We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Dealing with Islamicism is rather like playing chess with an opponent who randomly moves pieces about the board in the sure trust that a deity will confound his opponent.
- Julian Taylor’s friend, a comment on No tolerance for intolerance

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Pete_London

    I’m reminded of a piece I read on US forces fighting alongside the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in 2001. It quoted a US soldier as saying that some of the tribesmen he was alongside never bothered taking cover in a firefight. Their reasoning is that Allah will deflect enemy rounds away from them.

  • Nick Timms

    Pete. That sort of behavious should be encouraged.

  • Sandy P

    OT:

    It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

    Start swabbing your decks, mateys!

  • Pete_London

    Nick Timms -

    Oh I agree. It’s just that since then I’ve never been able to decide if I’m more awed by the level of faith or the primitiveness.

  • Paul Marks

    On the chess analogy:

    It is more like playing chess with someone who picks the board up and smashes you over the head with it. And this is when he is in a good mood – when he is in a bad mood it is not a chess board he hits you with, it is an axe.

    Indeed, in this case, it is like getting attacked by someone who is not even involved in the chess game.

    Let us remember what happened. The Pope quoted someone during an academic lecture – and now people who were not at the lecture say they have the right to kill the Pope and other people associated with him.

    Let us suppose, that during a lecture, I quoted John Rawls on the “distribution” of income and wealth, and libertarians (who did not attend my lecture) then declared that they had the right to kill me and people associated with me, even though I say that I do not agree with John Rawls on the “distribution” of income and wealth.

    Now I could say that to murder me would violate the nonaggression principle – but they reply that it does not, just as murdering someone for quoting someone else (with whom he says he does not agree) on the religion of “peace” (actually Islam does not mean peace, it means submission – but there we go) being a religion of violence does not violate the religion of “peace” (or prove the Byzantine Emperor’s point in any way).

    The media (even Fox television and the Daily Telegraph newspaper) have quoted or interviewed certain “liberal” Roman Catholics and they have said that the Pope’s words were “ill adviced” (sometimes blameing him for sending John Paul II chief adviser on Islam away from Rome) or “unwise”. But how far is this cowardice supposed to go?

    The chief relgious authority in Iran has already declared that the Pope must apologize “on his knees” – does he have to kiss the boots of the Muslims as well?

    If to maintain “peace” one must refrain from saying anything to which Muslims might take offense, it is not a “peace” worth having.

  • Midwesterner

    I used to work for a (private) third world development agency.

    Among other projects our staff set up experimental projects to see what worked and what didn’t.

    As it was told to me, our company ceased all development efforts in Muslim countries after in an effort to help farmers in Egypt, we were unable to get farmers to use fertilizer. Apparently it went something like this – (I’m making up yields cause I don’t know)

    How much rice do you expect to get?

    Whatever Allah wills.

    Okay… How much did you get last year?

    15 bushels.

    And the year before?

    17 bushels.

    So should we predict 16 bushels when we calculate fertilizer?

    No. We will get what ever Allah wills.

    It’s been 25 years, and it may not have been that way everywhere, but I wouldn’t be too sure. I do know from processing orders that in medical supply shipments, we had to absolutely prevent all alcohol from going to Pakistan. Not just in medicines. Alcohol swabs could even cause an order to be prevented from entering the country. I wonder if this has changed.

  • Nick M

    Midwesterner,
    I think it is endemic. I’m a great believer in the dictum about knowing thine enemy. Well I’ve checked out a few islamic sites, forums and blogs over the last coupla years. Everything is “Inshallah”. Even the most utterly mundane statements like “I’m tired will post tomorrow, inshallah”.

    I think it’s ingrained into them, totally a conditioned response that everything depends on God’s will – directly. Even the most theist Christians aren’t like that. They allow that certain misfortunes and boons occur not because of direct divine intervention but because of people’s actions directed of their own free will.

    Well I always thought the fundamental philosophical problem with Islam was that it was a religion which was essentially collective (the Umma) rather than personal but you’ve given me food for thought.

    Including whether or not this kinda indoctrination isn’t exactly the same thing as collectivism.

    One to ponder.

    Paul,

    It is more like playing chess with someone who picks the board up and smashes you over the head with it. And this is when he is in a good mood – when he is in a bad mood it is not a chess board he hits you with, it is an axe.

    Indeed, in this case, it is like getting attacked by someone who is not even involved in the chess game.

    Absolutely. The WoT is not just “asymmetric” because of the differences in technology and tactics. It is proving so indecisive because both sides aren’t even fighting the same war.

  • Gabriel

    “(actually Islam does not mean peace, it means submission – but there we go)”

    It’s worse than that, in the minds of Muslims, peace and submission mean exactly the same thing. When Muslims say Islam means “peace”, they are not lying per se. they just genuinely can’t distinguish between the two. (The word “Islam” has the same consonant structure – SLM -as the Hebrew word “shalom” i.e. peace, so I’m pretty sure it is derived from the same source. It’s usually helpful in such situations to remember there is very rarely such a thing as a direct translation from one language to another, especially with abstract nouns)

  • Pa Annoyed

    ‘Islam’ comes from a causative/agent noun meaning “that which causes/forces peace”, in a Pax Romana sense. See Answers part way down.

    But of course etymology is unreliable for current-day meanings, which are defined by usage. ‘Submission’ is the conventional translation used by scholars and non-apologist Muslims.

  • John K

    The Will of God thing comes in very handy for the Saudi government. When pilgrims keep getting crushed to death with tiresome regularity when they go and worship that meteorite in Mecca, it can all be dismissed as the Will of God, so no blame attaches to them.

    Mind you, it must be hell being an ambulance chasing lawyer in a Muslim country. “Been in an accident and it wasn’t your fault? Tough shit, it was the Will of God.”

  • Nick M

    John K,
    Unless it was the fault of Zionist Crasders – then they organise a “Death to…” chanting session. Of course for a little extra you can have a “martyrdom operation”, “an intifada” or the truly discerning muslim might consider our top of the range “Deluxe Global Jihad” package. Excellent value at only the cost of tens of thousands of innocent lives.

  • Paul Marks

    Thank you Gabriel and Nick M – and thanks to the others.