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A very good piece (as usual).

James Lindgren (mail):
Seipp's piece is fabulous!
2.25.2006 11:56am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
I find it unpersuasive. I agree that some on the left have been slow to get past a hypersensitive multiculturalism and defend liberal truths about human rights. But it's hard to believe that that's the main battlefield in winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. Seipp could accurately write that emphasis on multiculturalism has left some people unprepared for a realistic assessment of political Islam, but that's not what she wrote.

Seipp provides zero (0) examples of anyone actually "defending political Islam." She rightly criticizes an editorial writer for wrongheaded views on free speech. And she rebuts the arguments, or rather the attitudes, of a teenaged Muslim who wrongly minimized the cartoon violence and a book clerk. But none of them defended political Islam.

Nor does she demonstrate that the book clerk "dislik[es] an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam." It's possible, but it's equally possible that Fallaci has written offensive things in defense of a generally good cause, that of alerting Westerners to the danger posed by political Islam. (I don't know anything about Fallaci's work; I may be wrong. But I can't tell from Seipp's article).

If Seipp supports widespread republication of the cartoons, that would be counterproductive. If there were riots in black areas in the US triggered by some racist cartoons, support for free speech would not compel us to shout "n*****!" at black people when tensions were at their highest point. The riots demonstrated that some in the Islamic world have an outsized sense of grievance and are prepared to engage in violence with relatively minor provocation. It doesn't follow that Westerners must provoke them until they pause and realize the error of their ways.

Also, Seipp writes, "by now we understand the Muslim world all too well," citing some offensive placards she saw in "helpful news photos." This is willfully, offensively stupid. Fred Phelps carries offensive placards, too, but it doesn't prove that all Kansans or Christians are a bunch of jerks. Writing off the whole of Islamdom as barbaric and backward owing to the most offensive things that any Muslim says is unintelligent and unproductive.
2.25.2006 12:00pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Oh, I left out that on the facts as Seipp presents them, I think it's hypocritical and bad for City Lights to refuse to carry Fallaci's book.
2.25.2006 12:10pm
BU2L (mail):

I agree that some on the left have been slow to get past a hypersensitive multiculturalism and defend liberal truths about human rights. But it's hard to believe that that's the main battlefield in winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim world.

Bob, I don't think it's so much about their hearts and minds, as it is about ours. The tragedy here is not just the widespread barbarity of islam - and it is indeed widespread - but the West's suicidal acquiscence in the spread of that barbarity.

When Muslims riot over a cartoon and call, quite literally, for the heads of the cartoonists, we then have much better reasons to re-print them than mere provocation. By letting ourselves be bullied now, we only ensure that we will be bullied again next time.

And your parallel with Phelps is inapt. Phelps, as you inevitable point out, is one man, surrounded by a cadre of a$$holes whom you could count on your own two hands. The Muslim world on the other hand, provides broad support to its Wahhabists, Jihadists and cartoon rioters. When Phelps does something stupid - which is often - people on both sides of the aisle immediately denounce him, and promptly dismiss him as a minor aberration. When planes fly into WTC, Muslims cheer in the streets.
2.25.2006 12:18pm
Justin (mail):
Unpersuasive is far too kind. Seipp takes a beeline towards Godwin's Law - and then her only points on the whole First Amendment is Yay Fallaci and down with City Lights.

But she MISREPRESENTS BOTH. City Lights does not pride itself on independant thinking - it prides itself on PROGRESSIVE thinking. How do I know? BECAUSE I WENT TO THEIR WEBPAGE. And RIGHT THERE, RIGHT ON THE MAIN PAGE, it says:

Welcome to City Lights! Co-founded by poet/painter Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.

Okay, on to Fallaci. I mean, while a free speech progressive bookstore might not want to carry Fallaci if she's a fascist, simply being critical of right-wing extremist Muslims isn't going to disqualify her, right?

Fallaci is indeed being sued for anti-Islamic speech. But to say that it's anti-extremist-Islam speech belies the left's biggest fear of the Christian (and increasingly Jewish) right - their "haterd of extremist muslims". Fallaci' highlighted in the complaint, calls Islam "a pool that never purifies" according to Wikipedia.

Rage and Pride, her "anti-extremist" book, claims that there is a "Muslim conspiracy" to conquor Europe, and that "almost all" Muslims have a hand in the conspiracy. I suppose the Protocals of the Elders of Zion was simply "anti-extremist Jew".

Muslims accomplish this conquering, she states, simply by immigration - thus all those immigrants to Europe (think hispanic immigrants in the US) are there to take over Europe.

"Hallal", in Fallaci's world, means "ugly sites".

Muslim cities are ran by "lies, calumnies and hypocrisy." Muslims carry AIDS. Her books are flat out racist. Should they be banned? No. Does the fact that City Lights doesn't carry them deserve an article? Come on.
2.25.2006 12:23pm
Justin (mail):
I forgot my favorite Fallaci line:

"Muslims have orders to multiply like rats."

Orders!!!!
2.25.2006 12:24pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
the West's suicidal acquiscence in the spread of that barbarity

Is this a critique of Reagan's foreign policy, or what? How do these leftists that Seipp has plucked from obscurity do a darn thing to "acquiesce in the spread of barbarity"?

When planes fly into WTC, Muslims cheer in the streets.

True. But how many, what percentage, how much support do they have? We can agree that it's too many, and that they have too much support, and that their voices are too loudly heard. But cultural chauvinism and "us vs. them" thinking is present everywhere. Merely pointing out that "Muslims cheered" doesn't get us anywhere. Muslims also conducted candlelight vigils, even in Teheran. Some Americans cheer when innocent Palestinians are killed (I'm pro-Israel, but it's a simple fact that some innocent Palesinians have died in the past 50 years). That doesn't mean that Americans are innately anti-Muslim.

When Muslims riot over a cartoon and call, quite literally, for the heads of the cartoonists, we then have much better reasons to re-print them than mere provocation.

What are those reasons? Surely you can, appropriately, support the rights of the cartoonists and denounce the rioters, but refrain from calling them "sand n*****s." Why do you need to publish the cartoons? (Actually, maybe we bettre let that argument slide-- it can eat up a thread, or a blog).

The Muslim world on the other hand, provides broad support to its Wahhabists, Jihadists and cartoon rioters.

And it supports democracy advocates and human rights advocates. We can agree that extremists are way too popular and powerful in the Muslim world. But treating "the Muslim World" as a monolithic adversary is counterproductive and wrong.

What's more, I don't see what you do about it if that is what you believe. Do we launch an anti-Islam jihad? 30 years ago, it was thought that East Asia and Latin America couldn't be democratic because of their inscrutable Asianness and their ritualistic antimaterial Catholicism, respectively. Turned out not to be true. There are lots of bad things going on in the Muslim world right now. We can't close our eyes to them. But we can encourage groups, and encourage conditions, that will diminish the bad things.
2.25.2006 12:36pm
BU2L (mail):
I think we are much more in agreement than not, especially based on that last paragraph of yours. As much as I don't quite yet want to leave this thread, I'm off to NH, to take advantage of the fresh snow we are getting. :)
2.25.2006 12:41pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Yeah, the fact that I'm a Democrat and you're a Republican means that we find the code words in an article like this and start fighting, even if we agree on about 95% of the underlying principles. I stick to the view that Seipp didn't prove much of much here, but have fun skiing, and screw you.

just kidding.
2.25.2006 12:45pm
anonymouslawyer (mail):
I think Bob is entirely correct. Statements like "by now we understand the Muslim world all too well," and "when planes fly into WTC, Muslims cheer in the streets" are not only counterproductive, they are intellectually vapid. Some Muslims support jihad against the West and some Muslims cheered during the attacks of 9/11. Many others, perhaps a majority in the Muslim world, do not support jihad and were appalled by the attacks. Seipp's column does not even give a nod to the diversity of viewpoints in the Muslim world, and therefore is neither "fabulous" nor even "very good."
2.25.2006 1:02pm
Barry P. (mail):
A couple of points:

1) I wonder if the Farina Alam quoted in the article is the same woman who caused such scandal at the Football Association by sleeping with several of her bosses, including England Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

2) I am pretty sure that the London protesters carrying the "behead critics of Islam" signs deliberately wrote the most offensive and over-the-top things rhey could think of in hopes of being arrested for their speech, thus becoming martyrs to free speech and highlighting the European double standards about free speech. The police did the right thing by leaving them be, but many in Britain have demanded they be prosecuted - totally missing the point.
2.25.2006 1:33pm
tim (mail):
Disagree with Seipp as well.

There are many things wrong with the article, but let me just focus on the alleged hypocrisy of the gay store clerk.

True, radical Islamists would 'crush' the gay clerk who called Fallaci a fascist. And it's also true that Fallaci herself killed fascists in WWII.

But Fallaci has become completely unhinged since the 80s. Here is an account of one of her last public addresses. It is hard to read her as advocating anything other than genocide for European Muslims. The event was sponsered by David Horowitz's Front Page magazine: Link

"Don't believe in a dialog with Islam. That's a naivete. It can only be a monologue. ... There is no such thing as a "moderate Islam" and a Radical Islam. There is only one Islam."

...

"The real enemy is Islam and the most catastrophic threat is immigration not terror."

...

"Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense."

...

"WAKE UP WAKE UP. WE ARE AT WAR. WAR HAS BEEN DECLARED ON THE WEST AND WE MUST FIGHT. One or the other must perish."

That's right: *all* of Islam is the enemy, our greatest threat from our enemy is Muslim immigrants, and either we or they must die.

Now tell me why in the world a queer book clerk is supposed to join with Fallaci in calling for the extermination of European Muslim immigrants just because he's gay.

There's no logic to it. Fallaci's writings should be considered protected speech while being roundly condemned for the bigoted garbage that it is.
2.25.2006 2:07pm
tim (mail):
sorry about the link failure. Techmology.

You can find the account at http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/. I was trying to point to an 11/29/05 post on Fallaci.
2.25.2006 2:12pm
Justin (mail):
BTW, that Cathy Seipp was looking for the Islamic version of the Protocals of the Elders of Zion says alot about Cathy Seipp, no?
2.25.2006 2:26pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Justin,

I don't know, and not to offend our host, but if you think it "says alot about Cathy Seipp" that she was "looking for the Islamic version of the Protocals [sic] of the Elders of Zion", what do you think it says about Prof. Volokh that he says she wrote "[a] very good piece (as usual)"?
2.25.2006 3:19pm
Justin (mail):
Though I've been personally concerned about much of EV's blogging focus the past two weeks, it may just say that EV was unaware of Fallaci's extremism or City Light's mission.
2.25.2006 3:52pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
DtI &Justin, it was Seipp's friend who was looking for the book. And it seems to me that it's overstating it somewhat to call Fallaci's book the equivalent of the widespread conspiracy theory in Protocols.

Still, I too would be glad to read a more detailed bit from Prof. Volokh or Prof. Lindgren as to why this article was fabulous or good. While Seipp's anecdotes certainly provoke disapproval, her conclusions are unfounded, as far as I can see. She doesn't explain why the store clerk (or anyone else) was defending political Islam, and she makes some inaccurate, sweeping statements about the nature of the Muslim world.

Also, based on the excerpts from her oeuvre posted by others, it appears that my suspicions that Fallaci may have "written offensive things in defense of a generally good cause, that of alerting Westerners to the danger posed by political Islam" were valid, and that there's no pressing reason for City Lights to carry her book.
2.25.2006 3:52pm
Justin (mail):
It seems like her cause wasn't alerting Westerners to the danger posed by political Islam" but attempting to annihilate (sp) muslims. I can't say in my mind that this can be considered a good cause.
2.25.2006 4:03pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
You're right-- Fallaci appears not to even have a good cause.
2.25.2006 4:03pm
SG:
Justin, Bob, DtI, anonymouslawyer,

I believe that, as currently practiced, Islam is profoundly and fundamentally incompatible with western liberal democratic values (freedom of speech, freedom of religion, pluralism, etc.). Indeed, I believe it's incompatible with every non-Islamic belief system (see: dead Buddhists in Thailand, dead children in Beslan, dead Animists in Sudan, dead Jews in Israel, dead Hindis in India, dead Christians in Nigeria, dead schoolgirls in Indonesia, and, of course, the mass grave disguised as a vacant lot in downtown Manhattan).

Where is this moderate Islam that you speak of? And, more importantly, are there any Muslims who actually practice it, or is it only non-Muslims such as yourselves (and President Bush) who believe in it? I find it curious that Muslims, even in this country, seem much quicker to explain, defend and rationalize Islamic actions (including the Cartoonifada) than they are to condemn these actions. I want to believe in moderate Islam, but I don't see the evidence. To the extent that it does exist, would you agree that it is a marginal influence in the Islamic world?

In the long run, it seems that either our values or Islamic values must be comprimised. Do you agree, or do you see a way that the two belief systems can be reconciled? Do you believe that it is our values that should give? If not, what would you reccomend as a strategy to reconcile Islamic belief and practices with ours? Which of your rights are you willing to voluntarily waive, and for how long are you willing to waive them, in order to avoid conflict? Do you have any "red lines", that is, beliefs or rights of yours that if abrogated would warrant defending, even to the point of conflict? What are those red lines?

