I’ve Never Been in a Crowd Like This, They’re Nuts

Jon Rowe

Jon Rowe is a full Professor of Business at Mercer County Community College, where he teaches business, law, and legal issues relating to politics. Of course, his views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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67 Responses

  1. Rufus F. says:

    I should note that my wife graduated from the University of Waterloo and I don’t think she ever saw anything like this there. They’re mostly science nerds- it’s often called MIT North. I think the Blackberry people came from Waterloo. So, she mostly encountered lots of Asians and one strange dorm building where unwashed guys would play role-playing games for several weeks at a time.Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    is probably unworkable.

    That’s because you got some people who want to start a war – start a nuclear war – at the gay bar.Report

  3. Jibril Barghouti says:

    I am sorry if these comments are a bit off the topic, but as a Palestinian myself I feel compulsively obligated to respond to items about the Israel-Palestine troubles.
    1. It is nice to see someone in the US support the option always considered the first choice– one state, with no official religion or ethnic group. That is what we had– a nascent state, coming out of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, where there had long been Jews, Muslims and Christians living together. Unfortunately, the European colonists who came to Palestine did not want to join us in our country– they wanted their own, and we weren’t welcome.
    A one-state solution remains the dream of most Palestinians. The two-state solution is a much less desirable, especially as it would consist of tiny bantustans with no real viability.
    2. Your capitalization of sharia makes me laugh. It suggests the same vilification of sharia (there is no one sharia law, by the way, but several schools) that is so common in the US today. I would wager it means you know nothing about sharia law, just some cartoon version someone told you existed. Or maybe you mean sharia as it is interpreted by ignorant fundamentalists–Wahabis and Salafis. But is that sharia worse than, for instance, the legal system that Christian Reconstructionists would impose, or that ultra-orthodox Jewish Israelis would impose? In any case, I would say to anyone so afraid of sharia that I find the US legal system about as sharia-compliant as any that exists on earth.
    Also, the parts of sharia that are explictly “Muslim”– like requiring marriage contracts to establish a minimum division of property in favor of the wife should therer be a divorce– only apply, under sharia, to Muslims. A Muslim country that follows sharia law, which is viewed as a human development involving several schools, all of which are equally valid, somewhat analogous to the common law, though inspired by certain principles taken from the Quran, must allow for different legal systems within different communities that are not Muslim to deal with private matters of family, marriage and the like. (The Wahabi and Salafi types don’t agree with this, but they are a distinct minority in numbers and out of the mainstream historically, though of course they have all that Saudi money now).
    Oh– and sharia does not required cutting off the hands of thieves– just as the common legal systems in the English speaking world do not require hanging thieves, though that was the punishment in the days when the common law was developing.
    3. Gay bars in Israel have much less to worry about from Palestinians (both Christian and Muslim) than they do from the same ultra-orthodox Jews.Report

    • “ignorant fundamentalists–Wahabis and Salafis” <--- This made my day.Report

    • Heidegger in reply to Jibril Barghouti says:

      A one state solution? Ha! We remember well the Palestinians joyfully dancing in the streets immediately following the 9/11 attacks. Sort of like their dance of joy as the Iraqi Scud missiles we being delivered to civilians in Israel during the first Gulf war. Of course you want a one-state solution–with the SOLE aim of the complete destruction of the Israel!
      Wow, such magnanimity. Have you blood thirsty barbarians ever once repudiated the violence and terror you have perpetuated against the Israelis and the rest of human civilization for the last two decades? The 1972 Olympics? The blown up school buses, pizza parlors, hotels, bars, restaurants….you are despicable cowards who prey on innocent, unarmed civilians. Your depravity is only exceeded by your lack of humanity.Have you no shame? You have a state–it’s called Jordan. And the sooner you can get your sorry, pathetic asses, “refugees” out of Israel, the better for humanity. Islam is a malignant scourge on the human race and since the birth of your pedophile, terrorist leader. Mohammad, you have visited on civilization nothing but endless bloodshed, violence and tears. Take your burqas and suicide vests and death worshipping chants of Allah Akbar, your honor killings of women, raped, female genital mutilation, killing by stoning, just get the hell out of our lives—you are an utterly repulsive culture and religion. WE DON’T WANT YOU!Report

      • tom van dyke in reply to Heidegger says:

        Heidegger, my man, you gotta chill, word up. There are 1.5 billion Muslims in this world, and most of them are cool. If they weren’t, the world already would have melted down. Thank God there weren’t a 1.5 billion Nazis. Now THAT would have been a problem, and we’d be typing in German right now. Where’s the umlaut on this keyboard?

