strange arguments re fanaticism

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I was emailed the following — twice — by folks who thought it imperative that everyone be exposed to such exemplary thinking. (My guess is that the author, Dr. Tanay, is a non-Jew, and therefore enjoys an unearned credibility as ‘unbiased’ among my tribesmen.)

A man, whose family was German aristocracy prior to World War II owned a number of large industries and estates. When asked how many German people were true Nazis, the answer he gave can guide our attitude toward fanaticism. ‘Very few people were true Nazis,’ he said, ‘but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen.. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories..’

We are told again and again by ‘experts’ and ‘talking heads’ that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unqualified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the spectre of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.  The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars worldwide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or honour-kill. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. It is the fanatics who teach their young to kill and to become suicide bombers.
The hard quantifiable fact is that the peaceful majority, the ‘silent majority,’ is cowed and extraneous. Communist Russia was comprised of Russians who just wanted to live in peace, yet the Russian Communists were responsible for the murder of about 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. China ‘s huge population was peaceful as well, but
Chinese Communists managed to kill a staggering 70 million people. The average Japanese individual prior to World War II was not a warmongering sadist. Yet, Japan murdered and slaughtered its
way across South East Asia in an orgy of killing that included the systematic murder of 12 million Chinese civilians; most killed by sword, shovel, and bayonet. And, who can forget Rwanda , which collapsed into butchery. Could it not be said that the majority of Rwandans were ‘peace loving’?
History lessons are often incredibly simple and blunt, yet for all our powers of reason we often miss the most basic and uncomplicated of points: Peace-loving Muslims have been made irrelevant by their silence. Peace-loving Muslims will become our enemy if they don’t speak up, because like my friend from Germany , they will awaken one day and find that the fanatics own them, and the end of their world will have begun. Peace-loving Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Russians, Rwandans, Serbs, Afghans, Iraqis, Palestinians, Somalis, Nigerians, Algerians, and many others have died because the peaceful majority did not speak up until it was too late.
As for us who watch it all unfold, we must pay attention to the only group that counts; the fanatics who threaten our way of life.
Lastly, anyone who doubts that the issue is serious and just deletes this email without sending it on, is contributing to the passiveness that allows the problems to expand. So, extend yourself a bit and send this on and on and on!  Let us hope that thousands, world wide, read this and think about it, and send it on – before it’s too late…..

….Emanuel Tanay, M.D.

Since I have nothing better to do, I responded to one of the senders:

Who is this guy, and on what authority/evidence does he make his assertion? Multiple references to history does not make an argument. In fact, as far as I can tell, any semblance of argument is entirely bereft from this paragraph.

She quickly retorted:

The authority/evidence that forms the basis for this guy’s thesis is nothing less than historical facts. Don’t you believe there is anything to be learned from history?  Human nature doesn’t change that much from generation to generation, from one continent to the next.  If we can’t use our knowledge of history to predict or prevent similar mistakes in the future, then we are truly a foolish (and doomed) species.

Which prompted me:

Not quite. Historical facts are great, but in this case, they’re unrelated. I can easily furnish contrary historical facts, where fanatic factions were opposed (even loathed) by the majority, as I believe is the case here. So it’s not an argument. Plus, everything he writes is of a nationalistic bent, not religious. I’m not saying he’s wrong; I’m not an expert on Islam life and culture. Neither are you, and neither, I suspect, is Dr. Tanay. But he’s coming to a very strong position, and he’s not making the logical process on how he arrived there clear at all. Just because it “seems right” doesn’t make it so.

It could be he’s simply trying to make the claim that there exists Islamic fanaticism. If so, then he’s made an entirely obvious and uninteresting point. But if more, then all I’d like to know is on what basis does he succinctly assess and narrowly define the political thoughts and attitudes of nearly a billion people? Because the Germans let the Holocaust happen, and Communist Russia was a really bad place? Sorry, that strikes me as unconvincing.

Indeed, the argument’s absurdity is easily shown — it follows that, since contextual socio-political reality is entirely ignored, it is impossible that peace-loving Muslims oppose (effectively or otherwise) their fanatic brethren. Similarly, any extreme faction cannot be opposed, because the majority is always cowed, according to your reading of human nature. This is ridiculous.

Written by menachemkaiser

1 December at 16:43

Posted in rants

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