Go Back   Bloggingheads Community > Diavlog comments
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Notices

Diavlog comments Post comments about particular diavlogs here.
(Users cannot create new threads.)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-22-2010, 12:05 AM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
BhTV staff
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,936
Default Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 08-22-2010, 03:54 AM
ginger baker ginger baker is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 103
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Only in these dispassionate fascist times can a purported "mosque at GZ," by all accounts indeed moderate, remain a "debatable" issue. (How about some attention given to net neutrality?) The issue, like pretty much everything else, has been caricatured by the rabid right beyond recognition; and the feckless Democrats can't seem to talk their way out of a garbage bag to counteract. It is very depressing to see what the US is degenerating into....&, unfortunately, it will only get worse.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-22-2010, 07:58 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: near Chattanooga
Posts: 826
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginger baker View Post
The issue, like pretty much everything else, has been caricatured by the rabid right beyond recognition
And the rabid left, yourself being a typical example.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-22-2010, 04:33 AM
Always Cynical Always Cynical is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 115
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Eli Lake says that he doesn't want to seem like a weasel regarding the Park 51 Mosque just because:

A. The project's organizers and Muslims have the Constitutional and legal rights (contract and zoning) to build the Park 51 Mosque at the site of the old Burlington Coat Factory;

BUT

B. Some 9/11 families really want the project's organizers and Muslims to build the Park 51 Mosque somewhere else.

So Eli's a yes on Judeo-Christian religious freedom and a well, sorta, maybe on Muslim religious freedom. Eli also knows that if he supports the project in the manner that he would endorse the construction of a synagogue or church at the site, he would forfeit his Magic Neocon Decoder Ring.

I'm not a Muslim. Not really all that religious. But I do believe in the God of Consistency Across the Board. I also scorn the Satan that is Hypocrisy on an Issue by Issue Basis..

Hypocrisy in this case, I suggest, thy name is Eli Lake. But let's forget about Eli. He's really not all that memorable.

Instead, does anyone care to specify the exact distance from the site of the former World Trade Center that a Muslim facility may be built? Why?

Does anyone care to specify the exact amount of time that must pass from Sept. 11, 2001 before said Muslim facility may be constructed? Why?

Perhaps 100 blocks and 33 years? Why?

Maybe three-quarters of a mile and 18 years, seven months, three weeks, two days, 49 minutes, and 14 seconds? Why?

Also, what type(s) of other religious facilities (i.e. Judeo-Christian, Hindu, etc.) may be built around the site in question? Why?

How many Muslim-Americans should have died on 9/11 to give Muslim-Americans the same status of Judeo-Christian Americans in society's respect for their religion, religious rights, family suffering on and after 9/11, and status apart and distinct from al Qaeda and Muslim extremists elsewhere? Why?

How far must said facilities be from the World Trade Center site? Why?

How much time must pass before these facilities may be constructed? Why?

Please provide specific numbers. Specific dates. Specific sorts of facilities. And, of course, the legal, ethical, moral, and Constitutional reasons for your chosen criteria.

Call Bobby Spencer and Mad Pam Geller. I'd appreciate their feedback as well.

See, that's the greatest thing about America and Democracy: On our turf, Democracy applies to all.

Took us a while with African-Americans and ladies (voting rights) to enact that fact, but we came around. That's why this is the finest country in the world. Everyone gets their say. Everyone gets the same rights. Everyone has a shot at life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, the chance to view bad Super Bowl Sunday ads, and the duty to complain about his/her boss. Takes us awhile to realize these facts sometimes, but we eventually and always do.

Americans, we're not perfect. But we're willing to correct our mistakes and we're damn determined to make sure the little guy gets a shot. Fair is always fair. And right is not a political ideology. Right is, well, just right. For everyone.

Thank you.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-22-2010, 10:02 AM
Eli Lake Eli Lake is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 23
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

I am baffled by Always Cynical's post. I explicitly say I don't care if the mosque is built, that I don't challenge the property rights of the Cordoba House project to build the mosque, and that people in free societies don't have a right not to be offended. I also say that those who limit their opposition to expressing that they are offended by the project are not practicing a form of bigotry. If the opposition to the mosque limits their activism to appealing to the organizers to find another location and not the state to block the project, then I see this as nothing more than the give and take a democratic society, and not evidence of a new cultural war on Muslims.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-22-2010, 10:32 AM
opposable_crumbs opposable_crumbs is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 504
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
I also say that those who limit their opposition to expressing that they are offended by the project are not practicing a form of bigotry.
I'm not sure that is true once you address the issue of why they are offended. Of course grief might make their position understandable, but I'm not sure it stops it being bigoted in some form.

Last edited by opposable_crumbs; 08-22-2010 at 10:39 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-22-2010, 08:25 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: near Chattanooga
Posts: 826
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by opposable_crumbs View Post
I'm not sure that is true once you address the issue of why they are offended. Of course grief might make their position understandable, but I'm not sure it stops it being bigoted in some form.
It could of course be bigotry. Some people cannot tolerate anyone who's beliefs and values differ from their own. But it could be based on a reasonable fear and suspicion. When I researched Islam in the aftermath of 9/11, reading dozens of books by serious historians and scholars, I came away with the idea that the only good Muslim was one who . . . didn't take his religion too seriously. Or maybe I should say too literally.

Of course the same thing could be said of Christians and Jews. But there is this one major difference: as a rule fanatical Christians and Jews do not threaten their neighbors. The trouble with Islam is that, read literally, it does threaten its neighbors. Sunnis in Saudi Arabia, for example, have it on good authority that the Shia as no better than infidels, deserving of death. Most of the inter-ethnic violence in Iraq has been Sunnis and Shia.

Judaism used to be like that, it must be said. In the books of Joshua and Judges the children of Israel are often at war with those of their neighbors who did not believe as they did, and war was justified on precisely those grounds. However, that was before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the rise of rabbinic Judaism as a peaceable religion.

Similarly, in the aftermath of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, Catholics and Protestants gradually learned to tolerate each other, both in Europe and America.

So what we want and also need to know is: Is Islam in a process of reformation like the ones that took place in Judaism and Christianity?

