The EU

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Multiculturalism and Freedom

Sometimes I think multiculturalism is oversold.  I have sometimes wondered if the former US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, didn't bring a little too much of the Latin American cultural tradition of the Caudillo—the strong man—with him into office.

Then there is the whole Afghanistan culture.  This horrendous news article is palmed off on the Taliban, but it isn't like the Taliban appeared out of nowhere—ex nihilo, as they say.  The gist of it is that two Taliban Commanders had a relationship with the same woman, which threatened loss of face, for both.  It appears they arranged for her to be tried for adultery, found guilty and executed.  The execution was mishandled.  In an EMail I received it was suggested that the video be skipped, as a form of pornography.  I skipped it.

But, Ths action is NOT being accepted by all Muslims or all Afgans.  Here is a report that shows that.

So, we actually have two issues.  The first is the degree of freedom to be themselves we give those Afghans who will eventually relocate to the US as the war in Afghanistan winds down.

The second is our feelings about what we (at least some of us) see as the oppression of women.  Eric Hoffer, in his book, The True Believer, says that the most oppressed don't make revolutions, but rather those who already see hope.  A friend of mine summed it up this way:
What was it Frederick Douglass observed: If a slave has a bad master his ambition is to get a better; when he gets a better, he aspires to have the best; and when he gets the best, he aspires to be his own master.

Note the step-by-step attitude that Douglass, himself a former slave, observes. It is, I suspect, quite a leap for an oppressed people to automatically seek full freedom (which is not to say that they do not deserve it or do not have a right to it); rather, as Douglass observes, first they wish for better conditions within their servitude.

Conversely, it also suggests that once you have reform, the oppressed inexorably seek to be less oppressed, and eventually not to be oppressed at all. Thus, the worry on the part of many dictators that ANY reform will be seen as opening the floodgates to their own downfall.

All of which is to suggest that one can gain the support of the oppressed population, be it women or non-Taliban, only by first showing them alternative paths and effecting some measures of improvement in their lot, at which point, you have essentially whetted their appetite.
On the other hand, do we think it s our job to be fighting n Afghanistan on the chance the result will be more freedom for females?  Is it our job to avenge ever act of throwing acid in the face of school girls, for being school girls?

I would argue that it is in our interest to bring back our robust United States Information Agency (USIA), WHICH WENT AWAY IN 1999.  Tell the truth, warts and all.  We will still inspire other People.  We will be (hushed tones now) revolutionaries.

Regards  —  Cliff

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