I reckon that's some pretty good observations. Honestly I don't think much or all of it is even just calculated for electoral gain, some of it is very genuine. People do believe the other party is manifesting as an existential threat, people do insist on testing their right to freedom of expression to the extreme. They want to prove the other party is in fact a threat, and to seriously make freedom of expression, i.e. the 'right' to generalise, denigrate and blaspheme, their sacred hill to die on. In a way it is also taken up personally to somehow go on that crusade in the name of the state; 'our values' ought to dominate whatever other identity group there is.
uziq wrote:i think it's entirely, depressingly foreseeable that macron's grandstanding over the issue and making huge political speeches about 'the nature of islam' is going to be used for maximal gain by national leaders like erdogan. as i said above, if macron has one eye on the populist right in his country and to vote capture based on their 'hot button issues' (british tories signal to the UKIP crowd on 'migrants' and 'brexit'), clearly there are also other political parties/regimes in power elsewhere in the world who are ensuring their electoral success through the SAME calculus.
i honestly have no good answers to what is happening in france. it is a clusterfuck. things are heating up and it's just as sad as when people take guns to rallies and protests in the USA and random people get killed. some people will see in it an end-of-days spectacle of dark forces in society, like antifa and communism, posing a grave threat; others will see over-excited or indoctrinated youths with guns who spend too much time on message boards. for whatever reason, and as i said in a previous post, again, france has doubled-down on this issue and is testing its 'freedom of speech' principles to the extreme. this is not a simple matter for anyone, even echt-liberal political theorists. should freedom of speech entail a society's ability to project religious leaders on the side of municipal buildings in acts of open ridicule? the context and dynamics are so complex that i really couldn't give a satisfactory summa to that. but what is depressingly foreseeable is that young, radicalised, on-edge people will go postal and that more beheadings will happen.
what i do see, and this isn't anti-western of me, is that a lot of political leaders are inflaming extremely volatile, impossible-to-control issues for political purposes and electoral gain. these tensions and paradoxes, everyday contradictions, grey areas, etc, are always with us in pluralist democracies. that is the standard, default mode of operation. democracies are characterized by contradiction: that's what keeps them from being authoritarian. as soon as a group starts pushing one of the many highly sensitive issues like 'freedom of speech vs respect for religious beliefs', shit is going to blow up. and that goes for any democratic country.
As I was semi-banned from that subreddit, I was trying simply to enlighten people to the point behind terrorist tactics, to how the resulting lashing out and inflamed dialogue helps create societal tension and widen chasms between communities, to how people talk themselves into violence etc. On top of that to point out nuances on Islam's various denominations and all the contextual factors that helped in the creation of Islamic fascism in the ME. The result was anger, bewilderment, disbelief - of course in a small, fringe internet group, but recognisable emotions in wider society. To tell others that freedom of expression is not to be abused is received as an insult to their very being and an argument that implies 'terrorists win'. There's multiple facets to this, some more sinister, but also a complete denial in the power of narratives and language. It's considered preposterous that others would lash out over 'mere words' or imagery, derived from an obliviousness to how we form our motivations and identities through language and imagery... Rather the point is even to pressure what they consider the forces of malevolence into accepting their dominance on notions of freedoms and respect.
In my more official role it's easier to convince people of these points (or so I may unduly think) because the suit conveys authority I suppose, but it's interesting how the gloves come off through the anonimity of the internet. There's a complete blindness to any form of argument, and a deep retrenchment into a narcissistic self-image coupled with a total refusal, rather inability, to understand the other. But rather than fight it out physically we do it verbally, if that is ever better, in the misplaced expectation that there can be or will be no escalation. Perhaps a darker side assumes that escalation will be the moment to finally 'prove the point'. Truly people consider their narcissism more important than the cohesion in their democracies.
Back to Macron; it could also be a slight miscalculation, though I don't think his speeches are primarily responsible for further divisions, more the projection of the muhammad cartoons on government buildings etc. Principally I agree with most everything that was said, though some choice words may have conveyed an unfortunate and unintended meaning. Rather than explicate that he 'wouldn't give up cartoons', he may have been better off to simply underline some practicalities of freedom of expression in relation to blasphemy, or he could've highlighted the crisis of authority in Islam rather than simply note it a 'crisis of Islam'. Though I stand by it being a correct assessment, it perhaps misses the mark on political sensitivity.
Last edited by Larssen (2020-10-30 16:54:47)