Now, to be clear, I don't think every individual Muslim is a terrorist, and I would much prefer to avoid genocide, which is why I support the current efforts in Iraq. But I don't underestimate the magnitude of the task, nor the probability of failure. What have you seen that gives you hope?
2.25.2006 5:02pm
Defending the Indefensible:
SG,

With over a billion Muslims in the world, if the majority weren't moderate, peace-loving folks, you'd be dead now.

Thank you.
2.25.2006 5:19pm
SG:
As someone who flies in and out of New York frequently, I can't say they haven't tried.
2.25.2006 5:31pm
SG:
And I'll note that your glib comment entirely ignores the observation that seemingly everywhere it is convenient, Muslims are killing their non-Muslim neighbors.

Listen, I want to believe it. In fact, I do believe that the majority of Muslims are content to let Allah punish the infidel rather than get up and do it themselves (hey, we're all lazy). But if someone else gets to it first, well, that's OK too.

But I don't see any evidence that says the majority of Muslims don't believe that I deserve to be punished for my unwillingness to submit to Allah's will.

Is the fact that you haven't personally been attacked your best evidence of good intentions?
2.25.2006 5:42pm
Ciarand Denlane (mail) (www):
"Some Muslims support jihad against the West and some Muslims cheered during the attacks of 9/11. Many others, perhaps a majority in the Muslim world, do not support jihad and were appalled by the attacks. . . . " (italicized emphasis original; bolded emphasis added).

That's setting the bar pretty low.
2.25.2006 5:44pm
SG:
And DtI, out of curiosity, does the fact that the Bush administration hasn't killed a billion Muslims (as they surely have the capacity to do) proof of their good intentions?
2.25.2006 5:46pm
tim (mail):
I wasn't addressed, SG, but I hope you don't mind if I take a crack at your question:

"(see: dead Buddhists in Thailand, dead children in Beslan, dead Animists in Sudan, dead Jews in Israel, dead Hindis in India, dead Christians in Nigeria, dead schoolgirls in Indonesia, and, of course, the mass grave disguised as a vacant lot in downtown Manhattan).

Where is this moderate Islam that you speak of?"

First, you leave out any cases where Muslims are on the receiving end, such as in Palestine, India/Kashmir, Iraq, the Balkin states, and the ex-Soviet Republics.

Second, consider that Indonesia has 200+ million Muslims with relatively few deaths in the name of Allah. Thailand, Burma and the Philippines are also relatively low-level intensity situations.

Sudan and Somalia are the two places where a significcant # of non-Muslims are under attack from Muslims, but there the story is more about civil war/post-colonial breakup (similar remarks apply to Nigeria).

All of which is to say: let's have some balance: Muslims are getting about as much as they're giving.

Re moderate Muslims, many states even in the ME have apologized to Denmark and many Muslim groups have condemned the cartoon related violence.

The best example of moderate Muslims and the ability to assimilate? Right here in the US.

In fairness, of course there is a special problem with rigid Islamic doctrine and attitudes towards infidels in esepcially the ME. As well as a troubling silence by more mainstream Muslims.

But not 'preferring' genocide is inadequate. It's off the table for moral and practical reasons. Period. The vast majority of the 1.2 billion Muslims on the planet aren't on a killling spree and don't support suicide bombers.

getting them to appreciate and respect liberal values is going to take a lot of effort. The recommendation to us and to Israel is to behave fairly, kill extremists whenever possible, and convert their youth with sex, $, drugs, and rock&roll, while bracing for further attacks.
2.25.2006 5:47pm
BU2L (mail):
I'm not impressed with the argument that it's only someMuslims that are bad. The problem is nevertheless with Islam, not with another religious sect or ideological group. I'll forego listing the terrorist acts carried out by Muslims over the past 15 years, but can anyone seriously argue that the majority of those were not carried out in the name of "The Religion of Peace?"

Sure, some Muslims cheered on 9/11. But the once who cheered, cheered because they were Muslims. Europe was no fan of Bush either, but they - even the French - put a temporary lid on the vitriol, and stood together with us. The Muslim world still shows overwhelming support for Bin Laden. The vast majority - something like 90% of Muslims - say they have an unfavorable view of Jews.

I understand that the left has a knee-jerk reflex to apologize on behalf of brown people whenever they are accused of something, but maybe, for once, we could just call a spade a spade.
2.25.2006 6:01pm
Justin (mail):
" But the once [sic] who cheered, cheered because they were Muslims"

"we could just call a spade a spade."

[snark] Okay, you're a bigot. [/endsnark]
2.25.2006 6:07pm
BU2L (mail):
You win Justin, I'm a bigot. Way to win the argument.
2.25.2006 6:09pm
Justin (mail):
You're not arguing, your spitting hatred. You aren't backing your points up with logic or fact. You're ironically saying that all of islam is bad because you've read a survey that they think all of Judiasm is bad(or more likely, that Israel is bad). You're denigrating them by calling them "brown people" and determining that the violence is caused by their religion and not by their circumstances, against all logic, reason, and fact.
2.25.2006 6:14pm
SG:
Tim,

Thanks for an honest answer. We may have to agree to disagree about the degree of reciprocity involved in Muslim/non-Muslim violence around the globe, but I will note the Buddhists aren't in violent conflict with Hindis, nor are secular humanists executing Christians. There does seem to be a common factor in all of these conflicts, no? And low-intensity doesn't mean much when it's your head on the chopping block (which is all too often not a figure of speech).

I agree with your solution in general. Islam isn't genetic (despite most people getting it from their parents). Western culture seems much more attractive and with sufficient time I think Islam can be co-opted. But make no mistake, they would be apostates to current muslims. That's what American Muslims are believed to be now.

However, note the conditional, "with sufficient time". As you say we need top be "bracing for future attacks". If NYC is nuked, the situation changes. Drastically. I don't believe genocide remains off the table. And I don't think we retain our values either. How much of our civil liberties do you think will be left? Not that they'd be replaced by sharia, but by something authoritatrian, and by popular demand.


* Don't forget that apostasy is punishable by death. And don't underestimate the risk that a moderate muslim actually faces. To be honest, you have to be pretty radical to be moderate in the Islamic world. That's why I don't think we're doing the moderate Muslim any favors by acquiescing to extreme Muslims demands. For example, by not publishing those cartoons. After all, if even the western press will submit to extremist demands, why should a muslim protest?
2.25.2006 6:20pm
BU2L (mail):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/
news/2006/02/19/nsharia19.xml

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article
/2005/07/14/AR2005071401030.html

http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=248

Justin, you seem very upset, I hope I didn't make you cry. Also, when I refer to "polls," and then you say that my conclusions aren't based on "facts," well... you get where I'm going with that. I also like how you presumptuously conclude that the poll I saw involved Israel, not Jews. Well, it concerns Jews, to be precise, and not Israel.

And quite frankly, where do you get "hatred" from what I said? The only Muslims I have a problem with are the ones trying to kill me. I understand that it may be a small percentage, but when you have a 1 billion Muslims in the world, and the ones who are apathetic with respect to my existence are silent...

So, yeah, read the links I posted, maybe drink some cruelty-free warm fluid - but make sure it's decaf. I'm off now to sacrifice babies at the altar of Dick "Sureshot" Cheney, but have a good night.
2.25.2006 6:31pm
SG:
Justin,

There's violence being regularly committed by Muslims against Jews, Hindis, Christians, Budhhists, Animists, athiests and even alternate Islamic sects. There's violence being committed by Muslims in Nigeria, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, China, Thailand, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Spain, Burma, England, The Phillipnes, and the US. There's violence being commited by Muslims against armed occupiers, theocratic despots and legitimate popularly elected governments. There's violence being committed by Muslims against military authorities, civilian authorities, non-governmental organizations, humanitarian organizations, and the independent press. There's violence being committed by Muslims against men, women and children indiscrimitely.

The only common factor I see is religion. What other common factor do you see? Who's the one denying "all logic, reason, and fact"? You've made an assertion that it's not rooten in Islam. Please back that up with some logic, reason or fact.
2.25.2006 6:32pm
Average Joe (mail):
I agree with the Conspirators Eugene and James. The article is a wonderful piece, clearly written and sharply observant. Like Cathy Seipp, I have also observed the remarkable tendency of left/liberal Americans and Europeans to excuse the behavior of the more radical/political elements of the Islamic community ("of course I don't agree with them, but ...", often followed by some talk about the "Religous Right") and to casitigate as bigots those in the West who criticize these radical/political Muslims. Although I have a couple of minor quibbles about the piece, in particular I don't think that most Westerners (including myself) understand the variety of Muslim practice (and, of course, many don't even understand the variety of Christian practice), I hope that it inspires many thoughtful discussions about an important and alarming phenomenon.

And like Eugene, I am not in the least surprised that the author of such a nice article is Cathy Seipp.
2.25.2006 6:37pm
BU2L (mail):

I have also observed the remarkable tendency of left/liberal Americans and Europeans to excuse the behavior of the more radical/political elements of the Islamic community ("of course I don't agree with them, but ...", often followed by some talk about the "Religous Right") and to casitigate as bigots those in the West who criticize these radical/political Muslims

Justin:

[snark] Okay, you're a bigot. [/endsnark]



Heh.
2.25.2006 6:38pm
SG:
Justin,

My apologies for my snide tone above. I'm new to debate via blog, and it's an interesting experience.

As I responded to Tim, I believe that there is a solution, and one that would improve not just security but well-being as well (do you argue that the world would not be improved if those half a billion Muslim women were to receive an education and have a say in their lives?). Fundamentally, it would involve Islam changing to be something that would not be considered Islam (well, Wahabbism) today.

But we won't get there by pretending that Islam is not the problem. Or even worse, that the problem is economic inequity or post-colonial malaise or some other excuse. Unless you're prepared to assert that Indoesian schoolgirls are part of the vanguard of societal oppression.
2.25.2006 6:48pm
tim (mail):
Av. Joe + (to a lesser extent) BU2L --

FTR I freely grant that *some* on the left are guilty of excessive apologetica for extremist Muslims.

What you failed to notice was Seipp's excessive apologetica for Fallaci, who has seemingly called for the extermination of European Muslim immigrants.

Seipp argued essentially that "of course I don't agree with Fallaci, but... followed by some alleged free speech double-standard". But City lights had no double-standard and Falluci is an anti-Muslim bigot.

Time to fess up that some on the right, Seipp in particular, engage in excessive apologetica for anti-Islamic bigotry. At the least it should be clear that some, in particular Seipp, excessively criticize critics of anti-Islamic bigotry.

IMO, both charges are accurate.
2.25.2006 7:16pm
Bill (mail):
City Lights may be refusing to carry the book because they are afraid that doing so would lead to vandalism or worse. If they have to make the calculation that carrying this book is likely to cause more trouble than the sales are worth, that may reflect very serious problems. I say "may reflect" because perhaps its not vandalism or worse that they fear but simply boycotting or displays of disapproval from their customers. Consider the difference.

Secondly, I think Seipp's point that groups x, y, and z would fare poorly under an Islamist U.S. government is hyperbolic and silly. Thankfully, we are completely justified in believing that there is not ever going to be an Islamist government in the U.S. Further, there's no way to get around considering the likely consequences of speech and evaluating whether its a good idea in those terms. Disapproving of this book is, happily, most unlikely to lead to threats to whatever identity or lifestyle that the disapprovers may have.
2.25.2006 7:18pm
Tocqueville:
Failing to name the true enemy obscures our task. The enemy is Islamism —that radical interpretation of Islam that sanctions violent jihad, and whose grievances include, to paraphrase Christopher Hitchens, the unveiled female face, the existence of the Jews, the existence of homosexuals, free speech, music, literature, popular culture, capitalism, democracy, and nearly everything we hold dear.

I fail to see how observing the very hard truth that "groups x, y, and z would fare poorly under an Islamist regime" is either hyperbolic or silly. An Islamic regime is precisely the possibility we are faced with if we roll over and play dead. Then we'll see just how snide and snarky the blogs are should that day ever come to pass.
2.25.2006 7:35pm
Justin (mail):
BU2L:

"I'm not impressed with the argument that it's only someMuslims that are bad."

"And quite frankly, where do you get "hatred" from what I said? The only Muslims I have a problem with are the ones trying to kill me. I understand that it may be a small percentage"

And since your irony meter is broken, the point that I was making is that you have a bunch of muslims who hate Jews (as a group) is a great reason to put forth in an argument why you hate muslims (as a group).

SG, who are the muslims killing people in Ireland? In Rwanda? In 1940s Germany? In 19th century United States and Australia? In Armenia? The Ukraine? Southern Egypt? The Congo? Chile? Nicaragua? Belize? North Korea? Which muslims were responsible for Pol Pot? for the destruction of colonization in Africa and Asia? for the Conquistadors of South America?
2.25.2006 7:41pm
Justin (mail):
PS The above was my last post on this devolving Little Green Footballs thread. My point stood - Seipp misrepresented both City Lights as a "free speech" bookstore when it was simply a bookstore focusing on progressive works and politics, and she misrepresented Fallici as only opposed to Islamofacism when she was opposed to all muslims, regardless of their politics - and spouted off crazy and bigoted conspiracy theories as well.
2.25.2006 7:43pm
SG:
What's the problem with being anti-Islamic? Islam is collection of beliefs. Anyone who wishes to can choose to believe and anyone who wants to can reject those beliefs.