Last edited by BornAgainDemocrat; 08-22-2010 at 08:49 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-22-2010, 08:36 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 7,750
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BornAgainDemocrat View Post
It could of course be bigotry. I cannot tolerate anyone who's beliefs and values differ from my own. OTH, it could be based on a reasonable fear and suspicion. When I researched Islam in the aftermath of 9/11, reading several dozens of books by historians and scholars, I concluded that the only good Muslim was one who . . . didn't take his religion too seriously. Or maybe I should have said too literally.

Of course the same thing could be said about Christians and Jews. But with one major difference: literal-minded Christians and Jews do not threaten their neighbors as a rule. The trouble with Islam is that, read literally, it does not tolerate the beliefs of others.

Judaism used to be like that. Under Moses and Joshua, the children of Israel were often at war with those neighbors who did not believe as they did. But that was before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the rise of rabbinic Judaism. Likewise, in the aftermath of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Catholics and Protestants gradually learned to tolerate each other.

So the question is: Is Islam in a process of reformation like the ones that took place in Judaism and Christianity?
Without even trying to debate the validity of those points, I feel perfectly confident in saying that none of that has any bearing on either the broad question of bigotry, or on whether the opposition to the Cordoba Center is different in kind to other examples of religious bigotry that most of us would agree are clearly outside what our traditions demand.
__________________
-A. E. M. Jeff (Eponym)
Magnets - We know how they work!

Last edited by AemJeff; 08-23-2010 at 12:15 AM.. Reason: punct
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-22-2010, 11:51 AM
eeeeeeeli eeeeeeeli is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Palm Desert, CA
Posts: 811
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Obviously people have a right to be bigoted. But how are these "victim's families who are offended by the mosque" not being bigoted. Does having experienced genuine loss and sorrow mean that holding a bigoted view is not an expression of bigotry? I mean, if I get my car stolen by a group of black gangmembers, and then blame all black people, is my bigotry OK?

A larger note: conservatives frequently complain about being unfairly tarred as racist. But this is yet again an example of them defending bigoted views. "I'm just defending people right to be bigoted", they say. Well, from who? Palin defends Dr. Laura's racism on 1st amendment grounds. Yet that was never an issue. Palin was expressing sympathy and solidarity. This is the same sort of sympathy conservatives have been expressing in opposition to the mosque, pretending to defend other's right to express bigotry, yet obviously harboring their own.
__________________
my blog
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-22-2010, 12:01 PM
harkin harkin is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,169
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli View Post
Palin defends Dr. Laura's racism on 1st amendment grounds. Yet that was never an issue. Palin was expressing sympathy and solidarity. This is the same sort of sympathy conservatives have been expressing in opposition to the mosque, pretending to defend other's right to express bigotry, yet obviously harboring their own.
You destroy your own argument by injecting falsehoods. Dr Laura never called anyone a n______. She used the word in context to show the double standard applied by those who accept its use by people of only a certain skin color. If anyone else dares use the word (according to the PC word police), no matter the context, they are racist.

In other words, you prove Dr Laura's point.


Looking forward to your condemnation of racial quotas.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-22-2010, 08:56 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: near Chattanooga
Posts: 826
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by eeeeeeeli View Post
A larger note: conservatives frequently complain about being unfairly tarred as racist. But this is yet again an example of them defending bigoted views. "I'm just defending people right to be bigoted", they say.
People do have a right be bigoted, I suppose. But I haven't seen anyone defending that right. Better to try to reach across the chasm of mutual misunderstanding, which is what is usually involved here in America. Political fiends are those who demonize their opponents. We have been seeing a lot of that lately.

Last edited by BornAgainDemocrat; 08-22-2010 at 09:00 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-22-2010, 02:08 PM
TKS TKS is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 10
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli Lake View Post
I am baffled by Always Cynical's post. I explicitly say I don't care if the mosque is built, that I don't challenge the property rights of the Cordoba House project to build the mosque, and that people in free societies don't have a right not to be offended. I also say that those who limit their opposition to expressing that they are offended by the project are not practicing a form of bigotry. If the opposition to the mosque limits their activism to appealing to the organizers to find another location and not the state to block the project, then I see this as nothing more than the give and take a democratic society, and not evidence of a new cultural war on Muslims.
Nonsense. Would you be equally sanguine if such a widespread and public protest -- with full throated support from the leadership of the Republican Party -- were directed at the construction of a Synagogue (or, rather, Jewish cultural center)? I'd be horrified and enraged, as I am in this case. Threats to civil liberties can come from any direction, from the government or from popular movements. It is enormously troubling that so much of the American citizenry does not embrace the spirit of the first amendment when it comes to Muslims. You're stance is not "there is no culture war." Your stance is "it's ok there's a culture war because "they" started it."

There are two sides, Eli. Those who believe Muslims should be given equal treatment by American society and should not be condemned as a group for the despicable actions of the violent few who claim Islam as their justification, and those who do not. I'd say pick one, but I think it's clear that you already have.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-22-2010, 03:41 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKS View Post
There are two sides, Eli. Those who believe Muslims should be given equal treatment by American society and should not be condemned as a group for the despicable actions of the violent few who claim Islam as their justification, and those who do not. I'd say pick one, but I think it's clear that you already have.
Eli, this is how things are in the polarized comment section. You are either good or bad. And if not, the commenters will assign you a category for your convenience. A few of us try to inject nuance, but it's a losing battle judging by the level of noise here.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-22-2010, 05:02 PM
look look is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,886
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Eli, this is how things are in the polarized comment section. You are either good or bad. And if not, the commenters will assign you a category for your convenience. A few of us try to inject nuance, but it's a losing battle judging by the level of noise here.
Nuance injector.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 08-22-2010, 05:20 PM
TKS TKS is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 10
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
Eli, this is how things are in the polarized comment section. You are either good or bad. And if not, the commenters will assign you a category for your convenience. A few of us try to inject nuance, but it's a losing battle judging by the level of noise here.
Your "nuance" in this case is simply equivocation for the sake of obscuring a hypocritical position. Some issues are simple, and this is one of them. You are "losing the battle" here because you choose in your posts to make a petty swipe about message board decorum (and mischaracterize what I said) rather than reply with any substantive points at all.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 08-24-2010, 08:24 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: The sylvan exurbs west of Boston Massachusetts.
Posts: 1,328
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKS View Post
You are "losing the battle" here because you choose in your posts to make a petty swipe about message board decorum (and mischaracterize what I said) rather than reply with any substantive points at all.
I would characterize your post as suggesting that Eli does not "believe Muslims should be given equal treatment by American society and should not be condemned as a group for the despicable actions of the violent few".

