Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

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The Cat
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Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

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Terror and Liberalism, by Paul Berman (2003).
How the Liberals failed, so far, to recognized Islam for what it truly is.

The Liberals' Collapse, by Adrian Karatnycky: A review of Paul Berman's book:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... _100988959" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It is to the Left, both in the U.S. and worldwide, that Berman addresses his volume. He challenges the Left's "root causes" explanation of terrorism from the Middle East and argues that it must instead be understood as an ideological, totalitarian threat that resembles Fascism and Communism in significant ways.

As Berman convincingly demonstrates in his brief but rich intellectual history, the international Left attempts to explain the terrorism and brutality of revolutionary Islamism and totalitarian Ba'athism by resorting to a standard arsenal of socioeconomic arguments. According to Berman, for the rationalist mind of the leftist, it is incomprehensible that "millions of people have gone out of their minds and subscribed to a pathological political tendency"; surely, leftists argue, there must be some "unspeakable social condition that has provoked the murderous impulse." The more unspeakable the act, the more unspeakable the social factors motivating the actor.

Berman convincingly demolishes the socioeconomic explanations for jihadist terrorism; he also demonstrates that the terror isn't payback for alleged cruelties perpetrated by the U.S. and the West against Arab and Islamic populations (as many on the left argue). Indeed, Berman reminds us, the record of the U.S. and the West is hardly anti-Muslim. He recalls the broad array of military actions taken over the past decade in behalf of victims of violence and oppression in Muslim Bosnia, Albania, and Afghanistan, and in Arab Somalia. To this list one can now add Iraq. In each setting, the West's intervention has served to defend Muslims and protect the exercise of the Islamic faith. The recent scenes of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Shiites, openly expressing their faith on a pilgrimage to Karbala, only underscore this fact. (...)

The author devotes a large portion of this small volume to the ideas of the seminal Egyptian thinker Sayyid Qutb, the theoretical progenitor of jihadist revolutionary Islam and the ideological father of Osama bin Laden and the suicide-bomber terrorists that menace Israel. As Berman explains, Qutb (...) posited that "a proper understanding of the Koran can be achieved only in an atmosphere of serious struggle, and only by someone who is engaged in a ferocious campaign for Islam." The ferocity that Qutb advocated derives from a worldview shaped in Egypt in the 1950s, but the same worldview is easily applied by fanatical revolutionaries to the new millennium. For them, as for Qutb, the world of Islam -- or at least their minority version of Islam -- is under siege and must be defended at all costs and by all means. (...)

Paul Berman has written an accomplished intellectual history of fanatical Islamism and shed light on the ideas and prejudices that currently predominate in the Western Left. Although he addresses the liberal and leftist reader, his book has insights for everyone across the political spectrum who seeks a better understanding of the present danger. In this sense Terror and Liberalism is a book in the tradition of Camus, Orwell, and Koestler. Like these anti-totalitarian giants, who also emerged from the political Left, Berman is helping to illuminate the mechanisms and expose the threat of the totalitarian idea.
Paul Berman identified Sayyid Qubt (1906-1966) as the modern ''Philosopher of Islamic Terror''.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayyid_Qutb" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://members.cox.net/slsturgi3/Philos ... Terror.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
His deepest quarrel was not with America's failure to uphold its principles. His quarrel was with the principles. He opposed the United States because it was a liberal society, not because the United States failed to be a liberal society.

The truly dangerous element in American life, in his estimation, was not capitalism or foreign policy or racism or the unfortunate cult of women's independence. The truly dangerous element lay in America's separation of church and state -- the modern political legacy of Christianity's ancient division between the sacred and the secular. This was not a political criticism. This was theological -- though Qutb, or perhaps his translators, preferred the word ''ideological.''

The conflict between the Western liberal countries and the world of Islam, he explained, ''remains in essence one of ideology, although over the years it has appeared in various guises and has grown more sophisticated and, at times, more insidious.'' (...) A camouflage that was intended to make the conflict appear to be economic, political or military, and that was intended to make Muslims like himself who insisted on speaking about religion appear to be, in his words, ''fanatics'' and ''backward people.'' (...)

But this attack was not, at bottom, military. At least Qutb did not devote his energies to warning against such a danger. Nor did he spend much time worrying about the ins and outs of Israel's struggle with the Palestinians. Border disputes did not concern him. He was focused on something cosmically larger. He worried, instead, that people with liberal ideas were mounting a gigantic campaign against Islam -- ''an effort to confine Islam to the emotional and ritual circles, and to bar it from participating in the activity of life, and to check its complete predominance over every human secular activity, a pre-eminence it earns by virtue of its nature and function.'' (...)

The followers of Qutb speak, in their wild fashion, of enormous human problems, and they urge one another to death and to murder. But the enemies of these people speak of what? The political leaders speak of United Nations resolutions, of unilateralism, of multilateralism, of weapons inspectors, of coercion and noncoercion. This is no answer to the terrorists. The terrorists speak insanely of deep things. The antiterrorists had better speak sanely of equally deep things. Presidents will not do this. Presidents will dispatch armies, or decline to dispatch armies, for better and for worse.

But who will speak of the sacred and the secular, of the physical world and the spiritual world? Who will defend liberal ideas against the enemies of liberal ideas? Who will defend liberal principles in spite of liberal society's every failure? President George W. Bush, in his speech to Congress a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, announced that he was going to wage a war of ideas. He has done no such thing. He is not the man for that.

Philosophers and religious leaders will have to do this on their own. Are they doing so? Armies are in motion, but are the philosophers and religious leaders, the liberal thinkers, likewise in motion? There is something to worry about here, an aspect of the war that liberal society seems to have trouble understanding -- one more worry, on top of all the others, and possibly the greatest worry of all.
Ibn Warraq:
''The final battle will not necessarily be between Islam and the West, but between those who value freedom and those who do not.''
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

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Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman (Part 2).

Suzy Hansen interview with Paul Berman
http://dir.salon.com/story/books/int/2003/03/22/berman/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
A lot of people have misunderstood the nature of Islamism for a whole series of reasons. The biggest and most important of those reasons is Eurocentrism, which prevented people from looking at these movements at all. And the Eurocentrism has a flip side, a soft-headed multiculturalism in which movements in other parts of the world are regarded as hopelessly and wonderfully exotic and not to be judged or analyzed. In the last 20 years literally millions of people have been slaughtered by these movements and the wars they've begun. All of this has received a shockingly small amount of attention. (...)

This is part of the Eurocentrism. We imagine that because the Cold War ended in Europe that the whole series of struggles that began in Europe with the First World War and then went through the different totalitarian movements -- fascist, Nazi and communist -- had finally come to an end. Many people were so caught up in the more or less victory of liberal democratic ideas and institutions that there was a tendency to imagine that problems in other parts of the world were just going to be regional problems that really weren't deeply going to affect us. All that was a scandalous delusion.

Q.--- And in fact you're arguing that Islamism and Baathism grew out of the First World War in the same way that communism and fascism did?

It becomes ever more obvious that the First World War was the great trauma of modern civilization. Something huge cracked in the First World War and has never been repaired. Out of the First World War came a series of rebellions against liberal civilization. These rebellions were accusations that liberal civilization was not just hypocritical or flawed, but was in fact the single great source of evil or suffering in the world. Then the accusation was followed by the proposal to build a civilization of a completely new kind, which would not be liberal, which would have the quality of a granite rock -- eternal and perfect. (...)

And each of the new movements proceeded to reproduce that event in the name of their utopian opposition to the complexities and uncertainties of liberal civilization. The names of these movements varied and the traits that they displayed varied -- one was called Bolshevism, and another was called fascism, another was called Nazism. (...)

My argument is that Islamism and a certain kind of pan-Arabism in the Arab and Muslim worlds are really further branches of the same impulse. Mussolini staged his march on Rome in 1922 for the purpose of creating a perfect totalitarian society that was going to be the resurrection of the Roman Empire. In 1928, in Egypt, just across the Mediterranean, the Muslim Brotherhood was formed for the purpose of resurrecting the ancient Caliphate of the Arab empire of the 7th century, likewise with the idea of creating a perfect society of modern times. Although these two movements were utterly unalike, there was some way in which they were alike. (...)

