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Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Culture Wars

I'm sure a lot of other people are as amazed and daunted as I am regarding the western reaction to the Pope's speech at Regensburg. I think Betsy Newmark expressed my attitude best in her post entitled This Pope Is A Brave Man. She begins:
He must be doing something right because he has the New York Times angry at him for even broaching conflicts between Christians and Muslims.
And she continues:
The NYT now has joined the ranks of Muslim leaders around the world who have demanded an apology. But what they are all doing, the New York Times, is ignoring the full depth of his speech. He is trying to engage the world in a dialogue about the concept of forced conversions and spreading faith by the swowrd. ... Recently, we just saw the forced conversion of two Fox News reporters and no one in the Muslim world seemed too upset about that picture of Christians being forced at the point of the gun to deny their faith.
It sounds as if this Pope has decided that he must throw his moral weight behind the battle against the use of violence in religion's name.
It's a worthy cause. I think what so disturbs me about the NY Times article is that it perfectly exemplifies the attitudes of those who want to somehow sweep the problem of violent, aggressive Islamist groups under the rug. It's not that they don't believe that these groups are violent and aggressive. They absolutely believe that they are violent and aggressive, which is why they argue that we should remain silent so as not to provoke them.

My problem with this "solution" is that people who refuse to deal with reality eventually end up subject to people who not only deal with reality but desire to shape that reality. The attitude of the NY Times is exactly what the likes of Al Qaeda, Edgy Adji and Saddam Hussein count on to achieve their goals. (I don't believe Saddam Hussein was ever truly Muslim, but he did get heavy into building mosques and paying the families of suicide bombers in order to draft off those who were.) The last time the democracies followed the NY Times' recipe for peace, tens of millions of people died in a preventable conflict we now call WWII. I don't want to repeat this error.

Pope Benedict XVI also is arguing for peace and for a dialogue between cultures, but he is arguing for that dialogue to be conducted on the basis of reality. It would seem that history favors the papal approach here, because I cannot think of a time when the other has ever worked. It also seems to me that being wiling to speak as the Pope did is the only way in which we can have a real dialogue. The NY Times seems to believe we can negotiate while being unable to identify the sources of our differences, and I cannot think of any time in history in which that has worked. The NY Times is apparently advocating that western leaders, newspapers and the people themselves should behave as if they have already been conquered by a violent strain of Islam, and censure their speech accordingly. Is that even sane?

Benedict seems to have laid out in one stroke the moral and intellectual crisis in the west, which has nothing to do with Islam at all. The west has the power right now to end any possible threat emanating from Muslim populations in the ME or in our own countries. However, our ethics dictate that we should not do so, and these ethics are based on moral principles that for many of us stem from faith, and for many others of us derive from philosophy. In arguing for full inclusion of these principles in western intellectual life, Benedict is also defending the right of Muslims to be Muslims in the west, just as he is defending the right of atheists to be atheists, and Christians to be Christians. He is also defending common sense, which is in short supply in many politically correct corners (warning, this is a highly disturbing link).

To me the idea of the essential freedom of human conscience is a necessary principle for any sane society, and it is also clear to me that Pope Benedict XVI has brought to the fore the worst threat to Muslims in the west. That threat is the possibility that the west would accept the NY Times and CAIR's idea that Muslim ideas and ethics could not be debated, which would completely unfit Muslims from participation in political life. Our political and social freedoms are based on the idea that we are all subject to questioning.

Try to imagine an American of Arab extraction and the Muslim faith ever getting elected if his opponents could not openly query his loyalty to American ideals and the Constitution. Silence causes distrust and suspicion. If CAIR wants to impose a public censureship about the worry with which Americans are now feeling about Islam, then no Muslim will ever get a chance to accurately define to the American public what Islam is to him- or herself.

I am deeply disturbed by the growing the swell of support for cancelling out freedom of religion in the US with regard to Muslims. Our country would not survive such a thing. I'm sure that the NY Times is no longer capable of calling anything by its right name, but Muslims such as Big Pharoah are. The irony is that many Muslims are arguing for the openness and inquiry of which Pope Benedict XVI spoke, and the NY Times seems to be arguing implicitly for a policy of strict de facto segregation paired with public censorship, which would inevitably result in the death of freedom in the United States.

