Ultimate questions before war

Religious people are overridden by a smug superficiality.

Is the order of respect for belief adequate?

It’s beside the point. I even believe the expression is dangerous. It confuses two things. What we must respect are the believers. But the intangible right to disrespect beliefs, that is, the right to subject them to critical examination like any other system of thought, is an altogether different thing. Nothing may be set aside from this acid of public discussion. That’s our world’s order. To attempt to assign limits to it is absurd. That amounts to disowning ourselves without any possibility of achieving the desired result.

The West Is Blind to the Impact of Globalization on the Economy and on Morals: an interview with Marcel Gauchet in Le Monde, Saturday 11 March 2006

Why is resentment more intense in Islamic countries than elsewhere?

Because proximity works as an aggravating factor. It’s the third monotheism, a religion that believes itself to be the continuation of Judaism and Christianity and claims to be the seal of Prophecy, the ultimate and definitive revelation. Yet today, the Prophet’s faithful find themselves inexplicably in the position of the vanquished, the dominated – and at more than one level. They have suffered colonization. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is experienced as a symbol of the perpetuation of that colonial humiliation. To top it all off, they experience that Western-style development to which they are subject as an aggression that doesn’t work.

That’s the difference with countries like India or China. Nationalist feeling is certainly no less, but these countries can count on collective cohesion and political structures that allow them to a successfully appropriate Western technology and the economic thinking that accompanies it, as Japan had done before. For them, it’s possible to harbor the ambition of beating the West on its own ground, all the while mastering the process and remaining themselves. There’s nothing similar in the Arab-Muslim world. Their governments are both weak and tyrannical. The tools for modernization are missing. In those conditions, they suffer the damage from runaway Westernization without enjoying any of the benefits. That exacerbates the impression of being dispossessed. How can they avoid the deep uncertainty about the solidity of their religion that animates the pretension of putting it outside and beyond any discussion?

via wood s lot

“Be not too moral. You may cheat yourself out of much life so. Aim above morality. Be not merely good – be good for something.” – Henry David Thoreau

A good society will doubt itself.