Jammer's Review

Star Trek: Enterprise

"Fortunate Son"

***

Air date: 11/21/2001
Written by James Duff
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Under the circumstances, I defer to your experience." — Phlox to Reed on being shot at

Note: This episode was rerated from 3.5 to 3 stars when the season recap was written.

In brief: At last, an episode that plays to this series' storytelling strengths.

"Fortunate Son" is the first episode of Enterprise that really seems to break free of the past decade of Trek and take us in a fresh-feeling direction. It takes full advantage of this show's central concept of fledgling space travel and gives us some crucial information about non-Starfleet cargo-runner humans in space. The result is an episode showcasing an intriguing set of perspectives on the human role in the interstellar community and how those perspectives are likely facing near-imminent change.

The episode is also the first to get us in touch with Ensign Travis Mayweather, a guy who so far has received precious little to do, and even less opportunity to voice anything resembling an opinion. As the ship's resident "Boomer" — born in space aboard a cargo ship traveling extremely long-lasting journeys for trade routes — he's someone who has experience and should have something to say. Here, at last, he does.

The Enterprise answers the distress call of the Fortunate, a human cargo vessel that was attacked in a raid by Nausicaan pirates. The Enterprise arrives on the scene to find the Nausicaans already gone and the Fortunate about to get under way. The captain was injured in the raid, and currently in command is the ship's first officer, Matthew Ryan (Lawrence Monoson), a young man who is not particularly forthcoming with Archer when he comes aboard to offer his help.

Archer invites crew members from the Fortunate back to see the impressive starship Enterprise, which represents the wave of the future. It's a ship with some amazing amenities — where you can get a juicy steak for dinner, which isn't easy to come by where these guys come from. The episode does a good job of showing exactly how groundbreaking the Enterprise really is. We have the Fortunate for effective juxtaposition.

The Fortunate has a top speed of warp 1.8, and for interstellar cargo haulers, that makes for extremely long trips — sometimes a year or even two. During these runs, they have a lot of time on their hands. Life isn't what's conducted in between the trips. Life is the trips.

This supplies the setup for a story that is especially useful for supplying background information about a different group of space travelers — those functioning in the commerce arena. I've complained that the nature of humans in space has up to now been left a little too vague and muddled for comfort, but "Fortunate Son" fills in a lot of blanks in very reasonable and believable ways.

The tone is set in a good dinner-table scene between Ryan and Mayweather. Ryan, like Mayweather, is a Boomer, born on a cargo ship. Mayweather's parents still work on one. Unlike Mayweather, Ryan is likely a life member of the freighter team. Tensions flare a little when Ryan challenges Mayweather for "abandoning" his parents and fellow shipmates in favor of a Starfleet career. One almost can sense Ryan on the verge of using the term "sell-out." Mayweather casts an intense glare, something that up to now has gone unseen. It wasn't that simple, he responds. It was tough leaving — freighters are notorious for being understaffed and needing good people — but Starfleet was an excellent opportunity he had to take.

Starfleet at this stage in the game is still a young operation. Many cargo-ship workers have more space experience than most captains in Starfleet. And what's even more interesting is how we begin to see that Starfleet must conduct itself as the most grown-up of human endeavors. Cargo crews are out there, alone and vulnerable, and in some ways they have the luxury of being more fallible and perhaps even a little wrong-headed. In a sense, they have no one to answer to. They conduct themselves as they see fit. They take care of their own. Yes, their actions have consequences, but the consequences are theirs to face and theirs alone. Enter a Starfleet vessel, with a broader scope in its mission and a wider reach. Such a ship no longer has the luxury of autonomy, because Starfleet — specifically the Enterprise and the Enterprise alone — represents Earth and all of humanity. Starfleet serves as an ambassador for an entire world. Cargo runners are citizens representing only themselves.

And I think that's the primary message under the surface of "Fortunate Son." There's a scene where Mayweather talks with Archer about the unfolding situation aboard the Fortunate. Ryan has ignored Archer's advice and is taking matters into his own hands. (He wants vengeance on the Nausicaans for attacking the Fortunate and has tortured a Nausicaan prisoner for shield codes.) Mayweather suggests to Archer that maybe the Enterprise should just stay out of it and leave the Fortunate to its own devices. Retaliation might very well be justified, so let them retaliate. Part of me agreed with Travis as he gave the captain his opinion from the perspective of a cargo runner. When Archer got on the higher horse of exercising ideals over retaliatory action, I realized that his points indicated the wave of the future: If Starfleet is going to venture out, it must be prepared to grow up and react with logic rather than raw emotion.

One interesting fact is that the Enterprise has no real authority over the Fortunate. The rules for these matters are probably still being drafted, if the governments on Earth have even gone that far. Ryan and his crew lash out at the Enterprise rather than submitting to their would-be authority, which leads to a rather interesting jeopardy premise where Archer and his team find themselves locked in a cargo hold with the atmosphere venting through a hole in the hull. Ryan then seals the hold and disconnect it from the Fortunate. Neat. This crisis, alas, is solved very casually, but I liked how the creators established the logical flow of the scene with clear visual details that slowly build the suspense.

The ensuing action elements are familiar — Nausicaans chasing after their abducted crew member aboard the Fortunate, space battles, the ship being boarded and the obligatory shootouts — but I found the change in setting to be refreshing. The Fortunate is a believable design as a cargo ship — large, slow, and at extreme disadvantage in combat — and the interiors are most definitely not Starfleet-esque. The production design lends a very different feel to the episode, and we can tell we've stepped outside the boundaries of Starfleet into something a little grittier. I also welcomed the complete lack of shields for both human vessels; the best defensive measure either the Enterprise or the Fortunate can muster is to "polarize the hull plating."

It's a little unfortunate that Mayweather's Big Scene where he makes a Meaningful Speech over the communicator is only marginally effective; Anthony Montgomery doesn't have a flair for the histrionics, and his delivery of the grandstanding comes across as stilted, both in performance and in the writing. This is Montgomery's meatiest role to date, but my review for his performance is mixed. He's better at the quieter moments.