The desire is absolutely to rule the world. That's not a great secret. A great philosopher of Islamist radicalism, Sayyid Qutb, who was hanged by [Egyptian president] Nasser in 1966, said that all plainly. The goal of Islamism is to recreate what Muhammad did in the seventh century, which was to found an Islamic state and bring that state to the entire world. The goal of Islamism is not to resolve some particular social problem here or there, it's not to straighten out some border conflict between Israel and Palestine or between Pakistan and India or Chechnya and Russia, although those are genuine issues. The goal is absolutely grandiose and global. (...)

The Islamist doctrine is that Islam is the answer to the world's problems, but that Islam has been the victim of a giant cosmic conspiracy to destroy it, by Crusaders and Zionists. (Zionism in Qutb's doctrine is not a modern political movement, it's a cosmic doctrine extending over the centuries.) Islam is the victim of this conspiracy, which is also aided by false or hypocritical Muslims, who pretend to be Muslims but are actually the friends of Islam's enemies. From an Islamist point of view, then, the most heinous conspiracy of all is the one led by the Muslim hypocrites to annihilate Islam from within. These people are, above all, the Muslim liberals who want to establish a liberal society, which means separation of church and state.

The first and most grievous step toward the annihilation of Islam is taken by the Turks in 1924, when Kemal Ataturk created a secular Turkey and abolished the institutional remnants of the ancient Caliphate. This was a devastating blow and the whole goal of the Islamist movement has been to undo that. (...)

(On G. W. Bush's policy in Iraq)
In my interpretation, the basic thing that the United States wants to do -- overthrow Saddam and get rid of his weapons -- is sharply in the interest of almost everybody all over the world. And although the U.S. is proposing to act in the interest of the world, Bush has managed to terrify the entire world and to turn the world against him and us and to make our situation infinitely more dangerous than it otherwise would have been. It's a display of diplomatic and political incompetence on a colossal scale. We're going to pay for this.

One thing he hasn't gotten across is that there is a positive liberal democratic goal and a humanitarian goal here. Iraq is suffering under one of the most grotesque fascist tyrannies there's ever been. Hundreds of thousands, maybe a million people, have been killed by this horrible regime. The weapons programs are not a fiction. There's every reason to think that Saddam, who's used these weapons in the past, would be happy to use them in the future. The suffering of the Iraqi people is intense. The United States is in the position to bring that suffering to an end. Their liberation, the creating of at least the rudiments of a liberal democratic society there, are in the interests of the Iraqi people and are deeply in the interests of liberal society everywhere. There are reasons to go in which are those of not just self-interest or self-defense, but of solidarity of humanitarianism, of a belief in liberal ideals. And Bush has gotten this across not at all. (...)

One of the scandals is that we've had millions of people marching through the streets calling for no war in Iraq, but we haven't had millions of people marching in the streets calling for freedom in Iraq. Nobody's marching in the streets on behalf of Kurdish liberties. The interests of the liberal dissidents of Iraq and the Kurdish democrats are in fact also our interests. The more those people prosper, the safer we are. This is a moment in which what should be our ideals -- the ideals of liberal democracy and social solidarity -- are also materially in our interest. Bush has failed to articulate this, and a large part of the left has failed to see this entirely. (...)

Those of us who consider ourselves on the left now have to consider national security issues in a way which has never been our habit in the past. The response of many people on the left is to think that if the United States will just withdraw its troops here and there and bury its head in the sand, everything will be OK. That's delusional.

The 1930s French Socialists
They wanted to avoid a new outbreak of the First World War; they refused to believe that millions of people in Germany had gone out of their minds and supported the Nazi movement. They didn't want to believe that a mass pathological movement had taken power in Germany, they wanted to be open-minded to what the Germans were saying and to the German grievances of the First World War. And the French socialists, in their open-minded, warm-hearted effort to avoid seeing anything like the First World War occur again, went out of their way to try and find what was reasonable and plausible in the arguments of Hitler. They really did end up thinking that the greatest danger to world peace was not posed by Hitler but by the hawks in their own society, in France. These people were the antiwar socialists of France, they were good people. Yet one thing led to another, they opposed France's army against Hitler, and many of them ended up supporting the Vichy regime and they ended up fascists! (...)

(The Bush administration's "realist" approach)
It's the so-called realist policies of the American conservatives that ultimately got us into this situation. We, the United States, have followed the most cynical policies in the Middle East. We've aligned with reactionary feudal monarchies of the worst sort, backing the most horrendous right-wing tyrants and dictators, thinking that liberal values ought to play no role at all in formulating American policy. All this has especially been the doctrine of American conservatism. It's what I call the Nixonian tradition. (...)

What we need is a third alternative -- a politics of liberal solidarity, of anti-fascism, a politics that's willing to be interventionist when tyrants or political movements really do threaten us and the people in their own countries, a politics that's going to be aggressive in spreading and promoting liberal ideas and values in regions of the world where people who hold those values are persecuted. A politics of active solidarity, not just expressions of solidarity, but actions of solidarity with liberal-minded people in other parts of the world.

It's scandalous to me that large parts of the political spectrum aren't acting on this now. Where are all the universities and human rights foundations and trade unions and all the other civic associations in the United States? Where are those groups now? Why aren't those groups acting now to establish links of solidarity with people of the Middle East and Muslim world? To try to foment movements, or even revolutions, on behalf of liberal ideals? (...)

Promoting liberal ideas, finally, is the only real way to oppose the totalitarian movements that threaten us and threaten people in the Arab and Muslim worlds, whether they're Baathist or Islamist.
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

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I admire Berman for his courage, as his views are not very popular among his Liberal peers. He's one of the few voices that brings sanity to the left. I agree with much of what he says in the article and the following interview, however I disagree with him on a few points.

(On G. W. Bush's policy in Iraq)
In my interpretation, the basic thing that the United States wants to do -- overthrow Saddam and get rid of his weapons -- is sharply in the interest of almost everybody all over the world. And although the U.S. is proposing to act in the interest of the world, Bush has managed to terrify the entire world and to turn the world against him and us and to make our situation infinitely more dangerous than it otherwise would have been. It's a display of diplomatic and political incompetence on a colossal scale. We're going to pay for this.

One thing he hasn't gotten across is that there is a positive liberal democratic goal and a humanitarian goal here. Iraq is suffering under one of the most grotesque fascist tyrannies there's ever been. Hundreds of thousands, maybe a million people, have been killed by this horrible regime. The weapons programs are not a fiction. There's every reason to think that Saddam, who's used these weapons in the past, would be happy to use them in the future. The suffering of the Iraqi people is intense. The United States is in the position to bring that suffering to an end. Their liberation, the creating of at least the rudiments of a liberal democratic society there, are in the interests of the Iraqi people and are deeply in the interests of liberal society everywhere. There are reasons to go in which are those of not just self-interest or self-defense, but of solidarity of humanitarianism, of a belief in liberal ideals. And Bush has gotten this across not at all. (...)
Here, Berman is not condemning the Bush Administration for enacting the War in Iraq, but rather for Bush's "incompetence" in his failure to convince the free world that the war was justified. Berman makes an impeccable case as to why the war was justified, and so he castigates the Bush Administration for not properly articulating the case for the war to the international community. Although I agree with Berman in form, he contradicts himself in substance. The entire premise of his article defeats his criticism of Bush. It seems that Berman is just throwing this out as red meat for his Bush-hating audience in order appeal to them.
One of the scandals is that we've had millions of people marching through the streets calling for no war in Iraq, but we haven't had millions of people marching in the streets calling for freedom in Iraq. Nobody's marching in the streets on behalf of Kurdish liberties. The interests of the liberal dissidents of Iraq and the Kurdish democrats are in fact also our interests. The more those people prosper, the safer we are. This is a moment in which what should be our ideals -- the ideals of liberal democracy and social solidarity -- are also materially in our interest. Bush has failed to articulate this, and a large part of the left has failed to see this entirely. (...)
Again, Berman does a magnificent job in pointing out the hypocrisy of the left's anti-war stance by revealing the dichotomous nature of their view. But his conclusion is utterly perplexing, as he places the blame of the left's anti-war ignorance squarley on Bush's shoulder. Berman then goes on to chastise the left for not condemning Bush for not convincing them that the war is justified. I find this amusing, as I'm confident that Berman again, is throwing red meat out for his Bush-hating audience, while at the same time allowing them to ponder their ridiculous position on the war.

