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Transmission of Culture - Part II
Posted by: McQ on Monday, March 19, 2007

Last week I wrote a post on the problems Britain is encountering because its traditional culture isn't being transmitted in its schools. This week we have an article by Michael Barone in which he covers it from a different angle.

Barone discusses the "blame America first" crowd and their impact on the debate internal to the country. He identifies our schools, especially our colleges and universities, as the institutions most responsible for that meme.
The first are staffed by liberals long accustomed to see America as full of problems needing solving; the latter have been packed full of the people cultural critic Roger Kimball calls "tenured radicals," people who see this country and its people as the source of all evil in the world.

On campuses, students are bombarded with denunciations of dead white males and urged to engage in the deconstruction of all past learning and scholarship.
Barone points out that many don't buy into the assumptions made by this tactic and are grounded enough in reality to reject them. But there are enough who do succumb:
But this battering away at ideas of truth and goodness does have some effect. Very many of our university graduates emerge with the default assumption thoroughly wired into their mental software. And, it seems, they carry it with them for most of their adult lives.

The default assumption predisposes them to believe that if there is slaughter in Darfur, it is our fault; if there are IEDs in Iraq, it is our fault; if peasants in Latin America are living in squalor, it is our fault; if there are climate changes that have any bad effect on anybody, it is our fault.
And, of course, from that flows the knee-jerk reaction to anything bad or evil in the world as something for which to blame America first. Since we're preeminent in so many spheres in the world (and for these folks, that's a bad thing), it follows that if anything goes wrong in those spheres it is assuredly our fault.

So prevalent is this thinking and teaching in colleges and universities that a backlash of sort is taking place. And that backlash, according to Barone, has to do with seeking out the other side of the argument:
What they have been denied in their higher education is an accurate view of history and America's place in it. Many adults actively seek what they have been missing: witness the robust sales of books on the Founding Fathers. Witness, also, the robust sales of British historian Andrew Roberts's splendid "History of the English-Speaking Peoples Since 1900."

Roberts points out almost all the advances of freedom in the 20th century have been made by the English-speaking peoples — Americans especially, but British, as well, and also (here his account will be unfamiliar to most American readers) Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders. And he recalls what held and holds them together by quoting a speech Winston Churchill gave in 1943 at Harvard: "Law, language, literature — these are considerable factors. Common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice and above all a love of personal freedom ... these are the common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-speaking peoples."

Churchill recorded these things in his four-volume history of the English-speaking peoples up to 1900: the development of the common law, guarantees of freedom, representative government, independent courts.
This astonishing and positive history is mostly ignored now, or represented, as Barone points out, as the product of dead white men, some of whom were slave owners to boot, and thus not worthy of regard or study. Instead, we have "victim's history" where the tales of the oppressed, dispossessed and suppressed take center stage. The huge achievements in liberty and personal freedom are ignored because the "dead white men" weren't perfect or were, in fact, considered to be fatally flawed. Anymore, it seems, crowning achievements in the advancement of freedom and liberty can no longer stand against a certain set of inexcusable flaws, especially if those flaws reside with a class commonly associated with "oppression."

The fact that these flaws were recognized and removed from within that community is ignored, just as is the historical context in which the "oppressors" lived. Barone gives us a good example of that principle at work:

More recently, Adam Hochschild, in his excellent "Breaking the Chains," tells the story of the extraordinary English men and women, motivated by deep religious belief, who successfully persuaded Britain to abolish the slave trade and then slavery itself. Their example was followed in time, and after a bloody struggle, by likeminded Americans. The default assumption portrays American slavery as uniquely evil (which it wasn't) and ignores the fact the first campaign to abolish slavery was worded in English.

The default assumption gets this almost precisely upside down. Yes, there are faults in our past. But Americans and the English-speaking peoples have been far more often the lifters of oppression than the oppressors.
But that can never pass muster within the "default assumption" which Barone cites. And that brings us to how that is applied to the situation we face today in the world:
"There is something profoundly wrong when opposition to the war in Iraq seems to inspire greater passion than opposition to Islamist extremism," Sen. Joseph Lieberman said in a speech last week. What is profoundly wrong is that too many of us are operating off the default assumption and have lost sight of who our real enemies are.
I for one am constantly amazed at those who see the US as the real enemy and those who've attacked us as "victims". But then, if you've been immersed in an educational culture which ignores the good to emphasize the bad and then uses that bad to teach "victim's history" how else are you trained to assess what's going on out there in the world?
 
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This is TRIPE, I challenge you to point out one, even ONE Academic that cuold be charged with this sort of thing...Who..Erb...Scott Erb, Maine...

Oh never mind......
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Barone has written about this before and he is still right. The church of “all things American are Evil” is an outgrowth of the educational process. Prior to Vietnam the curriculum was jingoistic, failing to point out any mistakes made in the past. A reasonable attempt to rectify this was underway, then the war radicalized the educational establishment. The pendulum swung radically the other way to the default position, if it’s American, it has to be evil. The blame America first movement developed from this.

Now the question is. can the pendulum be brought back to a balance? As long as the educators of the Vietnam generation are in charge, it will not happen, They have too much invested in their world view to change. The school voucher movement has a chance to bring lower education back to reason and competence. The teachers union will fight them tooth and nail. Vouchers are a direct threat to the unions corrupt system,. Vouchers or any lessening of the states monopoly on education will destroy the union, they can’t allow that to happen. Unfortunately political power seems to be swinging back to the Democratic party. That may end any attempt to fix education.

