Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blogblather & Lawrence on Islamism, Mosques, etc


It is apparently time to quibble about terms -- always a sign that a debate is winding down. Blogblather wants a pissing contest. He is sure he knows as much about Islam as I do, because what I know about is really Fascism -- not Islamism -- not Islam. I really don't care that much about terms. Early on when I first began studying all these things, many terms were bandied about: Islamic Fundamentalism, Radical Islam, Militant Islam, etc. Islamism was eventually agreed upon (by apparently everyone but Blogblather) because it represents a politicized Islam and it is what the Islamists like to call themselves. I don't care. If that's the term they prefer, so be it. We (except Blogblather), however can go on meaning "Radical," "militant" and a number of other pejorative (but accurate) modifiers.

Skipping most of the quibbling, Blogblather eventually gets to a point -- sort of. He quotes me as saying, "Do you want me to feel good about the building of Mosques? Then let these Mosque builders establish "statements of faith" like the Protestant Churches have. Let these statements repudiate Islamism and its violent teachings. Let it repudiate the killing of infidels. Let it permit the peaceful transition of Muslims to other religions; just as those other religions permit the transition of their members to Islam. Neither side may like it, but that's okay as long as they don't do anything violent to prevent it."

Then Blogblather says, "Correct me if I'm wrong here, but are you saying that the Muslim religion should be required to receive state sanction in the US before it can be allowed to build Mosques?  Welcome to China and the Falun Gong."

Okay, Blogblather, consider yourself corrected. You are wrong. When you ask, "are you saying . . ." it makes me wonder if what I did say was unclear. It doesn't seem so to me. I said "do you want me to feel good about the building of Mosques? Then . . . "I went on to say what it would take to make me feel good about Mosque builders, building Mosques." Nothing I said implies "state sanction." I might have implied that, but I don't think our state is up to the task so I didn't mention it. It didn't occur to me.

If you abandon your quibbling you will see that what I have suggested is a positive thing. Protestant Churches voluntarily have "statements of faith." You being Catholic may not have known that, but all the Protestant Churches do. They specify what it is they believe and what they don't believe. If someone scrolls down the phone book looking at Baptist Churches, for example, he can pick one out, call them, and ask about their "statement of faith." Do you, he might ask, believe in Fundamentalism? Do you believe in the Rapture? Do you believe Christ is returning in the near future . . . that sort of thing? Then, upon hearing the answer he can decide to actually attend the church or continue scrolling down the phone book entries under "Baptist."

As to the Islamic, Islamists, (whatever) Mosques. It is high time they declared themselves. Let them say whether they support Islamism or oppose it. And if an Islamic youth director pops up advocating the killing of Infidels, let them explain what they would do about him. Being afraid of him should not be an option. Protestant Churches explain themselves. Is it too much to ask the Muslim Mosque managers to do the same thing? I don't think so.

[skipping over some points discussed in other notes]

Earlier Lawrence: I'm usually impatient with those people as well, because they are not very quick about sensing danger to our nation. In an earlier era they didn't believe there was a "Communist Menace." Along with Truman they thought the concern about a "fifth-column" Communist activity in the U.S. was a "red Herring." Now that the Cold War is over and the KGB has opened its archives to scholars we know that there was indeed a secret Communist activity in the U.S. They were busily at work passing military and scientific secrets back to Moscow. There really was a Communist menace.

Blogblather: There's a possibility that you might disagree with me here, but I think that McCarthy and HUAC were a great deal more of a danger to the US  than the Communist Party could have ever have hoped to be.  There are those who need an ever present danger.  Something uncomplicated to stand up for. Joining the battle against an implacable foe is just such a mission,  an ersatz one, to be sure, but it gives meaning to an otherwise dull, stale, flat and unprofitable life, as that old ham Hamlet deemed his existence -- until he started hearing voices demanding vengeance.  And suddenly he knew why he had be born. 

Lawrence: Yes, more than a possibility. You should read some of the historical works on this period. We know a lot more (thanks to the opening of the KJB archives) now than when you first formulated your prejudices on these matters. Very little was actually accomplished by either McCarthy or HUAC. The people punished were few in number and most if not all were supporters of the Communist effort to undermine our abilities. As to that old Leftist Saw that says Communism was invented by those who need "an ever present danger," I imagine the Soviet Propagandist who first invented that was declared a Hero of the People. If he is still alive he probably has his award hanging in his tiny apartment.

[Skipping over some gratuitous insolts of Dulles, Johnson, Nixon and Ford].

Earlier Lawrence: And the reason we were at the Brink and the reason we "played chicken with nuclear war" was that Americans-turned-Soviet spies gave the Soviets our military and scientific secrets. I don't believe we should poo-poo that earlier danger. We should learn from it.

Blogblather: Germany was working on the bomb before we were.  The science is not a mystery, the engineering and technology and the resources seem to have been and still are the major obstacles for most nations. I find it naive to believe that most industrialized nations of the world will not acquire nuclear weapons in the near future.  And as scary as that thought is, perhaps it's best.  MAD has work for the larger nations of the world.  But what of countries like Somalia?  They too will have nuclear weapons some day. What of miniaturization and terrorism?  I have no answer.  Lawrence H. seems to think that jack-booted Americans marching over the earth can stop all this.  I have my doubts.  Why are some Muslims Islamist militants?  Why are some Americans gung-ho militarists?  I don't know.  Injured psychologies?  Ignorance? Feelings of hopelessness?  It's a large catalog.  So far civilization has always won these battles.  I don't believe that becoming uncivilized in defense of Civilization will further our goals.  Some seem to disagree with me.

Lawrence: Well, we have here another of Blogblather's situations. He probably knows as many if not more Germans than I do. While he was gaining their acquaintance I was reading histories. It is true the Germans had been working on a nuclear weapon, but Hitler cancelled the program. He didn't believe it could be done. So we were not actually in a race with the Germans even though we thought we were.

Yes the science is out there and available so any nation can theoretically develop an atomic weapon. But consider, how long after we exploded our first bomb (1945) that the Soviet Union exploded theirs (1949). Now, look at Iran. They don't have any spies to steal secrets (even though the French, Germans & Russians have helped them a tiny bit) so they have been working on their nuclear weapon largely by themselves. The experts keep saying they are years and years away from having a weapon. How could the Soviets do it in 4 years while the Iranians stumble along many years more than 4?

Sure the Soviets would have built one eventually, but not in 4 years. They might not have been able to do it in 8 years. And if 8 there would might have been no Cuban missile crisis, no brinkmanship. We would have stayed too far ahead of the Soviets for them to have been so bold. The Soviets would never have caught up. And, perhaps, the Cold War would have ended much sooner. -- Except for those mythical people who want a mythical implacable enemy to worry about. Shoot maybe it wasn't Soviet spies who stole the nuclear secrets. Maybe it was the mythical people who need an implacable enemy. Maybe they gave the secrets away through dupes. And maybe the CIA bombed the World Trade Center. What do you think, Billy?

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