We demand that our naturalized citizens study our history and swear fealty to our Constitution. But we also recognize that we're a culture of immigrants, and that different cultural traditions should be respected. I'm also a shameless Europhile, but this is one aspect of American culture in which I take a degree of pride, and feel that we, with our long history of immigration, have got it more correctly than the Europeans. Doesn't hurt also that we have a much lower population density and thus more freedom to settle in places amenable to our views and traditions ...

As for boycotts -- I say more power to the Danish Muslims. As Michele noted above, protests and organized action are as much a part of free expression as publishing those cartoons. And surely more politically constructive.

As the NYT noted, Danish Muslims might get a shiny new Danish-funded mosque out of the whole deal when it's over :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ole & waterfowl:

I didn't hear about the embassies in Syria. Holy jesus ... at least nobody was hurt. Yet. Sheesh, I should go check the news ...

waterfowl:

Well, but what conclusions do you, as a white, cultured, liberal, highly educated person, draw about the Berkeley riots? That inner-city blacks have inherently criminal tendencies? I highly doubt this, of course -- but it was a fairly common reaction among whites in the wake of the Watts conflagrations.

No, you square that by reflecting on the fact that a small number of ganggbangers and opportunistic troublemakers hardly serve as a stand-in for the whole population. You recall that black community leaders were as appalled as anyone -- moreso, since they'd be left dealing with the fallout. The very *last* thing you'd do, waterfowl, is to start cementing generalizations about the character of a racial group.

And so we should temper our reactions to the idiotic hothead Muslims who decide that torching embassies is more constructive than lodging peaceful protests.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

CORRECTION:

No, don't temper your reactions to the hotheads at all. Condemn them in the strongest possible terms -- violence is no answer.

Temper your reaction to Muslims as a whole, realizing that a subset of troublemakers can't stand in for an entire religious group, the majority of whom lead peaceful and productive lives.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Does this mean I can exhibit in the US my portrait of Osama wearing a I Love NY T-shirt?

Posted by: Dennis Lukas on February 4, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Dennis Lukas:

Only if you agree to walk through Crown Heights on a Saturday afternoon with it on :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

Well, but what conclusions do you, as a white, cultured, liberal, highly educated person, draw about the Berkeley riots? That inner-city blacks have inherently criminal tendencies? I highly doubt this, of course -- but it was a fairly common reaction among whites in the wake of the Watts conflagrations.

No, that's not what I think. I do think that some poor people of any stripe will take advantage of opportunities to swipe stuff. This was just an opportunity open for some of one color. And, as I said, they went directly for the goods, as though they wanted the goods; not for the centers of power, as though they were outraged about the verdict. This was almost pure "crime of opportunity."

My point was that the idea that this was pure political protest is 99% BS. You want to petition the Government, you make at least a show of attempting to petition the Government. You do not do what that mob actually did.

Posted by: waterfowl on February 4, 2006 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Dennis Lukas:

Oh sheesh, it was a portrait of Osama wearing that T-shirt, not a T-shirt with that image on it.

Hehe, reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon of Che Guevara with his famous faraway revolutionary gaze and beret, wearing a Bart Simpson T-shirt :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"And in the Dark Ages,
they blew the Western world away in the sciences, technologies
and arts."


I know that's a widely popular misconception, but it's not true. It's just easy to make a movie where all the decor you need is some mud for the actors to wallow in. The Western problem in the Dark Ages was social conservatism, not technical backwardness. I really prefer classical mosque architecture to Romanesque churches, but then there's Gothic architecture, and Baroque architecture, the West pushed on, Islam didn't.


"The question of whose ideas they were originally
is kind of beside the point, as it is with the Japanese."

But, that was your point in the first place.


"That implies zero linkage between Arabs and Visigoths."

We must respect the feelings of long-dead savages, I agree. Let's call them Not-Roman-People-External-to-but-Adjacent-to-the-Empire-broadly-exhibiting-a-far-earlier-stage-of-social-organization-than-the-Romans. Is that really better?


Slavery: chattel slavery is a development of Islam, and only of Islam. Their religious justification for it was transmitted to the European slave traders on the coast of Africa and promptly located in the Christian Bible, to the gruesome detriment of our history. No group, Christian or otherwise, practiced slavery as a fundamental economic activity until Islam. The economics of the Islamic empire were oriented entirely around military conquest and enslavement.

Slavery was made technically illegal in Saudi Arabia in 1965 and in Pakistan in, I think, 1973. But it continues to be practiced openly; from Human Rights Watch,

http://www.hrw.org/reports/1995/Pakistan.htm

or here, Saudi Religious Leader Calls for Slavery's Legalization,
http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/123

or, Slaves in Saudi Arabia,
http://www.thedailystar.net/2004/07/27/d40727150297.htm

And, slavery aside, Arabs are by a wide margin the most racist people on Earth, here is an Iranian description of Arabs,
http://www.watchingamerica.com/tehrantimes000018.shtml


The development of a militaristic theology in Christianity doesn't occur until after the example of Islam started making serious inroads against it. That the army of Byzantium before that was Christian simply doesn't mean the same thing, most of them had legs, too.


