The Race To Freedom-Andrew Sullivan At The NY Mag On The NY Times ‘1619 Project’

Colonists practicing freedom, becoming slowly habituated to running their own lives and affairs, taming an often hostile wilderness, ruled by a distant and increasingly controlling crown, require certain conceptual definitions of freedom.

They were written down in case you’re interested.

Activists practicing liberation, colonizing existing newsrooms and administrative hierarchies, tending to totalize all personal and public relationships into an oppressor/opppressed worldview, require other conceptual definitions of freedom.

Andrew Sullivan on the ‘1619’ project, at the NY Times:

‘The New York Times, by its executive editor’s own admission, is increasingly engaged in a project of reporting everything through the prism of white supremacy and critical race theory, in order to “teach” its readers to think in these crudely reductionist and racial terms. That’s why this issue wasn’t called, say, “special issue”, but a “project”. It’s as much activism as journalism.’

and:

‘But it is extremely telling that this is not merely aired in the paper of record (as it should be), but that it is aggressively presented as objective reality. That’s propaganda, directed, as we now know, from the very top — and now being marched through the entire educational system to achieve a specific end.’

As previously posted:

Jason Hill’s open letter to Ta-Nehisi Coates here.

Theodore Dalrymple’s review of Coates:

‘Coates fails to notice that his blanket exoneration of the perpetrators actually dehumanizes them. On his view, when the young perpetrators pull the trigger or thrust the knife in they are only vectors of forces, not agents with purposes, desires, plans, or motives. Therefore they are not really men at all, so that, ironically enough, they become for him Invisible Man writ large.’

Many black writers in America should be recognized as having crossed bridges over chasms in communicating their experiences, experiences which have often made even the best radicalize to some degree in the face of such injustice.

Regardless, I’m guessing we’re all best off if the same high standards are universally applied when it comes to quality of prose, depth of thought, scope of imagination and moral courage. Good writing deserves as much: Genuine, even if grudging or even if unfettered, respect.

Works of art are going to do what they’re going to do, polemics what they do, and I tend to believe that respect for the freedom, responsibility, agency and complexity of the individual ought to be central. Realizing the interior lives of others, especially if they’re just characters in a novel, even when they fail miserably and do horrible things, is what I’ve taken to be a core feature of writing which has moved me. This, much more than ideological solidarity and what may be the shared popular sentiment of the moment.

To my mind, there’s something comic about a man (and I can’t be alone) espousing rather radical political views (theories of victim-hood, a lack of individual agency and anti-white racism, postmodern ‘body’ talk etc.) while being feted, possibly with the intent of appeasement and assimilation, by mostly less radical (and often very white) audiences.

That’s got to create some tension.

As to politics and social institutions, sent in by a reader, here’s a talk given by John McWhorter about his views in ‘Losing The Race‘, a man who strikes me as politically amorphous, unsatisfyingly moderate for some, and often very sensible. As has been the case for a while, there [are] a whole range of views out there:

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From The Liberal Bastions-James Baldwin, Often

James Baldwin’s works are there to be read and thought about, his words and ideas echoing in your mind; your words formed in response.

Take or leave those words and ideas. You can write a paper, and forget them. They may deeply move and stir your moral imagination, or not.

Such is freedom.

A lack of freedom is demonstrated by uttering James Baldwin’s words as incantations seeking solidarity; chanted mindlessly by a mob of moral/ideological purists, shouting down anyone who might disagree.

Most of these low-rent, post-Enlightenment ideological re-enactors are happy to become stars; each of their own scripted passion-plays and soapy little dramas; tacitly cradled by the academics and administrators off-camera.


In this blog’s opinion, John Derbyshire has extended his own experiences into broader truth claims about race and empirical reality. He uses statistics and evidence to bolster his arguments. There are, frankly, quite a few people who agree with him.  What he says may simply be true, or contain truths, partial truths and misconceptions.  Some central claims may not be true.

Should one disagree, it must be demonstrated to him, and to others, why he might be wrong. Derbyshire’s intellectually honest enough to present his arguments clearly and cogently, as presumably he believes what he’s saying is true.

Become part of a much nobler process, dear reader. Most decent people already know better than to claim all the truth, moral goodness and virtue for themselves.

