12 September 2010


Just for Reference: 1 September 2003

Just for reference, what I posted on 1 September 2003. Not that it is necessarily inconsistent with what I posted yesterday: Being aware of radical Islam as a threat to what we hold dear isn't the same thing as saying it's anything goes in the 9/11-memorialization department, which is not to say there were aspect of how to commemorate, in a positive sense, that I failed to address yesterday.

Contemporary comment in square brackets; e.g., [added on 12 September 2010].

I think 9/11 is still very very important to be aware of. I think that to the degree we try to pretend like enough time has elapsed that its impact isn't relevant at this time is not, in many senses, wise. I believe, unfortunately, that radical Islam would not stop even if it controlled Mecca and Medina and Jerusalem -- power corrupts, etc. -- and that many of those who believe that way will continue to threaten free peoples -- or North Americans and Europeans and substantial numbers of Asians and most Latin Americans these days and increasing numbers of Africans, and the Israelis, if you think we're just all controlled by the big corporations and that representative democracy is a sham. [I have no idea why "Israelis" isn't the end of that sentence. I couldn't tell you why the corporations/democracy line is there.]

Threaten with death. Threaten with destruction. Threaten with subjugation.

While our individual, national, and global pasts may have brought us to this point, with plenty of wrong, hateful, and stupid moves on everyone's parts since time immemorial, nothing in that past justifies the actions of radical Islam. Those who believe that way base what they are doing on their traditions and their book, just as radical Christians in the USA continue to attempt to justify wrongful attitudes towards some on the bases of their traditions and their book. Luckily we live in a part of the world where those radical Christians are restricted to some degree by other traditions and other texts, like, say, the US Constitution. But there's only a short step from vouchers to madrassas, so it could happen here if we're negligent.

Would/will those radical Christians try the same murderous tactics that the radical Islamicists do? Hopefully we never get to find out. But the radical Islamacists continue. Today, tomorrow, next week.

I don't think they should not be allowed to achieve their aims. I think that free individuals should be allowed to worship as they choose, but that aggresive religions -- like collectivist or totalitarian or facist political movements -- must be restricted, preferrably by custom but, if necessary, by law.

I regret that stopping them requires, at times, the use of physical violence. Or killing. I respect those who thoughtfully disagree with using so much or any force, but I prefer not to live in the first phases of several hundred years of a very dark age. Or that such an age come to be while we are alive to stop it.

N.B.: "Radical Islam" does not equal "Arab." [Or "Muslim."] Saying "the Arabs [Muslims] this, the Arabs [Muslims] that" is just as stupid as "the Jews this, the Jews that." It doesn't fit. At least take the effort to pin things down to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, the Egyptian government, [the Taliban -- we thought they were defunct -- the Pakistani intelligence agency,] etc. There is groupthink, but as long as there are individuals, attributing groupthink to attribute groups is, in fact, not accurate. Formal organizations with formal processes is one thing, but "the Jews," "the Arabs," "the Gays," etc. just doesn't cut it for me.

Exceptions matter.

Individuals matter. Individuals are all that matter, in the long run. Groups are just accidents of attributes that belong to individuals. Sorry if that is disrespectful to your individual traditions.

So don't forget 9/11. Don't forget that there really is a "they" out there that wants to kill "you." Just for being born where you were. Just for being who you are, whether that's American, gay, Jewish, or a female human who enjoys having sex. Much less all of the above.

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