        You gotta get into Islam a little, from the good side, not looking for the bad. There are well over a billion people in this world who love God deeply because of Islam. And no, they don’t want to kill you for Allah. It’s not that kind of party. They won’t drink alcohol and they pray five times a day. It’s that kind of party.

        Not my idea of a party, mind you, but I respect it, and deeply.Report

      • Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger says:

        Oh, I dunno H-Man I kinda think you nailed it! A little milde perhaps but nailed none the less.Report

        • Barrett Brown in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          He forgot the part about the Israelis who were arrested after laughing and taking pictures of the WTC as it burned, which is a shame, as this whole post could have been tweaked just a little bit and thereby become a wonderful work of anti-Semitism.Report

      • Brett in reply to Heidegger says:

        Wow, such magnanimity. Have you blood thirsty barbarians ever once repudiated the violence and terror you have perpetuated against the Israelis and the rest of human civilization for the last two decades? The 1972 Olympics?

        Have you sorry excuses for human beings ever once renounced the brutal land theft you’ve conducted in the name of your Sky Pixie for four decades? How about the ethnic cleansing involved in the birth of your precious state? Or the ongoing, non-stop discrimination against non-Jewish citizens in Israel proper?

        The blown up school buses, pizza parlors, hotels, bars, restaurants….you are despicable cowards who prey on innocent, unarmed civilians.

        And you are a despicable coward who hides behind a pseudonym, who justifies ethnic cleansing and has the audacity to feel hurt when the victims fight back in whatever way they can.

        Have you no shame? You have a state–it’s called Jordan.

        No, they have one called Palestine.

        It really gets to you, doesn’t it? The fact that they haven’t given up, haven’t been broken by Israeli barbarism in spite of forty years of abuse and terror.

        Nobody is blameless in this conflict, but your bottomless hypocrisy is suffocating.Report

        • Heidegger in reply to Brett says:

          Brett, just read your comments. I’m inclined to ask you what madrassa you attended to receive your history of this conflict. I doubt bin Laden could even one-up you on this one. The killer line though, was this: “when the victims fight back in whatever way they can.” Whatever way????? To slaughter thousands of innocent men, women, and children is the only way to affect any change? To fly jumbo jets into skyscrapers brutally murdering 3000 innocent human beings who merely went to work on that awful day. This is your defense of that atrocity–that they’re only fighting back in ‘whatever way they can???” Shame on you. I know you’re going to say, “well, that’s not the Palestinians doing that” but it comes from the same putrid, noxious swamp of Islamic fanatic jihadism. And your history dating back to the British Mandate could have been penned by Hitler—who actually DID meet with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem to lay the groundwork for the extermination of the Jewish race. Just wonderful guys.Report

        • E.C. Gach in reply to Brett says:

          Again, could you define the “they” you keep using? You invoke it as if referring to some all well defined group with a clear mission and unified ranks, each of it’s members equally bent on nefarious plots, evil deeds, and despicable atrocities.

          Clearly no such unified conspiracy exists, so I beg you to use fewer pronouns and refer to specific groups (Hamas, Al-Queda, etc.).Report

          • mark boggs in reply to E.C. Gach says:

            It’s a binary world for ol’ Heidegger.Report

            • Binary, indeed.

              The concept of Dar al-Islam is a hindrance today within the Muslim world. Even when we speak of Dar al-‘ahd the House of Treaty, which stipulates that Muslims living as a minority among unbelievers should live peacefully but without truly joining these societies , it means peaceful coexistence but it also promotes this kind of binary vision, “us and them.” It does not allow us to feel that we are part of the Western societies, that we are sharing with others our values and belonging.

              This isn’t to say the concepts of Dar al-Islam and Dar al-harb are normative, but even Tariq Ramadan—a reformer—acknowledges here this “binary vision” palpably exists in the Muslim world.


              • Mark Boggs in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Well then, I guess that makes it all OK. Two wrongs and all.Report

              • Instead of pounding Heidegger into some benighted box where he is prejudiced and what he writes is fiction, it would be more helpful to examine whatever might be true there.

                The “binariness” does not originate in the west.