Our disfunctual education system is one of many symptoms of a nation in decline. America seem on the course outlined by Gibbons in “The decline and fall of the Roman Empire”. Recognizing while we have made mistakes, we still are the best hope for civilization, may allow us to get off the razor blade of decline. That can’t happen under the present educational monopoly.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Scott?? Could this be true? Any first hand perspective from the bubble. Fail anyone for not speaking truth to power?
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
I used to think that all of this would evaporate when a couple of IEDs showed up on some campus, but I’ve now met enough of the folks who are the product of these "stupidity mills" to know that even then it would be look upon as a Jewish, CIA, NSA or (get this) TIAA-CREF plot.

The ranks of the 9/11, Waco, Rudy Ridge, Jimmy Hoffa, JFK assination, Roswell, Rosenbergs, Pearl Harbor, and Judge Crater truthers are teaming with these folks.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
I used to think that all of this would evaporate when a couple of IEDs showed up on some campus, but I’ve now met enough of the folks who are the product of these "stupidity mills" to know that even then it would be look upon as a Jewish, CIA, NSA or (get this) TIAA-CREF plot.
Again, it’s the same idiots who will be wondering "why do they hate us" as they’re led to the chopping block.

But hey, their world view will change if Barack or Hillary gets in, just you watch. History began with George W. Bush in 2000, and will end with him. Then the next GOP president will start history again and be at fault for all the wrong in the world.

Hell, even Donald Trump fell for this stupidity. And how can we take someone participating in a hair match at Wrestlemania seriously?!?

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
it’s the same idiots who will be wondering "why do they hate us"
Uhh, one might think it a good idea to find out why they hate us.
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
TIAA-CREF
That’s a retirement/savings account management company.

WTF!?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Uhh, one might think it a good idea to find out why they hate us.
You’re not familiar with the significance of that phrase I take it
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
TIAA-CREF ? That’s a retirement/savings account management company.
Yes, I came across a conspiracy theory that combined the CIA, investment bankers (from Morgan Stanley I think), the NYPD, Mossad, the US Air Force and TIAA-CREF, to mention a few as the list was longer.

Seems TIAA-CREF held a large portion of the inventment in the WTC towers, so they had to be in on it, or so the theory went.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Uhh, one might think it a good idea to find out why they hate us.
So, how is it that after hours of study and volumes of graduate thesii, that we still don’t seem to know.

There was a recent poll of Middle Eastern inhabitants that said while they like the idea of Western freedom, they don’t want immorality (MTV, Hollywood etc) of Western culture.

You’d think by now there would be a paper for each inhabitant. Or is this part of that "judges don’t read law journals anymore" (because they don’t have anything useful to add) thing over at Althouse. Each study is rendered useless by it’s release.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
You’re not familiar with the significance of that phrase I take it

Not other than what the plain language would indicate. Is there some other use of it you could point to? It seems like a question that needs answering if we’re, you know, going to get them to stop hating us (or at least will let us know if we’re willing to do what will get them to stop hating us - maybe we won’t, but how can you know unless you answer the question).
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
Ugh, if you’re serious: The phrase "why do they hate us" has become a parody of the following leftist logic:

  1. The United States is always wrong.
  2. The United States has wronged the terrorists.
  3. The terrorists therefore have good reasons to be striking back.
  4. If the American Public could just be made to understand these reasons, they’d understand why they deserved it, and could make the changes necessary to stop making these people hate us.
  5. Such changes consist of, of course, a laundry list of leftist demands that coincidentally the person already believed in anyways.
Similarly for the phrase "root causes".

It is true that in theory, finding out why they hate us could be helpful. However, most people don’t actually make any effort to find out. They already "know", and it’s whatever they already "knew" was wrong with the US. In practice, it’s become useless.

I do believe people on all "sides" have done this, it’s a universal human trait to assume that everybody else is just like you, and that if therefore you are angry at "globalization", so is that Muslim over there.

The other problem is that in the end, root cause analysis is less useful than you think. Anybody with eyes can see that when somebody threatens you with "If you don’t do X, I’ll do Y", that if you actually give them X, the next words out of the threatener’s mouth will not be "Oh, OK then, thanks", but "OK, now if you don’t do Z, I’ll do Y", and they may well do Y anyhow. If it turns out what the terrorists "really want" is the complete and total subjugation of your civilization under theirs, and possibly your complete and total destruction, which I think is a reasonable summary of the Islamist position, who really cares what the root cause is? You can’t make them happy with anything less than your death.

So, in practice, when somebody is asking you to "consider why they hate us", it’s just a code word for "Why aren’t you bright enough to swallow leftist propaganda, which if implemented would make the world a happy wonderland?" This despite the voluminous evidence to the contrary, where ever leftists get their way. (Not least of which is the increasingly-hard-to-ignore complete failure of Multiculturalism, which instead of resolving friction and discord, nurses and rewards it. Guess what the result is?)
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
Words have real meaning, there mutation into “code words” seem more paranoid, then real. I expect the definition of these “code words” were made by those who perceived they were being used by the other side.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Jeremy - I guess I was vaguely aware of all that, and my reaction to shark was (although obviously too cryptic) that his use sarcastic of the phrase gives those on the right an excuse to dismiss the question.
If it turns out what the terrorists "really want" is the complete and total subjugation of your civilization under theirs, and possibly your complete and total destruction, which I think is a reasonable summary of the Islamist position, who really cares what the root cause is?
Well, right, in that case too damn bad. And certainly that is likely the position of some of the Islamists but, I think, hardly a driving force among the great many of them (as if they woke up one day and determined that our destruction was necessary our of the clear blue).

But the flip side, "they hate us for our freedom" is just as ludicrous as the "U.S. is always wrong" position - and reflects a similar lack of thinking (but again, if true, too damn bad). Now, if they hate us for our policy toward the middle east in the post WWII period, my immediate reaction is not going to be "too damn bad." I might end up there, but it’s not going to be my first reaction.

