Sunday, September 19, 2010

Islam Is As Bad As We Think

Nicholas D. Kristof opens an article with great snark, saying that if we request Muslim moderates to reject the extremism in their religion, us moderates should also not be bigoted against Muslims. I'm not sure if I've ever read anything by Mr. Kristof before, but if I have, I'm sure I thought he was an idiot then, too.

Mr. Kristof's simpering, simplistic, "can't we all just get along" piece of fluff made me a little bit angry. First, he asks me to be tolerant of a group who has shown no tolerance of its own, and as a great Robot Chicken sketch shows, turning the other cheek to those who don't care just gets you two bruised cheeks.

I refuse to tolerate people who have never shown toleration themselves. No leaders, or politicians, or even people in the Muslim world have rejected actions and violence taken against the Western world. There are moderates, to be sure, there have to be, but we don't hear about them. They never say anything, and silence is damnation with this. These extremists fly the same flag as you and you must explain yourselves. Because as it stands, Islam on the whole, not simply the extremists, seems as atrocious as we think. Some people blow themselves up, others simply approve. Both are bad places to be.

Mr. Kristof then pays due attention to the reasons behind our hatred of Islam. He also compares our hatred of Muslims to hatred directed at Jews, Catholics, Asians, and Mormons. Someone provided a rejoinder, saying that “Catholics and Jews did not come here and kill thousands of people.” His response to this is so intellectual corrupt that it boggles the mind.

"That’s true, but Japanese did attack Pearl Harbor and in the end killed far more Americans than Al Qaeda ever did. Consumed by our fears, we lumped together anyone of Japanese ancestry and rounded them up in internment camps. The threat was real, but so were the hysteria and the overreaction."

First off, comparing a religion to a race is ridiculous. Our hysteria with Japanese-Americans was stupid because they were simply people who looked alike. Looking alike is not a unifying characteristic of behavior, which is what we are fearful of. If being Japanese was highly correlated with a particular type of behavior, our fear would have been warranted. But it doesn't, so it wasn't. Believing certain things IS highly correlated with behavior. So our fear of Muslims is entirely, completely, 100% warranted. As Sam Harris put it so eloquently in his book The End of Faith, "belief is a fount of action in potentia."

Kristof continues with a line that seems ripped straight from a peace-loving flower child's notebook, "Radicals tend to empower radicals, creating a gulf of mutual misunderstanding and anger." There is no misunderstanding, here. I am completely aware of my bigotry and hatred. The difference here is that I do not think it the slightest bit unfounded.

He continues, again comparing this sort of fear with racism,

Many Americans honestly believe that Muslims are prone to violence, but humans are too complicated and diverse to lump into groups that we form invidious conclusions about. We’ve mostly learned that about blacks, Jews and other groups that suffered historic discrimination, but it’s still O.K. to make sweeping statements about “Muslims” as an undifferentiated mass.

I said it before and feel that it bears saying again, this is a ridiculous comparison. The two examples he chooses were both of racist origin. I don't care about race. White, black, Asian, green, Plutonian, it doesn't matter. What matters is their beliefs. His argument up to this point could be equally applied to white supremacists. We are talking about beliefs, not race!

Kristoff continues to smear on the simpering, liberal, P-C platitudes. He expresses how bad he feels that those good Muslims who help rape victims in Pakistan, or feed children in Afghanistan, are having the faith that they hold oh-so-sacred excoriated in public. Well, first off, what is he not telling us about these so-called good Muslims. What backwater, racist, sexist beliefs do these peaceful men of Allah hold? I'd wager quite a lot.

And if they don't hold these beliefs, the question I pose to them is, why be a member of a religion that embodies the opposite of all you do? Islam is a terrible religion, and all of the terrible actions enacted by those who follow it is entirely defensible by scripture. If you are not terrible, you are not Muslim. Perhaps you should try Buddhism. It seems pretty cool.

Message to Muslims: I’m Sorry
(New York Times)

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