Monday, May 11, 2009

Have Europeans or even Canadians become mercenaries?

What does it take to recognize a basic covenant in which you work to guarantee the security of women neighbors? Among the now-familiar claims about the death-cult nihilism of Western multiculti liberals, this comment in a recent Ayaan Hirsi Ali piece stands out:
Women's shelters have adapted their curriculum - instead of teaching the women who come to them how to become self-reliant, the shelters facilitate prayer rooms and employ mediators from the Islamic community. All this mediation serves only one purpose - that is, to return the woman to the circumstances of abuse she left.

Here is a system, which was a tool to emancipate, that has been completely transformed to serve the Muslim purpose of obedience. If the wife obeys, then the husband no longer needs to beat her. The matter is settled.
In reality, if Europe falls, it's not because of Islam. It is because the Europeans of today - unlike their forbears in the Second World War - will not die to defend the values or the future of Europe. Even if they were asked to make the final sacrifice, many a post-modern lily-livered European would escape into an obscure mesh of conscientious objection. All that Islam has to do is walk into the vacuum.
It's time lily-livered Europe stood up to Muslim bigots | Opinion | The First Post
That title had me wondering, what is the origin of this interesting expression? I wonder if "random" has it right:
The word 'lily' does not mean white, it means of an unregulated order or uncategorised. It originally referred to a wide variety of flowering plants that were lumped under the genaral title 'lily'. The word liver or in its earlier form, liber, means someone or something dependant on the direction of another. It once refered to middle ranking people in the service of large household. Being liveried meant to wear the colours or uniform of the house to which you were indentured. Hence to be liberated meant to be set free from an indenture. It is only recently that the prospect of 'liberation' has been viewed as an attractive prospect. The liver as applied to the body organ is a lateral extension and is so named because it is the organ in the body at the direction of the other organs. It processes everything for the continued function of the body.Its function therefore is determined by what the rest of the body throws at it. The extension to the colour 'red' or 'reddish brown' is a figurative one. Being 'lily livered' therefore meant you were not attached to anyone, you were unclassified. It originally referred to mercenaries who were apt to go home when the pay ran out.

Meanwhile, Phyllis Chesler continues to explore the case of the Afghan "Canadian" who killed his sister and her fiance in an apparent "honour" killing. Speaking first of the mother of the victim and the murderer:
In court, she described herself as “more open minded” than her husband.

But the close-minded monster held onto his “property,” his children. He did not allow them to see their mother for six long years. The (unspecified) paternal abuse “worsened.” In poor Khatera’s case, her father drove her to at least one suicide attempt and ultimately caused her to flee to her mother in Vancouver. Fayez sent tickets to all three children to join her. Her two daughters came. Hasibullah did not do so. In fact, Hasibullah tried to have Khatera return to their abusive father.

One can only speculate as to why Hasibullah did not break with his father. Perhaps his father treated him differently, better, because he was a son, not a mere daughter. Perhaps Mr. Sadiqi humiliated and beat Hasibullah as well, turned him into his personal servant too– but nevertheless, he became Hasibullah’s male role model.

In the Dallas honor killings of Sarah and Amina Said, their brother, Islam, cleaved to his father, agreed with him, stalked his two sisters on his father’s behalf and on behalf of the family’s “honor.”

Likewise, Hasibullah became his father’s eventual enforcer and avenger. He rejected his mothers’ version of reality: “Don’t talk to me about my dad like that.” His mother wept.

Please remember that, in 1989, Marc Lepine, who mass-murdered fourteen female engineering students in the Ecole Polytechnic in Montreal, also had a wife-beating Algerian father. This fact, which I found crucial, was completely ignored by the police and by all those who wrote about this tragedy. The police saw this as the isolated act of a madman.
So, if we too become blind when thinking about women brutalized by their "brothers" have we not too become mercenaries in the service of whatever local thug, or post-national bureaucratic tyrant, scares or controls some or all - be he of any particular ethnoreligious background, or a postmodern nowhere man sitting above all as politically-correct emperor/serf? If there is a covenant that promises we each will strive to give full effort to guarantee every citizen's freedom, in the face of violent men of any stripe, what kind of "father figure" must rule us all? How do we remember a time when the worst thing a man could do was to beat women, an act sure to be punished by his patriarchal god, the kind of god who makes demands of an individual with the freedom that clearly distinguishes one, as a full person, from any social role (like father or son or bricklayer) that one sometimes plays?

So, to return to Hirsi Ali's question, why would a modern European listen to calls to fight and perhaps self-sacrifice for the freedom of Muslim women, or for any fellow citizen? Why would you as an individual give up your life for a stranger?

Well, you never will if you do not believe that Muslims, or any other kind of person, are capable of living in a freedom comparable to yours. But in asking whether they are, first you must understand how your own person and its freedom is indebted to a shared "god" of personhood, to a history of shared agreements to make the individual sacred above all other claims, above claims advanced in the name of "group rights". Only when you truly love this personal "god", or the covenant s/he seems to guarantee, can you begin to find the love and courage that makes you a full person and not a mere narcissist.

I put "god" in quotes because while some will give him a name, what we really need to understand is the human freedom and history by which people come to share certain understandings, or signs, as sacred. For every human, from the most primitive tribe to the most advanced societies, there is a "god" on which any and all freedom depends, to whatever degree the community is freer than our animal brethren. Even the god of the honour killers allows for some significant degree of collective human freedom, generally accessed through the good graces of the local and chief tyrants who are given freedom to protect the community from outsiders.

But a god who will allow for a greater freedom and equality to women, that they may live like modern Westerners, without falling into the heresies that lead to cultural suicide, is actually, in some respects, rather more demanding, as our present suicide watch suggests. Any freedom is a form of discipline, a way of remembering and honoring, through your actions, history's revelation of the signs or gods that made you freer, as a community, nation, or civilization, than you were before. But it is also a faith in your shared ability to discover new signs when faced with new conflicts, new peoples, and new situations.

If you forget the need for discipline, you soon enough lose some freedom. So don't listen to those who tell you not to challenge the less free other within, in the name of multicultural sensitivities. That is a sure road to worshiping the lowest common denominator, the lesser degree of freedom. Real respect for the other entails insisting on the inevitably of either a shared covenant in which all will be equal in legal freedom and normal discipline, or one or another form of war or tyranny.


Dag said...

"Why would you as an individual give up your life for a stranger?"

If we think of people as innately evil, then we might think of them as only able to act on behalf of strangers if there is a god to intervene and make us act for the good, that which we would otherwise not have. Maybe the idea of god makes people have the idea of good. That would suggest to me that the idea of good precedes, god being a codification. Not very inspiring, and not very convincing.

truepeers said...

Well, you can't think of people as evil unless you also have a concept of the good (the one presumes the other); and the good can't be something simply imposed on us by God; it must be a possibility which we can freely choose or, again, we cannot really make sense of our capacity for evil. Instinctual nature, in the raw, is neither good nor evil; it just is what it is.

As for the genesis of any idea or experience of the good, I think primitive man would not have been able to distinguish the "idea of god" from the "idea of good". In other words, his experience of the good would occur in events where a sign pointing to or invoking something sacred would be made. This sign would be what we can now understand as the name of god. But for the primitive man this name would not be readily distinguished from an experience of the good as the name was ritually re-used in attempts to repeat the experience of everyone sharing in the good name that once succeeded in deferring rivalry over something (the primitive man is not a monotheist but sees a god, or good spirit, in many things). It takes a lot of history to build up the conceptual distinctions that make it possible to talk of "ideas" or to detach a universe of ideas from specific events and experiences and names.