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.