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April 18, 2007

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The prospects of rational discussion are somewhat diminished when one side is promoting what amounts to a paranoid delusional system. Paranoids are highly rational in a sense, of course, but that sense doesn't involve common sense, for example, the common sense that notices that there simply isn't a unified Islamic threat or much of a prospect of one. The enemy, as defined in these parts, is a magic opponent with supernatural powers instead of a set of ragged and divided nations and terrorist organizations that hate each other as much as they hate us.

We've been here before. The right wing used to talk about the menace of Communism is much the same irrational way as if the struggle weren't against flesh and blood but principalities and powers. The real Soviets, however, were indeed formidable while threat of Islamic fundamentalism is simply not on the same scale. The Middle East is politically and militarily impotent and hardly in a position to conduct some sort of universal jihad, even if, contrary to fact, the majority of believing Muslims were in favor of such a thing.

Well thank you for this reply. It’s interesting because you cut to the heart of the matter – you do not perceive clear and present danger from Islamism, the danger is neither clear or present. Let me make this argument, I will talk about now and five years hence. For right now, my personal sense of danger is not high, I don’t think I’m very susceptible to Islamist violence, it would not be very severe (unless I was very unlucky), there are things I could do to prevent my personal harm, and most people around me do not seem worried. However, if we ignore the problem, here is my picture in five years. Iran would have nuclear weapons, Hezbollah would have taken over Lebanon, Libya would have relapsed into a rogue state, and Syria would have already had a war with Israel. Iraq, with the US gone, would be ruled by radical Islamists, and be exporting terror to all parts of the globe, and the US in particular. Afghanistan would again be ruled by Islamists, as would the Western half of Pakistan. From the Hindu Kush to Cape Verde, Morocco, Islamism would be the prevailing ideology, determined to turn the clock back, and establish a global caliphate. Oil would cost $200 per barrel, and the US would have done nothing to find alternative fuel sources. These are grim images, and apparently I see them, but you do not. For sure, if this picture becomes reality in five years, I will feel clear and present danger. The danger of death from Iranian nuclear attack would seem near in time, I would feel very susceptible to Islamist violence (since it would be as ubiquitous as it now is in Israel). The severity would seem high (since Islamists mainly just kill), and my capacity to prevent personal harm would be limited, since the US would have had to concede many rights and freedoms in order to avoid nuclear attack, and accommodate Islamist hegemony. By then, most people would agree with me about the clear and present danger, and our powerlessness to prevent it without sparking global nuclear war. This would make Stockholm syndrome very common. You are right, paranoia IS a psychopathology, but its unsung twin is the madness of ignoring real threats.

Islam a la Khomeini is the most threatning kind of Islam:

http://islamic-fundamentalism.info/chII.htm

Robert Gates called the Islamic Republic of Iran, "The Curse of the Region".

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=a.yqdi8HsNEg&refer=politics

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