February 06, 2006


I was writing an answer to some criticisms in the comments on the last post, but my answer got longer and longer and has now turned into a post of its own. Unfair to the poor commenters, but that's your punishment for wandering into the RJ morass...

...And since when is someone's poor taste an excuse for adults (mentally and spiritually) to riot? By blaming "the Danes" (who unlike some other European peoples, actually have the cojones to exercise their free-speech rights) for the rioting in the Middle East and elsewhere, you're excusing the rioters, who are mental and moral midgets, and should be pointed out as such.

And if those rioters aren't pointed out as mental and moral midgets, isn't that a form of "soft racism"? "Oh, those wogs-- a bad job, that, but what can we expect of them?"

If the Muslim world is going to ever grow up, it's going to have to get used to being insulted. We do them no favors if we bend over backwards and engage in the multi-culti sensitivity that you rightly despise.

I didn't make myself very clear. I'm not blaming the Danes ("Danes" meaning all the various entities that are publishing cartoons) for publishing, in the sense of right-and-wrong. I don't know if it's right or wrong. I'm blaming them for being THOUGHTLESS!

And I'm not excusing the rioters. Or condemning them. That's NOT what I'm writing about here. For the purposes of the post, consider them an unstable chemical that is liable to explode if jostled. It is perfectly proper to criticize a lab technician for handling that chemical carelessly.

On the face of it the are probably "moral midgets," but I don't have enough data to be sure, and that doesn't happen to be the question I'm digging into right now. (Heck, If you read the mainstream press, you might think Republicans are mental and moral midgets). And lots of other bloggers are doing that job.

And if they are midgets, well, that's what we have to work with. They are not going to go away. That means WE are the grown-ups, and WE have the responsibility to help them grow up. I think any religion can change, if its people want it to. Happens all the time. There are lots of Muslims who have no interest in Jihad, simply because they have comfortable or happy lives. And once there's enough of them, my opinion is that they will discover that Jihad is a poetic metaphor for peaceful change or The Inner Child or something.

What do scientists do when confronted by complex mysteries? Do they smoke three pipes-full, like Sherlock Holmes, and solve through sheer mental might? No, they make some guesses and start running experiments. And that's exactly what the USA has been doing. We've taken a couple of Moslem countries and started changing them. And we've been tinkering with lots of other countries. That's the attitude that makes sense. (I guess you could say the Danes are running an experiment too. Mix the chemicals and see what goes bang.)

All in all, I'm starting to lean more towards Francis Poretto's POV, which is that (warning: very condensed bottom line of my interpretation) Islam the religion is utterly incompatible with the 21st century.

"Islam the religion is utterly incompatible with the 21st century." Francis doesn't know, nor does anybody. One can easily make a tidy case for it, and then turn around and as easily point out thousands of counter-examples. Both would just be arm-chair theorizing. Maybe the rioting Muslims are the equivalent of the New Yorkers of the Draft Riots. Those people certainly could have been called "mental and moral midgets," but so what? Would you look at them and say "Catholicism is incompatible with the whatever-Century?" Silly. (And the Draft Rioters were much worse than the cartoon-rioters have been so far.) You could make a similar case that Africans are "incompatible with the 21st century." Or Native Americans, or Russians or blacks in the Watts riots. It's pure bullshit. WE DON'T KNOW.

Is Iraq "incompatible with the 21st century?" We don't know yet. Maybe freedom and prosperity and democracy will bring big changes over the next few decades, maybe all that will fail. There are many secular or non-observant Iraqis, by the way, something all the Islam-is-this-or-that generalizations don't take into account. You know, I'm SICK OF ALL THESE GENERALIZATIONS about Islam. We don't know!

And I am

Posted by John Weidner at February 6, 2006 08:33 PM | TrackBack
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