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Posted: 2/6/2006 3:02:03 AM EDT
Newsflash, Mr. Author:

What you say could be true...

...or it could be that they do understand our values, and that they still want to kill or convert us, because that's what their culture religion requires.

Culture is merely religion externalized; Western Civilization as we know it is the product of Christianity, the Renaissance, Enlightenment, etc. - that's where we get our "social conventions" that you should be able to worship as you choose (or not) wihtout being killed, women shouldn't be treated as chattel, integrity in government is a good thing, equality before the Law, and on and on.

All values are the product of belief systems, and just as 2+2 can never equal 5, everyone's belief systems cannot all be true at the same time. Practices such as female circumcision, lopping off of infidel heads, "muti" killings, honor killings, widespread governmental corruption, famine due to inferior agricultural practices, incessant wars, tribalism etc aren't wrong because WE are ETHNOCENTRIC; their wrong because they are objectively wrong.

If the argument was not over Allah and his Prophet, but rather over Tlaloc the Aztec Rain-god, and his need for appeasement and rejuvination with the hearts of living victims, (and instead of offending against the Prophet we were preventing the rains from coming by not allowing human sacrifices) would we be even having this discussion?

If these other cultures which the author speaks of are so wonderful, with ways of doing things that aren't bad, just "different", then why haven't they been the ones to spread their values and way of life to us?



Divergence from western values is not deviance
By Patrick Chabal
Published: February 5 2006 18:06 | Last updated: February 5 2006 18:06

The furore over the publication in some European newspapers of Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammed prompts the Czech daily Mlada Fronta Dnes to speak, once more, of a “clash of civilisations”. The Muslim Association of Britain accuses the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten of “flagrant disregard” for the feelings of Muslims worldwide. Yet again, there appears to be a clash between Muslim and western “values”. So what is going on?

At a time when the globalised world order is meant to be sustained by liberal democracy and free-market economics, we are confronted by complex and often violent problems that seem intractable. Paris suburbs burn at night; warlords thrive in Afghanistan; the Group of Eight wants to usher in democracy in Africa. All the while there is talk of the war on terror being a struggle to uphold “western values”. Indeed, we seem to have entered an age when conflict is primarily about culture: al-Qaeda rejects western ethics; Iraqis favour their own political morality; the estranged youth of France prefer Algerian raï music and Muslims in Gaza object to cartoons of the Prophet published in Copenhagen. But if the frontline is now cultural, who decides on the right values?

Because we in the west are convinced of the superiority of our own political system, we tend to explain the refusal of some to adopt or adapt to it by way of their beliefs. Muslims cannot assimilate into European society because of their “creed”; the Middle East must be “taught” democracy; Africans need to “learn” the virtues of civil society. What this illustrates is the repeated failure to think of culture other than in ethnocentric terms. While happy to assume our values are universal, we are loath to accept that others differ. We explain disagreement as deviance: when these people understand our principles, they will agree.

Such presuppositions are dangerous because they lead to the type of rigid reductionism – people who disagree hold the wrong beliefs – that makes misunderstanding and violence more likely. Telling Afghans, Iraqis or Africans that their problems stem from their backward beliefs is unlikely to gain their support for an agenda of “freedom”. Ordering alienated western youth of foreign descent to behave according to local values is liable to focus their anger on those very western values from which they feel estranged. It is this narrow view of culture that leads to simplistic policy decisions.

One way out of the ethnocentric trap is to consider culture not as a set of values but as the shared logic used by people to tackle issues important to them. What we regard as corruption in Africa often results from widespread and well-respected relations of reciprocity, which form the bedrock of social integration. The same goes for Iraq’s tribal politics. The dress code and language of second-generation immigrants in Europe is less a challenge to western standards than an assertion of distinctiveness in the face of disaffection and poor opportunities.

Understanding the culture of others thus involves explaining what makes sense to them. As the HSBC advertising campaign illustrates, it is critical to know when to bow and when to shake hands. Explaining why Africa has failed to develop requires understanding how patrimonial power is legitimate on the continent and why it is structurally inimical to investment – not giving more aid to engender democracy. Coming to terms with the politics of Iraq and Afghanistan demands an appreciation of the ways accountability is conceived in different sections of these societies – not arbitrarily imposing constitutional dispensations that make little sense locally.

Devising policies to meet the challenge of French suburban violence or of British Muslim terrorists means eschewing the bland, value-laden and discredited commissions on French citizenship or Islamophobia that produce predictable results. What is needed is empirical research into questions of identity among young people from ethnic or social groups that feel divorced from the society in which they live. This means understanding their social and political language in its local (Vitry or Bradford) context. Concern about Islamic “values” is a diversion.

Governments and politicians must realise that making policy without understanding culture is doomed to failure, but they must also see that equating culture with values is a dead end. This entails a change in mindset: culture is what people share, not just what they believe.
The writer is author with Jean-Pascal Daloz of Culture Troubles: politics and the interpretation of meaning (London: Hurst, 2006)

Link Posted: 2/6/2006 3:22:34 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 3:44:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 6:52:32 AM EDT


Originally posted by 2A373
You didn't get the memo.

www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=1&f=5&t=434149



You're right. Sorry, Ed, wasn't intending to disregard the post re the ROP; just didn't see it.

Even though the ROP is incidentally mentioned, however, I still think the original article is off the Islamic topic enough to be ok - it goes to show how the Left is so stuck on hating their own culture at all costs, regardless of facts and reason.
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 7:11:24 AM EDT

Originally posted by Sylvan

Um, I wouldn't say Christian Europe has a great track record on these points throughout history.



I agree that "Christian Europe" can be somewhat of an oxymoron (to use an understatement). A lot of bad things were done by "Christians".

When evaluating religions, however, one must look to how their founders lived and what they taught.
My point is that the teachings of Christ, which are the basis for "true Chrisitianity", if you will, made possible the advances in culture that we have seen today - in "true Christianity" there is no sexism or racism - everyone is equal in the eyes of God. Furthermore, a Christian is to use reason and persuasion, not force or violence, to convert others. Christ's concept of "rendering to Caesar the things which are Caesar's and to God the things which are God's" is the forerunner of religious/political freedom as we know it today.

Not to re-open the ROP debate, but Muhammed lived a very different life and had very different teachings than Christ...
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 7:23:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/6/2006 7:24:08 AM EDT by Spade]
What the left doesn't get is that the problem isn't "the values", but the enforcing of "the values" on those that don't want them.

If Islamists wanted to sit at home or in their mosques and do their thing, fine. I couldn't care less. None of my damn business. It's when you start pushing it on others that there is a problem. I couldn't care less if they don't want to believe in freedom or democracy. Then don't vote or protest. But don't tell others they can't either.
Link Posted: 2/6/2006 7:29:31 AM EDT

Um, I wouldn't say Christian Europe has a great track record on these points throughout history.


You are right; throughout HISTORY! But not today. And we are talking about today. Today Europe and America believes in free speech, inalienable rights, freedom of religion and other concepts which are mutually exclusive with commonly held Islamofascist beliefs. They didn't always, just as the average middle Easterner did not always believe in hacking off your head if you drew a picture of Mohammed. If Christians start lopping off heads again, I will call them evil. If Christians start burning buildings and killing children and rioting because of cartoons or books or clothing, I will call them evil. But today it is Muslims, Islamofascists enacting this behavior. And I call it EVIL. There is no excuse. NONE.

If we were to never let any society speak who had ever done wrong, there would be no one to stand against evil.

History is never an excuse for tolerance of evil in the present.
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