Tuesday, September 05, 2017

America's melting pot and America's Muslims

Jeff Jacoby notes below that in opinion surveys American Muslims are very tolerant and pro-American.  He draws much comfort from that. Although their religion is very authoritarian -- preaching Islamic supremacism -- Jeff believes that they are peaceful pussies.

I spent 20 years doing opinion surveys for academic purposes so I think I can offer an informed perspective on that.  I will start out by making a very old comment:  "Deeds, not words". What people say in response to surveys is often not what they think and is certainly not what they do.  The attitude/behavior discrepancy is a well-known problem in psychology.  I am one of many who have researched it.

Let me give a glaring example.  Leftism is intrinsically authoritarian. Even Friedrich Engels (co-author of Karl Marx) recognized that.  Let me quote him:

"A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists"

The whole point of Leftism is to change society and you can only change society by changing what people do. Leftists proceed from a perception of fault in the world to a conviction that they are entitled to abolish that fault.  They think, for instance, that inequality is wrong and proceed from that to think that they have the right to abolish it.  Conservatives, by contrast, are much more humble.  They see inequality too but have no fantasy of their right or ability to change it.  They just try to work around it  -- by charitable giving, for instance.

Leftists of course are not always able to implement their plans and wishes.  It is only when a society is in a very disordered state -- due to war or some other cause -- that they can seize complete power.  You then see how authoritarian they really are.  As Engels foresaw, they then have to become practitioners of terror and mass murder.  And, sadly, a large part of the world's  population has experienced that:  Russia, China etc.

In the USA and the Anglosphere generally, democratic traditions obstruct what Leftists can do so they have to be content to nibble at the edges of society -- as we saw from the torrent of destructive regulations that emanated from the Obama regime.  But in all cases Leftism is about forcing change upon society. And if that is not authoritarian, what would be?

From all that, one would expect Leftists to have very authoritarian, pro-authority attitudes.  They should enthusiastically proclaim the wonders of government power. They should exult in the subordination of the many to the few.

But they do not. I did many surveys of authority attitudes during my 20 years as an academic researcher and I routinely found that Leftists were no more likely to express acceptance of authority than anyone else. Their attitudes to authority were completely compartmentalized, to use Freud's term. They could reject authoritarianism in their attitude statements while also voting for it and working towards it. It was the same in Engels' day. His fellow revolutionary Leftists were condemning authority while also being prepared to exercize it to an extreme degree. His essay on the matter is well worth reading to this day

So if attitude statements tell you nothing about Leftist behaviour, why would we think that attitude statements tell us anything about Muslim behaviour?  And we do know about Muslim behaviour. Like Leftists who get full power, they are mass murderers of the innocent.  That goes on all the time in the Middle East and other Muslim lands.

And it goes on on our countries too.  Muslims have very little power to change anything in our countries so it is only a small minority who can achieve authoritarian Muslim aims -- usually by sacrificing their own lives in a shooting or bombing spree.  And even Muslims are wary of sacrificing their own lives so it is usually socially marginal Muslims who go on such sprees. They feel that their lives are useless so why not give up that life for Allah?

So I think Jeff Jacoby below is totally naive.  What Muslims say is no guide to what they really think and may well do.  They are a dangerous element in a our society and should be sent back to their ancestral lands where they can vent their violent urges  onto one-another.

Just to expand a little on that last point:  The Left erupt into a febrile rage about largely imaginary white supremacists but completely ignore Muslim supremacism. You just have to read the Koran or listen to Muslim preachers to be left in no doubt about the supremacist nature of Islam.  Is it only imaginary threats that the Left can deal with?  Do real threats simply have to be blocked out?  It would seem so.  What might be called "cognitive management" seems to be essential to Leftism

THE STORY of American pluralism began with the migration of Puritan separatists, who came to the New World seeking a haven where they could practice their faith as they saw fit. The Puritans didn't show much tolerance toward subsequent newcomers practicing other faiths, such as Quakers and Baptists. But those religions put down roots, and the intolerance evaporated over time.

That became the pattern. Though religious diversity is one of the hallmarks of American life, believers from less-familiar traditions typically start out facing resentment and mistrust. After a while, however, those minority creeds and churches grow accepted and comfortable and become part of the nation's religious and cultural mosaic.

We don't often think about it, but it's an amazing phenomenon. In a world torn by religious bitterness, the United States has repeatedly managed to assimilate clashing faiths. It was true for Quakers and Baptists in the 18th century, for Catholics in the 19th, and for Mormons and Jews in the 20th. It is proving true yet again in this century for American Muslims.

