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Why we fight:

According to the AP caption: "An unidentified Kenyan woman demonstrates in Nairobi, Kenya Friday Feb. 10, 2006."

(AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)

PoohPoohBear:
Ironic, considering the protester is cloaked in a Burkha.Freedom of expression, another Zionist weapon :)
2.11.2006 9:52am
James968 (mail):
It reminds me of school yard bully who suddenly gets called a name.

We all had to deal with getting picked on, and had to learn how to deal with it. The irony was that the more one lets it bother and upset you, the more one becomes a target for it.
2.11.2006 10:12am
James968 (mail):
It reminds me of school yard bully who suddenly gets called a name.

We all had to deal with getting picked on, and had to learn how to deal with it. The irony was that the more one lets it bother and upset you, the more one becomes a target for it.
2.11.2006 10:12am
PersonFromPorlock:
George Orwell, please call the office!
2.11.2006 10:45am
Hari:
Well, yes. Western Civilization uses freedom of expression as a means of pursuasion. Radical Islam uses terrorism. So in that sense, freedom of expression is Western terrorism.
2.11.2006 10:48am
Frank Drackmann (mail):
Hey, you'd feel that way too if someone cut off your labia majora and minora in childhood.
2.11.2006 11:17am
anonymous coward:
They really do hate our freedoms!
2.11.2006 11:21am
CEB:
The headline to this post was probably meant to be bitterly ironic, but I think it is truer than it seems. I'm assuming that the woman pictured is not in fact free to express herself. I'm also assuming that she does not read or write English. She was probably handed the sign by a religious or political authority &told to march; who knows what she was told that it said. To end this insanity &oppression, or at least to keep it from spreading, is in fact why we fight.
2.11.2006 11:33am
Abdul (mail):
So when Harry Belafonte called George Bush the "world's greatest terrorist," maybe this is what he meant?
2.11.2006 11:58am
Justin (mail):
So we're invading Kenya? Sweet.
2.11.2006 12:44pm
BU2L (mail):
The sad thing is that apologists for these people will have no problem setting aside their intellectual integrity and continuing to be good little kuffar.
2.11.2006 1:01pm
machs (mail) (www):
Ask yourself this question: Was Mohammed a nose-picker?
2.11.2006 1:14pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Justin,

Intelligence indicates that Kenya has been mining uranium.
2.11.2006 1:33pm
nk (mail) (www):
Machs:

This is a site for grownups.
2.11.2006 2:20pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Defending, Justin,

Is there an issue out there, political or otherwise, the discussion of which will not prompt a knee-jerk reaction in you to somehow tie it into Bush's ______ ("incompetence," "evil," "heavy-handedness," etc.)?

I understand it' really funny to make "Bush invades everything" jokes, but I wonder if you would react the same way to a similar sign being held bu Evangelicals. A frantic call to the ACLU would no doubt be in order, were that the case.
2.11.2006 2:44pm
Michael B (mail):
Yet the EU learns the lesson intended.
2.11.2006 2:56pm
Blar (mail) (www):
Dale, how is fighting an appropriate response to this? What do you even mean by "fight"?
2.11.2006 3:25pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
This whole controversy has made me think about Obscenity, and the famous I know it when I see it ruling. If we lived in Muslim nation as opposed to a puritan one (tongue firmly in cheek ;p) would pictures of Muhammad be akin to interracial double vaginal double anal?

I don't think it would be all that unlikely.
2.11.2006 3:26pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
Reminds me of Paul Berman's book "Terror and Liberalism" (liberalism here meaning freedom). His theme is that the basic conflict with fundamentalist islam is over freedom, not over economics or religion. They see freedom and its results as decadent and threatening (because they're fun, and tempting). So from their standpoint, freedom is at least aggressive and invasive, and hence resembling terrorism. It says something of how deep the conflict is. Our exercise of our freedoms in our countries is seen as aggression.
2.11.2006 3:30pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Even if you are right, you are never more than 3 clicks away from "interracial double vaginal double anal," the purveyors of which remain unhounded by people who want to kill them.

For the record, I'm perfectly aware of what happened to Flynt, but one nut with a rifle does not equal a religion largley comprised of nuts, supported by their governments, and exporting their intolerance to the rest of the world.
2.11.2006 3:33pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Mike BUSL07,

Believe it or not, there are folks out here who aren't political partisans. It's fashionable for neoconservatives to accuse everyone who doesn't agree with them of being leftists, while on the other hand I have no doubt that were the socialists in power they'd accuse everyone who didn't agree with them of being extreme right-wingers.
2.11.2006 3:39pm
David Beito (mail) (www):
What we are fighting for? That's a strange conclusion. We are fighting to help Shi'ite fundamentalists rule Iraq and impose such measures as the veil, Sharia, destroying Christian liquor shops, and empowering religious militias. The women could have easily been in the crowd of Iraqi Shi'te demonstrators and (and U.S. backed officials) who called for suppression of the cartoon last week. Are we fighting for "democracy?" If so, we should think twice...because that has just brought victories for Hamas and gains by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Those who try to use these demonstrations as justification for the war are mistaken. The demonstrations better illustrate the unintended consequences of U.S. foreign policy. How can it be otherwise when even our tax-funded allies join the anti-Dane lynch mob.
2.11.2006 3:42pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
The question of my alienation from both of our political parties is one of degree, so if I am a Republican at all, it is only by default.

But your unwillingness/inability to address this issue head-on without obscuring it by a completely superfluous reference to Bush ought to be criticized not by "neo-cons," exclusively, but anyone who wants to pursue a serious discourse with respect to this.
2.11.2006 3:44pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Heh, I didn't even think about Flint, I had "community standards" in my mind.

