[FoRK] 911 - The war on understanding

Luis Villa < luis at tieguy.org > on > Tue Sep 12 16:07:23 PDT 2006

On 9/12/06, Ian Andrew Bell <FoRK at ianbell.com> wrote:
> The problem with this position is that many religions cast themselves
> as the functional legal, as well as moral, authority in a society.
> I like any rational human believe that mixing politics and religion
> (as if there was a difference -- okay, GOVERNMENT and religion) is
> wrong, however, that's just my opinion.
> As we all know, Islamic nations are a good example of the co-
> dependency between church and state.  You can't unravel them.  There
> is no seam between the two.  Now, most of us bristle at this thought
> after being exposed to the beheadings and behandings of common
> criminals, the uneven dispensation of justice, etc.  But the people
> who live there seem to tolerate it.  And in the case of Iraq, they
> even seem to prefer it to those systems which we would otherwise have
> them live under.

But there are many places where muslims live under non-sharia
democracies and seem to do just fine. Are they just not 'good
muslims'? Are there interpretations of the Koran that do accept a
church/state divide? Or what? (Honest question, really don't know.)


> So um, those are lofty goals below but are A) prone to massive
> subjectivism, and B) impose the will of other (nations) on the people
> of a society or cultural group.  Which, ironically, is kind of what
> you're trying to prevent.
> We can have policies I suppose which isolate societies that don't
> meet our standards of niceness and egalitarianism, but that only
> serves to give the despots and theocrats which run said societies an
> enemy to sell to their working class.  And the purpose of the UN and
> other dialogue-oriented bodies is to reduce, not strengthen, the
> isolation of peoples.  We can propagandize the shit out of the people
> in the hopes that they will choose revolution, but those tend to be
> bloody and have a pretty poor track record for positive change; or we
> can send in kids from Arkansas to get their limbs blown off in
> shoddily-armoured Humvees to convert them all to Modernity, thinly-
> veiled by notions of "Democracy".  In both of the latter cases, we're
> imposing our world view on others, which may be no better or worse
> off than what they have already, except that it benefits those who
> want to sell them hamburgers and Britney Spears CDs.
> So, what do you do?  These days I'm leaning towards nothing.  But
> when I say that I mean literally nothing.  Don't sell them weapons of
> war, don't sustain rival factions, don't intervene with peacekeepers
> to maintain an inherently unstable position.  In the 20th century
> we've made intervention by selective non-intervention into an art form.
> Submitted for your consideration would be the notion of accepting
> that life and death and strife are part of the human experience,
> necessary to political and social evolution and change, and that self-
> determination of peoples is not something that can be imported.  Let
> people suffer enough and they will all rise up and choose.  They will
> surely fuck it up a few times, they will surely kill a lot of people
> in the process, but since that seems  to be happening anyway --
> what's the difference?  There is of course the possibility that, left
> to their own devices, the people will come up with solutions to their
> political problems which are home grown and therefore adaptive to
> local conditions.  Democracy isn't terribly practical in nations
> where there is no safe water to drink; give me a well, not a fucking
> voting booth!  And who knows?  Maybe they'll come up with something
> better than we've got today (I hope so).
> Like Roddenberry's Prime Directive, stay away until they're ready /
> mature enough to handle liebensraum.  Welcome societies to the club
> when they are ready to play.   In the meantime, isolate them
> economically but not socially.
> I'm not convinced of this as a strategy.  I just don't see anything
> else we're talking about working very well either.  And I don't
> embark on these considerations with the presumption that we
> Protestant Liberal Democrats necessarily have it all sorted out, either.
> -Ian.
> On 11-Sep-06, at 7:58 PM, Luis Villa wrote:
> > I think one can make a
> > fair case that the policy should be 'no theocracies', or perhaps 'no
> > theocracies which aren't elected and which lack strong guarantees of
> > civil rights', or perhaps 'no tolerance of political movements which
> > believe in violence against innocents as a legitimate means of
> > political expression', and that abhorrence of violence against
> > innocents is but one consequence of that larger umbrella policy.
> >
> > (One might also note that if any of those are the policy, at times
> > violence against innocents will be an acceptable if unpleasant side
> > effect of pursuing the top-level goal.)
> >
> > (One might further note that it is perfectly plausible to support such
> > policies while still abhorring the incompetence, brutality,
> > illegality, etc., of the Bush-Cheney execution of similar policies.)

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