Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Useful Idiocy

Yes, referring to "useful idiots" is probably exactly the kind of thing from which I said I wanted to refrain, way back in one of my first posts. However, it's the most exact and apt term for what I want to talk about today.

Besides, I can live with some hypocrisy. I'm a Christian, which by definition means that I'm constantly trying to change my ways while knowing that I will continue to be a sinner as long as I'm in this flesh. I am well aware of my failure to reach the standards laid out. Why, on at least three occasions already this year, I didn't sell all I own and give the proceeds to the poor.

If you don't know what the term "useful idiots" means in political discussion, please go read about it on Wikipedia, which provides a pretty good overview. Then take a look at this article on the American Thinker site, which gives some terrific perspective. For that matter, after reading those you could always punch the phrase (in quotation marks) into a search engine and see where you wind up.

Useful idiots are basically people who enable evil. They do so by at least ignoring but more often defending it. They usually believe that by doing so, they are proving themselves wiser, more enlightened, and just generally better than the average person. They are wrong. They are actually proving themselves to be tragically naive, and are usually the sort who will be first against the wall when the actual bad guys they're defending get their way.

I hadn't intended to write about this topic, but I somehow stumbled across an article that demonstrated useful idiocy in a simply spectacular manner. I think it was linked from Ezra Levant's site (Ezra is most emphatically not a useful idiot, and is in fact currently battling a cluster of them).

A writer by the name of Warren Kinsella, writing for the National Post, wrote an appalling article discussing the cartoons that caused offense to some Muslims, who responded with sternly worded letters to the editor. Oh, no, wait. They responded by setting things on fire and throwing lots and lots of rocks. You can see how those are easy to get mixed up.

I was tempted not to link to Kinsella's article, because doing so may lead to some more hits for him. It's entirely possible - and I hope - that he doesn't even believe the tripe he wrote, and only put it out there to generate controversy (with its accompanying page views). I could have just quoted the one truly outrageous statement that I'll be quoting anyway, and left it at that. But, I decided to link to him so that anyone who's interested can go see that I'm not taking him out of context.

For most of the article, he sounds reasonable enough. A bit on the soft-and-squishy side for my tastes, but then so are most people.

His early self-admission that he is willing to be called a censor raises warning flags. However, that may just mean that he didn't pay attention when his English teacher assigned Fahrenheit 451 or 1984. (That he may have read them of his own accord seems unlikely; if he has, then his reading comprehension is pretty atrocious.) That admission, by itself, doesn't throw him into the category of useful idiot.

What catapults him into the category - even the hall of fame - is this passage, very near the end:

And, when all is said and done, what Muslims seek from the rest of us is not anything we do not already seek from them. Which is, mainly, a modicum of respect for the things they hold closest to their hearts.

Remember, he's talking about folks who riot over editorial cartoons. &^$*)!!&-ing editorial cartoons. (I'm trying to keep this blog clean, but sometimes I've just got to go to the internationally recognized comic-book profanity standins.)

When they decide to experiment with peaceful demonstration, they hold up signs with such charming slogans as "Behead Those Who Insult Islam", "Freedom Go To Hell", and "Butcher Those Who Mock Islam".

After living in a more-or-less free nation (Great Britain), over a third of them would like Shaira law imposed and conversion out of Islam to be punishable by death.

If you really want to be shaken out of complacency, go to Jihadwatch and read until you'll have trouble sleeping tonight. It won't take long.

Kinsella is not talking about all Muslims, and neither am I. His article is talking about the cartoons and reactions to them, and reactions to other potentialy offensive speech. His closing must be read in that context.

Of course most Muslims, especially those who have made the effort to escape to civilized nations,do want the same as the rest of us: to peacefully live their lives. To raise their families, make their livings, and to get along with their neighbours, and, yes, to practise their faith in peace. Unfortunately, there's a vocal - or more accurately, explosive - minority of Muslims who want to blow things up and throw rocks whenever anyone hurts their oh-so-delicate feelings. And thanks to convenient doctrines like taqiyya, you never know who is really in this latter category.

I wish the militants wanted the same things I do, because what I want is for them to stop murdering people.

Unfortunately, what they want is to kill, conquer, and enslave the civilized world.

As for the "modicum of respect" that's all that "the rest of us" want - I'm not that concerned with their respect. Especially if Kinsella is using "respect" as most leftists do, in the modern politically correct (and utterly inaccurate) sense of "fauning approval." Or, wait, does it only mean that when they talk about "respecting" homosexual marriage rights or a woman's choice to abort? It's so hard to keep track.

I don't much care what Islamists think of me (although I've got a pretty good idea what it would be). And there's no reason why they should care what I think of them. Mutual respect should be of very little concern.

I'll make a deal with the Islamists. Let's assume that we do want the same things from each other, and make a deal. We can meet halfway. Here's my proposal:

Drop the whole "respect" idea, especially in the modern sense I discussed above. Let's feel free to think, feel, and say whatever we want about each other. However, let's all agree not to kill anybody.

I'm not concerned with the respect of the Islamists. I just want them to stop blowing things up.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of some Beatles dolls in Sgt. Pepper uniforms that my wife crocheted for me. The trim wasn't finished on all of them when the picture was taken.

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