                “That is exactly what I was saying about the way we are reading the text. Some Muslims are saying, “We are more Muslim when we are against the West or the Western values” — as if our parameter to assess our behavior is our distance from or opposition to the West. They are promoting this kind of binary vision of the world that comes from a very long time back in the Muslim psyche. “

                What a Muslim like Tariq Ramadan thinks is far more important than what heidegger thinks, or you or I. Ramadan certainly acknowledges this “binariness,” and it certainly does no good to slam heidegger for identifying what clearly exists.

                The interview with Tariq Ramadan is well worth reading, to attempt to understand Islam as it understands itself. As it has no central theological authority, it’s difficult to call any Islamic theology “normative.” However, he only question here is when Ramadan says “some” Muslims, whether it means a handful or hundreds of millions.

                “We have to get rid of this kind of understanding and evaluate if an act or a situation is Islamic or not, on the scale of the Islamic ethics and values per se, not against any other civilization.

                Our values are not based on “otherness.” Our values are universal. We have to come to the understanding that it’s not “us against them,” it’s us on the scale of our own values. This defines the place I live in. That is to say, my role in this world is to understand that I am a witness to the Islamic message before mankind.”

                Well, that sounds encouraging. But if Slate is wondering whether Tariq Ramadan can be some sort of Islamic Martin Luther, that would mean Ramadan isn’t normative yet either.Report

              • Mark Boggs in reply to tom van dyke says:

                My only concern is that we in the west, (Heidegger, as the example) do exactly what “they” do, i.e., look at the world in binary terms. And Heidegger is not the lone victim of such thinking.

                Or do you think our reciprocating binary thought in regards to Islam is the appropriate response?Report

              • Clearly not, Mark, if you’ve read what I wrote on this page.

                However, heidegger isn’t saying anything that Ramadan doesn’t say on p. 5 of the interview; Ramadan’s just a lot more circumspect about it. And he has to be, because, otherwise, frankly, he’d be either dead or marginalized as a reformer.

                But the “binariness” isn’t just heidegger’s or that of the Wahabis: it’s also among those for whom a Barney the Dinosaur blanket “tolerance” is the only acceptable speech.

                The irony is that these sort of enlightened, tolerant folks tend to be as hostile to the more fundamentalist Christianity as they are defenders of Islam in the abstract.

                But if Ramadan is successful, the reformed, westernized, assimilated Muslims are going to make [and are making] demands on the host societies and governments that would make a Puritan blush.

                [As Western Europe is discovering as we speak.]Report

      • AMW in reply to Heidegger says:

        Heidegger, that’s about the most repulsive display of arrogant, frothing bigotry I’ve had the misfortune of reading.

        Shame on you.Report

          • AMW in reply to Heidegger says:

            I don’t think so, given that I lived in Israel for a couple of years, and was required (by the school administration) to stop taking the public bus service to campus after two of them were blown up within a mile of the school on back-to-back weekends.

            I also lived in a Jewish town (a couple blocks from the defense minister, I later found out), but went to an international school that included a significant number of Palestinians. What I can tell you is that everybody I ran into, Jew, Muslim or Christian, were just regular folks trying to do the best they could for themselves and their families, sometimes under very difficult circumstances.

            When I read your diatribes against Muslims, and see words like “bloodthirsty barbarians,” “depravity,” and “lack of humanity,” I can’t help but see it as being of one piece with the disgusting antisemitic rhetoric that you clearly despise so much.Report

            • tom van dyke in reply to AMW says:

              Fascinating, AMW. On one hand, blown-up buses. On the other, a cosmopolitan atmosphere where everybody’s chill.

              Both are reality.

              Behind the reality, however, is that we notice many of the terrorists are quite cosmopolitan, and it’s their knowledge, not ignorance, of the West that drives their disgust.

              And there is the legitimate question of just how many of your cosmopolitan classmates would notify the Israeli authorities if they knew of a plot to bomb a bus.

              Surely, you could not answer with any confidence “all of them.”Report

              • AMW in reply to tom van dyke says:

                No, I can’t say with absolute confidence that all of them would inform the authorities. But two thoughts on that.

                First, failing to report it to the authorities could be more from self-preservation than disregard for Jewish life. In general, the lower the typical Palestinian is on the Israeli radar, the easier life is for him. Moreover, they’re living in communities that have some people who are willing to kill for their cause, and they don’t draw the line at killing Israelies.