Calling Muhammed's people illiterate. The Koran wasn't even written down until a generation after Muhammed's death. If you have actually tried to read it, it's obviously something made to be impressive to people who have never read any other book.

The pejorative sense of the word 'barbarian' really does apply to the Arabs of that period a lot more accurately than to, say, the Franks.

And I have to reiterate Western Europe wasn't as backward or as illiterate as is popularly believed. There was a whole Terry Jones series on the History Channel (or Discovery) speaking specifically to that point.


"And (Christianity) didn't go out and conquer every pagan civilization
it could find in the name of the greater glory of god?"

No, it sent missionaries to soften them up first. Islam was conversion by the sword, or enslavement.

"an egregious misreading of Islam, whose political
implications flow directly from its theology and not the
reverse."

I would describe it as the political implications were determined first through an analysis of the social place of religion, and the particular genius of Mohammed was that he then creates a perfect abstract form of religion, the essence of the experience. A Platonic ideal of the local religions he was familiar with.

I seem to remember there was actually a short-lived Islamic school at some point that was literally atheist, that considered 'god' a useful fiction and the whole thing to be a political theory.


"Christian theocrats who literally
support slavery and the stoning of adulterers"

Yes, there is nothing in the practice of any Yahwistic religion I think is worth preserving, but Islam is just so far ahead in villainy there's really nothing we can do but address getting rid of it first.

"And then I brought up the Amish -- who
certainly wouldn't appreciate you, an "English," deciding to
live in their midst and yet somehow I doubt you'd disapprove of
this. "

I would disapprove of it quite a lot. I think the Amish lifestyle is outright child abuse. You have no right to raise your child to be an idiot. Ironically, I used to live not too far away from an Amish community.

"Your above statement, though, still reeks of vintage
anti-semitism and you didn't do a good job of defending it."

I did. I did an excellent job of defending it. Whatever it was. Completey defended.


"You can't make that argument based on a comparison between the
Bible and the Koran. "

But you've just been doing it yourself, seeking to share the blame for chattel slavery.

"Brain teaser: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan,
Indonesia are all Muslim-majority countries. Each has
a different political form, a different culture and a
different level of political integration with Islam.

Why do you think that is?"


Sheer evil? The key point here is 'level of political integration with Islam'. To have any is wrong. To have the fundamental basis of your social and political discourse enwrapped with a religious aesthetic concerned exclusively with slavery and it's own self-perpetuation at any expense is to invite perversity and corruption, everything becomes a part of the religious imperative, as we see when Muslims pepper every other sentence with 'God is great!' With Islam in politics that comes to perpetuating 'submission' throughout every part of society, which is to say, authoritarianism, dictatorship, absolutism and slavery.

A serious critique of Islam from the right can't happen because the ideas of those people, Republicans particularly, are too like Islam in the first place, they just look hypocritical. This is the opportunity the left really has to step forward and actually present ourselves as believing what we say about human rights, social responsibility, democracy and justice.

With Muslims I've met over the years, and I know you'll never accept this, there's always been one thing rather lurking in the background of the conversations I've had that I never felt comfortable somehow bringing out. They are often confused by their initial impression of the US as established explicitly as a secular country, but then find Christian maniacs capering around about how this is a 'Christian country' and the government supporting religious fundamentalists and militaristic crooks of every stripe around the world. --and behind this impression, with every one of them, there has seemed to be a feeling that they would like us to save them from Islam. That wasn't true of the few really religious maniacs I've met, but it was a definite impression I had from every one else. I'm sure I wasn't imagining it; but, I have to say, I haven't seen it so much in recent years.

Opportunity lost before we even knew it was there.

Posted by: cld on February 4, 2006 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

waterfowl:

> "Well, but what conclusions do you, as a white, cultured, liberal,
> highly educated person, draw about the Berkeley riots? That
> inner-city blacks have inherently criminal tendencies? I highly
> doubt this, of course -- but it was a fairly common reaction
> among whites in the wake of the Watts conflagrations."

> No, that's not what I think. I do think that some poor
> people of any stripe will take advantage of opportunities
> to swipe stuff. This was just an opportunity open for some
> of one color. And, as I said, they went directly for the
> goods, as though they wanted the goods; not for the centers
> of power, as though they were outraged about the verdict.
> This was almost pure "crime of opportunity."

Sure. I generally agree with this. And just as true during
Watts -- or any riot for that matter -- when when crowd psychology
takes over and a few instigators provoke people into doing
things that their consciences ordinarily wouldn't allow.

The problem, though, comes after the fact, after we've witnessed
these incidents replayed over and over in the news -- like that
white truck driver who was pulled out of his cab and beaten
mercilessly by a mob. These individual events -- totally
unjustifiable, just as ripping off The Gap has nothing to do
with any kind of political protest -- become stand-ins for the
cause of the riots or the conditions under which people lived.

