●The more budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes.
●Austerity is the government’s method for widening the gap between rich and poor, which leads to civil disorder.
●Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
●To survive long term, a monetarily non-sovereign government must have a positive balance of payments.
●Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
You may wonder how a little, two-bit, amateurish film, created by one unknown person, can inflame an entire religion of 1.6 billion people — almost none of whom have actually seen the film — causing riots and deaths in 20 countries. The answer, ironically, can be found in the Constitution of the United States:
The 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The ideas expressed in the 1st Amendment are a rarity in this world, and non-existent in theocracies. They are the basis of what we Americans call “freedom” — the basis of America itself.
Cultural Clash Fuels Muslims Angry at Online Video
Moises Saman for The New York Times
When the protests against an American-made online video mocking the Prophet Muhammad exploded in about 20 countries, the source of the rage was more than just religious sensitivity, political demagogy or resentment of Washington, protesters and their sympathizers here said.
It was also a demand that many of them described with the word “freedom,” although in a context very different from the term’s use in the individualistic West: the right of a community, whether Muslim, Christian or Jewish, to be free from grave insult to its identity and values.
All theocracies tend to behave in the same way. The religious leaders tell the flock they speak for God. As God’s messengers, they are perfect and cannot be criticized, questioned or mocked, just as God cannot be criticized, questioned or mocked.
Democracies do not flow easily from theocracies, because to vote against a perfect religious leader is to vote against a perfect God. Isreal, Turkey and Indonesia, despite a strong devotion to a single religion, have managed to adopt democratic principles. They are exceptions — for now.
Though Christianity and Islam are sister monotheistic religions, both having evolved from Judaism, they have been at war for 1,300 years. This explains, in part, why conservative Christians strongly support Israel, as that tiny nation is seen, correctly or not, as a bulwark against the spread of Islam.
In America, Christianity has edged away from theocracy, and it is only the extreme right wing that wishes to revert. Thus their repeated complaints that “God has been taken from the classroom” (as though anyone had the power to take God anywhere), their ongoing attempts to teach creationism, their belief that “America is a Christian country” and the installation of Christian symbols in public places.
The use of “In God we trust” on our dollars, and “one nation, under God,” in our pledge of allegiance, are remnants of theocratic leanings.
Said Ismail Mohamed, 42, a religious scholar who once was an imam in Germany, “We don’t think that depictions of the prophets are freedom of expression. We think it is an offense against our rights.”
Even during the protests, some stone throwers stressed that the clash was not Muslim against Christian. Instead, they suggested that the traditionalism of people of both faiths in the region conflicted with Western individualism and secularism.
Actually, it is Muslim against Christian, but it also is right vs. left, theocracy vs democracy. By definition, traditionalism resists change, while individualism seeks change, which explains the comparatively greater scientific advancement of the West.
In a context where insults to religion are crimes and the state has tightly controlled almost all media, many in Egypt, like other Arab countries, sometimes find it hard to understand that the American government feels limited by its free speech rules from silencing even the most noxious religious bigot.
The spiritual leader of the Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood, declared that “the West” had imposed laws against “those who deny or express dissident views on the Holocaust or question the number of Jews killed by Hitler, a topic which is purely historical, not a sacred doctrine. Certainly, such attacks against sanctities do not fall under the freedom of opinion or thought.”
For religious fundamentals, denying historical fact is acceptable, but denying anything related to religion is not. However, if a religious leader denies historical fact, his denial becomes a religious fact, and then, cannot itself be denied.
Denying the Holocaust is also protected as free speech in the United States, although it is prohibited in Germany and a few other European countries. But the belief that it is illegal in the United States is widespread in Egypt.
“This is not the first time that Muslim beliefs are being insulted or Muslims humiliated,” said Emad Shahin, a political scientist at the American University in Cairo.
Hypersensitivity to disagreeable words and ideas, and easy humiliation, is a trademark of religious extremism, and exposes something of an inferiority complex. The West’s far greater scientific accomplishments (in recent years) may add to that feeling.
In the West, many may express astonishment that the murder of Muslims in hate crimes does not provoke the same level of global outrage as the video did.
“When you hurt someone, you are just hurting one person,” said Ahmed Shobaky, 42, a jeweler. “But when you insult a faith like that, you are insulting a whole nation that feels the pain.”
Mr. Mohamed, the religious scholar, justified it this way: “Our prophet is more dear to us than our family and our nation.”
Consider the psychology of that sentence. A family must be cared for, but does not need to be treated deferentially. A God does not need to be cared for, but only needs to be treated deferentially. In loving God more than family, life becomes simpler. One is, at least in part, relieved of responsibility for action or inaction. Deference is easier than giving care.
