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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Not-so-quiet riots

What Gordon the Gnome
really looks like.
Stop rioting. Seriously. Just stop. Civilized people don't firebomb churches when they hear comments they don't like.

The pope quotes a 14th century text and suddenly, before you can blink, fires break out all over the Middle East. And surprise surprise, everyone from Al Qaida to Iran is egging on the raging masses.

So is this how it's going to be from now on? Something is said about the Prophet and we have to just accept that hundreds of thousands of people rioting, breaking things and burning people in effigy is a reasonable response?

Well guess what: it's not a reasonable response. That's not how we do things in the 21st century. I don't care how much it offends you or your God, I don't care if it's cartoons about Muhammad or cartoons about the Holocaust—if you want to be viewed as a "people of peace," just write a complaint letter, organize a peaceful demonstration or attempt to form a representative government.

And only when that last option is impossible in your country, it may be time to grab your torches.


Anonymous P. Pirx said...

Still, one has to appreciate the irony of people exercising violence to protest the suggestion that they may have violent inclinations.

As for "this is the 21st century", they happen to have a different vision how the 21st century should look like and, if we won't be serious enough about stopping them, this is how the 21st century may indeed end up looking like. And possibly couple more centuries to follow, as well.

Blogger Buck B. said...

Please explain how there is even the remotest chance they will succeed at this.

Because I think that China, Europe, Japan, India, Russia, Korea, Australia and, oh yeah, the entire Western Hemisphere might a bit more influence over the next century than a few dozen million radicalized Muslims.

Yes, fundamentalist Islam is a serious problem that must be dealt with. But it is simply not an existential threat to Western civilization.

Blogger Gordon the Gnome said...

Until rioting fundamentalists follow up their childish yelling and burning with any real dialogue, they will forever fail to be taken seriously by their opponents, and will continue to turn off any potential sympathizers.

A population that riots first and asks questions later behaves no better than a rotten child screaming to get its way, and should be treated as such. Let them scream—either they'll wear themselves out or they'll escalate to a point that hurts their cause, and either way, civilization wins out.

Anonymous P. Pirx said...

Optimism is nice, in reasonable doses. I think that you both underestimate the power of coherence (especially one that's anchored in deeply held beliefs) and overestimate the robustness of the current Western civilization. I'm stressing "Western" because yes, I agree (we should agree or something) that China and India are more robust, at present.

As for "few dozen million", I sincerly hope that, when we're talking about the truly radicalized, not just such that will jump at an opportunity to blow off steam in front of a foreign embassy, then the numbers are much smaller than this. After all, the Communist party had something around hundred thousand members when it took over Russia and Hitler (do I hear the "oh, not again" groans:-)) had at his disposal some few hundred thousand hard core (meaning, such as were ready and willing to do anything, including risking their lives)SA people when he took over Germany. Few dozen million would've been a really scary number, indeed. Again, do not underestimate coherence.

Blogger Len said...

Just think, even after months, these extremists still want to kill the pope during his visit to Turkey. You would think that after so much time has gone by since the pope's speech the intensity of the hate would have subsided. It's clear these people see only their extreme vision of Islam as the only way all people should think. Believe it or not their cause is gaining strength through out the region and the world. The one difference between the Hitler comparison is these people are spread through out the world, cells. The Hitler extremists were contained in Germany. I think this difference makes their smaller numbers count differently as they can spread their madness/brainwashing more efficiently.

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Jeff Goldstein is a wanker.