That's over the top. If that's not what you really meant, I apologize for jumping to conclusions.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 08-22-2010, 07:42 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKS View Post
Nonsense. Would you be equally sanguine if such a widespread and public protest -- with full throated support from the leadership of the Republican Party -- were directed at the construction of a Synagogue (or, rather, Jewish cultural center)? I'd be horrified and enraged, as I am in this case. Threats to civil liberties can come from any direction, from the government or from popular movements. It is enormously troubling that so much of the American citizenry does not embrace the spirit of the first amendment when it comes to Muslims. You're stance is not "there is no culture war." Your stance is "it's ok there's a culture war because "they" started it."

There are two sides, Eli. Those who believe Muslims should be given equal treatment by American society and should not be condemned as a group for the despicable actions of the violent few who claim Islam as their justification, and those who do not. I'd say pick one, but I think it's clear that you already have.
Up to now I have studiously avoided commenting on the "Ground Zero Mosque" because it seems long ago to have ceased to have anything to do with freedom of religion or interfaith reconciliation, instead morphing into yet another silly left-right bruhaha.

But I wonder if you'd do a little thought experiment for me: Say that an evangelical Christian group (i.e. one that adamantly opposes abortion) secured a property across from the site of an abortion clinic that had been bombed, and where people had been killed. Assume further that this group had gone on record numerous times condemning the actions of the bombers.

Now imagine that they wanted to build a large church on this property to, as they saw it, promote reconciliation and pray for those who perform or undergo abortions.

Can you imagine a politically organized group of people coming together to oppose the construction of the church, and the Christians for their lack of sensitivity to the families of those killed, and maybe holding a demonstration or two to condemn the Christians for their "misogynist views," etc.? Would those hypothetical protesters be incorrigible bigots, in your view, or just people exercising their First Amendment rights?
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--

Last edited by rfrobison; 08-23-2010 at 12:23 AM.. Reason: missing commas, "and"; verb tense
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 08-23-2010, 05:05 PM
TKS TKS is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 10
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post

But I wonder if you'd do a little thought experiment for me: Say that an evangelical Christian group (i.e. one that adamantly opposes abortion) secured a property across from the site of an abortion clinic that had been bombed, and where people had been killed. Assume further that this group had gone on record numerous times condemning the actions of the bombers.

Now imagine that they wanted to build a large church on this property to, as they saw it, promote reconciliation and pray for those who perform or undergo abortions.

Can you imagine a politically organized group of people coming together to oppose the construction of the church, and the Christians for their lack of sensitivity to the families of those killed, and maybe holding a demonstration or two to condemn the Christians for their "misogynist views," etc.? Would those hypothetical protesters be incorrigible bigots, in your view, or just people exercising their First Amendment rights?

First of all, this analogy is pretty flawed. There is no sense in which the developers of the Park51 project "adamantly oppose" American society, Christianity, capitalism, tall buildings, or whatever. Their public rhetoric has been exclusively in favor of promoting good faith between Muslims and other faiths You may have dark suspicions that this not the case, but then you should say so and explain why these specific Muslims are unworthy of your trust. Moreover you say that the evangelicals from your thought experiment explicitly state they will "pray for those who perform or undergo abortions." This implies an investment in further controversy over the topic, and insinuation of continued condemnation of the victims of terrorism, that has zero equivalence with the dispute over Park51.

This is all the beside the point because yes, even granting these biases, I would consider it thuggish and wrong if protesters attacked the construction of a church, which disavows any relationship or support for terrorist attacks on abortion clinics, merely because it happens to be within 500 feet of such an attack site. And I would find it even more despicable if national liberal politicians thrust themselves in the middle of such a dispute and used it to stoke anti-Christian sentiment for political gain. Why would you imagine I would feel otherwise?

I'm sorry that I don't neatly fit in with your caricatured notion of liberals, but that's the thing about caricatures.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 08-24-2010, 01:25 AM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKS View Post
First of all, this analogy is pretty flawed. There is no sense in which the developers of the Park51 project "adamantly oppose" American society, Christianity, capitalism, tall buildings, or whatever. Their public rhetoric has been exclusively in favor of promoting good faith between Muslims and other faiths You may have dark suspicions that this not the case, but then you should say so and explain why these specific Muslims are unworthy of your trust. Moreover you say that the evangelicals from your thought experiment explicitly state they will "pray for those who perform or undergo abortions." This implies an investment in further controversy over the topic, and insinuation of continued condemnation of the victims of terrorism, that has zero equivalence with the dispute over Park51.

This is all the beside the point because yes, even granting these biases, I would consider it thuggish and wrong if protesters attacked the construction of a church, which disavows any relationship or support for terrorist attacks on abortion clinics, merely because it happens to be within 500 feet of such an attack site. And I would find it even more despicable if national liberal politicians thrust themselves in the middle of such a dispute and used it to stoke anti-Christian sentiment for political gain. Why would you imagine I would feel otherwise?

I'm sorry that I don't neatly fit in with your caricatured notion of liberals, but that's the thing about caricatures.
TKS:

I'd like to start by clarifying a couple of misconceptions you seem to have about me. First, I have no strong opinion on whether or not the mosque should be built near Ground Zero or not. Like Mr. Lake, I am of the view that property rights in this matter are sacrosanct. If the people in question have jumped through all the legal hoops, they have a right to build a mosque wherever they please.

My point is only that for any controversial issue, there are always demogogues willing to exploit it for political gain. In this instance the Republicans are mostly to blame, but as Mr. Sewer himself acknowledged, this is hardly a Republican-only vice.

But I find the zeal with which certain people on the left rush to condemn anyone who expresses the slightest misgiving -- or even indifference (!) -- about the project nearly as distasteful as I do the pols on the right who are just stirring up trouble.

I take the imam who is behind the project at his word that he wants the Islamic center to be a place of reconciliation. At the same time, a bit of decorum, perhaps by speaking directly to those concerned about the mosque and trying to understand their feelings, could go a long way toward bridging that gap.