Honestly, you think they are going to export intolerance around the world? Do you think people don't want liberty/freedom/etc and can be suckered away from it by the nutjobs? Are we just a well funded PR campaign from becoming like Saudi Arabia? I sure don't think, maybe I have more faith in people's desire for freedom than you. I don't know why you feel so threatened by a bag full of idiots around the world, I surely don't.

Though nor do I think the Islamic religion is largely comprised of nuts, I think they are there, but they don't have the larger % of over a billion people.
2.11.2006 3:44pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Blar,

You're precisely correct. To the extent that people hold up signs and protest and express their opinions, there's no cause for violence. To the extent that people publish offensive cartoons, the same is true. But having said that, both sides have been engaging in violence for a long time, and when insult is added to injury, another violent reaction can then be blamed entirely on an overreaction to the insult.

At some point we need to be grown-ups and realize that we cannot solve differences of opinion or belief with violence, just like you can't force someone to love you, and you can't expect that if you just keep beating them hard enough they'll stop hating you.
2.11.2006 3:45pm
Jim Anderson (mail) (www):
You'd think it's a little movement-undermining to publicly demonstrate against "freedom of expression."
2.11.2006 3:49pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
llamasex:

If you think I fear Islamic influence on Western values and freedoms, you are absolutely right - I do. If you find this fear baseless, you are wrong. You need only look to the post above by Michael B, "EU learns the lesson."

And when I say that Islam is "largely" followed by nutbags, what I mean is not that most Muslims are radicals, but that a disproportionate number of them are, compared with members of other religions.

A "Christian HAMAS" would never win an election in the West.
2.11.2006 3:53pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Mike BUSL07,
A "Christian HAMAS" would never win an election in the West.
It depends on whether you'd define them as Christian, I suppose. Would Jesus have invaded Iraq?
2.11.2006 3:59pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Defending the Indefensible,

A parallel not well-drawn. To say that a government's moral code is partly influenced - indeed, strongly influenced - by the religious belief of its leaders, is a far cry from saying that a government is in place because it promised expressly the destruction of those who don't share its religious beliefs.
2.11.2006 4:02pm
Justin (mail):
As Blair and DTI has already ably pointed out, that while we can all disagree with the sentiment of the sign, and realize that the sign not being considered absurd is a cultural problam for the Islamic world, this is not "why we fight", as, indeed, fighting cannot accomplish anything other than continued anti-Western sentiment or genocide. Otherwise, we're the abusive husband. We hit them cause we love them. Or something.
2.11.2006 4:07pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Justin,

I was under the impression that we hit them because they hit us, and they want to hit us again. The sign is emblematic of why the want to hit us, which in turn explains "why we fight."

I understand though - you couldn't resist the metaphor.
2.11.2006 4:08pm
Justin (mail):
Mike BUSL, I have no interest in using our military for fighting fundemential Christians in America, and the Islamic fundamentalists have a very weak lobby in DC last time I checked. Your comparison is almost as absurd as the sign.
2.11.2006 4:09pm
Justin (mail):
Mike BUSL,

Yesm and I fully supported Afghanistan.

Regardless of my opposition to Iraq, Dale's point seems to be we fight "them" because "they" hate our values, not because "they" attacked us. As I made the obvious point earlier, we aren't at war with Kenya at all, and Kenya has not attacked us.

If you want to criticize me, criticize my actual points rather than the straw men that you fight to keep your moralistic view of the world one of black and white.
2.11.2006 4:11pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Justin,

I apologize for overestimating your ability to understand the comparison, but allow me to spell it out: A hypothetical political party that advocated violence as a means of advancing Christian values would not be successful in America, as a Muslim one was in the Muslim world. This, you see, illustrates the gulf between the Muslim and Western worlds.
2.11.2006 4:11pm
Fishbane (mail):
This is a site for grownups.

Goodness, I didn't know. Someone put up the AdultID warning screen.

And when I say that Islam is "largely" followed by nutbags

It didn't use to be OK to say these sorts of things around "grownups". This isn't a comment about freedom of speech; just a comment about civility.

A "Christian HAMAS" would never win an election in the West.

Correct. But a fundamentalist Christian who publically states he has heard from, and the approval of, god did, in fact, win two elections, and has invaded two other countries (so far). About the closest thing we have to a Hamas is the Christian Identity folks. Do you think they voted for Kerry?
2.11.2006 4:13pm
Justin (mail):
Mike,

PS - your reading of Dale Carpenter's point is, to say the least, highly generous. Plus, its wrong. Osama bin Ladin did not attack America because they "hate our freedom". That's the type of idealistic dreaming that gets our soldiers killed.
2.11.2006 4:13pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
At any rate, I need to do some homework. It's all you.
2.11.2006 4:13pm
JohnAnnArbor:
and the Islamic fundamentalists have a very weak lobby in DC last time I checked.

Ever heard of CAIR?
2.11.2006 4:16pm
Justin (mail):
Mike,

Your new point strikes me as more absurd than your older point (since we're playing gamesmanship here, let me draw it out for you

Absurd: Free speech = terrorism

More absurd: Reaction to Islamic fundamentalism in another part of the world = Reaction to Christian fundamentalism at home, politically

Most absurd: Opposition to military foreign policy means one thinks Saudi Arabia is more free than the United States)

That's all I have to say. Please assume that you're dealing with someone whose ideas are intelligent and capable. Trust me, you're not "overestimating" anything by repeatedly drawing up straw men and striking them down.

I'll save you the trouble of your next argument. No, this doesn't mean I think George Bush is worse than Osama bin Ladin.
2.11.2006 4:17pm
Justin (mail):
Homework? LOL
2.11.2006 4:17pm
JohnAnnArbor:
But a fundamentalist Christian who publically states he has heard from, and the approval of, god did, in fact, win two elections, and has invaded two other countries (so far).

