Posts Tagged 'Islam'

Theodore Dalrymple and the Real Threat

Yesterday I mentioned Victor Davis Hanson as a historian whose commentary on the collapse of the West is worth following.

Today I direct your attention to another Cassandra, Theodore Dalrymple.  He is a doctor (real name Anthony Daniels) of long practice among the lowest classes in England.  Unlike leftist  intellectuals  whose experience of the downtrodden tends to be academic and therefore comfortably remote, Dalrymple has spent his life in close contact with them.  His books are filled with disturbing (if humorous) stories of his patients and the dying society in which they live and move and have their being.  His books Life At The Bottom; The Worldview That Makes The Underclass  and Our Culture, What’s Left Of It; The Mandarins And The Masses:  are excellent (if often frustrating and infuriating and saddening) reads.

He is a regular columnist for the City Journal, a magazine worth checking online from time to time.  Today’s essay is entitled “Thoughts on Woolwich” (the town where two young Muslim-convert Britons from Nigeria brutally murdered and decapitated a British soldier, then pontificated about it to the witnesses recording it all on their cellphones.

Dalrymple concludes with the following:
“What these cases show is that it is not Islam that makes young converts violent; it is the violence within them that causes them to convert to Islam. The religion, in its most bloodthirsty form, supplies all their psychological needs and channels their anger into a supposedly higher purpose. It gives them moral license to act upon their rage; for, like many in our society, they do not realize that anger is not self-justifying, that one is not necessarily right because one is angry, and that in any case even justified anger does not entail a license to act violently. The hacking to death of Lee Rigby on a street in Woolwich tells us as much about the society that we have created, or allowed to develop, as it does about radical Islam preached by fat, middle-aged clerics.”
True, and a reality worth facing.  Militant Islamic Jihad is not a threat because it is so persuasive; it threatens us because it so conveniently justifies and ennobles our worst inclinations.
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Can You Love Freedom and Hate Israel?

I was discussing philosophy recently with my friend Ben Finiti.  The queston arose of whether it is repressive “political correctness” to consider a person’s extreme prejudices (in this case, anti-semitism) when evaluating their position on a philosophical question.

Our initial reaction was that, if at all possible, the philosophical question should be considered separately.

This got me thinking about a question I often ask myself:  how can someone who does A also do B?  Specifically on the question of Israel and Zionism.

How can one preach democracy and hate the most democratic state ever to exist in the region?

How can one value freedom and yet hate the freest, arguably the only free state in the region?

How can one espouse peace and yet hate the only state in the region willing to establish peace with all its neighbors?

And finally, the most perplexing of all: How can one love God and hate Israel?

I know, I know.  Anti-Zionism and opposition to Israel is not the same as anti-semitism.  Supposedly, not every anti-Zionist advocate of return to the indefensible pre-1967 borders hates Jews.  Not every pious critic who screams “Apartheid” and “Imperialism” at Israel’s every measure of self-defense is an anti-Semite.  Not every college professor demanding disinvestment from all Israeli companies would be happy to see Hamas achieve its bloodthirsty dreams.  Not every anti-Zionist wants to see Israel swept off the map, or even the more moderate proposal of allowing Hamas missiles to be positioned 11 miles from Tel Aviv.

But still…

When I hear someone say “I am not anti-Semitic; I am just anti-Israel” I wonder.  Continue reading ‘Can You Love Freedom and Hate Israel?’


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