Wednesday, September 01, 2010

No Surrender.

What We Would Wish For Ourselves We Demand For All: The attempt to preserve the notion that there is no need to respond to injustices in faraway places lies at the heart of cultural relativism. In the guise of an objective position, relativism is nothing more than protection for selfishness and preservation of insularity. Relativism implies the privileges and freedoms we expect in the West are values that only we own. It's sloppy scholarship and a bad joke that far too many have fallen for.

Cultural relativism allows us to listen to the power-hungry gun-wielders of a society like the Taliban, and drown out those who, inconveniently, want the same things that we do: democracy, human rights, wealth, and the capacity to live a life of dignity and free of fear. It is easier to ignore the will of Afghan intellectuals, progressive MPs, artists, activists and reformers to pretend the Taliban's world view is the status quo; it demands no action on our part.

Free Shiva Nazar Ahari: In a stirring personal recollection of her friend Ahari, Sepideh Pooraghaiee quoted from a letter which Ahari sent to a fellow prisoner: "When your heart trembles for the rights of another human, that is when you begin to slip; that is when the interrogations begin. When your heart trembles for another prisoner, a woman, a child laborer, that is when you become the accused. When you find faith in people and believe in humanity and nothing else, that is when you commit your first crime."

Iranian authorities first arrested Shiva Nazar Ahari in 2001, when she was seventeen. Her ‘crime’ was attending a candlelight vigil in Tehran that commemorated the victims of 9/11. Since then, she’s taught Iranian homeless children and Afghan refugees' children. In 2006, after she became the spokeswoman for the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), Ahari was kicked out of university, whereupon her troubles really began.

Comrade Brian Platt on Paul Berman's Terror and Liberalism: To consider Islamist violence as a reaction to our foreign policy, what Berman calls the “naive rationalization” of the West, is to fundamentally misunderstand the terms of this fight. Sayyid Qutb, the pioneer of Islamist ideology, understood what liberalism meant to an astoundingly sophisticated degree. He described it as the product of a Christianity torn apart by schisms and reformations, and the increasing tolerance of dissent against religious leaders, to the point where religion in Christian countries was eventually relegated to a private sphere of society. As Berman puts it, “Qutb's deepest quarrel was not with America's failure to uphold its principles. His quarrel was with the principles.”

Keep an eye on Brian Hutchinson's Assignment Kandahar.


Blogger Kai said...

To bad modern liberals have nothing in common with this Classical Liberal:

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."

John Stuart Mill

5:24 PM  

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