Skip to main content

View Diary: It's Groundhog Day - and No One Got the Memo (61 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Trajectory is my concern. (4+ / 0-)

    The Islamic world is not presently struggling with becoming more modern, it's struggling with becoming more regressive and oppressive. Islamic countries were at least as socially modern a century ago. The last forty years have been a plunge into darkness.

    I don't compare this to Europe's Renaissance. I would compare it to it's Dark Ages. This feels much more like the latter than the former. Democracy is not bringing freedom to the Islamic world as it did in Europe. In every country that has become more democratic, it has also become more Theocratic.

    Mitt Romney actually is what Republicans pretended John Kerry was. - Jed Lewison

    by MasterKey on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 09:12:35 PM PDT

    •  The Renaissance had some setbacks (7+ / 0-)

      While the Renaissance brought up ideas about human dignity and accomplishment that provided some of the foundation stones for the modern world, some of the most brutal attacks on heresy and "witches" came after that. Europe had to slaughter millions of people before arriving at the conclusion that theocracy wasn't working out.

      I hope the Muslim world doesn't have to go that far, but it probably will have to draw it's own conclusions from experience rather than adhering to European dictates of "reason".

      A couple years ago I saw a Rick Steves special on tours of the Middle East: he said Iran got a bad rap - the Taliban was just another "family values" revolution. I'm glad I read Persepolis first. In hindsight, that remark threw a more questionable light on American "family values" rather than improving the image of the Taliban.

      My heart does go out to all the people, particularly the women, who are suffering while the Middle East is trying to retrench theocracy.

      Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

      by breakingranks on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 09:26:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  reasonableness always triggers backlash... worse (6+ / 0-)

        than before... those who want to live in"the past" fighting a delaying action against their world view being superseded. The darkness of their determination, fear and hate tries to claw things back into the darkness. And the reactionaries cannot ever admit that they are on the losing side of history especially when all they think they see is them apparently succeeding, forcing their way onto others and even laying waste to vast areas and killing loads of people... but it is futile in the end.

        They may succeed for a time, centuries even but all along they are changing too and their new incarnations reassemble into updated versions that deny their roots but are already falling behind and simply defend the most recently outmoded versions of their thinking for as long as they can. And typically revanchists lying low, mis-educating/indoctrinating their children and grandchildren etc. can ensure that misery flares up again.... Serbians & Kosovo are a great example... as are Confederacy fans who nurture the usual defeated memes of revenge and rise again...

        And success by forward thinking trends lulls societies into thinking they have put the past behind them... but as that southern author put it more or less... "the dead past is not past it isn't even dead."

        So like ripples the original disruption and chaos settles down but repeat waves like historical tsunamis keep coming back and sometimes worse than expected but its very fury betokens that it is a spent force that will recede for the very reason that most who witness it will revile it and in the end laugh it out of power along with the tears it brings. When retro thinking become a silly and sometimes evil parody of itself  to most it can only cause harm for a time and ultimately cannot win with a conceptual sell by date that is centuries old.

        Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

        by IreGyre on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:26:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Worldview Superseded (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bnasley, AuroraDawn

          Superseding is experienced as a form of domination, especially if it's some other country/people claiming to be in the vanguard.

          In terms of "branding" (no comment on the political or social reality), I like "Communism with Chinese Characteristics" - this allowed China to make modernizing changes while not allowing their own culture to be "superseded".

          Le nirvane n'existe pas. - Etienne Lamotte

          by breakingranks on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 12:14:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  sold as the local version "improving" the import.. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AuroraDawn, breakingranks

            making it "better".... a way of overcoming the "Not invented here" roadblock/resistance. (not to mention local politicians or entrepreneurs cutting out the foreigners)

            And another example is the success of the Shi'a branch of Islam had a lot to do with Persians wanting to be the owners of a "Truer" version of the faith than their Arab conquerors had and so they did.

            There is a lot of that thinking... until a homegrown version of something turns up... a product or an idea... there is some resistance to the original simply because it is foreign. Of course many people are normally drawn to exotic things from elsewhere but usually more people are hesitant or resistant to foreign things, new things... unless there is some social reward or cachet involved.

            Russia and Lenin is yet another political example... there Lenin kind of sold the home grown sped up version of Marxism that allowed or explained why the "proletarian revolution" could or even should start in backwards Russia instead of the expected German locus... Clever Russians come up with the new improved version.

            Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

            by IreGyre on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:48:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  And even more so when that other (4+ / 0-)

            country/people is regularly bombing you and supporting dictators that rule over you.

            The China example is a bit different because culturally they can be considered to have been more modern than most places a thousand or more years ago.  Or at least achieved some level of modernity.

            One of the main problems I see in discussions like these are that people in the US tend to assume that we're the "most modern," or if not then the Scandinavian social welfare states are some sort of pinnacle of modernity.

            Part of the problem is that we all make assumptions about what exactly being modern entails.  I tend to work from the definition that is used in political science, since that is my background.  But it's different than what most people mean when they say modern.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 04:06:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Something that needs to be understood (7+ / 0-)

      Democratic ideas in European culture were indigenous. They arose the first time in the context of a sort of limited social and philosophical liberalism, and they were resurrected and refined in the context of a broad philosophical and cultural shift toward social liberalism and humanism.

      Democratic ideas in the Arab and greater Muslim culture are partially-isolated transplants. I don't mean that in a condescending way, only in a descriptive way. The ideas of democratic self-government were imported to many Muslim countries, but the philosophies that motivated those ideas were not widely accepted.

      So this is not at all like the Dark Ages in Europe...but it's not like the Renaissance either. In fact, it's not like Europe at all. Our best precedents for this dynamic are Japan and the former Soviet states. And neither helps us much; Japan was confounded by the Marshall Plan, and the Soviet states were royally screwed up in some very specific liberalism-thwarting ways by being Soviet states.

      Basically, we just don't really know yet whether the Renaissance works backwards. We don't know whether democratic self-determination leads to robust social/philosophical liberalism. And we really don't know the effect of social networking/worldwide communication on the process. What's going on in the new Arab democracies is a brand new experiment.

      "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

      by kyril on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 10:39:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What are you talking about? (3+ / 0-)

      Of course the Islamic is struggling with becoming more modern.  We wouldn't be seeing these outbreaks of violence if they weren't.  They have to struggle because they're still dealing with the backward religious fanatics.

      And the Renaissance was full of brutal, brutal violence.  Sure, we ended up with some nice art because of that violence, but if you look at Dubai or Jakarta, or other places, there is some amazing art being made.  And of course all that fails to mention the constant assault on the Middle East by Europe and the US since the fall of the Turkish Empire.  Maybe if we just got the fuck out for a couple generations instead of inciting wars and bombing people things might go a little smoother.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Sun Sep 16, 2012 at 03:56:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site