The special case of islam?

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    Simon Paynton

    We in the West may be surprised to learn that President Putin seems to have a very enlightened approach to dealing with extremism in Russia’s muslim populations.

    The Phrase Putin Never Uses About Terrorism (and Trump Does)  – New York Times, 1 Feb 2017

    Whatever we might think about Vladimir Putin, he’s obviously got brains and common sense, and is a competent world leader.  In comparison, Donald Trump is obviously a giant fool when it comes to being a president.  We can only imagine what Putin thinks about him in private.

    This is a very interesting interview on NPR, from 4 January 2017:

    A Diplomat Reflects On Moderate Islam In ‘Letters To A Young Muslim’

    I haven’t read it all, but it seems to offer some penetrating analysis of Islam, and why, although it is a great religion, it’s also pretty fucked in a lot of ways.  It seems that one of the ways in for Isis is to offer certainty to young people, and we can see this over and over again, such as in the cry-bully left, who are in reality a bunch of narcissists stirring up trouble for the purposes of destructive power and control, while throwing the innocent youngsters under the bus.  The alt-right are basically the same.  Extremism offers certainty, and that’s the uncomfortable truth.  I don’t know if there is any connection with the apparent modern fluidity and relativity of basic ideals – the retreat of Christianity and its certainties (even though we don’t like those, with good reason).  So, if someone else was to offer certainty, that is moderate, prosocial, allows freedom, and relies on thinking for oneself – that would have to be a good thing.


    Simon Paynton

    See if you don’t think this form of certainty is pretty dreadful.  Notice how Gabby glares menacingly into the camera.

    No White Tears: A Non-Guide on Dealing with Microaggressions from Your White Partner  – 21 May 2015

    Again, if you look at the comments, there are plenty of genuine people around, with genuine concerns, and all this “yt Tears” does is turn the situation into a toxic abusive battleground that clearly just makes everything a lot worse.  The psychiatrist at the end of the comments section does a good job of demolishing the article.



    I wonder how many food and medicine packages we could drop instead of bombs, for the price.

    Wouldn’t that simply underline the idea that those of us in the Christian West are the haves vs. the have-nots we are deigning to bless with our charitable donation of food and medicine?



    I don’t know, Unseen.  I seriously could not tell you whether giving food would work better than delivering bombs.  I do think the attitude would be flavored differently though, for both the donors and the recipients.


    In non-Muslim societies or what we call the “western world”, it is easy for most people to distinguish between Church and State. We can tell the difference between politics and the pulpit. However in the Islamic world the distinction seldom exists. Muslims in Islamic nations like Iran, where religion is integrated in every aspect of life, cannot understand how the two concepts could be separate. It is probably a concept they have never even considered. Islamic politics is Islam. It is constructed upon the ideas of the Koran.


    Simon Paynton

    @regthefronkeyfarmer – it does seem like a disastrous idea to mix up politics and religion.  We could say, it’s two forms of law.  But why do we see it as inappropriate to combine them?  One is “earthly” and the other is “spiritual”.  In the West we feel that the State should butt out of individual spiritual beliefs, because it’s just too restrictive and intrusive, and makes people feel like they can’t breathe.

    On the other hand, there is a massive amount of crossover between the two, considering that both deal in the realm of morality.  It has to be said, too, that religion has played a large part in creating our legal system – I believe that the basis of our jury system came from Islam; and “individual human rights” – the idea that every person has value – is central to Christianity.

    Why is there a mismatch, as far as we’re concerned?  We probably find a religious legal code just too detailed – it goes way too far right into our heads, hearts, and like you say, every aspect of life, and these we would consider the domain of religion or spirituality.


    Simon Paynton

    Prof Jordan Peterson says that uncertainty leads to anxiety, which in turn leads to a need for certainty.  That makes perfect sense.  He maintains there are two kinds of uncertainty:

    – uncertainty, or lack, of information

    – uncertainty of appropriate course of action.

    If someone is surrounded by a chaotic environment, then, these two are of course combined, and the first leads to the second.  We can imagine another form of uncertainty – physical risk and danger.  You can be uncertain about what might be coming at you.  But that is precisely the reason why lack of information leads to anxiety.

    It is easy to see how people can cling onto any irrational certainty if they feel anxious.

    People are also anxious about the uncertainty over their future, and what is going to happen in their environment.  This is true even if someone has perfect perception.

