[lit-ideas] Re: Moderate Muslims

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2006 09:40:59 -0700



You have quoted the middle part of Sam Harris' article which he entitles
"Head in the Sand Liberals"
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-harris18sep18,0,1897169.story .
The parts before and after the part you quoted aren't on subject, but they
do represent that interesting and rare modern phenomenon: a Liberal who
realizes that his fellow Liberals are becoming increasingly squirrelly --
sort of the Left equivalent of what Fukuyama thought about his fellow
Neocons.  I suppose I spoil it for the Lit-Ideas Liberals to say the article
is worth reading in its entirety, but I do say that.  Sam Harris identifies
himself as a liberal.  He describes his Liberal Bone Fides and yet he feels
he is stepping over the common Liberal line when he says such things as "We
are entering an age of unchecked nuclear proliferation and, it seems likely,
nuclear terrorism. There is, therefore, no future in which aspiring martyrs
will make good neighbors for us. Unless liberals realize that there are tens
of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Dick
Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine









-----Original Message-----
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Eric Yost
Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 9:08 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Moderate Muslims


 >>I was not able to determine that there were any moderates 

in the Middle East because neither Omar nor I could find 

hide nor hair of them.


Let me repost an excerpt from this article to see if it can 

advance the discussion. For those who skim, the last 

paragraph is most important.




A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world - for reasons 

that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic 

doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are 

not fighting a "war on terror." We are fighting a 

pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.


This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims. But 

we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death 

in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that 

cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet 

and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered 

for apostasy.


Unfortunately, such religious extremism is not as fringe a 

phenomenon as we might hope. Numerous studies have found 

that the most radicalized Muslims tend to have 

better-than-average educations and economic opportunities.


Given the degree to which religious ideas are still 

sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually 

possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual 

resources to build a nuclear bomb - and to believe that he 

will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant 

evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that 

Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of 

education and American militarism.


I don't know how many more engineers and architects need to 

blow themselves up, fly planes into buildings or saw the 

heads off of journalists before this fantasy will dissipate. 

The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a 

terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all 

political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation 

with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other 

Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This 

benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem 

facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, 

ignored or obfuscated by liberals.





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