There was a time when it was widely believed that the Sun went around the Earth and anyone who said differently would be imprisoned. It was a bad belief system. There was a time when it was widely believed that Africans were sub-human and could be treated and mistreated as property. It was a bad belief system. There were people who believed all the farmland should be collectivized and those who complained were reeducated (read starved). It was a bad belief system.

I feel I'm well within my rights to be predisposed against anyone who espoused the above beliefs. Well, Islam teaches that as an unbeliever, I am at best to be tolerated as a second-class citizen, and at worst to be put to death. It's a bad belief system, and I'm predisposed against anyone who espouses it. If Muslims choose to update their belief system to teach that in the next world I'll receive my comeuppance, but that we're all to be treated equally in this world, than I've got no beef.

Tim, you're surely not insinuating that we are unjustified in making distinctions based on people's beliefs and actions, are you?
2.25.2006 7:43pm
SG:
Justin,

You list a number of instances (mostly historic) where there was violence. Sure, I'm not claiming that Islam is responsible for all the violence in history. What I am claiming is that Muslims seem to be willing to kill me. And you. I see that as a big difference. Is it just me.

I'm not sure what your point is. I think violence is bad. I'd prefer disputes were resolved peacefully. If everyone agrees to that, then there are no problems. I wouldn't initiate violence. But if it becomes violent I don't want to die, I don't want my family to die, and I don't want to surrender my way of life to resolve the conflict. The antagonist's well-being is last in my concern.

What are you defending?
2.25.2006 8:05pm
Columbienne:
Oh, that's ridiculous. Of course City Lights didn't carry that book — obviously Seipp's "friend" went there looking for a fight, and found it. It's like being outraged that Democracy Now didn't conduct a fawning interview with Fallaci. Come on, people.
2.25.2006 8:08pm
Brandonks (mail) (www):
Though her arguement may have gone a little far in painting a picture of a monolithic Islam, there is no denying her point that there is an intolerant liberal orthodoxy. That there is an element of irony in that intolerance, particularly on the far left, is also true. The contortions of reasoning in the far left are getting difficult to follow, but it centers on Bush hatred.

Everything flows from that central tenent right now, and it is affecting mainstream Democratic politics.

Far Left Morphing and the Impact on the Democratic Party
2.25.2006 8:25pm
tim (mail):
Just a note on City Lights. I used to live in North beach and shared the neighborhood with it.

City Lights gets a lot of tourists looking to purchase something by Kerouac or Ginsberg. The shelves are filled with edgy erotica (I once bought a collection of lesbian S&M fantasies by Pat Califia there that was banned in Canada), radical anarchists, and Noam Chomsky types, etc.

This isn't exactly a place where you find Bill Bennett latest. Not to mention Fallaci. That's called a business plan in SF. Not 1st amend. hypocrisy.
2.25.2006 8:33pm
tim (mail):
Tocqueville--

"I fail to see how observing the very hard truth that "groups x, y, and z would fare poorly under an Islamist regime" is either hyperbolic or silly."

It isn't. But Seipp went further essentially charged the 'snotty' gay clerk with hypocrisy:

"Strangest of all is the scenario of such a person disliking an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam — when one of the first things those poor, persecuted Islamists would do, if they ever (Allah forbid) came to power in the United States, is crush suspected homosexuals like him beneath walls."

In my book there's no reason for a queer to be sympathetic either to a radical Islamist agenda or to an anti-Muslim bigot.
2.25.2006 8:50pm
minnie:
This out and out racist has written "a very good piece", as usual?

That's almost too much to take.

You neocons are beside yourself with anguish that your attempt to have the "cartoon controvery" turn the world against Muslims didn't succeed.

Wolcott goes on to quote Robert Dreyfuss:

"In a paper for an Israeli think tank, the same think tank for which Wurmser, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith prepared the famous 'Clean Break' paper in 1996, Wurmser wrote in 1997 : 'The residual unity of the nation is an illusion projected by the extreme repression of the state.' After Saddam, Iraq would 'be ripped apart by the politics of warlords, tribes, clans, sects, and key families,' he wrote. 'Underneath facades of unity enforced by state repression, [Iraq's] politics is defined primarily by tribalism, sectarianism, and gang/clan-like competition.' Yet Wurmser explicitly urged the United States and Israel to 'expedite' such a collapse. 'The issue here is whether the West and Israel can construct a strategy for limiting and expediting the chaotic collapse that will ensue in order to move on to the task of creating a better circumstance.'

Such black neoconservative fantasies -- —which view the Middle East as a chessboard on which they can move the pieces at will -- —have now come home to roost. For the many hundreds of thousands who might die in an Iraqi civil war, the consequences are all too real."


I'm not worried about Muslims. Last I looked it wasn't they who have been lurking around the fringes of government in this country for decades, pushing this country toward the never ending warfare that will destroy us all.

They should take responsibility for using the world as a chessboard, and the rest of us as their pawns.

It appears they have finally achieved checkmate, but whose is the King that has been checkmated? Apparently, civilization itself.

Nice job, neocons.
2.25.2006 8:52pm
minnie:
Justin,

I don't know, and not to offend our host, but if you think it "says alot about Cathy Seipp" that she was "looking for the Islamic version of the Protocals [sic] of the Elders of Zion", what do you think it says about Prof. Volokh that he says she wrote "[a] very good piece (as usual)"?


A lot, Defending the Indefensible. And your own name would be a clue.

But it's nothing that hasn't been obvious on this site for a long time.

Keep on truckin', Justin. Every time I feel I need to reach for the barf bag when reading most of the posts on this site, I come across one of yours or DTI, and my nausea is at least temporarily abated.
2.25.2006 9:02pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Minnie,

I have to tell you that the two things that keep me posting here are the thoughtful commentators like Medis, JaO and others, and the postings by Prof. Kerr.

There's a lot of real intolerance and hatred I see here, and I'm somewhat at a loss to respond to it, because there really isn't a rational argument to have with irrational bigots, except to point out for the benefit of others that this nonsense is irrational, and the consequences are dreadful.

There are somewhere over a billion Muslims, and if we got into an actual Crusade to force them to change their beliefs -- they'd win that war. Don't forget that Pakistan is a Muslim country, and they do have nuclear weapons. Now I know that some people may want that Crusade, and some people are really trying to fight it, but the majority of Muslims believe (correctly) that the majority of "Christians" (I have to put that in quotes, because if you ask WWJD, I don't think he'd be on the side of war) do not want war. And the majority of Christians believe that the majority of Muslims don't want war. And so the majority of both sides don't fight.

Jihad Jihad vs. Crusade Crusade

It's the same thing.

I wish it would stop.
2.25.2006 9:25pm
Justin (mail):
SG SAID,

Justin,

There's violence being regularly committed by Muslims against Jews, Hindis, Christians, Budhhists, Animists, athiests and even alternate Islamic sects. There's violence being committed by Muslims in Nigeria, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, China, Thailand, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Spain, Burma, England, The Phillipnes, and the US. There's violence being commited by Muslims against armed occupiers, theocratic despots and legitimate popularly elected governments. There's violence being committed by Muslims against military authorities, civilian authorities, non-governmental organizations, humanitarian organizations, and the independent press. There's violence being committed by Muslims against men, women and children indiscrimitely.

The only common factor I see is religion. What other common factor do you see? Who's the one denying "all logic, reason, and fact"? You've made an assertion that it's not rooten in Islam. Please back that up with some logic, reason or fact.

SG LATER SAID,

You list a number of instances (mostly historic) where there was violence. Sure, I'm not claiming that Islam is responsible for all the violence in history

SG, I am simply posting this to show what my post responded to, in my view fairly effectively. I am not trying to post anything new of substance for the reason I mentioned above.
2.25.2006 9:56pm
juris imprudent (mail):
Bob,

You're right-- Fallaci appears not to even have a good cause.

Ah, I wondered when you were going to back-pedal from concern with political Islam being a good cause. You [rightly] find Fred Phelps repulsive; well that my friend is Wahhabist Islam in all it's glory. The difference is that Phelps is one lone pathetic figure, whereas the Islam you should fear is much, much more.

Justin,

and determining that the violence is caused by their religion and not by their circumstances

Ptui. Good god man, is there NO extremism that you can't find some excuse for? Oh wait, Bush and his merry band of neo-cons, right? How many verses of the Koran must be quoted before you question the "Religion of Peace". What a joke - you condemn [rightly] the abuses committed by the "Religion of Love" and blind yourself to anything done in the name of the other.
2.25.2006 10:12pm
juris imprudent (mail):

SG, who are the muslims killing people in Ireland? In Rwanda? In 1940s Germany? In 19th century United States and Australia? In Armenia? The Ukraine? Southern Egypt? The Congo? Chile? Nicaragua? Belize? North Korea? Which muslims were responsible for Pol Pot? for the destruction of colonization in Africa and Asia? for the Conquistadors of South America?

[Otter] Don't stop him, he's on a roll.
2.25.2006 10:18pm
juris imprudent (mail):
DtI

because there really isn't a rational argument to have with irrational bigots

How droll. Yet you think you can come to an 'understanding' with the power elements behind Islamist violence? A wolf is a wolf, and the sheep that refuses to understand that will be dinner.
2.25.2006 10:27pm
Tocqueville:
If we'll just hand over foreign policy to them, Minnie and DtI will be speaking Farsi within a decade.
2.25.2006 10:50pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Justin wrote: "Seipp misrepresented both City Lights as a "free speech" bookstore when it was simply a bookstore focusing on progressive works ...."

And Justin wrote: "But she MISREPRESENTS BOTH. City Lights does not pride itself on independant [sic] thinking -- it prides itself on PROGRESSIVE thinking. How do I know? BECAUSE I WENT TO THEIR WEBPAGE. And RIGHT THERE, RIGHT ON THE MAIN PAGE, it says:

Welcome to City Lights! Co-founded by poet/painter Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics."


1. I hesitate contributing a second comment to this exchange, which since I posted has turned somewhat nasty (though not without "redeeming social value"). But I will comment mostly to correct a factual claim that Justin has made more than once on this thread.

First, in quoting the City Lights bookstore website, Justin fails to note that the website also says: "City Lights Publishers, known for our commitment to freedom of expression . . . ." Justin seems to have missed this, even though Seipp herself quoted the relevant language in the very column that he criticizes. Unless Justin is arguing that having progressive politics is inconsistent with a "commitment to freedom of expression," I can't see why he would answer Seipp's claim without examining the evidence she quoted, let alone use capital letters to yell his response.

Indeed, City Lights has been perhaps the most important bookstore in the free speech movement almost since its founding. A LEXIS search yielded over 100 hits for '"City Lights" AND books AND "free speech"', though of course some of these hits are not relevant. If I add the 'Ferlinghetti' to that list, I still get 42 hits.

There are dozens of news stories that discuss or mention the commitment of City Lights to free speech or the first amendment.

One example is a July 14, 2003 profile of the bookstore in Publisher's Weekly:


Early in the program [honoring the 50th anniversary of the store's founding] California's state librarian, Kevin Starr, awarded [co-founder] Ferlinghetti the state's Gold Medal, which comes with $100,000 prize. "I'm Kevin Starr, I am from the government, and I am going to help you," he announced, on a day that was as much about laughter as about serious threats to free speech. He read a proclamation recognizing City Lights and Ferlinghetti's decades of "constant and unselfish" promotion of writers. "What we have in this man and this building is more than a business enterprise," Starr told the crowd. "City Lights is a physical embodiment of the First Amendment." . . .

Ferlinghetti told PW that the need to fight for free speech and for places committed to that fight are even more important today. "In these days when community is hard to find, when Uncle Dan Rather is more familiar than your own uncle, the situation for civil rights is much worse than it was in the '50s," he said. He referred to the U.S.A. Patriot Act and a state of national paranoia imposed by the regime of "George the Second," as he calls President Bush. . . .

Another revolutionary idea was City Lights' famously stocked periodical rack. "We have a policy of stocking everything from the far left to the far right on the same rack," Ferlinghetti told PW.


A San Francisco Chronicle article in the same year quotes poet Daniel Meltzer as calling Ferlinghetti "a great civil libertarian."

An Albuquerque Journal article said that by 1956, Ferlinghetti was "becoming a prominent voice not only for new movements in poetry at the time but also for free speech."

Chicago Tribune, 1990:


"By 1957 Ferlinghetti's presence in the San Francisco literary scene was securely established -- as a champion of experimental literature, revolutionary politics, free speech and civil liberties, as a best-selling poet, aspiring painter and serenely successful businessman, and as a supporter of his fellow poets - paying book royalties on time, forwarding mail, encouraging their creative projects."

It is not necessary for a bookstore devoted to principles of freedom of speech to carry books from all political perspectives (they are free to do so or not). But if you had asked me before Seipp's article which was the country's leading free speech bookstore, I would have said City Lights. Is there another bookstore more famous for supporting free speech than City Lights? Isn't that the reason that City Lights trumpets the commitment of their publishing wing to freedom of expression on the bookstore's website, essentially as Seipp claims?

Accordingly, the "hook" for Seipp's piece has a solid basis. One reason I liked the piece is that Seipp did a nice job in tying the global story to the smaller story of the bookstore and its clerk. I was impressed with this move.