Perhaps my favorite scene in the show is the last one. Played in a casual, natural tone between Scott Bakula and Charles Lucia, it shows two captains who have long experience and wisdom on the subject of human nature. Particularly apt is Captain Keene's (Lucia) comment that cargo runners aren't going to be happy about change, and Archer's exceptionally true statement that they'll have to get used to sharing space — because faster warp engines mean that space is shrinking. I liked Keene's statement about Boomers feeling "that they have a special claim" to space since they've lived in it for so much of their lives. It's a detail like that which feels just right, and something that helps explain why Ryan was so reluctant to accept help from outsiders or admit that he was wrong.

It's a great little scene that perfectly captures a feeling that should become one of this series' major themes — the fact that the winds of change have arrived, and the role of humanity in the galaxy is in the process of taking giant, earth-shattering steps forward. It's almost like we can feel the universe shrinking before our eyes, in this one conversation between these two guys — and for that, "Fortunate Son" deserves high praise.

Here's an episode that knows what the Enterprise mission means to Earth, and hints at what's yet to come.

Next week: Starfleet's first encounter with time travel.

Previous episode: Civilization
Next episode: Cold Front

Season Index

65 comments on this review

Cloudane - Thu, Apr 21, 2011 - 4:15pm (USA Central)
Commander Keen got a promotion? (Sorry, showing my age and computer game geekiness)

Way better than Voyager's episode with a similar title (Favorite Son), although that one was about their least interesting character (also an ensign) temporarily getting a story.. I hope Mayweather wasn't intended to go the same way. They'd shown here what CAN be done with the character.
Michael - Sat, Oct 29, 2011 - 5:23am (USA Central)
A really good and interesting show, as far as the "historical" perspective.

What really bunched my shorts though is the ludicrous political correctness being peddled left and right. The freighter crew was under unremitting assaults and kept taking heavy damage and casualties for months. They captured one of their foes and beat vital intelligence out of him. That though, in the brave new 22nd-century world, is an abomination, apparently. Reminds me of the story from a few months ago of the English navy handing out blankets and cups of hot tea to Somali pirates they captured off the Horn of Africa, before letting them go.

Archer is a sanctimonious prick. Sometimes you DO have to "blow your opponent out of the sky," as Travis said, even if it "doesn't sit well" with you. Travis's little speech toward the end was, frankly, embarrassing. And what of the supposed resolution: Are we to believe that the Nausicaans will henceforth foreswear piracy and go on the lecture circuit declaiming how they turned their lives around by embracing peace, tolerance and diversity?

I guess according to P.C. canon, use of force of any kind--even in self-defense--is all but verboten. The entire notion is premised on the latter-day college psychology view of a bully (and other types of criminal) as, really, a victim to be helped, rather than an adversary to be defeated. Pathetic.

Archer: "Perhaps we have an opportunity here to improve relations between your people and mine." *puke* Perhaps Start Trek should spend more time doing sci-fi and less time trying to inculcate pacifistic (not to be confused with pacifist) propaganda in their viewers. In any case, I hope the West doesn't have to fight a defensive war anytime soon because with attitudes like that, we're screwed.
Captain Jim - Tue, Jul 3, 2012 - 10:14pm (USA Central)
But this isn't about using force in self defense; that was never questioned. This is about torturing people and using force for nothing more than revenge, consequences be damned. I'll take Archer's approach, thank you.
CeeBee - Thu, Aug 30, 2012 - 2:55pm (USA Central)
What struck me most was the attitude of the boomers to change that could benefit them. They are offered upgrades to their engines, to their weapons and they all refuse it. It's like truckers turning down 18-wheelers because they like to stick to their horses and carriages. They rather make a buck every two years than make a buack every two months. That was way beyond believable.

I also wonder what the viability is of piracy in a galactic society that has the weapons to blast parts of planets in one single shot. One day you pick the wrong guy and you're toast. Look at the pirates someone mentioned here off the Somalian coast. They managed to draw the attention of an international fleet to their doorstep, which is quite detrimental to their business. Let's take one Klingon vessel at the wrong end of the equasion and the Nausicans are in for rock and roll.

I liked the conversation at the end between the two captains, though. I'd wishthere would be more interactions of this kind and quality in the show.

I also wondered where the Vulcans were. Weren't they constantly looking over the shoulders of Enterprise? Great moment not to be around.

And a last nitpick: I thought Enterprise was going out to discover new worlds and new civilizations, boldly going where no one had gone before. But one day they're discovering an installment of the game 1492 on a planet no one has seemingly discovered before, next week they're meeting with a boomer ship regularly flying through this vicinity. What flight pattern is Enterprise following? Why were they so negative about the Vulcans holding them back if humans already regularly fly out this far? Take a boomer ship with a pimped up warp three engine and head out for five years. No need to even ask the Vulcans for help or guidance.
Annie - Sat, Nov 3, 2012 - 7:50pm (USA Central)
Here I was thinking Mayweather has a backbone after all, and then the conversation in Archer's quarters takes us back to square one. Mayweather had a point about noninterference, but of course it only takes a 15-second, condescending speech from Archer to make him see how wrong he was. "Thank you, sir. Thank you." I was embarrassed for him.
MAd - Sun, Jan 6, 2013 - 1:56am (USA Central)
"But this isn't about using force in self defense; that was never questioned. This is about torturing people and using force for nothing more than revenge, consequences be damned. I'll take Archer's approach, thank you."


Bullcrap. Arhcer was against even taking a a prisoner. And what the hell is the alternative? Should they just sit on their asses and let these pirates kill them? Especially, since we know Starfleet doesn't give a crap about them and neither does Archer? What Ryan was doing IS self defence. Yes, he might do it badly, but atleast he's doing SOMETHING.

"It only takes a 15-second, condescending speech from Archer to make him see how wrong he was."

Except he was wasn't wrong. Archer was just being self-righteous asshole.
mark - Fri, Feb 8, 2013 - 9:56am (USA Central)
What would Kirk have done?

He would have immediately attacked the Nausicaan vessels that had surrounded the Fortunate, and after disabling them he would have taken the Nausicaan hostage from Ryan (and made a speech to Ryan about how Starfleet doesn't condone torture.) Then he would have given the hostage back to the Nausicaans with a warning that next time their ships won't be making it home from a fight with an NX vessel, and that piracy won't be tolerated.

