Elections in Iraq

Monday, January 31, 2005

I'm especially strapped for time today, so just a few short notes....

Welcome Secular Foxhole Readers!

Blair over at Secular Foxhole and I have agreed to exchange links. To his readers, welcome! To my readers, drop by the Foxhole from time to time for news and commentary from the resident atheist.

Reason Roundup is ... Up!

Be sure to stop by the Charlotte Capitalist for this week's lineup of rational commentary.

Islamofascists Cry in their Beer!

Oh, wait! Beer is forbidden to practicing Moslems! Too bloody bad!

I've blogged on my many misgivings about the prospects for freedom to win in the Islamic world, but I happily admit that at least Afghanistan was a pleasant surprise. Stop by TIADaily.com to see why there may be hope despite the prevalent mystical worldview there. The West has perhaps provided concrete proof to some in that part of the world that life need not be miserable.

The ultimate question, if this line of thought is correct, is this: Might the Islamic world react differently this time around? In the book I'm currently devouring, What Went Wrong?: The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East, Bernard Lewis describes several historical cases in which the leaders of the Islamic world were acutely aware that they were losing to the West. Their solution was to steal whatever expediency indicated might get them through the crisis of the moment. Technology and certain sciences, like the mathematics behind the use of artillery, for example, could help them win wars, but then they'd ignore entire fields of far more profitable endeavor, like history or philosophy.

This is what is really worth watching. There might be a difference this time. Throughout history, it has been the rulers of Islam who have confronted the failure of their polities. But their focus was not on improving their lives, but on maintaining power at home, avoiding military defeat, and keeping pernicious foreign ideas from corrupting Islam. Now, it is the people who are confronting the failure of the Islamic polity, a polity in which they are finally getting a say via the ballot box. Let's hope, for their sake and ours, that when people like Raqeeb Shekhan say, "We've ached for this freedom. We want to be like the rest of the world [italics added]," they mean this to the degree of being willing to learn something from their non-Moslem brethren, and not just better ways to kill them.

Perhaps they already have. Time will tell.

-- CAV


4-17-05: Corrected a name.

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