2. My second point is simple: For Eugene to call Seipp's article "very good" or for me to call it "fabulous" does not mean that we agree with everything in the article. There is a big difference between expressing admiration for a piece and expressing an opinion such as "I'd wish I'd written it" or "Every word is true." For example, when I first read Seipp's column, I certainly didn't agree with her opinion that Fallaci was "fighting the good fight."

Both Eugene and I frequently recommend articles that we don't fully agree with, especially ones that explicitly express an author's personal opinion.
2.25.2006 10:57pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Minnie: I hate to be the cause of your gastric distress; but, you know, if our posts are making you throw up, there's a very simple way to avoid that.

In the meantime, if you do want to keep hanging out here for a bit, please do let us know why it is that my friend Cathy is an "out and out racist." I mean in the dictionary sense of the word "racist," not in the "conservative I dislike" sense of the word "racist."
2.25.2006 11:40pm
Lev:

"City Lights is a physical embodiment of the First Amendment."


It can stock whatever crapola it wants, and nobody can stop it.


"We have a policy of stocking everything from the far left to the far right on the same rack,


The rack for the "far right" is for the dumpster divers...far right meaning anyone to the right of Howard Dean.


as a champion of experimental literature, revolutionary politics, free speech and civil liberties


Some kinds of speech are more free-er than others.

Maybe it's just me, but I have trouble understanding why anyone in their right mind would expect City Lights to stock something like Fallacci.
2.26.2006 12:26am
Defending the Indefensible:
James Lindgren,

I don't know this store, so I'd like to clear up precisely what distinguishing line you think it drew in not stocking a particular book or author on the grounds of being politically unacceptable.

Does City Lights carry the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

Do you believe they are hypocritical in carrying/not carrying the Protocols?

Why or why not?
2.26.2006 12:33am
dk35 (mail):
Gabriel Rotello has written a critique of Seipp's piece here.
2.26.2006 1:27am
James Lindgren (mail):
Defending: . . .
Does City Lights carry the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?


I have no idea whether City Lights carries the Protocols. As I pointed out, "It is not necessary for a bookstore devoted to principles of freedom of speech to carry books from all political perspectives (they are free to do so or not)."

I can see a reason for carrying them (for educational purposes, to understand what many people in countries with high levels of anti-semitism believe). And I can see a reason for not carrying them--they purport to be an account of an actual plan for Jewish domination, but they are a hoax.

Defending:
Do you believe they are hypocritical in carrying/not carrying the Protocols?
Why or why not?


No, as I said, City Lights is free to stock what it wants to. And the Protocols are a hoax, not just an extreme and mistaken point of view.
I never said that City Lights should stock Fallaci; indeed, I said that it wasn't "necessary for a bookstore devoted to principles of freedom of speech to carry books from all political perspectives (they are free to do so or not)."

Regards,
Jim
2.26.2006 2:30am
Defending the Indefensible:
James Lindgren:

What you said before was:
It is not necessary for a bookstore devoted to principles of freedom of speech to carry books from all political perspectives (they are free to do so or not).
But you had distinguished City Lights by saying:
But if you had asked me before Seipp's article which was the country's leading free speech bookstore, I would have said City Lights.
So Seipp's article convinced you of City Lights' insincerity because they do not wish to stock Fallaci, but not stocking the Protocols (their hoax status being impertinent to the free speech concern) gives you no cause for concern?

Pardon my reach, but if it does not seem to either of us that a commitment to the principle of free speech means that one has to disseminate speech one does not like, then there is no obvious connection to your conclusion:
Accordingly, the "hook" for Seipp's piece has a solid basis.
What "hook"? City Lights has demonstrated no insincerity.

I'd like it if you or Eugene Volokh would say something about the really extreme statements bordering on advocation of genocide by some participants on this thread, by the way.
2.26.2006 3:55am
minnie:
Okay, Eugene, let's talk turkey. It is I you speak out against, and nary a word to all the bigots and hate spewers who populate these threads?

Very telling.

I come here to read Justin and Defending the Indefensible. I wish they could go over to glenngreenwald.blogspot.com where they could exchange ideas with others who both serious and intelligent, and maybe band together with the many others in this country who are frightened about recent events in this government, and wish to take whatever steps they can to change direction.

Do you share that view, or are you basically happy with the way our government has conducted itself in recent years?

Another reason I come here is to satisfy my curiosity about something, but since you address me outright, I will attempt to satisfy my curiousity in one fell swoop by coming right out and asking you.

What exactly is the "thrust" of this blog? What is the philosophy that binds its hosts? I seem to be seeing something uglier and uglier here, but can't be certain if it is coming from your posters, or the hosts. Whichever it is, however, it appears to be sanctioned by the hosts.

The reason that is hard to discern is because you and Orin Kerr are always very careful to never come out and say what you really think about an issue. You bring up legal questions, you posit questions, but you never take a clear position on the big issues.

Do you admire the Bush administration? Are you in favor of the war in Iraq? Do you think we should invade Iran? These are not times to take no position on such important questions.

Are you a conservative? If so, what type of conservative? Are you pro-Zionist? Anti-Muslim? Pro-war? Libertarian? What?

I am certain I am not the only reader of this site who has wondered, exactly what are the basic, moral positions of the hosts? I can think of no other site where that is operative, where the hosts feel there is a need to "hide" their normative positions behind discussions of technical issues.

Cathy Seipp reveals herself to be anti-Muslim. You don't see that? To me, that is racist. Her article is absurd. She is dripping with sarcasm and disdain for Muslims. What does she call them? Those "poor, persecuted Islamists." Is the very FIRST thing they would do if they came here crush homosexuals against the wall? My Muslim friends must be backward. Thus far, when we go out in groups with gay people, none of the Muslims have yet crushed any of the gays against the wall. But how is that? Cathy says it's the first thing they would do? Curious.

How many Muslims are there in this world? Seventy million? How many people have they killed in these cartoon riots? 50? Gee. Fallaci wants to save Western Civilization from the Big Bad Muslim Fanatics who in weeks of rioting in countless countries, spurred on as they were by the profiteers of war, managed to kill 50 people? I believe more people died, but only 50 were non-Muslims. Isn't that twice the number of Muslims our country tortured to death in the detention camps? Read the UN report about to come out and I think you will see it is.

I mean, the preposterousness of her argument, comparing carrying a book with some cuss words in it to carrying a book by someone the bookstore thinks of as racist, as do I,--- it's like saying "Gosh, darnit, those dadburn hypocrites! Suppressors of Free Speech! They had a Playboy magazine in their store, but they refused to carry copies of The Pedophile's Guide to How to Pick Up, Sexually Abuse, and Murder Chilren under 10. Where oh where is the justice in this world?"

So. What exactly are your views, Eugene?
2.26.2006 4:51am
Defending the Indefensible:
Minnie,

Defending the Indefensible is a nom de plume I only use here.
2.26.2006 5:11am
Shangui (mail):
Rotello's article is fabulous. I am rather disappointed that Professor Volokh spoke so highly of the original article.

Minnie,

Professor Volokh and Orin are often very clear and open about their personal views. They spend a lot of time talking about legal issues BECAUSE THEY ARE LAW PROFESSORS!

Prof. Volokh has donated money to the Bush campaign in the past (as has been noted in the comments on this site) so I assume he supported him, at least at that time. This clearly doesn't mean that he supports everything the Bush administration supports or does. Is this surprising?

Are you a conservative? If so, what type of conservative?

Why should the posters identify themselves according to these ambiguous and often changing political categories? What good would that do? Can't you assess their arguments on their merits or lack thereof?

Cathy Seipp reveals herself to be anti-Muslim. You don't see that? To me, that is racist...How many Muslims are there in this world? Seventy million?

There are more like a billion and they are not a race. As I assume you realize, there are white European Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Arab Muslims, Black African Muslims, etc. Moreover, Islam is partly a set of beliefs, of truth claims about the world and morality. I think those claims are wrong and I don't mind saying so. I feel the same way about the basic tenets of Christianity. I've also objected to the war in Iraq from the beginning, feeling it was 1) based on false ideas and 2) counter-productive to what the US goals should be in the world.

I disagree with both EV and OK often, with the other posters even more often, but I don't have to read this blog and neither do you. The fact that you like a few of the commentators is hardly forcing you to spend your time here.
2.26.2006 7:52am
Cornellian (mail):
I don't understand her last line about how the two groups most endangered by Islam (women and gays) are rush to excuse its assault on free speech. Was the store clerk female? gay? Are decisions about what books to stock at City Lights made by people who are either?

Dan Savage, a very "out" gay author, has no hesitation calling the countries of the Middle East backward, primitive civilizations with values inferior to those of the West. How many Republican politicians have the backbone to say that?
2.26.2006 8:54am
dk35 (mail):
Cornellian,

That is one of the points of Gabriel Rotello's critique, which I link to a few comments above. You should take a look at it if you haven't already.
2.26.2006 11:29am
juris imprudent (mail):
minnie,

Do you share that view, or are you basically happy with the way our government has conducted itself in recent years?

As an occasional participant here, may I answer? No, I'm not particularly pleased with the last 6 years of our federal govt. If you would simply open your eyes and read, you would see that many people here (and elsewhere 'on the right') are not Bush suck-ups. The problem, in my view, is that the I hate Bush so much I can't think straight folks only recognize the call of other howler monkeys as voices of dissent. Nor is my opposition to Bush policy going to cause me to embrace an equally over-reaching govt in pursuit of "progressive" ideals.
2.26.2006 12:46pm
juris imprudent (mail):
dk35,

Interestingly, Rotello speaks with admiration of Bruce Bawer, who's own tract on the Islamification of Europe would no doubt earn him the sobriquet of "fascist" by one City Lights clerk (and certain posters here too).
2.26.2006 1:19pm
EricH (mail):
Not to be rude (and that's not a throwaway qualifier; I mean it) but someone who believes that there are "70 million" Muslims in the world or that followers of Islam constitute a "race" is not a person you can have a serious and substantive debate with.

You must have a basic understanding and knowledge of an issue before you can discuss it seriously. It's like discussing baseball with a person who thinks that there are seven players on a team and that the team with the most first downs wins the contest.

Sorry.

EH
2.26.2006 1:32pm
dk35 (mail):
Juris Imprudent,

Including Jim Lindgren? Perhaps, since in one of his comments here clarifying his earlier "Fabulous!" review he has distanced himself from Fallaci.

I didn't come away from Rotello's piece with the sense that he was, as you put it, necessarily speaking "with admiration of Bruce Bower." Rather, he listed Bruce Bawer as one of many examples against Seipp's assertion that American gays are coddling islam. As Rotello puts it:


The point is not that women and gays stand at the forefront of enlightened and intelligent responses to radical Islamists. Women and gays are as confused about radical Islam as most people in the West.

But to write an entire op-ed in the LA Times that singles out "women and gays" as the main culprits in coddling radical Islam - and to call it "one of the greatest paradoxes of our time" - is downright bizarre.
2.26.2006 1:42pm
KMAJ (mail):
Am I missing something ? I see the focus of most comments being about Islamic perceptions or perceptions of Islam by ideology, but reading Seipp's article, I saw the focus being about the bookstore, and apparent hypocrisy in what they sell. If you promote yourself as the champion of 'free expression', that would include objectionable expression one disagrees with (i.e. Fallaci).

I do not think anyone would deny City Lights' right to sell books of their choice, but to call them on the fraudulent statement as champions of free expression is a legitimate charge and Seipp's article is accurate in that regard. How can one make the argument that Fallaci is objectionable and Ward Churchill is not and still claim to defend freedom of expression ? I find such an argument disingenuous and hypocritical. City Lights would be better served, and more accurate, if they claimed to champion freedom of expression for the progressive left and censorship of what they deem objectionable. Honesty in advertising, as oxymoronic as such a statement is, would seem to be the issue here.
2.26.2006 1:50pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Hmm -- being "anti-Muslim" (or, if we're talking about Cathy, being hostile to radical Islam and political Islam, which Cathy is careful to stress) is "racist," presumably since Islam is a race. Okay then.

As to the other matters, I'm not sure what to say to someone who really thinks that I "never come out and say what you really think about an issue."
2.26.2006 1:52pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Shangui,

I think I'm pretty much with you, but I don't have a strong opinion on the Rotello article. I really don't think it is necessary or appropriate for critics of unsubstantiated smears to prove their bona fides by expressing disagreement with the object of the smear. Nor does this seem to be universally expected. If someone wants to disagree with an anti-Semitic rant, one is not generally expected to assert they really don't agree with Jewish beliefs or Israeli policies. It is sufficient to point out the defects of the rant, without expressing a normative opinion on the underlying characterization.

It's a point I've made on other threads that religion is not particularly amenable to civil disagreement on a forum where a diversity of faiths and non-faiths are present. To engage a religious critique of a particular belief can reasonably be expected to offend some significant segment of the readers, without a productive purpose.
2.26.2006 2:04pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Prof. Volokh:

Hmm -- being "anti-Muslim" (or, if we're talking about Cathy, being hostile to radical Islam and political Islam, which Cathy is careful to stress) is "racist," presumably since Islam is a race. Okay then.