                Second, among my Israeli friends I can’t say with absolute confidence that all of them would stand up for a Palestinian who was being harassed by police, or wrongfully evicted from his land, or refused entry through a checkpoint on capricious grounds. One striking facet of the Palestinian-Israeli question is that people tend to assume (even if only implicitly) that all of the injustice is committed by one side or the other. I assure you, that is not the reality.Report

              • Jon Rowe in reply to AMW says:

                I didn’t say much on this issue, but I have a hard time believing Israel does what they do to the Palestinians because they want to be inhuman pricks. Rather they are scared, perhaps rightfully so, if they give equal rights to Palestinians who outnumber them, they will get wiped out, kicked out, what have you.

                As I noted, liberal democracy is the solution — all citizens have equal rights. Majorities voting in a democratic sense, but minorities having individual rights that majorities can’t abridge.

                I worry more about the Palestinians accepting these tenets than the Jews. I think if the Jews were CONFIDENT the Palestinians would accept these tenets they would agree to a one state solution.

                Or maybe the competing real estate claims throw a monkey wrench. Possession is 9/10 of the law as they say. The Jews who live in those homes get to stay. If Palestinians can prove they or their parents were displaced, they should be compensated fair market value or given other real estate in that area that is comparable.Report

              • tom van dyke in reply to AMW says:

                I’m not judging the persons, AMW. We are all weak.

                However, how can a society, a state, a polity, survive when some of its citizens tolerate a “fifth column?”

                If the very real indignities and abuses you speak of ended tomorrow, “the fifth column” would endure. Their “cause” goes much deeper than the injustice on the other side, and their tactics are by intention fatal. I understand your equivalency, but it’s not an equivalency.

                In fact, the “fifth column” question is exactly what Netanyahu is addressing


                although success is unlikely, if not impossible.Report

              • AMW in reply to AMW says:


                I think very few people on either side of the conflict want to be inhuman pricks. Both sides have valid complaints against the other, and the retaliation just escalates. I’ve found Israelis and Palestinians, as groups, to both have long memories and short tempers.

                As for who accepts the tenets of liberal democracy more readily, I agree that it’s the Israelis, at least for their own in-group. The sad fact is that Arab states, by and large, tend to be very autocratic. Unfortunately, I fear the same would/will be true for an independent Palestine. So I agree with you that a one-state solution would probably be the best. I’ll go one better and say I suspect that the common Palestinian would do best under a regime in which Israelis held the majority of seats in the Knesset, and thus called most of the policy shots, but Palestinians had enough seats to ensure their own status as fully respected citizens.

                I doubt we can get there from here, though. More’s the pity.Report

              • AMW in reply to AMW says:


                There would also be a sixth column: Israeli settlers who want to push all Palestinians off their land.Report

              • tom van dyke in reply to AMW says:

                True, AMW, about Israel’s “sixth column,” the [ultra-]orthodox. But they are “marginilizable.”

                I recall Ehud Barak [or one of the Labor guys] admitting that Israel has always seen the settlements on the West Bank outside the 1967 borders as a bargaining chip vs. the Palestinian right of return and the reopening of claims to land inside the 1967 borders, which of course would swamp the “Jewish state” demographically.

                Compensation for those lands. And not-bad apartment houses-settlements-farms, much better than the squalor the Palestinians “choose” to live in now in their proud rejectionism and resistance that the “cause” obliges of them now.

                This deal has always been on offer, and both sides know it, the West Bank settlements for land inside the 1967 borders. Israel has already proved their willingness, forcibly evacuating the settlements and hard-core settlers in abandoning Gaza, already proven that it’s willing to discipline its own people—by force if necessary—for a political arrangement.

                The dynamic is, in the Middle Eastern world, that I cannot discipline your brother, I can only discipline my own. That is the stuff of agreement between tribes, and that’s the level the Middle East operates on.

                For their trouble and display of their willingness to discipline their own people, the Israelis got increased “military” resistance from Hamas in Gaza, a steady rain of rockets.

                That’s just fact, AMW. And thank you for this polite discussion. I have no horse in this race, just an interested observer. [Who isn’t?]

                Every nation that wants peace—a deal—with Israel gets peace. Done. Even an idiot like Jimmy Carter can get it done if there’s an Anwar Sadat on the other side. [RIP, Sadat. And Rabin, too. But there are plenty more like Rabin. Sadat was one-in-a-billion.]

