Is the behavior of Pakistani Muslims subhuman?

A reader in England writes:

Subject: THEY’RE NOT SUBHUMAN YET / BUT THEY’RE GETTING THERE: 11 year old Christian Pakistani girl Arrested for ‘Blasphemy’

(Paraphrase in subject box derived from Dylan song, ”NOT DARK YET”)

Accusing and arresting a semi-retarded 11 girl for blasphemy? That’s human? A Muslim mob threatens to burn down Christian homes because she (the girl) has some pages of the Koran in her bag?

That’s human?

Yeah, that’s Pakistani (“moderate”) Muslims for you, acting very close to subhuman. Oh dear, I forgot, some VFR readers and even Larry say I’m not allowed to use that adjective.

I don’t like that adjective myself.

But when people act in a barbaric evil manner, it’s hard for it not to spring to mind.

LA replies:

You wrote:

Yeah, that’s Pakistani (‘moderate’) Muslims for you, acting very close to subhuman. Oh dear, I forgot, some VFR readers and even Larry say I’m not allowed to use that adjective.

Not true about me. Look again at the most recent discussion. We may say that some people are behaving in a subhuman way. We may say that some people in their conduct and character are animalistic, and that society needs to recognize this if it is to deal effectively with the problems such people present. What we should not say is that some people are—in some permanent, ontological sense—subhuman or non-human.

Let us also remember that barbaric and evil are not the same thing as subhuman. There are barbaric human beings. There are evil human beings. But they are still human beings.

By the way, excellent Dylan paraphrase.

Reader in England replies:
I’m wasn’t seriously saying they were subhuman, and I know you weren’t either.

The subject line implies they are (acting) subhuman without out and out stating that they are subhuman. So it is a no-lose situation for me. I can’t get accused of accusing these Muslims of being subhuman even it is obvious that I feel they are well on their way to being so.


You say: “We may say that people act in a subhuman way.”

I then ask: How long do people have to act in a subhuman way so as to be considered actually to be subhuman? A year? Ten years? Or can you act in a subhuman way all your life and still not be subhuman??

Oy vay!

LA replies:

That’s a heck of a good question. I suppose we can say that a person is effectively subhuman, but we don’t have the right to say that he is ontologically and metaphysically, let alone legally, subhuman. Remember, this whole discussion is about a spiritual idea the meaning of which is not easily understandable: that man is made in the image of God, and thus by his very nature is made in the image of God and cannot wholly lose the image of God. Do any of us really know what that means? Yes, we have various ideas what it means, from ourselves and from respected sources. But it’s not something that can be determined in some official way by society. As far as society is concerned, anyone who is a human being is human, and we don’t have the right to say otherwise.

- end of initial entry -

Debra C. writes:

I’m not hopping on board the subhuman label train because it seems to mitigate the sting of guilt from those people whose actions reveal in truth the depravity of their hearts; such vicious assaults (as this thread relates) are fully human, but human at its despicably evil nadir. I wish more attention to be drawn—in these specific instances—to the fact of their fully human culpability, to their accountability before God, and to their eternal separation from God should they die unrepentant—when the very real wrath of God will descend upon them in unending hell.

To portray such perpetrators as subhuman seems in my mind to gloss over, to in some way excuse, or to minimize their evil, as if they are somehow not responsible for their actions. It is to suggest that WE could never do such things, which is a position I reject. I realize that for some people the term subhuman may denote evil so low that there are simply no other terms by which to describe it. Nevertheless, I still wish for us to understand that these kinds of evil acts remind us of our dire state apart from God’s loving intervention.

LA replies:

Very good point. Here’s what I understand you to be saying. To the extent that we describe certain savage or sharia-compliant behaviors as “subhuman” we seem, inadvertently, to be doing what liberals do, which is to deny the moral agency of Muslims, blacks, and other extremely badly behaved groups, and thus to relieve them of human responsibility for their acts. I agree with you. However, I don’t think that anyone in the “image of God” discussion had that intention. The “subhuman” description was, rather, an understandable attempt by people to articulate their own personal reactions to these behaviors which to many reasonable people do seem subhuman. But, as you bring out, it’s not helpful to discuss these issues in terms of subhumanity (even if it’s understandable that people want to do so), because it implies that certain people are not responsible for their acts, which is also what liberals and mainstream conservatives say. (As discussed today here by Patrick H. and me.) The liberals say that rampaging Muslims and blacks are not responsible for their acts, because they were driven to those acts by white/Western oppression. The right-wing Darwinians say that rampaging Muslims and blacks are not responsible for their acts, because, well, because no human being is responsible for his acts, but is a product of genetic determinism. Traditional conservatives do believe that people are responsible for their acts. And since most Muslims and many blacks intend our harm, we have to deal with them accordingly.

As for mainstream conservatives, they simply avoid the issue, by refusing to recognize the reality of Islamic doctrines and beliefs.

As an illustration of how seriously and respectfully I treat Muslims, let me quote from the closing part of my imaginary speech by a future U.S. president in my 2009 speech, “A Real Islam Policy for a Real America.”

Now that I have spoken to the American people about the steps we must take to preserve our freedoms and our very nationhood, I would like to speak to the Muslims of the world who are listening to me tonight.

I repeat that I have no ill will against you as people. I act with no animosity. I act in recognition of reality. And the reality is—and you know it, and now you know that we know it—that your religion commands you to make all peoples and societies submit to the Islamic law, wherever and whenever you have the power and opportunity to do so….

I repeat, these proposals do not threaten you. We respect the religion of Islam when practiced by Muslims in their own countries. We have no designs on Islam. You have nothing to fear from us. We do not threaten you and your way of life. But you, as a religion and as a political movement commanded by your god to subjugate the entire world, most certainly threaten us. But you can only threaten us if you are in our lands. When you are in your own lands you pose no direct danger to us.

So, Muslims of the world, let us go on sharing in peace this beautiful earth that God created. But in order for there to be peace between us, there must also be fences between us.

Good night. God bless America, God bless Western civilization, and God bless the peoples of the world.

Unlike liberals and mainstream conservatives, I in my writings on Islam have always taken Muslims seriously as moral actors. I have given them the respect to recognize what their beliefs really are, while liberals and mainstream conservatives refuse to recognize the reality of what Muslims believe, because if they recognized the reality of these beliefs, they would have to renounce their hope of equally including all peoples and cultures in a single liberal world order, but instead would have to erect fences against Muslims and thus give up liberalism and its doctrine of non-discrimination.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 20, 2012 10:55 AM | Send

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