Saturday, February 21, 2015

Last Call For Just Not Like Us

Jonathan Greenberg at the New York Observer puts forth one of the most obnoxious and truly stupid theories on radical Islam that I've ever had the misfortune to read, so to spare you I'll summarize it:

Bell Curve for Muslims.

The Obama Administration believes that people everywhere share the same basic values as Western civilization: we all negotiate in good faith to seek positive-sum solutions (this is the fallacy that drives administration policy on Iran), we all prefer an uncomfortable peace to war, and we are all more or less motivated according to Maszlow’s hierarchy. This is Prof. Landes’ meaning of cognitive egocentrism. Despite tremendous evidence pointing to the fact–and it is a fact–that the people we are fighting are zero-sum barbarians who glory in brutal war motivated by religious fanaticism, our leaders are more comfortable thinking that, deep down, they’d be happier manning the check-out lane at Wal-Mart.

It is, of course, terribly out of fashion to acknowledge that different people in different societies are different. Far more fashionable is the obnoxious bigotry that everyone–yes, everyone–is pretty much exactly like us! Hurrah!



"It is bigotry to believe that Muslims share any values at all with people of the West."  If that odious argument sounds disturbingly familiar, replace "Muslims" with "the blacks" and you have the entire Southern Strategy of the last 50 years. Greenberg calls his opinion "fact".  It's ridiculous on its face.  And then he continues.

Fashionable or not, we can no longer afford leaders who refuse to believe their lying eyes about the motivations and values of radical Islamists. Are there deep-seated reasons for cultures becoming what they are? Of course. But we can’t go back to school every time someone beheads one of our journalists. We can’t have leaders who agonize about root causes and long-term economic development while Coptic Christians are butchered by the dozen.

The enemy, of course, hears our assessment of the “root causes” and cackles maniacally. Even if it doesn’t represent administration policy, just once I’d like to hear something from the State Department that indicated an understanding that people in Tehran and Damascus and Sanaa and Gaza are listening.

Marie Harf is, of course, only a mouthpiece for Administration policy. What she said, while insipid, is only dangerous insofar as it reflects the public and private thinking of the Obama foreign policy team. Until our leaders start seeing the world as it is instead of as they wish it were, we’d better start killing our way out of this war. Because our cognitive egocentrism is preventing us from winning in other, preferable ways.

Got that?  Treating Muslims as human beings instead of vermin is making the war worse.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Like I said, utterly ridiculous nonsense.


D. Potter said...

Y'know, if I thought that by "war" Mr. Greenberg meant he and the others of the 101st Keyboarders were going to strap on their pop guns and go off and fight, I would wish him well.

But he, as all that bunch do, means our blood and treasure. He certainly isn't going to any war, nosiree.


RepubAnon said...

The Obama Administration believes that people everywhere share the same basic values as Western civilization: we all negotiate in good faith to seek positive-sum solutions
Apparently Republicans aren't part of Western civilization. When's the last time Mitch McConnell and John Boehner negotiated in good faith to seek a positive-sum solution?

Horace Boothroyd III said...

Anybody who thinks westerners all negotiate in good faith to seek positive-sum solutions needs to try a conversation with the anti vaccine lunatics at the Daily Kos or the "one million Californians have died from Fukushima radiation" gang at FireDogLake. Those people would rather chew off their own arms than change their minds when met with updated information.

RepubAnon said...

Indeed. Only a fanatical member of the High Broderism faith thinks that all westerners seek positive sum solutions via good-faith negotiations. The examples are endless - from the stereotypic user car and aluminum siding salespeople, to the folks repackaging known bad loans into mortgage-based derivatives just before the 2008 crash.

Negotiations are all about getting as much as one can from the other side while making as few concessions as possible. Only when the two sides have relatively equal power going into the negotiations, or when part of the negotiations are maintaining a good working relationship with the other side, does anyone consider there to be any value in "good faith" and/or "positive sum solutions."

Example: repeat business, where there are several companies providing a service and each of the service companies compete to gain new business. It is valuable to the seller to keep the buyers happy - but it's also valuable to the buyer to keep the best seller happy. In each case, therefore, keeping the other side happy has some value - switching vendors is painful for the buyer, and losing a customer is painful to the seller. However, if one of them begins extracting too many one-sided concessions from the other - it becomes more painful to keep the relationship going than to end it.

Compare and contract with deals where there's only one source to buy from, or there's little chance of any repeat business (the "I'll be gone, you'll be gone" mentality.) Example: try negotiating the terms of your cable contract with ComCast, and see how willing they are to change their boilerplate contract terms.

tenbears said...

This the guy that premised an entire book on Fascism - by Mussalini's definition "anti-liberalism" - as a "liberal" plot.


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