I trust Pope Benedict XVI to call him as he sees them, and I trust Big Pharoah and Muslims I have known. But I think the NY Times is the enemy of my Muslim friends. It presumes them violent and incapable of civilized, reasoned discourse, and they are not. There are some Muslims who stand for hatred and killing in the pursuit of power, that's true. There are others who don't. There are some Christians who stand for hatred and killing. Darned few, but that's because our country is strong enough to oppose them. There are atheists (most specifically, the communist atheists who have killed millions upon millions in their search for a utopia) who jave racked up the world record for ideologically motivated mass murder.

Hatred and killing is a human problem. There will, at times, be religions and political movements based on hatred and killing in the pursuit of power. But there can never, ever be a society based on something other than the principle that "might makes right" which refuses to rebuke and openly debate those who seek power through violence. IMO the type of Islam that's a threat to the world today is not a religion but a political party. I fail to see why we should not debate it, and all of its precepts, and no threat by anybody is going to make me believe that shutting up is going to save lives.

I'm sure the idiots at the NY Times, who could not stand to print Jeffrey Stark's words about dying for freedom, also hated it when political leaders openly pointed out the evils of communism. Eventually, the US people rebelled against that, and in the process, took down the Soviet Union without a war. We should all remember that Ronald Reagan's "evil empire" is now no more. Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI's speech will someday have its rightful place in the history books as marking the beginning of the end of western idiocy regarding the Islam of the Caliphate.

See Shrinkwrapped's Liberalism and Aggression. The NY Times' brand of liberalism strikes me as being like one of those tiny little dogs that is so terrified it is always making the choice between peeing on itself, hiding under the couch or biting any visitor to the house. Each response is driven by a fear so overwhelming that it prevents the dog from assessing the true intents of the visitor.

The NY Times' brand of liberalism strikes me as being like one of those tiny little dogs that is so terrified it is always making the choice between peeing on itself, hiding under the couch or biting any visitor to the house.

And a fight to the death between such a yapping, vibrating, hide-under-the-couch, pee-all-over-the-floor lapdog and a wild jackal fresh off the Arabian deserts howling "ALLAHU AKBAR!" can have only one outcome.
New Pope Shows Spine
Islamonazi CAIR Is Not Impressed

http://www.terrorfreeoil.org/videos/MS091506.php - video

Please Call The Vatican Embassy In Washington, DC at (202) 333-7121 to Express Your Support!
Well done. You have cleared the air MOM.

To call for the death of the Pope (and Christians in general) because he pointed out--indirectly and with a highly deferential apology--that Islam has routinely produced some extremely violent movements is nonsensical on its face. If it's not true, then calling for violence in retaliation is paradoxical, (i.e., making it true). And if it--that is, the Pope's assertion--is true, as it appears to be, then the reaction on the part of extremist Muslims can only be explained by extreme immaturity and irrationality: the bully who cannot accept responsibility for reality.

Again, well done.
Great post. Of course the media is getting the so called apology all wrong also. So frustrating. Well the NYT as well as the rest of that crowd wants the Pope and all Christians for that matter just to go back to the catecombs and be quiet. They share that common goal with the extremist
Anon - Exactly!

Terror-Free - I think Benedict XVI showed not only spine, but courageous wisdom.

KM - that's it exactly. They are bullies. But "they" are most surely not all Muslims, and I think the Pope showed an appropriate faith in human reason by speaking as he did. Aren't those who claim he's throwing kerosene on the flames assuming that all Muslims are deranged? I know for a fact that this is NOT so.

Pondering - yes, they may want the Christians in the catacombs, but I doubt they wish to be there with them. They are working toward exactly that end.

It was very clear to me that the Pope said he regretted the reaction, and not his speech. Well, I regret the reaction too - but I still think the speech was superb.
"they may want the Christians in the catacombs, but I doubt they wish to be there with them"...dunno..there is a very strong strain of nihilism on the left, coexisting with the naivite.

As the now-defunct Italian blogger Joy of Knitting put it, there are a lot of people who want to dance on the ruins.
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