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Comment count is 76
Bort - 2016-01-21

I don't think anyone denies that Islam should be subject to critique. What many object to -- myself included -- is th sort of critique that leads to "... and therefore all Muslims are, at best, a problem waiting to happen".

And no, it's not possible to study Islam as distinct from its practitioners, because as with all religions, the religion is what is actually practiced. Religions aren't operating systems that people run; if anything, they serve more as justification for what one was planning to do anyway. Even fundamentalists who are allegedly into literal interpretations pick and choose the hell out of their scriptures. So the way Islam, or Christianity, or whatever faith is practiced has everything to do with the culture it is being practiced in, what that culture values and wants to make excuses for, plus what that culture considers alien and intolerable, all on top of individual tastes. The Bible was used for justification by both slaveholders and Abolitionists in the United States; the devil can quote Scripture for his purpose.

Let's talk female genital mutilation because oh boy what a fun topic. Bigots love to point to FGM as proof of Islam's barbarism, except that 1) it is predominately a Sub-Saharan African practice, and 2) in places where Muslims practice FGM, so do Christians and everybody else. So it doesn't track as a feature of Islam but of Sub-Saharan Africa.

So while it's tough to criticize Islam in the abstract in any meaningful way, I'm all for calling out illiberal practices of its followers: I'm no fan of theocracies or of those who want to keep women and the LGBT oppressed, and those Muslims who do so, it is up to them to step up to the 20th century. But, I am not going to do as bigots do and say that we are at war with Islam, because that's fucking nuts: the great majority of Muslims mean us no harm, and there are untold millions in the Muslim community trying to do something about the backward ways too many Muslims favor. Remarkably enough, Muslims aren't all the same, almost like they are human beings and not insects.

I really hoped this video wouldn't get out of the hopper because I tire of having to retype this shit.

kingarthur - 2016-01-21

I wish there were a way to sticky this comment. Spot on.

bawbag - 2016-01-21

These are yours by rights.

Absolutely spot on reply Bort.

That guy - 2016-01-21

I generally agree with you about not painting everyone with the same stripe. That's important and completely factual. But I also think that you may be simplifying your position into a more comfortable worldview (or something like that):

1) You're pulling your punches on FGM, full stop:

2) moderate Islam is a human rights nightmare, irrefutably:

3) Ideology does work on people's brains. Religion isn't just a tool for retroactive justification of cultural/ political/economic wants and needs.

I know that you know a ton about world politics. I'm wondering if you need to shift your opinion a little here, even if it means shifting it onto more uncomfortable ground. I think this uncomfortable ground is what makes liberals and conservatives simplify their picture of the Islamic world all the time. It's very hard for one side to admit that it's more than 1 in a million that's bad news (or really, that non-whites can be so hideously flawed and often evil); and it's just as hard for the other side to admit that there are reformers, lax muslims (where it's safe to be), and people who strongly disagree with terrorism and have criticisms of the US (or even that not loving baby Jesus doesn't make them all evil).

That guy - 2016-01-21

Stop listening to Resa Aslan. He's a lying sack of shit.

Doc Victor - 2016-01-21

Bort, I disagree with you on several points.

The most valid criticism of Islam is that it is atavistic by nature, i.e. as defined by its cultural center, Mecca. It engenders adherence, often rigid, from its followers, to the tenets set forth, practiced, and in some cases enforced by its cultural center. Those who don't conform to these standards are labeled as outsiders if not criminals. By its own words and deeds, it both directly and indirectly discourages modernization and assmiliation. This is not an abstract criticism, nor is it completely disparate to what you said; however, it is significant of the fact that Islam's resistance to outside influence has the net effect of defying the balance of being practiced in a different culture.

Are we at war with Islam? No, not *yet*. The *yet* comes in due to the fact that what we are seeing is a trend not relative to the nature of religion but to the nature of basic human competition. If muslim migration to the wider world continues, it is likely that eventually a tipping point will be crossed where there are too many people with far too different beliefs jammed together without breathing room. Moreso than that is already true, anyways. Being as muslims tend to be terrible assimilators, with second generation nationals embracing those atavistic principles far more fervently than their parents, we can expect to see more and more Islamic subcultures and societies appearing that choose to disavow the customs of their new homelands, and similarly, nonmuslim nationals unwilling to kowtow or conform to the Islamic standard. So do the majority of Muslims mean "us" (us meaning nonmuslims, specifically from western societies) harm? No, not directly, but looking the other way at the fact that there are serious issues with Islam absent of any other major religion or culture is a mistake. There are plenty of regular people who practice Islam, but there are plenty more people who practice and live aspects of the culture that have no place in any society governed by modern laws and regulations. It doesn't make them evil, but it does place them at odds against "us". The worm has already turned in some cases, and will continue to do so.

Unless the rule of Mecca and the cultural center of Islam is totally dismantled from what it is today, I do not expect widespread growth and movement towards a modern, world-friendly Islam any time soon.

