Re: This War Is Not About Terror, But About Islam (Article)

From: Alex F. Bokov (
Date: Wed Oct 10 2001 - 11:39:48 MDT


On Tue, 9 Oct 2001, Samantha Atkins wrote:

> This is an utterly off-the-wall question. Nothing in the very
> legitimate points I raised justifies any raising of "cultural
> relativism" at all. I am amazed that such would be raised in
> response. I would prefer that the country I live in have a
> greater
> percentage of people who can actually think and are willing to
> look
> at sides of an issue objectively without knee-jerk positioning.

I'm just trying to cut to the chase, and I'll never get there unless I
read between the lines and then make the implicit explicit. As I see
it, there are people who always only say nice things about the USA.
The are brainwashed and I will not discuss them any further here. What
I'm interested in is what separates the reaining two groups-- those
who sometimes support and sometimes criticize the USA and those who
only criticize it. So, if I was asked this question, I would answer "I
would prefer to live in a secular country, and I wish the government
of the country I now inhabit was even more secular than it is."

I don't blame you for refusing to answer this question, though,
because it may force you into a painful contradiction. To answer as I
did, you'd be admitting that the so-called American Way of Life is
better for you than, say, the Afghanistani Way of Life or even the
Saudi Way of Life. On the other hand, you can't say that you'd rather
live under an Islamic theocracy, because their values are the
diametrical opposite of your own Western, post|modern, Liberal
values. On a practical level, you would also find yourself deprived of
the many freedoms you as a Westerner take for granted or even seek to

The reason I asked the question is basically to establish some
framework for understanding where you are coming from, and which of
your core values takes priority when it gets down to brass tacks.

> I would prefer not to be exploited at all. And I would prefer
> that world powers keep their hands off of my own country in any
> case. I would especially prefer they not undermine its
> government (if legitimately elected at least) and not bomb its
> territory any time they believe it might be in their interest to
> do so without due process.

Wouldn't we all. We'll never be sure that the US government has
stopped its exploitation because 1) it's more than happy to lie in
order to win our support and 2) its enemies are more than happy to lie
in order to deprive it of our support. As long as governments exist
power will be distributed neither in accordance with egalitarian
principles nor with meritocratic ones, so all we get to choose is who
exploits us. So, where on the selfish imperialists vs. oppressed but
itching to become the oppressor scale would your ideal place to live

> > Why is it that it's okay to criticize the excesses of Christianity, but not
> > those of Islam? Religion is religion is a crutch for the weak at best a
> > virulent meme disease at worst.
> It is always ok to criticize. It is not OK to conflate the
> actions of some extremist elements with the entire religion and
> all of its practictioners. The latter is prejudice and sloppy
> (and very dangerous) thinking.

I just don't remember ever seeing you taking pains to defend the good
name of moderate Christians when someone flames the Christian fundies.
Given that until recently anti-Christian flames were far more
frequent, this disparity is puzzling. I could be wrong, though, and if
so I apologize.

- --

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