« We have Nuland. Why do we need Obama? | Main | The fruits of the Arab Spring »

15 September 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


"a right to yell fire in a crowded theater"

Certain buildings seem to be just a spark away from catching fire and killing people. Perhaps they should be outlawed, at least in our countries.

Paul Escobar

Mr. Lang,

Perhaps you were implying our posts were similar?

If that is the case, I'd like to make clear I respect what you are saying about understanding culture & religion. Sometimes I post my simplistic thoughts here hoping to be challenged & corrected. I know it is a poor substitution for the sort of study you have suggested.

But, in Jose's case, I'm not sure his post is a challenge to what you have spoken of.

He is just expressing a similar resentment as Tyler & Arun have done above. They all perceive a double-standard (Tyler with Christians, Arun with Hindus...and Jose with socialists).

They demand uniform standards, so Hank & TTG's calls to common sense restraint only irritate them.



You rightly stress that any effective leadership during periods of social disorder (whatever their goals) has to be indigenous. They may have a secular education but it is essential that they be rooted in their own cultural soil. The best example is of the Japanese samurai and aristocracy after the Meiji Restoration who transformed the society while leaving its roots intact.

Of course, it is easier to achieve this in some cultures than in others.

Robert C

#4. Atheism is on the rise in the west.


Babak Makkinejad

Yes Arun, you are correct in that the Principle of Freedom of Expression could protect everyone and without it fear of retribution will stifle, eventually, free inquiry.

No doubt this is relative and different countries are different.

But where does freedom of expression end and freedom of provocation begin?

I mean, I can go into a Hindu Temple in Benares and take pieces of blood-dripping beef with me as an exercise in free-speech, no?

I suppose Hindus could retaliate by taking the flesh of swine into a Mosque.

We could then all agree on how to conduct our mutual acts of provocation.

Next, over time, we would all undoubtedly become quite accustomed to this or that balse act of provocation and move on to the next one.

This problem, in other words, is insoluable.

Babak Makkinejad

It was too early; poeple were too emotional at that time.

Babak Makkinejad

Japan is in what Arab-Muslim historians called "The Age of Darkness" - the period of time devoid of Prophetic Light.

It was never a religious polity; it is a racialist polity based on blood and language the enrtry to which is impossible for foreigners.

They had excellent leadership during Meji Restoration period and unquestionable loyalty of the Japanese lower classes to the edicts of their superiors.

For compared to Japanese conformism, Chinese are outright individualists.

None of these obtains for Muslim people; they have assimilated the ethos of individual responsibility (to God) and individual autonomy (from God).

Thailand started on the path of modernization about the same time that Japan did - a few decades earlier than Iran or Turkey.

Yet they are yet to be a stable constitutional democracy and they are certainly not Westernized.

And they took great offense at the words of Pope Jean-Paul II in his book "Standing on threshold of Hope" where he confirmed the Christian message against that of Buddhism.

The Western states are not fighting among Buddhists; else I would expect the same reaction to analogous provocations.

Babak Makkinejad

One must understand that these societies are all predicated on the Quran; without that they cannot exist.

Clifford Kiracofe

Thanks to all for kind remarks.

Yes pl political science/ir is a mess and quantitative methodology is creeping into history. I don't teach IR or poly sci these days. Glad I am semi-retired and just teach a few classes of world history and US diplomatic history, though not for much longer.

Yes, the do-gooders... Woody Wilson and his votaries. Best book on Woody is "Woodrow Wilson: Disciple of Revolution" (1938) by Col. Jennings Wise, a VMI man.
Online at:


On topic, the little band behind the film is getting more exposure and analysis. It turns out that an organization called Media For Christ, in Duarte California is involved. Its head is yet another emigre Egyptian Copt although he has dropped that ancient form of faith and has adopted "evangelical Christianity." This person is involved with a network of hardline anti-Muslim activists in the US to include David Horowitz's operations and John Hagee. Morris Sadek is involved with the Media for Christ people whose website is mostly in Arabic and who also seem to operate a TV program called The Way. The Media for Christ org reportedly bills itself as pro-Israel and seems to have money. Thus, they could well have put up some of the money for the film.