I don't know whether to commend Berman for his genius play of words, or to criticize him for placing undue fault on Bush.

The Bottom line is that although I completely agree with Berman that the Bush Administration utterly failed to articulate the case for the war--I would also go on to say that he mislead the public with his "Islam is a religion of peace" garbage--What Berman fails to understand is that Bush couldn't make the proper case for the war even if he wanted too. As Berman clearly explained in his article, the west is under the spell of multiculturalism. If Bush had actually made the case that Berman had excellently made in his article, He would have been lynched by the public. Cries of bigotry and racism from the left, denouncement from the ignorant western religious sector, and pressure from various interest groups would force his resignation.
(The Bush administration's "realist" approach)
It's the so-called realist policies of the American conservatives that ultimately got us into this situation. We, the United States, have followed the most cynical policies in the Middle East. We've aligned with reactionary feudal monarchies of the worst sort, backing the most horrendous right-wing tyrants and dictators, thinking that liberal values ought to play no role at all in formulating American policy. All this has especially been the doctrine of American conservatism. It's what I call the Nixonian tradition. (...)
The so-called realist policies that Berman alludes to are basically Cold-War policies which were initiated by liberal Democrats, not the conservatives. President Truman instituted the containment and roll over policies. Which basically had in them the strategy of ally-grabbing. It didn't matter who the ally was or its government. Just make sure we get them as allies before the Soviets do. I don't now where Berman gets the idea these are conservative polices, conservatives had traditionally been anti-war.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" ~Carl Sagan

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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

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Thanks for your insights. I hope that the level of interventions will reflect the seriousness of Berman's writings. I'll avoid here the antagonism found elsewhere between conservatives and democrats as Mr. Berman gets to the bottom of the confronting values at stake: the liberal ideology versus totalitarian ones. To be liberal is far more reaching than to be merely a conservative or a democrat, and only their extreme wings are dedicated to end the liberal values, the enemy from within.

The author underlines two massive guilts brought in succession by the two world wars, but do not expand enough about the second world war and that of post-colonialism collective residues, which brought in turns the notion of multiculturalism mixed with Eurocentrism.

Right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in November 1989, the Liberal West exulted and thought it could adopt an everlasting laid back attitude, comforted in his certainty of economical and cultural preponderance. It started to emphasize helps for the third world and, then came along an Islamic militant resurgence, brought forth by people like Sayyid Qubt (the one who shaped al-Qaeda) and Abul Ala Maududi (1903-1979, founder of the radical Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami). Then came the Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Iran, with Ayatollah Khomeiny giving the Muslims a first major victory in recent time, while giving a loud voice to Maududi's and Qubt's radicalism.

As Mr. Berman demonstrated, the Islamic militant resurgence has one fundamental enemy: Western liberalism and its division of Church and State (secularism). Under this threat, it doesn't matter much if you're a Democrat or a Conservative, since they BOTH adhere to the basic of liberal ideology. This fracture within is only weakening our strength when dealing with Islam which aims to crush them all.

The Left sheltered Muslims as poor -oppressed- people from the third world. Until the Left perceive Islam as an oppressive totalitarianism and not just a frenzy outcome of the third world, of victims being oppressed, it will keep on protecting Muslims' faith. Fortunately, this is slowly changing especially from the Danish cartoons controversy, the works of Ibn Warraq, Robert Spencer, and we at FFI.

Now, the author wrote his book ''Terror and Liberalism'' in the aftermath of 9/11, where the majority of Americans sided with Bush in his anti-terror resolutions, including to invade Iraq in the notion that pre-emptive war could be the answer, in a Vietnam Nixonian perspective. Well, to Muslims it sounded like yet another form of Western colonialist episode, and such was the European understanding, so they usually kept away from it. It only galvanized the Islamic world against a perceived new Crusade and the whole world started to be appalled by American interventionism, acting like the world's gendarmes, while interfering with people's sovereignty. Double sided costly...!

Within America the reaction became too entrenched between far-leftists like Chomski and Michael Moore, versus the far-rightists of Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh. The center idea became stretched between two irreconcilable opposites. Thus there's a huge danger that in such polarization, the center would become less significant, gathering, and balancing as meant to be. Right now, as it is, a middle-class loosing too many jobs will trigger the worst, as always. We only have to look at post WWI Germany to be so convinced...

Here, Mr. Berman is asking both sides to look back to the former values of Western societies, that is Liberal values, inherited from John Locke and the Enlightenment, including its conservative and progressist mild-wings, because the actual polarization of America, each side calling the other 'traitor' isn't promising at all. So, I hope Mr. Berman will be heard, in the name of reason. When I read things like ''liberalism is a mental disease'' I get worried to my bones, since it is exactly what Islam and all totalitarianisms are after for a kill.
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

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The Cat wrote:The author underlines two massive guilts brought in succession by the two world wars, but do not expand enough about the second world war and that of post-colonialism collective residues, which brought in turns the notion of multiculturalism mixed with Eurocentrism.
Actually I think Berman does an adequate job in explaining the origins of western multiculturalism/cultural relativism in those two paragraphs. WWI marked the end of European colonialism and with that, the begining of the end of European confidence in their values. After the carnage of the first World War--casualties exceeded any other war before WWII--the ruling classes of Europe felt that they lost their moral authority. British statesman Edward Grey, distressed over the failures of European politics to maintain peace, lamented that: "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them in our lifetime."

Europeans lost their moral fortitude after WWI, and never recovered it. A sense of elite self-loathing filtered down into European society. With the end of the European colonial paradigm came all sorts of liberal movements, two of which manifested into Fascism and Communism. The European's crises of moral confidence was further exasperated after the catastrophe of WWII, and from the ashes emerged the zombies of relativism.
The U.S. suffered the same fate after Vietnam. Chomsky's "baby-boomers" carried the flag of the New Left, which bullied multiculturalism into the class rooms.