It's not an apt word, but I think anti-Semitism and/or "anti-Zionism" falls into the same category. In fact anti-Zionism is predicated expressly on "radical Judaism and political Judaism." One can certainly disagree with the actual political aims of a group without attacking their religious beliefs or implicitly lumping every member of their faith into the class being criticized.

I'm still hoping you'll say something about the really troubling advocations of genocide on this thread.
2.26.2006 2:09pm
anonymouslawyer (mail):
Actually, I don't think Seipp was all that careful in distinguishing between radical/political Islam and the broader Muslim world. Indeed, in critiquing the comment made by the young student at USC to the effect that the West knows little about the Muslim world, Seipp responds that "by now we understand the Muslim world all too well," and then references placards calling for beheadings, etc. In other words, she doesn't cabin her critique to political or radical Islam, but suggests that that view is endemic to (in her words) "the Muslim world." Whether that phrasing was deliberate or careless, it undermines, at least for some, whatever larger point she was trying to make.

As for those who are quick to call her a racist, responding to hyperbole with hyperbole does not make for a very persuasive argument.
2.26.2006 2:43pm
Michael B (mail):
Seipp's piece is eminently sensible and evenly tempered. It's a general commentary - covering what?, five or six hundred words? - not a set of monographs designed to probe the depth and breadth and nuance and particulars of the aspects of Islam and militant Islamicist thinking and praxis she is touching upon; yet as a general commentary it's condign and thoughtfully proportioned to its intended subject matter.

Her suggestion of Oriana Fallaci's new volume is likewise to be commended. Fallaci writes trenchantly, even caustically at times, but given the ossified quality of the debate in all too many sectors (q.v., this very thread) - caused by multi-culti dogmas and presumptions, among other factors - it's very much a warranted and fruitful approach. She may even cross the line at times and over generalize, but when compared to the too tepid approach of others, even excesses, properly understood, serve a more proper purpose.
2.26.2006 2:48pm
SG:
DtI,

You're insinuating that I have advocated genocide. I have not. I've said I would like to avoid genocide. The problem I see is that the current path we're on leads to it. Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and has a publically stated goal of wiping Israel of the map. That's genocide. It's widely speculated that in the event of a nuclear attack, Israel would respond with nuclear weaponry against the entire Arab region. That too is genocide. I think this would be a bad outcome. I'm not advocating it, I'm asking how can it be avoided.

I don't think we avoid it by pretending there is no problem. Or that the "wipe Israel off the map" attitude is really only held by a Fred Phelps-like minority of the Islamic world. I think we (non-Muslims) have to encourage the so-called moderate Muslim. But we have to recognize that asking for moderate Muslims is asking them to risk their lives. The punishment for apostasy is death. If we're not willing to defend our own values, we're fools to think someone else will defend them for us.

When we assert that someone speaking out against a global assault on our values is morally indistinguishable from the attacker, or when we surrend our free speech rights in the face of violent intimidation, we forfeit our moral claims on the moderate Muslim.

And I resent the fact that some people would rather shout down my concerns with cries of "racist" and "bigot" and wishful thinking rather than address the issues. I very well may be wrong, but when I keep hearing calls for my subjugation or death, and I see 10's of thousands of people taking to the street in support of those calls, don't tell me I'm a fool for taking them seriously. You're the fool if you can believe it can all be wished away. If you evidence that it's not a valid concern, please present it, but you should be willing to treat the Islamic world with enough respect to take what they are saying seriously.

After all, to do less would be racist, no?
2.26.2006 3:10pm
Defending the Indefensible:
SG:

I hesitate to respond to you because I do not wish to entertain justifications for preventive war. Leave it to be said that Israel has a very capable military in its own right and the paradigm of mutually-assured destruction is as applicable to Iran (if they even had the ability to launch a nuclear attack on Israel) as it was to the conflict between the United States and the USSR during the cold war.
2.26.2006 3:28pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Further clarification.

It's widely speculated that in the event of a nuclear attack, Israel would respond with nuclear weaponry against the entire Arab region.

Who speculates this? That sounds like anti-Zionism too.
2.26.2006 3:33pm
SG:
DtI,

I'm not talking about military action, I'm talking about using rhetoric and non-violence (including publishing polemics, the starting point for this thread). Is there a way to prevail without the need for war?

If the western world were united in saying that what is being done daily in the name of Islam (riots over cartoons, stoning of gays, honor killings, suicide bombings, and on and on) was unacceptable, perhaps the fundamental Islamists would be given reason to think that they will not prevail in open conflict? And perhaps it would encourage moderate Muslims to speak out against the atrocities committed in Islam's name? I don't know if that would be successful, but I'm confident that when we are perceived as weak and unsure of ourselves, unwilling to name and confront our enemies, we invite hostilities.

And as far as Israel and MAD doctrine goes, the Iranians have publically said that they're prepared to take the hit because the Ummah is sufficiently large that Islam could survive a nuclear exchange. Now, maybe they're lying. But wishing is not a strategy, and hope is not a plan. What justification do you have for disregarding the plain meaning of their words?
2.26.2006 3:57pm
SG:
DtI,

It's called the "Sampson Option" (a la Sampson pulling the temple down on himself and his enemies). Since Israel has always refused to confirm existence of a nuclear arsenal, it's surely not stated doctrine.

To be honest, I don't know if it derives from anti-semitic/anti-Zionist tracts or not. It always struck me as MAD by another name, and not something inherently anti-semitic. But hey, you never know.

Does anyone more clued in on the anti-semitic state of the art know if this is another "Jews will destroy the World" type of theory, or is it legitimate, well-grounded speculation?
2.26.2006 4:05pm
Quandary (mail):
Thoughts on Cathy's article:

1) City Lights is known to carry almost exclusively leftist/"progressive" books.

2) Orianna Fallaci is an outright racist. Christopher Hitchens, in a book review for the Atlantic Monthly, cites her book/screed as a prime example of how NOT to write a criticism of Islam.



SG-


There's violence being committed by Muslims in Nigeria, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, China, Thailand, Sudan, Somalia, Indonesia, Spain, Burma, England, The Phillipnes, and the US.


Of course. No student of the Global Islamic Conspiracy metanarrative can forget "The List". That is, The List of Random Countries Where Muslims Kill Infidels/Dhimmis (according to IslamWatch.com, etc.).

Almost all of the countries you listed are engaged in non-sectarian-related conflicts. Of course, context is unimportant to True Believers. Thier is Clash going on, for goodness sake, we don't have time for "grey areas."

Sudan: Muslim VS. Muslim, fight over resources/power

Israel: Nationalism, shift from Marxist, secular PLO to Hamas, etc. after PLO membership waned.

India: Religio-nationalist identity politics, Sikhs VS. Hindus VS. Muslims

China: Ultra-secular government oppression of Chinese Christians and Muslims, forced assimilation

etc.
2.26.2006 9:48pm
Defending the Indefensible:
Prof. Volokh,

I am still waiting for some comment.

Should I be entitled to presume that you do not disagree with the position of those who defend propaganda and rhetoric designed to create fear and cover for genocide?

I remember when you and some others were tarring with a broad brush those who did not speak against what you thought to be inappropriate and indefensible comments by Michael Moore and George Galloway.

If this is your standard, why don't you speak against the more extreme viewpoints expressed by commentators on your own thread? I note that you did have time to respond to criticism by Minnie, perhaps because you thought it was easily enough dismissed.

I don't think you've ever once responded to me.

But please, don't think you must. I am here of my own free will and at your pleasure, and I do find much of redeeming value in many of the comments, even in topic threads I don't much care for in themselves. If you would rather let me think you agree with the sentiments expressed by SG and others, perhaps you do.
2.26.2006 11:26pm
juris imprudent (mail):
DtI,

I seem to have missed the advocacy of genocide - was it in code? The only posts I note that expressly discuss genocide seemed to come from critics of Fallaci and those concerned with radical Islam.

Perhaps Fallaci is an older, Italian version of Coulter, i.e. just not a person to be taken seriously. That does not mean that radical Islam is also not to be taken seriously. Flemming Rose seems to grasp the concept.
2.27.2006 12:47am
Defending the Indefensible:
Juris Imprudent:

Quoting SG, "Now, to be clear, I don't think every individual Muslim is a terrorist, and I would much prefer to avoid genocide, which is why I support the current efforts in Iraq." [emphasis added]

Quoting BU2L, "I'm not impressed with the argument that it's only some Muslims that are bad." [emphasis in original]

SG again, "I don't believe genocide remains off the table."

SG, "I believe that there is a solution.... Fundamentally, it would involve Islam changing to be something that would not be considered Islam...."

Should I go on?
2.27.2006 12:59am
Michael B (mail):
Should you go on? By all means, if there's any chance to score some cheap political points, don't hesitate in the least - even if the subject of genocide needs to be deceitfully used to score those contrived political points, don't so much as hesitate.

The first poster to mention the term "genocide" was "tim," who eagerly and presumptuously attributes the motive to an author who does not warrant it. Even the quote you offer, from another poster is, in fuller context: "If NYC is nuked, the situation changes. Drastically. I don't believe genocide remains off the table." (emphasis added) And even that isn't the full context since there was a lengthier and entirely relevant preamble to the quote which includes "If NYC is nuked ...".

Also this:

"Should I be entitled to presume ...?"

[...]

"If you would rather let me think ..." Defending the Indefensible

What a strikingly odd and boorish insinuation. So if a commenter in a blog thread, here or elsewhere, asserts that 1 + 1 = 3 and thereafter the bandwidth host fails to drop by and correct the math, then you would assume that the bandwidth host agrees that 1 + 1 = 3? Of course not, and yet glib and distorted references to even the grimest of subjects, such as genocide, doesn't bother you in the least.

And this:

"Thoughts on Cathy's article:

[...]

"2) Orianna Fallaci is an outright racist. Christopher Hitchens, in a book review for the Atlantic Monthly, cites her book/screed as a prime example of how NOT to write a criticism of Islam." Quandary

Well, those are not so much thoughts as they are unsupported assertions and allegations. Firstly, here is the Atlantic article you're presumably thinking of, hitchens does not call her a racist and in fact Fallaci is not a racist, or you should at least support such charges and smears with evidence, including links. Re, Hitchens, the Atlantic article is not available online, but there is an exchange between two commenters (named "randall" and "Archimedes"), involving extensive quotes from the article, beginning here.

"No student of the Global Islamic Conspiracy metanarrative can forget "The List". That is, The List of Random Countries Where Muslims Kill Infidels/Dhimmis (according to IslamWatch.com, etc.)."

A recitation of current events, unless they are fabrications, would more aptly constitute part of the overall narrative, not a metanarrative. Too, not sure what the term "random" would serve to indicate in this context. When real world events, in Waziristan (Pakistan), Chechnya, Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines, etc., etc. There are some rather detailed lists, such as this one which covers 9/11 through the end of 2003, but unless they are falsifying information on the lists, it simply amounts to a detailed report. In other words, it isn't like Germany invading Poland, 1939, where Germany fabricated stories about Polish atrocities against German Poles.

"Sudan: Muslim VS. Muslim, fight over resources/power"

Sudan, beginning in the mid-80s, it was northern Muslims against Animists and Christians in the South; lasted a couple of decades.

"Israel: Nationalism, shift from Marxist, secular PLO to Hamas, etc. after PLO membership waned."

Extraordinarily misleading. Many strains of Islamicist initiatives inform the current conflict, but for those interested, The European Roots of Antisemitism in Current Islamic Thinking is a brief overview which covers the Mufti of Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini's (godfather to Arafat) cooperation with Hitler and Himmler during WWII and subsequent promulgation of Hitlerian forms of anti-Semitism in the Muslim world after WWII, including passing the battan from Amin el-Husseini to Yassar Arafat. Briefly explores other links as well.

etc.

Additionally and generally, the degree to which the Islamicist ideology and vision of a perpetual conflict between Dar al Islam vs. Dar al Harb takes precedence over other forms of political thinking and tactics, such as nationalist interests, is something which is not at all easy to ascertain. For example, China and India, due to their large armed forces and populations, have no chance of falling to Islamicists within any imaginable future (in contrast to the former Taliban regime in Afghanistan or differently in Sudan where oil became a factor and Shari'a law was introduced in the early '80s). So to reach for convenient labels, to dismiss valid concerns, hardly forwards a very thoughtful analysis.

(Even your City Lights reference would wither under much inspection, or at least could be thoroughly and substantially debated. Oriana Fallaci has long been a thorough-going secular humanist and woman of the Left, a "progressive". City Lights has long regarded itself as willing to publish and sell banned books under, as noted, a variety of progressivist themes. 9/11 and its various and sundry ramifications has served to evoke all types of reassessments, but glib and sum certain demonizations of persons such as Fallaci (or, for that matter, Hitchens) who for decades was identified with the Left, is far too convenient and simplistic.)

Finally, my own comments, at Daniel Pipes, on Fallaci's La Rage et l'Orgueil, are here, in the context of a reply to yet another over eager commenter.
2.27.2006 2:09am
minnie:
EricH, does a typo constitute proof of stupidty? I was writing quickly and meant to write 700 billion. Excusez moi. I DO know there are more than seventy million Muslims in this world, EricH. Trust me on that.

