The people of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, and everywhere else see that western values include gay marriage, abortion on demand, and free pornography for everyone. They don’t want those. Well, I don’t want those either. We can tell them to stop stoning homosexuals, and we can tell them to extend human rights to women, and they should do both, but they see where we are today. Why would they follow us, when today we are somewhere they emphatically do not want to go?
Arab slavers stopped taking and selling slaves (to the extent that they have stopped) because the Royal Navy forced them at the point of a gun, and at the end of a rope. They stopped honor killings (again, in so far as they have stopped) because the colonial powers made clear they’d hang the next misogynist clown who tried it. Will we insist they extend “civil rights to all people without regard to sexual orientation” and “reproductive rights” to women, or will we just not insist yet?
“Orlando used to have a military installation called McCoy Air Force Base, with long runways from which B-52s could take off and reach Cuba, or just about anywhere else, with loads of nukes. But now McCoy has been scrapped and repurposed. It has been absorbed into Orlando’s civilian airport. The long runways are being used to land 747-loads of tourists from Brazil, Italy, Russia and Japan, so that they can come to Disney World and steep in our media for a while.
“To traditional cultures, especially word-based ones such as Islam, this is infinitely more threatening than the B-52s ever were. It is obvious, to everyone outside of the United States, that our arch-buzzwords, multiculturalism and diversity, are false fronts that are being used (in many cases unwittingly) to conceal a global trend to eradicate cultural differences. The basic tenet of multiculturalism (or “honoring diversity” or whatever you want to call it) is that people need to stop judging each other-to stop asserting (and, eventually, to stop believing ) that this is right and that is wrong, this true and that false, one thing ugly and another thing beautiful, that God exists and has this or that set of qualities.
“The problem is that once you have done away with the ability to make judgments as to right and wrong, true and false, etc., there’s no real culture left. All that remains is clog dancing and macrame. The ability to make judgments, to believe things, is the entire it point of having a culture. I think this is why guys with machine guns sometimes pop up in places like Luxor, and begin pumping bullets into Westerners. They perfectly understand the lesson of McCoy Air Force Base. When their sons come home wearing Chicago Bulls caps with the bills turned sideways, the dads go out of their minds.” — In the Beginning was the Command Line, by Neal Stephenson
Even if we urge traditional Muslim cultures to something reasonable – stop stoning homosexuals – it’s easy for the jihadis to call that a step down the slippery slope to openly gay imams, and the Saudi version of Lady Gaga dancing around in a bacon veil mocking their prophet – Whee! It’s transgressive!
The west isn’t at war with Islam, some say, but what do they mean? That the extremist jihadis are evil, but mainstream Islam can keep right on denying reproductive choice to women and civil rights to gays? Everyone knows better. American feminists may keep quiet today about the abuse of women in Muslim countries, but Muslims go to grad school, and some form disturbing conclusions about what’s coming if they don’t hold the line.
According to the left in the west, civil rights include blasphemy, apostasy, gay marriage, abortion on demand, and free internet pornography at the library; and everyone is entitled to civil rights, all over the world. Of course it will be a struggle of generations. Over time young Muslims, seeing a normative example in western media, will grow more tolerant. In a hundred years they’ll be fine with gay marriage, and will have rates of divorce, abortion, and maybe even alcoholism, comparable to ours. Maybe in a hundred years we’ll have rates of polygamy comparable to theirs, if anyone even has a word for polygamy in a hundred years.
“…it really is a zero-sum game: Homosexual activists demand, insist on, active approval of their actions and lifestyle. Silence is not sufficient. Leaving them alone is not sufficient. Those are not their goals. Society must affirm them actively, loudly, and in all spheres of life.” — The Zero-Sum Game, by Lydia McGrew
The jihadis are fighting for their culture’s survival. Certainly that culture is barbaric and contemptible, and the jihadis’ religion is an aggregation of misunderstandings, superstition, and totalitarianism. They are misogynists, and religious bigots. If there is such a thing as homophobia other than as a term of abuse, then they are surely homophobes. They are convinced there can be no compromise with western liberal secularism. They can read the news, and they know what they’re fighting for. (Do we?) From their point of view, Hollywood is coming to turn their daughters into whores and their sons into God-cursed sodomites. That point of view, persuasively articulated on the “Arab street,” is difficult to contradict.
UPDATE 28 March 2011: NYT: Egyptian Group Cites US Gay Marriages in Election Run-up.