Liberal values and conservative mirrors (updated)

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  1. Heh good point 🙂
    More importantly, I’m not sure what “Islamism” is, except putting a name on a particular branch of ‘my religion is better than yours.’ As you point out, there are plenty of extremist Christians who would love to eliminate most of the freedoms outlined above. So why don’t we get all weird about ‘extreme Christianism’? (Bomb abortion clinics, anyone? “Well now, we don’t want tto paint all Christians with that brush, but… er, it’s different, and you liberals just don’t ‘get it’!”)
    Seems like some folks have a ‘hearing’ probem. What we say is, “We don’t like this solution,” and what they hear is “We don’t see any problem.”
    Otherworldly News Service reports: “Anti-Coffeeism forces have bombed two enormous Starbucks stores. In retaliation, King George says we are going to take over Colombia.”
    Conservatives: “Yes, yes! Send those poor, uneducated — oops, I mean brave American soldiers over there to save the day! The Democrats could have thwarted the awful destruction by taking over Colombia back when the last coffee crisis hit.”
    Liberals: “Uh, the guys who did the bombing were disgruntled former Starbucks barristas who claim caffeine made them crazy. They don’t even know anybody in Colombia.”
    Conservatives: “Clearly you liberals are too unintelligent to properly comprehend the threat . Why, our illegal wiretaps — er, I mean cleverly gathered intelligence — shows that one of the accused bombers placed a phone call to a high-placed official in Colombia only yesterday!” (pause, listens to earpiece) “Well, ‘District of Columbia’ sounds just like ‘Colombia,’ and the ACLU is clearly a high-placed radical official. Plus, we have proof that Colombia was planning to ship to the US a whole cargo ship of WMDs (deadly, dangerous caffeine-containing coffee beans in hopes of making other Americans crazy!), so how do you respond to *that*?”
    Liberals: (So incredulous they are completely unable to speak)

  2. It’s a really easy question, unless of course you’re an editorialist at the WSJ and aren’t really interested in an answer.
    I really wish the government spent more time fighting that battle and less time fighting other battles (Iraq) or trying for the same kinds of social changes that fundamentalist Muslims would want here at home.
    Yes, I am more concerned about the religious right than al Qaeda. Here’s why: while I could be a victim in a terrorist attack, that’s highly unlikely (and that was even true when I lived in DC). On the other hand, the radical right here at home has had quite a few successes, and probably will have more, and WILL have a direct impact on my life.
    Yes, it’s horrifying that they hang gay people in Iran. No, it doesn’t leave me feeling like I’m in personal danger. On the other hand, when I hear a local fundamentalist whipping people into a frenzy about how gays will destroy civilization, it occurs to me that someone hearing those words might get an urge to head over to Montrose and bash someone. Which happens regularly.
    Then there’s that other little issue of the government fighting the wrong fight, and fighting the right one badly, but that’s a whole other topic.

  3. Polimom,
    Interesting post and links. It seems to me that the issue of how to approach the phenomenon of trans-national radical Islamic fundamentalism comes down to one’s view of the problem, or to say it differently, one’s framework. If:

    1.) One believes that trans-national radical Islamic fundamentalism (the movement in all its various forms and splinter groups) represents a fundamental assault on our society, country, or on western civilization (or all of the above?) then one might reasonably take the view that we are already at war, and those who don’t believe that we are should wake up and get with the program. Or:
    2) One believes that trans-national radical Islamic fundamentalism is more of a law enforcement problem (i.e. the prevailing view on the morning of 9-11-2001) or perhaps a problem akin to piracy on the high seas, then the strategy and tactics of invading countries, changing governments, letting loose sectarian violence that had previously been repressed by dictators, etc., represent a gross overreaction to the problem, and those who advocate such steps as being in our national interest are wildly overreaching, and may in fact be violating US and international law with their policies.

    These are fundamentally different views of the problem, and it is unlikely that they can be reconciled–ever. One or the other is likely to prevail in each western country. However, until the SAME view is held by a majority of western countries, coordinated action is all but impossible. Fragmentary, often counterproductive actions and reactions are likely to be the norm, and emotions will harden that “the other people” along with “trans-national radical Islamic fundamentalism” are contributing to our eventual destruction.
    Our political leaders would be doing us all a favor if they forced a national, or worldwide debate on these two views of the problem, rather that trying to embed their views in each election campaign. Maybe if we had had such a discussion in 2002, we would be less divided, less angry with each other now.

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