Anyway, I think the question should receive serious thought - despite the use of the phrase by leftists to blame the U.S. and rightists to ignore the question posed.
 
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
Again James, just wander thru most pages that discuss "why they hate us" and I’m sure you’ll see what Bowers means...ICC, Kyoto, Globalization...all the things that Michael Moore ahtes about America, no doubt the Muslims hate too....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Oh damn, I blame America.

When 15 Saudis, from an organisation led by a Saudi, spouting a slight variant of Saudi state religion and quite possibly funded by Saudis crashed some planes into buildings, my first thought was perhaps Saudi Arabia had something to do with this. Haven’t exactly been disproved over the years, though arguments have suggested CIA, NSA, FSB, Mossad or Morgan Stanley were more likely.

America is Saudis ally, as is Britain and protects the royal family. Guilt by association is close enough to attract blame.

Not being a "liberal", I was enthused with the neo-con ideology until it petered out. The invasion of Iraq was meant to be the starting point for a wave of reform to sweep the Middle East. Instead it opened Iraq to fundamentalist preachers and their associated gunmen. It was obvious to me that these were coming from the non-democratic states in the area and that soon they too would be forced to adopt democracy. But they weren’t, no force was applied and neo-cons were swept from power as failures.

America had decided that it was best to accomodate the religious regime in Saudi. Wahhabism was accepted as the price of doing business with Aramco. Oh, I understand it because I think capitalism is the ’bees knees’ and to remove the regime would likely cut the worlds oil production by 25% for 6 - 12 months and cause recession. But pragmatic reality is not quite enough to push aside the blame that lies upon Saudi, lies upon America & Britain.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
1. The United States is always wrong.
2. The United States has wronged the terrorists.
3. The terrorists therefore have good reasons to be striking back.
4. If the American Public could just be made to understand these reasons, they’d understand why they deserved it, and could make the changes necessary to stop making these people hate us.
5. Such changes consist of, of course, a laundry list of leftist demands that coincidentally the person already believed in anyways.
I doubt anybody can seriously believe any of those points. I think one can try to understand the causes and motivations behind terrorism without thinking that the terrorists are right, or that these causes warrant the actions taken. I think one can be critical of American foreign policy without thinking the US to be "always wrong," and in fact to still believe that the US is a bold experiment in liberty and democracy whose best days can still be ahead. I think the American public is smart enough to be able to try to understand the complexity of the Islamic world and terrorism without having to come to the bizarre conclusion that anybody deserves to be hit by a terrorist attack.

The problem with the kind of caricatured version of what the "other" side thinks (and left wing blogs certainly caricature the ’right,’ simply in different ways) is that it becomes so silly that it’s hard for anyone to really take it seriously.

It’s a difficult era, the dawn of globalization, Islam beginning its own potentially violent reformation (most of the fighting is likely to be Muslim vs. Muslim than Islam vs. the West), and potential crises over energy and climate change (whether man made or not). It would be better, I think, to actually talk about the issues and listen to each other rather than call names and caricature.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
But the flip side, "they hate us for our freedom" is just as ludicrous as the "U.S. is always wrong" position - and reflects a similar lack of thinking (but again, if true, too damn bad). Now, if they hate us for our policy toward the middle east in the post WWII period, my immediate reaction is not going to be "too damn bad." I might end up there, but it’s not going to be my first reaction.

Anyway, I think the question should receive serious thought - despite the use of the phrase by leftists to blame the U.S. and rightists to ignore the question posed.


Ugh,

My answer is that they hate us out of envy.

Essentially, they feel that they (moral Muslims) should be the world leaders, not those immoral Westerners. This is amplified by the alure of our "decadent" culture, which represents a clear threat to their culture (hence there is some validity to the "they hate us for our freedom" argument, but I don’t think they would bother to hate us all that much if we were free but culturaly weak).

I think the envy argument explains why Western raised Muslims often are radicalized—they have the superiority of the West in front of them every day, 24/7.


 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I doubt anybody can seriously believe any of those points.


Have you heard of Ward Churchill?
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
My answer is that they hate us out of envy.
That definitely is not the answer. First, most don’t hate us. Second, those that do have a very conservative/traditional view of Islam, where the ulama try to maintain the Sunna of the Prophet, preferably the way that Yathrib (Medina) was ruled back in the time from 622 - 632.

To them the West is a decadent outside force, bringing "sex, drugs and rock and roll" as well as alcohol, promiscuity and materialism into the region, challenging the nature of religious rule until now. Their fear is that average Muslims, who want a better life and aren’t radical or extremist, will choose to give up this kind of definition of Islam and embrace a modern form. They want to avoid an Islamic reformation, they fear the changes taking place. They do see us as taking oil, supporting corrupt (that being non-Islamic by their beliefs) governments and oppose that. But at base they want to protect their power and fight modernism.

They’ll lose, but reformations tend to be bloody. In other words, why they hate us is as much about them as it is about us. Not envy — they don’t want the kind of lifestyle we have. They fear, however, that other Muslims do.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I don’t think they would bother to hate us all that much if we were free but culturaly weak
This would be true except, while we are free, we also are culturally weak. Looking at what passes for American culture, and believing it to be strong, is delusional at it’s best. Islam doesn’t envy western culture, it despises it as hedonistic, materialistic and immoral. Just like Jerry Falwell and the Christian right. We are faced, not with envy, but disdain and contempt.
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Anyway, I think the question should receive serious thought - despite the use of the phrase by leftists to blame the U.S. and rightists to ignore the question posed.
My answer to "why do they hate us" is "who gives a sh*t"?