"0.700 billion or more, Barnes &Noble Encyclopedia 1993"

As for the use of the word racist, I'll stick with that somewhat vernacular use of the word in the context in which I used it, although it's not technically accurate. When news articles refer to the "racial profiling" that has led many people in this country to be more distrustful of Muslims siince 9/11, they use it in the same sense I did: prejudice against a group of people who tend to be identifiable by their appearance and to whom one ascribes a certain set of beliefs or values which one finds objectionable.

KMAJ: Wow, what do you do? Make things up as you go along, and then attribute those things to others, and then attack them? I guess that has a certain circular symmetry to it, at least.

You speak of the hypocrisy of the City Lights bookstore claiming to be champions of free speech. When did they claim that? I must have missed that in the article about which we are writing.

If others thought of them as progressive, that's the opinion of others.

Defending the Indefensible: Yes, that is what I was alluding to when I talked about your name. I was suggesting that it was a handy tag to have on a blog where one is often confronted with people who defend the indefensible.

Eugene: Wow. Powerful stuff, your response to me. Thank you for putting in the time to compose such informed answers to my questions.
2.27.2006 4:19am
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
A book that bashes evangelical Christianity would generally be regarded as quite appropriate for a vendor of progressive literature. But a book that bashes Islam is antiprogressive. Is evangelical Christianity to the right of Islam?
2.27.2006 4:26am
minnie:
Below is an excerpt from an article on Racism, an article which is representive of many such articles:


Racism is has its roots in the appearance of other groups, weather racial, or religious. In some situation every different ethnic group has experienced racism, even whites. Some religions can be easily identified by the casual observer, Muslim women wear headdresses in America. Since different races can be ID'd by physical appearance, or accents this makes them relatively easy to identify and therefore discriminate against.
2.27.2006 5:02am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Prof. Volokh &Prof. Lindgren, this has all gotten ugly since the thread opened, but I'd like to bring the focus back to the article itself. I still don't understand why this article was very good or fabulous. I don't expect you to agree with every last assertion in it, but I still miss why the article is good.

I made 3 points about Seipp's article, which I don't think have been contradicted. Seipp provides zero (0) examples of anyone actually "defending political Islam." Nor does she demonstrate that the book clerk "dislik[es] an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam." Also, Seipp claimed that "we understand the Muslim world all too well," citing "helpful news photos of placards."

To be clear, I believe that Islamic radicalism is a huge huge problem, but that offensive placards do not, in fact, tell us all we need to know about the Muslim world. Others on this thread who disagree with Seipp's article agree with the pro-Seippers that, as Tim wrote, "there is a special problem with rigid Islamic doctrine and attitudes towards infidels in esepcially the ME. As well as a troubling silence by more mainstream Muslims." The critique we've offered of Seipp's article is not that all is peachy in the Islamic world.

So... what am I missing-- why is this article good? Do you agree with Seipp's conclusion that "one of the great paradoxes of our time is that two groups most endangered by political Islam, gays and women, somehow still find ways to defend it"? Do you disagree with her conclusion but think she provides some useful anecdotes?

Thanks for your willingness to come back to the thread, hope to get to hear your thoughts.


Also, someone above wrote that I'd backpedaled from saying that political Islam is dangerous. Not so. I just think that's a mischaracterization of the fight Falacci is fighting with her "One or the other must perish" proclamations. Similarly, I agree with the idea that we should try to produce a more moral, respecful culture, but I don't think that Fred Phelps is on my side, even though he does believe himself to be fighting for morality.

And, I used bold above just so my point wouldn't be lost in my logorrhea, not to imply that you were being dense by not responding to me directly earlier.
2.27.2006 7:44am
Chukuang:
was writing quickly and meant to write 700 billion. Excusez moi. I DO know there are more than seventy million Muslims in this world, EricH. Trust me on that.

Minnie, perhaps you should just avoid numbers altogether. You've just increased the world population pretty substantially.
2.27.2006 9:41am
tim (mail):
Michael B-

"The first poster to mention the term "genocide" was "tim," who eagerly and presumptuously attributes the motive to an author who does not warrant it."

I thought I made a reasonable case. What's your gloss on her quote, "One or the other must perish."?

Re City Lights, I'm sure there are plenty of critiques of Islam in the store. And I bet none of them are rabidly anti-immigration or promote the ridiculous and xenophobic concept of 'Eurabia'.

Again, no double-standard. Simply a progressive store.
2.27.2006 9:50am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Alan K. Henderson: "A book that bashes evangelical Christianity would generally be regarded as quite appropriate for a vendor of progressive literature. But a book that bashes Islam is antiprogressive."

Seipp's critics are not arguing that all adherents of Islam are above criticism.

Any respectable bookstore might carry, say, The Closing of the Evangelical Mind. But I would question the judgment of a bookstore that carried a book called The Real Enemy is Christianity: Democratic Capitalism and Christianity Are at War, and One Must Perish. Those are altered Falacci quotes about Islam and the West.

Again, just so we are clear, Seipp's critics have not argued that political Islam is or should be beyond criticism. Rather, her article draws unwarranted, sweeping conclusions on the basis of very little evidence. Also, she implies that Falacci is merely warning the West about the threat posed by political Islam, when she in fact is writing about how 1.2 billion (or 700 kajillion or whatever) Muslims are the enemy, and must perish.
2.27.2006 10:59am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Or, I might question the judgment of such a bookstore; the point is, Falacci's all but called for an anti-Islamic jihad in order to counter the "Muslim conspiracy" in which "almost all" Muslims have a hand. She also seems to regard all of Islam as a monolith (I guess the mosque bombing was just a ruse to fool foreigners).

So, even if the idea of a liberal clerk popping off about "facists" makes you angry, there are ample reasons, shy of "defending political Islam," as to why a bookstore might not bother to buy this book.
2.27.2006 11:36am
Michael B (mail):
tim,

No, your case is not made, not even close. Like Bobstein, Defending the Indefensible and others, your language is arch and over-eager and presumptuous, in fact it invokes a circular form of reasoning, but it presumes a great deal indeed.

Fallaci obviously sees a fundamental conflict wherein containment (e.g., decisive immigration restrictions) is needed and profound conflict (e.g., concerning basic values) already exists and military and para-military conflict is virtually inevitable. She views this scenario because of the conflicts and incompatibilities they are initiating, insinuating and sustaining - not because she is a racist; her vision is value based, not racialist. To put it in very modest terms indeed, your arch and aggrieved language is not merely imprecise - it is certainly that - but is additionally a misapprehension and is in fact a libel against Fallaci.

If Poles, even in the weeks, months or even years prior to Germany's invasion in 1939, took note of Germany's military buildup and aggressive rhetoric and actions (e.g., the Rhineland, Sudetenland, greater Czechoslovakia, Austria) and began to suggest that containment is needed and conflict is inevitable and people will perish, etc., that wouldn't suggest the Poles were advocating genocide against Germans, it would instead indicate they were viewing a set of possible or highly likely outcomes which included fundamental conflict, war, one or the other side perishing, etc. This 1939, Germany/Poland scenario is an analogy, not a precise parallel, but it is illuminating nonetheless.

Too, in the end I can only speak for myself and regarding Fallaci's "The Rage and the Pride" (La Rage et l'Orgueil) my own comments can be found here, posted in response to another commenter's arch language, and I'll continue to stick by and defend those comments.
2.27.2006 1:53pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Michael B, I thought I'd managed to refrain from arch language in this debate; can you let me know where I failed?

My point is that Seipp's column made sweeping, unwarranted statements, and that she did not provide any examples of gays or women defending political Islam.

Also, I'd like to point out that, even though I think that the book clerk was rude at best, I don't think that City Lights can be fairly criticized for declining to carry the book, if Falacci has been accurately quoted in this thread. You seem to believe that military conflict is inevitable, which is a plausible argument. But if Fallaci has been accurately quoted in this thread, she claims that there is a "Muslim conspiracy" that "almost all" Muslims are in on. Do you believe this to be true?
2.27.2006 2:30pm
Michael B (mail):
Bob,

To ensure we're on the same page, the definition of "arch" in the sense intended includes both excessive or extreme as well as, more simply, characteristic. Your own comments fall within the latter category while DtI's and tim's fall more within the former category of that general definition. Presumably, that's a sufficient clarification?

In terms of Seipp's article, I already characterized it upthread, here; her article was a general framing, not a detailed analysis; nothing in the least wrong with that, it doesn't pretend to be anything more than that.

In terms of La Rage et l'Orgueil, as already noted, my own comments are here and I'll defend those. Beyond that, if you care to provide specific Fallaci quotes and links, I'd be willinhg to address those, but I'm not interested in addressing others' characterizations, excepting to note the fact that they are characterizations, as I did immediately above.

In terms of City Lights I don't really care to get into an extended exchange about that subject per se, though I did briefly address it in my 2:09am post, in the penultimate paragraph. It isn't primarily the rudeness, it's the misapprehension and mischaracterization of Fallaci's interest by City Lights and others (again, see my prior 1:53pm post, redressing tim's characterizations).

Finally, yes, at some level, military conflict is inevitable. This is not real big news, is it, given Afghanistan, Abu Sayyaf, 9/11, 3/11, 7/7, Bali, etc.? That's a general statement, admittedly, but do you believe military and para-military conflict is not inevitable?
2.27.2006 3:24pm
tim (mail):
Michael B-

Re your gloss: "Fallaci obviously sees a fundamental conflict wherein containment (e.g., decisive immigration restrictions) is needed..."

Michael, she said either we or they must 'perish'. Fallaci's not merely advocating a moratorium on immigration.

"and military and para-military conflict is virtually inevitable."

Precisely so. But she does more than just make an observation. She engages in a call to arms: "WAKE UP WAKE UP. ...WAR HAS BEEN DECLARED ON THE WEST AND WE MUST FIGHT" is the relevant quote.

And the target is all Muslim immigrants according to her. Somehow you've missed this. It's the basis for tagging her with the label of 'bigot'.

"not because she is a racist; her vision is value based, not racialist."

The 'racism' issue is a red herring here. Call her a 'bigot' if you like instead. Bigotry's propertietary subject matter is race, color, or creed. Here we're dealing with creed.

And the complaint is that she's pejoratively stereo-typed an entire class of Muslims based on a subset of extremists. Further, she's called for violence against the entire class.

That's pretty much the north star of her writings, which i personally find provocative and challenging. Above all she wants to get the west to *FEEL* something about this issue. In that regard she succeeded, at least in my case.

And some of my disgust is targeted at her bigotry in addition to radical Islam.

p.s. your link, while eloquent, is entirely irrelevant to this thread.

p.p.s. 'circular reasoning'? At worst, I've misinterpreted a text, not relied on my conclusion as a premise in an argument. Those aren't even remotely the same type of fallacy.
2.27.2006 3:43pm
Michael B (mail):
tim,

First, you need to read and comprehend my entire post. And as indicated, please provide specific Fallaci quotes and links, I'm willing to answer those, not others' characterizations and construals. It will help to better focus any subsequent exchanges.

My own link, as noted, is my defense of Fallaci's La Rage et l'Orgueil, one of the two Fallaci books previously referenced in this thread, so I don't see how that is irrelevant. I referenced and linked it simply because that's what I'm willing to defend vis-a-vis that particular volume of Fallaci's; again, in part to help focus and steer away from construals and facile characterizations.

I already noted you misinterpreted or misapprehended Fallaci (which is another reason I'd like specific Fallaci quotes and links instead of characterizations), but your additional and ready use of terms like "genocide" and "bigoted" suggests a circular and self-confirming form of reasoning as well. They aren't the same fallacy, obviously, but they are hardly mutually exclusive.
2.27.2006 4:05pm
Michael B (mail):
Also, or for emphasis, the 1939 Germany/Poland analogy, provided in my 1:53pm post, addresses concerns with terms like "racist," "bigoted," or "genocide". In this vein, whether Fallaci is right or wrong is secondary, she approaches the subject on the basis of perceived incompatibilities vis-a-vis fundamental values, not on the basis of racial or ethnic bigotries. For that matter, the entire 1:53pm post is relevant, not merely the 1939 Germany/Poland analogy.
2.27.2006 4:23pm
tim (mail):
The specific quotes I've already provided: http://volokh.com/posts/1140883915.shtml#68457

They're from a speech Fallaci gave at an event sponsored by David Horowitz and were recorded by a blogger who attended and admired the speech:

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/
2005/11/i_leave_shreds_.html

You'll have to cut and paste into your browser. I don't have the patience to figure out how to post long links on this site. Apologies.

Her words are plainly an expression of bigotry. No circular or 'self-confirming' forms of reasoning are required to see that.
2.27.2006 4:34pm
Michael B (mail):
Good grief, provide a quote or two from the link which you believe best typifies her alleged "bigotry".
2.27.2006 4:44pm
KMAJ (mail):
minnie,

You seem to have this inate need to demean those who do not adhere to your beliefs or make statements you disagree with:

Wow, what do you do? Make things up as you go along, and then attribute those things to others, and then attack them? I guess that has a certain circular symmetry to it, at least.

You speak of the hypocrisy of the City Lights bookstore claiming to be champions of free speech. When did they claim that? I must have missed that in the article about which we are writing.

If others thought of them as progressive, that's the opinion of others.


I suggest you read their web page, they claim to champion 'free expression' and admit they are 'progressive', so that is their opinion, not others. So your argument falls on its face because of a lack of due dilligence in your rebuttal.

