October 5, 2012

VDH: The Neurotic Middle East

If you've not noticed, I'm a fan of Victor Davis Hanson. Add him to your reading list. His latest article for NRO is a must read. [Thanks to my dear friend HR for forwarding!] As I've written previously, much of the Middle East's problems lie in the philosophical underpinnings of the fundamentalist form of Islam many of its people embrace (note that other countries with large Muslim populations, such as Indonesia, somehow still embrace modernity) and the cultural framework that not only tolerates the behavior we are observing but encourages it. Our foreign policy must account for this or else we'll continue to suffer the consequences. At the very least we need to regain a sense of who we are as a country, what we stand for, and why our approach to individual freedom, liberty, and Western-liberal democratic political principles is superior to other systems...and make no apology for it. 

Selected excerpts:
"[The] world tacitly gives exemptions to the Middle East - and expects very little in return. It assumes that the rules that apply elsewhere of civility, tolerance, and nonviolence are inoperative there - and perhaps have reason to so be.

"The world also assumes a sort of Middle Eastern parasitism: Daily its millions use mobile phones, take antibiotics, hit the Internet, fire RPGs, and play video games, and yet they not only do not create these products that they rely upon, but largely have antipathy for those who do.

"Asymmetry is, of course, assumed. One expects to be detained for having a Bible in one’s baggage at Riyadh, whereas a Koran in a tote bag is of no importance at the Toronto airport. The Egyptian immigrant in San Francisco, or the Pakistani who moves to London, expects to be allowed to demonstrate against the freewheeling protocols of his hosts, while a Westerner protesting against life under sharia in the streets of Karachi or Gaza would earn a death sentence. What is nauseating about this is not the hypocrisy per se, but the Middle Eastern insistence that there is no such hypocrisy. We expect the immigrant from Egypt to deface public posters and call it freedom of expression; we expect Mr. Morsi, who enjoyed American freedom while he studied for his Ph.D. and then taught for three years in California, to deny it to others and trash his former host.

"So how do we make sense out of this abject nonsense? Superficially, it occurs because the world is cowardly, and we accept that terrorism is far more likely to emanate from the Middle East than elsewhere. Principles or tastes do not explain why movies mock Christ and not Mohammed. Fear does, and all sorts of empty pontifications must dress up the necessary compensatory selectivity."

Read the article for VDH's prescription for how to deal with this "delusional neurotic"!

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