And the same thing holds true, I think -- even moreso -- with
GATT/WTO protesters who trash McDonalds and banks. They believe
that they're acting morally because they only choose targets that
represent multinational corporate control -- but they wind up
hurting the regular Joes and Janes at the bottom who work there.

So the press winds up writing about the damage and the individual
events -- so dramatic on television -- and the next thing we know,
the underlying resentment of being a poor black walking by outposts
of unaffordable goodies every day, or the outcome of the King trial,
begin to disappear off the map, especially in conservative media.
Every event stands in a vaccuum as an individual moral choice.

This is the sort of trap we fall into when we try to condemn
terrorism in absolute terms. We lose sight of the cultural
context, the immense peer pressure, the effect of a few ideologues
with bullhorns exhorting a crowd to commit acts that these
people's reasoning minds -- I don't care how uneducated they
are or how "brainwashed" by only being drilled on the Koran
all day -- would quickly reflect contradict their religion.

> My point was that the idea that this was pure political
> protest is 99% BS. You want to petition the Government,
> you make at least a show of attempting to petition the
> Government. You do not do what that mob actually did.

Well of course. I mean ... sheesh. Last night I posted a NYT
story in this thread that said the Danish government was beginning
to have second thoughts, and that they might help build a showcase
mosque to show Danish Muslims that the Danish people respect them.

Then I wake up to the news that a bunch of mongos
torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Syria.
Nice work, guys. How do you think the Danish people
are going to feel about *that*? Sympathetic? Willing
to offer respect? Or -- quite properly -- resentful?

Being a liberal can be so goddamned counterintuitive at times ...

*sssiiiggghhhh*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

What I've never understood is the deeply felt need on the part of leftists to find evil and villainy in every single part of anything politically or historically the West might have done.

There is the recent story about how peoples' political views are so ingrained they cannot accurately analyze discrepencies in the statements of the candidate of their own party, while easily spotting those in the candidate of the opposition, which reminded me of another story from a couple of years ago about the discovery of 'celebrity neurons', or brandedness neurons.

Given that, I don't think meaningful exchange people of opposing parties can be a real possibility, but something more like meaningful reaction can happen.

Conservatives are obsessed with what they see as liberal blind spots when it comes to failings or hypocrisies of Democratic politicians, while remaining psychopathically oblivious to the one great all-encompassing conservative blind spot, that the Republican party exists for no purpose but the perpetuation of parasitic whoring at any cost, and has never had any other function.

So trying to talk to these people directly is simply pissing in the wind.

But we can speak to them indirectly, by speaking among ourselves of methods and attitudes that would relieve their fundamental sense of paranoia, particularly in reference to Islam, where it is clear to everyone that if we lived under Sharia law, liberals will be the first to get killed and if liberals don't address this, they are always going to look just completely stupid and never regain the White House or Congress.


Similar sentiment, perhaps better expressed,

http://blog.dennisfox.net/index.php/archives/2006/02/04/balance-confidence-complexity/

Posted by: cld on February 4, 2006 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

> Yes, there is nothing in the practice of any Yahwistic
> religion I think is worth preserving, but Islam is just
> so far ahead in villainy there's really nothing we can
> do but address getting rid of it first.

You'll notice I excised one graf of your post, cld. There's
a reason for this. Hopefully, this will be my last thread
to you on this subject, ever. Though I could spend the rest
of this afternoon googling your ass through a brick wall, I
am profoundly uninterested in batting away your selective
wikipedia / Discovery Channel / Daniel Pipes views of Islam.

Your views are profoundly ugly and terribly old-fashioned.
They represent a revisionist recrudescence of a type of cultural
supremecism that vanished in academia after WW2, for the obvious
reason that so much of this kind of worldview supported Fascism.

It is the hoary, thoroughly discredited White Man's Burden.

It literally makes my skin crawl to hear you call yourself a
liberal. No liberal that I have ever known supported addressing
the idea of "getting rid of" a religion held by nearly 2 billion
people. No liberal that I've ever known throws the word "evil"
at entire cultural groups. No Bush-hating, Republican-loathing
liberal that I could even conceive of would equate an American
political party with the kind of demon image you draw of Islam.

You are, rather, a totalitarian. You see only black and
white, Good and Evil, nothing in between. In your scourging of
Republicans as on the same level as Islam (which in truth only
reveals how much of a caracture both of these views are), you
are apparently endorsing by implication a one-party state. In
this regard, it is your worldview that eerily resembles Bush's.

But you go much further. You don't believe that the Amish have
a right to raise children as they see fit. Your views are the
soul of intolerance, made in the name of a faux universalism
that Nazi ideologues were also claiming for Germanic culture.