Bort - 2016-01-21

That guy:

1) I'm being fair about FGM. That article you linked to is making a big, and I think not quite accidental, mistake: it's correlating FGM to Muslim majority countries. What that fails to point out, again I don't think by accident, is that Christians in those same countries also practice FGM.

2) Bringing up Sam Harris, Bill Maher, and Ben Affleck as a definitive discussion of a complex issue is a bad idea.

3) You're right that I oversimplified the relationship between the religious and their scriptures; when you gaze into the Old Testmament the Old Testament gazes back at you. That said, anyone who lives in a majority Christian country that is not communist (in the ideal sense of the word) knows how little people actually say "guys, our holy book obligates us to do inconvenient things".

I am all for criticizing those Muslims who are shitheels for whatever forms of shitheeldom they practice. The step I refuse to take -- because I aspire to not be a bigot -- is to say that, because someone is a Muslim, they are guilty of someone else's shitheelery.

Bort - 2016-01-21

Doc Victor - I fucking dare you to go to a Muslim grocery store and talk to people. For ten whole minutes.

Doc Victor - 2016-01-21

Hey Bort, I dare you to do the exact same fucking thing and tell me you learned a god damn thing about a single point I made except that a guy you have a ten minute conversation with might or might not be a nice person when having a superficial conversation with a stranger.

I have met, worked with, and had meaningful relationships with more Muslims than you. I promise. Some were alright individuals, some were not. The group mentality of Islam is as I described above.

That guy - 2016-01-22

1) I'm going to take "predominantly" to be a weasel word, since what it's doing is weaseling.
Also, it says IN THE ARTICLE what you claim it's not saying about Christian's practicing it as well in NE Africa.
You're dead wrong.
Plus it happens outside of Africa. Do I have to hold you down and rub your nose in it?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_female_genital_mutilation_ by_country

It has a high correlation with Islam. Math.

2) You can't liken Sam Harris to Maher, or either to Affleck. That's bullshit. Plus, I'm interested in WHAT he says in that video, not WHO he is. I'm not going for that rhetorical appeal, Cicero.
Reply to the "moderate Islam is a human rights nightmare" claim, asshole.

3) Yes, most christians are bad christians, especially regarding charity. But it's really inconvenient, isn't it, to your aspirations not to be bigoted to have to admit that it's not 0.0001% of muslims that are a problem. The number's much higher. Moderate muslims believe in insane punishments for 'crimes' that most of the rest of the world considers rightful actions. Now, we could have a discussion about how they're the product of their environment, but you might want to start that conversation by admitting what the facts are.

Bobonne - 2016-01-22

The main issue is that Christianity went through The Reformation, and Islam hasn't yet.

Maybe it's in the beginning stages of doing so right now.

I'd like to think that eventually, Islam will be about as neutered as Christianity, and the world will be better off for it. (note that this is pretty much my stance on every religion, I'm fine with people believing and practicing whatever they want, so long as they don't force it on anyone else).

That guy - 2016-01-22

You know what the other thing is Bort- why are you issuing lengthy caveats at the beginning of this video?
Did you watch THIS video?

kingarthur - 2016-01-22

Just want to point out that Doc Victor's statements about Mecca could, in a time period not all that long ago, be made about the Vatican and immigrants to America.

Just sayin'.

kingarthur - 2016-01-22

**You know, being one a dem assimilated dagos and all.

Doc Victor - 2016-01-22

Arthur- I acknowledge that but the Vatican has grown with the times and Catholic/Jewish immigrants to America tended to assimilate quickly. The second generation of Italian and Irish Americans were less old school than their parents. Also look at Europe, where distinct cultures that shared a land border frequently intermingled with little long term cultural alienation, disregarding major wars.

Bort - 2016-01-22

That guy - look at the goddamn graph on that page, where all he's graphing is Muslim-MAJORITY versus FGM. He's not addressing what Christians in those same countries do -- which is, they also practice FGM.

Bort - 2016-01-22

That guy - it occurs to me that I should rub your nose in it:

These data [JAC: presented as a plot below] clearly show that there is a large significant positive correlation between the percentage of women subject to FGM, and the prevalence of Islam.

Let me emphasize that for you: the PREVALENCE of Islam. And I'll tell you why he's doing that: he's found a correlation -- that Sub-Saharan nations practice FGM and also most of them are predominantly Muslim -- and if he doesn't explore it too hard, the credulous will go "whoa, I guess Islam means FGM". So good job, you're exactly the sort of sucker this guy is looking for.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

Doc Victor's statements about Mecca could also be made by about *our own* Holy Cities - Washington, New York, and LA! Consider: the average Muslim spends about one hour per day engaging in rituals and consuming media (such as the Qur'an) which engenders adherence to the tenets set forth by their Islamic cultural center. By contrast, the average American spends FIVE HOURS per day engaged in rituals, consuming media (like television, pop music, film) that engenders adherence to the tenets set forth by WESTERN cultural centers. Furthermore, it strikes me as odd to see Doc Victor state the following about about Islam - "Those who don't conform to these standards are labeled as outsiders if not criminals" - given that the current debate we are having is a fairly blatant example of how we ourselves do that, too! Conservative Muslims don't conform to OUR standards, so, evidently, Conservative Muslims are either outsiders or criminals.