Shouting "bigot!", on the other hand, as so many of the mosque's more ostentatious supporters -- many of whom likely haven't darkened the door of any house of worship in years -- seem bent on doing isn't going to create much in the way of goodwill.

Personally, although I think the protests are a lot of nonsense, I am absolutely committed to free speech: People have as much right to object to something being built as the builders do to exercise their property rights. That you seem uncomfortable with the rough and tumble of free expression is unfortunate. Think on that, if you will.

A bit more live-and-let-live and a bit less moral preening on all sides is in order, if you ask me.

Sorry for not fitting your caricatured notion of conservatives, yada, yada, yada...
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--

Last edited by rfrobison; 08-24-2010 at 04:02 AM.. Reason: grammar tweaks; added indifference; reworded last sentence
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 08-24-2010, 01:49 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

As long as we are talking about misperceptions and all that, I think what you say here is quite reasonable, rfrobison. In fact, it's pretty much my position. More significantly, I think it's the most common "liberal" position, to the extent one exists. Where I think the misperception comes in is in the description of what the quarrel about the Cordoba Center is about.

For example:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
First, I have no strong opinion on whether or not the mosque should be built near Ground Zero or not. Like Mr. Lake, I am of the view that property rights in this matter are sacrosanct. If the people in question have jumped through all the legal hoops, they have a right to build a mosque wherever they please.
I agree with all this, and -- again -- think this is basically the liberal position. A few people may be involved enough to care about the project itself or to have formed an opinion on where the Cordoba Center should be, but most probably have not -- the issue is about whether there's a basis to interfere with the rights that any other property owner would have.

Quote:
My point is only that for any controversial issue, there are always demogogues willing to exploit it for political gain.
True, but I'm just not so cool with this. I think if the outcome of the exploitation is not just political gain but a negative effect on something important (and here I think there is) and especially if the people doing the exploiting are doing so cynically and without even really believing what they are saying (as I believe about the people I've been most disgusted with -- Gingrich and McCarthy, for example, those pushing the "Islam is not a religion" and "sharia law might soon govern you!" arguments, as well as those misrepresenting facts about the project).

Quote:
In this instance the Republicans are mostly to blame, but as Mr. Sewer himself acknowledged, this is hardly a Republican-only vice.
True, and I'm happy to call Dems on it. I just don't see them participating in it much here, if only because they aren't the ones who stand to benefit from it.

Quote:
But I find the zeal with which certain people on the left rush to condemn anyone who expresses the slightest misgiving -- or even indifference (!) -- about the project nearly as distasteful as I do the pols on the right who are just stirring up trouble.
I haven't see this from Dem leadership. Moreover, I don't even think it's been a real factor in the discussion. The zeal to condemn hasn't been about anyone who expresses the slightest misgiving, or who feels bothered or uncomfortable or somewhat offended. It's been about the use of the discussion to stir up anti-Islamic sentiment (again, the "Islam is not a religion," the people behind the mosque are a threat, are doing so to place a victory monument, etc.).

I think the effort to transform the discussion into people against the "mosque" vs. people who think people against the "mosque" are bigots is an effort to reframe the discussion and one which is not accurate. I think it's people who are trying to create a major political issue over stopping the "mosque" in any way possible v. people who object to that and, particular, the strategies and exploitation involved. And, sure, in that the specific people being objected to are using offensive means (claiming that mosques should not be built in the US, focusing on the sameness of all Muslims, and, again, claiming that Islam is not a religion and all Muslims are hellbent on getting rid of the Constitution and replacing it with sharia law), terms like "bigoted" get used.

I don't like the term myself or think it's likely to be helpful, but it's a lot more focused in its use here than your post states, and I think that's an important misperception.

Are there people who do use the term more generally? Sure, always there are people who go farther than the mainstream argument and, here, it probably also becomes a frustrated reaction to the shockingly offensive arguments that people are apparently comfortable in putting forward among the leadership and plenty of assertions and discussions I've seen all over the 'net to just group all the opposition under such terms. But the fact is that the loud anti-side, that we are hearing from is not at all people making the kinds of nuanced arguments referred to or simply expressing discomfort.

Last edited by stephanie; 08-24-2010 at 01:57 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 08-24-2010, 07:46 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
As long as we are talking about misperceptions and all that...
Stephanie:

Your points, as usual, are all well taken.
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 08-24-2010, 04:11 PM
TKS TKS is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 10
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

[removed because of double post]

Last edited by TKS; 08-24-2010 at 04:20 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 08-24-2010, 04:18 PM
TKS TKS is offline
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 10
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

"Personally, although I think the protests are a lot of nonsense, I am absolutely committed to free speech: People have as much right to object to something being built as the builders do to exercise their property rights. That you seem uncomfortable with the rough and tumble of free expression is unfortunate. Think on that, if you will."

Where did I question the right of the protesters to object? I am saying what they are doing is horrible, not that they don't have the right to do so. Are there any other aspects of my "unfortunate" views that you'd like me to meditate upon? (lest you waste your time, this is a rhetorical question, I do not intend to follow this thread any further)

"A bit more live-and-let-live and a bit less moral preening on all sides is in order, if you ask me."

It's a quite novel perspective that would consider the "live-and-let-live" stance to be to stand meekly by as people attacked a group's right to practice their religion as they wish, and which considers doing otherwise to be "moral preening"
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 08-24-2010, 07:02 PM
rfrobison rfrobison is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 1,629
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKS View Post
"A bit more live-and-let-live and a bit less moral preening on all sides is in order, if you ask me." --rfr

It's a quite novel perspective that would consider the "live-and-let-live" stance to be to stand meekly by as people attacked a group's right to practice their religion as they wish, and which considers doing otherwise to be "moral preening"
That's me, TKS, rfrobison: purveyor of novelties. Can I interest you in a snow globe?

You are doing me and probably 90 percent of Americans a huge disservice by accusing us of "meekly standing by." I've already expressed my contempt for people who exploit fear of Islam for political gain, but I'm not a lawyer or a cop. I'm sorry that people like Mr. Lake and I can't seem to call on as deep a reserve of righteous indignation as you would like, but you seem to have more than enough for all three of us.

