A Little-mentioned Major Reason “Race” And Its Misuses Destroy Conversation on Human Rights, Science And Religion
I don’t like conservative religious Christian, Hebrew or Muslim culture in the modern era, because they are cognitively, emotionally and sometimes physically violent.
The doctrines of these religions are violent — despite their itinerant and intermittant talk of love and generosity.
This doesn’t make me “racist”, but it might make me an ethniphobe in terms of moderate or conservative religiosity coming from theists.
Basically, if you are a theist, it’s harder to like you (but I love you as a human being) — unless I never hear you talk about these offensive, immoral and indefensible ideas relating to gods, demons, angels, science-denial and “moral” control, and I can be assured they don’t affect your politics.
This is not a casual statement; I have read and listened to — extensively on this — academics who are expert in their fields. I have thought, meditated on and soul-searched this subject, discussed it and written extensively about it, too — with much compassion and what I hope has been seen as generosity.
I mention this, today, because all this increasing talk about “race” has heightened and will worsen the mistruths, sidetracking, political correctness and identity politics relating to the discussion of theism and culture and their effects on society, which philosophers, scientists and human rights activists who are concerned with religion and culture know has a disingenuous, deleterious, dampening and derailing effect on the conversation.
In case you don’t understand or would like further clarity on this, read these examples, please:
The Bill Maher-Sam Harris-Ben Afleck Incident
A year ago, Bill Maher hosted Sam Harris — the philosopher, author and PhD in neuroscience, as well as Ben Afleck, the actor, and others — to his show, Real Time with Bill Maher.
Ben Affleck attacked Sam Harris, calling him a “racist,” at one point in a very difficult conversation about religion, as Harris, in attempting to state his premise, included saying that Islam gets special treatment and that “Islamaphobia” is a meme and conversation-stopper and a way to shut down substantive discussion. (I agree.)
Afleck used many colorful and non-sequitor epithets, trying to draw disingenuous and innacurate analogies — false-equivilencies, really — between what Harris and others have been saying and the ethniphobic statements made by anti-semites in ages past.
Ben meant well, but was out of his depth and hot-headed.
Harris and Maher had to fight to finish each sentence as Afleck continually interrupted them, but Harris and Maher eventually prevailed pointed out to Afleck that what they were saying was about the high percentage of Muslims who think such-and-such egregeous principle in thier religion is true and right and how the polls in many Mulsim countries — including in “liberal” ones — illustrate the frightening reality of this.
Then, Afleck asks rhetorically whether Harris thinks ‘Islam is a bad idea.’
Probably and mostly out of exasperation, Harris says what many who know scripture and history are aware of, but do not say:
“Islam is the mother-load of bad ideas.”
This is when Afleck labeled Harris a “racist.”
The Problem And Point
The point is, religions deserve no right to be exempt from criticism and the misuse of the word “race” in relation to them and their adherents, cognitively and verbally sets up an unfair and unjust protection of their doctrines, making them off-limits to scrutiny.
As Douglas Adams and many philosophers and scientists have pointed out, in virtually no other endeavor do we make criticism off-limits.
Religion and ethnic practices, incorrectly protected by “race” are the only areas of human life walled off and unfairly guarded like this, and it’s unjustified and dangerous.
Mislabeling Criticism as Racist
The second example is all too obvious and ubiquitous and at the heart of every “racist” complaint, which comedians point out is becoming a larger and larger category encompassing any type of criticism.
If you don’t think a majority of (or a large minority of) a particular cultural group is practicing human rights — or some other civic responsibility — to the desired measure of egalitarian norms, you can be called “racist” for your criticism of this behavior. That’s intellectually dishonest and unfair.
This is actually a different example of the first case — mentioned above — but equally demonstrative (or perhaps moreso) of the bad situation we are in, where “race” awards unwarrented and undeserved protection.
This example will be easier to discuss than some of the classic American issues of this type.
The Burka Ban
France has banned the burka and the burkini. One reason for this is “cultural protectionism,” meaning that many French do not want the face of their culture changing to the extent that it looks like a Muslim majority country.
Many can argue that this is not an example of how to create a free society, and they would be technically right, but then they could be blamed for being unfair in this assessment as the burka and its derivitives are marks of female-subjugation, which is a concept anathema to the French and in gross contradiction to the ideals and struggles of the Renaissance, the French Revolution and French Enlightenment and a defining aspect of French society. (And I agree.)
Islam, itself, is a religion of submission — an idea quite contrary and offensive to everything it means to be French.
Pro-Muslim and multi-cultural people can say it is Islamophobia, but this is an attempt both at shutting down the substance of the conversation — because there is nothing wrong with expressing fear of cultural encroachment coming from a culture diametrically opposite and hostile to your values — but it is also tragically comic, because the suggestion is one should not be afraid of Islam, whilst in actuality, people are terrified of it, whether that is right or wrong. That’s how they feel. And the inconvenient truth is there is a good case for defending this fear. Look around. Read the newspapers.
