03 September 2006

Topic For Discussion

In his most recent column, or his most recent column in this hemisphere, at least, Mark Steyn suggests that it isn't obviously a good bargain for the kidnapped Fox news employees to pretend to convert to Islam in order to gain their release. He doesn't suggest that they should have died instead, but he does suggest that the Arab street will understand this as western weakness. Here are three topics to discuss:

1. Is there anyone out there who would choose death over pretending to convert to Islam?

2. Would we be better off as a whole if our culture expected people to die rather than pretend to become apostates?

3. Would Muslims really see this as a win for the terrorists kidnappers, rather than the face-saving means of backing down it seems to the US street?


Hey Skipper said...

Well, after a sentence like

it's quite a leap to omit the most pertinent fact and leave the impression the Sydney constabulary are combing the city for mullets.

it is hard to know what to say.

I sure wouldn't take death over a sham conversion, but I would have drilled myself into blinkng the tap code for "as if" or, given enough time "piss be unto him" while I was getting inducted into the Religion of Peace.

Since there is no longer such a thing as apostasy in the west, it sure doesn't hurt our feelings. And if the Arab street prefers to think there is something there indicating weakness, I refer them to yesterday's Taliban body count.

Peter Burnet said...

1. Well, I'm actually counting on Harry to inspire us on that one.

2. Incontrovertibly, provided we have at least one hundred rabbis on full-time retainer to work out all the exceptions.

3. Who cares what they think? Worrying about that is what got us into such a mess.

Susan's Husband said...

What was stunning to me is how un-bitter the guys were about being forced to "convert" at gun point. I certainy would read whatever was put in front of me and then mock it unmercifully once I was released. A bit of the "what a bunch of maroons, letting me go just because I read some meaningless tripe!". That would be much better than a general refusal to "convert". Fanatics can handle other fanactics, but they can't handle mocking.

Oroborous said...

Maybe they didn't mock it because they didn't want to anger the terrorists into closing that escape hatch for future kidnappees.

M Ali said...

Steyn's latest columns seem a little out there.

Last time I read something by him, he recommended Western powers rolling over Syria, Iran etc. because whatever instability that would cause would be inconsequential given that they're already unstable now.

Peter Burnet said...

M Ali:

You are right. He is going to have a ratings problem if he keep writing all his columns as if it were September 12th, 2001. Churchill was great in the Blitz, but look what happened to him in 1945.

Whether Steyn is right to be so fevered is a whole different question.

Duck said...

Seeing as Arabs, unless they are well schooled in the American sitcom, have no way to decipher a reading of a text that is laden with sarcasm and irony, that is how I would read the conversion text. Everyone in America would get that it is a sham conversion, but the kidnapper's wouldn't.

Steyn is a bracing defender of Western values, but maybe too bracing at times. We'll die for our freedoms, but not as martyrs. The Japanese thought us weak for surrendering in battle. Look what happened to them. The Asian martyr complex isn't a strength. In the long run the world will belong to people who want to live, not people who want to die.