One of these things is not like the other
Posted by aogSaturday, 12 August 2006 at 19:59 TrackBack Ping URL

Orrin Judd is off on a another bait and switch effort where he once again declares that anyone who objects to Islam is effectively a Nazi. This is amusing on several levels:

  • Judd has no problem declaring his disdain and desire to wipe out various other religions, such as paganism.
  • The history of Islam, which is a history of conquering and suppressing other faiths also gets an exemption.
  • Three of the four of Judd’s counter examples are racial, not ideological. The analogy doesn’t pass even the simplest test.
  • To pile contradiction on contradiction, the one exception to the above is “communist”, which is actually a good analogy. Of course, just a bit further on Judd calls for killing communists. I guess that makes him morally equivalent to the exterminationist Nazis by his own claim.

All of this seems to stem from a fundamental category error on Judd’s part, in which he starts with the belief that Islam is a good religion and from there “deduces” that anything done by its believers is good. Oddly, Judd is willing to admit the errors of the Christian Church in the past, but Islam is apparently so much better a religion that it has made no comparable type of error. This leaves him with no explanation of why people would dislike Islam except his blanket accusation for anyone who dislikes his social policies, “racist”. It makes as much sense as any of his other arguments.

We can see other examples of this in these two posts. The basic view seems to be that since the Shi’a are natural liberal democrats, any Shi’a organization must also be naturally liberal democratic. This is not to mention Judd’s standard bait&switch of equating Hizb’allah and the Lebanese Shi’a. And, of course, this requires some creative re-writing of history.

First is the claim that “The Shi’a obviously have an existential stake in liberating the lands they live in.” This completely ignores the fact that Hizb’allah wasn’t liberating anything, but was gearing up to start an exterminationist war against another state. There is a good essay on this from an actual Muslim which lays it out much better than I can.

Or this claim “No one has killed more innocents than the United States”. Despite rather prodigous reading, someone needs to read The Black Book Of Communism to realize just how ahistorical this claim is.

And more recently, there this repeated canard about how running a state moderates terrorism and violence, with regard to Iran — “after early its flirtation with terrorism after the Revolution, Iran has settled into rather dowdy ways” — and Hamas — “Hezbollah’s violence will wind down once they have a constituency to answer to, as Hamas’s has”. I guess that’s why Iran is still listed as a major sponsor of international terrorism and Hamas spent all those months digging that tunnel that let them start a war with Israel, while permitting a constant stream of terror attacks in to Israel.

A lot of denial effort, but when one takes a counter-factual as an axiom and refuses to ever correct, one must be prepared to go to some lengths. It is a disappointment, as Judd used to be much more willing to consider facts on he ground rather than pure theory, but I suppose this is at least more consistent with using faith and not reason as the basis of one’s world view. It’s also a small stretch for someone who believes that fundamental physical constants are subject to the beliefs of sentients. One day I will have to ask what happens when different groups of sentients believe different things about the speed of light — couldn’t Hizb’allah break GPS by believing in a different value then?

