Thursday, January 10, 2002

MODERN ISLAM: Tom on Samizdata brings the link to a Victor Davis Hanson article on what the Arab world does not get about us. Good read. Here's the quote Tom used to get your attention:

If Israel did not exist, the Arab world, in its current fit of denial, would have to invent something like it to vent its frustrations. That is not to say there may not be legitimate concerns in the struggle over Palestine, but merely that for millions of Muslims the fight over such small real estate stems from a deep psychological wound. It isn’t about lebensraum or some actual physical threat. Israel is a constant reminder that it is a nation’s culture—not its geography or size or magnitude of its oil reserves—that determines its wealth or freedom. For the Middle East to make peace with Israel would be to declare war on itself, to admit that that its own fundamental way of doing business—not the Jews—makes it poor, sick, and weak.

The first part of which reminds me of one of my favorite comic book covers, it was one of the Superman titles and was by Gil Kane, I can't find it on-line but it was one of those "imaginary stories" DC used to run, with the title: "If Superman didn't exist, someone would have to invent him." And it had these little Siegel and Schuster dopplegangers creating Superman in a sketchbook while hiding from the reptiloid alien overlords who had taken over the imaginary Earth Without Superman. Hanson's point is of course the reverse, that the Arab world needs something to hate and not something to find inspiring. If you find Superman inspiring, that is.

Hanson --though he doesn't come out and say this-- seems to have a beef with Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond, an attempt to explain Western superiority in terms of European geography, a book I have not read yet but it's on the list. Hanson wants ideas and culture to be the main thing that made the West different --which doesn't explain where that culture came from, and that's where Diamond's book comes in, I guess. I need to read more.

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