Citation? The only people I know who said that were Palestinian diplomats, who are not known for their truth-telling.
2.11.2006 4:19pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Justin


PS - your reading of Dale Carpenter's point is, to say the least, highly generous. Plus, its wrong. Osama bin Ladin did not attack America because they "hate our freedom". That's the type of idealistic dreaming that gets our soldiers killed.


I know this is a bit of a cheap shot, but as a former soldier myself I can't help but tell you that we've long been able to decide for ourselves what "idealistic dreaming," is worth being killed over, without counsel from our surprisingly paternalistic betters.

And yeah, so much for just doing my HW.
2.11.2006 4:21pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Justin,

Though it's somewhat OT, since you mention it, I didn't favor the invasion of Afghanistan either, because I didn't see it as being the most effective way of responding to the 9/11 attacks. As I understand it, the Taliban were willing to turn Bin Laden over to a neutral power like Pakistan for prosecution. The US government didn't think that was good enough, so they helped the Northern Alliance in a civil war to topple the Taliban. As a result, Bin Laden didn't get turned over to anyone, and is at large presumably somewhere in the Waziristan region of Pakistan (but that's just the common guess). And Afghanistan is back producing opium at record levels.
2.11.2006 4:29pm
Defending the Indefensible:
JohnAnnArbor,

http://www.mennoweekly.org/AUGUST/08-02-04/BUSH08-02.html
2.11.2006 4:30pm
Bottomfish (mail):
In response to some of the previous posts, I must point out that tempting people with visions of fun and free behavior, or persuading them verbally that fun and free behavior constitute the right way of life, is not at all the same as blowing them up if they defy you. The use of words and images is fundamentally different from the use of force.
2.11.2006 4:39pm
JohnAnnArbor:
One Amish dude said that to a reporter, who said that in his article? So we're playing telephone--and we all know how that goes.

I thought you said "publicly"? I still don't think it's "at all", but you believe whatever it takes to maintain your worldview.
2.11.2006 4:40pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Justin


If you want to criticize me, criticize my actual points rather than the straw men that you fight to keep your moralistic view of the world one of black and white.


I find it instructive that your understanding of a "black and white" view is necessarily negative. God forbid that we actually take a stance that one society is objectively better than another, for the values it espouses and the freedoms it guarantees.
2.11.2006 4:48pm
Fishbane (mail):
JohnAnnArbor:

In addition to DtI's citation, here's another. I know you already discounted reports from those scurrilous Palestinians, but one would think that if they were, ah, bending the truth on this we'd have an official denial we could point to; if there's one thing the administration is good at, it is attempting to correct the record on issues of image.
2.11.2006 4:53pm
MDJD2B (mail):
Correct. But a fundamentalist Christian who publically states he has heard from, and the approval of, god did, in fact, win two elections, and has invaded two other countries (so far). About the closest thing we have to a Hamas is the Christian Identity folks. Do you think they voted for Kerry?

I doubt they voted for Bush. they call the US government the "Jewish Occupatinal Government." David Duke opposes the war in Iraq. Etc.
2.11.2006 4:56pm
Justin (mail):
I thought you had homework to do. As a student, I suggest you shouldn't use verbs like "instructive" unless you first open your mind to the possibility you don't already know everything.
2.11.2006 5:04pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Justin,

As someone who apparently is no longer a student, and therefore already do know everything, shouldn't you know that "instructive" is an adjective?
2.11.2006 5:07pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Justin,

As someone who apparently is no longer a student, and therefore already does know everything, shouldn't you know that "instructive" is an adjective?
2.11.2006 5:07pm
Fishbane (mail):
One Amish dude said that to a reporter, who said that in his article? So we're playing telephone--and we all know how that goes.

This is a silly side issue, but again: if he was misquoted on such an issue that is so potentially misconstrued, don't you think they'd correct it?

A recap of his rhetoric.

"And wherever you go, you carry a message of hope--a message that is ancient and ever new. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, 'To the captives, come out! to those who are in darkness, be free!'"


MDJD2B: I doubt [Christian Identity advocates] voted for Bush. they call the US government the "Jewish Occupatinal Government." David Duke opposes the war in Iraq. Etc.

Do you think, then, that the bulk of them didn't vote at all? They are a diverse group, from the serious moonbats, on through, as you mention, Duke, who switches parties as it fits him, on to the "Minute men", currently doing performance art on our borders, to much applause from Malkin and others. Not all of them are antisemitic, and even some of them who are are humoured by elements of the Republicans. David Neiwert is probably the best index to this sort of thing; he is partisan, but he is also comprehensive and knowledgable.

Pretending that these extremists don't find a home in Republican circles is simply fabrication.

(Note: I am not a Democrat. I'm mostly a pox-on-both-houses libertarian who likes the deadlock we get from split government, because I know we won't get saner governance in my lifetime. I voted R during Clinton, and I'm voting D now. And I hold my nose all the time.)
2.11.2006 5:28pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Oh, now we're to my favorite part: because X voted for you, or is a member of your party, or whatever, you believe everything X does.

Apparently, from this thread, one must gather this is a site for adults with difficulties in comprehending (1) parts of speech, (2) analogy, (3) metahpor, (4) irony, and (5) logical constructs.

Democrats haven't run Robert Byrd out of the party, and Republicans have their equivalents (Trent Lott anyone?). At the end of the day, it's about votes and if he could promise to deliver enough votes, Charles Manson could sit at the front table in a fund raiser somewhere.
2.11.2006 5:41pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I notice that there are more and more posts recently with comments disabled. I can't say I'm surprised, but maybe a "one post per hour" rule could solve the problem without shutting down ALL debate.
2.11.2006 5:44pm
Vovan:


If you think I fear Islamic influence on Western values and freedoms, you are absolutely right - I do. If you find this fear baseless, you are wrong. You need only look to the post above by Michael B, "EU learns the lesson."