                Egypt, Jordan. Syria. Lebanon, when Syria [or Iran] doesn’t want to use Hizbollah and other useful idiots as proxies and/or cannon fodder. The Golan Heights is about the size of Bill Gates’ back yard. [Or if that be hyperbolic, I’ll take a bet without looking that Ted Turner controls more ranchland.]

                This is not about a just agreement, a compromise, a “deal.” It’s about “the cause.” You yourself have acknowledged this, infra. You lived there. The settlements are entirely negotiable, no matter what the religious minority says about “Greater Judea” or whatever they biblically call it.

                For the lion’s share of Jews in Israel, “the cause” remains simply the survival of the Jewish people, a worldly and “secular” Zionism, “Greater Judea” and the orthodox be hanged. If the rights and well-being of the “Palestinian people” were equally worldly- and secular-minded, the orthodox [or radical] likewise be hanged, like Egypt and Jordan, they would already have peace and well-being, as much as they are capable of it.Report

              • AMW in reply to AMW says:

                Tom, I don’t think the Palestinian question is analogous to Israel’s relations with Jordan and Egypt. Those are sovereign nations with militaries. Admittedly, Israel could wipe the floor with them militarily, but they would have no power to occupy them for any prolonged period of time. So there’s a rough symmetry in power there that doesn’t exist between the Israelis and Palestinians.

                Think of it this way: the U.S. government eventually made peace with England, Canada, Spain et al. through good faith negotiation and keeping its treaties. It took a very different tack with the Indians.Report

              • AMW in reply to tom van dyke says:

                Oh, and I wouldn’t call it “a cosmopolitan atmosphere where everybody’s chill.” Not in the least. Everybody was more or less chill with me, not with each other. As an American Christian, I could mingle with both sides pretty freely.Report

    • Mr. Barghouti, I for one appreciate your reply.

      Before there will ever be a one-state solution in Palestine/Israel/the West Bank/Sinai/Golan Heights, whathaveyou—this dynamic will and must be played out first in the Netherlands, Malaysia, and probably most importantly, Turkey.

      At this very moment, Kemalism is under its greatest test. And Kemalism is not only a Western-style secularism, not only a European-style secularism, it is a particularly French-style reactionary secularism, laïcité, where even the slightest outward expression of religious observance [a crucifix, a head scarf] is an offense against the polity, against the secular state.

      I do not expect Kemalism to survive another generation in Turkey.

      Nor do I think it’s desirable or even natural for a people to be required by the state to ignore not only their religious beliefs, but their religious sensibilities as well. The head scarf is only an outward signification.

      As a westerner, and especially as an American, I don’t want a trace of shari’a in our polity, except where it agrees with our already-existing values and polity.

      On the other hand, I don’t expect a 98% Muslim country like Turkey to live like it should be ignored, and I don’t think they will put up with it being ignored forever. I do not think Kemalism can sustain. It’s a false skin.

      In the meantime, the Jews, the Hebrews, the Israelites can wait. They waited almost 2000 years to return to their neck of the woods. The Romans, the Destruction of the Temple, the Diaspora. Islam didn’t even show up until 1400 years ago. It’s not even on their historical-theological map.

      Yes, I think a Jerusalem and the surrounding real estate shared by all faiths Abrahamic would be heaven on earth, theologically speaking. But not one of the Abrahamic faiths promises that, if you scope through each of their scriptures.

      Me, I’m wondering about Turkey just about now in 2010, Kemalism not even made 100 years yet, a blink of an eye in human history. Baby steps first.Report

    • lukas in reply to Jibril Barghouti says:

      Doesn’t Israel apply shari’a family law to its Muslims?Report

      • theotherjimmyolson in reply to lukas says:

        This was very helpful to me. It sounds as though you are describing what happened in Iran. I certainly don’t know enough about Turkey to guess which way it might go. I too am very concerned about France and it’s reactionary response to Islam. this will not end well.Report

  4. E.C. Gach says:

    I mean, what standing does the past ever really have?

    Is there some metaphysical score card sitting out there racking up atrocities? Historical context might give important clues as to where both sides are coming from, their perspectives, goals, etc. but it does little help propose a fair, neutral, or just outcome.

