A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011 :::
A Mind That Suits is fed up.

They can only be called democracy fetishists, these folks who believe that a desire for the rule of law democratically established beats in the heart of every man, woman, child, and aardvark.

If that were true, why does Democracy face such stiff popular opposition across the globe?  Why do Hugo Chavez types keep popping up in Latin culture?  Why does the governor of Massachussetts overhwhelmingly win re-election when he has said more or less openly that he regrets having to work within the restraints imposed on democracy?

Virtually everyone who waxed euphoric about the democratic future of Iraq is largely or totally silent on two vital events:

1) We armed everyone in Fallujah and departed on the assumption that a liberal legal order would spantaneously develop.

The only spontaneous thing about Fallujah was the resulting combustion.

2) Ancient Christian communities are, by popular demand, being forced out of the entire region.

By popular demand, please note.

Bluntly put, anyone who calls themselves conservative had better start displaying what any real conservative would describe as real knowledge: knowing primary texts and history.  If you call yourself conservative and want to speak with authority on Islam, you had better be able to explain that shoe tossing business and what it means.

Enough with theories about how all human beings behave or want to.  Even as totalitarian a thug like Plato was able to take his eyes off the kind of political system he wanted.  (He and Deval Patrick would probably have gotten along swimmingly.)  Before we get to what we want, let's talk about what we have.

A Mind That Suits has found two scholarly and sympathetic books, written decades before the current debate, very helpful.  They are both by Majid Khadurri, late and much honored professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.  They are War and Peace in the Law of Islam and The Islamic Conception of Justice, both wildly overpriced on Amazon, so check them out of your library.  Straight, just the facts reporting.

Also invaluable: anything by the late Elie Kedourie, particularly an essay in The Chatham House Version called "The Kingdom of Iraq: A Retrospective."

After the Prophet, by Leslie Hazleton, is perhaps the finest history book on the region in many a year, and explains much, such as, among many other things, the reason behind the Islamic veil.  More importantly, you will understand who are the Four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, and what the differences are between Sunni and Shi'a.

That much, actually, he urges upon anyone interested in being informed.

To well-funded think tank habitues, he adds: learn some Arabic and Farsi.

Pretty much just plain period.

For nitpickers and cheap-point scorers, there is no standard transliteration of the Arabic alphabet into the Roman, so it is virtually impossible to misspell any names.  If you can't spell them correctly, you can't spell them incorrectly.  Just check how "al Qaeda" was spelled before that spelling became standard.  Standard, by the way, not authoritative.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 1:53 PM



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