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Of course I have a problem with political religion, and of course there are Islamic preachers preaching politics from the pulpit.

You're the one who is advancing the notion that partisan religious politicking must represent a cohesive, almost conspiratorical, political movement. It's not, nor does it have to in order to be a problem (for the same reason that Ponzi scammers and snake oil salesmen do not need to be organized in a cohesive lobby to be a problem).

Politicizing the pulpit is an authoritarian persuasion strategy that uses appeals to in-group identity to advance whatever garbage the preacher cannot advance by honest means. Nothing more, nothing less. And like all such authoritarian in-group identity based persuasion strategies, it is corrosive of democracy and public participation in the governing of society.

Most of the garbage being peddled also happens to be reactionary garbage. But that's a predictable consequence of the authoritarian in-group persuasion strategy, not an indication of a unified conspiracy.

Tl;dr: Identity politics is an authoritarian cul-de-sac. Islamic identity politics is no worse, but it certainly isn't any better either.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 05:14:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Of course I have a problem with political religion,

I gathered that you have, but I don't know why ("of course" is no explanation).

JakeS:

You're the one who is advancing the notion that partisan religious politicking must represent a cohesive, almost conspiratorical, political movement.

No, but if you argue that there is a coherent thing as "political Islam", then you must prove that there is a coherent movement. Especially (but not only) because you are not in a political vacuum, but surrounded by voices that talk of "political Islam", "Eurabia" and the like. You want to say something else than they do? Then make that clear.

Even then you are wrong: there are attempts to use religion (in this case Islamic religion) arguing different political points. It is lazy to claim all these points were the same and it is lazy not to argue the political points but the religious angle advancing them.

JakeS:

Politicizing the pulpit is an authoritarian persuasion strategy that uses appeals to in-group identity to advance whatever garbage the preacher cannot advance by honest means.

Such as the following I assume. "People often speak of God being even-handed. God is not even-handed. God is biased in favour of the weak, of the despised."

There are of course many ways to make above point, not only the theological one, but I don't think any of these ways is dishonest. Are you sure that you object to politicising the pulpit in general, or is it certain political aims you object to?

JakeS:

Most of the garbage being peddled also happens to be reactionary garbage.

Possibly. No idea. Have you no arguments to argue against reactionary garbage then, only against the channel used to transport it??

So far I have treated the points where you are only wrong, but nothing worse.

Additionally there are two other issues. All these anti-Muslim campaigns target a community that is discriminated, poorer, less educated, without equal chances on job market, market for flats and so on. It is spied upon, its members are targeted by "security" services as collectively suspect. At the same time this group is victim of hate crimes, murders, arson of mosques and so on. And you find it perfectly okay to take their religion on top of that and ridicule it, humiliating the people who believe in it. I resent this inhumanity in its own right AND because it is another de-solidarisation. There is nothing leftist in supporting an alienation of these people.

by Katrin on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 06:42:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even then you are wrong: there are attempts to use religion (in this case Islamic religion) arguing different political points. It is lazy to claim all these points were the same and it is lazy not to argue the political points but the religious angle advancing them.

I spend most of my time here and elsewhere arguing the political points.

But when you insist that "because my faith says so" is a valid argument, I'll point out that you are peddling authoritarian identity politics. Attempting to hitch progressive policies to authoritarian identity politics has a distinctly mixed track record.

There are of course many ways to make above point, not only the theological one, but I don't think any of these ways is dishonest. Are you sure that you object to politicising the pulpit in general, or is it certain political aims you object to?

I object to politicizing the pulpit in general, for the same reason I object to tame journalists and fake research: They all depend for their effect on mechanisms which are anathema to informed democratic debate.

Of course, like tame journalists and fake research, I'm not going to go out of my way to criticize people who use them to advance policies I agree with. That should not be construed as approval in principle, merely a cynical cost-benefit analysis.

[snip a long paean to the virtues of identity politics]

Identity politics is bullshit. It never has worked and it never will work.

Where racism is a problem, fight for emancipation. When you have an unemployed underclass on the labor market, fight for full employment. When you have an overbearing political police, fight for democratic accountability. When you have a hate crime problem, fight against discrimination.

But don't pretend that promoting the customs, class markers and idiosyncrasies of the victims of discrimination into a "separate but equal" minority culture does jack shit for any of that. Separate but equal never is.

And in particular, don't pretend that promoting unmerited respect for religious bullshit does jack shit to promote social and political emancipation. If you want people to accord respect to beliefs that have done nothing to deserve respect, then that's your prerogative. But don't pretend that you're fighting some sort of class war - at least not as anything but a useful idiot for the bad guys.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 08:17:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
JakeS:
Where racism is a problem, fight for emancipation. When you have an unemployed underclass on the labor market, fight for full employment. When you have an overbearing political police, fight for democratic accountability. When you have a hate crime problem, fight against discrimination.