The Cat wrote:As Mr. Berman demonstrated, the Islamic militant resurgence has one fundamental enemy: Western liberalism and its division of Church and State (secularism). Under this threat, it doesn't matter much if you're a Democrat or a Conservative, since they BOTH adhere to the basic of liberal ideology. This fracture within is only weakening our strength when dealing with Islam which aims to crush them all.
Agreed, but this begs the question: what exactly is the source of the fracture between the Left and the Right in the West? Berman eloquently identifies the problem as multiculturalism/relativism. The Left espouses multiculturalism while the right opposes it. Now I'm not trying to spark a partisan debate, but we must call a spade a spade. It's not enough to just say that the division in the West is it's weakness and we must unite. I fully agree with what Mark Steyn said: "Islamic Jihadism is not the disease, but merely a symptom." The disease of the west is it's lack of moral fortitude, were the Islamic World is absolutely confident in their values.
The Cat wrote:Now, the author wrote his book ''Terror and Liberalism'' in the aftermath of 9/11, where the majority of Americans sided with Bush in his anti-terror resolutions, including to invade Iraq in the notion that pre-emptive war could be the answer, in a Vietnam Nixonian perspective. Well, to Muslims it sounded like yet another form of Western colonialist episode, and such was the European understanding, so they usually kept away from it. It only galvanized the Islamic world against a perceived new Crusade and the whole world started to be appalled by American interventionism, acting like the world's gendarmes, while interfering with people's sovereignty. Double sided costly...!
Wait a minute. Berman condemned Bush for his compassionate crusaderism, not for "interfering with people's sovereignty." He criticized Bush for not articulating the "inconvenient truth" of Islamic jihad to the international community. Bush instead opted to avoid the issue altogether and declared that "Islam is a religion of peace," and that the U.S. was removing a dictator that disparaged the name of Islam. Bush vigorously pursued the policy of "change the hearts and minds" by going out of his way to placate the Muslim World. No, I hardly think one can confuse Bush's rosy rhetoric with predatory colonialism. One of the primary factors that galvanized world opinion against the War in Iraq was the western Liberal media and the Islamic propaganda machine. It's not difficult to change the hearts and minds of westerners that the U.S. is the vile perpetrator, when they subscribe to multiculturalism/cultural relativism.
The Cat wrote:Here, Mr. Berman is asking both sides to look back to the former values of Western societies, that is Liberal values, inherited from John Locke and the Enlightenment, including its conservative and progressist mild-wings, because the actual polarization of America, each side calling the other 'traitor' isn't promising at all. So, I hope Mr. Berman will be heard, in the name of reason. When I read things like ''liberalism is a mental disease'' I get worried to my bones, since it is exactly what Islam and all totalitarianisms are after for a kill.
Berman makes some good points that I agree with in his article, however some of views are off target and I believe its because he can't reconcile his world view with the war on terrorism. Read this recent article by Berman and tell me if you agree with him:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/opini ... ?th&emc=th" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There is very little I agree with in that article. However, he does make a great observation here:
Western intellectuals without any sort of Middle Eastern background would naturally have manifested an ardent solidarity with their Middle Eastern and Muslim counterparts who stand in the liberal vein — the Muslim free spirits of our own time, who argue in favor of human rights, rational thought (as opposed to dogma), tolerance and an open society.

But that was then. In today’s Middle East, the various radical Islamists, basking in their success, paint their liberal rivals and opponents as traitors to Muslim civilization, stooges of crusader or Zionist aggression. And, weirdly enough, all too many intellectuals in the Western countries have lately assented to those preposterous accusations, in a sanitized version suitable for Western consumption.

Even in the Western countries, quite a few Muslim liberals, the outspoken ones, live today under a threat of assassination, not to mention a reality of character assassination. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-Dutch legislator and writer, is merely an exceptionally valiant example. But instead of enjoying the unstinting support of their non-Muslim colleagues, the Muslim liberals find themselves routinely berated in the highbrow magazines and the universities as deracinated nonentities, alienated from the Muslim world. Or they find themselves pilloried as stooges of the neoconservative conspiracy — quite as if any writer from a Muslim background who fails to adhere to at least a few anti-imperialist or anti-Zionist tenets of the Islamist doctrine must be incapable of thinking his or her own thoughts.


Who exactly are these "western intellectuals" and "highbrow magazines" that ostracize and berate these liberal Muslims (e.g. Ayaan Hirsi Ali), and a assent to the preposterous accusations that Islamists make about them?

Berman won't put a name to them, so I will. They are Western Liberal intellectuals. I would like for Berman to identify one conservative academic or magazine that berates and rebukes Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her views. Just name me one.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" ~Carl Sagan

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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

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Equestrian wrote:Europeans lost their moral fortitude after WWI, and never recovered it. A sense of elite self-loathing filtered down into European society. With the end of the European colonial paradigm came all sorts of liberal movements, two of which manifested into Fascism and Communism. The European's crises of moral confidence was further exasperated after the catastrophe of WWII, and from the ashes emerged the zombies of relativism.
What was the European moral fortitude before WWI? Antisemitism, Eugenics, Inquisition, Colonialism.

Fascism and Communism came out -against- liberal movements. Liberals values were defended by Roosevelt and Churchill.

Liberals values won WWII and that was a... catastrophe? How enlightening...

The 'zombies' of relativism won over the zombies of totalitarianisms. Another 'catastrophe' I guess.
The U.S. suffered the same fate after Vietnam. Chomsky's "baby-boomers" carried the flag of the New Left, which bullied multiculturalism into the class rooms.

Islam is not a culture, it destroyed cultures. That said, are you suggesting that paranoid xenophobia is any better than multiculturalism? Is your own culture so weak that you're afraid of easily loosing it by contact with other ones? I'd rather espouse John F. Kennedy on this: "Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired."

You sound like a ghostly White Supremacist who should rather post in Stormfront than here. It must be true then that the moderate Republicans are an endangered specie, leaving the otherwise valuable GOP to the hands of neo-fascists and far-rightist like Pat Robertson.
The disease of the west is it's lack of moral fortitude, were the Islamic World is absolutely confident in their values.
That the lack of moral fortitude is a Western weakness was also the thinking of the Japanese when they attacked Pearl Harbor. Liberal tolerances and permissiveness aren't a lack of fortitude at all, quite the contrary. In a liberal society, you are free to speak and challenge liberal ways. The contrary wouldn't be true. You'll only find such liberties in -our- liberal societies. That is being -truly- confident. Attacking liberals is like shooting off -your- freedoms one by one. Yes, liberals are nuts since they advocate secularism and the power of the person over the crushing religious backwardness and fascistic hidden feudal agenda. They'd rather say, all along with Buddha, that ''The greatest of all miracles is education''. Frightening indeed... a paranoiac Eden to muster all inferiority complexes!

Confrontation, enmity and hatred, are opposed to the liberal mindset, rather based on compromissions. When facing a totalitarianism, they imagine it as they see themselves. That's not weakness but over confidence in reason. So they always kind of wake-up late, like the USA after Pearl Harbor. But then their determination is second to none. The two world wars are proves enough of that.

That the Islamic World being absolutely confident in their values is just bullying strawman. Look at its feudal economy! It's a glass house built on the sand, a scarecrow by itself, yet an apocalyptic threat if/when with a nuclear arsenal.
I hardly think one can confuse Bush's rosy rhetoric with predatory colonialism. One of the primary factors that galvanized world opinion against the War in Iraq was the western Liberal media and the Islamic propaganda machine. It's not difficult to change the hearts and minds of westerners that the U.S. is the vile perpetrator, when they subscribe to multiculturalism/cultural relativism.
The real solution against Islam totalitarianism is the same than what liberal societies enacted against Communism: another Iron Curtain. Let it sink in its own mess. Then, from within, will emerge others Kemal Atatûrk adopting liberals and secular policy. Just look at the economical collapse of Pakistan while its twin brother, India, is on the rise. The policy to give billions of our taxes to Pakistan, Egypt or Gaza is almost suicidal. We must stop it all, as soon as possible, and let Allah provides for them as He promised...

Trying to force democracy into Islam is predatory, it isn't liberal at all and that's why it failed... Secularism is totally estrange to Islam. In theory, they cannot co-exist but in practice they must, otherwise all Islamic societies fall into utter stagnation in the name of fatalism.
Read this recent article by Berman and tell me if you agree with him
Contrary to Berman, I do not subscribe to any interventionism, not only militarily but also financially. The so-called war against terrorism is rather a war between liberal societies and totalitarian ideologies, of which Islam is the most recent threat. It's a global sinister ideology that must be fought ideologically ($). But this threat is multiplied nowadays by the nuclear arsenal, which Nazis and Commies didn't have.
Who exactly are these "western intellectuals" and "highbrow magazines" that ostracize and berate these liberal Muslims (e.g. Ayaan Hirsi Ali), and a assent to the preposterous accusations that Islamists make about them? Berman won't put a name to them, so I will. They are Western Liberal intellectuals. I would like for Berman to identify one conservative academic or magazine that berates and rebukes Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her views. Just name me one.
You labeled them as 'liberal intellectuals' while they aren't promoting liberal values at all, same for Geert Wilders being banned in England. This is contrary to the basic of liberalism. To deny the right to say that the holocaust didn't happen isn't liberal either, and so forth. Political Correctness isn't Liberal at all. So what are we facing here? Fear and paranoia! Indeed forces against liberalism are manifolds. Scary!