And when I say that Islam is "largely" followed by nutbags, what I mean is not that most Muslims are radicals, but that a disproportionate number of them are, compared with members of other religions.

A "Christian HAMAS" would never win an election in the West.



Mike, before you spew drivel like this just realize that "Christian" Hutus wiped out 900,000 "Chritian" Tutsis in a span of 8 months.

Christianity and Islam, Mike are not only confined to Europe and Middle East. Baseless claims that one side has more fanatics than other, can be dispelled by doing a google search
2.11.2006 5:54pm
John Jenkins (mail):
Daniel Chapman, if that were to happen, then people might have to read and understand before posting rather than being ENTIRELY non-responsive. We can't have that.

For example, in the lovely thread about violence and religion going through this conversation there are some points that are being totally ignored.

(1) Organizations that kill people and blow stuff up in western countries are typically brought to ground and the members imprisoned for their actions. In the Palestinian territories, one such organization just became the largest party in parliament. Discuss. (Hint: democracy has necessary preconditions before it becomes meaningful, otherwise it's a power contest; who can do the most for me, versus who will do the best job. Kind of like what American politics has dissolved into, only without the rent-seeking!)

(2) Amazingly enough, just as there is no archetypical "Christian," there is no archetypical "Muslim." Despite this, we learn that said non-existent archetypical Muslim is more likely than not a nutbag AND that non-western Christians should be considered in an analysis of western political parties. Ships passing, indeed; both headed aground, I'd wager.

(3) Just because someone says he's a Muslim / Christian / Democrat / whatever, doesn't necessarily mean he is one. Surely there are some objective criteria we can apply. If not, if anyone can self-identify as a member of any such group without regard to actions taken or advocated, then is it possible at all to make generalities based on that classification? (hint: no)

(4) Yes, the picture in the post is absurd because it uses the language of moral equivalence for things that are clearly not equivalent (You get to go a little lower in Dante's EZ-Bake for blowing people up than for calling them names, I'd wager). Oh wait, that might actually be on-topic. Is that allowed?
2.11.2006 6:10pm
BU2L (mail):
(bu2l=Mike BUSL07)

Vovochka,

Your personal attack aside, allow me to point out that I said that a Christian HAMAS wouldnt win in the West. By that I didn't mean West Africa, but the more common definition, which includes Western Europe and North America.

At the risk of exceeding your attention span, I will elaborate. (Obyasnayu dlya osobo-odarennyh): In the West, (see above for definition, in case you forgot again), Christianity takes a milder form than Islam does in the Middle East (and Africa for that matter).

You could have just as easily pointed out the Christian atrocities carried out against Muslims in former Yugoslavia. That would be just as impotent an attack on my overall point. (See above again).

So, uh, before you and Google conquer the known political realm, you may want to tone down the rhetoric just long enough to read the drivel to which you are planning a scathing response.
2.11.2006 6:14pm
Michael B (mail):
"... before you spew drivel ..." Vovan

And your own spew and categorical contempt, no hesitation is required? Suffice to say your summary review of Rwanda needs more googling.

"Osama bin Ladin did not attack America because they "hate our freedom". That's the type of idealistic dreaming that gets our soldiers killed." Justin

Yet another fundamentalist ideologue and presumptive knee-jerking into a glib, leveling remonstrance.

No doubt, a suitably supple meaning needs to attend the idea that "they hate our freedom," volumes might be expended in order to better convey what might be intended under such a brief heading. Or, is your proposition that they positively love and appreciate our hard-won freedoms? Or, perhaps, that they are entirely indifferent to them?

We await your perspicacious and magisterial insights Justin. Again, the options are:

1) they hate our freedoms
2) they love and appreciate our freedoms
3) they are indifferent toward our freedoms
4) a fourth option of your choice
2.11.2006 6:30pm
BU2L (mail):
John Jenkins,

I sympathize with your desire to appear above the fray while simultaneously explaining why your views are superior - along with your ability to articulate them, but -

before you sanctimoniously criticize both left and right for straying off topic, cut us peasants a little slack. See, a thread of responses to a blog-post is sometimes unstructured, and takes on something of its own dynamic. The kids call this phenomenon "a hijacked thread." So while the responses are not all precisely on point vis-a-vis the original post, we are all perfectly happy to have our little row on these terms. Thanks.
2.11.2006 6:43pm
Fishbane (mail):
This reaffirms my base belief about political identification: aesthetics informs us all much more than we want to believe. There are only a few core positions, and disagreements on the margin are almost all about aesthetics, but are usually cast as ethics.

1) Organizations that kill people and blow stuff up in western countries are typically brought to ground and the members imprisoned for their actions. In the Palestinian territories, one such organization just became the largest party in parliament. Discuss. (Hint: democracy has necessary preconditions before it becomes meaningful, otherwise it's a power contest; who can do the most for me, versus who will do the best job. Kind of like what American politics has dissolved into, only without the rent-seeking!)

Aside from the rent-seeking comment, I completely agree. I would note, though, that people who burn SUVs and spike trees for political reasons cause their support organizations to be classified as terrorists by domestic law enforcement while those who have killed for similarly fringe beliefs are carefully distanced from their support organizations. (Please don't call me a supporter of tree spikers; I'm making an observation, not lending support.)

(2) Amazingly enough, just as there is no archetypical "Christian," there is no archetypical "Muslim." Despite this, we learn that said non-existent archetypical Muslim is more likely than not a nutbag AND that non-western Christians should be considered in an analysis of western political parties. Ships passing, indeed; both headed aground, I'd wager.

