Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Phobia, Schmobia

Having been forced to clean up after one blogroach who couldn't muster anything better to refute my arguments against Mohamed ElBaradei's objectivity than to make nonsensical insinuations of prejudice on my part, I feel driven to talk about an issue that's long gotten on my nerves, which is the flagrant and all-too-frequent misuse by Arabs and Muslims of accusations of "racism" and "Islamophobia" to muffle any individuals who point out some of the glaring deficits in their cultures and systems of belief.

One can criticize Judaism and Christianity at length without raising anyone's hackles overmuch, but just dare to hint that there might just be something unacceptable about certain ideas that are prevalent in much of the Islamic world today, and you can be sure that it won't take long for some self-pitying headcase to show up and accuse you of "Islamophobia"; lambast black Africans, Russians, the British, the Irish, the French, the Japanese and the Americans all you want, and you're fine, but show the temerity to suggest that there's anything wrong with the Arab world, and, regular as clockwork, some professional Mr. Angry will show up to berate you for your supposed "racism." Why is it acceptable to point out that Mugabe and Kim Jong Il are thoroughly deserving of the hangman's noose, but a mark of "racial" prejudice to point out that the same holds equally for virtually every single leader of a Middle Eastern country?

It's well past time Arabs and Muslims got over the ridiculous attitude that criticism ought to be a one-way street, with them at liberty to say anything and everything about the rest of humanity's supposed shortcomings, while we're to keep our mouths shut or at least stick to pleading mea culpa. The LGFers and the "anti-Idiotarians" definitely have it wrong when they make blanket condemnations of all Arabs and Muslims as terrorists and religious fanatics, but the ugly truth is that their message wouldn't have any resonance if there weren't a large measure of truth to it. Not a single one of the major Arab nations can yet boast of a regime that can be considered to adhere to civilized standards of conduct towards even its own citizens, and states like Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Lybia, Saudia Arabia and Iran are no more deserving of the epithet "civilized" than are tyrannocracies like Zimbabwe or Equatorial Guinea.

If a regime cannot even be made to account to its own citizens, why should the outside world expect to be treated any better? And if one can expect nothing more from a state than capricious breaches of trust, seemingly random acts of hostility and intimidation, and depressingly reliable threats of destruction of the Infidel West and the Great Satan, why are we obliged to pretend that its rulers are any less savages than the likes of Theodoro Obiang and the late Sani Abacha? And what are we to say for the supposedly "devout" Muslims who cheer on such nasty brutes as Saddam, Khomeini and the myriads of Islamist suicide bombers as "champions" of Arab/Muslim pride and self-determination? If we are to hand out the label "civilized" to individuals who attempt to excuse the slitting of the throats of civilians who came to help their countrymen as being justified in the name of "resistance" to "occupation", we might as well stop using the word "civilized" once and for all, so thoroughly will it have lost all meaning.

Islam is no more or less inherently a religion of terror than is Christianity - both have been far from "peaceful", historically speaking, both were spread largely by the sword, and both have always harbored a strong drive to monopoly wherever they have captured the reins of power - but at least with Christianity one can take comfort in the fact that few in the West now sufficiently believe in the religion to wish to kill others for it; with Islam, unfortunately, that is still far from being the case. It is patently dishonest to wish to disclaim honor killings, throat slittings, hijackings and the rest as having nothing to do with the "real" Islam, just as it is plain dishonest for non-fundamentalist Christians to try to pretend that those bible-thumpers trying to force their 6,000-year-old Earth myth into the biology curriculum are less than "genuine" Christians; a religion is whatever the mass of its adherents make of it, not what some "holy" text says it must be, and the Islam that discouragingly many Muslims subscribe to is a violent, intolerant and plain backward system of belief that is undeserving of being humored as "civilized."

In the same vein, states that cannot be trusted to give their own people the freedom to speak, much less submit their leaderships to the discipline of constitutions, law courts and ballot boxes, are not in the least worthy of being regarded as responsible enough to trust with nuclear weapons. I should as soon trust a single Middle Eastern state outside of Israel with nuclear weapons as I would trust any state in sub-Saharan Africa outside of the possible exception of Botswana and South Africa, i.e, not an iota. These states all undoubtedly contain large numbers of individuals who are civilized in the normal sense of the term, but as units of political organization, not one of them comes close to deserving such a label.