What did Archer do? He essentially insured that the Nausciaans will continue to attack Earth freighters. Oh, and Kirk would have had a drink with the freighter captain. It's puzzling that Archer wasn't willing to.

Archer's a strange bird: on the one hand his optimism and willingness to bend over backward to avoid military solutions seems completely in character for one of the first Starfleet captains, who would be more akin to astronauts than military commanders. On the other hand the guy is just a little too optimistic and eager, and I would have liked to see some backbone in the first captain of an NX ship.

The lesson here: Kirk is always right.
happydude - Wed, Apr 30, 2014 - 2:22pm (USA Central)
"If Starfleet is going to venture out, it must be prepared to grow up and react with logic rather than raw emotion."
So, daring to defend yourself against pirates that attack you constantly = reacting with raw emotion.
And sitting back and letting them kill you while you twiddle your thumbs, shrug your shoulders and say, "ah, c'est la vie, I suppose!" = LOGIC
NCC-1701-Z - Mon, Jul 28, 2014 - 9:30pm (USA Central)
@mark: I completely agree with you as to what Archer should have done. The episode itself as a whole was all right to me, but the ending left a bad taste in my mouth. After the end credits, I said, "That's gonna come back to bite them later."

One could look at this in terms of 'Archer and humanity are inexperienced, they're slowly learning their way around the cosmos' but really though, it should just be common sense to anyone with an IQ above 50. After all, it's Starfleet's job to protect ships like the Fortunate. Shooting back at the Nausicaans would get that message across real fast. To quote a commander figure from another sci-fi franchise, "If you keep running from a schoolyard bully, he keeps on chasing you. But the moment you turn around and stop and you punch him really hard in a sensitive spot, he'll think twice about coming back again."

I think Archer learned this lesson by season 3, though (see "Anomaly") - too bad it took that long.
Yanks - Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - 8:19am (USA Central)
I liked this episode.

...and I don't think Archer or T'Pol were wrong.

There is nothing logical by dealing with this problem by taking a hostage. Especially when 99.9% of the time you are alone and most likely out gunned. Is it a perfect world? No, but throwing gas on the fire when you don't have a bucket of water is dangerous and borderline stupid. Letting the Nausicaans know that Star Fleet was “out here” was the right approach.

No problem with the Archer/Travis conversation in his cabin. Archer's point was valid, but I think he should have brought up future consequences to being the aggressor. Next time it might not be just the cargo they are looking for.

I didn't like this line though:

"ARCHER: Any other orders of mine you'd like to question?"

Pretty snotty there.

I think this episode brings out that not everyone is fit for command as well.

Good "Travis episode". I wish the series had more of these.

No question they should have taken some upgrades, I think the Fortunate Captain should have taken some when he was back on his feet.

I thought it was more of a jealousy/envy thing rather than "we are short people" whine. Ryan always talked about "who will be left" etc, but I thought there was something else in his conversations. "boomer life wasn't good enough"... etc.

I too enjoyed the conversations between Captains at the end.

Archer should have taken a shot of Drilaxian Whisky. Captains are on call 24/7. The "I'm on duty" cop out would get old. He's not asking him to get plastered.

3 stars for me.
Reflectioninternal - Sat, Sep 6, 2014 - 3:06am (USA Central)
I think that one thing that everyone is missing is that in the episode torturing the captive DIDN'T WORK. He gave them false shield frequencies hoping his captors would do exactly what they did, attack a superior force with bad intel, leading to his rescue. That's the problem with torture, it's really easy to lie to your torturers if the info isn't independently confirmable. The episode gets major brownie points from me for that alone.

Also, the Enterprise did fire back launching four torpedoes by my count, presumably doing enough damage to deter the Nausicaans until a diplomatic solution could be reached. Archer was aggressive with the Nausicaans hardly being a straight pacifist in the moment, then telling them that Starfleet was building a fleet of fast, well armed ships that would begin to protect all human trade vessels very soon, and maybe piracy isn't going to be the best line of work in the near future. However, Archer's job isn't to be a one ship anti-piracy task force, his job is to find the fastest, most expedient solution to the immediate problem at hand, *maybe* setting up some groundwork for further enforcement action in the future and then get on with his mission.

Maybe it's true that Kirk would have kept the firefight going even after the Nausicaans broke off their attack, having achieved their aims (rescuing their man), but I've always thought Kirk was too heavy handed in using force.
Jerry - Fri, Oct 17, 2014 - 1:45am (USA Central)
Here's the speech I would have liked to have heard from Archer to Travis:
I get the whole cargo ship is a family thing. I get the whole Starfleet doesn't have jurisdiction thing. I even get the revenge against the Nausicans thing. If Ryan wants to go after the pirates, fine. But he tried to kill four innocent people, me included. I have a big problem with people who try to kill me and my crew, I'm funny that way. Don't tell me he knew the Enterprise would rescue us in plenty of time; he fired on us! He fired on my ship! That is unacceptable. I'm going after him, I'm going to throw him in the brig, then I'm going to make sure he's tried for attempted murder.
Corey - Fri, Jan 9, 2015 - 7:36pm (USA Central)
Can we not use "Somali Pirates" as an example. We dump our waste on their shores, destroy their government, put in place dictators, ruin their economy, ecosystems and fishing industries....of course they're going to hijack boats that pass by.
DLPB - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 11:29am (USA Central)
More apologist nonsense from Corey :)
Elliott - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 12:42pm (USA Central)
More bigoted backlash from DLPB :|
Michael - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 4:52pm (USA Central)
The only bigotry I see is that on the part of "Corey," who implausibly asserts that "we" (whoever that is, but I'm guessing the big bad West) are responsible for people who feel aggrieved by something or other acting like raw beasts. Because, of course, were it not for "us," the Somali pirates would be learned scholars and gentlemen.

It's an indictment of our times that there are people who so eagerly bend over backward to rationalize and justify some of the most barbaric behavior among the anti-Western elements. They cozy up to the most risible and anti-human ideologies, regimes, "activists," and movements, so long as they palm themselves off as a Victim of Western Imperialism(TM).