From the City Lights website:

City Lights Publishers, known for our commitment to freedom of expression, renegade literature and radical political views,...

---

Welcome to City Lights! Co-founded by poet/painter Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.



The thrust of the article was, in my opinion, why City Lights did not carry the Fallaci book, not whether the opinions expressed in the book were legitimate or objectionable. If you champion freedom of expression, you do not pick and choose only those you agree with or present only a progressive/leftist strain of thought.

Personally, I don't deny their right to pick and choose which books to sell, just don't lie and tell me they defend freedom of expression when they engage in their own brand of censorship.
2.27.2006 4:46pm
tim (mail):
Forgive the repost, but somehow MichaelB missed it the first time:

"Don't believe in a dialog with Islam. That's a naivete. It can only be a monologue. ... There is no such thing as a "moderate Islam" and a Radical Islam. There is only one Islam."

...

"The real enemy is Islam and the most catastrophic threat is immigration not terror."

...

"Europe is no longer Europe, it is 'Eurabia,' a colony of Islam.."

...

"WAKE UP WAKE UP. WE ARE AT WAR. WAR HAS BEEN DECLARED ON THE WEST AND WE MUST FIGHT. One or the other must perish."

My interpretation: *all* of Islam is the enemy, our greatest threat from our enemy is Muslim immigrants, and either we or they must die.

Bigotry at the least, and more than a flirtation with advocating genocide.
2.27.2006 5:14pm
SG:
DtI,

Please stop stating that I have adovcated genocide. I have explicitly said multiple times that I wish to avoid it, but that my fear is that it isn't our choice.

You're the one who has asserted that at least the threat of genocide is acceptable.


Leave it to be said that Israel has a very capable military in its own right and the paradigm of mutually-assured destruction is [as] applicable to Iran.


What is mutually assured destruction but the threat of genocide? I've stated that I want to avoid that scenario. You seem to view is as an acceptable state of affairs.

But at least you're consistent in disregarding what others have explicitly stated. I just wish you were willing to give me as much benefit as you extend to the president of Iran.
2.27.2006 7:09pm
Defending the Indefensible:
SG,

Please see the definition of the logical fallacy tu quoque.
2.28.2006 12:07am
Michael B (mail):
tim,

I didn't miss it, I was somehow hoping you had more to say. As previously indicated, I disagree with your characterizations and in fact have already gone over that ground. For example, in part, with this post, but in other posts as well.

Or, to return an answer using the same coin you offer - in summary fashion: you're accusing and pointing a finger from the shallows, Fallaci is speaking from and taking a sounding of the depths. Dismissing her and reviling her as being bigoted misses literally everything.
2.28.2006 3:57am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Michael B-- Thanks for your reply. You wrote that Seipp's article is sensible. I still fail to grasp why.

Seipp manifests a dislike for political Islam, and for hypersensitive multiculturalism, both of which I share, as do at least 80% of the rest of the country.

But she mentions 2 or 3 people, none of whom defend political Islam, in the course of coming to the conclusion that gays and women just can't stop defending political Islam. (The one girl who falsely minimized the violence of the cartoon riots comes closest, but even she didn't defend anything Osama said or anything of the sort).

Seipp also, without any qualifiers whatsoever, implies that a few placards tell us all we need to know about Islam. I mean, I saw a girl in a headscarf on my way to work the other day. Should I have thrown her in the ocean to spare us one more enemy in the coming and inescapable War of Civilzations? (I only live a few blocks from the ocean, and the girl was only like 10 years old, so it wouldn't be that much effort.)

Just because someone manifests a dislike for political Islam does not mean that she is sensible. I still don't get what I'm missing that makes this article sensible, or fabulous.
2.28.2006 10:37am
SG:
DtI,

That wasn't tu quoque. I directly addressed your argument.


"I have explicitly said multiple times that I wish to avoid it [genocide]"


followed by a syllogism. 1. You have advocated MAD doctrine. 2. MAD doctrine threatens genocide. 3. Therefore, you have adovcated the threat of genocide.

If you wish to debate, please try to debate what I have written, and not some alternative that you would rather argue argainst (see strawman)

To be explicit: Are you not advocating MAD, does MAD not threaten genocide, are genocidal threats acceptable in at least some circumstances, or do you see a flaw in my syllogism?

And to be clear, I believe that MAD is on the table, but I don't like it. I'm not advocating for it or any other mass killing. I want a peaceful solution. But I think that the possibility of a peaceful outcome is enhanced by acknowledging how horrible a violent solution would be.

So far, (and unlike Tim), the only good faith you have shown is in your choice of screen name (and yes, that is an ad hominem argument).
2.28.2006 10:46am
josh:
This is a rather unfortunate thread. Simply saying "it's us or them," "I fear it isn't our choice" to get "them" before they get us, etc., does not remove the racist undertone.

These comments by definition attribute to an entire group of religious believers the evils of the individual bad actors. It is no different than saying we have to detain all Japanese Americans because a couple were found taking pictures of Pearl Harbor -- or we must wipe Israel off the map because of the actions of Baruch Goldstein (y'know, that zealot who machine-gunned a mosque in the West Bank) -- or we should do something about "those blacks" in LA who rioted after the Rodney King verdict. I mean any of them would've pulled that poor trucker out of his cab and beaten him silly if they had a chance, right? That's what "they" do!

I find it unfortunate the excuses being made for this type of thinking by Seipp, Fallaci, et al -- the Washington v. Davis line of thinking -- if I don't come out and say I HATE MUSLIMS, I'm ok. This thinking isn't "fabulous," even if couched in free speech terms. I'm all for free speech -- David Goldberger defending Nazi's right to march in Skokie is why I became a lawyer. But even he spoke out about the ... er ... problems with Nazi thinking. My read of the Seipp article was that it nicely couched racism for a group in meaningless terms. Entirely insufficient distinguishing between the part and the whole.

The fact is religious Islam is no more violent in word or deed than Christianity or Judaism. The death penalty for improper planting procedures in the Old Testament seems pretty radical to me. The question is who follows and who doesn't follow those radical ideas. The us-or-them advocates on this site should bring some of these enlightened thoughts to the streets of Dearborn, Mich. The reaction might be radical, but perhaps justified.

I regularly read this blog, and have found it pleasantly lacking the vitriol of Kos or Power Line, even though my left-leaning views don't necessarily jibe with the views of the professors. But there is a line that has obviously been crossed by a lot of posters here. I don't like being stereotyped for being Jewish. My black, Muslim and gay friends, the same. I'm a little disappointed the professors haven't condemned some of the bile being spread here.
2.28.2006 4:21pm
SG:
Josh,

Rather than appealing to the hosts to condemn my (and others) arguments, can you engage me?

Yes, Judaism and Christianity have had violence in their doctrine and history. It took a lot of violence, culminating in the 30 Years War for various Christian sects to figure out how to accomodate conflicting beliefs without resorting to widespread violence. I don't want another 30 Years War, this time with nukes. I assume you don't either.

I really don't believe I'm stereotyping or being racist when take Islamic preachings at face values. Should we disregard Iran's pusuit of nuclear technology? Especially in light of their explicit threat to use nuclear weapons against Israel? And do we actually have any choice in that situation? (Note: I never said we had no choice but to get them before they get us, I said that gennocide may not be our choice. It's not, the Iranians get a vote too.)

I know it feels good to dimiss the issues that are being raised as the rantings of bigots, and racists, but am I mistaken in my belief that violence and hate is being preached against non-believers and our way of life on a daily basis throughout much of the Muslim world?

While individual Muslims can and do reject these teachings, surely you would agree that these teachings occur, and that there are non-trivial numbers of Muslims who heed the call, no?

Like I've said numerous times, I'd like to see Islam to reform without the need for violent conflict. There's lots of Catholics who use birth control, which (I believe) is a rejections of their religious doctrine. Well, I'd like to see more Muslims do the same thing, reject the parts of their religious doctrine that are incompatible with the world we all live in. As you correctly state, lots of American Muslims have done so. Like you, I know peaceful, friendly Muslims, but they say that they reject parts of their religion.

So, to summarize, I don't wish for violence on Muslims, but I do wish for a mass rejection of the violence and hatred that is taught and accepted as Islamic. I don't think it should be understood or rationalized, but recognized and confronted.

There's a more informed debate on this same topic at Opinion Duel.
2.28.2006 6:02pm
Michael B (mail):
Bob,

For quick reference, what I previously said of Seipp's article follows: "Seipp's piece is eminently sensible and evenly tempered. It's a general commentary ... not a set of monographs [on] Islam and militant Islamicist thinking and praxis ...; yet as a general commentary it's condign and thoughtfully proportioned to its intended subject matter."

The article presents something of a general statement, it presents a vignette; it's not a detailed or specific argument. It's the type of thing which either resonates with someone or it doesn't. Some underlying, implicit assumptions are involved as well. Perhaps we simply disagree, though I think you're reading some things in a too literal or too unforging fashion as well. Beyond that, I'm not sure what you're looking for; again, we may simply disagree.

tim,

To be clear, when I suggested you were "accusing and pointing a finger [at Fallaci] from the shallows," I wasn't intending that as a personal slight or even in a general sense, but only in the narrow sense as restricted to interpreting Fallaci.

By analogy, in a scenario where a father is protective of his daughter and a man from a different ethnic/religious background moves in next door with his family, a man who advocates and has a history of violence and rapes (even while other members of his family do not themselves share in that reputation, though they also fail to curtail his violent behavior) then a heightened tension will exist between the two neighbors since there is a fundamental and crucial clash of values. Additionally, if the father, anxious for his daughter, tells his new neighbor that he will perish if the neighbor ever rapes or commits violence against the daughter, does this mean the father, without qualification, is "a bigot and an advocate of murder"? I don't think so. The father is speaking and warning not out of bigotry and not because he is an advocate of murder, but rather out of love and concern and the depths of feeling he has for his daughter. Nonetheless, some people, perhaps including the new neighbor's family members, may choose to label the father a "bigot" and an "advocate of murder," but that act of labeling, in and of itself, doesn't make it so.

The timbre of Fallaci's voice, in terms of what she is most prominently and decidedly attempting to address, resonates out of a deep positive appreciation and concern for the most fundamental and crucial values which sustain our civilisation. That's one of several reasons why I linked to an earlier comment at Daniel Pipes's site, because, if only in part, it reflects some of those positive valuations. Right or wrong, that is what she is attempting to voice. I am not an optimist, though I am less pessimistic than Fallaci, I differ with her in other respects as well. Regardless, hers is an important voice which needs to be heard and fully comprehended, not dismissed with the use of labels, summary judgements or otherwise.
2.28.2006 6:55pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Michael B, you still haven't pointed to any fact or assertion in Seipp's article that is sensible, or addressed any of the points that I've made about why I don't find it sensible. Maybe you are willing to find "sensible" any article that criticizes political Islam and left-wing women and gays, regardless of whether or not the article makes any sense.

SG, I disagree with you, but greatly appreciate your willingness to go into depth on this stuff. I agree that too many in the Muslim world are receptive to militancy, and I agree that modernity (science, economic growth, tolerance of differences) is ever in tension with fundamentalist religion. And I agree that militancy should be identified and resisted. Where we part ways is in my unwillingness to reject Islam as inherently bad.

100 years ago, it was thought that Chinamen and Latins would never break from their feudal/donkey-loving backwardness. But it's wasn't true. There is much in the Islamic world that is nativist and chauvinistic, but you hafta come up with some pretty serious explanations as to why these guys are so irrevocably backwards that we have to be talking about genocide. Iranian nukes is a cheap out. Yes, they're a very bad thing, but they're not going to be able to rid the world of Jews or Europeans any time soon. And, Iran isn't the whole Islamic world.
3.1.2006 9:56am
Michael B (mail):
Bob, I essentially said we probably disagree, also indicating I don't have an interest in debating this topic with you, in part because of the general quality of the piece in the first place and in part because I don't find your comments very sensible or probative or. For example, your final comment directed at me, about what I might find to be "sensible," is an absurdity and seems more of an attempt to "poke with a stick" and get a rise out of me, or someone, than an honest attempt at any more substantial dabate. So instead of simply accusing one another of failing to be "sensible," I was suggesting that, at least for now, we simply agree to disagree.
3.1.2006 11:36am
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Michael B-- Deal. I apologize. I understand that you felt that I was poking you with a stick. I should have been less sweeping in my statement.

I do think that the article's willingness to criticize militant fundamentalism and hypersensitive multiculturalism-- both of which I like to criticize myself-- are the only reason why it received praise despite the fact that its anecdotes did not justify its conclusions.

Seipp provides no examples of anyone "defending political Islam." Nor does she show that the book clerk "dislik[es] an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam." Also, Seipp claimed that "we understand the Muslim world all too well," citing "helpful news photos of placards."
3.1.2006 1:07pm
SG:
Bob,

Thanks for responding in good faith. I would guess that we probably agree more than we disagree. I am curious about your "unwillingness to reject Islam as inherently bad".

Are you unwilling to reject anything as inherently bad? For example, would you consider a belief in white supremacy to be inherently bad? (I do). It seems that sharia, with it's explicit relegation of women and non-Muslims to second class status is morally equivalent to white supremacy, even leaving aside violence. Is it possible to truly follow Islam while rejecting sharia, even in part? Mainstream Islamic theology and interpretation seem to say no.

