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Why the Muslims Misjudged Us

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
<a href="http://www.city-journal.org/html/12_1_why_the_muslims.html" target="_blank">Essay</a>
post #2 of 12
good read...

thank you...

E PLURIBUS UNIX
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post #3 of 12
Good article.

I find myself scared to death of the middle east. Not because I'm ignorant of the situation but on the contrary, in the past few months I've gotten to know a whole other side over there. The Muslim Arabs (a big part of the population at least) must hate us (the 'West') intensely for who we are but I cannot conjure up any sort of hatred for them except for a select few (Taliban, OBL, etc). I guess it's because I have it to good in the USA, I don't really think about hating another people/religion. Maybe it's because I try and take example from the founder of my religion that hatred only breeds evil things such as war, intolerance, and death.

The sad part, I don't think it will ever change. Ever. Not until they wipe themselves off the face of the earth.
post #4 of 12
Interesting article, but not very positive for the future ...

I think the most important point is the different culture.
The worse thing for a religion is the non-evolution.
Christianism is very different in many ways from his origins : who can complains about this our world is far different from the time of feodality. We live in a more sophisticated society. But christianism has evolved in the respect of his traditions (a very difficult exercice made by generations of theologist) and this evolution is perpetual.
In the Jews culture the analysis and criticize of the holy text are important : that's why so many of them are intellectual
I fear that in the islamic culture too many times people just learn by heart the holy text without any criticize or relativisations (parabolic phrases are not reality).
I don't think that the holly text of any religions are better or lesser than others, but i think that the way you read it is very important. I expect that more and more muslim will read their holy text in a modern way. World is very different from what he was centuries about it , you have to follow your religions , but you have to see the difference of context.
Example the Prophet said you should not marry more than 4 wife , and each wife must have the same cares, if a husband want to marry an another women he must have the permission of his wife...
That does not means exactly that a muslim should marry 4 wife. In the time of the Propeth there where more women than mans, have many womens was a necessity in order to let live the maximum number of them. In a other way 4 wife was a limitation, because in many tribes the number was much more important (for the leaders only ...)
So i consider at this time it was a progress. Now times have changed and problems are different, nobody can speak at the place of Mahomet or any other prophet, but who knows what he'll say now ?

Perhaps (and mostly ) i am ignorant about the muslim world if i am wrong answer me, bad words are better than no words.
post #5 of 12
Interesting bit of semi-intellectual propaganda. His points seem to be:

1) The west is materially and organizationally more effecient than Islam
2) and is so because of its system of values: values which include self critique and democracy.
3) values that are Greek
4) Islam does not know this because their system is theocratic and despotic
5) also they are jealous.

I think that he is correct in many ways though I think there are some problems with his characterization:

Europe is not as Greek as everyone likes to claim, rather our heritage is from Rome and from Germanic tribes. This is significant because Roman democracy was a parody of the Athenian model, and Rome was in its Golden Era when it had an Emperor-God.
Rome conquered the Greeks because they were better disciplined and they took what started as an invitation by the Greeks to help against the Persians, as an opportunity to turn garrisons into conquering forces: some liberating democracy huh? treachery rather.
Besides only 3% at most of either civilization were free people and citizens -the rest either slaves or women (ei: chattel in that time).

Also the reason that Rome eventually burried Carthage was not such a Triumph of the Just, rather the third Punic war is really a SHAME on the historic record of Rome, where they provoked an unnecessary war, tricked Carthage into giving up its arms, then sacked, burned it, plowed under every stone, and then even salted the earth above to ensure Carthage would not return. . . this is the victory of 'just' values?

Besides Europe became Europe after Germanic hordes overthrew Rome and Feudalism reigned. It is during these hundreds of years that Europe became an identity -- a mish-mash of Roman militaristic discipline and beurocracy, feudal (Tribal) organization, a wiff of Greek memories (wait for the Rennaissance for them to surge in characature) and a patina of Judaic morality via Christianity and the presence of Post-diaspora Jews.