Ideologies of human progress, of a universal evolutionary telos
-- whether out of religious eschatology, scientism or dialectical
materialism -- most often have had deeply reactionary consequences.

It is thus impossble to try to have a sensible conversation with
you about the genuine and serious flaws in the various flavors of
Islam and Islamic countries, because you refuse to practice the
sympathetic introspection necessary to try to understand Muslims
as they understand themselves. Much easier to simply call them or
their religion evil. You throw up the idiot Rovian straw man that,
under sharia law in America, liberals would be the first to go --
well, duh. As if that has any purpose other than to raise a few
shivery xenophobic goosebumps for people who enjoy projecting hate.

And then -- most cluelessly of all -- you actually wonder
why Democrats don't buy into this dark vision of yours.
Maybe it's because Democrats are good enough readers of
recent history to recall a time when it was au courant to
project Absolute Doctrinal Evil onto a single cultural group.
And that the people who did this in the name of human progress
in truth exemplified the very opposite of progressive ideals.

Or maybe it's just because many here find your gee-whiz
wikipedia and Daniel Pipes cites intellectually puerile.

Six of one, half dozen of the other ...

Good day, sir.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Cute snark, Kevin, but we really need to appreciate the nature of the threat with greatest sobriety and resolve.

Posted by: Neil' on February 4, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

As you haven't been able yet to refute even one thing I've said about anything you resort to name calling. We both know you would 'google my ass through a brick wall', if you could. But your self defeated world view is simply failure.

Without the West we would not have democracy, the scientific method or human rights as an organizing political prinicipal.

Cultural relativism really just about ends at interior decorating. Respect for others begins with self-respect, and as, it seems, you haven't any, your idea of respecting others is to stick up for their ability to do just about any insane thing that might occur to them, as long as they're not western and can dig up religious justification for it.

You actually think its just perfectly alright to raise your child in any kind of demented environment as long as it can be called 'a cultural group'? What if a tribe of cannibals moved into your neighborhood and set about cooking people? I sense you'd draw a line. But when you do stop them from doing that, they're still telling their children that's how things are supposed to be done, and in a few generations there are thousands of them and they dominate a whole part of town and sometimes people do just disappear. Now what? It's not illiberal to say this culture is wrong at the first point.

I do not believe the Amish have the 'right to raise their children as they see fit' because it leaves those children grossly incapable of reasonable self-determination, as does Islam, or any other totalitarian belief system. Including a totally self-defeated belief system like yours, incapable as you are of addressing either reason or evidence.

I wonder, did your parents raise you that way? Or are you a convert?

"Your views are profoundly ugly and terribly old-fashioned.
They represent a revisionist recrudescence of a type of cultural
supremecism that vanished in academia after WW2, for the obvious
reason that so much of this kind of worldview supported Fascism."

I think here you need to think harder about Hitler's statement that the only religion he admired was Islam, and the collaboration of Palestinian groups with the Nazis in the second World War. I won't Google it for you, I know you can manage.


You've never heard a liberal call something evil? You just don't get out enough. That liberals are too polite to lob it at 2 billion people at once, I don't deny, but I have to reiterate, it's not the people, it's the ideology that's evil. No one ever balked at calling certain defunked German political groups evil, or Stalinists --or is that because they're no longer around? If this were the 1930s wouldn't it all be relative? I'm sure you would be telling me I shouldn't be saying mean things about innocent National Socialists and Communists persuing their dreams.

So many liberals have been like ostriches with their heads up their asses for the last thirty years. It is because so many useless, thoughtless people have been able to get away with calling themselves leftists that has allowed the far right in the US to seize the terms of national policy debate.

If you say the gun aimed at your head isn't a gun because it's held by a Muslim, who can take a thing you say seriously? The organizing principal of Islam is slavery and we simply cannot have this in a pluralistic world. And if you do not believe me, that the organizing principal of Islam is slavery, it is only because you've never tried to read anything about it, never tried to read the Koran or are simply unpardonably stupid.

2 billion Muslims is a lot of people and the point that you keep stressing, that they are of a wide variety is self-evident. But the wide variety makes little difference when the organizing force of Islamic society in relation to external, non-Islamic societies is always reactionary; they fall back to first principals, Islam before any other thought. It is, everywhere, the extremist personalities who come forward to, address the threat to 'the House of Peace'.

The wide variety in Islam, like cultural relativism here, seems doomed to failure and insignificance in the politics of their own societies. The liberal Democratic positions on most issues in the US are more popular than conservative positions, but we've been undermined by the impression of being wrapped in daydreams of cultural relativism and appeasement. Democrats can address this concern directly and on their own terms by describing Islam in terms of Humanistic thought, and I really have to wonder why it so alarms you that Islam, as a whole, fares as badly in this light as National Socialism.

It really doesn't seem to be me with a secret love for the jack boot.

Posted by: cld on February 4, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

A problem often is that most liberals don't argue well, and, often, don't expect conservatives to.