Can we simply agree that fundamentalism in any form is at least suspect in a modern pluralist society?

(3) Just because someone says he's a Muslim / Christian / Democrat / whatever, doesn't necessarily mean he is one. Surely there are some objective criteria we can apply. If not, if anyone can self-identify as a member of any such group without regard to actions taken or advocated, then is it possible at all to make generalities based on that classification? (hint: no)

Hey, I blame the D's for Moore, too. Much as they need to answer for him, the R's have to answer for Robertson. A useful contrast: The Democrats don't have to answer for Reverend "god hates fags" Phelps, because even though he (used to? not sure what he says now) identified as one, he has no support at all from the party. Similarly, while I wouldn't tar the Republicans with the few remaining nazis out there, the praise from staunch Republican commenters for the Minutemen performance artists makes me think that, in fact, they are considered a part of the party. That many who take part in those groups are unabashed racists is well known.

(4) Yes, the picture in the post is absurd because it uses the language of moral equivalence for things that are clearly not equivalent (You get to go a little lower in Dante's EZ-Bake for blowing people up than for calling them names, I'd wager). Oh wait, that might actually be on-topic. Is that allowed?

We'll make an exception because "Dante's EZ-Bake" wins the thread.
2.11.2006 6:48pm
Fishbane (mail):
Oops, sorry. I screwed up the formatting on the last quote. The (4) paragraph should be italic.
2.11.2006 6:49pm
Cornellian (mail):
I wonder if the woman in the picture can read the banner she is carrying. Didn't the Taliban say it was unIslamic to allow women to get an education?
2.11.2006 6:50pm
Vovan:
Dorogoi Mishen'ka

"Dlia osobo odarennyh" ty budesh ob'esniat svoeie podruzhke

In particular Mike, I am responding to your generalization that Islam has more "nut-bag followers" than any other religion. Care to back up that claim with any sort of statistical proof?

There are quite a few of "nut-bag muslims", but to claim that Islam has more nut-bag followers than for example Christianity, is to ignore a list of athoricities that Christians committed through out the world - Rwanda, Kosovo (thank you for pointing that outfor me), Chechnya, and especially for you Mike - tsarist pogroms. And lest you respond that those happened over 100 years ago, just look up events in Voronezh, and in Moscow in 2005.

Oh and for your claim that Christian Hamas would never win elections in the West (Europe) - I guess you have forgotten about the IRA
2.11.2006 6:59pm
Vovan:
To Michael B.

And your own spew and categorical contempt, no hesitation is required? Suffice to say your summary review of Rwanda needs more googling.


Events in Rwanda

The massacres in Rwanda were furthered by the Hutu churches and pastors who effectivly organized their parishioner to decimate their Tutsi counterparts. Yes, sometimes googling information is not as helpful - do try to read the full account of the events, and not random summaries
2.11.2006 7:07pm
John Jenkins (mail):
BU2L, my point is that you're talking past one another and being snarky about it. The entire discussion spun out of control because one person makes a comment, to which another person takes inchoate offense, requiring another post!

e.g. the assertion that muslims are nutballs. Why not address it and try to persuade? The only attempted response is non-responsive. Instead, you might look at where there are riots, and more importantly where ther aren't. Any riots in the U.S.? How many Muslims are there in the U.S.? I've seen estimates from around 2M to 8M. In any event: no riots. Instead, people bitch. Well, bitching is one's God-given right in this country. We all bitch. If all we want to do is bitch, that's fine: I am cool with bitching. If what we want to do is DISCUSS, that's different. We try to work things out and get to a resolution: either something everyone agrees is true, or that we can't agree and go on. So what are we doing, bitching or discussing?

Fishbane,

Aside from the rent-seeking comment, I completely agree. I would note, though, that people who burn SUVs and spike trees for political reasons cause their support organizations to be classified as terrorists by domestic law enforcement while those who have killed for similarly fringe beliefs are carefully distanced from their support organizations. (Please don't call me a supporter of tree spikers; I'm making an observation, not lending support.)

I'm not quite sure I understand: are you saying we should broaden the definition to include the second sorts of groups, or that we should narrow it to exclude the first? (Either is a supportable position, I'm just not sure what yours is).

Can we simply agree that fundamentalism in any form is at least suspect in a modern pluralist society?

Sure, just as soon as we can come up with an agreeable definition of fundamentalism :-)

Hey, I blame the D's for Moore, too. Much as they need to answer for him, the R's have to answer for Robertson. A useful contrast: The Democrats don't have to answer for Reverend "god hates fags" Phelps, because even though he (used to? not sure what he says now) identified as one, he has no support at all from the party. Similarly, while I wouldn't tar the Republicans with the few remaining nazis out there, the praise from staunch Republican commenters for the Minutemen performance artists makes me think that, in fact, they are considered a part of the party. That many who take part in those groups are unabashed racists is well known.

I don't think it matters. That is, there are different reasons for wanting the current immigration laws more strictly enforced (racism, respect for the rule of law, bald self-interest). That people have different motivations for seeking an outcome doesn't make the outcome itself undesirable. Just because some people who want X are racists, doesn't necessarily make everyone who wants X racist (though there are cases where X is explicitly racist, which would make it true). I happen to think we should drastically liberalize those laws, but they *are* the laws currently and not enforcing them *does* send a bad message vis a vis other laws. Considering them part of the party, doesn't mean you accept their REASONS, just, at least partly, their desired outcomes (otherwise the disparate coalition that make up Americal political parties could not exist).

We'll make an exception because "Dante's EZ-Bake" wins the thread.