While (Mr. Mohamed) stressed that no one should ever condone violence against diplomats or embassies because of even the most offensive film, Mr. Shahin said it was easy to see why the protesters focused on the United States government’s outposts. “There is a war going on here,” he said.
Yes, it is the war between Christianity and Islam, entwined with the war between totalitarian theocracy and democracy, mixed with the war between traditionalism and individualism. In the U.S., the war has tilted toward Christianity, democracy and individualism, but we are a young nation, and no one knows where the war will take us.
Islam is a relatively younger religion. No one knows where it is headed. I see a slow trend toward Westernization, though most Muslims currently believe that to become Westernized would weaken Islam.
Or, perhaps the ultra-right wing in America will win our own internal battle, and we will devolve to theocracy. In that event, another little, two-bit, amaturish film, created by one person, will cause us to riot, destroy and kill, as a testament to our love for God.
As in so many things, semantics underlies misunderstandings. Western “freedom” differs from Islamic “freedom.” What we consider trivial, Muslims consider vital. We expect President Obama’s attempts at even-handedness to produce gratitude and cooperation; Muslims see it as hypocrisy and condescension.
So what is the solution? Humans are hard wired for bigotry. Our team, our village, our religion, our race, our political party — we all favor what is ours.
A 1,300 year dispute cannot be solved overnight. It never may be solved. Racial bigotry in America was not solved by the Civil Rights Act. Perhaps, it was ameliorated. But for fundamentalists, tolerance is not tolerated.
The best course of action is to accept the reality of mutual distrust and antagonism and the occasional riot. As British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston reputedly said, “We have no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies, only interests that are eternal and perpetual.
Realpolitik may be the only course of action.
Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Nine Steps to Prosperity:
1. Eliminate FICA (Click here)
2. Medicare — parts A, B & D — for everyone
3. Send every American citizen an annual check for $5,000 or give every state $5,000 per capita (Click here)
4. Long-term nursing care for everyone
5. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone
6. Salary for attending school (Click here)
7. Eliminate corporate taxes
8. Increase the standard income tax deduction annually
9. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99%
No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth. Monetary Sovereignty: Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia. Two key equations in economics:
Federal Deficits – Net Imports = Net Private Savings
Gross Domestic Product = Federal Spending + Private Investment and Consumption – Net Imports
7 thoughts on “–How can a little, amateurish, two-bit film inflame 1.6 billion people?”
The Onion has a nice response to this situation,
No One Murdered Because Of This Image
(Warning: The image in the article is NSW )
WASHINGTON—Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened, sources reported Thursday. The image reportedly went online at 6:45 p.m. EDT, after which not a single bomb threat was made against the organization responsible, nor did the person who created the cartoon go home fearing for his life in any way. Though some members of the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist faiths were reportedly offended by the image, sources confirmed that upon seeing it, they simply shook their heads, rolled their eyes, and continued on with their day.
Muslims are not at war only with Christians. They fight their neighbors throughout the world, be they Coptic Christians in Egypt, Jews in Israel, or Hindus in India. They even wage war amongst themselves, Iraq vs. Iran and Sunni vs. Shia.
Jews don’t wage religious war against Hindus, nor do Hindus fight with Christians. To blame it all on religion in general, and not the one specific religion that is involved in every conflict, seems too much of a generality.
The World Wars have been Christian vs Christian. Islam and Christianity have a long history of bellicosity, and each has had many intramural conflicts.
The World Wars were not religious wars, and they involved more than just Christians. I don’t believe there were many Christians in Japan, and certainly not in the political leadership. Hitler didn’t attack Poland because the Poles were Catholics and Germans were Lutheran.
Except for Ireland, which was a war of political as well as religious suppression, I don’t know of any Christians who made war among themselves because of religious differences. Baptists don’t kill Methodists because of religion, the way Sunnis kill Shia.
Islam has a history of conflict that is unlike any other religion.
World War 1 certainly was religious. The Balkans were being taken over by the Ottoman empire and it was an islamist who killed the Archduke. When the war was over The Ottoman empire was over.
Yes, Ireland. All wars are political.
And let’s not forget the Catholic/Protestant wars in France.
I do not really think too highly of this kind of quotation:
” As British Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston reputedly said, “We have no eternal allies and no perpetual enemies, only interests that are eternal and perpetual. ”
It is the truth of the world, but I thought hope lay in sort of getting beyond that, or transcending it. Everyone’s ‘perpetual interest’ is his or her self. Big deal. What is so worthy about this?
I think it’s a little cold of you.
This is my first encounter with your blog, which seems to have some interesting ideas nevertheless.
You sound a little bit to SURE OF YOURSELF, that is my one criticism. (I am not asking to a reply to this point, necessarily, so don’t trouble yourself.)