You don't argue with someone when they're right. You work it in. If someone you're arguing with scores a point in a broad argument that you know is wrong, don't try to refute the point they get correct, and don't ignore it --but don't concede it, either. Envelope it. You know the other guy is wrong and you're right, so the one bit where he is right must be your bit, too, just misappropriated, or mis-represented. Take back your point, don't ignore it and don't say it's wrong or you'll lose the whole thing over trivia.

We have time here. You don't have to be fast.

Posted by: cld on February 4, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

I'm only going to deal with two sentences of your post. I
have no desire to play duelling google quotes (been there,
done that, for years on the NYT Iraq forum), no desire to knock
down absurd straw men or meaningless historical counterfactuals.

But there are a couple points that have stark relevance:

> The organizing principal

That's principle :)

> of Islam is slavery and we simply cannot
> have this in a pluralistic world.

You know why I find your views so odious, cld? Because earlier,
there were at least two Muslims who posted on this thread, enozinho
and Leila (if I'm correct in inferring from the Arabic surname in
her email). Both seemed like perfectly sensible people. And I'd
give you dollars to donuts that they'd read your quote above and
just find it bottomlessly bigoted and untrue to their experience.

Because you're perfectly willing to gratuitously insult posters
here in the name of an ideology you've cribbed from reading marginal
scholars who happen to be big with the neocons like Pipes, Lewis
and Huntington, because you show zero interest in how Muslims
understand themselves (indeed, you find that entirely unnecessary
when not sneering with contempt at the libby sentiment behind it),
then it's entirely fair to wonder if you're just projecting your
own rigidity, intolerance and black/white worldview onto Islam.

In the name -- tragicomically enough -- of pluralism, no less.

You claim that Islam reduces to first principles. What you're
doing is reducing Islam to first principles *in your mind*
and then projecting that back out onto it. To you, there's no
functional distinction between Ayatollah Khomenei and Ayatollah
Sestani, between the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Osama bin Laden.

Not to mention, you know, the heretical gnostic traditions of the
Sufis. To you, all Islam may as well be Osama's perverted Salafism.

> And if you do not believe me, that the organizing principal
> of Islam is slavery, it is only because you've never tried
> to read anything about it, never tried to read the Koran

Bro, odds are I've read more primary sources on Islam than you have.

> or are simply unpardonably stupid.

But not stupid enough to be a principal
advocate of the correct spelling of principle :)

Precisely, cld. If I don't agree with you I must be an idiot.
Which is, of course, precisely the kind of ham-fisted rhetorical
device a person intolerant of any shade of disagreement would use.

News flash: I'm not a cultural relativist. I support the 1948 UN
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Odds are we'd find precisely
the same cultural practices equally odious, and would fight alongside
each other to keep sharia out of America. This is not the issue.

Your political analysis is counterproductive. Americans don't live
in fear of Muslims or of Islam, nor should they. This is not Europe;
even in our most multicultural neighborhoods you don't run into a
whole block that speaks nothing but Urdu with all their women wearing
the veil like you can in London. Our Islamic terrorists weren't
homegrown. The fear Americans have are of foreign al Qaeda agents.

Now you can pander to the natural tendency people have to be
suspicious and ratchet up Daniel Pipesian anti-Islamic rhetoric
in the name of making Democrats look "strong on national security."

Will it make us look strong on national security? Fuck no.
It will make us look like shrieking paranoid idiots, cynically
trying to outdo Bush at his own game. Ask John Kerry how well
that went for him last election. It will also create bad blood
with American Muslims. Importantly, it will lose us some of the
leverage we need to fight Bush's wiretapping executive power-
grab in the name of "fighting the terrorists." If the fear of
"the Muslims" is open-ended because we believe that doctrinally
*any* Muslim can be a terrorist, it's a lot harder to argue
that the NSA should get warrants. We'd do better appearing
with who Americanist suggested -- the US Marines who are Muslims.

Or do you believe that they should be summarily drummed out of the
Corps because, as Muslims, they cannot brook divided loyalties?

> I do not believe the Amish have the 'right to raise their
> children as they see fit' because it leaves those children
> grossly incapable of reasonable self-determination,

Yet another example of your grotesquely anti-pluralist intolerance.

You are the only person I have *ever* heard argue that America has
an "Amish problem," cld. You know, the funny thing is ... it's a
tradition in most Amish communities that their youth -- especially
boys -- spend a little time running with the "English" as teenagers.
A number of them never make it back into the community after this
taste of the wider world. This serves as a safety valve, both for
the Amish communities themselves, but also for the kids who found
that existence intolerable; they have a way out. And you'd think,
in this age of confessional literature, that there would be books
by ex-Amish decrying that existence -- if what you say about "child
abuse" is true. In an age where everybody from a broken home or
who was raised by an alcoholic parent gets their moment of fame on
Oprah or Jerry Springer -- wouldn't you expect to hear at least a
handful of ex-Amish dissidents agitating against these communities?