    There has to be some limit to the time frame used to judge the morality of actions or events. I’m not sure exactly what a good time frame is, but a generational one is most likely not a good one.Report

    • Simon K in reply to E.C. Gach says:

      Speaking as an Ulsterman – These conflicts do indeed generate a metaphysical scorecard in the minds of the participants. It really is true for them that correcting the events of hundreds of years ago is more important than the present. Overcoming that is the highest hurdle.Report

    • Brett in reply to E.C. Gach says:

      There has to be some limit to the time frame used to judge the morality of actions or events.

      Ideally, retribution, revenge, and revanchism would die out when the victims and victimizers are both dead. Carrying that even longer is pressing the burden of a crime on people who played no part in its creation. The focus should then shift towards improving human welfare and preventing the commission of further wrongs.

      But of course, that won’t happen. Inter-generational trauma is just too tempting of a motivating force – entire nations build their “imagined community” around it.Report

  5. Koz says:

    And, I’m wondering why we’re supposed to applaud or admire Finkelstein here. Maybe there’s something missing, the video is borderline unwatchable for me. The best you can say for him is that he was provoked and justified in his rhetorical anger.Report

    • Rufus F. in reply to Koz says:

      Yeah, I kind of felt like he was just talking her down in a sort of self-righteous way. I guess the point is that he didn’t back down from the girl, which I probably would have done- and admittedly it’s probably not the right way to handle that argument- but I don’t know that his anger really illuminated much either.Report

      • Jon Rowe in reply to Rufus F. says:

        I didn’t get so detailed but it’s about not getting flustered when someone bullies you.

        Btw, I had a third post on dealing with emotional pressure during debate situations like this — not sure if I am going to post it because it may seem too weird for this blog. Plus I think the YouTube video was pulled.

        But it deals with a philosophy, that Ive thought about for a long time but that I’m newly pushing, based on very old mainly Eastern ideas.

        Yeah, you can get angry and use that to beat people up. But there is a better and stronger way to win these battles and that’s standing up to people without feeling anger as an emotion. You will outlast them and will almost certainly NOT overreact and end up doing something unfair to someone who picks a fight with you.

        “He started it” doesn’t justify your overreaction. The first two punches when you hit someone back may be righteous, but that doesn’t necessarily mean punches 3-10 that put someone in the hospital are.Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to Jon Rowe says:

          In my short time here, I’ve discovered that very little is too esoteric or strange to be considered ‘League-worthy’. And certainly not things dealing with philosophy, eastern or western. I’d post it.Report

        • Koz in reply to Jon Rowe says:

          “I didn’t get so detailed but it’s about not getting flustered when someone bullies you.”

          F’in lame. If a professional anti-Israel campus agitator lets himself be bullied by a 19 year old girl, he should switch careers to insurance sales. Btw, your other video sounds much more interesting.Report

          • Jon Rowe in reply to Koz says:

            I think you’d be surprised by how many folks balk when someone starts crying during a confrontation.

            I might not be able to post the other video because I think it’s pulled on YouTube. Perhaps I’ll find something else to substitute.Report

    • E.C. Gach in reply to Koz says:

      I think the speaker and audience reactions were definitely only tangential to the real argument. I agree with Rufus that if not worthy of applause (though I couldn’t help but admire his resolve) it is refreshing to see appeals to emotion like that stone walled or at least not appeased.

      Clearly the debate or discussion had been derailed, with Finkelstein trying to yell over his boo-ers, others in the audience cheering, the girl crying, that other guy yelling something or other.

      “Appeal to the Holocaust,” along with “Appeal to Nazis,” and “Appeal to Marxists” should be added to some list of fallacious enthymatic arguments that only work to silence opposition rather than meeting it outright with legitimate counter arguments.Report

      • James K in reply to E.C. Gach says:

        The collective term for such arguments is Poisoning the Well. Regardless of the particulars it is a technique based on discrediting someone’s arguments by declaring the person morally invalid. It’s a specialised form of ad hominem.Report