Babak Makkinejad

He is conveniently omitting the massacres of Muslims in Gujarat my Hindu mobs led by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, police officers, journalists and others in 2002.

And the massacres of Sikhs - men, women, children - in Delhi - led by Hindu members of the Indian Parliament.


Tyler, I'm glad if your religion gives you satisfaction. I'm an Orthodox Agnostic because I am perverse enough to prefer the often painful and difficult path towards truth and real knowledge rather than the freeways towards spiritual peace offered by the various religions of the world.

If we go back to the "good old days" of religion then I guess we can restart the institutionalized discrimination we used to practice when I was a kid. Catholics in Australia could get so far in the public service, professions and police, but no further.

As I have said before, the Church views secular humanism as an aberration and has not given up the fight, nor will it for another Five Hundred years, if ever. There are plenty more Le Maistres out there.


Some of our wonderful New Australians protested in Sydney yesterday. Six police injured and about Ten arrests. The majority of muslims here quite rightly fear the backlash. We had a trial run with the Cronulla riots in 2005.




Glad to hear you are teaching history. Teach them well. pat



Not so, but they would be very different societies as Turkey was when Kemalism was in flower. pl



Yes. The failure of kemalism in Turkey and the attempt to put the country back in the Middle Ages causes me to despair. pl


Gandhi notes in his autobiography, Christian missionaries standing outside his school, shouting obscenities about Hindu beliefs, and they remain unmolested (this was in the 1870s).

Other British observers marked the utter lack of attention people paid to Christian missionaries doing similar things at the Kumbh Mela (the periodic congregation of Hindus at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna).

Tolerance used to be greater. Today, I'm sure such will get beaten up or worse. We have learned bad habits. Because they work. Because craven governments and people permit them to work.

Also, your analogy stinks. This movie is not someone entering with a carcass into a temple. It is not trespass, it is not something thrust into your face, not something unavoidable. This is not a broadcast, nor is it on news-stands. It is something far away, to whom you do not have to pay any attention. If you do not click on the youtube, you do not see it. This is more like you're seeking provocation.


You guys are getting too philosophical with your analysis. Whether any of us like it or not, America is now the world's policeman, and that brings with it some unpleasant experiences, such as having our embassies get sacked once in a while.

What is there to be done?

We could bomb them some more, but in doing so, we would also forfeit our right to police the world. So we are stuck in a conundrum: can't win by pushing too hard and can't win by pulling back.

Personally, I wish could go back to our old days, and revert back to being a simple republic. Mind our own business and get on with life, etc. But that is not meant to be. We have been promoted to keeping order around the world and now have to put up with the B.S.


I think while Islam is supposedly monotheist, Muslims have idolized the Prophet Muhammad. One can blaspheme against Allah (even today, popular songs do so), but the Prophet? All hell breaks loose.

Babak Makkinejad

I think "...back to being a simple republic.." would entail the rehabilitation of Jefferson Davis.



He was rehabilitated. He was never tried and his citizenship was restored posthumously. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Those Christian missionaries were backed by the bayonets of the British Empire; that is why they were not molested.

And, again, I think you are being too kind to Hinduism; Hindus killed and otherwise expelled Buddhists from India.

So, my analogy stinks but I think it demonstrates that free expression is bound to offend some of the people, some of the time, somewhere.

Which would imply, in my opinion, that the Principle of Free Expression will have to be defended with bayonets or guns at times.

Babak Makkinejad

Muslims consider the Prophet to be the Perfect Man - unfallen.

But never as an idol.

Babak Makkinejad

I was not clear.

The entire dominant narrative of US Civil War has to be altered; no longer a triumph of the March of Freedom (from Shilo to Baghdad) but rather as a disaster for the Republic.


For the first time since I have been coming to the blog I will hold off on writing what i feel in response to your provocation.


Maybe your rhetoric requires that....mine? rather not.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad