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January 23, 2015


Dr. Kelly James Clark

I have a similar and shorter analysis.


Ormond Otvos

If you can't see the symbiosis between authoritarianism and religion, I despair for your analysis of anything.

Religions aren't based on questioning, unless it's the useless hermeneutics of the muftis and jesuits.

Get real. Religion is against freedom to think, to act, to BE!


Short question.

I found that I was unable to make comments on the "Dissent" website.

I am not a subscriber.

Is this the case for everyone? Including subscribers?


I agree with the point that Ormond Otvos makes here and also made in Michael Walzer's original article that we are mistaken in failing to considering Religious motivations in their own terms.

Westerners - especially leftist and liberals - tend to live in societies which are for most intents and purposes *secular* societies.

Whatever religious beliefs they may or may not profess.

This is simply not the case outside of the modern Western world.

Religion and the religious world-view needs to added as a category of analysis to all the other "materialist" ones that we are accustomed to.


Possibly in contradiction to what I wrote above and in support of Justin Smith's original post I can recommend this new book:

"English Abstract: Political Islamism is usually considered to be an ‘exotic phenomenon’ but is seldom explained in the light of economic dynamics and contemporary policies. Ahmed Henni has based his work on a wide range of statistical and historical data and sought to show how that trend is not so much the result of the Koran as it is that of petroleum-related activities and of the transformations of capitalism. The battle that is being fought for the underprivileged by political Islamism is no longer directed at property and the economic power that is derived from it; political sovereignty is the new target. Judicial claims and egalitarian aspirations do not aim to solve problems that are related to the improvement of standards of living of individuals: their goal is the equal redistribution of the income that comes from other entities. When wealth is based on income, it is granted in accordance with social status, not economic activity. That is the reason why social competition for status and position happens in redistribution rather than the production process. This form of Islamism that is commonly presented as political has expanded tremendously in the Gulf States, where oil income has enabled the latter to accumulate wealth and to become a major hub for consumption over the past few years."


Mark Harrigan

Much to agree with but much not. I think you are making a category mistake when you conflate Buddhist violence against Muslims in Burma with the recent killings of cartoonists in Europe.

One involved ethnic tension in a poor country - with both "sides" identifying with their religion but neither invoking its tenets as a justification for their acts.

The other involved murder by religious extremists of the islamic variety who DID invoke their religion as both justification and motivation for killing those who had "blasphemed" against their religion.

If you cannot see the distinction - and note that currently there is no other group of religious adherents who go to that extreme - then your philosophy has blinded you to what is really going on.

Yes there are many other currents afoot - not the least the desires of those who use or seize power to their own advantage and to make the world what they think it should be - and will use religious justification when it suits them.

But to pretend or ignore the particular problems that Islam itself presents - more to it's own adherents perhaps than to the west - is to not see the problem as it is.


Especially disturbing is from 1:50 to 2:20

Also - can you not see that "beliefs about the transcendent order" are often the source of "a hatred of freedom, doubt, ambiguity, and self-expression by individuals within the mundane order." precisely because those beliefs about the transcendent order are used to set rigid rules for life within the mundane one?


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