Yay, I win! For the record, I KNOW I stole that from somewhere, but I don't remember where (I think Dennis Miller though).
2.11.2006 7:15pm
Michael B (mail):
Vovan,

I'm aware of the history to a substantial degree. Your history, as reflected herein and to this point at least, is highly and conveniently truncated. Additionally, am more broadly pointing out the facile quality of labeling something that is hugely complex (ethnically, historically, tribally, politically, socially, etc.) under some single label, in this case the label of "Christian". (Though am primarily attempting to address the social/political, not religious manifestation per se, since that topic tends to devolve even quicker than political topics.)

For example, affirmative descriptions of the same topic can also be supported. For example Michael Novak, in an article entitled What Dark Ages?, reviews sociologist Rodney Stark's The Victory of Reason : How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success. In the review Novak notes:

"... [Stark] quotes from a study group of Chinese scholars who have been trying for at least two decades to figure out the success of the West, as compared with China itself and Islamic culture:

"One of the things that we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don't have any doubt about this."

It will require more than academics/scholars like Michael Novak and Rodney Stark to get some to think outside of their off-the-shelf, ready-to-wear, ideological box; yet for others - those more prone and more willing to discard ideological presumption and received opinion, the effort would be rewarding. Which is not to say any one telling is the end of the story, but that too is what I'm addressing.

(Also, in the same recent issue of The New Criterion, David Pryce-Jones has a piece on European Muslims: Muslims: Integration or Separatism?)
2.11.2006 7:40pm
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
Ac couple of points:

1) It seems that Dale was not using the literal version of word "fight." He doesn't literally mean that we went to Iraq so that people in Kenya accepted Western ideas of freedom of expression. What he seems to mean is that the reason the West is engaged in conflict with radical Islam is to combat ideas like that. The West and radical Islam can not co-exist. I can't see how one could argue with a straight face that these two can co-exist.

2) I think the relevant question is not "who has killed more, Christians or Muslims?" That's akin to having a pissing contest in hell. I think the relevant question is "who right now, is killing more people in the name of their faith." I think that the clear winner here is radical Islam. Hutu's and Tutsi's were fighting along ethnic grounds. So, Christians have Yugoslavia to answer for. But the Muslims have been notching up pretty impressive tallies in the last 20 years, starting with Sumgait (Azerbaijanis slaughtering at least 10,000 Armenians) and continuing with the Khobar towers, 9/11, Darfur, and still continuing with outstanding fatwas having been issued against the West.

3) Yes, democracy is not a panacea. And I fault the Bushies for conflating democracy with republicanism and liberalism. This is why they have to do intellectual somersaults in trying to explain away why what happened in "Palestine" (yes, these are scare quotes) is not REALLY democracy.

4) Radical Islam does have very strong support in the Middle East. Again, bin Laden is still one of the most popular men in the region. And while one can explain the Hamas victory in Marion Barry terms (that people were unhappy with their neighborhood trash pick up), I'm still waiting for a reasonable explanation for bin Laden's popularity without appeal to the fact that they share his ideology.
2.11.2006 8:03pm
BU2L (mail):
Volodya,

Again, you miss my point, though I appreciate your response this time around being more focused, and less - err - choked on its own malice.

I was not saying that Islam is the sole source of terror and atrocity in the world. However, one has to be blind - necessarily, wilfully so - to overlook the fact that Muslims are the primary source of terror and atrocity in the world today.

Your account of the Hutu/Tutsi tragedy is, as has been pointed out, conveniently selective. The IRA? Sure there is.. wait... was, IRA terrorism. There are pogroms in Voronezh (and mroe than a few other Russian cities). But (1) Xenophobic violence in Russia is confined to Russia; and (2) it is at any rate, principally motivated by nationalist and racist sentiments - not Christian ones. Christianity is only evoked as an excuse when it needs to be, which is to say, when Russian skinhead violence is directed at Jews and Muslims. However, the same people have no apparent qualms about assaulting Spaniards, Latin Americans, and Christian black Africans.

Russian pogroms are therefore manifestly distinguishable from Muslim terrorism, both in their scope, and in their more complicated root causes.

A moya podruzhka, Vovchik, mozhet i mne, i tebe, i Zhene Voloxy vsyo obyasnit' kak osobo odaryonnym.
2.11.2006 8:04pm
Vovan:
To Michael B

Thank you for that very informative reply. My mention of Christianity with regard to the Rwanda genocide, was only motivated by the broad claim that "Islam has more nut-jobs" than any other religion. I used Rwanda only to demonstrate that predominatly Christian faith, did not help prevent the genocide, although I was aware of the social, economic and political underpinnings that were primarily responsible for it.

Moreover the idea of Christianity as being especially condusive to capitalism, is one of the primary theories of Max Weber, as is outlined in one of the articles, and as I have no doubt, you are familiar with. However nonwithstanding the quote that you helpfully provided, that idea has no answer for the sudden economic - capitalist development of present day China and India, neither of which can be classified as christian. Thomas Friedman outlined that progress in "The World is Flat", and although you may not agree with his rationalizations that leave relgion completely out of the argument, it is nonetheless puzzling to me how the development of these two future superpowers could be reconciled with the theories of Weber and Stark.

Finally if I remember correctly Weber distinguished between Protestanism and Catholicism, with protestanism being more conducive to economic and social development. If Stark does not make such distinction among the many Christian faiths - waht would be his explanation for the backwardness of pre-Soviet Russia as well most of 20th Century Latin America?
2.11.2006 8:08pm
Vovan:
To Misha


I was not saying that Islam is the sole source of terror and atrocity in the world. However, one has to be blind - necessarily, wilfully so - to overlook the fact that Muslims are the primary source of terror and atrocity in the world today.


