Saturday, December 01, 2007

Don't like this generalization? Here, try another one!

Over Celestial Junk there's much head scratching. It seems Mr. Junk's step-son submitted a paper on Islamic terrorism and the outcome was not quite what was hoped:
"The essay came back with a lower mark that his other submissions, despite the fact that it was likely my step-son’s most thoughtful and best structured so far. The professor made a number of structural suggestions; but in conclusion, he stated that one cannot blame terrorism on a religion … period."
Okay, first off, it's curious that he thinks this is his step-son's "best structured" essay and yet part of the low mark was a result of the professor needing to make "structural suggestions." Of course all parents are delusional when speaking of their children, mine think I'm good looking! But of course the essay structure is not the real problem, the real problem is that this academic is proving resistant to gross over-generalizations:
"So, look what we have. We have a university political science professor who is unwilling … ever … to consider the effect of religion on any given population. He will blame every conceivable thing on Jihad, except religion."
I think Mr. Junk got the last bit backwards, but okay, I get his point. But if you're talking about the effect of a religion, it's difficult to explain why millions of Muslims seem to be able to lead peaceful, productive lives without blowing shit up. But this isn't just a problem with one misguided prof, this is a problem with all "liberals" and "progressives." To Mr. Junk they are all self-hating anti-Westerners who inexplicably hang around in that most Western of institutions, the academy.

The roots of terrorism are complicated, and this frustration on the part of Mr. Junk over the inability of more reflective people to jump on the Islamofascism bandwagon reminds me of H.L. Mencken's words:
"There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong."

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