Friday, December 30, 2011

ZenTiger Liberal Fanaticism

Every now and then the secular blogs like to pick up a generic story highlighting the evils of religious fundamentalism and open the chat threads for a bit of religion bashing. Kiwiblog has one going at the moment (Religious Fanaticism), and the Standard kicked one off recently that kind of backfired: Peter Jackson - Satan's Little Helper. By pointing out how some presumably extremist religious group had identified Sir Peter Jackson's upcoming Hobbit movie as a sell out to the deep and distinctly Christian themes running through the original Tolkien LOTR books, it should have been fair game. But being a left wing blog, Christian bashing had to take a back seat to Jackson's supposed capitalist, anti-union, commercial sell-out motivations.

Kiwiblog, on the other hand, has used a story of ultra orthodox Jews acting like the Taleban with regard to the treatment of an 8 year old girl for dressing "immodestly". This has provided an entree for atheists to declare how equal all religions are, how bad the one in question is, and then by a process of deduction, how they are therefore all equally bad.  Whilst there is a little bit of Jew bashing on the side, for the most part they stay on topic.

It's tempting therefore to wonder if our own society, increasingly secular and increasingly atheist, bears some responsibility for the increase in sexual violence from youth.  In a kind of reverse Taleban, is Liberal Fanaticism an equal kind of danger? Perhaps the steady diet of soft porn on TV, the easy access to hard core porn via the internet and the general objectification of women through advertising, the destruction of the family and general liberalization is generating a new form of Liberal Fanaticism that requires everything else to be blamed, but itself? Is it Fanatical Liberalism that is pushing resolutely onwards for greater freedom with less responsibility?

No such introspection allowed on that kind of thread though.  When I pushed the point:

So is your theory that the Turangi Terror is a fundamental orthodox Jew then? This response:
More likely a half baked christian of some description who hasn’t quite shaken off the heathen savagery of pagan Pasifika, inclusive of Maori, beliefs.
I guess many in NZ are looking to understand the reasons behind the attack on the 5 year old girl in Turangi.  Some expect there is an understandable explanation - like the person themselves were abused.  Some assume drugs and alcohol were to blame.   What I worry about is that there is no clear reason, and that it really is a natural byproduct of our increasingly amoral and immoral society.  Western societies do not want the kind of quasi-religious/authoritarian fanaticism displayed by Taleban-like fundamentalists, but they also don't appear to understand that the pendulum swings both ways.  The Turangi case may simply be an aberration, rather than a litmus test.  Time will tell.

5 comment(s):

Andrei said...

What's not an aberration but is a litmus test is the rate of child abuse in this country - this was to all intents and purposes unknown 50 years ago but it is almost a weekly occurrence now.

And we now the picture - woman with multiple children, multiple fathers involved and a boyfriend who is often not a father of the victim.

ZenTiger said...

From the KiwiBlog Thread:

Let’s hope that even as we read about these ultra orthodox in Israel they are not reading about the depravity of NZ, where tourists cannot even leave their 5 year old child in a caravan before a young sexual molester/deviant attacks them. Imagine the hand-wringing justifications for their bad behaviour we are providing them.

ZT who cares what they think smart arse. Do you support them?

PS – Big difference, they are open with their hostility towards women and act as a group. The thug in Turangi was acting on his own & probably high on drugs and alcohol (no excuse but different situation).

You care, or you wouldn’t be commenting on this thread.

No, I don’t support such behaviour.

And in response to another comment:
…”barbaric culture and half baked religious creeds treating women like shit much ?”……

So is your theory that the Turangi Terror is a fundamental orthodox Jew then?


@Scott – well spotted. I thought the bright neon lights 24 metres high quite subtle, but you still noticed. Now if you could just consider what the comment was in response to…

Oh I see. My bad. But as for the neon lights, irony is often lost in text especially when the full context of the exchange isn’t immediately evident. I use the tilde (~) to denote irony and sarcasm. (ie ~I believe in hell~)

Still, I agree with niggly’s response to your ‘judge ye not lest ye be judged’ observation. The alleged Turangi perp probably wasn’t acting according to any ideology. That’s the difference.

On the other hand, I’m not inclined to bash the moderate majority of Orthodox Jews because of a minority of wackos in their ranks. Provided they do no substantial harm.

I didn’t mean it as a “judge not” observation. I’m all for judging. I just wanted to judge a little more than the current topic. I wanted to consider if people acting without an ideology are somehow better than people who act because of one. The Turangi experience doesn’t convince me a lack of ideology is any better. Or perhaps they are driven by a new form of ideology. A “what ever I want” kind of belief system that works best when it isn’t named. Then other things can be blamed – drugs, alcohol, income inequality, culture…

Nick C said...

Perhaps the difference is the sort of behaviour that the ideology itself endorses. Even if you accept that random sexual violence is a biproduct of a more liberal society (I wouldnt, but thats a different point), a liberal who takes a harm principle based view of individual rights would absolutely condem this violence. Liberalism doesnt teach that violence is acceptable.

By contrast, DPF was poining out that many people with extreme religious beliefs DO condone violence, because the main driver of their beliefs is obedience to God. Its perfectly ok for me as an ultra orthadox Jew to abuse the girl wearing the skirt because my interpretation of scripture implies that thats what god would want. An 'ultra liberal' by contrast would not abuse or do anything else to the girl.

ZenTiger said...

Liberalism doesnt teach that violence is acceptable.

Neither does Christianity.

Which is the crux of the issue. The extremists have to ignore the totality of the teachings in order to justify their own desired actions. Yes, their interpretations of their religious texts supposedly justify their actions, but other orthodox people will be horrified at those actions too.

Such justifications appear in different ways for all those prepared to do what they want and ignoring the intrinsic human rights of others. But perhaps liberals will only kill a few to save many:

"Republicans, whose goal in life is to profit from disaster and who don’t give a hoot about human beings, either can’t or won’t. Which is why I personally think they should be exterminated before they cause any more harm.”

— The Village Voice’s Michael Feingold, in a theater review of all places

As I said above, if the Turangi child-rapist is not driven by ideology, then that's still not a great advertisement for not having one.

a liberal who takes a harm principle based view of individual rights would absolutely condemn this violence.

Yes, and so would a Christian. Yet, on the Kiwiblog thread ultra-Christians are no doubt considered capable of condoning violence, but not "ultra-liberals"? I think you might be surprised over time on that score - unless different labels can be applied to get liberalism off the hook.

Liberal Rhetoric

KG said...

"..unless different labels can be applied to get liberalism off the hook."
Which they are, very frequently.

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