Given that this sort of deferential, collectivist behavior - that is, devotion to geographically-remote sociopolitical elites and hostility towards outsiders - has (to one degree or other) probably always existed in both of our societies, i would say it's open to debate whether this behavior can rightly be called "atavistic". However, regardless of what we wish to call it - atavistic or something else - it's clear that _at this point in time_, both so-called "sides" of our alleged "clash of civilizations" are engaged in similar patterns of behavior.

Bort - 2016-01-22

I sort of tuned out as soon as Doc Victor said "atavistic". As soon as you're arguing that Muslims are slave to dictates alien to the rest of us, you're arguing that they're not human, not fully anyway. That's why I challenged him to meet some Muslims and see if he comes away with any different insights.

Oscar Wildcat - 2016-01-22

So true, Homer. Western culture is as hegemonic as, well, western culture. We practice male genital mutilation. And we fight with everything about anything. But we are pluralistic, and on that hook I will hang my hat.

Doc Victor - 2016-01-22

Bort, I have been to six different Muslim countries for lengths of time 3 weeks-8 months. I grew up in New York City in an ethnically diverse area with a mosque three blocks from my home. You are spewing this dogmatic nonsense about making small talk with a stranger as a representation of the systemic normality of Islam like that means something. Not one person here has described Muslims as non human, monsters, cannibals and rapists etc. you seem awful quick to want to put that on us from way up there on your pedastal.

Why don't you tell me about your life among the Muslims and how they brought you in to the most insular parts of their communities and showed you that it's just Ward and June praying to Mecca and passing on the pork chops and a couple of gosh darn troublemakers ruining it for the rest of them. How about you read my post again and try to think critically instead of just knee jerking out some stupid bullshit about how my statements must clearly be the result of xenophobic ignorance. Or maybe you just have no idea what you're talking about?

Bort - 2016-01-22

Sorry Doc, you sounded exactly like a half-educated Fox News viewer so I took you as one.

And I still don't think I was that far off, when you say things like this:

"Unless the rule of Mecca and the cultural center of Islam is totally dismantled from what it is today, I do not expect widespread growth and movement towards a modern, world-friendly Islam any time soon."

Doc Victor - 2016-01-22

So why is that wrong?

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2016-01-22

The most devout Muslim I ever knew was my landlord of about 12 years ago. This man converted the hotel where he kept his office building into a local haven for convicted sex offenders, a place where they could be safe and be supervised. He befriended them, and sometimes he gave them work. It was a boon to the community and a service to humanity. I could tell you other stories of this man's kindness, though I didn't know him very well. When he passed away, i still owed him money, though he never tried to get it out of me.

I don't criticize people for their religious beliefs (atheism,by the way, is not a religion, but it IS a religious belief.) I criticize people's politics, even if religion is involved. I think that's pretty straightforward, and it works well for me.

Doc Victor - 2016-01-22

John, you're a sex offender????

That guy - 2016-01-22

Ethiopia, Eritrea. They're on the graph. They're the two counterexamples.
Other than that, it's a practice in many, but not all, Muslim countries, inside and outside of Africa.

You didn't take an honest look at anything I presented. You're just reacting.

That guy - 2016-01-22

Why do you figure that religious beliefs are beyond criticism??

Bort - 2016-01-22

Doc Victor - it's wrong because there is no Muslim pope in Mecca who issues decrees for all Muslims to follow. It's wrong because a lot of the Middle East was doing better before fundamentalists took over as a reaction to Western influence, which is to say, we've already seen proof that Muslims can move towards modernity provided nothing comes along to fuck them up (look at Afghanistan before the Taliban, or Iran before the Ayatollah, to see Muslim countries that were doing a lot better civil rights wise). It's wrong because Muslims in the United States (the ones I see on a regular basis) can and do keep their faith while also fitting into American culture.

That guy - you are trying very hard to ignore how Christians in those same Muslim-majority countries also practice FGM, which very much suggests it has more to do with the underlying culture than which religion you practice in that country. This is not hard to understand, and if this were anywhere else on the Internet I'd accuse you of being too dumb to live. Except I know you're not an idiot, though when it comes to this topic you're sure as hell not devoting any brainpower.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2016-01-22

I'm not a sex offender. I didn't live in the hotel. I was in a separate apartment building.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

The apartment building rented out to sex offenders?

