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1.05.2006

I've seen this before...

Some people think a liberal democracy is hopeless in Iraq. Some say the cause is a culture that is simply uninterested in such niceties. If this is true, our problems are much bigger than Iraq. From the article linked before:
Since the president unveiled the so-called Bush Doctrine--the plan to promote liberty throughout the Arab world--innumerable "progressives" have routinely asserted that there's no evidence Muslims want liberty and, indeed, that Islam is incompatible with democracy. If that's true, it's a problem not for the Middle East today but for Europe the day after tomorrow. According to a poll taken in 2004, over 60% of British Muslims want to live under Shariah--in the United Kingdom. If a population "at odds with the modern world" is the fastest-breeding group on the planet--if there are more Muslim nations, more fundamentalist Muslims within those nations, more and more Muslims within non-Muslim nations, and more and more Muslims represented in more and more transnational institutions--how safe a bet is the survival of the "modern world"?
Good thing I don't think Muslims/Arabs as an aggregate are so incongruous with modernity. I can't imagine the level of hopelessness of those who think Iraq will fail and the West will be destroyed by a mass of people that can't be changed. FuturePundit is a good example of one such person.

It is only the extremists that we need to worry about. We're killing them ASAP in the GWOT.

(heh... say that last line to the tune of killing me softly, with gwot pronounced “gee-what”)

8 Comments:

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

This article is an amazing combinaion of stupid and offensive, and I'm glad to see that you disagree with some of the racist assertions it makes.

Your selection says that straw man liberals think Muslims are barbarians incapable of civilized behavior. Speaking as a fairly liberal person, Mark Steyn should say who he's talking about, or else go fuck himself.

Then it says that the straw men liberals are right and Muslims really are crap people who are going to have crap kids and destroy civilization. I'm happy to hear you don't think so.

If you want to have a discussion about your foriegn policy opinions, posting lunatic screeds with which you disagree is a major distraction.

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

I think you have it backwards Miguel, as far as the point of the article. He is complaining about liberals who are accepting with open arms masses of people who are most illiberal. Then he says they are wrong, and we should be worried about the collapse of our civilisation.

The thing is, he's correct about the demographics. That is just a matter of fact.

"The West" is getting smaller, and the Islamic world is getting bigger.

I don't think there is anything inherent about Muslims that goes against liberalism, but that doesn't change the fact that the majority of countries in the world are dictatorships.

Let me explain the problem with an analogy: let's say that the USSR wasn't actively attacking the US, and immigration was common. Let's also say that their population was booming, and the US's & western europe's population was not. Finally, assume that the people moving from the USSR to America en mass really liked communist politics. That would be bad for liberal democracies.

It could make the majority of people want something which would be most undemocratic in the long term.

That is something to worry about. If our adventure in Iraq fails, and if democracy also fails to spread in the ME, the mass of people there will, like the majority of Brittish muslims today (according to survey) want a system of government which is very bad.


So let me sum things up:
1) governments in the ME suck, and many nurture more fanatic elements of Islam.
2) the US is trying to change this as part of the WOT
3) The same people who bark the most about tolerance, want to do nothing about the growth of intolerant ideas in immigrant populations coming from these shitty governments. That is idiotic.

 
At 12:01 AM, Blogger Miguel said...

I think your anology is (unintentionally and ironically) somewhat antisemetic... I don't mean that as flamebait, I just think that Russian immigrants tend to be more liberal and Jewish than you (& it's not a big problem for the USA).

Also, I think your argument about western civilization getting smaller was applied to the brutes emigrating from Ireland and Italy a hundred years ago. I think it would be odd if a reviled minority like Muslims in England didn't have outrageous revolutionary political beliefs. Eventually, though, self-interest will compel more of them to join mainstream society.

I'm sure you don't think that markets and liberalism are only attractive to whites...

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Ivan said...

Woah, my analogy was for a hypothetical world where people immigrated from the USSR freely, not one of escaping immigrants.

By the way, you've just referenced one reason some people are against some immigration. It is certainly "racist", if racist means that different races are different. It has been repeatedly verified that certain branches of Jews have higher IQs. Similar for certain Asian groups. I've mentioned before how well prosperity correlates with IQ. Note that variance within groups is higher than between groups, so these numbers don't tell you much of anything about individuals.

So, if anything, mass Jewish immigration from Russia turning out OK is a compliment.

"I think your argument about western civilization getting smaller was applied to the brutes emigrating from Ireland and Italy a hundred years ago."

Immigration from these countries was greatly curtailed. That those communities have been successful for the most part since then does not imply differing cultures resulted in harmony. Todays results are a product of limited immigration more than free immigration. I'm much more concerned about 1) violence 2) socialism, so the whole culture issue isn't as important.


"Eventually, though, self-interest will compel more of them to join mainstream society."

