Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Truth Unsupported By Evidence

A certain Dr. Jessica Stern of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government was overheard to opine about the typical American bigoted hypocritical double-standard duplicitous hypocrisy of Americans: Islamic clerics are condemned for their understandable and prudent silence regarding their coreligionists, whereas those stinking Jews and phony Christians get a free pass about all the violence committed by them all, the pigs.

I quote from memory. Oh bother. All right then, I'll look it up. Sheesh. Quoth the sage, "I've heard a lot of bashing of Muslim clerics for not stepping up to the plate and condemning extremist violence. But Catholic priests are not stepping up to condemn those who kill abortion doctors … [and] rabbis are not condemning the violent settlers' movement." Hitching up her bluestockings, she continued with the shocking, simply shocking revelation that "all three major monotheistic religions have produced violence."

Well. QED. Who can contend with the overwhelming power of such reasoning? I am bowled over, brought low, made as nothing upon the earth. My name shall be dust.

When pressed and pressed again for some specific example of these famously violent Jew settlers, she cited the infamous Yigal Amir, who in 1995 assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. Alas for the etiolated Harvard logothete, Amir's crime was condemned by every segment of Jewish society -- Knesset politicos, rabbis Liberal, Reformed and Orthodox (both Ultra and Regular-flavor), kosher butchers, mohels, accountants, agents (both entertainment and real-estate), pawn brokers, diamond merchants... Oy. The list is endless. You know ... Jews.

(A more apposite example of Jew violence -- the citing of which would have required actual informed opinion rather than visceral bias -- would have been that of Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who on Feb. 25, 1994, entered the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and gunned down 29 Moslems before killing himself. Good riddance. Um ... universally condemned.)

Maybe Ms. Stern is onto one of those intuitive truths, though, that we know must be true even if the evidence doesn't quite entirely favor it. That's the trouble with Western Civilization. It's so linear. Something a little more ... oh, I don't know ... arabesque might be in order.

As for the Catholics, well, they're all so primitive, with their idols and incense and prayer and suchlike. Islam only has four gods, Allah and his three daughters. That's much more logical than all them demiurges them Papists got. But I digress from the pure-flowing stream of Ms. Dr. Stern's crystalline logic, as when she reminds us of how the streets flow with the blood of abortionists, shed by the Christian ravening extremists which is most of them.

Bill Donohue, however, of the Catholic League, has taken the bother to point out a few annoying facts. Dang those pesky things. Facts, I mean ... but Catholics too, no doubt. Donohue -- sounds like a dirty mick to me. Anyway, this drunken potato-eating paddy points out that the last abortionist per se to be killed in the US was in 1998. Well, he said this before this year's May 31 dispatching to Hell of George "Babie" Tiller, the Olympic-level abortionist.

But prior to Dr. Killer, it had been, let's see, 13.5 million abortions enjoyed for your protection. Of such killings -- I mean of abortionists, not abortuses -- Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles stated that they make "a mockery of everything we stand for." Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston also denounced them, and ordered a moratorium on sidewalk protest vigils outside abortion centers. In New York, Cardinal John O'Connor said, "If anyone has an urge to kill an abortionist, kill me instead." But they're Catholic priests, and therefore child molesters. Who are they to speak.

Forgive my sarcasm. I see that I 've become inappropriate, and off point. For the initial idea was that religious leaders of each of three monotheisms do not condemn the bad acts of those who share their confession. And we see that this is so easily refuted that the original statement amounts to a lie.

It may well be that the leaders of two of the three religions under discussion here feel safe to take such stands and make such public statements, because they feel no grave threat. Freedom of expression is so ingrained within us that our habitual forthright manner, adopted with such insouciance, in some other culture would be boldness. Freedom is the outgrowth of a Judeo-Christian root -- of Jews and Christians. We might try, out of politeness, to graft Islam into this monotheistic tree, but it is of a different order, as we know from its fruit.

Moslem leaders and laity dare not speak out against the monsters of Islam. Political courage is rooted out in that world. Yes, it's a sweeping generalization, and so untrue. But it's true. We must pity those who belong to societies that require either fanaticism or cowardice. But until such societies outgrow this adolescent stage, they cannot be judged by the same standard, and cannot be adjudged as the equal of mature cultures, which nurture healthy debate and tolerate obnoxious opinion.

No one is more dogmatic, arrogant and intolerant than a teenager. Except, of course, dogmatic, arrogant and intolerant adults. These, however, would be adults only in the sense that anal worms are adults -- capable of reproducing. How more pleasant, the world, if they didn't. Which brings us back to good Dr. Stern.

Opinion should be informed by fact. Social stature should be supported by integrity. The urge to fair-mindedness should be tempered by a demand for self-examination. It is permissible to be wrong. I'm wrong quite frequently. I must be. I invite correction, however. I expect it would be the same with you. We understand something of the complexity of the world. And we were sufficiently chastened in our youth, that now our conviction has been mollified by humility.

How surprising it is then to come across people, and so many of them, who burn with such assurance of their assumptions that they would burn, figuratively -- or literally behead -- another. I am a man of skewed but unshaken faith. I don't quite fit into God's scheme of things, but I know that's my fault. How sad, those who think that they share God's secrets.

Here's a secret I know: the universe barely exists, but it exists regardless of our belief or agreement. If this is so, there are only two acceptable philosophical imperatives -- of self-defense, and self-sacrifice. I find no place, here, for oppression, and none for moral equivalence. Not all things are equal. Of the three gods of the three monotheisms, at most only two can be the God of this place. I find no place, here, for jihad -- which is not self-defense, and not self-sacrifice. It is oppression.

So, Dr. Stern, I must disagree with your premise, of moral equivalence. Your axioms are alien to me. They seem dishonest and irrational. I cannot respect them, and because of that I cannot respect you. But you don't need my respect. You need my civility -- and if you count the calm expression of unpleasant opinions as falling within the category of things that are civil, then you have everything you need, and will get, from me. That, after a goodly measure of initial sarcasm, just by way of introduction.

As for my hateful name-calling, about those dirty Jews and those stinking Catholics, I'm sure my bigotry is much worse than Ms. Stern's. She, after all, is only a bigot against her own culture. That's much smarter and more honest than hating outsiders. Stern. Stern. Sounds like a Jew name. D'ya think she's a Jewess? That would explain so much.


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