Thursday, May 8, 2014

Say "Hello" to Your Neighbors


  1. I guess someone could call Oxfam if they're not too busy trying to restart the Holocaust.

  2. Will be interesting to see which tack the petrified-of-being-called-'Islamophobic' media eventually settles on to avoid such trouble.

    Related - I haven't read it yet but Sam Harris has posted his discussion with Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    1. Reading through, for another few minutes, well past my bedtime, but yeah... this -

      "Harris: You’ve just exposed another painful irony here. When our critics insist on cultural or religious “sensitivity,” imagining that they are protecting a vulnerable population, they are really protecting thuggish men who are oppressing women, spreading hate, and stifling freedom of thought within their own communities and freedom of expression everywhere else. Anyone who likens the criticism of Islam as a doctrine to a hatred of Muslims as people—or to anti-Semitism, racism, and other forms of bigotry—has made it more difficult for Muslims who are truly suffering to speak about their problems. It never ceases to amaze me that when one complains about Muslim theocrats abusing Muslim women and freethinkers, one inevitably gets accused of anti-Muslim bigotry.

      It will probably seem tendentious to many readers for me to put it this way, but our critics are just dishonest. Which reminds me of something you said at the end of one of your public lectures: Someone was challenging you and insisting that Islam is no different from every other religion, and I think you said something like “If it’s the same as every other religion, why do I have to walk around with armed bodyguards?”

      Hirsi Ali: Yes, yes. I think that was at the Intelligence Squared debate with Douglas Murray, three years ago.

      Harris: Those kinds of reversals are often hilarious, and they ought to flat out end the argument. When the journalist Glenn Greenwald attacked me as an Islamophobe, insisting that my concerns about Islam were both irrational and a symptom of my own bigotry and white privilege, I responded by challenging him on Twitter to a duel of cartoon contests. He could hold one for Islam, and I would hold one for any other religion on earth. That shut him up immediately.

      This disparity between Islam and every other religion is so obvious, in fact, that it is somehow considered a low blow to point it out. However, it remains the case that only the Muslim community reliably threatens its critics with violence—not just in the Middle East, but everywhere. Having observed the risks and hassles you’ve had to endure because of this, I find liberal obscurantism on this point just maddening."

  3. Consider the problem in the following way.

    Religions tend to be either universal or non-universal and they tend to be either politically aggressive or relatively quietist.

    Judaims tends to be non-universal, which is why we do not actively seek converts. Judaism, at least in the west, is also rather non-political in the sense that Jews do not seek to make Torah Law the foundation of human interaction within western governments.

    Christianity, on the other hand, like Islam, is a universalistic religion. Ultimately it's purpose is to save all of humanity via the divinity of Christ. Christianity is also relatively non-political in the sense that the great majority of Christians would not prefer Christianity as the legal foundation of western governments. Even the Evangelicals in the United States do not necessarily believe that Christianity should form the basis of the American government.

    Islam, like Christianity is universalist, but unlike Christianity and Judaism, it is highly political.

    al-Sharia insists that it is the one, lone sole legitimate form of political organization and that it should rule everywhere.

    This, needless to say, means the civil and political impoverishment of women, Gay people, and all non-Muslims, precisely as we are seeing throughout the Middle East.

    Therefore Islam needs to be challenged not as a religion, per se, but as a political movement that conducts gross human rights violations throughout the world.

    We have two choices. We can either stand with someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and thereby stand in favor of universal human rights or we can turn our backs on women in the Middle East, Gay people in the Middle East, Christians in the Middle East, and the Jews in the Middle East.

    For me the choice was easy, but I am a liberal.