Err, not necessarily. If fanatics think they are a growing group, why change? Perhaps you would like to go to certain suburbs of Paris or Sydney to see first hand how well this process of self-correction is going.


"I'm sure you don't think that markets and liberalism are only attractive to whites..."

Nor do I think that religious fanaticism or self-interested propogation of socialism is limited to whites. That's the problem.

 
At 4:39 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

In that case I take back my 1st comment. I'm dissapointed that you agree with Mark Steyn's dimly reasoned and offensive article, and saddened that you think that Muslim ghettos in Europe and Australia are the result of inferior breeding.

Also I deeply regret that logic like yours (which is, as they say, hard to argue with) is represented in American government. The thrust of this article is that for the sake of world history, whites need to breed or kill more, if not both.

Just to put it out there again, fanaticism, terrorism, and violence are signs of impotence, not power and success. If you ever had a good chance to believe in the power self-interest, believing that it applies to Muslims too is it.

 
At 3:02 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

You should re-read my last comment Miguel. I was merely presenting what some people believe: that group genetic differences are large. I think they exist, but are probably trumped by outside forces where they exist.

But do you think evolution stopped, or that nothing that has changed among different groups can possibly affect intelligence?

Do you think Ethiopians make good marathon runners? I do. That doesn't mean your average Joe Ethiopian on the street will be a good marathon runner. That's my whole point with variance. Statistics matter.

How about a more famous example: men have higher variance in mathematical ability than women. That has been tested again and again.

Is it surprise then that the "long tails" in the distribution of mathematical ability of men produce more genius mathematicians and hence more math professors? No. Does this mean women can't be mathematicians? No.

Does it mean that are more male mathematical ignoramuses? YES! Are you getting the idea of variance wrt genetic differences now?


As for Muslims particularly, I think they have plenty of things going against them, both in their culture and outside institutions. The commonality of marriage to first and second cousins makes people less intelligent, but more importantly less likely to be exposed to outside ideas, making tribalism and fanaticism more common.

The strong punishments received from community leaders for diverging from social norms is very bad.

The patronizing European elites simultaneously exclude Muslims and openly declare them to be victims, increasing desperation and fanaticism. This is also what effectively happens in many ME nations: the government's blame the other guy, making the people pissed, and suppress open markets, making the people poor.

Poor, pissed off, very religious, suppressed people. Millions of them.

Opening society through elimination of socialism and smashing dictatorships in the ME would solve this problem.

Increasing social welfare programs, decreasing freedom to create a business, and saying nothing but "we tolerate your different ways!" to bigots, misogynists, and homophobes, will destroy your society.

The US is better at this than Europe, and it shows.

So you can talk about “self-interest” all you want. You can ride that pony all the way to Ivanistan, because Europe is not free enough to trust self interest. Europe particularly is going to be fucked by an overly tolerant, enterprise killing government.

The solution isn’t to breed more or kill them. The solution is to kill evil people in their society and ensure that they are more successful economically and socially. Europe is moving in the exact opposite direction.

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

As I said earlier, inflammatory comments like "Islam is AIDS" make it near-impossible to discuss things; hence my amazement that you reposted this article. I'm serious about this: as a principle, if you want to talk genetics and racial differences, underneath a racist article by mark Steyn simply isn't the place - whether you hedge and say "some other people happen to think Muslims stopped evolving" or not.

You already know I think your attitude toward smashing dictatorships is wrong; we don't really need to go into it again - I freely admit that I'm unlikely to convince you.

However, I'll just take this moment to boast that I have more faith in markets than you! Bigotry, misogyny, and even homophobia are expensive. They'll ultimately be discarded as policy in favor of more efficient alternatives.

One last thing
"Muslims particularly, I think they have plenty of things going against them."
I hereby decree that you are disallowed from calling Europeans, elites, or any combination of the two patronizing for the rest of 2006. Sorry.

 
At 4:07 PM, Blogger Ivan said...

"
"Muslims particularly, I think they have plenty of things going against them."
I hereby decree that you are disallowed from calling Europeans, elites, or any combination of the two patronizing for the rest of 2006. Sorry.
"

Right. Sorry. I forgot everything is peachy. I'll refrain from mentioning the obvious in fear of being labeled patronizing. How exactly does my comment differ from: "fanaticism, terrorism, and violence are signs of impotence, not power and success." ?


I'm not sure why you're getting your panties in a bunch about the article behind the post. You simply have not commented on a number of assertions either make because, to paraphrase, "they're dumb."

I will admit that it is sometimes confusing to have seperate ideas floating around a single post. I'll try to simplify things for those multitask-impaired.



"Bigotry, misogyny, and even homophobia are expensive. They'll ultimately be discarded as policy in favor of more efficient alternatives."

I agree with you that these failing social graces are eventually eliminated, but only when there are few forces which prevent it. You think their culture will solve itself, but I'm saying it's being prevented by things like backward economies and over-tolerance of bad worldviews.

 

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