I question whether your overheated rhetoric will do anything to advance the cause of religious freedom or interfaith understanding, but good luck with your project.
__________________
Send lawyers, guns and money/Dad, get me outta this
--Warren Zevon--

Last edited by rfrobison; 08-25-2010 at 03:06 AM.. Reason: me>>I --inexcusable!
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 08-24-2010, 07:06 PM
Whatfur
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
That's me, TKS, rfrobison: purveyor of novelties. Can I interest you in a snow globe?

...
LOL
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 08-24-2010, 05:10 PM
Furcifer Furcifer is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 8
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rfrobison View Post
Would those hypothetical protesters be incorrigible bigots, in your view, or just people exercising their First Amendment rights?
Yes.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 08-23-2010, 09:06 AM
badhatharry badhatharry is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: eastern sierra
Posts: 5,413
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TKS View Post
Nonsense. Would you be equally sanguine if such a widespread and public protest -- with full throated support from the leadership of the Republican Party -- were directed at the construction of a Synagogue (or, rather, Jewish cultural center)?
Why do you misrepresent the protest against the building of the mosque as being Republican? Surely you must know plenty of Democrats oppose it, too.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 08-23-2010, 10:38 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Exiled to South Jersey
Posts: 2,436
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by badhatharry View Post
Why do you misrepresent the protest against the building of the mosque as being Republican? Surely you must know plenty of Democrats oppose it, too.
Lots of Democrats supported the Iraq War and the Bush Tax Cuts, but anybody paying attention knew that they were being pushed by the Republicans and that the Dems supporting them were along for the ride. The same dynamic is clearly in effect here.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 08-23-2010, 10:53 AM
Whatfur
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Lots of Democrats supported the Iraq War and the Bush Tax Cuts, but anybody paying attention knew that they were being pushed by the Republicans and that the Dems supporting them were along for the ride. The same dynamic is clearly in effect here.
So Democrats are not responsible for themselves? When can we know they are actually voting their own conscience? Or can we just assume that every time they vote in a way contrary to the way you think they should have they get to play "the devil made me do it card". Hilarious.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 08-23-2010, 11:03 AM
Don Zeko Don Zeko is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Exiled to South Jersey
Posts: 2,436
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatfur View Post
So Democrats are not responsible for themselves? When can we know they are actually voting their own conscience? Or can we just assume that every time they vote in a way contrary to the way you think they should have they get to play "the devil made me do it card". Hilarious.
Did I say that? Is it really necessary for me to set aside a paragraph to point out that I also think that Harry Reid and Howard Dean are behaving badly in order to criticize the conservatives that have created this absurd controversy and who brought all of the worst anti-Muslim bigots to the table?
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 08-23-2010, 11:21 AM
Whatfur
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Did I say that? Is it really necessary for me to set aside a paragraph to point out that I also think that Harry Reid and Howard Dean are behaving badly in order to criticize the conservatives that have created this absurd controversy and who brought all of the worst anti-Muslim bigots to the table?
Yes Zeke you did...or tell me how one is suppose to read, "pushed by the Republicans and that the Dems supporting them were along for the ride" ?

Hardly just omitting critcism.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 08-23-2010, 11:50 AM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Zeko View Post
Did I say that? Is it really necessary for me to set aside a paragraph to point out that I also think that Harry Reid and Howard Dean are behaving badly in order to criticize the conservatives that have created this absurd controversy and who brought all of the worst anti-Muslim bigots to the table?
My view is somewhat different, I think. I don't think it's inherently awful to have objections to the Cordoba project in terms of it being a good idea or something that you favor. (This is a different question than whether the people behind it have the right to go forward.) However, certain types of objections I think are much worse and -- to go along with the premise of this diavlog -- represent something that is counter to my understanding of what America does and should stand for. The leadership pushing these latter types of objections are mostly Republicans (including all the national figures involved), and they seem to be doing so for political purposes. So I think it's fair to point to the political element here.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 08-23-2010, 12:27 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

I think the junior Senator from Oregon pretty much nails it. I only wish more Senators would speak up with such clarity.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 08-22-2010, 04:13 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 5,694
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Your opinion is respectable, Eli. People have a right to build the Cordoba Center in downtown Manhattan and others have a right to think the location is a poor choice. (Personally, I think it's a wonderful choice!)

But ....
Quote:
I also say that those who limit their opposition to expressing that they are offended by the project are not practicing a form of bigotry. If the opposition to the mosque limits their activism to appealing to the organizers to find another location and not the state to block the project, then I see this as nothing more than the give and take a democratic society, and not evidence of a new cultural war on Muslims.
It's the context of the "Ground Zero Mosque!" uproar that is disturbing. The context is a torrent of Islamophobia coming from the right. Some of the most virulent comes from Andrew McCarthy whom you were not nearly assertive enough in rejecting.

McCarthy is the David Duke of Islamophobia (although his intellectual credentials are superior to Duke's).

That's where your coziness with right wing extremists hurts your reputation, Eli. You've been great at reporting on the militarism of the Obama administration. Keep your eye on the ball.
__________________
Seek Peace and Pursue it
בקש שלום ורדפהו
Busca la paz y síguela
--Psalm 34:15
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 08-22-2010, 04:56 PM
chiwhisoxx chiwhisoxx is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,490
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonderment View Post
Your opinion is respectable, Eli. People have a right to build the Cordoba Center in downtown Manhattan and others have a right to think the location is a poor choice. (Personally, I think it's a wonderful choice!)

But ....


It's the context of the "Ground Zero Mosque!" uproar that is disturbing. The context is a torrent of Islamophobia coming from the right. Some of the most virulent comes from Andrew McCarthy whom you were not nearly assertive enough in rejecting.

McCarthy is the David Duke of Islamophobia (although his intellectual credentials are superior to Duke's).