  6. Heidegger says:

    Yo Tom, damn, sorry– I have a tendency to wig out when this subject comes up. I don’t seem to remember a single Hollywood liberal express a word of outrage at the slaying of Theo van Gogh after he was gunned down (shot eight times in the back) in the streets of Amsterdam. And the utterly sick, vile, cowardly bastard who did it wasn’t content with that and attempted to behead him as well. Oh, and he also left a note stabbed into his back which, okay, big surprise, blamed the Americans and Jews for all the problems in the world! Where’s the outrage? Woman being stoned to death because of being raped by in-laws? Hey, even playing the music of Beethoven is illegal. A culture that hates women, dogs, and Beethoven just can’t vanish from this earth fast enough. Thankfully, they lack the intelligence to produce nuclear weapons. And defeat Israel in war. And their basket case countries are so mired in misery and 1400 year-old scores to settle that for the foreseeable future, they’ll just continue to be a royal pain in the ass for any and all civilized countries. Not encouraging, but certainly could be a lot worse. Forgot to mention—they execute homosexuals. Wait, didn’t abba dabba ding dong, president of Iran, say there were NO homosexuals in that country?Report

    • theotherjimmyolson in reply to Heidegger says:

      I read your comment about not remembering any Hollywood liberals expressing outrage at the killing of Theo Van Gogh. I also don’t remember that either. Perhaps that is because I wasn’t looking for Hollywood liberals or anyone else to express outrage. But you got me curious, so I scoured the internet to see if I could prove your assertion. Turns out I could not find a single reference to a Hollywood liberal condemning the killing. I did however find at least a half dozen separate references stating ,as you did, that liberal Hollywood was silent on the killing. Every one of those websites where what I would call perveyors of manufactured outrage at all things liberal. That is their full time job, manufacturing outrage as wholely owned subsidiaries of the right wing Wurlitzer. If I read those blogs on a daily basis, I too might come away wondering why no outrage from “liberal” Hollywood.Report

      • Heidegger in reply to theotherjimmyolson says:

        Hi Jimmy—loved your comments! Not to be forgotten, Theo van Gogh was a film DIRECTOR, which, if it means anything, should have at least garnered some support. Did not happen. Compare that with the the bended knee response to the exiled rapist, Polanski. He drugged and anally raped a 14-year girl, and the left nutzos came passionately to his defense—“Americans are so uptight about sex–this kind thing happens all the time in Europe”. Well, great—just keep it in Europe. And while you’re at it, keep yourselves in Europe.
        See ya.Report

  7. tom van dyke says:

    So don’t wig out, Heidegger. Look for the best of it and encourage it. What, do you want to declare war on a fifth of humanity?

    I share your skepticism, and disappointment at Islam’s record so far, especially recently. They had a few good moments, the Golden Age of Islam, Moorish Spain. Too long ago for comfort. And don’t think the Muslim world doesn’t know it too. They see what you see.

    But I don’t doubt for a second that a billion Muslims love God the same way you or anybody else loves God. Loving God goes beyond religion itself. Look up Acts 17 and let’s don’t be a dick about it.Report

    • Brett in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Religion is part of the problem. It makes compromise unthinkable and trauma omnipresent and eternal.

      Without religion, the European Jews who founded Israel would have had no basis for a ridiculous, long-dead land claim. Without religion, the people who currently become Islamic suicide bombers would not have the promise of Sexy Paradise to bait them into blowing themselves up. Without religion, American evangelicals would not be supporting the Israelis out of a ridiculous belief that it will bring out the glorious return of some long-dead Jewish mystic.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to Brett says:

        I’m sure not going to argue that religion isn’t part of the problem here, but certainly I don’t think solutions are going to come about only when all of the monotheisms die out- and that’s sure not going to happen in our lifetime, if ever. So, necessarily, the peoples of those faiths are going to have to find and emphasize the doctrines of their own beliefs that also see these things as monstrous- probably ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’ being a good place to start. And those of us in the secular world are going to have to keep asking the peoples of all faiths, “you see your religion as beautiful and life-affirming. How would your God feel about the sorts of attrocities that are committed in his name?” I mean, I don’t say this out of some misplaced need to seem tolerant- it’s just more likely to work than throwing up our hands and saying that, as a rule, “religion makes compromise unthinkable” because certainly there are religious people who have found ways to grow up and compromise with their ancient enemies in many other parts of the world, and it doesn’t seem that religious belief is vanishing from our world anyway.Report

      • Heidegger in reply to Brett says:

        “Without religion, the European Jews who founded Israel would have had no basis for a ridiculous, long-dead land claim.” No, you damn jackass—having 1 out every 3 Jews on this planet murdered during the years, 1933-1945 gives them a damn good basis for a “ridiculous, long-dead land claim.” After suffering the most brutal, inhumane atrocities in the history of the human race, you still want to deny them the right to their own sovereign state, that tiny strip of land that just so happens to be the only middle eastern country to give Arab Muslims constitutional rights—yes, that’s right–they enjoy more freedoms and liberties as a citizen of Israel than any of the surrounding corrupt Arab countries that will forever long for pushing all Jews into the sea. Funny, when Jews want to live on “Arab” lands, it’s called, “settlements”—when Arabs want to live in Israel, it’s called…becoming a citizen with all due rights citizenship provides.

