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Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


Libya consulate attack

   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peruhain View Post
Hmmm. The phrasing of this post, and my previous exchanges with you on these boards, lead me to believe that you didn't absorb much "cultural relativism" (as you call it) in your university education. It seems a bit disingenuous to posture as a representative of "liberalism" to create the illusion of a consensus across the political spectrum here.

You're welcome to your views, and to take sides in the argument, but your rhetorical strategy seems an attempt to paint anyone who is anywhere to the left of you as an unreasonable extremist, and that is likely to rub people who are to the left of you yet consider themselves reasonable centrists the wrong way.
You must be thinking of someone else. My political views are almost without exception progressive, and I don't recall ever engaging you in discussion before. I'm sure the conservatives on the weave would be quick to publicly disown me, if asked.

In light of this, my 'rhetorical strategy' is simply to jump in to a conversation I have been following but barely participating in and say that I agree with a single point made by a person (Lord Ben) with whom I scarcely ever agree about anything.

Quote:
And I think y'all may be underestimating the desire on the part of several of the filmmaker's supporters to create an oppressive "Christian" theocracy in this country. It's a lot less likely to happen here, but the intolerance implicit in Terry Jones' Quran-burning shenanigan and Steve Klein's twisted intertwining of militant conservative Christianity with building a militia outfit and an insistence that our Second Amendment rights are ordained not just by the Constitution but by God would very much lead us in that direction if they had a chance to implement their vision
Believe me, I have no doubt as to the desire of some Americans to institute a theocracy, but whether they desire to or not does not change the fact that this use of teh word freedom is somewhere between misleading and incorrect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
Believe me, I have no doubt as to the desire of some Americans to institute a theocracy, but whether they desire to or not does not change the fact that this use of teh word freedom is somewhere between misleading and incorrect.
No no no, theocracy is so passť. Those guys are pushing for cultural freedom! It's all the rage now to be a cultural freedom fighter haventyouheard?

This does raise an interesting issue- would the area be better off with dictators who enforced civil rights and liberties, or democracies which don't? Our own founding fathers were very concious of the threat of a tyranny of the majority, but it would seem that the fledgeling democracies of the middle east are less nuanced in their desire to develop a represenative government.

Well, since none of the local dictators enforced civil rights and liberties as you would understand it, I'd say they are better off with democracy. The fact that they're taking a route you don't personally agree with doesn't automatically deligitimize what they're doing. The benevolent dictator is nothing more than a Platonian ideal. A return to the western backed dictatorship is only going to ferment the contempt and anger that the Middle East has for the west, and cement the idea that American ideas are inherantly a double standard. Freedom and equality for the west, iron fisted security for the middle east.

Remember, at the end of the day, even the Muslim Brotherhood isn't all that interested in establishing a totalitarian theocracy despite what the Western media sometimes frets it does. Yeah, they're a religious party. But on the whole they aren't any more dramatically religious than some members of the US government. If you really do want to change the fact that these things occur, you need to be capable of entering into an equal dialog with the local populace. Assuming that American values are the universal best values and then talking down to people that view things otherwise is only going to make the situation worse. Accept that while there are aspects of their society that need to change, demanding that they change without addressing the issues that the US has is nothing more than cultural arrogance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peruhain View Post
We are seeing the most violent ones in the TV news, but the fact that the Cairo bureau chief for the NY Times can have a rational conversation about it with an acquaintance in Cairo ought to remind us that plenty of other people are willing to talk about it before they throw rocks. If we just dismiss the sensibilities of all Muslims out of hand, which seems to be the sentiment of the last several posters, then the extremists on both sides have won, because we've effectively joined them.
To be clear, he specifically said, "The protesters who will talk with me." I very much got the impression that he's approached the fringes of the protests and asked people to talk with him about them, not that he's been sitting in a cafe discussing events with an acquaintance over coffee.

Only he would know, though, and I acknowledge that he could have been misrepresenting his encounters for a large variety of reasons.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Savayan View Post
Well, since none of the local dictators enforced civil rights and liberties as you would understand it, I'd say they are better off with democracy. The fact that they're taking a route you don't personally agree with doesn't automatically deligitimize what they're doing. The benevolent dictator is nothing more than a Platonian ideal. A return to the western backed dictatorship is only going to ferment the contempt and anger that the Middle East has for the west, and cement the idea that American ideas are inherantly a double standard. Freedom and equality for the west, iron fisted security for the middle east.

