Browse By

Conveniently, They are Devils and We are Angels. Can We see beyond convenience?

I’ve noticed something over the past few days as the “Mohammed Cartoons” controversy has raged in the world and here on Irregular Times. It’s the funniest thing, but the Muslims who post are nearly universally defending Islam and slamming the West. Westerners are defending the West and slamming Muslims. Some opportunists are taking the opportunity to do some gratuitous slamming of other groups, blaming this whole thing on the “filthy rich Jews,” or the “Mrs. who sleep with Mrs.,” or some other group to which the author almost never, conveniently, belongs. You see, THEY always seem to be Devils and WE always seem to be Angels. The problem is that THEY are sometimes US and WE are sometimes THEM, messing the whole dichotomy thing completely up.

It sure is easy to criticize someone who isn’t in your camp. But you’re smart. You’re educated. You’re moral. You’re an Angel! So you don’t need to slum around just doing the easy thing. How about a little mental exercise?

Here’s my challenge: can you post a comment to this post in which you

  1. issue no criticism of any sort regarding any group you’re not a member of?
  2. issue a serious, non-trivial criticism regarding a group you are a member of?

Give it a shot. It’s my challenge to you — and to myself; I’ll make the first comment.

Can you do it? Heck, can I do it? Can we have a series of comments in which nobody casts stones outward, and we criticize our own groups in a sincere, serious manner?

[Update: Apparently not. Oh well.]

5 thoughts on “Conveniently, They are Devils and We are Angels. Can We see beyond convenience?”

  1. Jim says:

    I am an American. I am White. We Americans, especially we White Americans, only worry about dead Americans, and mostly about the dead White Americans. We White Americans seem content (perhaps not overjoyed, but content) to kill non-Americans, especially the dark-skinned ones, if it serves the convenience of Americans (especially the White ones). European (at least White European) deaths bother us somewhat, since as white-skinned people they qualify as affiliate members of the White American club. But the deaths of non-white non-American people not only don’t bother us much, but actually annoy us. We see the deaths of white Americans and white Europeans as tragic; we see the deaths of non-white Americans and non-white foreigners as evidence of some character flaw on their part. That’s when we White Americans think of others at all. At best, we offer discounted comfort, in which a non-White person, or a non-American, qualifies as perhaps 3/5 of a White American in our concern, and in which a non-White non-American qualifies as perhaps 1/10 of a White American in the depth of our concern. This is, of course, not universally true, but it is all too common in White America.

    I am an Atheist. We atheists have a bit of persecution complex sometimes. We focus on what churches want to do with laws being passed to change language in Constitutions, and stuff like that, but we fail to notice sometimes that we control huge swaths of society: Industry and Academics (with a few exceptions that are notable because they are exceptional) are dominated by non-religious, rationalized (if not always completely rational) value systems. Religion as a driving force or organizing principle is pretty much excluded from most corporations and most universities, and these are major social institutions with a lot of power. We should note that more.

  2. Mike says:

    Hoosier? Is that you? Oh, Hell…
    Anyway, I’d engage in self-cricism, but, really, I haven’t burned anyone else’s embassy in the last few weeks, nor have I set off car bombs in Iraqi villages or marketplaces for the last …Wow, I’ve forgotten how long it’s been… I’m not into suicide bombing, as I have better things to do with my week. So, forgive me, but I’m not really into finding any sympathy for those who do, and say “God told me to.” Also, regarding the Mohammed cartoons…Here’s a suggestion to the Islamic world: Cancel your subscription to the paper that has ’em. That’ll work, won’t it?

  3. Jim says:

    Sigh. No, I didn’t THINK anybody would rise to the challenge. But I wanted to be wrong.

  4. Kevin says:

    Perhaps Christians DO need to take a more “live and let live” stance when it comes to people whose beliefs/ideals do not reflect their own. I can see how having people who disagree with you constantly hounding you can get a bit (to put it mildly) annoying.

    Perhaps Western culture should butt-out of Islamic culture or any other culture that does not adhere to Western ideals/standards. I suppose I can understand their frustration, though I would never excuse the violence committed by them or any other group, regardless of faith or location.

  5. Scott says:

    Kevin, does it still count if you preface your comments with “perhaps?” Isn’t that like crossing your fingers when you make a promise?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Psst... what kind of person doesn't support pacifism?

Fight the Republican beast!