(And what makes them so laughable is that they are among the most vociferous adversaries of, say, the Religious Right, even those the victimhood status could be just as easily ascribed to them as to the dime-a-dozen of these Social Justice Warriors'(TM) pets.)
Elliott - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 6:48pm (USA Central)
Michael is that you? I missed your crazy ass!

Anyway there is no justification for barbarism, but there are reasons for it. Likewise there is no justification for the kind of economic imperialism which brings those very causes and reasons into existence. It is bigoted to hold one side to an impossible standard but not the other especially when the former are disenfranchised formerly colonised and enslaved people. No one is "justified" here but the situation is more complicated than "they're the bad guys." We bare *some* of the responsibility.
Michael - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 7:05pm (USA Central)
Sure is, dawg! :D

Oh gee, Economic Imperialism(TM). Can't bash us anymore for conquistadors and colonists, so now it's "economic imperialism." A factitious concept designed to belittle and demonize (Western, of course) commercial success and prowess.

Let me ask you a question, scro: Is Samsung an example of "economic imperialism"? Is Tata Motors? Is Huawei?

A simple yes or no will do :)
DLPB - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 8:31pm (USA Central)
You're wasting your time with Elliott... He is one of those crazy leftists who apologize for everything, hate their own culture, and appease everyone and everything in every way. Totally politically correct and impossible to reason with. Criminals, you name it: Elliott will be on their side, because they are "misunderstood" and "need help". I could mention 100 other examples, but why bother? If you read his attacks on DS9, you'll learn his criticisms generally have nothing to do with the writing, and everything to do with the fact it strayed from Gene's utopian (and totally ridiculous) view of the future.
DLPB - Sat, Jan 10, 2015 - 8:33pm (USA Central)
He also needs to learn what the word "Bigot" means. I suggest he also look into Neville Chamberlain, he may find a hero.
Elliott - Sun, Jan 11, 2015 - 12:01am (USA Central)
DLPB,

Michael may be flagrantly wrong in nearly all his opinions, but I've never seen him stoop to the Neanderthaloid depths of rude, unwarranted, sophomoric, bating, hard-headed, agendist, stereotyping drivel that flows unimpeded by even the faintest glimmer of empathy or common sense from your keyboard. I have grown entirely unwilling to endure another promise of "100 other examples" when you fail to produce even ONE to support your wild theories. What i can tell you is that it was recently that, on this very forum of jammersreviews, I expressed my opinion that western democratic civilisation is, and I quote, "BETTER" than others for very specific reasons. I stand by that opinion but that does not mean that we in the West should apologise for NOTHING, as though, throughout history and the modern age we have been utterly without faults and have made no mistakes in our dealings with other cultures. Such an assertion is beyond absurd, it's ludicrous. You can bugger off and never be heard from again.

Michael,

For the record, my ancestors are British and Spanish, so the "us" you refer to can hardly apply to anyone more than myself. To answer your question, yes, all are examples of economic imperialism. That does not make them worthless or dispensable, but there it is.
Michael - Sun, Jan 11, 2015 - 11:21am (USA Central)
@Elliott:
If they are all examples of "economic imperialism," then why don't you just state clearly that you have a problem with commercial success (after a certain point, presumably arbitrarily decided by yourself), rather than hide behind highbrow-sounding college dilettante constructs such as "economic imperialism"?
DLPB - Sun, Jan 11, 2015 - 5:25pm (USA Central)
Looks like I hit a nerve ;)
Dave in NC - Mon, Jan 12, 2015 - 8:46pm (USA Central)
Random musing #1: Why is it that I wonder if Michael and DLPB are the same person?

Random musing #2: Your last statement, DLPB, is a total non sequiter.

Random musing #3: All this talk of ideology this-and-that is pointless. Every society has effed up people in it, and some governments are terrible at keeping that element of society from organizing. Sometimes people make a conscious choice to masquerade as religious as an excuse to do bad things. There are a LOT of things at play here other than simply Religion Vs. Religion.

Besides, if Islam didn't exist but all the economic and political realities of those countries were otherwise identical, how many terrorists would still be terrorists? Probably most of them.

Random musing #4: I wish I could care about Enterprise enough to comment on it, but I really disliked it from the get-go. All the revisionist/ret-con "history"and "tech" really got on my nerves.
Josh - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 9:11am (USA Central)
It's kinda amazing that this schlocky episode has provoked such a debate.
Michael - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 12:49pm (USA Central)
@Dave in NC:
"[I]f Islam didn't exist but all the economic and political realities of those countries were otherwise identical, how many terrorists would still be terrorists? Probably most of them."

Demonstrably false.

Exhibit A: There are hundreds of millions of people in non-Moslem states who have it FAR rougher than Moslems but who never, ever resorted to terrorism. How many Zimbabweans, Ethiopians, Congolese, or East Timorese perpetrated terrorist atrocities? Zero.

Exhibit B: Surprisingly (shockingly!) many terrorists are not some indigent, despondent, marginalized, oppressed victims but educated, middle-class professionals.

P.S. Random musing: Why is it that I wonder if "Dave in NC" and "Corey" are the same person?
Dave in NC - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 1:53pm (USA Central)
Random musing:

why does someone ignore the realities of Irish terrorism, Columbian terrorism, Sri Lankan terrorism, Puerto Rican terrorism, Mexican terrorism etc etc because it doesn't fit their narrow-minded world-view?

Michael - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 2:07pm (USA Central)
Focused musing:

Because they were disparate, temporary occurrences, strongly delimited by the geographical area and cause.

But, then, someone doesn't have his head stuck up his ass seriously thinking that the Moslem terrorists' motivation is something other than sick religious ideology. They're not interested in getting rich or being free. They're interested in turning the world Islamic, period. If you, "Dave in NC," are unable to distinguish that from the Mexican, Lankan, Colombian, Angolan, Sahrawi, etc. terrorism, then you are really too dumb to be doing anything other than sitting in your armchair drooling into a cup.
Dave in NC - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 2:22pm (USA Central)
Michael said: "Because they were disparate, temporary occurrences, strongly delimited by the geographical area and cause."

reply:

VERY interesting. So you agree terrorism CAN and DOES frequently happen without Islam being the root cause? That's comforting, because otherwise you would look like you were in complete denial of the realities of this world.