That guy - 2016-01-22

How many times do I have to say that in the article, they mention the christians in NE Africa? Or that they also find a correlation with Islam and a negative correlation with Christianity. It doesn't exist only through that swath of Africa. It exists elsewhere.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2016-01-21

Osama bin Laden, a muslim, arranges a terrorist attack on the USA, and 3000 Americans are killed. George W. Bush, a Christian, invades Iraq. and an estimated 500,000 Iraqis are killed. You could try to explain to me how military action and terrorism isn't the same thing, but death is always death. You can argue that the Americans were more legityimate, or had better intentions, but you can't argue that the Dead Iraqis are somehow less dead than the dead Americans.

That guy - 2016-01-21

W absolutely fucked us in terms of world opinion with his dumbfuck, evil Iraq war. Without him and his dipshittery, we wouldn't have changed many muslim minds, but we would have swayed a lot more neutral parties.

That said, I still throw my lot in firmly with the West, because the scale of Western evils vs Islamic evils is tilted fucking hard toward them in these centuries. I don't believe in the kind of absolute moral/cultural relativism that could apologize for how moderate Islamic governments trample human rights in their countries. The kind of left-wingers that would apologize for that while attacking the West for its evils are just as shit as right-wingers are, and it's always due to their monomaniacal enmity to the West.

Both extremes want to fuck the West to death in their own contrary yet inimical ways.

Bort - 2016-01-21

"I don't believe in the kind of absolute moral/cultural relativism that could apologize for how moderate Islamic governments trample human rights in their countries."

There's a difference between "apologizing" for it -- which probably happens less than you think -- and trying to make a counterargument to the "see? Muslims are inherently evil!" argument that is all too prevalent.

There are a great many places in the world I would like to make more liberal. I also know there are no easy answers. Hell, Bernie Sanders' fan club still prove themselves to be racist shitbags at the drop of a hat, and they are the progressivest progressives to ever progress a progressive.

simon666 - 2016-01-21

In the late 90s or 2000, I watched a vhs produced by a group of activists, fighting for the rights of women in Afghanistan. On this vhs were videos of women being stoned to death for, if I recall correctly, the crime of adultery. If you have never seen stoning, imagine the following:

A hole is dug in ground just deep enough for the woman's legs and hips. The woman, hands bound, mouth gagged, is placed into the hole and buried up to her waist. A white sack is placed over her, covering her head, shoulders, and torso, down to the ground, while boys and men stand eagerly in a circle about 24 feet in diameter around her. Once the sack is a fixed a stone the jeering begins and stones pelt the white sack. Some large, some small. The the sack begins to turn red in places. Larger stones are found and hurled from just a few feet away. The sack turns red, soaked with blood, then leans awkwardly to one side. The woman's corpse, buried up to its waist, cannot crumple over completely.

Having seen the death of that woman, I generally insist on people to that kind of murderous behavior when either vilifying the West or defending certain Islamic cultural traditions.

simon666 - 2016-01-21

*...insist on people speaking to that murderous behavior...

kingarthur - 2016-01-22

But that cultural tradition is not "ISLAMIC" exclusively. AT ALL. Never was.

That guy - 2016-01-22

...for fuck's sake, kingarthur, who's practicing it now?

Are you and Bort going to argue definitions 'til Armageddon?

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

That's not equivalent at all, John. Bin Laden, as a CIA-backed war veteran with family ties to the Bushes, should have known that attacking America was the Wrong Thing To Do. He was doubtlessly aware of PNAC and the ramifications of their doctrine, and must have been INSANE to bite the hand which fed him. (perhaps this insanity was what led him to attack SEAL Team Six, instead of allowing himself to be taken into custody and put on trial?)

Dubya, on the other hand, knew that the Iraq War would work out fine. We'd win, everyone in Washington and the media establishment would gradually fall in line or get driven out, and the next few generations would be perfectly happy to continue our glorious march towards oligarchical collectivism. Furthermore, Iraqis use up a lot of resources, resources which require carbon, so just think of the invasion as, I dunno, "population management in service of sustainable development".

Why do you hate freedom?

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

That guy - definitions are important. If people cannot agree on what they're talking about, they cannot debate with each other properly.

Bort - 2016-01-22

"Are you and Bort going to argue definitions 'til Armageddon?"

Depends, are you going to keep filing away at definitions until they take on smooth contours that let you say "see? All Muslims are a threat!"

I prescribe the same thing for you as I did Doc Victor: spend ten fucking minutes in a Muslim grocery store, and if you make it out alive, hopefully you'll start perceiving that Muslims aren't monsters. There are some practices in Muslim society I'd like to see Muslims abandon -- and there are plenty of Muslims who feel the same -- but I can't force that any more than I can make rural Alabamans abandon racism.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

While I feel that Mr Bort's profanity is unnecessary, I agree with his conclusion. I'd also like to add a further point, in the form of a question: let us assume for a moment that there IS a fundamental clash of civilizations going on, and that, contrary to Mr Bort's claims, people DO have the ethical and legal right to force their beliefs on foreigners.

