Friday, May 15, 2009

Another Reformation? Off your rocker, are you?

"SIR – The right to examine and disagree with any institution, especially the church or state, benefits the object of inspection. The UN Human Rights Council's decision to forbid "defamation" of religion fails to recognise the benefits of scrutiny in evaluating the integrity of a religion.
Islam is strong enough to withstand criticism. If the countries that lobbied for the UN vote believe this, the resolution would not have passed.
Stephen Wong
Germantown, Maryland"

Take this letter to the editor: a superb example of bad logic and unexamined premises.

"The right to examine and disagree with any institution, especially the church or state, benefits the object of inspection."

Did the right to examine the RC Church benefit the object of examination? It turned it into a cruel inquisitor and ingniter of bonfires. The Wars of Religion started and Christianity itself became abhorrent to many: it was one of the forces for secularization in the west. Finally, the Thirty Years' War gave complete power to princes in religious matters. No doubt, in some spiritual way, those who were burnt at the stake or who set fire to the fagots were improved, but certainly not in any corporeal sense.

Islam has only on major division: the Shia-Sunni split. What these people who cry for a Muslim Reformation seem to want is a internal civil war within the Muslim polity: sorry, no can do. As R.A.Nicholson observed: "It must be admitted for the credit of the Ulama, that they seldom resorted to violence. Islam was happily spared the horrors of an organised Inquisition." Let's keep it that way, shall we?

Moreover, these 2estern attitudes reveal an essential western value: the love of conflict over concord.

Western history over the last 500 years reads like a B-grade action movie, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor: hostility towards each other, and towards the world, marks western civilization.

After two world wars, Europe discovered itself and stopped shooting. "Halt! Who goes there?" "You!"

Of course, western bellicosity has gained it entrée to every nook of the world, but what it really craves is to enter every niche of the vanquished mind. Sheer physical domination has not been enough. They want the enchained to love their chains.
Mental domination is a unique aspect of the west: totalitarianism is a purely western phenomenon. Its founder was Plato, who deplored the "privatization of thoughts and feelings". It is not enough to control your actions; your thoughts must also be controlled. And in this the west succeeds admirably.

So many have come to love their chains! So many intellectuals try to think the way their masters do: it's not just a question of competence with cutlery, but with psychic manipulation.

Isn't it enough to control Saudi Arabia: why do you have to control the mind of the average Saudi? So long as the oil flows, and Israel is protected, why mess with the religion?

A struggle against the west therefore means a struggle for mastery over one's own mind: a nation of mental slaves, such as Bangladesh, can never resist the west. Pakistan is more to be admired: in pretending to carry out its master's instructions, it pursues its own interests (this is only true of the army and the intelligence branch, of course, the ISI). It keeps its focus on its main adversary, India, and meanwhile spreads weapons of mass destruction worldwide, selling secrets to Iran and North Korea. As George Orwell observed, the atom bomb will be the great equalizer – pitting small states against big, the individual against the state (
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