However, it is troubling that you are incapable of making the deductive leap that many Islamic terrorists are the way they are because of "disparate, temporary occurrences, strongly delimited by the geographical area and cause."


Michael said:

"But, then, someone doesn't have his head stuck up his ass seriously thinking that the Moslem terrorists' motivation is something other than sick religious ideology. They're not interested in getting rich or being free. They're interested in turning the world Islamic, period."

reply:

If my head's up my ass, it's because it's preferable to being in your presence.

Anyways, no where did I not say that I think terrorism "isn't a problem". The events of the last ten years make it plainly evident it IS an issue. For the record, I think the decentralized nature of Islam may be a barrier to a "Islamic Reformation". It IS a problem that needs to be addressed, and not just by turning America into a police state.

However, I don't believe in a world of cartoon-villainy motivations. NOTHING is as simple as "the Holy Book made me do it". Every human being has a complex story about why they are the way they are, and terrorists are NO different.


Michael said:
If you, "Dave in NC," are unable to distinguish that from the Mexican, Lankan, Colombian, Angolan, Sahrawi, etc. terrorism, then you are really too dumb to be doing anything other than sitting in your armchair drooling into a cup.

reply:
So murder because of religion is worse than murder because of ethnic hatreds or drug cartels? I don't know how one can make that judgment because I'm reasonably certain they are ALL EQUALLY HORRIBLE.

I will say this . . . I do appreciate the fact that your hypothetical version of me is at least thoughtful enough to have a receptacle for his drool. My hypothetical doppelganger's roommate thanks you.
Dave in NC - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 2:23pm (USA Central)
That should read:

"no where did I say that I think terrorism "isn't a problem""

Type in haste, repent at leisure.

Michael - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 2:31pm (USA Central)
I don't have time for a pissing contest about global terrorism on a sci-fi show's review website... - and a lousy sci-fi show at that.

Just this:
"However, it is troubling that you are incapable of making the deductive leap that many Islamic terrorists are the way they are because of "disparate, temporary occurrences, strongly delimited by the geographical area and cause.""

Moslem terrorists from Morocco to Mindanao, from Argentina to Albania, from Chechnya to Chad, from Nigeria to Norway, from New York to New Delhi (that, for those with rudimentary knowledge of geography, encompasses pretty much the entire world) have one and only one thing in common: their adherence to Islam. Whatever "story" they have, their goal is simple and straightforward: a world of Moslems for Moslems in absolute totality.

Insofar as any parallels can be drawn between it and another movement, only Nazism is comparable.

That said, I will enter no further correspondence on this matter.
Dave in NC - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 2:42pm (USA Central)
Don't you just love trolls? They decide the conversation is done (when it isn't going the way they wanted), but only after they get to make their parting shot.

Enjoy putting your fingers in your ears, Mike. I'm sure it's something you've got a LOT of practice with.
DLPB - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 3:53pm (USA Central)
Dave, you are the one putting your fingers in your ears. What Michael has just said it fact. Islam is what they share, and it is incredibly obvious to anyone who has studied it (like me) to see that you have absolutely no clue about its teachings, or why it differs to other religions. So stop moving that mouth and get watching some videos. Start with Robert Spencer.
DLPB - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 3:55pm (USA Central)
To sum it up for others: Dave + Elliott = Liberal appeasers (Neo Chamberlain).
DLPB - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 4:00pm (USA Central)
Oh, and Corey too. It's the same thing. These people are always looking to blame their own culture for the world's ills - blame America - blame the west. Pro Palestine because their liberal media and schools told them Israel is a big bad guy. Islam defenders because their liberal media and schools told them it was a "religion of peace"

The product of self hate, ignorance, lack of education and lack of common sense. Take a good look, folks... these people are the reason 50 million people died in World War II, because when people like Churchill were warning Hitler and his ideology were lethal, people like Corey, Elliott and Dave were calling him a war mongering bigot.

Today, it's Islam and other backward cultures. And they are nit going to go away just because liberal appeasers put their head in the sand. That's my final word on it, also :)
Dave in NC - Tue, Jan 13, 2015 - 4:14pm (USA Central)
I am the furthest thing from a liberal, you dope. I've never voted for a Democrat in my life.

You (and Michael) live in an ignorant fantasyland, cherrypicking your facts to support your obtuse conclusions. You refuse to acknowledge that not everything is black and white.

Honestly, you both sound like a couple of hate-mongers (and nothing like Star Trek fans).
Robert - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 7:21am (USA Central)
I was going to stay out of it BUT... I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're all wrong and right :)

5 things...

1) The point has been brought up that middle class professionals have been terrorists. Sure, but most of them have ties to those Muslim countries the way that Jews feel close enough to Israel to go fight over there for them. The existence of the terrorism is that people in the lousy situations are also too religious.

2) Being too much of ANY kind of religion is historically dangerous. Crusades? Inquisition? The Salem Witch Trials? Puritans? Mormon Child Abuse? Persecuting Gay People? Westboro Baptist Church? Pedophile Priests? Religion just takes any old problem and turns it into a giant FUBARed mess. Especially when you're REALLY religious.

3) So why don't poor Christian countries have terrorists in the extreme that Muslim countries do? There are really, really damned horrible things in my holy book too (it says I should stone women, keep slaves... as long as they are from other countries, it debatably says I should hate gay people... although I'm not sure I buy that one line as being accurately translated). People like to say Muslims are bad for women, but has anyone ever read the Bible? If we actually followed it... sheesh. I will say that one thing that Muslims don't seem to have gotten down pat yet is versions. Jews do this really well. When something in the holy book is stupid, you just make a more reform version of your religion and ignore it. Keep all the spiritual stuff, dump the dumbass rules. Reform Jews don't need to be Kosher because being Kosher isn't safer anymore. How's that. Christians really need to get on that in regards to gay people and birth control. Wanting to sign up for Reform Christianity.....