Not a peep. Never heard a single example of this.

Must be another figment of your vivid imagination ...

> as does Islam,

You know, all the Muslims I've known in my life have been
wonderful, tolerant, interesting people. They weren't
hugely *observant* Muslims, but at least one of them
certainly practiced. A former supervisor. I'd walk through
fire for that guy. Odds are if you worked with him, you'd
do that as well. He was beloved by the whole office.

> or any other totalitarian belief system.

The only totalitarian belief system here, bro, appears to be yours.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 4, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

You stress variety. Nearly everywhere on Earth where Muslims share a border with non-Muslims they are in a war. The only thing in common at every point is Islam.
rmck1,


Your vision of a not so black and white world seems to me a grey uniformity where the most brutish and uninteresting, claiming to glorify god, or to stick up for the simple people, have stamped their will on everybody.

Growing out of the present circumstances, what future world do you really envision? Peace and happiness, or confrontation and conflict? Where is the Muslim Ghandi? Why has no person even close to Ghandi been produced in the entire Muslim world? The first, and only, intellectual resort of Islamic culture when interacting with non-Islamic cultures, is conflict.

You say that some parts aren't as bad as others, which is true of everything. Some Republicans aren't nuts, but they always end up pulling in the same direction. It's the cultural conservative mind. They will never trust or take seriously anyone who isn't also a cultural conservative.

If you just stand there with your head up your butt shouting 'It's all multi-colored in here!' no one will hear you, no one will see you, and you'll soon be run over and forgotten.

It isn't the white man's burden, it's our burden because we are the only people who will ever be in a position to get rid of this Republican thing, and we can only do that by advancing our humanistic principals first, and the single thing that most defies humanistic principals or humanistic values, or a pluralistic world, is Islam and while we do not address this we lose all credibility.


And I think there are a lot of 'liberal' people, people who think they're liberal and humanistic, who in relation to academic liberalism really are culturally conservative.

I think it's genetic.

Posted by: cld on February 4, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

"You claim that Islam reduces to first principles. What you're
doing is reducing Islam to first principles *in your mind*
and then projecting that back out onto it."

Well, projection apparently is in the eye of the beholder. You said I gratuitously insult people. Do you reread before you post? I haven't insulted anyone, though in the heat of the moment I was trying to insult you a few times, but I just lack the balls of Pale Rider, so I'm not surprised you missed it.

But, if Islam does not, by design, reduce to first principles (!hah) when in conflict with non-Islamic groups, what happened in East Timor, or the mass-enslavements in the Sudan?


"To you, there's no functional distinction between Ayatollah Khomenei and Ayatollah
Sestani, between the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Osama bin Laden."

Now there's your false a prior assumption.


"To you, all Islam may as well be Osama's perverted Salafism."

That or something like it, seen the New Yorker?,
http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/060206ta_talk_shavit

"Bro, odds are I've read more primary sources on Islam than you have."

You don't need a doctor to pronounce the shotgun victim dead.


I'm certainly sorry I referenced Daniel Pipes. I wouldn't have if I'd thought twice, which is why I put in that about grabbing the opponents' point when he's right. Like Tbrosz on ethanol.

I can't think of any other serious way, within the context of humanistic liberalism, to address the concerns of the large mass of voters who see national security as the primary issue. Kerry never spoke of slavery in Islam, if he had it would have gotten a lot of attention. He went out of his way to say nice things about Islam, just as so many do here, and, though I think he did win, I think he would have won in an outright landslide if he'd been more of my point of view.

Standing with American marines who are Muslims is just not going to help us with the paranoid center right crowd, the people who talk about how irritating Barbra Streisand is.

Failing to pay lip service to Amish child abuse is not anti-pluralist intolerance. America doesn't have an Amish problem, but the Amish do. Seeing them in the stores, and occasionally seeing them in their own stores, their expressions are hurt and lost. I just can't think a just society would allow people to be raised inside a segregated, trapped environment like that.

Haven't heard a peep about disident Amish? There's always Google. . .

The Muslims you've known, or known well, are a self-selected group. They were probably as interested in you as you in them. I've met a couple of the serious religious types, and, I have to say, they weren't interested in me, a lot.
The pleasant kind of people that you would know really aren't indicative of most people, just as the pleasant people I know are really unlike, say, the heroines family in Million Dollar Baby.

I know exactly the kind of people you mean, but they're not the people in the madrassas in Pakistan.

I would like to apologize if I have seemed inordinately testy, but the subject is deeply important to me.

Posted by: cld on February 4, 2006 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know Kevin. Have you read Hans Christian Anderson's The Little Mermaid. From what I hear...it's not cuddly.

Posted by: Andrew Slack on February 4, 2006 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

cld:

> "You claim that Islam reduces to first principles. What you're
> doing is reducing Islam to first principles *in your mind*
> and then projecting that back out onto it."