I think that's what Berman is after: to create a militant liberalism shaking up its laid back nature, a revival of its historical basic.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

Pragmatist
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by Pragmatist »

The Cat wrote:
Equestrian wrote:Europeans lost their moral fortitude after WWI, and never recovered it. A sense of elite self-loathing filtered down into European society. With the end of the European colonial paradigm came all sorts of liberal movements, two of which manifested into Fascism and Communism. The European's crises of moral confidence was further exasperated after the catastrophe of WWII, and from the ashes emerged the zombies of relativism.
What was the European moral fortitude before WWI? Antisemitism, Eugenics, Inquisition, Colonialism.

Fascism and Communism came out -against- liberal movements. Liberals values were defended by Roosevelt and Churchill.

Liberals values won WWII and that was a... catastrophe? How enlightening...

The 'zombies' of relativism won over the zombies of totalitarianisms. Another 'catastrophe' I guess.
The U.S. suffered the same fate after Vietnam. Chomsky's "baby-boomers" carried the flag of the New Left, which bullied multiculturalism into the class rooms.

Islam is not a culture, it destroyed cultures. That said, are you suggesting that paranoid xenophobia is any better than multiculturalism? Is your own culture so weak that you're afraid of easily loosing it by contact with other ones? I'd rather espouse John F. Kennedy on this: "Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired."

You sound like a ghostly White Supremacist who should rather post in Stormfront than here. It must be true then that the moderate Republicans are an endangered specie, leaving the otherwise valuable GOP to the hands of neo-fascists and far-rightist like Pat Robertson.
The disease of the west is it's lack of moral fortitude, were the Islamic World is absolutely confident in their values.
That the lack of moral fortitude is a Western weakness was also the thinking of the Japanese when they attacked Pearl Harbor. Liberal tolerances and permissiveness aren't a lack of fortitude at all, quite the contrary. In a liberal society, you are free to speak and challenge liberal ways. The contrary wouldn't be true. You'll only find such liberties in -our- liberal societies. That is being -truly- confident. Attacking liberals is like shooting off -your- freedoms one by one. Yes, liberals are nuts since they advocate secularism and the power of the person over the crushing religious backwardness and fascistic hidden feudal agenda. They'd rather say, all along with Buddha, that ''The greatest of all miracles is education''. Frightening indeed... a paranoiac Eden to muster all inferiority complexes!

Confrontation, enmity and hatred, are opposed to the liberal mindset, rather based on compromissions. When facing a totalitarianism, they imagine it as they see themselves. That's not weakness but over confidence in reason. So they always kind of wake-up late, like the USA after Pearl Harbor. But then their determination is second to none. The two world wars are proves enough of that.

That the Islamic World being absolutely confident in their values is just bullying strawman. Look at its feudal economy! It's a glass house built on the sand, a scarecrow by itself, yet an apocalyptic threat if/when with a nuclear arsenal.
I hardly think one can confuse Bush's rosy rhetoric with predatory colonialism. One of the primary factors that galvanized world opinion against the War in Iraq was the western Liberal media and the Islamic propaganda machine. It's not difficult to change the hearts and minds of westerners that the U.S. is the vile perpetrator, when they subscribe to multiculturalism/cultural relativism.
The real solution against Islam totalitarianism is the same than what liberal societies enacted against Communism: another Iron Curtain. Let it sink in its own mess. Then, from within, will emerge others Kemal Atatûrk adopting liberals and secular policy. Just look at the economical collapse of Pakistan while its twin brother, India, is on the rise. The policy to give billions of our taxes to Pakistan, Egypt or Gaza is almost suicidal. We must stop it all, as soon as possible, and let Allah provides for them as He promised...

Trying to force democracy into Islam is predatory, it isn't liberal at all and that's why it failed... Secularism is totally estrange to Islam. In theory, they cannot co-exist but in practice they must, otherwise all Islamic societies fall into utter stagnation in the name of fatalism.
Read this recent article by Berman and tell me if you agree with him
Contrary to Berman, I do not subscribe to any interventionism, not only militarily but also financially. The so-called war against terrorism is rather a war between liberal societies and totalitarian ideologies, of which Islam is the most recent threat. It's a global sinister ideology that must be fought ideologically ($). But this threat is multiplied nowadays by the nuclear arsenal, which Nazis and Commies didn't have.
Who exactly are these "western intellectuals" and "highbrow magazines" that ostracize and berate these liberal Muslims (e.g. Ayaan Hirsi Ali), and a assent to the preposterous accusations that Islamists make about them? Berman won't put a name to them, so I will. They are Western Liberal intellectuals. I would like for Berman to identify one conservative academic or magazine that berates and rebukes Ayaan Hirsi Ali for her views. Just name me one.
You labeled them as 'liberal intellectuals' while they aren't promoting liberal values at all, same for Geert Wilders being banned in England. This is contrary to the basic of liberalism. To deny the right to say that the holocaust didn't happen isn't liberal either, and so forth. Political Correctness isn't Liberal at all. So what are we facing here? Fear and paranoia! Indeed forces against liberalism are manifolds. Scary!

I think that's what Berman is after: to create a militant liberalism shaking up its laid back nature, a revival of its historical basic.
I think Winston Churchill must be turning in his grave when he hears misguided, deluded ignorant people calling him a LIBERAL that is one thing he most certainly was NOT. Western Democratic values were what he defended NOT lily livered everyone is equal Multi Culti, moral equivalent, Liberal BS.
Does a God create you simply to punish you in Hellfire well PREDESTINATING evil, illogical, sadistic allah DOES.

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The Cat
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by The Cat »

Pragmatist wrote:I think Winston Churchill must be turning in his grave when he hears misguided, deluded ignorant people calling him a LIBERAL that is one thing he most certainly was NOT. Western Democratic values were what he defended NOT lily livered everyone is equal Multi Culti, moral equivalent, Liberal BS.
Silly you, as usual: Winston Churchill was defending Western liberal values, which includes Democracy.

Liberalism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that considers individual liberty and equality to be the most important political goals.

Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Within liberalism, there are various streams of thought which compete over the use of the term "liberal" and may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for constitutional liberalism, which encompasses support for: freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, an individual's right to private property, and a transparent system of government. All liberals, as well as some adherents of other political ideologies, support some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.

Liberalism appears in two broad forms: Classical liberalism, which emphasizes the importance of individual liberty, and social liberalism which emphasizes some kind of redistribution of wealth.[7] Those who identify themselves as classical liberals, to distinguish themselves from social liberals, oppose all government regulation of business and the economy, with the exception of laws against force and fraud, and support free market laissez-faire capitalism. In Europe, the term "liberalism" is closer to the economic outlook of American economic conservatives. In the United States, "liberalism" is most often used in the sense of social liberalism, which supports some regulation of business and other economic interventionism which they believe to be in the public interest.

Liberalism has its roots in the Age of Enlightenment and rejects many foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as the Divine Right of Kings, hereditary status, established religion, and economic protectionism. Liberals argued that economic systems based on free markets are more efficient and generate more prosperity.

The first modern liberal state was the United States of America, founded on the principle that "all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to insure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This said, much of early liberal thought originated in and influenced the politics of The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by Pragmatist »

The Cat wrote:
Pragmatist wrote:I think Winston Churchill must be turning in his grave when he hears misguided, deluded ignorant people calling him a LIBERAL that is one thing he most certainly was NOT. Western Democratic values were what he defended NOT lily livered everyone is equal Multi Culti, moral equivalent, Liberal BS.
Silly you, as usual: Winston Churchill was defending Western liberal values, which includes Democracy.

Liberalism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Liberalism is a broad class of political philosophies that considers individual liberty and equality to be the most important political goals.

Liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. Within liberalism, there are various streams of thought which compete over the use of the term "liberal" and may propose very different policies, but they are generally united by their support for constitutional liberalism, which encompasses support for: freedom of thought and speech, limitations on the power of governments, the rule of law, an individual's right to private property, and a transparent system of government. All liberals, as well as some adherents of other political ideologies, support some variant of the form of government known as liberal democracy, with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law.