4) Christianity has a bloody awful history too, but they didn't have quite as ridiculous tools back then. But the truth is that Jihad is about as much a part of the Koran as hating gay people is a part of Christianity. That is to say that you could get there through a really literal lens, but it takes a real nutjob to go all the way. And make no mistake, there are a LOT of Christian nutjobs. They just spend their money trying to legislate being backwards instead of blowing people up. I agree with you that liberals are too "appeasing" sometimes, but the answer to these problems IS liberalism. Making these people into liberals solves the problem :)

5) "Islam defenders because their liberal media and schools told them it was a "religion of peace". Or it's because we know Muslim people in our lives that aren't any crazier than the Jews/Christians we know? Islam is much younger than the other two religions. Perhaps it just hasn't worked out it's nuttiness yet (God knows Christianity hasn't). But I assure you that I could come up with something just as bad as Sharia Law with only the aid of the Christian Bible if I wanted to follow it literally.

Conclusions... following religious text literally is asinine (go see the "Book of Mormon" Broadway show for further elaboration on that). Religious extremism is very bad for terrorism, but it's not the only kind of Islam out there. And finally, let's all worship the Prophets instead. Peldor joi!
DLPB - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 1:05pm (USA Central)
I live in a 30% immigrant town, and it gets worse and worse the more Islam is about. This is not about one or two Muslims. This is about an entire ideology. Again, you fail to understand that. Look around the world at Muslim countries and notice the difference. When Muslims make up a majority of your town / city / country, their evil ideology gains to much of a foothold and enough of them then want to implant Sharia law or other Islamic doctrine onto you.

It's that simple. It's happened in VIRTUALLY EVERY country that was once secular / Christian and then became Muslim. So the question to people like you is: What makes you think Europe / US will be any different? Well, France isn't listening to you folks anymore, and pretty soon no-one will be. Eventually a majority of people will be voting Right to sort out the mess, which will also create problems (albeit nowhere near as many as Islam is doing).

Ignoring the situation and bringing up straw men (using Christianity) is not solving anything, or even looking at the root cause. And I bet you still haven't bothered to watch videos by Robert Spencer and Geert Wilders. You just come here with a load of opinions and no understanding of Islam or its texts.
Robert - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 1:15pm (USA Central)
I have no doubt that immigrants from problematic countries can be problematic. I don't think it's a strawman to point out Christianity has issues though. I'm more just getting at this. What makes you think that all the muslims by me that don't wear veils, subjugate women and blow crap up would suddenly start doing so just because a lot more moved in.

I think that, given a few generations of mixing with the west that western ideals will win out. Neither one of us can be proven correct though, since we'd need to simmer this for a few generations and see.
Dave in NC - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 1:26pm (USA Central)
DLPB said:
I live in a 30% immigrant town, and it gets worse and worse the more Islam is about.

reply:

How do you define "worse and worse?"

Are there terrorist bombings where you live?

What do you think they have "done" to your community to make you feel this way about them?

I worked door-to-door in the Detroit area for months and I lived in Minneapolis (two areas with very large populations of Muslim immigrants.) While I'm not going to deny there is a very very tiny subset of people who are into the "evil" intepretation if Islam, 99.9% don't believe in mass murder of civilians.

The more you type, the more ignorant you sound.

PS- Maybe it's a personal weakness, but it is a big pet peeve of mine when someone says "Watch this YouTube video (from some partisan think tank) because I can't explain my point in my own words". My feeling on the matter is that if you feel this passionate about it, you should be able to explain your point in YOUR OWN WORDS.
Michael - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 1:27pm (USA Central)
Ah yes, I wondered how long it would be before someone dusted off the "but Islam is much 'younger' than Christianity" routine.

Christianity's heyday (including its excesses and atrocities) happened at a time when the human race's corpus and penetration of knowledge were very similar to those of centuries, even millennia, previously. It was almost inevitable, being that enlightenment as such was unheard of. Christian excesses were just one possible manifestation of the primitive mind of the time, and that was the ONLY kind of a mind around back then.

What's Islam's excuse? What is the excuse for not utilizing the knowledge and technology the human race possesses today to reform or at least questions itself?m If anything, technology is used to make Islam even more (if that's even possible!) belligerent, violent, intolerant.

So yes, keep on bleating that the "Moslems I know are all wonderful people." I, on the other hand, will take (1) my ten years' living in four Moslem states, (2) Pew's research uncovering some extremely worrying findings about Islamdom's attitudes toward matters such as women's rights, death for "apostasy," stoning for adultery, etc., and (3) the quite-a-few seemingly impeccably-integrated Moslems in the West none of whom were "any crazier than the Jews/Christians we know" who snapped overnight and committed unspeakable atrocities. I will take those three and, I are say, arrive at rather different conclusions.

P.S. Jews, regardless of how strong an affinity for Israel they have, do not go around America and Europe attacking Arabs. Hell, they don't even go to Israel or the occupied territories to hunt them some Palestinians. You, Robert, correctly note that it was their (latent, unconscious) adherence to Islam that caused apparently fully Westernized second- and third-generation immigrants to turn wacko overnight. And accounts overflow of a Bob here and a Julia there converting into Ahmeds and Fatimas, and deciding that Jews have to die and the Western liberal democracy overthrown. Common denominator: again, Islam.



@DLPB:
It is an exercise in futility. The reason these people (Ben Affleck is the archetype) are so far gone is not that they are enamored of Islam. No. Rather, the reason is that they despise the (Christian) Religious Right to such an inexorable extent that they *have to* oppose *everything* the said Right stands for. And since the Right (for its own, mainly religious, reasons) vilifies Islam, these morons undertake all manner of mental contortionism to vindicate and exonerate Islam of all wrongdoing, just in order to not be seen as aligning themselves with the Right. In the process, they throw under the bus just about every liberal principle they espouse (women and gay rights are excellent examples).

They scream blue murder about "Chick Fil A" owners' opposition to gay marriage, but are totally schtum about the physical and psychological torture visited upon anyone even suspected of being gay throughout the Moslem world. And the fact that 90% of Moslems consider homosexuals to be deserving of anything from stigma to death is palmed off on nefarious Western Imperialism(TM). You ^really* can't make this shit up.