> But, if Islam does not, by design, reduce to first principles
> (!hah) when in conflict with non-Islamic groups, what happened
> in East Timor, or the mass-enslavements in the Sudan?

I dunno, bro. What happened in Haiti? Liberia? The FARC
in Colombia? The Shining Path in Peru? North Korea (speaking
of, you know, slave societies)? China (speaking of slave
societies that turn profits in the Western world)? None of
these egregious human rights situations have to do with Islam.

I guess what I'm trying to argue is that all these conflicts have
a matrix of causes, and in the ones involving Islam, Islam is one
factor among many. It may not be the best thing that north Sudan
practices a primitive form of Islam, but it isn't the best thing
that the Sudan is poverty-stricken, tribal and uneducated, either.

> "To you, all Islam may as well be Osama's perverted Salafism."

> That or something like it, seen the New Yorker?,
> http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/060206ta_talk_shavit

Yes I did, and here's the salient quote:

"Throughout the Middle East, the Muslim Brotherhood is the
main power with grassroots support. The Islamists are less
corrupt. They are the ones with integrity and compassion.
They are of the people and they speak for the people. Today
in the Arab world, the choice is clear between democratically
elected Islamists and Western-leaning dictators."

This from a former Israeli intelligence officer who's been
studying Hamas for years. In a sense this is blowback from all
those years where the West supported tyrannies in the Mideast
that did our bidding at the expense of the people. Should we be
surprised that Islamists are taking over, if the Islamists are,
as this man suggests, the less corrupt, the most representative?

I'm actually cautiously optimistic about Hamas. Hezbollah has
moderated itself in Lebanon; let's see what the responsibilities of
governing do to Hamas. In any case, it's a lot less hypocritical
than the doublemouthed rhetoric of Fatah, talking moderation to the
West and militantcy to the Palestinians. You caught the bit with
the campaign posters, right? Fatah's were the ones with the guns
and jihad rhetoric. Hamas' conveyed moderated religious dignity.

> I'm certainly sorry I referenced Daniel Pipes. I wouldn't have
> if I'd thought twice, which is why I put in that about grabbing
> the opponents' point when he's right. Like Tbrosz on ethanol.

Here's the thing, though. It's not about Pipes; it's about a
supremecist worldview that argues that the West is the greatest
thing on Earth since sliced bread. I am simply morally opposed
to this argument. Sure, we *all* love flush toilets, but the West
also gave us nuclear weapons, global warming and an economic system
that, by insisting that growth and earnings increase with time,
is unsustainable. Is the planet better off with us mastering it
than it would have been if the West never emerged and the North
and South American continents were still had their aboriginal
populations? You can't say except through the prism of the values
that we created. The dinosaurs were once lords of creation, too.

I also don't believe it's right to pit cultures against each other.
In a way I'm profoundly uninterested in just how gol durn superior
the West has been to Islam since the decline of its golden age. You
seem to have trouble acknowledging that Islam even *had* a golden
age; I've had those debates before. One guy on the NYT Iraq forum
who kept insisting that everything we know about Islam was the
result of propaganda by British historians sucking up to the Turks.
I have a problem with this not even insomuch as it might be true,
as that if we believe that Islam is an inferior civilization, it's
just that much easier to wage wars to guarantee that they'll provide
us oil on favorable terms -- and that we'll return the favor by
helping to make them more like us. Even though there's way too
much pride and shame in Islamic culture, as an Irish American with
a genetic memory of being dominated, I see this as a humiliation.

> I can't think of any other serious way, within the context of
> humanistic liberalism, to address the concerns of the large
> mass of voters who see national security as the primary issue.

The best way to address national security is to deal with it on
realistic terms. Deal with the threat itself, not an exaggeration.

> Kerry never spoke of slavery in Islam, if he
> had it would have gotten a lot of attention.

It would have been an unmitigated disaster, bro. Islamic slavery?
Where? If Kerry said the Sudan -- is he prepared to intervene?
Obviously not with our military in Iraq. If he meant Islamic
slavery in general, then he simply would have pissed off Muslims.
What would be the consequences of what he said? That a world
religion was illegitimate? And then ... what -- a candidate
for US president tells Muslims they may as well abandon their
religion because it's fundamentally incompatible with pluralism?

> He went out of his way to say nice things about
> Islam, just as so many do here, and, though I think
> he did win, I think he would have won in an outright
> landslide if he'd been more of my point of view.

If you're saying that Kerry should have capitalized on latent
religious hatred, then to be perfectly honest, I don't care
what the implications would have been at the polls. That would
have been morally wrong and antithetical to Democratic values.

> Standing with American marines who are Muslims is just not
> going to help us with the paranoid center right crowd, the
> people who talk about how irritating Barbra Streisand is.

