9.14.2010

Let it go, Casey--

Nope, nope -- still haven't moved on. I wish I had heard this view in the media last Tuesday, but better late than never.
If Muslim sensibilities are so tender they can't ignore the bizarre rants of an insignificant American fanatic then this is a culture with a serious anger management issue, and one the West can't help with.
I strongly agree with the first part of that. As for the last part, I wonder. I wonder if the West can help by refusing to respect and fear that kind of fanatical response. In other words, I wonder if the West is helping precisely by producing Terry Jones and others. It's a good article, though. Go read it. Go.

5 comments:

fenhopper said...

yes. but this is conflating a couple concerns. some "muslim" sensibilities that tender and some remain peaceful. the west has produced terry jones AND all the (other christian) people who scream about him AND the christians who ignore him, AND the christians who try to talk to him AND the muslims who ignore him AND who scream AND who talk.

this line of the west versus islam is falling apart.

is it more helpful to talk about calm vs emotional responses and solutions at each point of exchange?

Casey said...

This is long, but worth reading:

If this line about the West versus Islam falls apart, then Islam itself is falling apart. Just like Christianity did.

Consider this prophecy from William Bradford, written about the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636ish:

"Also the people of the plantation began to grow in their outward estates, by reason of the flowing of many people into the country, especially into the Bay of Massachusetts, by which means corn and cattle rose to a great price, by which many were much enriched... there was no longer any holding them together... within a few years those that had thus got footing there rent themselves away, partly by force, and partly wearing the rest with importunity and pleas of necessity, so as they must either suffer them to go, or live in continual opposition and contention. And others still, as they conceived themselves straitened, or to want accommodation, break away under one pretense or other, thinking their own conceived necessity, and the example of others, a warrant sufficient for them. And this, I fear, will be the ruin of New England, at least of the churches of God there, and will provoke the Lord's displeasure against them."

And of course, Bradford was right. John Winthrop saw it the same way:

"...we are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His ordinance and His laws, and the articles of our covenant with Him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that our Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship other gods, our pleasures and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, we shall surely perish out of the good land whither we pass over this vast sea to possess it."

Now consider that this is probably very similar to the rhetoric that "radical" Muslims are hearing: don't give in to the temptations of American culture. iPods are false gods, man.

I think you're misunderstanding my motivation for drawing the distinction: I'm actually doing it to preserve that second-party candidate that we talked about. If Islam just gets gobbled up by international capitalism (like Christianity did), then we're back to the one-party system.

If we accept that Islam is a culture just as "American-consumer-capitalism" is a culture, then we must admit that anyone who labels themselves a Muslim but plays by all of the rules of American-consumer-capitalism ought to be counted, intellectually, critically, as part of American-consumer-capitalism, and not as part of Islam.

Casey said...

But as you say: yeah, we can talk about calm vs. emotional responses and avert the need to talk about specific religions... but then we're forced to say something foolishly general like, "Calm responses are preferable to emotional responses," which obviously isn't always true. Then again, perhaps you want to fight for a culture in which calm responses are valued universally over emotional responses? Maybe that's what "American" will come to connote, and so people like Terry Jones will be labeled (oh!) "Un-American" and people will say that it's "Un-American" to react emotionally to threats from radical Islam. And maybe then Islam will come to connote emotional-response-impulses, and people who react calmly like (so I hear) the Imam at Ground Zero, will be called "Un-Islamic." Then we would have meaningful definitions again.

fenhopper said...

yeah. i think i see america as stoic in its aspirations.

i think you're onto something there with islam becoming capitalist just like christianity did. what i'm addressing isn't the question of "should islam fight that or not regarding its own identity."

that's for each muslim to decide. and muslims settle on each side of that question.

i only address the capitalist argument. should capitalism become a little more muslim in its value systems. should capitalism accept that some of its cherished "statements" (like the christian ones) aren't necessary?

well whether or not i think it should, i think it's hypocritical to argue that it shouldn't.

Casey said...

we're close enough here, then--

"brian"