As you say though, these imbeciles would have lambasted Churchill as a bigot, militarist, and jingoist 75 years ago. Human capacity for self-delusion is boundless.
Dave in NC - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 1:39pm (USA Central)
"Liberal" people are NOT silent on the treatment of gays in the Mideast. GLAAD talks sbout this constantly to bring attention to the issue.

What Christian blog forcefeeds you this crap?
Robert - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 1:42pm (USA Central)
"What's Islam's excuse? "

Lack of a Western Education. Group think (see North Korea). These countries are bad, and bad things come out of them. I just think that it's likely that in 200 years these things will be Islams PAST, not future. Westernization is the key.

For the record, I do oppose the religious right... BUT my point is not that Islam is good, bad or in between. My point is that group think and fanaticism are bad. Which, for the record, is why I oppose the religious right.

If you honestly can't fathom why Islam ("What is the excuse for not utilizing the knowledge and technology the human race possesses today to reform or at least questions") is backwards when Christianity has managed to "utilize the knowledge and tech we possess today" then perhaps you'd like to explain why the religious right can't use that knowledge to tell how old the world is, stop trying to cure gay people, stop fighting birth control (I won't include abortion because, while I think they are wrong I don't think they are delusional) and stop trying to teach creationism in schools. I won't even include climate change denial because that's not religious, but when you teach your base that science is not to be trusted over scripture that kind of backwards thinking gets easier too.

So ya, Christianity is a lot older than Islam and they haven't figured out how to stop taking their doctrine literally. And yet Islam should just get with the 21st century by what magic? The church is only barely less anti-science then they were in the age of Galileo.

I'm not sticking up for Islam, I'm just saying that most of the religious right is throwing stones in a glass house.
Cloudane - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 2:03pm (USA Central)
So this is why my email is going nuts...

Welp, quick way to learn who the bigots and supremacists are I suppose. I mean hey, it's not like "the West" ever kills anyone or does anything shitty or has any sort of toxic culture to it at all..
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States
oops who put that link there..

And of course the tens of thousands of deaths (many of them civilians) that occured in retaliation to the 3000 or so killed in 9/11 don't count, because they're just dirty brown foreigners with their backwards ways and non-Christian religion. Yep, all 2 billion Muslims - evil terrorists... everyone in good old 'murrica and co - squeaky clean (God bless 'em eh)

People need to stop blanket hating other people, killing other people, and generally being dicks to other people. On BOTH sides. As long are there are people going around thinking that they're saints and those who are different to them are all evil, we're a long long way from any kind of Trek-like dream where we've evolved past this kind of bullshit.
Elliott - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 3:34pm (USA Central)
It's very easy for us to fall into this sarcastic back and forth as a way of buffering ourselves against the opinions of others, but it really isn't helping things here.

First of all, DLPB is completely insane and I would suggest editing his comments out of your perception of the thread, here.

Michael does have a point that many Liberals are too hasty to mirror their TeaBagger counterparts and diametrically oppose themselves to the agenda of the far right, which means "siding with" Islam. In deference to his perspective, the problem with Islam apropos terrorism is that too many Muslims take their religion as seriously today as many Christians did in the Middle Ages (and let's not leave the Jews out, who were just as barbaric in the pre-Christian era if the Old Testament is any account). What's disheartening is that, in its height, Islamic society was a model of tolerance, ecumenicism, culture and learning. That culture has regressed, in large part due to the economic and political upheavals of the 19th century which eventually led to the World Wars and the arbitrary nationalising of the Middle East.

However, what I think Michael is loathe to concede is that there is still a large percentage of Islamic society which is as secularly developed as its Christian and Jewish cohabitants. That percentage is dangerously low by comparison, but it exists, and to ignore it is the very definition of bigotry. Islam is just as capable of being secularised and evolved as Christianity and Judaism (all three of which, in my view, should be secularised to the point of historical interest and ritual only, thus expunging Western religiosity altogether, but that's another conversation). The problem is that it is largely under the control of extremists and fundamentalists in countries whose political infrastructure is incapable of adequately controlling and moderating its followers.

Finally, I think Cloudane has the right idea. We should be happy that the West is more secular than the Middle East, but we are not absolved of immoral acts anymore than "other side."
Elliott - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 3:45pm (USA Central)
Michael, I also owe you a reply from an earlier post :

"If they are all examples of 'economic imperialism,' then why don't you just state clearly that you have a problem with commercial success (after a certain point, presumably arbitrarily decided by yourself), rather than hide behind highbrow-sounding college dilettante constructs such as 'economic imperialism'?"

I have a problem with commercial success at the expense of human dignity and justice. I have a problem of extending economic power and influence through force or negotiation between ruling parties which ignore the majority of the "lower class" which is affected by those extensions. "Imperialism" sans modifier refers to the extension of political power of national empires (official or otherwise). While those political bodies play a huge rôle in what I'm talking about, the more specific issue is better defined in economic terms, hence my label.
Cloudane - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 4:12pm (USA Central)
Yeah I wouldn't "side" with them per se, it's just that when surrounded with people going to the extremes of Islamophobia (it's certainly not just this site), you find yourself perhaps overcompensating a little in trying to find balance. The be all and end all is that we're not exactly saints ourselves and need to try and see beyond "goodies" and "baddies" a bit.

And again, we're talking about extremist minorities.

I pointed out shootings as an example, as a lot of that goes on over in the US and it's absolutely awful. Senseless killing of innocent children. (Remind you of anything? etc). Yet we (speaking from the UK but basically speaking for most of the world) don't go around saying that Americans are all a bunch of child-murdering psychopaths and a terrible culture of mass shootings. Or that Christianity (also huge) is a toxic gay-hating religion because of the few nutjobs at Westboro. Etc.

