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February 11, 2006

A Critique Of The Pragmatic Approach To Bullies

Kevin Kim, an energetic advocate of free speech, provides a well reasoned argument against those pragmatists who say we should not provoke muslim outrage.

The pragmatic approach, which seems to have gained adherents even in our own State Department, can be summarized thusly:

[F]or the 'pragmatist,' it is abundantly clear that certain Muslims are prone to overreaction. Knowing this as we do, we Westerners would be at fault for provoking such people, because provocation in the awareness of Muslim oversensitivity is malicious. You know the angry dog will bite you if you keep prodding it with your foot, so it's your fault if you get bitten. What's more, provocation is impractical: how can we expect to change Muslim hearts and minds when we adopt a confrontational stance?
Kevin responds:
The West and its allies occasionally shoot themselves in the foot: Kim Jong-il, for example, relies on Seoul's and Washington's indecision to get what he wants, like a child adept at 'playing' his parents. North Korea, in the role of the spoiled brat, knows it can sit back and make demands of its far more powerful interlocutors. In the end, Seoul and Washington gain nothing while Pyongyang continues its illegal nuclear program, its counterfeiting, its drug trafficking, and its systematic oppression of the North Korean people-- all while spewing outrageously self-righteous rhetoric whose crazed tone I often wish we matched, just for fun's sake.

. . .

The pragmatic appeasers want to cut Western action off at the root: they would prefer that we stop openly acting outraged about Muslim outrage. Some . . . seem to feel that we should feel outrage but then do nothing-- that we should, in fact, compromise with oppression by reducing our own range of movement to accommodate the violent Other. This is a comfortable, lazy position that allows us to pretend we have the moral high ground even as that ground is rapidly eroding beneath us.

Others feel that dialogue with the wild-eyed Muslims is the best answer. While I'm a staunch advocate of dialogue (interreligious, intercultural, diplomatic, etc.), I'm under no illusions that the people out there destroying embassies and threatening infidels with death are going to sit down calmly and listen to rational discussion. As far as I'm concerned, most of those people are already beyond redemption. Dialogue is reserved, then, for moderates (in the Western sense of the word, not the Muslim sense). What's more, we need to be focusing on the next generation of Muslims-- the children, the ones who are impressionable. If we don't move to communicate with them directly, they'll grow up just as indoctrinated as the current generation of willful idiots.

. . .

I proudly advocate the right to offend [If you've seen Kevin's blog, you know he ain't kidding], and demand that offended parties unpucker their sphincters and relax. If you want to protest, fine. If you're planning to get violent, don't be surprised if someone shoots your stupid ass.

The whole thing is here.

Posted by annika, Feb. 11, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: On The Blogosphere


The history of man is the story of tyrants, and the struggle against tyranny. It is no accident that the roots of modern islamofacism suck from the twisted perversion of the Nazis.

Posted by: Casca on Feb. 11, 2006

Thanks for the shout-out, A.

My interlocutor, Sonagi, doesn't seem to get it, though. We've been going around and around in the comments.


PS: "Sonagi" is Korean for "the rains" or "rainstorm." I'm not sure if the guy's actually Korean, though.

Posted by: Kevin Kim on Feb. 11, 2006

Thanks for catching my typo.


Posted by: Kevin Kim on Feb. 11, 2006

Nice post, Annika. Thanks. The "pragmatist" position is intellectually dishonest and very annoying. Hugh Hewitt has recently taken that position. In fact, he had a special segment regarding this topic that included Michael Medved and Dennis Praeger, both of whom expertly shredded his arguments.

Posted by: Blu on Feb. 12, 2006

"You know the angry dog will bite you if you keep prodding it with your foot, so it's your fault if you get bitten."

only once, then i would shoot the dog. Somtimes you just have to put the aggessive ones down, even though you know the dog was made aggressive by it's owners. You shoot the dog because you can't shoot the owners.

Posted by: cube on Feb. 13, 2006