Related On This Site: What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”

Race And Free Speech-From Volokh: ‘Philadelphia Mayor Suggests Magazine Article on Race Relations Isn’t Protected by the First Amendment’

Repost-Eugene Volokh At The National Review: ‘Multiculturalism: For or Against?

Pardon My Postmodernese, Fella, But This Here Sure Does Resemble A Lynch Mob

Witch hunt this Sunday!

Clearly many of these peasants are expressing complex emotions in a fluidly dynamic space, reinforcing community standards and exploring boundaries of empathetic inclusion.

Who are you to resist the heat of bodies juxtaposed here, reshaping meta-narratives of dominant and historical power-relationships?

The need for meaning and ritual abounds, and when violence erupts in the name of such need, it’s less of a surprise these days, but no less unacceptable for a free society:

Be careful on Twitter, now.

Perhaps a digital bulletin board with no cost to entry and anonymous handles, governed by unclear standards and what seems to me rather politically biased management, just might amplify the sound and fury of outraged fools.

Should you thank God, or the Watchmaker-God, or the Nothingness, or the Oneness-connecting-all-living-things, or Xenu, or (P)rogress, you’d damned well better resist the Devil, or the devil-take-the-hindmost:

Roger Scruton on the lynch-mobs of social media:

‘What is to be done about this? I have a couple of suggestions. The first is to set up an institution call it the Ministry of Truth in some legally insulated country (oddly enough, Russia springs to mind) devoted to tweeting malicious stories about everyone who is anyone. If everyone becomes a victim of this inherent malice people will begin to see Twitter for what it is,as a tool that easily into the Devil’s hands.’

Addition:  The Devil?

I thought human nature was basically good, made bad by ‘historical forces,’ and ‘systems of oppression’?  Perhaps institutions are only as good as their ideas and the people within them?

You know, concerts like the below make a fella wonder if we’re in good hands.

Fundamental differences of religion, law, ideas and government resulting in murder and civilizational-type clashes?

Bring in James Taylor!:

Dead girls at a pop-concert? Coldplay performing a moving twilight cover of Oasis ought to cover it.  Some sing to remember, some sing to forget.

How are the institutions in the West actually performing?

Much of this may come down to your views on human nature, and from there, which kinds of ideas guide the people within our institutions.  For it is these institutions which shape those people and have serious implications for the rest of us (shaping us too):

On that note, many folks invoking the truth of faith and the necessity of Christian doctrine are in a smaller minority these days, and have some important things to say.  Personally, I’m not clear what is absolutely true and necessary in order to maintain a decent moral life, truth and institutional integrity.

I’d prefer a rebuttal to Pinker’s arguments.

Rod Dreher on Patrick Dineen’s book, and the ever-needy Andrew Sullivan.  The doom that awaits:

‘The reason the brilliant Steven Pinker can’t understand why there is so much unhappiness is because he is a materialist. Patrick Deneen, Andrew Sullivan, and people like us understand otherwise. There is no replacement for the company of other people.’

Related On This Site: Maybe if you’re defending the current conservative position, you don’t want to bring up the ‘aristocratic radical’ : Repost-Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy..

A return to Straussian neo-classicism?: From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’Harvey Mansfield At Defining Ideas: ‘Democracy Without Politics?’

Neo-neo conservatism, new atheism and post socialism for the ’68ers? Via Youtube: Christopher Hitchens On Faith And Virtue

Stanley Fish At The NY Times Blog: ‘The Last Professors: The Corporate Professors And The Fate Of The Humanities’From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’,,

Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The Evolution of Mind and Mathematics: Dehaene Versus Plantinga and Nagel’

From Edward Feser: ‘Nagel And His Critics Part IV’

John Gray Reviews Jonathan Haidt’s New Book At The New Republic: ‘The Knowns And The Unknowns’

Steven Pinker somewhat focused on the idea of freedom from violence, which tends to be libertarian. Yet, he’s also skeptical of the more liberal human rights and also religious natural rights. What about a World Leviathan?: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas HobbesFrom Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department

Who Wants To Blog Forever?

