Thursday, February 09, 2006

On the riots

It needs to be said that the UO Jews who are inveighing against the barbarism now on display in the Muslim world have identified the wrong culprit.

The trouble isn’t that the rioters are Arabs or Muslim, but that they are benighted primitives, who are unacquainted with the gifts of the enlightenment.

It’s instructive to remember that all of Europe once behaved as they behave today in Pakistan and Indonesia. That changed only after the ideas of the enlightenment took hold and Christians became more skeptical toward their old religion. If Islam is going to be cured of barbarism Muslims, too, must embrace skepticism. They must become modern.

Meanwhile, the UO Jews who condemn the certainties of Islam, while simultaneously rejecting the skepticism of other Jews are playing a dangerous game. They forget that when they dismiss “modernity” they are also dismissing the only known tonic for the sort of barbarism that once engulfed Europe and threatens to engulf us again.