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Brit Monday, 14 August 2006 at 09:42
I disagree with Orrin about most things, not least in that Islam is a good thing. Islam, like practially all religious doctrine, is a rotten thing. But where I agree with Orrin is that it is vitally important that we do not equate our war on terror with a war on Muslims. True, the Koran is full of evil nonsense. But average western Muslims know no more about Islam than average western Christians know about the Bible. Not much, in other words. Muslims are our colleagues, sports stars and, to use the inevitable cliche, some of my best friends are Muslim. Muslims are too many, too varied and too integrated for a war on Islam to mean anything. In practical terms on the streets of Britain or Europe, a war on Islam would mean white skinhead racist thugs beating up Pakistani shopkeepers. We've had practice at this before: we fought the IRA, not the Irish. That distinction is clear, and it's vital to keep it clear.
Annoying Old Guy Monday, 14 August 2006 at 10:16
I agree with you. But IMHO the way to do that is to step down hard on the radicals, such as Hizb'allah, and be clear about that. OJ's conflation of Islam and any organization that's Islamic makes that impossible and leads to either surrender or a war on Islam. If the citizenry is told that Hizb'allah, Hamas, and the Iranian mullahocracy are true representatives of Islam, what other conclusion should they draw except we are at war with Islam? So while OJ may say we shouldn't equate WWIV with a war on Islam, I don't see how you can avoid it while believing what he does.
Brit Monday, 14 August 2006 at 10:37
On that point we agree.
Michael Herdegen Monday, 14 August 2006 at 23:06
While the War on Terror and the nation-building going on in the Middle East aren't directly a "war on Islam", they certainly are indirectly, in the sense that we are attempting to change Arab culture and societies by force, and that culture and Islam are bound together in an ironclad way, a way that the West left behind centuries ago. Even Orrin the Islamophile wants to see all major Muslim sects but the Shia destroyed, although he puts it as them "whithering away". As if. We can see in Iraq now how well the Sunni take it when the Shia assume power. So, yeah, the Islamic faith and Western cultures and societies can co-exist quite well, but the specific combination of Islam and current Arab societies have few success stories to point towards. That's why we're kicking their spleens in the first place, because their overwhelming failure has started to spill out of their global ghetto. However, it's my view that a direct military "war on Islam" would be somewhat redundant, since the entire Western culture is effectively destroying Islam. Because Arab civil culture and Muslim religious faith are so closely tied, the failures of Arab societies necessarily reflect badly on Islam. As majority-Muslim societies fall further and further behind the West, the only people who will be attracted to Islam of their own accord will be those that for some reason want to reject the West. Of course, majority-Muslim societies, being brittle and afraid of robust competition, (with good reason), are likely to continue to demand that their citizens profess to be Muslims, and to bar other faiths from prosletyzing, but since most Arab nations are going to be begging for food aid in about forty years, their numbers aren't likely to increase much.
Annoying Old Guy Monday, 14 August 2006 at 23:44
It probably says it all you need to know that shari'a law was a big improvement over the native Arab cultures of the region. If one looks at majority Muslim societies that aren't failures, one sees how toxic the combination of Arab and Islamic culture is. Iran (Persian, not Arab) was a real country, before the Iranian Revolution. Contrast Afghanistan and Iraq, or even Kurdistan and Iraq. One might make the counter argument that WWIV is a war on Arab culture, rather than Islam. It is a fault in the West to conflate Islamic and Arabic cultures, although the Arab [CaliPhascist]s do all they can to make these the same, primarily for consumption by other Muslims.
Michael Herdegen Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 02:34
Well, the Middle East is the font of Islam, and that's where the Arabs live. It would be interesting to see what would happen to non-Arab Islam, if all of the Arabs took up some other religion. Or ceased to exist. I think that it is a war on Arab culture, and not on Islam. However, they're so bound together that it's like trying to make war on only one cojoined twin. It's a technical difference, not a practical one; it speaks to our motivation, but not to our effect on them. Further, it's telling that in response to an American foreign policy that was perceived as harmful, religious fanatics attacked America and American interests, not nationalistic fanatics.
Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 15 August 2006 at 07:39
There's always Kurdistan, where the difference becomes real. That's precisely the kind of relationship that could be used to demonstrate to the mushy middle of the ummah that's the war isn't about Islam.
Jeff Guinn Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 00:08
Micheal: However, it’s my view that a direct military “war on Islam? would be somewhat redundant, since the entire Western culture is effectively destroying Islam. That is a very acute observation. For the West, this is a sideshow we'd be perfectly happy to not deal with. We have no particular beef with Islam. However, for Islam's true believers, this is an existential war. By doing nothing other than being The West, Islam -- in its literal form -- is destined for the dustbin of history, just as Christianity -- in its literal form -- has long since disappeared. Unfortunately, Islam is so tightly bound that there seems little likelihood of arriving at the conclusion that some of what Allah wants is fine, while the rest is, well, inoperative. Meanwhile, The West continues its viral ways.
Jeff Guinn Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 00:12
Oh, I forgot to mention the irony of Mr. Judd throwing out the "applied Darwinism" trope, while giving those who clearly hope for Israel's nuclear annihilation, and the killing of all Jews, a complete bye. It must be all right. After all, it is an Abrahamic religion.
Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 12:05
Actually, I think that OJ has stated that he considers that all bluster, because once those sort of people have control of a state, democratic accountability will stop them from following through (since, after all, being Shi'a, all of them are liberal democracies).
Jeff Guinn Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 13:54
I would think the totalitarian track record for acting on declared intent is sufficiently consistent that concluding apocalyptic mullahs will decline using the nukes they so desparately seek amounts to whistling past the graveyard. I have no doubt significant parts of the Islamic world hope for Israel's complete destruction, and the eradication of Jews. But because their motivations are religious, it isn't applied Darwinism.
Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 17 August 2006 at 14:17
Ah, see, that's what I was getting at in my parenthetical remark. OJ does not consider any of those regimes to be totalitarian because they are composed of Shi'ites. Your final sentence should be "because their motivations are Abrahamic, those regimes are not totalitarian".
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