Liberalism appears in two broad forms: Classical liberalism, which emphasizes the importance of individual liberty, and social liberalism which emphasizes some kind of redistribution of wealth.[7] Those who identify themselves as classical liberals, to distinguish themselves from social liberals, oppose all government regulation of business and the economy, with the exception of laws against force and fraud, and support free market laissez-faire capitalism. In Europe, the term "liberalism" is closer to the economic outlook of American economic conservatives. In the United States, "liberalism" is most often used in the sense of social liberalism, which supports some regulation of business and other economic interventionism which they believe to be in the public interest.

Liberalism has its roots in the Age of Enlightenment and rejects many foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as the Divine Right of Kings, hereditary status, established religion, and economic protectionism. Liberals argued that economic systems based on free markets are more efficient and generate more prosperity.

The first modern liberal state was the United States of America, founded on the principle that "all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to insure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This said, much of early liberal thought originated in and influenced the politics of The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and France.

Not silly at all CAT and you know it Winston would have been disgusted to have his name associated with woolly, left wing, multi culti, moral equivalent, PC, Yuman Rites spouting LIBERALS at all and whats more you KNOW it but as usual you are trying to fudge and obfuscate. And its just this sort of muddled Liberal thinking which has destroyed Europe and is now poised under Obama the LIAR messiah to destroy the USA too.
Does a God create you simply to punish you in Hellfire well PREDESTINATING evil, illogical, sadistic allah DOES.

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RichardTheLionheart
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by RichardTheLionheart »

Churchill was an MP for the Liberal Party.
But please understand this is the British type of early 20th Century Liberalism and not modern American Liberalism.
Ex-Muslims needed to answer my questions: viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4519 Serious posts only.

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The Cat
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by The Cat »

RichardTheLionheart wrote:Churchill was an MP for the Liberal Party.
But please understand this is the British type of early 20th Century Liberalism and not modern American Liberalism.
My point was that Churchill (and Roosevelt) defended Western liberal values against Fascism and Communism.

But I also found something interesting from its liberal period
http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pag ... pageid=707" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
When asked why he left the Conservative Party, he retorts that he did not leave the Conservative Party or his principles. Rather, the Conservative Party deserted its principles and left him.

Churchill warms to the task, carrying his Liberal colours, and in June 1905, at the Cobden Club, held within the auspices of the Midland Club in Manchester (the home of Free Trade) he launches a scathing attack on his former Conservative colleagues. The words today sound familiar. "We know perfectly well what to expect ... [the Tory Party] has become the party of great vested interest; corruption at home, aggression to cover it up abroad; trickery of tariff juggles, tyranny of party machine; sentiment by the bucketful, patronage by the pint; openhand at the public exchequer; open door at the public house; dear food for the millions ... and ... cheap labour by the millions...' (...)

My admiration for Churchill deepened even further after I happened across a speech he gave in his successful by-election in 1908 at Dundee (...). The speech was made during Churchill's most enlightened period, when he ran flat out under Liberal colours. The speech also clarified for me my youthful confusion when I was first attracted to the siren song of Socialism. Churchill, with powerful clarity, boldly contrasted Liberalism and Socialism with these words which have echoed down through the decades, with even greater resonance.

'Liberalism is not Socialism, and never will be. There is a great gulf fixed. It is not a gulf of method, it is a gulf of principle. ... Socialism seeks to pull down wealth. Liberalism seeks to raise up poverty. Socialism would destroy private interests; Liberalism would preserve private interests in the only way in which they can be safely and justly preserved, namely by reconciling them with public right. Socialism would kill enterprise; Liberalism would rescue enterprise from the trammels of privilege and preference ... Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capital, Liberalism attacks monopoly." (...)

Viscount Simon, a close and lifelong contemporary, wrote after Churchill became Prime Minister again in 1951: 'At the root of his many sided nature ... remains the essence of Liberalism. His tolerance, his sympathy with the oppressed and the underdog, his courage in withstanding clamour, his belief ... in the individual ... all derive from a heart, a head [and] made him a Liberal statesman ... his Liberal views were not a mere pose, so that he has carried his Liberal temper with him throughout his life..."
What I underline here is the principle of being liberal and that this principle covers both its conservative and progressive wings.
Paul Berman's book ponder over the fact that only liberalism can truly stand against totalitarianisms such as Islam and others.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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Equestrian
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by Equestrian »

The Cat wrote:Fascism and Communism came out -against- liberal movements. Liberals values were defended by Roosevelt and Churchill.
Liberals values won WWII and that was a... catastrophe? How enlightening...

The 'zombies' of relativism won over the zombies of totalitarianisms. Another 'catastrophe' I guess.
The word 'liberal' can have different meanings depending on it's context. For instance "liberalism" and "Liberalism" do not carry the same meaning, as such "liberal values" does not necessarily denote "Liberal values." Liberal (big 'L') and conservative designate particular political ideologies within the framework of liberalism. The meanings and the ideologies have changed over time and correspond with the political spectrum, which itself is redefined over time.

By "liberal movement," I mean movements of reform; movements that rebelled against the traditional European monarchies. Movements that were extraordinarily popular and appealed largely to the proletariat. Communism and Fascism were a product of the socialistic movements which were led by charismatic men that solicited populism ("the people" versus "the elites"). They appealed particularly to the working class. These movements began with good intentions.

This is why you hear today's conservatives argue that we cannot base our policies and legislation solely on good intentions.
The Cat wrote:What was the European moral fortitude before WWI? Antisemitism, Eugenics, Inquisition, Colonialism.
I find it interesting that you appraise Europe by its lowest points, as this attests to the western self-loathing of which I argue. With eugenics came rationalism and incredible advances in science. The Inquisition was paralleled by the Renaissance, the invention of the printing press, the discovery of America, the defeat of the Ottoman empire at Vienna, which ended the Islamic invasion. With colonialism followed tremendous acts of charity and humanitarian works by Christian missionaries.

Europe was all these things, both the good and the bad. However, it is the underlying moral principles that allowed the west to distinguish the good from the bad. By the loss of moral fortitude, I mean the loss of confidence in the essential principle from which we judge.

The Cat wrote:Islam is not a culture, it destroyed cultures. That said, are you suggesting that paranoid xenophobia is any better than multiculturalism? Is your own culture so weak that you're afraid of easily loosing it by contact with other ones? I'd rather espouse John F. Kennedy on this: "Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired."
Islam is a belief system that has in it developed laws, institutions and norms. It is the foundation of Islamic culture, which makes your accusations a self-lampoon. Curious how you praised Berman's article in your previous post, and now you reject his analysis on the source of the West's denial. I think the problem lies in your misconception of multiculturalism, which Berman refers to in his article. Multiculturalism is rooted in moral relativism. Moral relativism is the idea that there is no universal moral standards; that all values, however different, are equal. One who holds to moral relativism does not have the capital to claim that Islam is immoral, bad or barbaric, as all values are equal.

JFK was advancing pluralism, not multiculturalism. Multiculturalism breeds intolerance in free societies.
The Cat wrote:You sound like a ghostly White Supremacist who should rather post in Stormfront than here. It must be true then that the moderate Republicans are an endangered specie, leaving the otherwise valuable GOP to the hands of neo-fascists and far-rightist like Pat Robertson.
How do you know I'm white? Why would you even assume that? This line of thinking is the product of multiculturalism. You view the world through a prism of race. You've admitted an admiration for Ibn Warraq, how is his language any less supremest than mine?

Please take the time to listen to Ibn Warraq's argument:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwcf0CpqPvI" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The Cat wrote:You labeled them as 'liberal intellectuals' while they aren't promoting liberal values at all, same for Geert Wilders being banned in England. This is contrary to the basic of liberalism. To deny the right to say that the holocaust didn't happen isn't liberal either, and so forth. Political Correctness isn't Liberal at all. So what are we facing here? Fear and paranoia! Indeed forces against liberalism are manifolds. Scary!
Excellent. However, I named the intellectuals and syndicated authors as Liberals (big 'L'), who espouse the modern Liberal ideology. And you are correct in pointing out that they actually stand against the principles of liberalism. Political correctness is not a liberal principle, I certainly agree, however things such as multiculturalism, moral relativism, class-warfare, and Political Correctness are the basis of Liberal ideology.
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" ~Carl Sagan

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The Cat
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by The Cat »

Equestrian wrote:
The Cat wrote:Fascism and Communism came out -against- liberal movements. Liberals values were defended by Roosevelt and Churchill.
Liberals values won WWII and that was a... catastrophe? How enlightening...