Do we really *need* the paranoid center right crowd? If you're
of the view that Democrats only win by becoming Republican Lite,
then you and I have a serious and unresolvable difference of opinion
on tactics. I was a Howard Dean activist in the primaries. I believe
that Democrats will be taken seriously to the extent that they stand
up for the truth -- even if that truth is hard to swallow. It may
take a few election cycles. But what's clear is that the DLC centrist
analysis worked for Clinton while trashing the Democrats as a party.
The Republicans win by having a simple, clear set of core values.
The Democrats can win again if we do as well, and stand on principle.

> Failing to pay lip service to Amish child abuse is not anti-
> pluralist intolerance. America doesn't have an Amish problem, but
> the Amish do. Seeing them in the stores, and occasionally seeing
> them in their own stores, their expressions are hurt and lost.

You know, your empathy here is admirable, but there's something also
kind of creepy about it. You sound like an overzealous DYFS case
worker. One thing that the great unwashed middle really *doesn't*
like about the communitarian Hillary left is its propensity to claim
to know what's better for people than what people know themselves.
And it's a mirror image of what people don't like about Republican
religious conservatives, because they claim to know the same thing,
only they couch their argument in moralism rather than do-good-ism.

> I just can't think a just society would allow people to be
> raised inside a segregated, trapped environment like that.

But they're *not* trapped. All any Amish person needs to do is stick
a thumb out on a country road and 20 minutes later, they're in a town
with public transportation. As I said before, there is a continual
exodus of Amish youth, and that's a good thing. But if people are
sticking around, you might want to ask *them* why they look to you
like they're so hurt and lost. Their answers might suprise you.

> Haven't heard a peep about disident Amish? There's always Google. .

I'm sure there *have* to be, as every kind of American community has
their dissidents -- even the Mormons. But it's surprising to me that
there haven't been any big footprints in popular culture, the way the
Elizabeth Smart case blew the lid off of renegade Mormon polygamy --
speaking of abusive cultural practices, and that one I'd be much
more willing to investigate and prosecute than I would the Amish.

> The Muslims you've known, or known well, are a self-
> selected group. They were probably as interested in
> you as you in them. I've met a couple of the serious religious
> types, and, I have to say, they weren't interested in me, a lot.

Well honestly, I haven't met any seriously religious Muslims,
though we used to correspond with one pretty regularly on the
NYT Iraq forum. An extremely well-educated guy in Karachi.

> The pleasant kind of people that you would know really aren't
> indicative of most people, just as the pleasant people I know are
> really unlike, say, the heroines family in Million Dollar Baby.

:)

> I know exactly the kind of people you mean, but
> they're not the people in the madrassas in Pakistan.

The way we deal with the madrassas issue is to quit abdicating our
global role in funding education through NGOs. We thought we could
just foster friendly despots and walk away from the poor. Well, can
you really blame Saudi Arabia for picking up the slack? Once again,
another classic example of blowback from our own short-sightedness.

> I would like to apologize if I have seemed inordinately testy,

Not at all, cld. I certainly have been debating in
these venues way too long to take anything personally
-- and I can be quite aggressive in debate, so for my
part I also apologize if I've offended you as well.

> but the subject is deeply important to me.

It's a critical issue, doubtless.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 5, 2006 at 5:38 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

If the Danes would just step up to the plate more often, maybe we could sneak our troops home from Iraq and no one would notice.

I thought I'd wander over to the left side of the blogsophere today to see what you guys were saying about the jihad in Denmark. I thought I'd start with you since on occasion you show a flicker of intelligence - and seriousness.

And what should I find? A flip comment about using these events as a flimsy pretext to surrender in Iraq. Disgusting.

What we are seeing in Denmark is a premeditated attempt by the Muslim world to impose sharia law on the West, one tenet at a time. And you find this too "hard" to take "seriously"? Oh, the ANGST you must be feeling.

I, for one, find it hard to take YOU seriously, along with the rest of the appeasing leftist ilk. That is soley due to the fact that you are completely unserious.

These attacks on Denmark are the modern equivalent Hitler's seizure of the Sudatenland. Today it is the anti-blasphemy elements of sharia they are imposing, specifically designed to exploit leftist, multiculural cant. And if people like you don't get over your aversion to doing "hard" things, then tomorrow it will be the rest of sharia law that you get.

If you find this too hard to take seriously, then you are a weak, pathetic fool. Morally and intellectually.

Posted by: HA on February 5, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

THE BIGGEST PART OF THIS STORY IS NOT THAT ISLAMIST ARE NUTS AND WANT TO KILL US ALL, ITS THAT CNN AND OTRHER MAJOR LIBERL NEWS OUTLETS HAVE SIDED WITH THE WACKO ISLAMISTS.

CNN STATED THAT THEY WOULD NOT SHOW THE CARTOONS "OUT OF RESPECT FOR ISLAM"


I'LL PAY 10,000 DOLLARS TO ANYONE WHO CAN FIND ME AN INSTANCE WHERE CNN REFUSED TO SHOW A PIECE OF ART "OUT OF RESPECT FOR CHRISTIANITY".

Posted by: Patton on February 5, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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