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David

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  • Islamic Law not a problem in Bush's Afghanistan & Iraq, but a Problem in Libya?
    • I'm not sure what you mean by 'ironic' -- probably nothing to do with irony -- but the question is moot as the premise is totally false. As Dr. Cole pointed out in his blog post, Qaddafi's Libya was far from secular, proclaiming the Qur'an and Sharia as the source of Islamic law. And although Dr. Cole didn't mention it, the 1970 Constitution of Iraq -- the one in force throughout Saddam Hussein's régime -- also proclaims Iraq to be an Islamic state. As a symbol of this, in 1991 Saddam Hussein added the words "Allahu Akbar" to the Iraqi flag -- where they still remain under the new régime, the only change being the style of the calligraphy. These are hardly the actions of a 'secularist'.

  • Top Ten Myths about the Libya War
    • When events like the Libyan revolution take place, we often discover that there are those among the intelligentsia -- left, right, or center -- who have an ill-concealed passion for dictatorship and for the 'order' (i.e., unrelieved oppression) that dictators stand for. When faced with the prospect of a dictator losing power, all they can consider are scenarios of doom arising therefrom.

      While certainly the overthrow of a dictator *can* go awry, there is nothing intrinsic in the overthrow itself that will lead to worse consequences. If things do go wrong, it is usually due to the leading presence of a powerful, ruthless, anti-democratic faction -- like the Bolsheviks in Russia or the theocrats in Iran. That does not mean that if we could rewrite history we should prefer that the Czar or the Shah should remain in power.

      But in any case there doesn't seem to be any ideology behind the so-called 'rebels', just a passionate detestation of the Qadhdhafi régime. We won't know how Libya will develop for years, as it will take a while for people to even start *thinking* about the political questions which have been suppressed by the Qadhdhafis, let alone to form factions which will move the country one way or another. But it is for the Libyans to take the initiative in establishing a normal political evolution, not for outsiders to dictate to the Libyans the form and content of their government. The Libyans have had enough of dictating for a good long while.

  • Al-Tamimi: The Norway Attacks and the Paranoid Mindset
    • The forces on the far right, who espose an ideology (hatred of foreigners, hatred of immigrants, hatred of Islam and other non-Christian religions) essentially identical to that of the terrorist Breivik, now attempt to defend themselves, and their ideology by claiming that Breivik is a "lone wolf", an isolated crazy man who has nothing to do with them.

      And I agree with this part of that claim: the terrorist Breivik is indeed insane. I think everyone can agree with that. But what kind of mental illness does he suffer from? It's not dementia or schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or any other common mental illness. Take away his ideological preoccupations, and Breivik appears like a normal, indeed a quite boring human being. Everything that he did that was insane had some kind of ideological motive; indeed, if you grant his ideological premises -- which, preposterous and monstrous though they are, are shared by at least hundreds of thousands of people and are propagated daily by media organs that reach tens of millions -- his actions are at worst unwise, but otherwise logical and justifiable.

      In other words, the terrorist Breivik is insane -- but the insanity is the ideology. His mental illness consists of a paranoid belief system built on a systematic set of lies about the meaning of multiculturalism, the role of immigrants, and the nature of non-Christian religions. Those lies were the foundation of Breivik's terrorism, but he did not invent them.

      Anders Breivik is insane. There is no disputing that. But he shares his ideological insanity with hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people just as insane as he. What I'd like to know is: is there a cure?

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