Posted by: Kevin | February 7, 2006

What the F@%&

Originally written February 7th 2006.  This was re-posted to this blog on August 21st 2006.

For 2 weeks now the whole of Islam it seems has been in an uproar over some cartoons printed in a Danish newspaper and reprinted in papers throughout Europe.  As an American it’s nice to see Muslims pissed at someone else for once.  It’s also nice to see this clash of cultures brought out into the open.  I don’t want to see the level of violence currently occurring but I do want to see some fundamental facts acknowledged. 

We, the west, are different from them, the Middle East and extended Muslim dominated regions.  I’m trying to say that without inserting some judgment or value but it’s hard not to.  I was raised in America, indoctrinated from an early age to believe in the superiority of the Western value system.  Representative governments are superior to despots and dictators.  The separation of church and state is desirable.  The freedom of speech and expression are fundamental rights.  Those are my beliefs.  Those are not the beliefs of everyone. 

So who’s right?  Personally, I find the Muslim response to the cartoons as offensive as the Muslims find the cartoons.  How dare they tell the west how to run our own countries!  How dare they react with violence against something so trivial!  Grow up for God’s sake!  I’m ashamed of the US State Department for criticizing the publication of these cartoons and I sincerely wish that US editors would grow some balls and print them.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system what is to be done?  For starters, any punishment of the newspapers, editors or cartoonists by their respective governments would be an outrage.  They do have the freedom of speech, and nothing in those cartoons would be considered noteworthy if they were about another religion.  Second, any violence in Europe or American should be met with punishment.  The West can’t shy away from enforcing its own laws because of some bizarre sense of “sensitivity”.  Lastly, we cannot respond to the threats and demagoguery coming from the Middle East.  If they want to behave like ignorant teenagers they’re welcome to, in their own country.   Oil complicates this unfortunately but it would be nice if this prompted more research into alternative fuels.

Since we’ve been in Iraq, a war I prayed we wouldn’t start, the US government has constantly made the case that we’re bringing democracy and freedom to the people of Iraq.  My question is, “Is that necessarily a good thing?”  I don’t say that in the paternalistic “these people are to primitive for Democracy” way.  I just don’t understand why this goal is worth American lives. 

A truly Democratic Iraq with representative institutions and a market economy would first vote to kick the US the hell out.  I am absolutely convinced of this.  Any representative of Iraq that didn’t vote for this would deservedly be removed from office through the voting process or through assassination.  Their policy would be heavily dominated by the principles of Islam.  This is not necessarily a bad thing; Islam at its foundations is a peaceful and progressive religion.  Some of its current incarnations are unpleasant but the same can be said for Judaism and Christianity.  The only difference is that the unpleasant elements of Islam are much more visible.  In the end we’d be left with a democratic state that hated America, Iran and Israel.  They’d have the economic resources to do something about it, and we’d have no more excuses to intervene.  Good for the Iraqis but how is this good for us?


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