Ira Stoll, on blogging, after the Andrew Sullivan announcement:

‘I’ve seen the advantages and disadvantages of the old media world, and of the blog world, too. Blogging runs the risk of solipsism. The reporting resources and reputations of institutions are useful in getting phone calls returned, landing interviews, gaining access, and attention. But the issue isn’t whether, given a choice, we might return to the pre-blog world, or inhabit or invent, as Ben Smith imagines, a “post-blog” world. There is no turning back. Like it or not, we live in a blog media world.

There’s a pretty low barrier to entry and much lower cost to communication since blogs like this one have become so easily available. Since then, personal-style, individual voice and personality can trump institutional authority, and have clearly affected how the media does business (Sullivan ran his blog pretty much like a business).

I’ve found there’s only so much room for depth on a blog, and I think it’s best used as a window on the world, a way to stay current, and to share one’s interests, talents, and knowledge with others, while experiencing the interests, talents and knowledge of others.

Worth keeping in mind: What you write about, how, and why, can often reveal as much about you as it does the subject you’re writing about. So, best to know something about the subject at hand, have some humility and curiosity, and expect some feedback and criticism.

Who you imagine your audience to be, and why you’re writing in the first place still matters a great deal, as it always has whether for knowledge, understanding, money, influence, praise, communication, friendship, attention, problem solving, creative expression…too many to name.

You know some of your reasons.

See you out there.

Catholics, Punditry, Progressives & Rubes-Ross Douthat At The NY Times

Full piece here.

Douthat responds to E.J. Dionne’s ‘The Reformicons‘ and Andrew Sullivan’s ‘Reform Conservatism.’ It’s interesting to note that Dionne is a liberal Catholic progressive Democrat (concern-trolling at its finest), and Sullivan a gay, Catholic British emigre, aligning with progressives on many social and political issues (Obama is the ‘true conservative‘), and Douthat a more conservative Catholic columnist for the NY Times, who’s written a book on the subject ‘Grand New Party.’

This seems a pretty BosWash and Catholic affair.

Perhaps Dionne and Sullivan are gazing with warier eyes upon religious and social conservatives now that the progressive coalition in power may be running out of steam, and Obama’s approval numbers are running lower lately.

Douthat:

‘The reality is that, except in truly exceptional cases, our politics is better off in the long run when views held by large proportions of the public are represented in some form by one of our two parties. Right now (to run down a partial list of divisive cultural issues), a plurality of Americans want the immigration rate decreased; about half the country opposes affirmative action; more than half supports the death penalty; about half of Americans call themselves pro-life. Support for gay marriage and marijuana legalization has skyrocketed, but in both cases about 40 percent of the country is still opposed. Even independent of my own (yes, populist and socially conservative) views, I think these people, these opinions, deserve democratic representation: Representation that leads and channels and restrains, representation that recognizes trends and trajectories and political realities, but also representation that makes them feel well-served, spoken for, and (in the case of issues where they’re probably on the losing side) respected even in defeat’

The wheels are turning, and like politicians, many a pundit’s limp body has been pulled from the gears of electoral politics and predictions about the future.

Predictions are hard, especially about the future.

Is Barack Obama A Realist?

I’ve been referred to Obama’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech to show the framework upon which he hangs his foreign policy. He’s been called a realist, or one who generally deals with the world as it is, not as he’d like it to be.  In the speech, Obama sets an expectation of using force against evil in the world if necessary. He’s willing to part company with Gandhi and MLK in the face of a genuine possible evil and the grim choices events may require.

According to this view, Obama has rejected the Hillary Clinton/Samantha Power wing of humanitarian interventionism as idealists to his realism. He split the difference in Libya to the operation they wanted (like Bosnia) because of his realism. He later thought Syria wasn’t worth the risk because of his realism (it has since devolved into a near worse-case scenario into which Putin had to step-in). He approved, then withdrew, the surge in Afghanistan after he didn’t see the gains he wanted because of his realism.

All of this difference-splitting, essentially, is evidence that Obama is the one taking the longer view and resisting the impulses of those who will act to make the world as they’d like it to be by using military force and sticking our noses into the affairs of others (Bush in Iraq, Bill Clinton in Bosnia, Hillary Clinton in Libya).

In short, by mostly using drones, SpecOps strike-teams and often not even the threat of force, by instead continually leaning upon his own rhetoric and international law to round-up our enemies and foes with carrots and sticks, Obama is the cool head in the room, seeing the world as it is….shrewdly and realistically.

