Saturday, November 19, 2005

Judas and cultural relativity

Tiny Judas has a post up discussing terrorism and the meaning of the word. It's a pretty good post, but I do take issue with one section.
To call Hamas or Al Quieda or Sendero Luminoso freedom or resistance fighters is not to support them. This is blinkered ignorance. Freedom is not objective fact. It is a subjective state of being. And these people are fighting for what they see as freedom. That does not mean that one has to support them in this, especially when their conception of freedom runs contradictory to universal human rights and personal well-being. But at least it means there is some level of discourse surrounding the causes of such action.

No, no and thrice no, I will not stand for this. The Oxford English Dictionary defines freedom thus:
freedom (noun)
  1. the power or right to act, speak, or think freely.

  2. the state of being free.

  3. (freedom from) exemption or immunity from.

  4. unrestricted use of something: the dog had the freedom of the house.

  5. a special privilege or right of access, especially that of full citizenship of a particular city given to a public figure as an honour.

So it is an objective state of being, as well as a subjective state of being. One can say "those people are free" as well as "we are free". Freedom is irrelevent in these cases anyway.

Hamas, Al Qua'ida, Hezbollah, Al-Mujiron, Al-Arifeen and all of these others; these people are not fighting for freedom, they are fighting for power. They are fighting, or rather murdering innocent civilians, for the cause of Islam. They are fighting for a cause that wishes to dictate the manner in which people live their lives, in minute detail, as dictated by a "prophet" relaying the instructions of a god in whom many do not believe.

Let's take an example: our decadent, liberal regime allows people to be homosexual, as opposed to hanging them. We allow women to wear the hijalb, but we do not force them to do so. Thus, our regime allows people the power or right to act, speak, or think freely, Islam does not. There may be some doubt over the relative merits of different cultures, but there can be no cultural relativism involved in measurements of freedom.

These people are not fighting to free themselves of an oppressive regime; they are fighting for the power to impose a repressive regime on others.

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