That's where your coziness with right wing extremists hurts your reputation, Eli. You've been great at reporting on the militarism of the Obama administration. Keep your eye on the ball.
I would say Eli's credibility is just fine, despite your assertions of coziness with "right wing extremists". I have yet to meet anyone with an expansive a definition of "right wing extremist" as Wonderment. Which is somewhat ironic, because if extremist is judged by your relative place on the ideological scale, Wonderment himself would most certainly qualify as an extremist.
__________________
She said the theme of this party's the Industrial Age, and you came in dressed like a train wreck.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 08-22-2010, 08:05 PM
BornAgainDemocrat BornAgainDemocrat is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: near Chattanooga
Posts: 826
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eli Lake View Post
I am baffled by Always Cynical's post.
I wouldn't worry about Always Cynical too much. Like too many others at this present moment in America, he specializes in not even trying to appreciate the other guy's point of view.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 08-24-2010, 09:52 AM
Alexandrite Alexandrite is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 125
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Such a great Diavlog. I need to digest it and come back and rewatch it and point out its goodness. I'll probably come back and do a more diligent post on some of the more direct things that the speakers were talking about, but these are the thoughts I had when I was listening to it, which may or may not have any connection to what they were saying.
-------
Thought 1:

Some things I'm reminded of:
Julian Sanchez on Symbolic Beliefs
http://www.juliansanchez.com/2009/08...mbolic-belief/

+

This Diavlog
Get past the notion that it is inherrent to human beings who are angry to always be civil.

=
?
What IS this super secret battle that we're using the Burlington-Coat-Factory-Victory-Mosque as a symbol for? Why are people so angry? Why did we enjoy such 'civility' in previous times?

Then there's Jon Stewart
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/th...meland-edition

And Yglesias
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/20...k-at-dp-world/

Why do we do this? How do we stop ourselves and others from falling for this self deception? Why do we fight these battles?

------
Thought 2:
As a contrarian, I'm constantly on the look out for the arguments being left on the table. Think of these as $20 on the sidewalk, but with intelligent thoughts. What Brian Caplan calls Inconvenient Positions, where "there's an ideologically cleaner and more crowd-pleasing rationale for what I think people ought to do." Being a contrarian is about playing these odds.

In the past decade I've found 2 ideas which are very dangerous, which would require a ton of investment to pull off, and if done right, could be a gold mine. They're too dangerous and hard for me, and that's saying a lot.

1: Anthropogenic Global Warming doesn't matter.
The field on this is cluttered, but almost no one who makes this argument is using the right tools for the job.

2: The West is, if not now, in this century will be, at war with Islam.

It's just too dangerous an argument to make if you're not going to do it right. It gets even worse when you consider the possibility you might actually be right, or worse you might be wrong and convince others you're right.

What both of these silly ideas have to do with is that there are plenty of idiots (on the right) who are willing to push on them because they see the gold. They're right there is an under represented position here, but they're using the argument like a monkey wields a gun. They don't care if they are right or wrong about the argument, or what damage they do, or who they trick. They don't even understand the technology behind the argument. It's like magic to them. If it gets what they want right now, go for it.

That said, just because some people are willing to make a bad argument about something doesn't mean it's not true. So let's assume the dangerous hypothetical for a moment.

If the West is at war with Islam, or is doomed to one, how should our society deal with Muslims?

I guess I would like to see just a tiny bit more deference to this possibility. Maybe the bigots are right? It doesn't even seem like the bigots are taking themselves seriously, but you can be right and unserious. I just feel like no one wants to consider the possibility that we're all wrong. Not to get all pascal wagery, but shouldn't we take some precaution against this event? I'm not saying banning Mosques is the answer, but what actions are we taking to prevent this possibility, and what protections do we have in case such a conflict does happen?

I guess I'm trying to say, Why doesn't anyone take seriously the possibility that Osama Bin Laden is correct and there is a larger, maybe even holy, struggle happening between civilizations? How would we disprove this idea? If it's true, what should we be doing that we're not?

====
Thought 3

Why haven't I heard anyone go Levin on these Mosque-haters? Why aren't more people on the right calling those who oppose the Mosque Euro-Socialist-Fascists, un-American, and unpatriotic? I mean there's an entire SPACE of 'go ultra-con on Conservatives' that's not being explored.

Why is it there isn't an Over Lap of "I'm cool with the Mosque" and "Crazy Ultra-Con"? More importantly, What does the absence of this rhetorical tool tell us about the nature of the Right today, the nature of rhetoric on the right, and the nature of those who oppose the mosque?

It seems like this whole thing could have been solved by using the right's own medicine against it. Why do elitists like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin want America to be more like Europe? Why do they hate America? Why do they hate FREEDOM?

Even if this argument doesn't work, it would be fun. Maybe some of them would even get the irony, and become better for it.



Like I said, just what I was thinking when I was listening to the discussion.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 08-27-2010, 06:44 PM
look look is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,886
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexandrite View Post
Thought 2:
As a contrarian, I'm constantly on the look out for the arguments being left on the table. Think of these as $20 on the sidewalk, but with intelligent thoughts. What Brian Caplan calls Inconvenient Positions, where "there's an ideologically cleaner and more crowd-pleasing rationale for what I think people ought to do." Being a contrarian is about playing these odds.

In the past decade I've found 2 ideas which are very dangerous, which would require a ton of investment to pull off, and if done right, could be a gold mine. They're too dangerous and hard for me, and that's saying a lot.

1: Anthropogenic Global Warming doesn't matter.
The field on this is cluttered, but almost no one who makes this argument is using the right tools for the job.

2: The West is, if not now, in this century will be, at war with Islam.

It's just too dangerous an argument to make if you're not going to do it right. It gets even worse when you consider the possibility you might actually be right, or worse you might be wrong and convince others you're right.

What both of these silly ideas have to do with is that there are plenty of idiots (on the right) who are willing to push on them because they see the gold. They're right there is an under represented position here, but they're using the argument like a monkey wields a gun. They don't care if they are right or wrong about the argument, or what damage they do, or who they trick. They don't even understand the technology behind the argument. It's like magic to them. If it gets what they want right now, go for it.

That said, just because some people are willing to make a bad argument about something doesn't mean it's not true. So let's assume the dangerous hypothetical for a moment.

If the West is at war with Islam, or is doomed to one, how should our society deal with Muslims?

I guess I would like to see just a tiny bit more deference to this possibility. Maybe the bigots are right? It doesn't even seem like the bigots are taking themselves seriously, but you can be right and unserious. I just feel like no one wants to consider the possibility that we're all wrong. Not to get all pascal wagery, but shouldn't we take some precaution against this event? I'm not saying banning Mosques is the answer, but what actions are we taking to prevent this possibility, and what protections do we have in case such a conflict does happen?