The 'zombies' of relativism won over the zombies of totalitarianisms. Another 'catastrophe' I guess.
The word 'liberal' can have different meanings depending on it's context. For instance "liberalism" and "Liberalism" do not carry the same meaning, as such "liberal values" does not necessarily denote "Liberal values." Liberal (big 'L') and conservative designate particular political ideologies within the framework of liberalism. The meanings and the ideologies have changed over time and correspond with the political spectrum, which itself is redefined over time.

By "liberal movement," I mean movements of reform; movements that rebelled against the traditional European monarchies. Movements that were extraordinarily popular and appealed largely to the proletariat. Communism and Fascism were a product of the socialistic movements which were led by charismatic men that solicited populism ("the people" versus "the elites"). They appealed particularly to the working class. These movements began with good intentions.
All movements of reforms aren't liberals, far from that. You keep on making false analogies and wrong assumptions throughout your posts. The liberal movements didn't appealed largely to the proletariat, a notion that only began with Karl Marx. My post above, quoting Churchill, shows that he understood the difference between Liberalism and Socialism much better than you'll ever do: ''Socialism exalts the rule; Liberalism exalts the man. Socialism attacks capital, Liberalism attacks monopoly."

Now, please -prove- to me that:
Liberalism (L) isn't liberalism (l).
Liberal values (L) aren't liberal values (l).
Or is it from your own personal dictionary, which was written in the third heaven, under the Big Juju influence?
Equestrian wrote:
The Cat wrote:What was the European moral fortitude before WWI? Antisemitism, Eugenics, Inquisition, Colonialism.
I find it interesting that you appraise Europe by its lowest points, as this attests to the western self-loathing of which I argue. With eugenics came rationalism and incredible advances in science. The Inquisition was paralleled by the Renaissance, the invention of the printing press, the discovery of America, the defeat of the Ottoman empire at Vienna, which ended the Islamic invasion. With colonialism followed tremendous acts of charity and humanitarian works by Christian missionaries.

Europe was all these things, both the good and the bad. However, it is the underlying moral principles that allowed the west to distinguish the good from the bad. By the loss of moral fortitude, I mean the loss of confidence in the essential principle from which we judge.
Another systematic false analogy from you: I didn't self-loathed Europe by itself. I've loathed YOUR statements and examples.

Quoting wikipedia on Eugenics : ''Eugenics was an international scientific, political and moral ideology and movement which was at its height in first half of the 20th century and was largely abandoned with the end of World War II. The movement often pursued pseudoscientific notions of racial supremacy and purity.'' It became shamefully obsolete with the discovery of DNA, in 1950.

And you're aligning Eugenics on per with rationalism and incredible advances in science!!!
The Inquisition with... Renaissance, and Colonialism with... tremendous acts of charity!!!
From this, the West was ''allowed to distinguish the good from the bad'' until it lost its fortitude!!!
Indeed, the Goa Inquisition would underlined the ''humanitarian works by Christian missionaries''
http://www.christianaggression.org/item ... 1111142225" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Am I really reading such crap?
Equestrian wrote:
The Cat wrote:Islam is not a culture, it destroyed cultures. That said, are you suggesting that paranoid xenophobia is any better than multiculturalism? Is your own culture so weak that you're afraid of easily loosing it by contact with other ones? I'd rather espouse John F. Kennedy on this: "Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired."
Islam is a belief system that has in it developed laws, institutions and norms. It is the foundation of Islamic culture, which makes your accusations a self-lampoon. Curious how you praised Berman's article in your previous post, and now you reject his analysis on the source of the West's denial. I think the problem lies in your misconception of multiculturalism, which Berman refers to in his article. Multiculturalism is rooted in moral relativism. Moral relativism is the idea that there is no universal moral standards; that all values, however different, are equal. One who holds to moral relativism does not have the capital to claim that Islam is immoral, bad or barbaric, as all values are equal.

JFK was advancing pluralism, not multiculturalism. Multiculturalism breeds intolerance in free societies.
JFK talked about diversity as the US is basically a blend of mixed cultures from founder immigrants. Multiculturalism is a -basic- in America from the first, which cannot be said about Europe. I think that the US is the best possible example that multiculturalism works.

To equate it with moral relativism is -again- a fallacy of false analogy of which you make a specialty.
How on earth could we say that cannibalism is as worthy as meat eating under any 'moral relativism'?

And, again, Islam is NOT a culture, it is fundamentally a nihilistic ideology wherein this world has little importance and belongs but to Allah.
Quoting Ali Sina (Islamophobia): ''Islam does not have a culture. What you mistake as Islamic culture is the culture of the civilized countries that Islam subdued. That culture is destroyed now. Is there any reference to Algebra, Chemistry, Astronomy, architecture, Medicine or philosophy in the Quran? Does Islam encourage poetry, sculpture, painting, dance or music? These are the foundations of any culture and Islam has nothing to do with them. Many of the exponents of these sciences and arts in Islamic countries were apostates.''
Equestrian wrote:
The Cat wrote:You sound like a ghostly White Supremacist who should rather post in Stormfront than here. It must be true then that the moderate Republicans are an endangered specie, leaving the otherwise valuable GOP to the hands of neo-fascists and far-rightist like Pat Robertson.
How do you know I'm white? Why would you even assume that? This line of thinking is the product of multiculturalism. You view the world through a prism of race. You've admitted an admiration for Ibn Warraq, how is his language any less supremest than mine?

Please take the time to listen to Ibn Warraq's argument:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kwcf0CpqPvI" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
False analogy number X: multiculturalism is not a product of ''seeing the world through the prism of race''.
And, I've never admitted an admiration for Ibn Warraq. I've quoted him once. Will you ever get something right?

I've watch the video. He praises nowadays Western liberal values, while you stated: ''Europeans lost their moral fortitude after WWI, and never recovered it. (...) The European's crises of moral confidence was further exasperated after the catastrophe of WWII, and from the ashes emerged the zombies of relativism.'' There's a world of difference in your, yet again, false analogy number Xx.
Equestrian wrote:
The Cat wrote:You labeled them as 'liberal intellectuals' while they aren't promoting liberal values at all, same for Geert Wilders being banned in England. This is contrary to the basic of liberalism. To deny the right to say that the holocaust didn't happen isn't liberal either, and so forth. Political Correctness isn't Liberal at all. So what are we facing here? Fear and paranoia! Indeed forces against liberalism are manifolds. Scary!
Excellent. However, I named the intellectuals and syndicated authors as Liberals (big 'L'), who espouse the modern Liberal ideology. And you are correct in pointing out that they actually stand against the principles of liberalism. Political correctness is not a liberal principle, I certainly agree, however things such as multiculturalism, moral relativism, class-warfare, and Political Correctness are the basis of Liberal ideology.
So, Political Correctness is not a liberal principle but is the basis of Liberal ideology (!!?)
Your capital 'L' is of your own fabulist mind. With such, you can come up with whatever.
Whenever one starts to make-up his own definitions, we're up to a sundry mess...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_liberalism" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Classical liberalism (Gladstonian) is labeled conservative (ex. Margaret Thatcher).
and Social liberalism is labeled center-left or progressive (ex. Tony Blair).
One pole is thus meant to check the abuses of the other on its own side, which is healthy.

BUT, social liberalism isn't social democracy (plain leftist, where the word 'liberal' is absent).

So, do NOT mix terms like when associating liberalism and socialism. It's no better that to associate the Conservatives with the likes of Pat Robertson. This is why I've underlined that the actual polarization of tendencies aren't promising at all, without a balancing, liberal, center.

