Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

December 2, 2009

Implicit Eurocentrism & the eternal infidel

Filed under: Culture,Islam,swiss minarets — David Hume @ 11:43 am

A friend pointed me to this article, Outrage on Swiss minaret vote, but how do Muslim states handle churches?. You don’t need to click, you know the score. To be a kuffar in a non-Muslim land isn’t always the most pleasant experience. Instead of imagining, you could probably just ask a black person who lived in the South before the 1960s what life was like, as that probably is a good analog to the lot of Copts in Egypt (or, Shia in Saudi Arabia). There is variation. Southeast Asian nations have large non-Muslim minorities, and in Indonesia Muslims can convert to other religions. But even in Malaysia, where 1/3 of the population is non-Muslim, and which is rather tolerant country set next to the “core” Muslim nations of the Middle East, Islam has primacy in the national culture.

But for Muslim majority countries (more than 50% Muslim), with Albania as an outlier, you need to grade on a curve. Actually, you don’t need to grade on a curve, but then you would observe that several Muslim nations are as officially atheistic as North Korea excepting their one God. Looking at discussions online there are those who praise the Swiss (generally on the Right) and those who abhor them (generally on the Left). The issue of double standards has cropped up, with the Right pointing out that on a universal scale Switzerland is quite tolerant indeed. But for the Left, a double standard is necessary, because two wrongs don’t make a right, and civilized nations should not be judged by the values which barbarians uphold. Oh wait, no good thinking liberal would actually say in public that Western nations are civilized and Muslim nations are in the main barbaric, but that’s really the implicit framework. When it comes to religious liberty Muslim nations are invariably in the “Special Kids” class. They have their own Special Olympics, whereby autocratic Syria dominated by a heretical quasi-Muslim sect is a champion of pluralism, serving as a haven for fleeing Iraqi Christians.

For all the talk of multiculturalism, no one really accepts this on a deep level. There is always a standard of values. Some of the most vociferous Left multiculturalists in fact are strong believers in the distinction between the civilized and barbaric, they simply draw lines closer in. For example, “heteronormative Red State patriarchal Christian” is a long-winded way of saying heathen or infidel. To many multicultural Leftists I suspect non-Western cultures are like the mythical Prester John, a potential ally against the near enemy. But like Pester John the ally is an illusion and fantasy, just as Western Leftist’s pretense toward cultural neutrality and acceptance of differences is predicated on fundamentally “Eurocentric” norms and values.

Note: In regards to the Swiss minaret issue I probably lean to Rod Dreher’s position. They really need to address the structural issues at some point.

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