I would say that the Greek value equation in our heritage is overestimated and what he really means is that we get our organizing power from the legacy of Rome. Its only really with the revolution that we have democracy, and maybe much of the ideas that spurred the revolution come from Greece (they also are ideas shrouded in Masonic mystification and supposedly come from some pre-Greek ancient source (read 'Akasic records')in Egypt --- well that is if you believe the nut-theorists living in the trailer parks in Oregon. (which I don't))

I do like his wholistic aknowledgement that a culture's military, technological and intellectual power is directly related to the manner in which it structures itself, including its so called 'values', and also, how he relates this all to history
However... I'm not sure that I would prioritize the origin of this particular wholistic structure to any one aspect, such as 'democracy', however, I think rather it is a result of a web of historically conditioned details which are virtually impossible to untangle. (Foucault does a good job trying though)

ALso, though I think some of his ideas are good, the manner in which he pontificates and slanders, cheapens anything real that he says... either that, or he is really trying merely to persuade (as in propaganda) Or is a borderline racist.

Note: Iran has ellections (though they are tempered by religious authority) and it is getting ever more "enlightened" everyday. also, Packistan has had years of elections but they were currupt and led to Mussharef and militarism.
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

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"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
post #6 of 12
Good essay. A bit heady in places, lots of comparisons to past regimes and a fair bit of historical perspective. I quite enjoyed it. I don't know if I completely agree with him about why America is so great, but the underlying priciple of his argument seems to be quite sound.
NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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NoahJ
"It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err." - Mahatma Gandhi
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post #7 of 12
[quote]Originally posted by pfflam:
<strong>Europe is not as Greek as everyone likes to claim, rather our heritage is from Rome and from Germanic tribes. This is significant because Roman democracy was a parody of the Athenian model, and Rome was in its Golden Era when it had an Emperor-God.</strong><hr></blockquote>But the examples you cite are all pre-enlightenment period, and it was during the enlightenment that the values on which our current social philosophies were developed.

Wouldn't you say there was a turning point during the 17th-18th centuries, exemplified by the French and American revolutions, in which governments turned back to classical philosophies for ideas?
post #8 of 12
I don't think his point is just to say "America is better than all those Muslim countries."

I think the point is that societies that are so rigid and stifling prevent themselves from growing and developing. Dictatorships or fundamentalist religious states, whether out of fear or arrogance, restrict the freedoms of their citizens so completely that people and groups will have much less potential to think, explore and invent.
post #9 of 12
[quote]Originally posted by BRussell:
<strong>
Wouldn't you say there was a turning point during the 17th-18th centuries, exemplified by the French and American revolutions, in which governments turned back to classical philosophies for ideas?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Not just government - geez, you're such a liberal - but architecture and the visuals arts also. And the "turning back" didn't start with the enlightenment but with the renaissance.
shooby doo, shooby doo
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post #10 of 12
[quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:
<strong>Not just government - geez, you're such a liberal - but architecture and the visuals arts also.</strong><hr></blockquote>You mean people made art before the NEA???
post #11 of 12
shooby doo, shooby doo
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post #12 of 12
[quote] But the examples you cite are all pre-enlightenment period, and it was during the enlightenment that the values on which our current social philosophies were developed. <hr></blockquote>

BRussel, yes I kind of said as much, but I think that the Enlightenmnet also is made possible by the Rennaissance reinterpretation of the Greeks: neo-platonists et al. I don't think that that heritage exploded into real political realities till the Revolutionary war here, and with Napoleon . .. though that quickly became a mess. So I guess I agree with you to some extent.

I would say, though, that much of the stated Greek influence, though real, is still bound up with a form of disciplinary bearacracy (sp?) that is Roman/Feudal and pretty much original in origin:

But one reason I would say the Greek thing is over-valued, is that, whenever a call to return to the 'classical' origins of western civilization is made, I think we are nostalgic for a false dream that never existed, and we tend to erase all of the mean-time that was between now and the "Golden Age" of Athens.

Nietszche's vision of the Greeks is probably more accurate then the (not so clean) collumns around the Mellon Institute, or soem gloriously democratic free Athens, especially because, (later) Nietszche would not fiegn to think that we can accurately grasp historical events without the distortions of interpretation:

We look back and if we think we see the real thing... we are wrong: history is a constructed model, conditioned by context, context made by history --(this is called the hermenuetic circle Mr Russell.)

The point being that we are not "Greek", we are the mishmash of now.
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
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