Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tom Friedman Asks A Good Question

Yes, I know this reaction is less than timely. I have a certain reluctance to make political arguments based on horrific situations like the Bombay attacks until at least a little time has passed. There's something unseemly about people who are unable to wait until the bodies are buried before they began homilizing.

Anyway, back to the point at hand. Tom Friedman asks, "Where are the protests in the Islamic world AGAINST terrorism?" We are forever hearing about how the terrorists are giving Islam a bad name, and yet the world's Muslim population is far more concerned with rioting over cartoons, beauty pageants, papal quotations (Taken out of context no less. Set aside the dark irony that they murdered priests in order to protest the characterization of Islam as a violent religion, they were also responding to a speech about the importance of religious dialogue by not bothering to actually listen to the entire speech.), false reports of Koran desecration, and celebrating the 9/11 attacks than it is with actually turning its energies against the terrorists. What are we supposed to think? I don't doubt that the vast majority of Muslims abhor these animalistic attacks, but until they oppose them with the vigor that has been, until now, reserved for murdering nuns and burning churches, the best we can assume of the bulk of the Islamic world is that it lacks courage, and cares more about saving face than honoring Allah. Friedman ends his column by saying, "Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village - all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country - declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons." He's absolutely right, but unfortunately, I'm afraid he had better not hold his breath waiting for it to occur.