Saturday, February 11, 2006

Neo-Conservative Revisionism; A Rant

In the middle of a discussion about activism, I had reason to say the following:

On one cannot pick-and-choose between going after
  • Muslim neo-conservative revisionists taking over issues related to Muslim-majority communities, because it is bad for non-Muslim minorities those communities can have power over (including Hindus and Christians);
  • Christian neo-conservative revisionists taking over issues related to Christian communities, because it is bad for non-Christian minorities those communities can have power over (including Muslims and Hindus);
  • Hindu neo-conservative revisionists taking over issues related to Hindu communities, because it is bad for non-Hindu minorities those communities can have power over (including Muslims and Christians); or
  • Jewish neo-conservative revisionists taking over issues related to Jewish communities, because it is bad for non-Jewish minorities those communities can have power over (including Muslims and Christians);

That really is how I see things. The issue is not each other's religious faith or each other's religious community; the issue is that a certain 21st century chauvinism of a tribal nature is on the march masquerading as "traditionalism". Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Jamat-e-Islami are no more "traditionalist" than the Christian Right are no more "traditionalist" than the Hindutva movement are no more "traditionalist" than the "Israel-right-or-wrong" crowd.

And no, I am not saying that just because someone follows a certain interpretation of their faith or ideology--Islamic, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Communist, Free Market, or what-have-you--they are automatically either terrorists, or oppressors, or extremists. People are terrorists when they use terror to achieve political aims--and Marxists have done it as often as religious people. People are oppressors when they oppress other people--and people of various faiths, various communities, and various ethnic backgrounds have done that. People are extremists and fanatics when, as Winston Churchill once said (I wince to quote an architect of chemical warfare on the side of humanity) "they redouble their efforts when they forgotten their aims", or lost touch with the principles they claim to be fighting for. When people do things like that, they need to be taken on by legal and political means--or by other means if all else fails. But if people that fit in one of the four bullet points above--or similar categories for other faiths and ideologies--are not falling in one of these categories, they need to be engaged intellectually, theologically, socially, and politically and overwhelmed that way.

Or am I smoking the wrong stuff?

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