There’s quite a few things I hate, I’m not flying planes into building over it.

If they hate us, that’s THEIR problem. I fail to see why people who strap suicide vests on kids deserve any consideration whatsoever. Grow up, act like people, not subhuman animals, then we can revisit. And even then, it will probably be tough luck.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Why do they hate us?

Bush says they hate us for our freedoms. This was ridiculed by left.

But as usual, with a little real research, you find stuff like this:

Ayatollah Khomeini:

You, who want freedom, freedom for everything, the freedom of parties, you who want all the freedoms, you intellectuals: freedom that will corrupt our youth, freedom that will pave the way for the oppressor, freedom that will drag our nation to the bottom.

Hmmmm, seems like Bush might be right *GASP*
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
First, most don’t hate us. Second, those that do have a very conservative/traditional view of Islam, where the ulama try to maintain the Sunna of the Prophet, preferably the way that Yathrib (Medina) was ruled back in the time from 622 - 632.
First, most do not matter as they are repressed masses. Second, those that do are respected scholars (or employ respected scholars) able to illuminate the past as a reference to assist with the continued submission to their authority.
Their fear is that average Muslims, who want a better life and aren’t radical or extremist, will choose to give up this kind of definition of Islam and embrace a modern form.
They do not get to choose, they are repressed through the use of repressive force.
They’ll lose, but reformations tend to be bloody. In other words, why they hate us is as much about them as it is about us.

They’ll win, because they have unlimited resources (oil wealth) to pay for the repressive force needed to win. They fear us because we have the resources to fight their repression.
Not envy — they don’t want the kind of lifestyle we have.
No f*%king kidding. The lifestyle of your run-of-the-mill despot exceeds totally in every single respect the freedom enjoyed by any westerner. Bill Gates doesn’t have an all female bodyguard, Prince Charles does not get to import ex-Miss Worlds for sex cruising, Bill Clinton did not get starved children to train for months to show paegents glorifying his life that he might or might not attend on a whim, but Gaddafi, the Sultans brother and Kim il-Jung do. They do not envy our freedom, they fear they might lose theirs.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
The quran tells Muslims that they are the most powerful faith on the planet, and by being devout they will dominate every nation.

Yet they can’t. In America we ignore their beliefs (such as oppressing women, murdering all non-believers, other things like that), and yet we overpower their culture. So their outrage is certainly based on envy. Despite the fact that our culture is soft and weak, we still get more attention than them.

Besides the fact that they are jealous of us kafirs for being more successful than them, there is still one more important reason why they hate us:

They are completely irrational lunatics.

When someone has a problem with your behavior, the rational response might be to discuss the problem, maybe lob some sanctions at them or whatever. When you threaten death right from the start, then trying to understand their "root causes" is just mental masturbation. No one should really be impressed by that. Unless you are a hot chick, then yeah I will watch just as long as you never open your mouth to speak. :(
 
Written By: Josh
URL: http://
They are completely irrational lunatics.
Because of such uninformed views on Islam I have taken to incorporating basic information on the history and teachings of Islam into a number of my courses. The fact is that the Koran forbids wars of aggression and demands that followers do not fight if the other side does not want to fight. Jihad is much like just war theory in its various rules, and the ’greater jihad’ is to fight the fight of faith and remain true to the way of life of moral purity. Terrorism is clearly forbidden in the Koran.

But, just like Christians in the crusades and the "convert or die" mentality of the Christian conquistadors, many extremists manage to take verses and twist them. Just like you can find God in the Old Testament supporting mass executions of innocents, you can find passages of the Koran which, taken out of context, can be used in inspire Islamophobia. Anti-Islam bigotry is no better than anti-Christian bigotry. The Koran can be used to promote good or to promote evil, as can the Bible or virtually any religious teaching. The sooner people stop with the kind of simplistic dehumanization of the other side with bigotted views about their religion and tackle the real issue — namely assuring that moderates come out ahead of extremists — the better. Islam is here to stay. It’s the world’s fastest growing religion and certainly cannot be defeated. But it isn’t inherently aggressive, and there is a reform movement in the Islamic world.

I strongly recommend the book No God but God by Reza Aslan. Don’t get your knowledge of Islam from right wing web sites and pundits. For much of history the Islamic world was far more tolerant and cosmpolitan than the Christian world, but the Christian world underwent modernization after 1600. That’s what the Islamic world is going through now. It’s better to support that, then to simply fall into the trap of hating what is different.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Because of such uninformed views on Islam I have taken to incorporating basic information on the history and teachings of Islam into a number of my courses. The fact is that the Koran forbids wars of aggression and demands that followers do not fight if the other side does not want to fight. Jihad is much like just war theory in its various rules, and the ’greater jihad’ is to fight the fight of faith and remain true to the way of life of moral purity. Terrorism is clearly forbidden in the Koran
So what? It doesn’t seem to matter, does it
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
For much of history the Islamic world was far more tolerant and cosmpolitan than the Christian world, but the Christian world underwent modernization after 1600.
Bullsh!t. Letting people live if they pay the dhimmit tax is not my idea of tolerant, anymore than killing them if they don’t convert is.
That’s what the Islamic world is going through now. It’s better to support that, then to simply fall into the trap of hating what is different.
You know, I don’t hate the difference until it leads them to try to kill people, and it’s lead enough of them to try to kill people that the burden is on the ummah to show they are opposed enough to the Jihadis that the ummah is part of the solution and not the problem.

As immoderate as they are, CAIR, is the truest face of the moslem world. Truest as in largest amd most accepted, and seen as a good intercessor for Moslems and the rest of the country.

