Thursday, February 23, 2006

Its our fault - again

Jay Bullock, commenting on my post on the absence of Jihad in Topeka, directs our attention to an "interesting" point made by Dave Neiwert on Orcinus. The post was too impossibly long for me to wade through, but Jay is referring to Neiwert's take on the Muslims rioting over the Danish cartoons near the end of the post.

Niewert's point? We made them do it!

Of course we don't riot or engage in violence when someone is disrespectful of our culture and our beliefs; we Westerners have been perched in the catbird seat for some time now and can afford to ignore it if we choose. That's not how people on the bottom rung, though, are likely to respond to high-handed mistreatment and disrespect. Making fun of the high and mighty and privileged and powerful is an honorable thing, even if not very profitable. Making fun of the downtrodden -- especially from a position of privilege -- is a despicable thing ... but it sure is easy.

Muslims are rioting because the Danish cartoons that sparked the anger have come to symbolize the ethnic arrogance of Europeans and Americans, typified by ethnic slurs like "ragheads," that they blame as the engines of their dienfranchisement, and from which they now believe they are finally able to rise up and restore their societies. Certainly the way that Westerners on both sides of the Atlantic have responded to the riots -- holding them up as evidence of innate Muslim barbarism -- has only served to deepen that anger

As an intial matter, the Christian fundamentalists that the left likes to make fun of are neither high and mighty nor privileged and powerful. There is nothing easier than taking a shot at Jerry Falwell. And taking a shot at those who are high and mighty can be enormously profitable. Ward Churchill doesn't pull down sweet speaking fees because of his scholarship.

Niewert's post (or, at least, that part of it) reflects the typical tendency on the left to romanticize "the other" as long as they seem to be part of an historic "out" group for which the left has sympathy. "You see they don't really want to impose their religious views by force; they are just expressing righteous anger over the way in which they have been oppressed."

You'd have to remind me of the way in which the Saudis and Islamic theocracies in the Gulf are being "oppressed." It is not self-evident to me why societies that execute people for the violation of sharia law or for disrespect of the dominant religion in that society are doing so because of "disenfranchisement."

I'd also need to be refreshed on all that European and American arrogance. After 9-11, the President just about tied himself into knots insisting that Islam is a religion of peace and that a majority of Muslims oppose violent jihad. I don't believe in calling anyone a "raghead" but when people go around blowing up buildings and others, a certain anger results which, unfortunately, is not always expressed in ways that are measured and fair. My ancestral countrymen were once called "krauts" in polite circles and, truth be told, they sort of brought it on themselves.

"Raghead" is not an accepted term in serious public discourse as the pretty much universal condemnation of Ann Coulter reflects. Denunciation of Islam is pretty much forbidden even to the point of the term "War on Terror." Liberals get apoplectic about that phrase because "terror is a tactic, not an enemy." They're right but would they prefer we speak of the war on Islamofacism?

More fundamentally, this approach, while it romanticizes the supposedly "downtrodden," also fails to take them seriously. They can't really want to defend and spread their religion by force. Its just because of what we have done to them. It is all about us.

But sometimes it isn't about us. There is a very dangerous strand within Islam. Ignoring it won't make it go away. If that doesn't fit easily within the construct of the left's standard morality play involving the nobility of the South, too bad.

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