Which belief set, out of all possible belief sets, should be allowed to coerce those it comes into conflict with? Who gets to make this determination, and why?

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2016-01-22

>>That said, I still throw my lot in firmly with the West, because the scale of Western evils vs Islamic evils is tilted fucking hard toward them in these centuries.

Really? You understand that 500,000 is a larger number of dead people than 3000, right? I know that's only one measure, but moral relativism does not apply here. Dead is dead, and the reasons why don't matter to the dead people.

Theocracy is a terrible thing, but theocracy is not a religion, it's a political system. I'm not sure that Islamic theocracies have a worse track record than Christian theocracies, and based on my contact with muslims in the US, it's my hypothesis that, in the 21st century, the reasons why theocracy has a greater foothold in the Islamic world has more to do with politics than faith.

That guy - 2016-01-22

You know I didn't say "they" were monsters, or all terrorists or some such shit. But a hell of a lot of them want the death penalty for apostates, adulterers, queers, chop off the hands of thieves, etc. I did say that moderate Islam is evil, because of shit like that.

You're running out of shit to say, and you'd rather apologize for the religion as a whole than take a good look, because it fits your sophomorically-tolerant worldview to generally apologize and say that we're as bad as them.

And if the facts just don't bear that out, what do you do from there?
www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politi cs-society-overview/
They're not supportive of terrorism. They think they're supportive of democracy and religious freedom, but have beliefs that directly contradict those values. All the rest of the typical beliefs are shit.

JHM, you're cherry picking a bit there. Those numbers aren't the only thing that goes on the overall scale of which culture is far-and-away worse.

Who told you both that religions all are/have to be acceptable in practice? Of course most muslims aren't stoning and FGMing their way around the grocery store. So what?

Most of the horrible racists I've known are friendly as fuck to their own race, they'll give you a warm handshake, do you a favor, etc etc. They don't just drip evil all day long. They have key moments of severe prejudice that could very readily include violence. In sum, are they evil or not evil?? Why is a moderate muslim who supports stoning people or suppressing women any better than that?
Is religion magic to you, or something?

Evil beliefs that one puts into action are evil. Moderate West has some. Islam has a lot more. Start there. Islam needs reformation- it's otherwise incompatible with the West, which is not obliged to bend over backward to accommodate it.

simon666 - 2016-01-22

But that cultural tradition is not "ISLAMIC" exclusively. AT ALL. Never was.

You're making a mistake in generalization. Stoning people is not exclusive to Islam in general, necessarily, however, in Afghanistan under the Taliban it was a cultural norm motivated and deployed by Islamic doctrine. The behavior was a ritualized part of the actual Islamic cultural as it was practiced. That stoning is a contingent method of killing is insignificant since it was and in many places still is the method of killing for crimes against certain Islamic doctrine.

To be clear, I am not saying _all_ Muslims, I'm saying those Muslims in Afghanistan (in Iran at times, and elsewhere), who express and enforce their Islamic cultural norms in barbaric ways are not morally justified. Full stop.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2016-01-22

>>JHM, you're cherry picking a bit there. Those numbers aren't the only thing that goes on the overall scale of which culture is far-and-away worse.

"Cherry-picking"... because, in comparing the destructive impact of different cultures, it's inherently deceptive to focus on such obscure, barely relevant side issues as terrorism and war, and just how many people are being killed by whom.

Listen, if you're going to evaluate a billion people, and how they interact with another billion people, you're going to have do some cherry picking. That's really the only point I'm trying to make here. A mere human isn't going to be able to evaluate all the relative this in any reliable way. If I talk about how it appears that, in effect, we kill more people than Isis, I'm not supporting my present opinion so much as citing reasons why my previous opinion has been abandoned.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

>> Evil beliefs that one puts into action are evil.

The other day we were having a discussion about police misconduct, and you suggested that it was perfectly fine for police to violate a suspect's Fifth Amendment rights, because so long as you're a Good Guy who's trying to nab a Bad Guy, violating someone's rights is OK. This is an evil belief. This is an evil belief which leads to evil actions - police misconduct.

UNLIKE the evil of Muslims, this is actually an evil which Westerners DO have some jurisdiction over. Police misconduct is something which can affect us directly, something which citizens have a moral and philosophical duty to confront, and something which happens every day, right here in our own backyards. It's getting worse, too, thanks to a combination of apathy, learned powerlessness, and the toxic memes put out by our own self-interested cultural centers!

Rather than focusing on the plight of people half a world away, people who might not even want our help and people whom the West has a well-documented history of "helping" in the least helpful ways imaginable - rather than that, perhaps we should first focus on putting our own house in order?

