Sunday, October 5, 2014

Why Do They Despise Us?

A common question is why do Muslims hate us (Westerners) so much. One answer, from Adam Garfinkle at the American Interest:
To one extent or another, all Muslim Middle Eastern societies (to include those of North Africa, the Sahel and Southwest Asia), Arab and non-Arab alike, maintain traditional attitudes toward human sexuality and to how that subject in its various manifestations may and may not be discussed in public. I do not mean by this that these societies are free from pre- or post-modern sexual perversity; on the contrary, there is plenty of perversity and arguably no shortage of sexual neuroses as well from Morocco to Egypt to Pakistan and back again. But the public optic conveys a very different image, and toleration for what is defined as deviant behavior is low. This is not hard for Americans of a certain age to understand, for Middle Easterners’ attitudes toward homosexuality, out-of-wedlock sex, abortion and so forth are more or less indistinguishable from mainstream American attitudes a mere half century ago. Take careful note: We are the ones who have changed, and by normal social-historical criteria, the change has been blindingly rapid. 
... The favorite rhetorical question asked here after 9/11 was “Why do they hate us?” The answer to this question is that it was and remains the wrong question. The typical tradition-minded Middle Easterner does not hate America. But rather a lot of tradition-minded Middle Easterners are disgusted by America. There is a difference. 
The rise of “gay rights” discourse and especially of the gay marriage controversy to the pinnacle of American politics—all the way to the Supreme Court—befuddles and disgusts most of them. The immodesty and downright salaciousness of American “low” fashion, especially for women, repels and disgusts them, too. The manifest disrespect shown to elders and teachers alarms and disgusts them. The now deeply embedded linguistic obscenity in American culture, whether in some forms of popular music or just in overheard speech, repulses and disgusts them. And not that violence against women and homosexuals is unknown to them in their own societies—again, very much to the contrary—but the casual pervasiveness of it in Americans’ own depictions of American society shocks and disgusts them, too. 
Above all, the deafeningly public character of all this—the banishment of useful hypocrisy, in other words—puzzles and disgusts to the point that many of them think we have simply gone mad. To figure out why so few Middle Easterners were won over by President Obama’s famous Cairo speech, and all the other speeches designed to project American “soft power” into the Muslim world (just check recent polling data to measure the failure), you need to understand this backdrop. 
There have been other consequences, as well. It is a disturbing oversimplification to conclude from all this that al-Qaeda attacked America because a hedonistic salon Left’s influence on American culture disgusted them to the point that they could no longer bear it. But it was one element of a multipronged motivation. ... As a fish is the last to discover water, most Americans have become jaded to the point of non-discernment with respect their own cultural circumstances. But Arabs and Turks and Kurds and Pashtuns and Berbers who come to America to study in their impressionable youth are not jaded, and they do not all return home as fans of American culture or society, particularly of the way we conduct ourselves when it comes to matters sexual.
 Garfinkle places all of this in context of what he terms a scoundrel cascade--a preference cascade based around the decline of morality and acceptance of perversion. Read the whole article.

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