Dear Reader: Are you convinced?

Addition: Link sent in to a Ben Domenech piece at The Federalist: ‘Reject Naive Foreign Policy, Whatever Its Source

Israel, Iran, & Peace: Andrew Sullivan Responds To Charges Of Potential Anti-Semitism

Full piece here.

Pejman Yousefzadeh trolled what he expected might be the Andrew Sullivan/Walt & Mearsheimer response to any failure in talks with Iran:  The Israel Lobby.

Sullivan responds, by clarifying that he’s not an anti-semite, but rather believes conditions on ground in Israel are leading it rightward, and that his position is one of realpolitik, tempering what are usually Left-Of-Center ideals with the reality of what’s possible:

Peace with Iran is possible:

‘My support for an agreement with Iran that grants it the right to enrich uranium at low levels and subject to routine, tough inspection regimens is also a function of dealing with the world as-it-is and not as I would like it to be’

But isn’t the theocratic, thugocratic regime of state-sponsored terror-mongers in Tehran not to be trusted?  Isn’t that the world as it is, too?

Why ally with Tehran more closely than with a Netanyahu-led Israeli government that while heading right, and admittedly playing us for its own interests, at least still has a functioning democracy?

Sullivan:

‘The Green movement proved that Iran’s younger generation is on the side of freedom, not theocracy. And yet that movement, like the regime, also insists that the country has a right to enrich uranium. On this, all of Iran is united.’

To be fair, few Western journalists have supported the Green Revolution in Iran as much as Sullivan has.  This could really shift our fortunes in the region…but note…that’s ‘could’.

Wouldn’t Obama’s failure of strategy, leadership, and basic competence in Syria lead one to pause?

What have we gotten in exchange for doing business with Assad & Putin?

What about the instability we’re seeing with the Turks and Saudis as we reduce our influence in the region…and as we basically ignore many of their interests as well as those of Israel, in order to pursue peace-talks with Iran?

These are bumps in the road for Sullivan.  Iran’s newly-elected President Hasan Rohani is a man we can do business with, or at least try and do business with.  The Iran of today is analogous to the Soviet Union of the 1980’s (when our foreign policy was led by actual realists, not liberal internationalists and Obama’s coalition).

Iran is rotting from within, ready for a strong breeze to lift the lid and unleash the forces of history, freedom, prideful self-determiniation and Persian democratic statehood.

Sullivan:

‘We found a way to rescue the country from its regime, by engagement after a ramping up of opposition. I hope Obama and Rouhani can become the Reagan and Gorbachev of this moment. ‘

That’s a lot of hope, to say the least.

Just as Obama’s foreign policy makes us ever smaller, and drifts us into ever more limited strategic corners while promising lofty ideals and goals, Sullivan seems to have followed this logic where it leads and attached his fortunes to it.

If only that pesky Israel lobby weren’t getting in the way!

We’ll see what happens.

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As noted on this blog, the neo-conservative coalition (quite ok using our military to promote our ideals, often formed out of people with liberal backgrounds mugged by reality) is lacking fresh ideas and leadership, but not necessarily the passion of its convictions and the continued support of its many stale policy prescriptions (bomb Iran…really…that’s it?).

Frankly, the Republican foreign-policy establishment doesn’t seem up to the level it was with James Baker’s realism in the 80’s either.  Much of this establishment is out of gas and hasn’t dealt with the reality of our budgets, the surge of isolationism at home, and the deep structural changes going on throughout our society and on the ground in the Middle-East.  We’re in transition, to say the least.

But the Left seems even more ideological and rudderless, seeking even loftier ideals through grubbier street politics and re-runs of bad feminist, civil-rights style coalitions with back-room dealing and bad laws.

A pretty damned good overview of Syria for the non-initiated, including what’s been going on since 2011 and the backstory at the thehowardbealeshow. Recommended. Really.

-Many Europeans, and many European leaders traffic in an easy anti-Americanism, but also with rising percentages of Muslims in their societies and combined with their own histories, an easy and virulent anti-Israeli sentiment & anti-Semitism.  When even Bernard Henri-Levy has been warning of this dangerous trend, it might be worth paying attention.

