Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ayaan Again

During the Motoon uproar last year the general response was that free speech should be defended but the cartoons should be condemned. I argued that the cartoons are in essence true and should be defended not grudgingly but with the full vigor that one fights for the truth as well as fighting for the right to speak one’s mind. Almost no one talked about “fighting for the truth” as if that were a secondary matter. I found a like-minded soul:

“I am supposed to apologize for saying the prophet is a pervert and a tyrant …[b]ut that is apologizing for the truth."

Indeed! Who says such a simple and obvious truth?

“Ms. Hirsi Ali was born in 1969 in Mogadishu--into, as she puts it, "the Islamic civilization, as far as you can call it a civilization." … The culture that I came to and I live in now is not perfect," Ms. Hirsi Ali says. "But this culture, the West, the product of the Enlightenment, is the best humanity has ever achieved."”

What ails Islam? Is it poverty, lack of education, lack of democracy?

“"Immediately after the murder," Ms. Hirsi Ali says, "we learned Theo's killer had access to education, he had learned the language, he had taken welfare. He made it very clear he knew what democracy meant, he knew what liberalism was, and he consciously rejected it. . . . He said, 'I have an alternative framework. It's Islam. It's the Quran.' "”

Surely a fighter for woman’s rights like Ayaan will be a champion of the left. But wait:

“Many liberals loathe her for disrupting an imagined "diversity" consensus: It is absurd, she argues, to pretend that cultures are all equal, or all equally desirable. … "The multiculturalism theology, like all theologies, is cruel, is wrongheaded, and is unarguable because it is an utter dogmatism. . . . Minorities are exempted from the obligations of the rest of society, so they don't improve. . . . With this theory you limit them, you freeze their culture, you keep them in place."”

Surely conservatives would welcome her as a champion of the West:

“But conservatives, and others, might be reasonably unnerved by her dim view of religion. She does not believe that Islam has been "hijacked" by fanatics, but that fanaticism is intrinsic in Islam itself: "Islam, even Islam in its nonviolent form, is dangerous." … This worldview has led certain critics to dismiss Ms. Hirsi Ali as a secular extremist. "I have my ideas and my views," she says, "and I want to argue them. It is our obligation to look at things critically."”

Well that might have alienated D’Souza and Auster. Most of the rest of us love her. Indeed, the editor of the Wall Street Journal concludes:

“All of this is profoundly politically incorrect. But for this remarkable woman, ideas are not abstractions. She forces us back to first principles, and she punctures complacencies. These ought to be seen as virtues, even by those who find some of Ms. Hirsi Ali's ideas disturbing or objectionable. Society, after all, sometimes needs to be roused from its slumbers by agitators who go too far so that others will go far enough.”

Too far? You decide. Read it all.

Update: Ayaan autobiography's a must read!


Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

She is a true heroine, and puts to shame the left and the right. Perhaps the women (viz., Melanie Phillips, Oriana Fallaci, Diana West) have more guts than the men. Until we are able to speak straight, as she does, I doubt that all of the resistance to Islam will get off the ground.

3/10/07, 2:38 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

Of course forced marriage is a serious subject and should have earned her assylum without the hoops and ladders. However less than 10% get granted assylum.

3/10/07, 5:19 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

She is a true heroine. Regardless if everyone can agree with her ideas in total one has to admit she is a true independent thinker. To work her way out of the grip of Islamic dogma is impressive. She’s had to travel a far greater intellectual distance than the rest of us.

3/10/07, 11:07 PM  
Blogger leelion said...

Few speak the truth like Ayaan Hirshi Ali.

Thomas Paine and Robert .G. Ingersoll maybe historical comparisons.

3/11/07, 12:33 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Or perhaps Ayaan reminds us of Ayn.

3/11/07, 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The closing sentence of the article is a typical "conservative" cop-out. Exactly how does Ayaan go "too far?" Or is telling the truth "too far" for conservatives who can't let go of their own dogmas? I think the answer is yes, they can't handle the truth anymore than the typical Mohammandan.

3/11/07, 4:35 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I don’t think she goes too far but yes the editor at the WSJ has problems with the complete abandonment of religion. However, they are welcoming a discussion of “first principles.” That’s an honesty I can respect.

Ayaan is a gusty gal and it will be interesting to see what she’ll be thinking ten years from now.

3/11/07, 9:09 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I notice a discussion of this article at Jihad Watch. While Spencer respectfully disagrees with the full scope of Ayaan’s criticism, he's overjoyed at her contribution.

Some of the religious conservatives believe she can’t be dismissed by the secular left because of her secular orientation and Islamic background. That suggests an opening for a secular-based criticism of Islam. It suggests that many Christian critics of Islam are dismissed as being prejudiced based on religion while a powerful rational/secular critique of Islam would be unanswerable.

From my observations I’ve seen the left summarily dismiss criticism coming from Christians. Indeed, as I argued with the left they automatically assumed that I must be a Christian but when they find out I’m not they are defenseless (or they listen!) Thus, I believe those of us who aren’t religious can play a very powerful role; but it’s an opportunity that we’re letting slip by.

Sam Harris, a modest graduate student, has published such a critique and he’s virtually cornered the market. Ibn Warraq is another example and he’s a power voice for our side. There’s an opening for a rational/secular critique.

3/11/07, 9:38 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

Save a place at the table for those of us who want to fight Islam because it's fun.

3/12/07, 4:29 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I'm a big table guy ...

3/12/07, 6:40 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

You can't be serious. Multi-culturalism is the dominant school of thought in today's academia. Ducky, you reveal your age! Besides every time I attack Islam (while clearly distinguishing ideology from sociology) you're the first to complain. I've heard you criticize capitalism and America but I've never heard you harshly criticize another culture. Has anyone?

3/12/07, 10:27 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

It is true that I focus first and foremost on the origins of Islam and the philosophy as written. "Contemporary culture" is another way of referring to sociology, which is an ambitious endeavor. However, given the revival of Islam in Taliban Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia as well as fundamentalist victories in Gaza and would-be victories in Algeria and Egypt, it seems clear that original Islam is alive and well in many Islamic nations. Surely history and philosophy should be brought to bear on our understanding of the ideology behind this revival.

But even if we stay on the superficial level of sociology, can one find a more backwards and oppressive culture today? Why do Ducky and D'Souza find it so hard to be hard on Islamic culture? Surely any sane and decent person expresses their outrage over Islamic barbarity and injustice.

3/12/07, 11:05 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I, too, posted about this WSJ article.

conservatives, and others, might be reasonably unnerved by her dim view of religion

They need to get over that!

3/12/07, 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


She is one of my contemporary heroes. I just published a detailed review of Infidel, and my sense of hero worship is now off scale.

4/9/07, 10:43 AM  

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