Monday, November 27, 2006

Herculean task

Richard Landes at Augean Stables has a lovely and well-thought out posting on this topic (the problem of radicalized Muslims):
HDS Greenway, who is one of the Boston Globe’s resident Liberal Cognitive Egocentrists, has tackled the problem of radicalized Muslims in the Britain with predictable results.
Greenway quotes the head of MI5:
“My service needs to understand the motivations behind terrorism to succeed in countering it, ” she said. And part of the problem was a perception that British foreign policy was anti-Muslim, “in particular, Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Landes responds:

But the very formulation is astonishing and shows the lack of psychological sophistication of MI5. This complaint about foreign policy has little to do with what turns Muslims radical, although the radicals regularly make the complaint. They do so, not because if England changes their foreign policy these folks will be more responsive to the demands of civil society. On the contrary, the very threat of turning to violence if Britain’s foreign policy doesn’t align with their demands is a form of blackmail which defies the very basis of the civil society they pretend to be willing to join, if only Britain would comply; and Britain’s compliance would show them that Britain isn’t willing to fight for its civil rules.
There's an awful lot more, which you must read, but he ends, after giving the list which the British authorities (I'm not quite sure who, but it sounds a very believable list to have issued from almost any politician's mouth in the UK) are supposed to have stated as a basis for discourse:
This list illustrates better than almost anything how clueless the British authorities and Greenway are about the nature of the problem. It is the implications of this very list, and in particular the granting to “others” of the rights one wants to use to gain one’s own ascendancy that represent the very anathema that Western civilization constitutes to Islamists.

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