The individual owning this blog works for Oracle in Germany. The opinions expressed here are his own, are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual author, and neither Oracle nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.
Wednesday, September 10. 2008
A really good article at Salon about the Mrs. Palin:
McCain once excoriated the Rev. Jerry Falwell and his ilk as "agents of intolerance." That he took such a position gave his opposition to similar intolerance in Islam credibility. In light of his more recent disgraceful kowtowing to the Christian right, McCain's animus against fundamentalist Muslims no longer looks consistent. It looks bigoted and invidious. You can't say you are waging a war on religious extremism if you are trying to put a religious extremist a heartbeat away from the presidency.
Sorry, but i havenīt found time to write new articles today ... the discussion raging in the comments of this older article is just to interesting at the moment ...
Tracked: Sep 11, 20:55
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How can it be considered a good article when it calls Governor Palin a religious extremist? She hasn't said or done anything religiously extreme in her entire life AFAIK
Just look at this AP news: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jNulPSqaP1eyysv8ENJWhk0ZSrPgD92VJPL00
What is the difference between a religious extremist sending in suicide bombers because of "itīs the will of god" and a western politician, wo send soldiers because of "itīs the will of god". At the end ... itīs just lipstick, which you can use as a metaphor for our western culture. They may be as farthest apart as possible in other things, but the reasoning for using force is just the same. We just tend to accept the later more than the earlier because of the way as force is projected. But we forget: A victim of a terrorist ist called a victim of terror, a victim of an ill-guided smart bomb is called collateral damage. But for the victim itīs pretty much the same bad day.
A western politician must keep away from the reasoning "itīs the will of god". He or she should use any other reasoning: Because we need access to oil, we have to protect vital interests of our country or we wanīt to remove a dictator. All of them are valid reasons (okay, with the exception that you donīt need a full-scale war to remove an dictator, you just need a sniper or a Hellfire armed Predator and some good intelligence informations). But refering to god at this time gives you an neighbour you donīt want.
One could maybe try to understand that war on terror and "god's will" stuff, with 9/11 but that one is just hilarious:
This time it's a pipline which is God's will ... what's next ... a Walmart or a golf club ?
"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" -- Micah 6:1-4, 6-8
If someone says that they do justice because it is the will of God, does that make them a religious extremist? If you are a Christian, wouldn't it be impossible to say anything apart from that doing justice is this will of God? Are all Christians religious extremists in your view?
I can't believe that you will call a good woman a religious extremist simply because she believes in God and sometimes talks about the will of God.
AFAIK she has never said or done anything religiously extreme.
No, of course not all christians are extremists, at least the ones i know arenīt ones. But not all christians explain a war as a act of the executed will of god.
The problem is the mind set: Again ... where is difference between a muslim fundamentalist sending in a not-so-intelligent bomb with a vest made out of Semtex because of doing justice (from his special point of view) and a western politician sending in the aircrafts with the smart bombs because of doing justice (from his special point of view).
At the end even both are untrue to their own religion. Both command a peaceful way to do justice. And whenever someone explained a war as a act of god things started to get worse ...
You should think about the metaphor "lipstick" as a metaphor for the western society. They may live their fundamentalism differently, but the mindset is similar. BTW: the text talked about fundamentalists, not extremists.
PS: Not all christians ask for praying for a oil pipeline. For a christian from Germany this is somewhat extreme.
"where is difference between a muslim fundamentalist sending in a not-so-intelligent bomb with a vest made out of Semtex because of doing justice (from his special point of view) and a western politician sending in the aircrafts with the smart bombs because of doing justice (from his special point of view)."
I'm shocked that you can't see the difference. The first spends large amounts of money to look for and kill the maximum number of innocent civilians they can by attacking non-military targets. The second spends large amounts of money to minimize the number of innocent civilians killed by attacking military targets.
Donīt rip this out of the context. When an islamic fundamentalist sends a suicide bomber, he does this with the feel of justice in his back. From his standpoint his cause is just. When a western politician sends in soldiers, its pretty much the same. Both project force. And both think they do justice. The rest is just a matter of perspective. Sounds cynic? Itīs indeed cynic. But itīs reality. The not-so-intelligent bomb with the semtex-vest really things it does a just job.