I am doing that, and it's why I object to Charlie Hebdo's continuation of the cartoon campaign vilifying Islam. And don't pretend you can treat their cartoons without the context of previous cartoon campaigns and in fact the whole campaign against Muslims.

JakeS:

But don't pretend that promoting the customs, class markers and idiosyncrasies of the victims of discrimination into a "separate but equal" minority culture does jack shit for any of that. Separate but equal never is

That's a disingenuous way to put it. You are prescribing a majority culture when you rant against minority culture. Prescriptive culture ALWAYS is narrow and authoritarian, but you try to tell us that the defence of cultural diversity was authoritarian.

By the way, it's no longer class markers. As long as it was, there was no problem.

JakeS:

If you want people to accord respect to beliefs that have done nothing to deserve respect, then that's your prerogative.

No, no, that's not my intention. That's why I am so freely attacking all those anti-religious rants that use the disguise of anticlericalism, cultural wars, and so.

JakeS:

I spend most of my time here and elsewhere arguing the political points.

Did you get my point at all, I wonder? You are attacking persons who could be your allies. You prefer the attack on religion and the religious to a broad movement. That's how leftists have shot themselves in the foot over and over again.

by Katrin on Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 06:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You are attacking persons who could be your allies. You prefer the attack on religion and the religious to a broad movement.

Eh, no.

I'm responding to people who are demanding special deference and recognition for their religion, above and beyond what is given to vegetarians, cat lovers, Dungeons&Dragons players, or any other practitioners of private eccentricities.

If your vision of a progressive coalition is one that throws everyone who doesn't pay at least lip service to some officially sanctioned religious movement gets thrown under the bus, then yeah, I'm not going to help you build your dream coalition.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 08:37:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
False. My vision of a progressive coalition respects every human being and their human dignity and not only the atheist ones. Apparently I won't find it here.
by Katrin on Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 03:12:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you decide to stick around you'll find most of us do have respect for human beings and their human dignity.  You'll also find it can get ... h'mmmm ... "forthright" very quickly, sometimes.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 04:16:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Forthright" isn't what I mind, but that people enjoy the harassment of a minority... And these poor people are now under observation: if they react violently to these mindless provocations it just shows that more harsh measures must be taken against them. If they protest, they are self-segregating and don't integrate and more harsh measures must be taken. If they don't do anything, it shows that the harsh measures of the past are functioning, and more of them just make sure... How can anyone support this? I don't get it. I am horrified.
by Katrin on Fri Jan 4th, 2013 at 06:52:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I completely agree with you on the harassment of a minority angle being the main issue, but I think it didn't help your cause and set the tone of the debate that you made some less nuanced categorisations. In particular, when pushing the line that Charlie Hebdo is a racist magazine: anyone familiar with France will know that CH is not some French equivalent of Sarrazin and does in fact repeatedly risk retaliation by regularly attacking the rich and powerful, and these readers will react with that in mind. I think it would have been a different debate if, instead of assuming a non-existent editorial policy, you'd kept focus on how this particular campaign is part of and cannot be viewed isolated from a broader obsession with Islam that can be considered at least implicitly racist (a point you made here and later Migeru here).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 05:21:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the first time Charlie Hebdo does that. No accident then: they are consistently making fun of humans of a persecuted minority. It reeks of an editorial policy, doesn't it?
by Katrin on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 at 05:45:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm responding to people who are demanding special deference and recognition for their religion

Who, specifically? Surely not anyone here in this debate.

above and beyond what is given to vegetarians, cat lovers, Dungeons&Dragons players, or any other practitioners of private eccentricities.

All of those combined don't receive the amount of deliberate provocation in public which Muslims do in France. Surely you won't blame Muslims for that. Or, let's look at another country: where is the witch-hunt against animal rights activists in the Netherlands since the Fortuyn murder that matches the one against Muslims since the Theo van Gogh murder?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 5th, 2013 at 05:01:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Katrin:
All these anti-Muslim campaigns target a community that is discriminated, poorer, less educated, without equal chances on job market, market for flats and so on. It is spied upon, its members are targeted by "security" services as collectively suspect. At the same time this group is victim of hate crimes, murders, arson of mosques and so on. And you find it perfectly okay to take their religion on top of that and ridicule it, humiliating the people who believe in it. I resent this inhumanity in its own right AND because it is another de-solidarisation.

this...

making common cause with thevalues we do agree with in aby religion fosters mutual trust.

there is much that is admirable in religions, it just has to separated from its sinister siblings, like bigotry, hate, and pre- and post-hoc justifications for immorality.

secular states are to be heartily encouraged because they help wean humanity off superstition and absolutist certainties by leveling the playing field for democratic discussion about social justice, you know that stuff religions talk about, when they're not dressing up in sancti-drag and giving pomp a new bad name.

mostly just talk... but it beats recycling the crusades, for fun and profit, not.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2013 at 08:25:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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