        This long dead Jewish mystic just so happens to have 2.7 billion followers. You must just love Serrano’s, “Piss Christ” work of “art”.Report

        • E.C. Gach in reply to Heidegger says:

          “…having 1 out every 3 Jews on this planet murdered during the years, 1933-1945 gives them a damn good basis for a ‘ridiculous, long-dead land claim.'”

          That’s the whole point H. It gives no basis. It was an expedient answer at the time, but not one grounded in any kind of metaphysically moral framework.

          Locking someone up in jail is not the necessary response to them committing a crime, it’s one based on effectiveness of trying to prevent further trespasses.

          Similarly, the formation of Israel as a Jewish state is not a necessary or even predictable response to the Holocaust. It may have seemed like an effective policy at the time, it may or may not be today, but it surely doesn’t follow as a necessary response to the atrocity that occurred.

          What is also holding you back on this, is your desire to talk of “Jews” as some group of people metaphysically linked so that whatever happens to one is shared by and characterized by the group. You were doing this earlier with Arab Muslims, lumping them all together as a “they” that is unified in thought, sentiment, and action. It’s an oversimplification that makes your thesis seem poorly thought out.Report

          • tom van dyke in reply to E.C. Gach says:

            Zionism was, for the majority, a secular movement, for the safety of the Jewish people, not the religion.


            • Heidegger in reply to tom van dyke says:

              Tom, E.C. Gach, Brett, AMW, Mark, Rufus, thanks for the great, thoughtful, intelligent replies. You’ve given me much to think about. Unfortunately, I’m pressed for time now and won’t be able to respond till later. I promise I’ll try to tone down the heated rhetoric–I understand this is a very, very, complex problem, but there really good guys and bad guys in this conflict. And, in any case, my far too large brush strokes are not helpful to this discussion. So with that, Shalom….Salamu!

              (I should probably try the Jon approach when these things erupt!)

              p.s. For the record, I live in Metro-Detroit, home to the largest Arab population in the US. I have never had anything but friendly, cordial, polite relations with any of my fellow neighbors/citizens. They could not be more hard-working, decent human beings. I can only imagine the terrible hurt and shame they must feel when these fringe wackos commit these dastardly acts in the name of Allah. It’s quite sickening.Report

  8. E.C. Gach says:

    Heidegger, everything you presented is correct no doubt, but extrapolating from those data points and generalizing to everyone, well, that’s not very prudent.

    I’m sure “they” are a terrible bunch, as “they” almost always are. Wait, who is the “they” again?Report

  9. Heidegger says:

    What is with this “they” obsession? I am not using the third person personal pronoun. I’m using the second person personal pronoun. As if you don’t know who the you/they I am referring to–it’s called, radical, Islamist, fanatics who, by the way, would love to sever your head from your body as much as any other “non-believers”. But, since you’re do seem to be concerned with specifics, here’s a few:
    Armed Islamic Group (GIA);
    The Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC)
    Al-Jihad a.k.a. Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Jihad Group, Islamic Jihad
    Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group, IG)
    Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK or MKO) a.k.a. The National Liberation Army of Iran (NLA, the militant wing of the MEK), the People’s Mujahidin of Iran (PMOI), National Council of Resistance (NCR), Muslim Iranian Student’s Society (front organization used to garner financial support).
    Kach and Kahane Chai
    Asbat al-Ansar (The Partisans’ League)
    Hezbollah (Party of God) a.k.a. Islamic Jihad, Revolutionary Justice Organization, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine
    Al-Aqsa Martyrs BrigadeReport

    • E.C. Gach in reply to Heidegger says:

      Perfect, so after excluding the Arabs and Muslims not involved with one of those groups, a very large number obviously, we can maybe lend some clarity to your bold generalizations about entire populations of various countries.Report

  10. Heidegger says:

    And I’m just sure these practitioners of the religion of peace, would love to sit down with you for a nice cup of tea and crumpets.Report