By the way: Both ways of warfare are created by the existence of fast media networks. They are similar in a strange way. The strategy of a soldier is to reach a target without much losses on itīs own side. A military commander would make a parking lot out of a city to reduce the amount of losses (Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the proof for this). The problem: Due to the fast transport of media, the military commander would be slaughtered by the politicians for such a move, as the politician would be slaughtered by the public for ordering or allowing something like that.
Terror as a weapon is based on the media as well as a force multiplier. Without the ability to bring the images of terror in every living room within an hour, terror wouldnīt have this effect. Itīs a weapon, as the smart bomb is a weapon and a atomic bomb is a weapon.
You should think about the cold war time: The doctrine of this time was based on some kind of mutually assured destruction (The later Flexible Response doctrine was pretty much the same, as the ladder of escalation lead to the mutually assured destruction as well). And this destruction includes included civilians ... many of them, both sides had war heads targeted on big cities to threathen their population. It was the the thread to make a radiating piece of glass out of the inner city of New York or Moscow in a blink of an eye including their inhabitants. This time was based on a terror-like scenario ... just with more technology on a more abstract level. But essentially it was terror.
To bring it in a context of our military: You should ask yourself how many mines you need to mine a harbour. Simple answer: None ... you just need a press release. There will be fear under the seamans like if there were thousands of mines. Classic multiplying of forces by using informations.
We tend to view extremism as an expression of a belief, but at the end itīs just a weapon used by people in the background to pursue their secular affairs.
So at the end both (christian fundamentalists like Mrs. Palin and islamic fundamentalists) have something in common, too: Both are perverting their belief. Both faiths are deeply pacifistic ones. Both doesnīt allow the justification of a war of aggression (and the Iraq war was such a war as well as the terror is such a war) with faith.
You should read the Qur'an, itīs a really interesting insight into this religion, you get a different perspective to this faith, which got a bad press by some idiots using some parts ripped out of context.
Iīm unreligious today, but i was educated with the christian system of cultural values (to be exact: iīm baptized in the catholic faith). But itīs good to understand other peoples in their faith and to understand a belief you have to read at least their holy writings.
But why iīm unreligious? Because faith brought us many problems in the past. The crusades, witch hunts, ethnic cleansings, the terror in Northern Ireland, the islamic terror. Just because of secular interest fascaded with religion.
I find it really dangerous when a person with so much power like a vice president of one of the most power full nations on earth fascades her secular interests with her religion. McCain is really old, we can have Mrs. Palin as the leader of your nation within a few minutes of a stroke or an heart attack. And as the the text in the Salon pointed to this fact the text was a good one. And then there is a person a the steering wheel, which seperates from the islamic fundamentalists just by one thing: Lipstick, which is just a metaphor for using the methods of force and power in the way of western civilizations.
"Donīt rip this out of the context. When an islamic fundamentalist sends a suicide bomber, he does this with the feel of justice in his back. From his standpoint his cause is just. When a western politician sends in soldiers, its pretty much the same. Both project force. And both think they do justice. The rest is just a matter of perspective. Sounds cynic? Itīs indeed cynic. But itīs reality. The not-so-intelligent bomb with the semtex-vest really things it does a just job."
The terrorist is evil. The fact that he insanely thinks that what he is doing is justice doesn't change the fact that it isn't justice, it is evil.
If a policeman shoots at an armed robber and the robber shoots back, you have an armed conflict. The robber may think that he is just in retaliating against the policeman shooting at him. He is wrong.
Do you think the policeman is an extremist? If the policeman is acting due to his belief in God, does that make him a religious extremist? If not, how are the situations different? Both the policeman and the robber have their own unique perspectives on justice. Are they equally valid?
This is a misleading comparison. A robber in Western Europe and America isnīt evil. Itīs just a felon. And the felon is aware of the fact, that he or she is a felon.
As he or she infringes the normative system of the western world, who has codified it in their laws (and their religion by "You shall not steal") thus the normative system allows and mandates the cop to stop this felon. By shooting back, the felon infringes others norms. By living in a country, the robber accepts the validity of the codified normative systems.
A terrorist believes, he protect the islam by itīs work. He is indoctrinated by the believe, that he protects the dar al-islam (the world of the islam) by fighting in the dar al-harb (the world of war).
The modern islam knows the dar al-ahd (the world of the mutual agreement). This is defined as the areas where a muslim can live itīs believe without intervention. Itīs even forbidden for a muslim by itīs religion to fight in this areas.
