Monday, January 17, 2005

ends and means

In a nod to the pre-LGF civility of the past, Joshua left a thought-provoking comment:

In his previous post, Aziz takes the position that no matter how flawed the leaders of CAIR are, their work is needed and so CAIR must be supported. And in these posting I'm taking the position that no matter how flawed Daniel Pipes is, his work is needed and so must be supported.

I can certainly see how my position can be interpreted thusly, but it's not exactly a parallel analogy. CAIR's leaders are flawed, but in harmless ways. There is absolutely no way in which CAIR's leadership can endanger the national security of the United States in a metrial sense, or undermine the fabric of a free society that we take all too much for granted (all the more fragile in the wake of the Bush Administration's various stances on domestic political propaganda, secrecy, torture, and arbitrary incarceration of "enemy combatants"[1]). For all theirfaults, the CAIR leadership is primarily a civil rights organization, and this places them on the side of the Founders.

Pipes, with his advocacy of a strongman in Iraq rather than a freely elected government, and his apologia for Japanese internment[2], stands firmly on the other side. Even his attempt to define the "good guy muslims" required that muslims such as myself eschew the basic tenets of our belief - a standard whose ludicrousness is self-evident when applied to Christianity[3].

Are Pipes' writings useful? No. They paint a one-sided picture of a non-existent fifth-column threat, and thus undermine liberty not just for muslims but for all citizens. Is CAIR a useful organization? Yes, because they defend those liberties (and not alone - they have even fought alongside the ADL in common cause). There is a line in the sand, and I choose my side without hesitation. Pipes can stand upon the other side with the likes of Mubarak and Putin.

[1] A term that can even be applied to US citizens without due process. At least Lincoln formally suspended Habeus Corpus, on the record. The present Administration prefers subvert civil liberties via more indirect means.

[2] Pipes has repudiated the concept of muslim internment, and distanced himself from even the mandatory registration issue - but remains in denial that such policies are the natural policy extension of his own arguments.

[3] The argument that only Islam is responsible for terror is nonsensical. The Oklahoma City bombing and the anthrax attacks were borne of the fabric of the culture of right-wing "Christian Identist" white supremacy, a proto-fascist movement whose rise David Neiwert has ably chronicled in his landmark essay on fascism. McVeigh's ties to the Identists are well-documented and thus refute the claim that his "atheism" can be separated from these groups' ideologies.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps I should have said "I can't judge whether such people are rare, but I did notice that they found no reason to be shy."