Why we shouldn’t fear the (Muslim) fanatic (in the Muslim world)

Harris, L. 2007. Why we fear ‘fanatic’: The lesson of the red mosque. TCS Daily. July 12, 2007. Available online: http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=071207A (emailed in my Michael DeWitt of Spooky Action).

Joseph Goebbels was proud of being a fanatic. To him, fanaticism was a term of praise, and not abuse. The Hebrew Zealots looked with contempt on those who were unwilling either to die or to slaughter their own families. In the culture of the modern West, however, to call someone a fanatic is to insult, and not commend, him. Yet, as the incident at the Red Mosque makes clear, our own attitude toward fanaticism is simply an example of ethnocentricism. By refusing to use the word fanatic to describe Ghazi and his followers, we are approaching them through the standards and practices that are observed in our culture, but not in theirs.

Indeed. “Extremism in defense of liberty….

At the Boyd Conference, William Lind made the good point that the Arab world has been in a cycle of corruption-internal reform movement-revolutionary-corruption. By supporting corrupt states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we interrupted this cycle, between the generation of the internal reform movement (primarily the Muslim Brothers) and the revolution which would bring on either their corruption… or possibly a way out of the cycle. Assuming the old governments of the Middle East have our, or their own people’s, best interest at heart is foolish.

As I’ve said before, Islam is the answer. The governments of the Muslim world are the problem.

Of course, not all of Lind’s points were so flattering or helpful

One thought on “Why we shouldn’t fear the (Muslim) fanatic (in the Muslim world)”

  1. Lind is correct. Another comment at the Boyd conference [1] — that CINC CENCTOM Anthony Zinni had met a “double handful” of Middle Easterners over a generation that knew what a Caliphate was — also back it up. The Middle East is trapped in a cycle of corrupt governers-corruptable reformers.

    Those countries [2] were not ready for independence, at least not with the terms they were given. They, and we, deserve something better.

    [1] http://www.d-n-i.net/boyd/2007_conference/report.htm
    [2] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/05/08/redefining-the-gap-1-prologue.html

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