Remember, at the end of the day, even the Muslim Brotherhood isn't all that interested in establishing a totalitarian theocracy despite what the Western media sometimes frets it does. Yeah, they're a religious party. But on the whole they aren't any more dramatically religious than some members of the US government. If you really do want to change the fact that these things occur, you need to be capable of entering into an equal dialog with the local populace. Assuming that American values are the universal best values and then talking down to people that view things otherwise is only going to make the situation worse. Accept that while there are aspects of their society that need to change, demanding that they change without addressing the issues that the US has is nothing more than cultural arrogance.
+1

The whole point of my latest post was to share something that hadn't been apparent to me, which is that what's being struggled over here (according to one journalist's reporting of the protests in Cairo) is a different cultural understanding and valuation of what freedom entails. For the response on the thread to become, essentially, "Well, sure, but their culture's stupid" is disappointing. I can only hope that our representatives who are managing and reporting on the diplomacy related to these protests do not share that attitude, because it's one that is safely ensconced in arrogance and supremacy, but which won't effect any resolution without the use of massive military force or extremely harsh economic sanctions. (Both of which, in the long term, aren't satisfactory resolutions for our national security.)

I'm not trying to say "hey, their culture is stupid." (I'm also not suggesting that the previous dictators were 'benevolent' or enforced civil liberties- though from what I understand Jordan actually is run by a benevolent dictator), my point is that expecting the middle east to wake up one day and embrace a 'western style democracy' is ludicrous *on our part*, and that they are misusing terms when tehy describe it as a pursuit of 'freedom from cultural opression'.
If we want them to develop a government in any ways similar to ours it would need to be a multi-step process, and really the big question is what is our goal, because ultimately 'democracy good' is a bit oversimplistic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ultima22689 View Post
Sav, just so you know, the film makers never intended for that to be shown to arab audiences and had existed for quite some time. No one has a clue who translated into arabic for those folks to watch it in the first place.
Wow, so in the age of the internet... the film makers never intended for any of the 1+ billion muslims in the world to see it?

Herp Derp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlictoatl View Post
To be clear, he specifically said, "The protesters who will talk with me." I very much got the impression that he's approached the fringes of the protests and asked people to talk with him about them, not that he's been sitting in a cafe discussing events with an acquaintance over coffee.

Only he would know, though, and I acknowledge that he could have been misrepresenting his encounters for a large variety of reasons.


+1

The whole point of my latest post was to share something that hadn't been apparent to me, which is that what's being struggled over here (according to one journalist's reporting of the protests in Cairo) is a different cultural understanding and valuation of what freedom entails. For the response on the thread to become, essentially, "Well, sure, but their culture's stupid" is disappointing. I can only hope that our representatives who are managing and reporting on the diplomacy related to these protests do not share that attitude, because it's one that is safely ensconced in arrogance and supremacy, but which won't effect any resolution without the use of massive military force or extremely harsh economic sanctions. (Both of which, in the long term, aren't satisfactory resolutions for our national security.)
Whew... I thought I was the only one. Sorry I'm not really contributing to the discussion, but man, it really makes me feel good to know that other people think like this. Made my day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silveroak View Post
I'm not trying to say "hey, their culture is stupid." (I'm also not suggesting that the previous dictators were 'benevolent' or enforced civil liberties- though from what I understand Jordan actually is run by a benevolent dictator), my point is that expecting the middle east to wake up one day and embrace a 'western style democracy' is ludicrous *on our part*, and that they are misusing terms when tehy describe it as a pursuit of 'freedom from cultural opression'.
If we want them to develop a government in any ways similar to ours it would need to be a multi-step process, and really the big question is what is our goal, because ultimately 'democracy good' is a bit oversimplistic...
I haven't been tracking your individual argument in this thread, silveroak, so my apologies if this response misses the boat.

I take issue with the comment that it's a 'misuse of terms' to use the idea of freedom in a context that isn't held by the West. The word and idea of freedom predates the West; multiple cultures are allowed their own interpretations. For an interpretation to differ from that of the West doesn't make it wrong or misused, it makes it different.

And while I take your larger point about influencing Middle Eastern governments to be more Western, we're really only talking about Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Egypt, and maybe Israel with reference to any real influence on our part. Syria, potentially, but it doesn't look like there's going to be intervention there. The other governments in the region are relatively stable and relatively well-esconced in their way of doing things, though they naturally are influenced by super powers throwing muscle around (in which I include Russia, the EU, and China).





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