In the post above, you have provided an excellent and succinct rationalization for the present day Russian pogroms, but at the same time, you are unwilling to accept that some of the factors that you have listed for the problems in Russia, might be responsible for the general unrest that is conveniently repackaged by a few truly evil individuals (Osama, Blind Sheikh, you can add Hamas here, Sudanese government, Nigerian northern caliphate etc.) as a problem that distinctly islamic in character.

At the same time for the aformentioned leadership it is quite easy to "rally the troops" under the slogans of Islam, just like it is very easy for Russian skinheads to identify under their "Russian Christianity", to accomplish their goals, that have nothing to do with their purported religious affiliation.

You probably won't agree with me, and I apologize for my rude posts, but I firmly believe that this matter cannot simple be categorized as "Islam has bloody innards and bloody borders" - Samuel Huntington, since that theory has been thoroughly discredited
2.11.2006 8:28pm
BU2L (mail):
I think at this point - 70 some odd posts into the thread - we can agree to (civilly) disagree. Poka, Vova.
2.11.2006 8:34pm
Michael B (mail):
Vovan,

Well, we're on a more productive course, thank you. As for Rodney Stark, I've read only the single volume, referenced above and which resulted from reading this brief review (a blogger who posts only occasionally, but highly recommended), but that volume doesn't address your question concerning Russia.

Though for now, good evening.
2.11.2006 8:58pm
Quarterican (mail):
It's been some years since I read Weber, and I don't have a copy handy, but: I don't think Weber needs to explain the capitalist development in India and China, because my memory of his theory - or at least the utility I drew from it - was that it functioned as an origin story rather than an explanation for continual development. If I recall correctly, it's not Christianity, or even Protestantism, it's specifically Protestantism that focuses on a belief in predestination that Weber credits with the birth of what we recognize as capitalism, but capitalism has long flourished in countries that never widely embraced the doctrine of predestination. It was the psychological pressure of a particular (and, in my opinion, pragmatically untenable) belief structure (nothing is more important than what happens in the afterlife, but I have absolutely no control over what happens in the afterlife) that caused people to look for signs of their own "election". Once enough people decided that wealth in this life was a clear sign of God's will that we be spiritually wealthy in the next, we're off to the races. Once the wheels start moving, does this particular hamster need to keep running? It might have taken a particular historical circumstance to jump start capitalism, but it's broad appeal isn't exactly mysterious, even to those who didn't undergo that historical circumstance.

For the same reason, I'm absolutely unpersuaded by the notion that atheists would be at moral sea without the guiding hand of religion, and that an atheistic society must be an amoral one; even if I concede (as it is convienient to do) that the conceptual history of our ethics comes from a spiritual background, I don't need the spiritual background today. Thanks for getting the ball rolling, but the appeal of living in a society with moral codes is obvious enough to those without religious allegiance that most (I'd go so far as to say "all" if you rule out snotty teenagers trying to be contrarian) welcome such a society. But you don't actually require a (vernacular sense) religion to have a moral code, and you might not even require a (last 50 years of American jurisprudence-approved) religion to have one, though my thinking on that latter point is muddled. And of course, no one I know is actually campaigning for an *atheistic* society, propaganda be damned; what I desire is a *secular* society (which, by and large, we have), and anyone who tries to tell you those are the same thing either hasn't thought about it very much or is probably selling something. (Which something, in my experience, often ends up being something like the idea that I'm a Maoist.)

Closing thoughts (shots?)
(1) Would man have arrived at a moral code similar to the one we actually have w/out religion? I don't know and I don't think it's an interesting question.
(2) Like David Beito said up top: this picture and this post-title combine in a way that's (darkly) quite funny for me. What the woman has written on the sign is ludicrously, dare I say outrageously, stupid. What the woman is wearing is fine by me if it's her choice, but she may not have a choice. What we've actually done in going to war has had little/no positive effect on the choice of women to wear those clothes in Arabic countries (I haven't tracked the evolution of women's rights in Afghanistan, which used to be a [justifiably] popular talking point).
2.11.2006 9:19pm
Blar (mail) (www):
Gene, I appreciate you trying to answer my two questions (which I asked sincerely, not rhetorically - I'm not sure if that was clear), but I still don't understand why this sort of protest would be "why we fight", under whichever definition of "fight". Are you saying that "fight" here means "engage in conflict with radical Islam"? If so, what does "conflict" mean? And how does that conflict serve to combat ideas like this? It does not seem like these kinds of ideas have become any less common during the last few years, which is unsurprising, since conflict is rarely a successful way to induce a group of people to change their ideas so that they are more similar to yours. I have doubts about whether any other definition of "fight" would make sense, since it is not clear to me what we should be doing in response to the existence of people like this woman.

I can also say, with face straight, that the West and radical Islam can coexist. Indeed, we are coexisting (though mostly on different parts of the globe). The only way for us to cease coexisting would be for one group to cease to exist, and I don't see that on the horizon. Neither group seems likely to kill all the members of the other group. Those who believe in radical Islam and who want to kill Westerners are incapable of killing more than a tiny fraction of the people of the West, and those in the West with the power to kill are not inclined towards mass killings (and they also have difficulty finding radical Islamists and distinguishing them from Islamic moderates). That means that the only way for one of these groups to cease to exist is for its members to abandon their ideology, which also does not seem to be on the horizon. The West does not seem capable of persuading those who believe in radical Islam to adopt Western ideals, or even to abandon radical Islam for some other ideology (like moderate Islam). It is implausible that the West would replace its values with radical Islam, and though it is possible that the West will change some of its ideals as a reaction to radical Islam, it seems perfectly capable of maintaining most Western values. So the West will continue to coexist with radical Islam, just as it has been coexisting with all sorts of other wildly contrary ideologies.