Here starts the problem. An fundamentalist may define the western countries as a part of the dar al-harb and then the the cause for war is just for a muslim. Of course this is somewhat insane to define the US or Europe as a part of dar al-harb. But in the perspective of terrorist itīs their duty to fight. They are not really criminals, they are just blindfolded idiots (there is a reason, why most terrorist are young men... easy to manipulate), blindfolded by older men who have secular interests like their own power or are blindfolded as well in their belief.
The difference between the robber and the islamic fundamentalist is a vast one. Both do harm to their fellow men but their motives are really different. The world is complex ... as an introduction to this dependencies, i suggest you should look the movie "Syriana" ... excellent movie ... a movie showing why we canīt doctoring around at the other side of the world without igniting a chain reaction)
And by the way ... a policement telling other he is an instrument of god should go to a mental check-up. A police men is an instrument of the society and the law and shouldnīt refer to a entity of questionable existence for many people out there. A police man can have his faith, but at his work the highest entity of guidance must be the law of the society he protects. Faith is a private business and everybody should keep it there ...
For example: Many religious societies believe, that gay behaviour is a sin. On the other site gay behaviour isnīt illegal. Working as a police man on religious believes would force him to react, but he canīt, because he just can work on the basis of the laws.
"By living in a country, the robber accepts the validity of the codified normative systems."
ROFL. This is presumably why he is avoiding robbery in the first place?
"The difference between the robber and the islamic fundamentalist is a vast one. Both do harm to their fellow men but their motives are really different."
Their motivation is the vast difference? I can imagine robbers who steal out of a sense of justice.
"And by the way ... a policement telling other he is an instrument of god should go to a mental check-up. A police men is an instrument of the society and the law and shouldnīt refer to a entity of questionable existence for many people out there. A police man can have his faith, but at his work the highest entity of guidance must be the law of the society he protects. Faith is a private business and everybody should keep it there ..."
Christians can't leave their faith at home. It is a perfectly reasonable reading of the bible for a policeman to think that he is doing the will of God when he is performing his duties in serving justice. To suggest that he needs a "mental check up" is...very unreasonable to put it mildly.
"For example: Many religious societies believe, that gay behaviour is a sin. On the other site gay behaviour isnīt illegal. Working as a police man on religious believes would force him to react, but he canīt, because he just can work on the basis of the laws."
I never heard any suggestion from any Christian ever that a Christian policeman should "act" against gay behaviour.
I can certainly imagine circumstances where any Christian policeman would act against the law (eg. laws in Nazi Germany).
There are unjust laws, just as there are unjust men.
I have to agree with Joerg on this.
"Truth", "Justice" and the "Will of God" are just different perceptions of reality - and almost everybody has his/her own reality.
Just as much as we think that our cause is "right", sucide-bombers, insurgents and other "enemies" think that they are doing the right thing.
Most of them are, of course, heavily influenced by propaganda from internet-sites, Islamic TV-stations, extremistic preachers or just "hear-say" - but, ask yourself: how much do you really know about the world, that wasn't told to you by TV or The Internet?
How much do we really KNOW?
An example: think of something that you really "know" a lot about (like your subject in IT) and then compare it to how this subject is represented in the media, in the usual 60-90 second "clips"...
Result (usually): WTF?
Now, compare this with some other subject that you don't know much detail about. Same 90 seconds clip.
You think, the representation is better or more accurate?
Do you also believe in the tooth-fairy?
"I have to agree with Joerg on this.
"Truth", "Justice" and the "Will of God" are just different perceptions of reality - and almost everybody has his/her own reality."
I agree. They are different perceptions of reality.
In my reality, there is no moral equivalence between a terrorist attacking civilians outside of war, and a soldier attacking a military target in a war.
The Bible is full of "God's will". If a Christian is doing something God commanded in the Bible, they are doing God's will. Christians try and do God's will.
When a Christian says they are doing God's will, that doesn't (necessarily) make them a religious extremist. That makes them a Christian.
"Do you also believe in the tooth-fairy?"
This isn't about my beliefs. This is about whether it is reasonable to call someone a "religious extremist" just because she uses the term "will of God".
As far as I can tell, Governor Palin's involvement in Religion is visiting church intermittently. That's it.
Apparently that's enough to disqualify her from public office in the view of some people.
what have you done ?
Don't you know that starting a discussion with most American about:
is like open Pandora's box or dancing on a field full of landmines
See you soon
I'm English and living in England actually.
My sense of justice hates to see someone described as a "religious extremist" just because they are religious.
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