    It seems that the people who choose / are groomed to get involved with all kinds of extremism are mostly young people.  It makes sense that they would be uncertain for all kinds of reasons.


    Simon Paynton

    It seems that one of the ways in for Isis is to offer certainty to young people

    – I’ve heard that another strong hold that Isis have over troubled, wayward, cultural Moslems is:

    1. the shame of sin
    2. the actual genuine terror of the certain knowledge that if you’ve sinned, you will be horribly tormented for the rest of eternity.  Now, that’s got to be scary.

    Of course, 1) causes 2).  Guess what, in Islam, everything seems to be a fucking sin.  Isis can spin whatever they like to these people who are just being “normal” – the kind of things they are ashamed about seems to be, at most, petty crime, or just partying.  Along comes Isis who can save them from hell – in fact, anybody would be prepared to do anything under those circumstances.  We can see how it’s a big powerful toxic brew of evil.  The people pulling the strings are almost certainly toxic narcissists with zero empathy (very high on self-centred emotions), together with antisocial psychopaths (cool as cucumbers) (both relentless, both in love with destructive power and control, for different reasons) – only they could dream up something like this.


    Simon Paynton

    If, outside of religion or politics, there’s nothing certain to cling onto or get hold of, it’s not surprising that people turn to those things, and if we add in group identity/groupthink, we’ve got problems, even before the crazy narcissists start exploiting the situation for the purposes of power play and abuse.

    religion or politics

    – what these all share in common is ideology – some kind of theoretical construction to explain how the world works, and therefore, how we should act.  That’s great, except that without exception, they all suck pigs’ ass.  I can’t name a single one that does the world any good.  The ones that do best are the “loose” ones, and in this category I would put things like “liberalism”, “conservatism” and “secular humanism”.  In other words, they’re barely ideologies, just a kind of general world view.  The difference with secular humanism is that it has very well defined basic principles compared with the other two.  The other kind that does well is the Jesus/Sufi brand of religion, which again, is completely simple and back-to-basics, and again, there’s hardly anything to it.

    What the very dangerous or misguided ideologies seem to share in common is:

    • they’re so complicated that people stop understanding them properly
    • they’re rigid
    • the prescription is detailed and all-encompassing
    • the actual knowledge is incomplete and unsatisfactory
    • they have this quality of having been made up off the top of someone’s head – they just seem fanciful, and disconnected from real life.

    The problem with this approach is that humans are in no way clever enough to invent a theoretical system of how the world is and, therefore, how we should behave.

    However, we need a theoretical system of how the world is, and therefore, how we should behave.

    The solution is to discover it through science and logic, instead of just pulling it out of one’s arse and believing our own shit because it smells so good.  Because this involves only observing the facts as they are, and from that, discovering the ethical normative aspects of that factual situation – it fits in with human nature as it is, so, the way it would cause us to behave is not alien or perverse.  On the contrary, it would lead us to sensibly make the best of things for the long term benefit of each individual.



    The effectiveness of intervening with food and medicine has always varied, depending on how well we can monitor and adjust its distribution, depending on how people in power want to locally enable or subvert it, and (to a lesser extent) depending on how adversarial the local culture perceive their historic relationship with the donor.

    Short-term vs long-term aid planning differ, as do NGO vs GO involvement. In terms of Islamist Terrorism, good plans must consider at least a full generation’s worth of the plan’s adaptability.



    So yeah, islam is “a special case”, but I’d broaden the most likely solution to “eliminating oppressive theocracies”.



    Indeed theocracies and religion based judicial systems are certainly one major generator of utter madness, zealotry and cruelty. And Islam is not alone. Israel and South Nigeria for example enact outrageous Jewish and Christian religion based law (especially when it comes to marriage, violence and divorce). Myanmar in cahoots with the Bhuddist “church” has also helped dictate cruel laws not to mention Muslim persecution. Islam certainly stands way in top per numbers but they aren’t special…just numerous.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  Davis.


    I don’t know, Unseen. I seriously could not tell you whether giving food would work better than delivering bombs. I do think the attitude would be flavored differently though, for both the donors and the recipients.

    “Let them eat cake!”



    Yes, Unseen, I don’t think Marie Antoinette was providing any cake though.  So a tad different


    Simon Paynton

    I cheekily uploaded this to Youtube, just to make it accessible.  (I’ve still got no idea how to post a video.)

    Veedu Vidz – Is it Halal to create a Snowman?
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