See Adam Garfinkle’s piece on the potentially changing dynamics between the U.S. and Israel:

‘In truth, however, the relationship consists of a metaphorical triangle linking American Jewry with the governments of Israel and the United States. In the natural course of political events, all three actors intermediate between the other two, for good and ill. For example, even as American Jews lobby for Israel in American politics, Israeli governments sometimes get between American Jews and their own government’

Related on this site, see: John Mearsheimer’s offensive realism (Israel can’t go on like this forever, the Israel lobby leads to bad U.S policy decisions): Repost: From Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

Adam Garfinkle At Tablet: ‘The Crumbling Relationship Between The U.S., Israel, And Jews’

Full piece here.

A prediction based upon evidence?:

‘American Jewry is in for a real shock: The “special relationship” between the United States and Israel is fast eroding. The strategic, cultural, and demographic alignments that gave rise to and sustained for more than half a century the special relationship between the United States and Israel are all changing’

I suppose we’ll see, as it may not simply be a matter of the last five years of a Left-Of-Center American foreign policy and greater solidarity for secular humanism and abstract equality in the culture.  How best to think about this strategic alliance, which also has a component of the American, pro-military, religious and conservative right coming into play?

‘In truth, however, the relationship consists of a metaphorical triangle linking American Jewry with the governments of Israel and the United States. In the natural course of political events, all three actors intermediate between the other two, for good and ill. For example, even as American Jews lobby for Israel in American politics, Israeli governments sometimes get between American Jews and their own government’

Interesting read.

Pejman Yousefzadeh trolls what he expects might be the Andrew Sullivan/Walt & Mearsheimer response to any failure in talks with Iran:  The Israel Lobby.

-Many Europeans, and many European leaders traffic in an easy anti-Americanism, but also with rising percentages of Muslims in their societies and combined with their own histories, an easy and virulent anti-Israel & anti-Semitism.  When even Bernard Henri-Levy has been warning of this dangerous trend, it might be worth paying attention.

Related On This Site:  John Mearsheimer’s offensive realism (Israel can’t go on like this forever, the Israel lobby leads to bad U.S policy decisions): Repost: From Foreign Affairs Via The A & L Daily: ‘Conflict Or Cooperation: Three Visions Revisited’

From The American Interest Online: Francis Fukuyama On Samuel Huntington….is neoconservative foreign policy defunct…sleeping…how does a neoconservatism more comfortable with liberalism here at home translate into foreign policy?: Wilfred McClay At First Things: ‘The Enduring Irving Kristol’

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘History Repeats: In Europe, They Want Jewish Blood’From Foreign Policy: ‘Mearsheimer Responds To Goldberg’s Latest Smear’

For anyone,it takes moral courage to stand up to the messianism, Islamic moral absolutism, and dark theocratic tendencies of the Middle East…liberty is key as well as moral responsibility to think in terms of the legitimacy of rule here at home.  It is often the Left, the materialists (anti-religious) who stand up: …From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’From Michael Totten: ‘An Interview With Christopher Hitchens’

What kind of threats to free speech do the justice and rights crowd pose?:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra Levant

Materialism and Leftism Paul Berman On Bloggingheads: The Left Can Criticize Iran… Paul Berman At The New Republic: ‘From September 11 to the Arab Spring: Do Ideas Matter?’

Western societies are becoming less violent overall? We’ll see about that-Steven Pinker curiously goes Hobbesian and mentions an ‘international Leviathan’:   At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes

Reader-emailed evidence for the American black-jewish leftist alliance on Bloggingheads with Joshua Cohen  engaging in genuine moral concern and genuie academic apologetics.  Obama has chosen Rahm Emmanuel to likely be the White House Chief Of Staff, and of course from the Kentucky Fried Movie, Cleopatra Swartz.  Thank you readers…I think.

Some Criticism Of Leo Strauss Via Andrew Sullivan: ‘Who Let The Dogs Out, Ctd.”

Full post here.

I read Strauss as interested in providing a solid foundation for getting around the problems of the project of Reason, and modernity, and the dangers of grounding one’s thinking only in Reason.  At its worst, this led to the growth of States that knew better than individuals what was best for them (and many millions of deaths), potentially sublimated religious belief into secular belief and the growth of the State (though there are many other forces at work in Europe), and, according to Strauss, caused a split from a certain kind of moral reasoning and much moral philosophy (Platonic political philosophy especially) that we should get back to.

Here’s what a reader writes to Sullivan about how the Straussian influence has played out in the hands of the neo-cons (and I would beware of giving Sullivan any chance to pamphleteer his own project without coming up with good reasons as to why):

“Strauss’s essay, “The Three Waves of Modernity.” Modernity starts with Machiavelli and Hobbes and Locke, moves through Rousseau, and ends with Nietzsche (and implicitly Heidegger). That is, a nefarious break with “the ancients” occurred in the early modern period that set in motion a decline towards historicism, relativism, and nihilism. This is the theoretical backdrop to significant elements within neoconservatism; it is premised on this critique of modernity, on the possibility of impending doom, on the inability of “modernity” to sustain itself.”

as well as:

So neoconservatives, cynically and instrumentally, tend to defend and deploy “pre-modern” virtues and institutions — the military, war, and martial virtue; and reactionary religion (“Biblical religion”). These push against the trajectory of modern life, and thus (supposedly) stave off the decline they are convinced is always already underway. They do not try to sustain modernity from within, to reconcile, say, faith and modernity, but rather see modernity as something that needs counterweights, that needs to be pushed back against at every turn. So you purposefully cultivate certain elements that are in reaction to modernity — you push for war to fend off the decadent “softness” of modern liberals, and you make alliances with the religious right.”

More and more Straussian criticism is in the air lately…

Perhaps Strauss is using much Nietzsche to get around Nietzsche, and I don’t necessarily see a need for his esotericism regarding the Greeks.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Addition:  John Gueguen addresses some criticism here in 2003.  A discussion of Strauss’ thinking on Hegelian and post-Hegelian historicism.

Another Addition:  Peter Levine discusses the Nietzsche connection here.

Related On This Site:  Harry Jaffa At The Claremont Institute: ‘Leo Strauss, the Bible, and Political Philosophy’Via An Emailer: Some Criticism Of Leo Strauss? From Wikipedia’s Page On Leo Strauss: A Few Quotes:  From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?

Dinesh D’Souza And Daniel Dennett at Tufts University: Nietzsche’s Prophesy…

Can Kant do all that heavy lifting…what are some of the dangers of Enlightenment project?:  From Bryan Magee’s Talking Philosophy On Youtube: Geoffrey Warnock On KantA Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty”

Andrew Sullivan On The Conservative Soul: A Conservative Crackup?

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From Andrew Sullivan: Reader Response-Islam Undergoing A Reformation?

Full post here.

Thought this would be worth posting, a reader response to a comparison between modernizing Islam and the Protestant Reformation in England:

“In immigrant communities and in urban enclaves, they tend to be embarrassed by the clergy imported from their native lands or from the countryside…”

…along with this article via the A & L Daily, about the rise of Muslim creationism, or perhaps the attempt to fit all of the world (including the Enlightenment and post-enlightenment) into the Quran:

Full article here at the New Humanist.

Are we anywhere close to having enough Muslims in America that their religious conservatism finds allies with the religious and political right?

Too soon? A pipe dream?

From Julian Sanchez here, suggesting that if you’re living in an urban area:

 “…if you’re a believer convinced that there’s one uniquely authoritative set of commands and practices that have been divinely ordained, this can provoke enormous cognitive dissonance—and prompt a search for the “true” version of Islam purged of all these regional variations. Insofar as this also purges the system of its evolved adaptations, the result is apt to be more radical, and potentially more dangerous.”

Once you become concerned, in some way, about Islam, you have to deal with its claims (and more radical claimants) more seriously (as in extending moral concern to the Islamic world).  Some of these claims are openly and directly hostile to the West, don’t care at all for separation of church and state, and are perhaps sympathetic ideologically, if not morally, to the radicals.

Some of this has to do with the influence of the West upon the Middle East, which is unjust in some cases, and Muslims have legitimate grievances.

So…surely extending moral concern to Islam is a possible way forward, but must that moral concern be religious?  must it be in conflict with Islam?  It surely must deal with the powder keg of occupied lands, relatively weak economies, and some pretty tribal areas under which Islam is the uniting glue, as well as some of Islams claims to religious conquest?

A pipe dream?

See Also:  From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’…From The NY Times: Review Of Christopher Caldwell’s Book “Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West”…From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

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