The best way to support the modernization of the Islamic world is by killing jihadists, by ignoring the plaints of the "flying imams", and requiring burkas/veils to be removed when drivers license photos are taken/identities must be known.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Bullsh!t. Letting people live if they pay the dhimmit tax is not my idea of tolerant, anymore than killing them if they don’t convert is.
Saying "you can be part of our community if you pay an extra tax" is the moral equivalent of "convert to our faith or die?" I can’t agree with your perspective there!

The best way to support the modernization of the Islamic world is by killing jihadists, by ignoring the plaints of the "flying imams", and requiring burkas/veils to be removed when drivers license photos are taken/identities must be known.
The problem, I think, with "killing jihadists" is that if the process kills a large number of innocents, that will just create anger and emotion, and increase the ranks of the jihadists. The more you kill, the more there will be! Better to have military options as part of a larger strategy that takes into account diplomatic, economic, and cultural factors.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
First, most don’t hate us.
Who said they did?
To them the West is a decadent outside force, bringing "sex, drugs and rock and roll" as well as alcohol, promiscuity and materialism into the region, challenging the nature of religious rule until now. Their fear is that average Muslims, who want a better life and aren’t radical or extremist, will choose to give up this kind of definition of Islam and embrace a modern form.
I agree to some extent.
They want to avoid an Islamic reformation, they fear the changes taking place. They do see us as taking oil, supporting corrupt (that being non-Islamic by their beliefs) governments and oppose that. But at base they want to protect their power and fight modernism.
It is hard to envision an Islamic reformation, and it isn’t clear to me that they are afraid of that; the model they see in the West is essentially a secular model, not an example of reformation.

The oil/corrupt government argument is shallow rationalization on their part (and on the part of the Western left). It isn’t a reason for anything, but it is an excuse for a lot of things.
They’ll lose, but reformations tend to be bloody. In other words, why they hate us is as much about them as it is about us. Not envy — they don’t want the kind of lifestyle we have. They fear, however, that other Muslims do.
Of course they don’t want our lifestyle. Envy does not require that they want to be us. They envy our power and cultural success. They don’t want to be us, but they do envy us, and they resent the fact that Muslims have emerged as a weak culture compared to the decadent West.

Envy is the best single word answer. In their view, Islam should be dominant, yet it is in fact dominated by decadent Western secular cultures.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The fact is that the Koran forbids wars of aggression and demands that followers do not fight if the other side does not want to fight.
The Mecca verses were peaceful, the early Medina verses were balanced, and the late Madina verses were bloodthirsty (i.e., peaceful when weak, warlike when powerful). And perhaps more importantly, the life of The Profit was filled with violence and murder.
But, just like Christians in the crusades and the "convert or die" mentality of the Christian conquistadors, many extremists manage to take verses and twist them.
Perhaps you need to review what lead up to the Crusades and the conquistadors . . .
I strongly recommend the book No God but God by Reza Aslan. Don’t get your knowledge of Islam from right wing web sites and pundits.
Another book I can avoid.

Don’t get your knowledge of Islam from left wing liers like Juan Cole.
For much of history the Islamic world was far more tolerant and cosmpolitan than the Christian world, but the Christian world underwent modernization after 1600.
No, that is simply false. It ebbed and flowed, with Muslims behaving better in some cases and Christians in others, but it varied in time and place, and the Muslims were never "far more tolerant . . ."
That’s what the Islamic world is going through now.
Not much sign of that dude . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The Mecca verses were peaceful, the early Medina verses were balanced, and the late Madina verses were bloodthirsty (i.e., peaceful when weak, warlike when powerful). And perhaps more importantly, the life of The Profit was filled with violence and murder.
Arab culture at the time was exceedingly violent and sexist. Mohammad was a social reformer, poet and warrior whom the Meccans had tried to kill and destroy — and he ultimately converted them and was gracious (unlike Arab custom) in victory. He seemed to desire to civilize and unite Arab culture, and the Koran weds Arab history to Judeo-Christian history at the point of Abraham.

But the Bible is bloodthirsty and filled with violence and murder in places, and not in other places. Religions can be used by humans for great good, or great evil. There can be peaceful, tolerant Islam, or violent extremist Islam (or any religion, really — Gandhi was killed by a Hindu extremist).

The crusades were driven primarily by internal European politics. When the Christians took Jerusalem they said "convert or die," and slaughtered masses. When the Muslims took it back, they were far more humane and did not extract revenge. The Muslim civilization was more advanced and tolerant than the Christian West for centuries. Then the West found science and modernism, zoomed past the Muslim world, and the rule of the Ottomans entrenched the power of the ulama for tradition over change (there were efforts to rationalize Islam and undercut the traditional role of the ulama earlier on) because it served the political needs of the empire.

The violence and especially the mistreatment of women come from interpretations in the Hadiths, and many believe that these stories of sayings and actions attributed to Muhammad were often people afterwards bringing back in traditional Arab customs.

Islam is going through a transformation being forced on it at a pace even more fast and intense than the transformation experienced in the West from 1500 - 1700. We can’t simply treat Islam as an enemy and defeat it, that is impossible. We have to recognize that religions are what people make them to be, and that means they reflect cultural and social norms. These are in rapid transition in much of the Muslim world, and that of course will lead to periods of radicalism, extremism and violence.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Arab culture at the time was exceedingly violent and sexist.
Was?
Mohammad was a social reformer, poet and warrior whom the Meccans had tried to kill and destroy — and he ultimately converted them and was gracious (unlike Arab custom) in victory.
When he was in Mecca they could have killed him. They let him go, after all. They attempted to kill him when he was raiding their caravans, leading to a battle he won despite odds.