The Pew Research Center recently released the results of a detailed survey of Muslims in the United States — the third it has conducted since 2007. It is no secret that many Americans, especially since 9/11, have come to regard Muslims with fear or suspicion. During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump fueled that animus, decrying the "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population" and demanding a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the United States.

Yet for all that, the Pew surveys make clear, US Muslims are replicating the age-old trajectory of religious minority communities: They adopt American values, reject fundamentalism, and form ties of friendship and love across religious lines.

In the latest poll, an overwhelming 92 percent of Muslims agree with the patriotic statement "I am proud to be an American." When asked how much they feel they have in common with most Americans, 60 percent of Muslims say "a lot" and another 28 percent say "some." Only 36 percent say that all or most of their friends are fellow Muslims, a striking drop from the 49 percent who said so in the 2011 survey — and far less than the 95 percent of Muslims who say so in other countries.

Islamist fanaticism and terror have been among the world's intractable problems for decades; the scholar Daniel Pipes has estimated that as many as 15 percent of Muslims worldwide support radical Islam. There is no simple solution to the problem of militant Islamist extremism, and too many Americans — from Boston to Fort Hood to San Bernardino to Orlando — have been among its victims.

But as the Pew data show, the Muslim community in America is the most religiously tolerant and socially liberal Islamic population in the world. And Muslims in America, far from sanctioning deliberate violence against civilians, are actually more likely than the general public to oppose it in all circumstances.

In Pew's latest survey, 59 percent of Americans overall said that targeting or killing civilians for a "political, social, or religious cause" can never be justified. Opposition among US Muslims, however, was 17 percentage points higher — three-fourths of Muslim respondents opposed such killings. The Cato Institute's David Bier suggests that American Muslims are so strongly opposed to religion-based terrorism for the obvious reason that Muslims worldwide are its most frequent victims.

Perhaps it is for the same reason that Muslims in the United States are considerably more likely to reject fundamentalist or monolithic interpretations of Islam.

While many U.S. Muslims attend mosque and pray regularly, majorities say that there is more than one way to interpret their religion and that traditional understandings of Islam need to be reinterpreted to address contemporary issues.
About 43 percent of US Muslims say they attend religious services at least once a week; 65 percent say religion is very important to them. For US Christians, the numbers are comparable — 47 percent say they go to church at least weekly, and 68 percent consider their religion very important in their lives. Contrary to the popular view of Muslims as dogmatic, however, a large majority of those living in America take a latitudinarian approach to Islam and the Koran. Pew found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) "openly acknowledge that there is room for multiple interpretations" of their religion" and just over half of all US Muslims agree that "traditional understandings of Islam must be reinterpreted to reflect contemporary issues." Polls of Muslims worldwide have found overwhelming majorities supporting a literal interpretation of the Koran; in America, less than half of Muslims do.

Similarly, a majority of Muslims in this country reject the view that Sharia should be a source (let alone the source) for national legislation. In France and Britain, by contrast, majorities of Muslims insist that Sharia should be the primary law of the land. When asked if there is "a natural conflict between the teachings of Islam and democracy," 65 percent of American Muslims say no.

All this is a wonderful affirmation of the power of the American melting pot — E Pluribus Unum. It is a reminder of the fundamental difference between the blood-and-soil nationalism that prevails in Europe and the American conviction that nationhood is grounded in equality and natural rights.

During the debate on independence in 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia declared that liberty in America must be universal, embracing "the Mahomitan [Muslim] and the Gentoo [Hindu] as well as the Christian religion." The potency of that embrace has not diminished. Immigrants of every faith still come to America, and become Americans.



Donald Trump's response to Hurricane Harvey has been exemplary

Even the fiercest of Donald Trump's critics would have to concede that he has performed well after the last few days. Given the devastation which has befallen Texas, it would be crass to say the president has had a "good hurricane",  but the US media and political establishment will inevitably analyse his performance from that perspective anyway. And it would be churlish to ignore the fact that he has, as it happens, shown leadership.

Trump has tweeted to good purpose, cajoling people to get to safety, encouraging and praising those on the ground. He has been refreshingly non-partisan, hailing the performance of John Bel Edwards, the Democrat governor of Louisiana as well as his Republican counterpart in Texas, Greg Abbott.

The president has not pretended to be King Canute, but has let the professionals get on with the job while pledging they will get the resources they need.



Just when you think you've heard the dumbest comment ever made... Maxine Waters does her best to lead us all into peace and prosperity


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: