The neocons’ Angelina Jolie

Admiring Mark Steyn as a Serious Thinker is like celebrating Angelina Jolie as a Great Beauty—it is a mark of the emptiness of our culture. Scott B. discusses a speech of Steyn’s that got a lot of play in the conservative media:

I think this recent speech by Mark Steyn gives a clearer picture than before of what he believes is the fundamental nature of the crisis we face, how he believes we’re failing to meet that crisis, and what he believes we must do in order to meet it.

It isn’t all explicitly stated,—it never is with Steyn—but there’s enough here to fill in the blanks.

The key is the analogy he makes to the outlawing by British imperialists of the barbaric former Hindu practice of Suti. The fact that this practice then fell by the wayside seems evidence enough to Steyn of the transformative power of confident unapologetic assertions of the superiority of Western values.

Hence, if only we would re-affirm our core values, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t, with similar steadfastness, make it clear to Muslim immigrants what aspects of their culture (honour killings, jihad, etc.) are not tolerable to civilized people.

Likewise, the grand democratisation project will eventually bring them up to scratch in their own part of the world too (though for some reason he’s been a little less triumphant about that lately, including in this speech)

This fallacies here are so numerous, the reasoning so facile, that I hardly know where to begin. Just two quick thoughts:

How does his idea of cultural transformation under assertive Western influence fit in with the reversion to form throughout Africa no sooner had the colonialists departed? Aren’t some cultures evidently more transformable than others?

Was Suti a bedrock principle, a sine qua non, of Hinduism? Obviously not. Does he not think things might not have been a little different if, in Hindu scripture, all the most revered gods had been said to have practiced Suti themselves and had stated in no uncertain terms that their followers forever after must do the same?

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LA writes:

Steyn’s analogy between the British elimination of Suti and our supposed ability today to eliminate Muslim extremism becomes even more lame in light of the information provided in this e-mail from Vishal M.:

“As A Hindu I would like to provide some information on Sutti as the Sutti analogy is coming up frequently.

“Sutti was never a widespread Hindu custom. In fact out of many thousands of Hindu communities, only two (as far as I know) ever practised it: Bengali kuleen Brahmins, and Rajputs of Western India (where stray cases crop up once in five years even now).”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 26, 2006 12:46 PM | Send

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