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2016-01-22

>>You know I didn't say "they" were monsters, or all terrorists or some such shit. But a hell of a lot of them want the death penalty for apostates, adulterers, queers, chop off the hands of thieves, etc. I did say that moderate Islam is evil, because of shit like that.

In the west, we call that "You Tube Comments"

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

John, I'm going to have to stop you there. Not all lives are equal. While I don't have access to the EXACT weregild of each person killed in New York and each person killed in Iraq, we can at least make an effort to arrive at some sort of comparison. Remember: the WTC was an extremely important building in the heart of one of the most important regions on the planet. The Iraqis were just dumb Muslims.

According to the Fiscal Policy Institute's November 2001 report { http://www.fiscalpolicy.org/Nov5WTCreport.PDF }, the attacks on the WTC cost New York City .2 billion per year.

According to Iraqi Business News { http://www.iraq-businessnews.com/tag/average-income/ }, the average income for an Iraqi was historically around ,000 per year. 500k dead times k a year means a net loss of .5 billion per year.

In other words, we CAN compare the two events in a quantifiable manner, and it turns out the damn Muslims were 8.48 times more destructive than we were. QED.

That guy - 2016-01-22

>>The other day we were having a discussion about police misconduct, and you suggested that it was perfectly fine for police to violate a suspect's Fifth Amendment rights, because so long as you're a Good Guy who's trying to nab a Bad Guy, violating someone's rights is OK. This is an evil belief. This is an evil belief which leads to evil actions - police misconduct.

That is absolutely NOT what I said. I specified. Go look.

I don't have a problem with police lying and tricking suspects into believing that the police have evidence they don't have, etc etc. If you have an issue with that, go pound sand. That is not a violation of the 5th amendment.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-23

Yes, you did. You said that lying to suspects during a police interrogation was fine. It is NOT fine. Police routinely try to trick poorly-informed suspects into incriminating themselves while their lawyers aren't around, a practice which violates the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.

If a Muslim cop in Iran was lying to atheists in order to get them to confess to blasphemy charges, what would you say to that? "Not evil"? "Just realpolitik"?

That guy - 2016-01-24

look it up, EH

That guy - 2016-01-22


Hazelnut - 2016-01-22

The greatest victims of Islam as practiced today are women -- hundreds of millions of women. No True Scotsman fallacies and attitudes of "Of _course_ Islam isn't immune to criticism but HOW DARE YOU CRITICIZE IT?" are prolonging the unspeakable atrocities they are enduring completely undeserved.

Right now you just can't reasonably criticize anything done in the name of Islam without getting thoroughly Borted. And it's a pity. It sucks the oxygen out of conversations that need to happen.

Hazelnut - 2016-01-22

Addendum: Sarah Haider is a very brave woman. She is risking her life. I would like to hear Bort, EvilHomer, and JHM express some respect for this.

That guy - 2016-01-22

I can tell by the way Bort's talked that he didn't give this a good listen. He hoped it wouldn't get through the hopper because he's tired of having to type this shit.

Never mind that this video is about as informed and as liberal as is imaginable.

That guy - 2016-01-22

Almost all of my muslim friends over the last decade would be dead or in jail if they lived in most muslim countries.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

Yes, it's very brave of her to be risking her life! I totally respect that, you will get no argument from me there. That doesn't necessarily mean she's *right*, of course, nor does it follow that a blistering critique of Islam allows us to derive any response we want - such as using Islamic barbarism to justify Western war-mongering, particularly given the historically disproportionate nature of Western responses, not to mention the self-serving oil interests that are invariably tied to actual (as opposed to theoretical) Western attempts to intervene.

For example: I put it to you that it is very brave of impoverished Muslims to stand up against Euro-American imperialism. It is very brave of Christian Conservatives to blow up abortion clinics. It is very brave of IDF soldiers to patrol the Gaza Strip. What does bravery *actually* tell us? Does the respect we might give a person for "being brave" actually change the material truth of her position, and if it does not, then why bother bringing her bravery up?

/// TL;DR: my distinguished colleague Ms Hazelnut is making a crude appeal to emotion. ///

With that said, I'd just like to stress that I am not on Mr Bort's side here. I am not on Mr Guy nor Ms Hazelnut's, either. My actual position is somewhat more complicated than this discussion will perhaps allow, and does not easily fall into either of the two partisan camps. I am sure that, given the right questions, Mr Bort, Mr Holmes and I could find quite a lot to disagree upon...!

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

Mr That Guy does raise a good point, however. I fully support the notion of bringing liberally-minded Muslims to a free country. Lord knows that there are precious few of those left - perhaps Estonia or Switzerland would work? - but in principle, YES! Any Muslim who wishes to flee her country should be allowed to do so unmolested, and perhaps we, as Westerners, could find ways to help facilitate this. (I would suggest: lobbying your congressman to repeal protectionist immigrant labor laws, raising awareness about the TSA, donating bandwidth or even hardware to help residents of Muslim nations get anonymous, uncensored internet access)

That still doesn't mean that Islam is "the enemy". That doesn't mean we (whatever "we" means) should (with apologies to Anne Coulter) "kill their leaders and convert them all to secular-corporatism". Muslims are still entitled to keep their evil atavistic theocracies chugging along in the Middle East, just as much as we are entitled to our evil, decadent, sin-loving police state. And if those damn Muslims want to change? Then they can change. But it's their call to make, on an individual level. Not ours to make for them.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

I'd like everyone, but particularly those of the Hazelnut/Guy variety, to revisit this submission two years into our coming Trump presidency. See if your positions have changed by that point.

Hazelnut - 2016-01-22

Okay EH, you're on. I think that Trump shooting his mouth off, being a racist shit, embarrassing the country, damaging the Republican party, and lowering the level of discourse is MUCH LESS BAD than female genital mutilation, killing people for being gay, stoning women for adultery, torturing and executing critics.

You're betting that in two years I'll change my mind on this. I think you are self-satisfied and more interested in obscure points than actual human suffering.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-22

No, I'm not betting anything. I'm just curious to see how people will react when the mainstream "blue state" narrative shifts away from "let's resist the Muslim menace, for Freedom", back to "No Blood for Oil".

Hazelnut - 2016-01-22

Right, just what I said: you only care about the "narrative", not about the actual suffering of actual hundreds of millions of people.

That guy - 2016-01-22

Oh fuck. The hypothetical Trump presidency ruining our country won't tell anyone whether we were right or wrong in this convo. This convo will be irrelevant when we're living under Western Putin.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-23

Well, just speaking for myself, I care about the principles, not the narrative. This is why, for example, I criticize Obama/Biden just as vehemently as I criticized Bush/Cheney, regardless of the fact that the cultural narrative in which I'm steeped has long since reversed poles.

Again, I am not making predictions here. You, Ms Hazlenut, and you too, Mr Guy, are both your own actors with your own thoughts and your own journeys to make. It is entirely possible that you care about principles over narratives - hell, for all I know, ten years ago you could have both been Young Republicans, just as eager to smash the Islamic menace as you are now!

That guy - 2016-01-24

...no, but I would tell you if I had been.
I don't see the point in lying on this site.

Bush/Cheney was a far bigger disaster than Obama/Biden. Obama's an ok president who inherited a mess, was obstructed, and couldn't solve/didn't care about 4th amendment issues of our day. Also he didn't really do a damn thing about income inequality.
Bush/Cheney did far, far, far worse than all that.

EvilHomer - 2016-01-24

Actually, Obama's been pretty enthusiastic about ramping up all of Bush's policies. For example, Bush declared non-wars on two countries, one of which was supported by almost everyone in Congress (including Obama). Obama, perfectly well-meaning bloke that he is, continued both of those non-wars, and then declared five more. In fact, with seven countries under his belt, he is by far the most bomb-happy president in history. So, I'm sorry, but it's difficult for me to understand your reasoning.

Here, let me ask you the following. You often bring up the concept of "realpolitik". You like to cite realpolitik, usually as an excuse for actions which might otherwise be criticized as "immoral", "hypocritical", or even "tyrannical".

What did you think about the PATRIOT Act? Was that an evil piece of legislation? Or just Bush/Cheney engaging in some harmless realpolitik?

EvilHomer - 2016-01-24

Actually, you know what, make that three questions.

First, the question regarding the PATRIOT Act above. Was Bush/Cheney's PATRIOT Act evil, or just an example of innocent Republican realpolitik?

Second, you do remember that time Donald Rumsfeld said the following, yes?

"In World War II, if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didnít say that was freedom of speech, we put them in a camp, they were prisoners of war. If {American citizens} are radicalized and they donít support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine. Itís their right and itís our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict."

Was Rumsfeld being evil, or just making the sort of tough calls that America needs?

Third, what about the time Karl Rove came out in favor of covert propaganda psyops:

"The existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theorists, we suggest, is no trivial matter, posing real risks to the governmentís antiterrorism policies, whatever the latter may be. The best response consists in cognitive infiltration of dissident groups {with nongovernmental officials}. Government can supply these independent experts with information and perhaps prod them into action from behind the scenes... Too close a connection will be self-defeating if it is exposed. {Enlisting NGOs} might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts."

Creepy dystopian thought policing is just the Republican Party's way to ensure that the West meets its challenges in the coming years... right?

Mr That Guy, can you at least admit that in these particular instances, the neoconservatives of the Bush/Cheney administration you love so much were not just "realpolitiking" for the Good of 'murica, but were, in fact, being evil? That liberal critique of these neoconservatives was both necessary and urgent - more urgent, in fact, than rallying behind the flag and bombing the shit out of Middle-Eastern Muslims, because Muslims don't watch movies or Like the same things we do on Facebook?