As far as gracious—ask the Qurayzah Jews.
But the Bible is bloodthirsty and filled with violence and murder in places, and not in other places.
Yes, in the Old Testament, and with specific targets in mind. Not a general call to kill those who don’t submit . . .
The crusades were driven primarily by internal European politics. When the Christians took Jerusalem they said "convert or die," and slaughtered masses. When the Muslims took it back, they were far more humane and did not extract revenge.
The Crusades started due to a request for help from the Byzantine empire. Certainly many internal European factors played into them, but at heart they were a defensive war against an agressive enemy that had been conquering Christian lands.

The humaine Muslim behaviour as Jerusalam was the result of Saladin (a Kurd). The Crusades displayed horrific behaviour on both sides.
The Muslim civilization was more advanced and tolerant than the Christian West for centuries.


Historical revisionism.
The violence and especially the mistreatment of women come from interpretations in the Hadiths,
And the Koran.
and many believe that these stories of sayings and actions attributed to Muhammad were often people afterwards bringing back in traditional Arab customs.
Right—ignore the parts you want to ignore.

Did Mo or did he not have the Qurayzah Jews murdered (well, excpet those raped and enslaved).

Did Mo or did he not marry a little girl?
Islam is going through a transformation being forced on it at a pace even more fast and intense than the transformation experienced in the West from 1500 - 1700.


The West found its way through on its own. Islam is kicking and screaming trying to stay in the past. Moderate Muslims seem to keep a very low profile.
We can’t simply treat Islam as an enemy and defeat it, that is impossible.
Well, actually we probably could (although I’m not recommending that).
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
When he was in Mecca they could have killed him. They let him go, after all. They attempted to kill him when he was raiding their caravans, leading to a battle he won despite odds.

As far as gracious—ask the Qurayzah Jews.
Most Jewish groups he worked with and allied with. One tribe he was brutal against, but that wasn’t because he was Jewish but because they betrayed him to the Meccans. They wanted to kill him in 622 when he snuck out (much to the anger of the Meccans).

As for the Crusades, the fact that the Muslim in charge was Kurdish really doesn’t alter anything — it just shows that the religion, like Christianity, can be taken in positive directions as well as negative. Bottom line: the Muslims treated Christians better than Christians treated Muslims.

He was faithful to his wife, a successful businesswoman, until her death. Then he married for political reasons. When he married an underage girl he waited until she was older to consumate the marriage — that was Arab custom at the time.

And, of course, King David of Israel sent a man to die in battle because he wanted to have sex with his wife. We can find lots of stories about religious figures. The fact is that Islam is neither inherently bad or good, and most Muslims (and I have many Muslim friends) are kind, tolerant, and caring — as are most Christians. Anti-Americanism is strong in the Mideast, but we’ve been bombing and killing people there, and they see the pictures of dead innocents, and of course if an outside invader comes in aggressively and seems to want to control your resources there will be a negative reaction. That’s pretty obvious. The fact some Americans don’t understand that, or seem to think that it’s somehow ’hating America’ to note that obvious fact is a bit silly.

Both sides have reasons for their views of the other; the key is to find ways to pursue our mutual self-interest and not sink into a war which would certainly end America’s era of global dominance.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
As for the Crusades, the fact that the Muslim in charge was Kurdish really doesn’t alter anything —it just shows that the religion, like Christianity, can be taken in positive directions as well as negative.
My primary point was that it was the act of an individual, the Muslims did not always behave so well. The Kurdish point was that other cultural traits besides religion may have altered the decesion making.
Bottom line: the Muslims treated Christians better than Christians treated Muslims.
Yes, in the particular instance.
He was faithful to his wife, a successful businesswoman, until her death. Then he married for political reasons.
He didn’t rack up a long list of wives until after leaving Mecca. His wives piled up along with the agressiveness of the Koran as his power grew.
When he married an underage girl he waited until she was older to consumate the marriage — that was Arab custom at the time.
Yeah, he waited until she was 9 . . .
And, of course, King David of Israel sent a man to die in battle because he wanted to have sex with his wife.
IIRC, God wasn’t pleased.

In Judeo-Christian faith, King David is a flawed man. Muslims seem to view The Profit as perfect . . .
Anti-Americanism is strong in the Mideast, but we’ve been bombing and killing people there, and they see the pictures of dead innocents, and of course if an outside invader comes in aggressively and seems to want to control your resources there will be a negative reaction. That’s pretty obvious. The fact some Americans don’t understand that, or seem to think that it’s somehow ’hating America’ to note that obvious fact is a bit silly.
It is clear in places such as Iraq that we are not seizing the oil; we treat civilians well; we feed starving Muslims in Somolia, and so on. In fact, to a significant degree their tactics assume that we will behave in a civilized manner. Even our worst enemies know we behave well.

On the other hand, when Syria takes out a small city using brutal methods to crack down on a few members of the MB, well, no one cares. Arabs can kill Arabs all they want—it doesn’t matter. No one cares. Jordan can crack down on the Palestinians, then the resulting Black Septemember kills—Jews?

It is only when Westerners and Jews kill Muslims that it becomes an issue.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Saying "you can be part of our community if you pay an extra tax" is the moral equivalent of "convert to our faith or die?"
There is no moral equivalent in this. Allowing unbelievers to live by paying a tax is far more moral then the Christian “convert or die” . Jews in Spain during the Moorish rule lived a good life. When the Christians drove the Moores out, Jews either converted or were killed. You tell me, which were moral rulers, the Moores or the Christians?
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
"When he married an underage girl he waited until she was older to consumate the marriage — that was Arab custom at the time."

Yeah, he waited until she was 9 . . .
No, he married when she was nine, I think the Arab custom (which he followed) was to wait until she was 15 or so.