I guess I'm trying to say, Why doesn't anyone take seriously the possibility that Osama Bin Laden is correct and there is a larger, maybe even holy, struggle happening between civilizations? How would we disprove this idea? If it's true, what should we be doing that we're not?[removed Alexandrite's bolded so mine would be clear]
So, is it a silly idea, or not? As it stands now, Western influence has ratcheted up the Muslim interpretation of the Koran. At the turn of the last century, suicide bombing would have been unthinkable, as suicide is banned in the Koran, but now the Koran is interpreted, by some, in such a way as to condone it. Now that the West has opened the door to such interpretations, I don't know if it can ever be permanently quelled. One way to find out would be to militarily exit all Islamic countries, while suppressing, by any and all means, the Islamafication of western countries. That is, a complete crackdown on burqas, FGM, Koran on the top shelf of the library, segregated gym classes, etc.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 08-28-2010, 01:11 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

I'm not positive I have the context of these quotes right, as I'm responding to a response to Alexandrite, so feel free to clarify:

Alexandrite:

Quote:
I guess I would like to see just a tiny bit more deference to this possibility [that the West is at or is doomed to war with Islam]. Maybe the bigots are right? It doesn't even seem like the bigots are taking themselves seriously, but you can be right and unserious. I just feel like no one wants to consider the possibility that we're all wrong. Not to get all pascal wagery, but shouldn't we take some precaution against this event? I'm not saying banning Mosques is the answer, but what actions are we taking to prevent this possibility, and what protections do we have in case such a conflict does happen?
Quote:
Originally Posted by look View Post
So, is it a silly idea, or not? As it stands now, Western influence has ratcheted up the Muslim interpretation of the Koran. At the turn of the last century, suicide bombing would have been unthinkable, as suicide is banned in the Koran, but now the Koran is interpreted, by some, in such a way as to condone it. Now that the West has opened the door to such interpretations, I don't know if it can ever be permanently quelled. One way to find out would be to militarily exit all Islamic countries, while suppressing, by any and all means, the Islamafication of western countries. That is, a complete crackdown on burqas, FGM, Koran on the top shelf of the library, segregated gym classes, etc.
First, I don't get this "no one takes seriously the idea" thing. It's the Samuel J. Huntington argument, isn't it. Seems to me it's taken somewhat seriously by some people, if in a more of a Thomas Friedman "McDonald's prevent war" kind of way that's been increasingly discredited even to those who originally pushed it, which is perhaps why people are feeling that it's not an argument worth addressing.

Personally, though, I think the comments above seem to combine a couple of issues which are separate: (1) is "the West" at war (or doomed to be) with "Islam"; and (2) what would that require/mean. There seems to be an assumption that this current Cordoba Center is related to (1) -- a response that makes sense if you buy (1) such that people dismissing the anti position about the Cordoba Center are seen to not be taking seriously (1).

So, to start, I think it's important to point out that there's no legitimate connection between one's conclusions or concerns about (1) and the Cordoba Center. There's simply no rational argument that I've heard that the building of the Cordoba Center will have any influence on any alleged war between "Islam" and "the West." The whole vague idea that it will weaken the US or be a victory for OBL or so on is simply groundless and idiotic. Same for the idea that it will be a step in the direction of sharia law. Thus, while I'm not accusing either look or Alexandrite of this at all (you both seem reasonable to me from my memory of your posts) bringing up the "what if we are at war with Islam" thing in the context of the discussion of the Cordoba Center (as has been done in the course of the broader discussion of the issue) seems inherently irrelevant and an effort to play on simple anger at Muslims.

I do see why it would come up as a tangent in a bloggingheads thread without such concerns attaching, and thus I'll try to address it, although I think it will take a bit to frame the argument. Mainly because, as indicated in a reply to BornAgainDem elsewhere, I don't think it makes sense to speak of a war between undefined terms (and non-actors) like "the West" and "Islam." The US seeks no war with "Islam," and I don't believe a variety of other countries generally included in the term do either, and they share no common view on how to deal with various other related problems. Thus, what is clearly being asked is more correctly stated: "what if Islam has declared war on 'the West.'" Setting aside the lack of clarity in the latter term, the problem is that Islam is not a person or nation or any unified force. The question is whether some groups who identify as Islamic have declared war on "the West" (and those groups may not agree on who they are at war with or what their goals are).

Defined that way, I'd agree that it's true, but not because there's some possible unknown war/decide to harm what the US (and American liberals) see as our interests that we aren't acknowledging.

So then you get to (2). The vague notion again seems to be that if we acknowledge this possible war that this might affect our answer in some of the discussions we've been having -- i.e., liberal assumptions about the first amendment, etc., aren't valid if (1) turns out to be true. I think this assumption needs to be fleshed out, because it strikes me as clearly wrong. Again, how does the Cordoba Center question change at all? The discussion regarding the other mosques that have been opposed?

In particular, historically oppressing (or seeming to oppress) a religious group doesn't seem to be effective in damping down fervor (and it's a certain type of fervor and fundamentalism that's the issue, not Islam per se), quite the opposite. If I believed we were in danger from the spread of fundamentalist and fervent Islam within the US, I'd say the worst and most dangerous response would be to crack down and try to use state action to oppose it. On the other hand, generally letting alone (other than the continued enforcement of our neutral criminal laws) would most likely mean that people would move toward a more conciliatory form of the religion. (And this seems not even a problem with the types of Islam most common in the US already, which currently show that Islam and the US aren't at war -- why ruin this by determining that because some Islamic groups don't like us we should pick a fight with Islam generally and dismissing the argument that plenty of Muslims accept that there's no inherent conflict between "western values" and Islam?)
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 08-29-2010, 11:54 PM
look look is offline
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,886
Default Re: Culture War on Islam Edition (Adam Serwer & Eli Lake)

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanie View Post
I'm not positive I have the context of these quotes right, as I'm responding to a response to Alexandrite, so feel free to clarify:

Alexandrite:





First, I don't get this "no one takes seriously the idea" thing. It's the Samuel J. Huntington argument, isn't it. Seems to me it's taken somewhat seriously by some people, if in a more of a Thomas Friedman "McDonald's prevent war" kind of way that's been increasingly discredited even to those who originally pushed it, which is perhaps why people are feeling that it's not an argument worth addressing.

