Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Colonialistic Guilt

One of the most puzzling aspects of the whole Danish cartoon scandal is the degree to which liberal Western papers and thinkers have always judged and continue to judge radical Moslems by a different standard than everyone else. To be blunt, a large number of crimes, atrocities, and statements made by Moslems are simply given a pass- excused or ignored, where the same action would earn a Westerner contempt and outrage.

I blame this cultural sensitivity gone mad. Since the Moslems have a different culture, the West has almost a pathological fear of imposing our cultural standards upon them. It's like they're constantly doing penance for colonialism by treating any other culture with kid gloves. Example- if Israel would dare to pass a law restricting, say, the rights of women, every liberal, free-thinking paper would be tearing them to bits in twenty minutes. Why? Because Israel is regarded as a Western-style country, and therefore can be help up to whatever you choose to think are Western-style ideals. But dare to suggest that certain Moslem countries are being hard on women, and all of a sudden you're forcing Judeo-Christian standards on people of another culture.

Me, this paradox isn't my problem. I have no problem with saying that there are absolute standards of morality that people have to meet, no matter whether their cultural acknowledges these or not. But it's a fascinating thing to watch broad-minded humanists tap-dance around their liberal ideals on one hand and their horror of Colonialistic behavior on the other.

(Obligatory disclaimer- this is being written in a rush, between bouts of attacking a major paper due in less than a week. So if it's disjointed, incoherent, or stupid, blame it on the sleep deprivation. It made sense in my head, at least.)

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