What Islam is slowly eroding in Europe is our basic liberal commitment. This is what's happening in the banning of Geert Wilders in Britain. Coming up to say that liberal commitment is itself the problem is a semantic huge mistake, designed to rise back some neo-fascism.


ps. I will not answer your posts if they keep on being loaded with nothing but logical fallacies.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

THE PHANTOM
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by THE PHANTOM »

"Equestrian"
The meanings and the ideologies have changed over time and correspond with the political spectrum, which itself is redefined over time.
Since everything is relative, I agree with your statement.
By "liberal movement," I mean movements of reform; movements that rebelled against the traditional European monarchies. Movements that were extraordinarily popular and appealed largely to the proletariat. Communism and Fascism were a product of the socialistic movements which were led by charismatic men that solicited populism ("the people" versus "the elites"). They appealed particularly to the working class. These movements began with good intentions.
Can we say that The Magna Carta obtained from King John of England, was a liberal movement?
With eugenics came rationalism
So far, rationalism is only confined to the liberal-minded people, and not to the religious-minded.
and incredible advances in science.
Though I'm for science, still, It's not a thing to be euphoric about, for it has its collateral effects in almost every sphere.
The Inquisition was paralleled by the Renaissance,
That catered only to the elites, but not to the downtrodden populace of that age.
the invention of the printing press,
Which also favoured the propagation of dogmatic doctrines.
the discovery of America,
By subjugating the natives and imposing fear complex in them by injecting heaven and hell in their minds. So, it's not actually something to be proud of.
the defeat of the Ottoman empire at Vienna, which ended the Islamic invasion.
But not the psychic Islamic invasion.
With colonialism followed tremendous acts of charity and humanitarian works by Christian missionaries.
A subtle machine for exploitation.
Europe was all these things, both the good and the bad.
And also the ugly.
However, it is the underlying moral principles that allowed the west to distinguish the good from the bad.
Probably. But did the west question that, what was good for them, maybe was bad to others ( like colonialism) ?
By the loss of moral fortitude, I mean the loss of confidence in the essential principle from which we judge.
I do hope that our judgement of what is essential, is right.
Islam is a belief system that has in it developed laws, institutions and norms. It is the foundation of Islamic culture,
It is the foundation of " Islamic religion," not of the middle eastern cultures, in which later they overlapped with each other, and we overall judge it as the so-called Islam culture.
which makes your accusations a self-lampoon. Curious how you praised Berman's article in your previous post, and now you reject his analysis on the source of the West's denial. I think the problem lies in your misconception of multiculturalism,
Or yours? Most cultures intermingle with each other and the resultant of this, is a new culture. This is how the society shapes and it is a fact. In the present Americas the cultures that the immigrants carried with them are slowly being assimilated by the existing society, thus the emergence of another culture. Do you think that the Romans of today are the same with the Romans of the imperial time?
which Berman refers to in his article. Multiculturalism is rooted in moral relativism. Moral relativism is the idea that there is no universal moral standards; that all values, however different, are equal. One who holds to moral relativism does not have the capital to claim that Islam is immoral, bad or barbaric, as all values are equal.
Well, I don't totally agree with this
JFK was advancing pluralism, not multiculturalism.
How did you know that ? However, pluralism is doing well in Switzerland, and multiculturalism is also doing well in Nepal.
Multiculturalism breeds intolerance in free societies.
[/quote]Religion breeds intolerance in free societies.

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Mindstorm
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by Mindstorm »

The Cat wrote:Your capital 'L' is of your own fabulist mind. With such, you can come up with whatever.
Whenever one starts to make-up his own definitions, we're up to a sundry mess...
Incorrect. It has been used for as long as I've been in the forums. Is it used regularly -- not is some of the circles I travel in. But it definitely has been around since I've been posting in forums.

Also, I believe Canada uses the small (L) in liberal to to equate to modern liberal.

And using your Wikipedia pages it looks like Australia uses the small (L) to represent classical liberalism. I haven't posted much --or at all-- in an Australian forum so I don't know it that is true.

American liberalism—that is, liberalism in the United States of America—is a broad political and philosophical mindset, favoring individual liberty, and opposing restrictions on liberty, whether they come from established religion, from government regulation, from the existing class structure, or from multi-national corporations. [1] Liberalism in America takes various forms, ranging from classical liberalism to social liberalism to neoliberalism.

The United States was founded on classical liberal republican principles. [2] The United States Declaration of Independence speaks of "unalienable rights" to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", and asserts that government may exist only with the "consent of the governed"; the Preamble to the Constitution enumerates among its purposes to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity"; the Bill of Rights contains numerous measures guaranteeing individual freedom, both from the authority of the state and from the tyranny of the majority; and the Reconstruction Amendments after the Civil War freed the slaves and (at least in principle) extended to them and to their descendants the same rights as other Americans. [3]

The term liberalism in America today most often refers to Modern American liberalism [social liberalism -- Mindstorm], a political current that reached its high-water marks with Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. It is a form of social liberalism, combining support for government social programs, progressive taxation, and moderate Keynesianism with a broad concept of rights, which sometimes include a right to education and health care. However, this is by no means the only contemporary American political current that draws heavily on the liberal tradition. Libertarianism is often said to be generally resembling, though not necessarily identical, to American classical liberalism, which advocates the laissez-faire doctrines of political and economic liberalism, equality before the law, indvidual freedom and self-reliance, which is in contrast to social liberalism's concern with state-provided equality of opportunity.

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Mindstorm
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by Mindstorm »

The Cat wrote:I think that the US is the best possible example that multiculturalism works.
Wrong. It is because we demand assimilation. But that is now being watered down by the bleeding heart liberals.

Multiculturalism has been a failure the world over. If you had been reading the posts in this forum --over time-- you would have realized that. More European countries are shifting to the center, or at the very least, dumping the notion that multiculturalism is some type of utopian standard.

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The Cat
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by The Cat »

Minstorm to The Cat.
Mindstorm wrote:
The Cat wrote:Your capital 'L' is of your own fabulist mind. With such, you can come up with whatever.
Whenever one starts to make-up his own definitions, we're up to a sundry mess...
Incorrect. It has been used for as long as I've been in the forums. Is it used regularly -- not is some of the circles I travel in. But it definitely has been around since I've been posting in forums.

Also, I believe Canada uses the small (L) in liberal to to equate to modern liberal.

And using your Wikipedia pages it looks like Australia uses the small (L) to represent classical liberalism. I haven't posted much --or at all-- in an Australian forum so I don't know it that is true.
I don't care what it could mean in any messy forum. I will only consider what can be formal definition, like what you came with about American Liberalism from wikipedia. Confusion only carries improper meanings so that justice of arguments can never be establish.

My point is that Classical liberalism and Social liberalism are both defending -liberal- values.
And the later shouldn't be confused with Social (leftist) Democracy, as it is too many times.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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Mindstorm
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by Mindstorm »

The Cat wrote: I don't care what it could mean in any messy forum. I will only consider what can be formal definition, like what you came with about American Liberalism from wikipedia. Confusion only gets things unanswerable so that justice of arguments can never be establish.

My point is that Classical liberalism and Social liberalism are both defending -liberal- values.
And the later shouldn't be confused with Social (leftist) Democracy, as it is too many times.
Well, that's your problem, because we are talking real world. People post articles in these forums -- articles that talk about the small and tall (L). Besides, Wikipedia is a site that anyone can post to. Even by their standards and can see how many different meaning the users come up with. That is why we need to talk real world.

My American Liberalism didn't come from Wikipedia. Perhaps they got it from Wikipedia.

Social liberalism = leftist loons. No two ways about it.

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Mindstorm
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by Mindstorm »

Btw, I got the small (L) usage from Wikipedia -- regarding Canada and Australia.

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The Cat
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Re: Terror and Liberalism -Paul Berman

Post by The Cat »

Mindstorm wrote: Social liberalism = leftist loons. No two ways about it.
Classical liberalism = fascist loons. No two ways about it. See?

As far as I am concern I respect BOTH alternatives, so long as it is liberal.
Authority has the same etymological root as authenticity.

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