Personally, though, I think the comments above seem to combine a couple of issues which are separate: (1) is "the West" at war (or doomed to be) with "Islam"; and (2) what would that require/mean. There seems to be an assumption that this current Cordoba Center is related to (1) -- a response that makes sense if you buy (1) such that people dismissing the anti position about the Cordoba Center are seen to not be taking seriously (1).

So, to start, I think it's important to point out that there's no legitimate connection between one's conclusions or concerns about (1) and the Cordoba Center. There's simply no rational argument that I've heard that the building of the Cordoba Center will have any influence on any alleged war between "Islam" and "the West." The whole vague idea that it will weaken the US or be a victory for OBL or so on is simply groundless and idiotic. Same for the idea that it will be a step in the direction of sharia law. Thus, while I'm not accusing either look or Alexandrite of this at all (you both seem reasonable to me from my memory of your posts) bringing up the "what if we are at war with Islam" thing in the context of the discussion of the Cordoba Center (as has been done in the course of the broader discussion of the issue) seems inherently irrelevant and an effort to play on simple anger at Muslims.

I do see why it would come up as a tangent in a bloggingheads thread without such concerns attaching, and thus I'll try to address it, although I think it will take a bit to frame the argument. Mainly because, as indicated in a reply to BornAgainDem elsewhere, I don't think it makes sense to speak of a war between undefined terms (and non-actors) like "the West" and "Islam." The US seeks no war with "Islam," and I don't believe a variety of other countries generally included in the term do either, and they share no common view on how to deal with various other related problems. Thus, what is clearly being asked is more correctly stated: "what if Islam has declared war on 'the West.'" Setting aside the lack of clarity in the latter term, the problem is that Islam is not a person or nation or any unified force. The question is whether some groups who identify as Islamic have declared war on "the West" (and those groups may not agree on who they are at war with or what their goals are).

Defined that way, I'd agree that it's true, but not because there's some possible unknown war/decide to harm what the US (and American liberals) see as our interests that we aren't acknowledging.

So then you get to (2). The vague notion again seems to be that if we acknowledge this possible war that this might affect our answer in some of the discussions we've been having -- i.e., liberal assumptions about the first amendment, etc., aren't valid if (1) turns out to be true. I think this assumption needs to be fleshed out, because it strikes me as clearly wrong. Again, how does the Cordoba Center question change at all? The discussion regarding the other mosques that have been opposed?

In particular, historically oppressing (or seeming to oppress) a religious group doesn't seem to be effective in damping down fervor (and it's a certain type of fervor and fundamentalism that's the issue, not Islam per se), quite the opposite. If I believed we were in danger from the spread of fundamentalist and fervent Islam within the US, I'd say the worst and most dangerous response would be to crack down and try to use state action to oppose it. On the other hand, generally letting alone (other than the continued enforcement of our neutral criminal laws) would most likely mean that people would move toward a more conciliatory form of the religion. (And this seems not even a problem with the types of Islam most common in the US already, which currently show that Islam and the US aren't at war -- why ruin this by determining that because some Islamic groups don't like us we should pick a fight with Islam generally and dismissing the argument that plenty of Muslims accept that there's no inherent conflict between "western values" and Islam?)
Thanks for your thoughtful post, stephanie. My reply to Alexandrite was not related to the mosque's location or suitability.

As I said, I think Western influence over the ME since colonial days has built
into great resentment by Middle Easterners. For example, as I loosely understand it, Iraq agreed to revolt against the Ottoman Empire in order to help the British during WWI...with the understanding that they would be permitted to become an autonomous state/kingdom. This semi-materialized, excepting the usurpation of their oil rights. As time went on these colonized countries became more bitter, building up to events like our interference in 1956 Iran. Below, there are some interesting Wiki articles, and an excerpt from a book review to illustrated what I mean.

As I mentioned, Koran texts that had been more benevolently interpreted in the past have changed to a more expansive reading, which 'permits' suicide bombing. My main point about war with Islam rests on, as you said, different varieties of Islam. The brand that now wants to destroy the Great Satan can be looked at, I think, as a bad computer virus that may possibly spread and become uncontainable, especially if the global economic picture becomes very bleak.

I agree completely with freedom of religion, with, as you say, strict adherence to
our neutral criminal laws, and that repression of religious freedoms will breed
resentment and belligerence. But the rubber will hit the road on those very tough issues that are more of a civil nature, I think, such as, shall Muslim boys be dismissed from class four, or so, times a day to pray. Shall young girls be
excused from certain gym classes due to modesty reasons, shall cousin marriage be permitted?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosul_P...Ottoman_Empire

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faisal_I_of_Iraq


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/037...pf_rd_i=507846
Quote:
Howell delicately avoids the ramifications of Bell's actions as the midwife of modern Iraq. We know that Iraq was a mess. Anglo-French policy in the Middle East was a double-cross. In order to divert the Turks from the Dardanelles and secure the oil fields of Iraq, the British encouraged a pan-Arab revolt against the tottering Ottoman empire, engineered by Bell's irrepressible old friend T.E. Lawrence. Bell knew, as he did, that Allied promises of a fully independent Arabia were hollow. The French were set on gaining control of Syria, and everyone wanted to bash the Turks; the British wanted their oil. Bell herself was very fond of Faisal, scion of an aristocratic family in Mecca who grew up to be a brave warrior and went out of his way to court her, and so she found him a kingdom: Iraq, which was strung together out of the most unlikely constituents. The British did their best to run it on the cheap.

As far as no one taking war with Islam seriously, the current mosque brouhaha does seem to mostly entail the lefty loosies and the conservative tighties, with a pretty good sprinkling of line-crossers. But you mentioned 'Clash of Civilizations,' and here are interesting links via TGGP, commenting on a Reza Aslan/Rod Dreher dv, and Huntingon's original thesis, via dieter:

http://entitledtoanopinion.wordpress...lan-is-a-putz/

http://history.club.fatih.edu.tr/103...ull%20text.htm
Reply With Quote
 


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.