It is clear in places such as Iraq that we are not seizing the oil; we treat civilians well; we feed starving Muslims in Somolia, and so on. In fact, to a significant degree their tactics assume that we will behave in a civilized manner. Even our worst enemies know we behave well.
No, those things are not at all clear to people in the Mideast. They believe we’re there because of oil (after all, we didn’t care about Rwanda). And the media in the Mideast is full of stories — many of them probably false — about American atrocities. We’re seen as using technology to deliver our cruelty in a way that kills more but doesn’t engage us as much. Look, Don, I’m not waying we’re bad — we’re not. We have high moral values, and every one I know in the military is a very honorable good man or woman. But we can’t fool ourselves — what we see in ourselves is NOT what others, especially those in the Arab world, see in us. I think we have to confront how others see us, even if it is not how we really are. We have to deal with that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
the rule of the Ottomans entrenched the power of the ulama for tradition over change (there were efforts to rationalize Islam and undercut the traditional role of the ulama earlier on) because it served the political needs of the empire.
Exactly and it remains entrenched. Top down rule under the guise of Islam. First thing to understand about the Muslim world is that the majority of Muslims are completely powerless non-entities, they do not matter. It ain’t no democracy.
The fact is that Islam is neither inherently bad or good, and most Muslims (and I have many Muslim friends) are kind, tolerant, and caring
...and irrelevent and powerless. The general nature of humanity is not in dispute, nor relevent. What is in question is the nature of the Islamic world.
You tell me, which were moral rulers, the Moores or the Christians?
The difference between the Muslim world and the West is the despotism of the Muslim world. This makes any discussion as to if despots calling upon the righteousness of God were worse or better than despots calling upon the righteousness of Allah a pointless spurious debate, both are inherently flawed.
Islam is going through a transformation being forced on it at a pace even more fast and intense than the transformation experienced in the West from 1500 - 1700. We can’t simply treat Islam as an enemy and defeat it, that is impossible. We have to recognize that religions are what people make them to be, and that means they reflect cultural and social norms. These are in rapid transition in much of the Muslim world, and that of course will lead to periods of radicalism, extremism and violence.
We can treat each despotic society as an evil stain upon the world. That these rely upon the righteousness of Allah does not make them any more relevent than those who relied on the rightousness of God and we got rid of them. To destroy their power requires attacking traditional Islam, because it is a large part of their powerbase.

Scott Erb says it is inevitable that they will fail and be overthrown by some mystical transformation. This will not happen - for the despots have wealth and faith - they will crush any reform. Either the faith or the wealth must be removed and to be honest we need the oil way too much to stop buying it, so we attempt to remove the faith.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/

Scott Erb says it is inevitable that they will fail and be overthrown by some mystical transformation. This will not happen - for the despots have wealth and faith - they will crush any reform. Either the faith or the wealth must be removed and to be honest we need the oil way too much to stop buying it, so we attempt to remove the faith.
Inevitable is too strong; I’m showing my faith in the allure of modernism. Despots can only crush reform so long, especially in a globalizing world. But like the transformation in Europe, it might be a long, violent struggle.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Arab culture at the time was exceedingly violent and sexist."

As opposed to the present pacific and enlightened culture where men and women are equal.


"Then the West found science and modernism,"

Found? Pure accident, eh? Probably instantaneous, too.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Iran has had 3000 years of despotism which is an eternity, especially so compared to the brevity of democratic modernism. Only "so long" is a very long time, despotic regimes are stable - unless they are pushed, but you argue against pushing.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
There is no allure to the despot, to become Western is for him to become less free, less powerful, less respected and even less loved.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
We can treat each despotic society as an evil stain upon the world. That these rely upon the righteousness of Allah does not make them any more relevent than those who relied on the rightousness of God and we got rid of them
Are you sure. You never know when to expect “The Spanish Inquisition.” There are Christians who are as fanatic as the jihadist. Jim Jones, David Koresh, Father Conklyn, America has had its share of Christian fanatics. “You never ask questions when GOD’s on your side”
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
Scott Erb says it is inevitable that they will fail and be overthrown by some mystical transformation.
The instant transformation occurs when they become worm food. Despots always have to look over their shoulder. They never know what is creeping up on them. It could be an ambitious underling, a rival political power, their wife, or the grim reaper. The seat on the throne is a dangerous and restless one
 
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
James - from Heinlein to Monty Python, LOL.
The instant transformation occurs when they become worm food. Despots always have to look over their shoulder.
Look over their shoulder for the next despot, the despotism continues.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
Iran has had 3000 years of despotism which is an eternity,
If you’re going to make that claim, then really before the 1800s just about every place in the world had some form of despotism for thousands of years. Of course, sparsely populated tribal areas with less technology couldn’t be described as despotic, but Persia’s history is pretty varied as well.

I’m not as pessimistic as you are. Iran actually started to move towards democracy early in the 20th century. Reza Shah’s rule in the twenties and thirties tried to mirror a lot of the reforms Ataturk undertook in Turkey. Iran had a very active effort at democracy after WWII, culminating with Mossadeq’s efforts to modernize the economy and control oil. Unfortunately outside intervention replaced that democracy with another form of despotism, but the rule of the Shah was at least focused on modernization and development. Now they have a functioning semi-democracy, "despotism" cannot describe Iran today. But they are not a full democracy and the Guardian Council retains the ability to intervene and guide politics. Still, they found it hard to fight the modernizing of the culture, and Ahmadinejad’s victory is probably a short term reaction to the American invasion of Iraq rather than a sign of a long term trend. I tend to be more optimistic about Iran in the future; they are the natural regional power, their population has had a couple generations of reform and modernization, and I don’t think the population wants to move backwards.