That guy - 2016-01-24

If you're going to tell me I'm a Bush/Cheney fan just because I'm not the other extreme, I'm going to tell you to go fuck yourself.

Binro the Heretic - 2016-01-22

I often wonder how so much of the world came to be under the rule of awful old men.

Why do so many listen to them? Why do they obey them? Why do they torture and murder to enforce their masters' wills? Why do so many abide this abomination?

Look at what's going on in the Malheur wildlife refuge, all because an awful old man in Nevada told them to. They're using their own children as human shields to further his cause.

What the fuck is wrong with us?

Coax_Current - 2016-01-23

No one seems to have brought this up, but I can't make out her argument, and I don't think she has one. She has a lot of what she thinks are elephants in the room. Possible arguments: between "Islamic dominance" and "Western bigotry," liberals have to choose a compassionate "middle path?" Liberals should protect (reformist) Muslims that criticize Islam? Most liberals are hypocrites who don't really defend free speech with any consistency, e.g. Hebdo, but should?

Harris being called a luminary made me laugh out loud. I hope she doesn't actually think that.

But back to the speech, I listened twice and couldn't find or reconstruct her argument. Best I can figure it is actually more of a plea: Liberals, don't shun and silence me when I critique Islam. Well, ok.

On Islam, and everything else, the American flavors of both secularism and feminism have little to offer the rest of the world, whether in critique or otherwise. As near as I can tell, those struggling for change in the rest of the world don't have much use for them. One poignant example: http://www.lse.ac.uk/middleEastCentre/publications/Paper-Series/Wo mensActivism.aspx

When it comes to what one critiques, and why, sure, you can critique anything and everything. Considered from a more responsible point of view, however, if you're American, work to stop American crimes. From local crimes up to and including USA backed, funded, and perpetrated atrocities. If you're an American feminist, work to stop American crimes. If you're an American atheist, work to stop American crimes. If you're a German, work to stop German crimes. And so on. Basic morality.

People get completely outraged about stonings somewhere-- those cultures MUST take a long look at themselves and put a STOP to those crimes--but when you talk about American drones "mowing the grass" in the name of the security of all Americans, suddenly the outraged people are all powerless and can't do anything against the Man.

That guy - 2016-01-23

If Islam as practiced is a seriously flawed religion, it's not going to help liberals in the West to insist that it isn't, and insist that the problems lie ONLY within one's own culture.

"And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" does not always apply as a prime virtue, and especially when the West is at least basically capable of admitting its own flaws. Islam can scarcely start on admitting its own flaws, probably because no one wants to speak out and get arrested or killed for it.

One of her (not-so-veiled) points is: stop apologizing for it in the name of multi-culturalism and some kind of Marxist critique bullshit. Another is a call for reform. A third is that anyone can be the victim of _____, but also the perpetrator of _____. It's not always one or the other.

The reason you can't hear her points is because you can only hear criticism of the West, as evidenced by your comment. You did a shit job of listening to the speech, I guess because you didn't hear what you wanted to hear.

Do you think Islamic terrorists are responsible for anything, or is any consequence of fighting them the fault of the West? Are they responsible for not separating themselves from the populace, even in places where they are essentially the power structure, or do you think the US and their drones are entirely to blame for civilian deaths? Do you have a better military option, at least for the short term, or is the only option appeasement?

There's a realpolitik world out there where the US can't just work to stop American crimes. Your last paragraph is naive as all fuck. The US has to pick and pursue a policy regarding ISIS, or the Taliban, etc etc.

Coax_Current - 2016-01-23

I heard her points, and I actually repeated several of them verbatim. You fared far worse. Certainly, you've given no indication there was an actual argument here from Haider.

You seem to be nothing more than a vulgar apologist for US killing, so I can't even be hopeful and say your heart is in the right place. When someone trots out realpolitik with no sense of irony, what can even be said?

In that vein, and regarding ends justifying means within the US policy sphere, just pretend you're Evan Solomon (shouldn't be hard) and watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lPnLK9z1fI

My last paragraph is actually my aggregated observation of mostly white, adult, American citizens, post-college to retiree, who are also seemingly the target "liberals" of her speech.

It won't make sense to you because you think that the crimes of others justify American crimes, rather than seeing crimes as crimes, and being responsible enough to think you should do something about the ones perpetrated by your home team.

EvilHomer's already said the same to you.

That guy - 2016-01-24

Yes, you would interpret me that way, nuance-free and naive as you are. At least you have the comfort of being an idealist, which provides you with the satisfaction of knowing that you're always right.
I'd love to see your plans for 2016 challenges to the West.

That guy - 2016-01-24

Is it bend over and read The Guardian?

That guy - 2016-01-26

Is there a difference between the West accidentally killing civilians while pursuing Islamic terrorists who deliberately kill civilians, and those Islamic terrorists who deliberately kill civilians, including school girls in their own countries for going to school?

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