One other comment:

My eighth reaction to that picture is optimistic: an Islamic radical is condemning terrorism! Her sign implies that she considers terrorism to be just as bad as the value system that she apparently despises ("freedom of expression"). If even those who hate us the most (and "hate us for our freedoms") are so strongly opposed to terrorism, then we're in good shape!

My first through seventh reactions, along with my ninth and tenth, were less optimistic.
2.11.2006 9:42pm
Justin (mail):
3) they are indifferent toward our freedoms

What they hate is the poverty and lack of control over their lives - the same thing fundy Christians in America hate, and then take that out on gays, abortion, the first amendment, etc. Except their lives are much worse off, and their leaders are much worse. So their desperation is much greater, and their response equal to that greatness.

But that probably doesn't fit on a tee shirt. Good thing that we hate their God does (http://www.shopmetrospy.com).


PS, I should note what nobody else has noted: The terrorists have stayed out of this one. These are non-terrorists - and the fact that they're both Islamic and wrong shouldn't award them that unfortunate label.
2.11.2006 9:44pm
Justin (mail):
I think the relevant question is not "who has killed more, Christians or Muslims?" That's akin to having a pissing contest in hell. I think the relevant question is "who right now, is killing more people in the name of their faith." I think that the clear winner here is radical Islam. Hutu's and Tutsi's were fighting along ethnic grounds. So, Christians have Yugoslavia to answer for. But the Muslims have been notching up pretty impressive tallies in the last 20 years, starting with Sumgait (Azerbaijanis slaughtering at least 10,000 Armenians) and continuing with the Khobar towers, 9/11, Darfur, and still continuing with outstanding fatwas having been issued against the West.


Uhhh, are we planning on sentencing Allah to 10 or 20 years? And Jesus only to 5 or 10? Maybe this is the wrong question in its entirely. We can agree to condemn Yugoslavia and Azerbajain without blaming the citizens of Topeka or Dearborn, or for that matter, the citizens of Rome or Mecca. Responsible, workable solutions, not emotionally satisfying but otherwise useful blame, is the best way to deal with the real problems of global unrest.
2.11.2006 9:53pm
Fishbane (mail):
John Jenkins: I'm not quite sure I understand: are you saying we should broaden the definition to include the second sorts of groups, or that we should narrow it to exclude the first? (Either is a supportable position, I'm just not sure what yours is).

I was actually pointing out the disparity, not taking a side. I'd personally narrow it; property damage, even if systematic, doesn't seem to rise to the definition of terror to my eye.

Sure, just as soon as we can come up with an agreeable definition of fundamentalism :-)

Fair enough. As good as any starting point might be:

In comparative religion, fundamentalism has come to refer to several different understandings of religious thought and practice, including literal interpretation of sacred texts such as the Bible or the Quran and sometimes also anti-modernist movements in various religions.


How's that?

I don't think it matters. That is, there are different reasons for wanting the current immigration laws more strictly enforced (racism, respect for the rule of law, bald self-interest). That people have different motivations for seeking an outcome doesn't make the outcome itself undesirable.

I guess we differ there. For me, coalition building isn't possible on a few fundamentals, and one of them is being put in a position to endorse the actions of racists. I agree completely on the rule-of-law point you're making, which as I see it is another reason to not support these types; their actions are dangerously close to vigilantism.

Thanks for the reasonable debate.
2.11.2006 11:58pm
Citizen Deux (mail) (www):
I have always felt that the goal of any restrictive philosophy was to exert maximum control over its adherents in order to gain maximum benefit from those controlling it. I believe this applies to fascism, communism and many (if not all) theologies / theocracies. What has been clearly identified in these reactions to non-offensive drawings is that the groups behind the demonstrations fall squarely into the abovementioned category.
2.12.2006 10:13am
Michael B (mail):
"What they hate is the poverty and lack of control over their lives ..." Justin

To put it in the mildest of terms, unconvincing. Too, there's a mountain of evidence pointing to far too many other motivating factors. One small set of examples, from Iris Blog, some excerpts:

"33% of British Muslims surveyed admit they believe British Jews are a legitimate target for murder."

"50% of British Muslims surveyed admit they would personally be willing to become a suicide bomber in Israel."

Or, from only a slightly different, but equally telling, vantage point:

"No context was given to the story, such as the fact that in the Arab-controlled areas of the West Bank, "there is no wall...that was not filled with grafitti, with slogans such as 'we knock on the gates of heaven with the skulls of Jews.'"

Ideological fundamentalists on the Left; forever unable to see what is right in front of them.
2.13.2006 1:46am
Michael B (mail):
2.13.2006 1:52am
Michael B (mail):
2.13.2006 1:59am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
On the topic of Christianity vs. Islam, I have this question: where are the Islamic world's counterparts to Samuel Rutherford and John Locke?
2.13.2006 5:14am
A Believer (mail):
WHO HAS ALLOWED THIS WHORE IN PUBLIC, EVEN WANTONLY DISPLAYING HER UN-CLOTHED FINGERS LIKE A COMMON NEW YORK PROSTITUTE?!

WHY DOES THIS PIECE OF CHATTEL BELIEVE THAT HER "IDEAS" ARE WORTHY OF THE ATTENTION OF ANY MAN?

ALLAH AS MY WITNESS, THIS LOOSENESS WILL NOT STAND! THIS BEAST'S BLOOD WILL STAIN THE STONES JUDGMENT, AND HER HUSBAND'S RIGHT HAND WILL BE CUT OFF TO REMIND HIM OF THE DANGER OF STAYING HIS WRATH.

God demand it.
2.13.2006 9:46am
Michael B (mail):
Pretense, parody and/or prophecy?
2.13.2006 5:33pm