 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Think almost all places were ruled without representative government up until the mid 20th century.

Iran has a government where representives are selected by an unelected body and may be removed by an unelected leader. Iran has law which criminalises the criticism of the leader or the revolutionary bodies. The regime at its founding killed off thousands of unionists and socialists, as well as those loyal to the previous despot. The state imprisons and tortures those who attempt reform. The ruling Islamists operate armed groups directly under their control, independent and unheeding of civil authority. They are despotic by almost every measure.

Khatami was elected in 1997 as a reformer, he changed nothing. The will of the people was rejected by the regime and there is nothing they can do about it. The wants and abilities of the population of Iran are two very different things. They may want to have an open society or they might want to ride a unicycle to the moon, neither are within their power.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Iran has a government where representives are selected by an unelected body and may be removed by an unelected leader. Iran has law which criminalises the criticism of the leader or the revolutionary bodies. The regime at its founding killed off thousands of unionists and socialists, as well as those loyal to the previous despot. The state imprisons and tortures those who attempt reform. The ruling Islamists operate armed groups directly under their control, independent and unheeding of civil authority. They are despotic by almost every measure.
I disagree — compared to most states in the region, they have real democratic institutions. They aren’t a true democracy, but then again, we had slavery for the first 80 years of our democracy! The Majles passes most laws, there are contested elections, and those supported by the Guardian Council often lose. Moreover the Council of Experts is chosen in an election, and the hardliners lost a lot of clout in the last one (assuring pretty much that the next Supreme Leader, chosen by that Council, won’t be from the hard line camp.) It’s limited in the scope of democracy, but clearly not despotism.
Khatami was elected in 1997 as a reformer, he changed nothing. The will of the people was rejected by the regime and there is nothing they can do about it. The wants and abilities of the population of Iran are two very different things. They may want to have an open society or they might want to ride a unicycle to the moon, neither are within their power.
Again, I disagree. Iranian society liberalized considerably from 1980 to 2003, and that slow progress was likely to continue. Sooner or later they’d have faced a moment of truth, wherein either the hardliners would try to stop the steady erosion of their authority or choose to curtail their power. But Iran is actually one of the more promising political systems in the region — which is less praise for Iran than criticism of most Mideast states. Afghanistan and Iraq may also end up having promising systems, but they need to first establish their government.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I disagree — compared to most states in the region, they have real democratic institutions. They aren’t a true democracy, but then again, we had slavery for the first 80 years of our democracy!
The difference being that those participating in those 80 years had almost limitless power to change the law, whilst those participating in Iranian elections have very limited power. The USA had scope to reform, Iran does not.

The Majlis is the legislative body, but the unelected Guardian Council & Supreme Leader have unfettered right of veto - law passed is not law enacted (for example a law conferring equal rights of inheritence on women was passed in 2004 and vetoed). Those enjoying support of the Guardian Council do sometimes lose, but those banned by the Guardian Council never win. The Council of Experts consist entirely of experts in Koranic law who are vetted by the Guardian Council and the leader is not likely to die and will not be removed. There will be further elections before a new Supreme Leader is chosen, elections in which the Guardian Council will (as before) allow the public to choose between those experts the Guardians like and those they really like.
Again, I disagree. Iranian society liberalized considerably from 1980 to 2003, and that slow progress was likely to continue. Sooner or later they’d have faced a moment of truth, wherein either the hardliners would try to stop the steady erosion of their authority or choose to curtail their power.

their economy and culture have been situation has been effected by globalisation. This external influence has provided the people of Iran with images of lifestyle to aspire to, aspirations that remain unobtainable. The actions of the people of Iran are constrained under the rule of the Islamist despots. There has been no erosion of the hardliners power, as the checks they place on democracy are solid. They have no reason or wish to curtail their power.
But Iran is actually one of the more promising political systems in the region — which is less praise for Iran than criticism of most Mideast states.
I totally agree. The Iranians particpate in their elections and see the effectiveness of the action within the narrow scope the Majlis is allowed to operate. If the Despotism could be removed it is probable that the Iranians could function as a free & democratic state.
Afghanistan and Iraq may also end up having promising systems, but they need to first establish their government.
Again, agree.




 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I know what you are saying and it would be nice to be that optimistic. Thinking that Iranians want to progress is probably correct, but there is no legitimised path for them to do so. In the absense of external meddling it is not just going to "be a long, violent struggle", it will be a futile struggle.

Rebelling against the king was difficult in Europe, yet in Europe the king needed the cooperation of the people as it was the work of the people that generated the wealth, oil baron despots require no such income. Kings of old ruled in competition with other kings and external interference was the norm. Other countries in Europe progressed and as they progressed their ability to interfere grew and they exercised this ability. Progression of the populace was seen as a neccessary evil for the kings as they needed to keep up with the other countries, to avoid being made a subsidiary state. All reform was based on the competitive interference of European states.

Take away the possibility of interference in the affairs of the despots and they will quite happily keep going.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
No, he married when she was nine, I think the Arab custom (which he followed) was to wait until she was 15 or so.
Scott,

According to Wiki:
The hadith collections of Bukhari (d. 870) and Muslim b. al-Hajjaj (d. 875) are in general regarded as the most authentic by Sunni Muslims. Both quote Aisha herself claiming she was six or seven at the time of her marriage and nine when the marriage was consummated.


 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Hi Don — A couple sources I have said differently, but I’ve done more investigating and there seems to be a lot of evidence for your claim, so while we can’t know for sure (and clearly the Hadiths cannot be trusted completely), what you wrote has more support than what I wrote.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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