Saturday, February 23, 2008



Of course, it is not an 'excuse' (a careless word in this context) that Christians did horrible things in the past (and, by the way, they're still doing them).

It should be clear that my recitation is a plea for some understanding and applied rationality.

The point is that all societies change and develop over time, responses to healthy economic growth.

Biblical Judaism included human sacrifice (eg, Abraham ready to kill his son in response to 'voices'), as did Homer's Greece (the tale of the cyclops). Does anyone not see they've changed a bit?

This is one of the most fundamental truths of economic development.

Even with a relatively modern country like America, it took about two centuries to achieve something resembling democracy and respect for human rights.

Early America burnt the pope in effigy every year. 'Witches' were burnt. Whole villages or neighborhoods of blacks were slaughtered. The same for aboriginals.

About one percent of Virginia's population could vote. Women only got the vote in 1920, the Senate wasn't even elected until near the same time.

Right into the 1930s and 40s, families in the Deep South went for Sunday picnics at lynchings of black men. Great family fun.

Right into the 1940s, women could not have bank accounts on their own or take loans without a husband's co-signing.

Stop demanding that people from the Third World behave exactly as those in the First. It's ridiculous.

And if you want backwardness, there's plenty still in other parts of the world. They burn offending women alive in India. Look at the woman sentenced to rape by all the village men in Pakistan. Look at the police who go out at night and rape and shoot people, including children, in South America and Mexico.

My God, there isn't enough time to cite all the horror and injustice.

I'm not saying, again as should be obvious, that no one should criticize backward practices or try not to change them, but there are useful ways of doing this and poor, destructive and pointless ones.

We're getting almost nothing but the latter in regard to the Muslim world. And we have a complete ignoring of the fine qualities of so many Muslims, millions of them. And, what is more, now is a time when we need understanding.

The United States could have done more for real change by dropping dollar bills over Afghanistan or Iraq instead of bombs (it would have promoted growth), but dropping bombs seems to be a national pastime.

Killing 600,000, almost all innocents, in Iraq was sure civilized, wasn't it? Wrecking the one Arab country on the edge of modernity made sense, didn't it?

Women had more rights in Iraq than about any other Arab state. Hussein was a secularist, giving only lip service and cultural deference to Islam.

America has created what will probably be three warring mini-states now. That's sure a way to advance the cause of humanity, isn't it?

And all this poking at Muslim customs is like war propaganda supporting the insane American crusade, or at best it is unexamined prejudice. Hijabs and musical recommendations hurt no one. When modernity is embraced, as it most certainly will be, these things will fade.

Murder and terror though receive no excuses, but condemn the murders and not their fellow religionists. And condemn them when they wear suits and carry laptops and live in houses with three-car garages, too.