Lydia McGrew's personal blog
"Moderate" Protestants and Catholics often made excuses for paramilitaries and terrorists in Northern Ireland. They praised their "contribution" to the peace process, and their creative politics.Fundamentalist Protestants were very keen to justify blatant abuses of State Power ('Bloody Sunday' is one glaring example) when they weren't giving a nod and a wink to Protestant paramilitaries. And this was endemic in Christian culture in Northern Ireland. Yes, some "moderate" Muslims turn out to be only slightly more progressive than Genghis Khan. But I'm not convinced that this is a specifically Muslim problem, given my experiences in Northern Irish Churches. Graham
Here's our present problem, Graham: Our own government is telling us that these people are moderate and in fact that there are tons of moderate Muslims out there. The strong implication, sometimes stated explicitly, is that moderate Muslims are ones you don't need to worry about, that no sane person could possibly have any objection to, and that we should continue to welcome into our country in droves. (Remember, there wasn't the same type of present immigration policy issue lying at the back of the Irish problem. At least not that I know of.) Such people are often recruited to act as advisers to government, are funded with public funds, and are given access to sensitive security information. This is Bad News. And when someone like me makes policy proposals based on the problems with Islam, we are told contemptuously that we are not taking into account the "moderate Muslims." Now, my point is that these "moderates" are pretty much one and all fakes, and their support for Hezbollah is part of the evidence that they are fakes. So we shouldn't be taken in by our government and we should continue considering the policy proposals that, yes, ignore these fake "moderates," because they are, in fact, fakes.
That makes a good deal of sense. In fact, the British and Irish Governments and the main Churches in Northern Ireland had a very flexible definition of "moderate". It's always used to compare an individual or group with the most extreme viewpoint open to them. So, an openness to "Political Dialogue" (always capitalised) or to elections (lots of votes made you a democrat!) was a sign of 'moderate' opinions. Even if the group or individual in question reserved the right to blow out your brains if they disagreed with you. I think the British Strategy in Northern Ireland has been played well since the 1980's. They've certainly achieved their goals. And the outcome is better than ethnic cleansing (in retrospect we came terrifyingly close). But it has left us with a very odd sense of what is, and is not, compatible with Democratic Government. And we need to remember that Hitler was viewed as a moderate Nazi by many German voters, and von Papen was sure that he could control Hitler. We can overplay analogies to WW2 - but one lesson learned is that 'moderation' can be a label of convenience, and some worldviews cannot be appeased or controlled (I'd say Occidentalism is such a worldview or comprehensive doctrine.)Perhaps the USA needs to be careful that it doesn't make similar mistakes. A few 'shibboleths' wouldn't do any harm.
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