Which doesn't mean that attiudes can't be changed. I will say again that belief systems are not genetically predetermined. I'm sure Martin Luther and John Calvin would be appalled at the everyday practices of the congregations that gather in their names. But the world is a better place with their hardline interpretations having largely been rejected in practice, if not always in word. And if someone could wave a magic wand and make Islamic practices indistinguishable from, say, Unitarianism, I assert the world would be a much better place. And in my opinion, the prime beneficiary of that change would be Muslim women.

I envy your ability to see genocide as being inconceivable. I look at current cultural and technological trends (check out the state of the art in genetics if you really want a scare), and my prediction is that within 100 years either mainstream Islamic practice is radically altered from that of today, the western world is a police state that makes us nostalgic for the days of NSA wiretapping, or vast numbers of souls are lost to violence. And these outcomes aren't mutually exclusive. But the current state of affairs doesn't seem stable long-term, something will have to give. Personally, I want the magic wand.

As an aside, would you consider using that magic wand to be committing genocide? After all, a culture would be exterminated, even if no person has actually lost their life. Would you view using the magic wand as a bad thing?
3.1.2006 2:08pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
SG-- Some great questions. I would wave the wand, and would not consider the change in culture to be anything like genocide. Culture is ever in flux; not every cultural practice need be preserved for all eternity just because it exists.

I am not willing to write off a religion practiced by 1/4 of the world as inherently bad. There are various reasons, but a big one is, where would that leave us? Launching an anti-Islam jihad? And, what good does it do for us to say Islam is bad, when doing so hurts anyone who wants to change bad things about Islam from within?

Imagine, for the sake of argument, that (1) the administration made mistakes in Iraq that could be fixed to the betterment of the US and Iraq; and (2) that Osama said, "It sure helps me out when people within the US point out that the administration made mistakes in Iraq!" Osama's praise of the critics devastates them.

Similarly, we are super unpopular in the Islamic world (and elsewhere), so our saying "your political/econ situation sucks 'cause your religion sucks!" really doesn't help anyone much. Martin Luther and Galileo had a rough time as it was-- imagine if they were receiving aid &comfort from some mufti?

Also, while sharia is terminally sexist, it's not like non-Islamic non-modern areas are super into equality of the sexes either. Modernity requires breaking away from entrenched morals. I know loads of Jews and Christians, none of whom think that I should be put to death if I wear a cotton-polyester blend shirt, no matter what God said in Deuteronomy.

I could/should write more, as some of these points are underdeveloped... but I really should finish this motion, too... Thanks for your good faith discussion.
3.1.2006 3:08pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Justin wrote:

"Rage and Pride, her "anti-extremist" book, claims that there is a "Muslim conspiracy" to conquor Europe, and that "almost all" Muslims have a hand in the conspiracy. I suppose the Protocals of the Elders of Zion was simply "anti-extremist Jew".

Muslims accomplish this conquering, she states, simply by immigration - thus all those immigrants to Europe (think hispanic immigrants in the US) are there to take over Europe."



First comes the immigration, then comes

1) the deaths of Jews by torture,
2) the insult, sexual assault, and rape of western women in the west,
3) then come the suicide bombers.

If they are to declare themselves innocent and uninvolved, there are passages in the Koran which they must declare either to be in error and not the word of God at all, or phrases so modified by other more 'peaceful' phrases that they mean nothing at all like what they have meant since Islam began it's expansion by the sword.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.1.2006 3:59pm
SG:
So at the risk of putting words into your mouth (and correct me if I'm wrong), I read your hesitance to condemn Islam more as a pragmatic choice than a moral judgement. (Probably compounded by a feeling that a blanket condemnation of Islam seems a lot like white supremacy, no? I've gone through that same argument personally. I came to the conclusion that there's a fundamental difference between what someone is born as and what someone chooses to be, and we have the moral right to judge (and be judged) on the latter.)

I can respect your position. But let me leave you with one thought. The Soviet Union survived containment and detente, but moral condemnation from President Reagan and Pope John Paul II brought them down. It's a highly simplified (and simplistic) view of history, I know, but I think we strengthen any nascent Islamic reformers when we express solidarity with their cause, and we demoralize them when we concede moral legitimacy to the fundamentalists. And while I certainly may be wrong (there's no way too know), I'd rather err on the side of blunt honesty. It nothing else, it reduces the possibility that the other side misinterprets what we're saying.
3.1.2006 4:03pm
TDPerkins (mail):

"I forgot my favorite Fallaci line:

"Muslims have orders to multiply like rats."

Orders!!!!"


Yes, they generally take the concept be fruitful and multiply really seriously.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.1.2006 4:03pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Defending the Indefensible got reality massively backwards to write:

"With over a billion Muslims in the world, if the majority weren't moderate, peace-loving folks, you'd be dead now. "


If the majority of Moslems didn't appear to be moderate, they'd be dead.

And Def.theIndef. probably thinks he's in the reality based community.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.1.2006 4:10pm
josh:
SG: I did engage you. I pointed out that it would be unfair to commit genocide against Jews (or just Orthodox Jews) for the violence of Baruch Goldstein, who justified his blitzkrieg of a West Bank mosque with hallacha (Jewish law derived from the Old Testament).

I would add that it would be unfair to kill all Christians for the acts of people like Eric Rudolph, who also justifies killing abortion doctors on the plain text of the Old Testament.

Comparing the number of Judao-Christians in the world with the number of Muslims, and cross-comparing with the number of bad actors in each group, shows something far more than anecdotal.

Look, I am not going to convince you and you are not going to convince me. But I think Palestinian suicide bombing against innocent Israelis in response to the Baruch Goldstein incident is wrong. I think it is borne from the racist thinking of extremists. [I really hope we can avoid moral relativism here. Whether Hamas' full assault on Israel civilians in 1994 TRULY was in response to Goldstein's attack, that is at least what Hamas said at the time]

So too do I think contemplating genocide of millions of Muslims for the evil acts of individuals who practice the same faith (a faith that by written word is no more backward than the same religion I hold dear) is the racist thinking of extremists. Sorry, but I and others are going to give our opinions on this type of thing to (hopefully) prevent more huge mistakes from being made in our name.
3.1.2006 4:24pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Tim wrote:

"Not 1st amend. hypocrisy."

and Jim Lindgren quickly showed him the error of his--and Justin's--ways.

Then Eugene Volokh wrote:

"In the meantime, if you do want to keep hanging out here for a bit, please do let us know why it is that my friend Cathy is an "out and out racist." I mean in the dictionary sense of the word "racist," not in the "conservative I dislike" sense of the word "racist.""

And I'll be damned if I don't to take my kybd apart to clean the coffe out. Thanks, I needed that.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.1.2006 4:25pm
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Too tersely and quickly...

Well, the pragmatic objection is the one I chose to highlight, but there's also the idea religions can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and there's a seriously high bar to dismissing a religion that widespread as altogether "bad." All those guys in the past 1500 years have all been a bunch of jerks? In every variety of Islamic practice? Or are Sunnis eviler than Shiites? Plenty of people out there on the internets think that Christianity is only evil, and they have the cites to prove it; I find that myopic.

Also, we have a tendency to look at current threats and blow them up in our minds. Yes, there's a lot of fundamentalist bad in Islamic places right now; why is it so fundamentally, irevocably, irredemably worse than suicide bombers in Sri Lanka, or oppression by the Chinese government, or what have you?

Communism was an ideology with roots about 100 years old and disenchanted subjects, as opposed to a 1500-year old religion with deep adherence from the average person. When is it moral clarity to call out your adversaries, vs. when is it moral preening that gets you tuned out?

You wrote: "I think we strengthen any nascent Islamic reformers when we express solidarity with their cause, and we demoralize them when we concede moral legitimacy to the fundamentalists."

Agreed with the second clause; unforunately, I disagree with the first clause. The US is the gay marriage of the (Islamic/rest of the) world right now, and association with us is a political loser for those tarred by the us brush.
3.1.2006 4:37pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Wow, Defending really is dumb. And I mean in the organic deficiency, cannot process reality sort of way.

He writes:

"There are somewhere over a billion Muslims, and if we got into an actual Crusade to force them to change their beliefs -- they'd win that war."

Nope. We're in a war now to change their beliefs, somewhere about the Doolitle raid stage as far as it goes. We're winning.

If we get into a war instead to eliminate the threat they pose, or which they tolerate their extremes to pose to us, then we have more nukes, more ability to deliver nukes against defended targets, and have the ability to make more nukes which they cannot prevent. It would be a one sided slaughter in favor of our side. A few tens of millions versus many hundreds of millions.

If they are relatively smart, then they stay conventional and have 53% percent of the combat power in the planet, Islamic nations have about 7% if I recall. That's before we mobilize, an event that hasn't happened to any substantial degree since 1942. If the political motivation is there, we can raise our ground combat power about 10 fold for a period of about 5 years with 1 to 2 years runup. They can't begin to match that, and no other nation can--some nations in the EU and Russia possibly excepted. I'd have to check out Dunnigan's big black book again to make sure of the figures, but the proportions are roughly correct.

DtI, we'd wipe the floor with them if we we're so inclined. It is not foreordained that Moslems in the future should not enjoy an equivalent to the dhimmi tax being imposed on them for their maintaining their "murderous" beliefs, and it is within our power to impose that tax in Riyadh as we haul off the Kabaa to be dropped in the Mariannas Deep for destruction by subduction. It could even be sent sailing into the sun. It's more their job than ours to make sure not enough 9/11s happen that we aren't so inclined.

Also DtI, please remember that when Sagan put his name to TAPPS, he lied.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.1.2006 4:42pm
Michael B (mail):
"Comparing the number of Judao-Christians in the world with the number of Muslims, and cross-comparing with the number of bad actors in each group, shows something far more than anecdotal."

[...]

"Sorry, but I and others are going to give our opinions on this type of thing to (hopefully) prevent more huge mistakes from being made in our name." Josh

Gosh, Josh, among several other piously simplistic reductions and abstracted notions, you seem to have left the highly fevered ideological religionists of the Left out of your calculations altogether. The 20th century speaks none to well of such careful elisions and forgetfulness.
3.1.2006 5:03pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Bob Bobstein wrote:

"Well, the pragmatic objection is the one I chose to highlight, but there's also the idea religions can be interpreted in a variety of ways, and there's a seriously high bar to dismissing a religion that widespread as altogether "bad." All those guys in the past 1500 years have all been a bunch of jerks? In every variety of Islamic practice? Or are Sunnis eviler than Shiites? Plenty of people out there on the internets think that Christianity is only evil, and they have the cites to prove it; I find that myopic."

And it has become the task of the Islamic world to make those differences apparent and effective enough that they do not need to be tenditiously asserted by apologetic 3rd parties.

"Also, we have a tendency to look at current threats and blow them up in our minds. Yes, there's a lot of fundamentalist bad in Islamic places right now; why is it so fundamentally, irevocably, irredemably worse than suicide bombers in Sri Lanka, or oppression by the Chinese government, or what have you?"

Suicide bombers in Sri Lanka did that in Sri Lanka (for the most part) for Tamil reasons. The Chinese are making themselves bullet worthy in China and Tibet for Chinese reasons. Islamists came here to kill us for their reasons, and it is that intrusion that makes this worthy of our direct and violent attention. This should not need to be said, it is sad that it must.

"Communism was an ideology with roots about 100 years old and disenchanted subjects, as opposed to a 1500-year old religion with deep adherence from the average person. When is it moral clarity to call out your adversaries, vs. when is it moral preening that gets you tuned out?"

And when Communism was the ideology at our throats, we had reasonable hopes that the Russians loved their children too, and that containment, pruning, and waiting would work towards their defeat.

If it costs them their goal of enlarging the ummah to be the entire world, then I think we will find our Islamist enemies do not love their children. There is adifference between "calling out" and employing new tools in the new context, tools that can work. Tools like a bomb down an Islamists throat whenever possible, and if their merely islamic neighbors are obstreperous enough about it, the bombing can justifiably become general.

And at this point in the fisking I've got to go...

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.1.2006 5:18pm
SG:
Josh,

You're not engaging me, you're engaging a strawman. I agree with you: It would be unfair to commit genocide. But when the president of France starts openly speaking of France's ability and willingness to retaliate against terrorism with nukes, you're not just arguing against "the racist thinking of extremists", these options are being contemplated by people in power. And I'm guessing Chirac had Eric Rudolph in mind when he made the statement.

But is it really your assertion that that Islamic Fundamentalism is a comparable threat to Eric Rudolph? Really?

But by all means, keep knocking down those strawmen. I hear it builds character.

Bob,

I can respect your nuance. And your position may be better, as I said there's no way to know. But just to clarify, when I say we should endorse reform and condemn barbarism, I mean "we" more broadly that just the US Government (although, to be fair, polling data suggests that the US has risen in standing amongst the Islamic world, and support for Al Qaeda has dropped). I meant the whole western, liberal democratic world. We all should have supported Denmark.

And as for the difference in my concern about Islamic extremism and other forms of evil? Well, we're not discussing those, but I agree there's lots of evil in the world that has nothing to do with Islam. That fact doesn't excuse (or have any bearing) on the morality of Islam.
3.1.2006 5:47pm