Now if you are poised to attack this notion, understand many of us are terrified of Christianity, too. I am.
The point of this article is to say that whatever your honest convictions about this subject of religion and culture, “race” doesn’t enter into it — insofar as race is culture plus biology — an amalgam once used to excuse the subjugation of “inferior” people in the time of slavery, but now used to defend against criticisms of religion and cultural practices, so people can enjoy a special status affording them the right not to be offended and the right to — in the case of religion — perpetuate intolerence and dangerous ideas under the guise of multi-culturalism and liberalism.
The irony is these religions are anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic, anti-science and anti-freedom (in terms of the mind, of sexual freedom and persuasion, of art and expression and of women).
The Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Maajid Nawaz – Southern Poverty Law Center Incident
The final example involves Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex Muslim, former Dutch Parliamentarian and author famous for her human rights activism and criticism of Islam. She is a friend and contemporary of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Professor Daniel Dennett and the late Christopher Hitchens, the journalist credited with having been the greatest British essayist since George Orwell.
Ali is also friends with Majid Nawaz, founder of Quilium — an organization founded to reduce Islamic Jihad and Islamism and to promote a reform of Islam to usher the religion into the 21st Century. Nawaz is a former Islamist who left his home country of Britain to spread the ideas of theocracy in Pakistan. He changed in an Egyptian prison, where he met true Jihadis who revealed to him the extreme violence and ignorance of pure, theocratic Islam.
Nawaz met Sam Harris after a debate, and they had an argument, in which a slightly tipsy Harris challenged Nawaz to just come clean about the fact that he couldn’t admit the truth about Islam.
This sparked a discussion in which they became friends, Harris apologized for his abruptness, and they went on to write the recently published book, Islam And The Future of Tolerence. In it they discuss (it’s a printed conversation with audio available) how to solve the problem of radical Islam.
The point about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz:
Recently, the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Ali and Nawaz Islamophobes and denigrated them and their work — which is, of course, ridiculous and will prove to be a great stain on SPL’s reputation.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s lectures, like those of Harris and Nawaz and the rest of these luminaries, are brilliant — compassionate, repspectful, ingenious, eloquent honest, and accurate.
Ali is a victim of Female Genital Manipulation. She escaped a forced betrothal. She talks of the Mecca-Muhammad (a spiritual persona) and the Medina-Muhammad (a raping, murdering, homophobic warlord manifestation) and how Islam cannot be reformed to eradicate violent Jihad and theocracy unless Muslim guardians — parents and leaders — explain the difference.
The Challemge for Muslims
The problem with reforming Islam is in the fact that the Prophet Muhammad cannot be criticized — as Ali has criticized him — and so his violent pronouncements of how to prosecute war on infidels, rape enemy women and kill gays cannot be amended.
Ali’s friend Theo Van Goh was murdered for making a film about Islam, and his body was left in the streets of Holland with a note pinned to his chest by a dagger, warning the likes of those who criticize Islam, such as Ali. In light of this, Southern Poverty Law Center’s rebuke of her can be seen as extremely irresponsible and damgerous.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an atheist, now. Maajid Nawaz, a reformed Muslim. She, he and Harris muat travel to their speaking engagements under high security because of death threats.
The Richard Dawkins Incident
Recently, the famed Richard Dawkins, prize winning author of the Selfish Gene, The God Delusion and The Greatest Show in Earth: The Evidence for Evolution was uninvited from a speaking engagement at Berkley because of a politically correct outcry that is attempting to stifle his criticism of religion and of course, principally of Islam. This is the subverting of our culture and erosion of free speech at the highest levels. Dawkins is a genius evolutionary biologist and a gentleman of the highest order.
Muslims are not a “race.” Pretending they or any other cultural or religious group is a “race” represents a dishonest attempt to protect them against legitimate criticism at worst and extremw ignorance at best.
The fact that Southern Poverty Law Center – once a legal bastion of equality and justice, has succumbed to the politically correct dumbing-down of America and become a mouthpiece for blind pop-culture criticism of human rights champions such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz is terrifying testament to how far illigitimate concepts in identity politics such as those which lean on “race” have come to indicate how far the left is becoming fascist.
This is hypocracy, intellectual and spiritual dishonesty, academic illegitimacy and entitlement — and it’s unjust and dangerous.
One Thing You Can Do
I encourage you to stop using this bastard and erroneous word — ‘race,’ perpetuating its illigitimate entitlements and in so-doing you shall also be stopping the perpetuation of the phony concept of “race” and its pernicious effects. We only have cultural challenges, as we are all members of the same race. And cultural challenges cannot be met or eliminitaed with dishonest and innacurate speech.