More in the Muslim community should be speaking out and condemning the terrorist branches though, for sure. We don't need to go so ridiculously liberal/PC that they can do no wrong whatsoever. Just maybe in some cases ease off on the Islamophobia, racism, bigotry and hate just a tad. It disturbs me the way some people are thinking (not necessarily here but in general) with how they want all Muslims kicked out "to where they came from" etc, some of it can sound worryingly similar to the way Jews were treated not so long ago. Hating on a HUGE religious group for the acts of a few and retaliating in the style of "for every 1 they kill of us, kill 10 of them!" has never led anywhere good in the past.
Michael - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 6:59pm (USA Central)
And yea, with the appearance of a Social Justice Warrior(TM) who, rather than attempting to engage in any kind of a meaningful discourse, just bandies out slurs such as "bigot," we have made the full circle with this "discussion." Cloudane was BARELY able to refrain from labeling me an outright, paid-up, card-carrying racist (hence the thinly disguised "brown" innuendo), never mind the fact that my fiancee is a very much "brown" Arab woman. The vapid and cowardly "Islamophobia" smear was the inevitable, highly predictable, jaded, groan-inducing, and very cheap tactic. The straw men saturating his posts are the epitome of Cultural Marxism stratagems aimed at railroading a revised narrative toward a new consensus, not based on historical facts and empirical data, but on logical fallacies.

The only thing more intellectually dishonest than the foregoing is endeavoring to construe an extremely dilettante and feeble argument that any event fitting the literal definition of "terrorism" is comparable and coeval.

Cloudane, buddy: pathetic. Truly pathetic. Not worth my time to respond except to laugh--nay, guffaw--at the desperation of such a transparent and infantile contribution.

Oh, and I am not a Christian. I am ethnically Jewish (child of Holocaust survivors) and religion-wise atheist, more so than Prof. Dawkins. I have no interest in defending the Bible and its fanboys; quite the contrary.


@Robert:
Listen, pal: Please either read what I write in its entirety or don't bother. Your responses address a half of what I write; if you read carefully the whole thing, you will notice that I already covered the points you again raise. As that sweet lady said: "Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!"


@Eliott:
First of all, I fail to understand how the obligatory references to Christianity made by yourself and others are material to this exchange. Whatever excesses--and gods know there were quite a few, to put it mildly--Christians got up to on a mass and systematic scale are centuries old. Whatever the Torah or the Bible say about homosexuality or adultery or working on Shabat or whatever, neither Jews nor Christians take that shit seriously. Do, by all means, give me the date of the last time someone was stoned, beheaded, hanged, burned at stake, or otherwise murdered for any of the antecedent by a baying mob of Jews or Christians--never mind it happening on a regular basis--, and I will GLADLY stand corrected.

Yes? No? No. Didn't think so.

And no, Teabag Party douchbaggery does not count. Even the most vicious, obstinate, and tempestuous among them do not advocate actual violence against their opponents or those they see as "deviant." Sure, they might want to legislate against some of them, but that's about it. They'd not hang gays, they'd not flog women having abortions. And yes, that DOES make them VERY different to Moslems (see below).

Do secular, reformed, and genuinely moderate Moslems exist? Of course they do. Where you, Robert, and Dave make the big mistake is considering all those who do not go around beheading, stoning, etc. to be moderate. That is nonsense, and you are doing it out of ignorance (which is easily rectified) or out of feeling obligated to further an ideological agendum (less easily rectified). I doubt you will do it, but look at the extensive research of attitudes among Moslems conducted by the Pew Institute.

For instance, inasmuch as very few Moslems actually take out a machete and chop off a thief's hand, between 28% (Kosovo) and 88% (Pakistan)--the average in 20 Moslem states being ~52%--FAVOR chopping off thieves' hands. That is just an example: Some figures are (somewhat but not much) lower (stoning for adultery) whereas some are stunningly high (85% believing the wife should "obey" her husband). SUCH PEOPLE ARE NOT MODERATES! They are barbarians, and their mindset is incompatible with the values of liberal democracy.

But yeah, *I* am the bigot here.

As far as genuinely moderate Moslems, look up the video entitled "CNS news best four minute speech ever by Brigitte Gabriel" (yes, yes, I know: a rabid "Islamophobe" *snicker*). Basically, those "moderate Moslems"--that is to say those who do wholly subscribe to the modern liberal democratic values without any contradiction or reservation--are of no more practical consequence or relevance than were "moderate" Nazis or "moderate" Germans. Were all or even most Nazis gassing Jews and tearassing through Europe murdering left and right? No. Were all or even most Germans fully supporting the Nazi ideology? Unclear, though at least a significant minority did not. Did it make a blind bit of difference in practical terms? No. Did we still have to fight Nazism, to an unprecedentedly high human and material cost? Yes. Did we learn anything from trying to appease a destructive, violent, expansionist, and uncompromising ideology? Evidently not.
Michael - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 7:05pm (USA Central)
@Elliott:
First of all, thank you for engaging in an actual debate and at least considering alternative viewpoints.

As far as "economic imperialism," you talk about "human dignity" and "justice." Both are normative and subjective terms in the extreme. Define them.

"[E]xtending economic power and influence through force or negotiation between ruling parties" refers to what, exactly? Surely not to McDonald's opening a branch n Eritrea or Coca Cola setting up a vending machine at the Dili airport! How do Nike, Nestle, Samsung or Huawei "extend[] economic power and influence through force or negotiation between ruling parties"?!?
dlpb - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 7:48pm (USA Central)
Marxism... that hits the nail on the head for a fair few here. They'll be singing another tune when Islamic law is imposed on them and they find all their "rights" have been removed. Luckily, I don't think it will come to that, because people are waking up. But instead of us all being united against this fascist death cult, we are here arguing. And it isn't Michael and I who are to blame for that. It's the rest of you, who seemingly cannot use the internet to get clued up about this doctrine. And even worse, see all these failed Muslim states and actually believe it will be different in the west. Oh, but of course, when the shit hits the fan, you then turn 180 and blame it on everybody else. It's not Islam, it's those nasty right-wingers who "alienated" the Muslim community. Get real.
dlpb - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 7:54pm (USA Central)
https://pickeringpost.com/story/outlaw-islam-we-may-have-no-choice/2079

Everything we right has been covered 100 times (and ignored 100 times).
Michael - Wed, Jan 14, 2015 - 8:20pm (USA Central)
@DLPB:
You're spitting into the wind. They think it'll never happen. Just like Hitler's initial acts were waved away as innocuous remonstrations of frustration and humiliation brought about by the Allies' injustice visited upon Germany in Versailles. Equally, Moslems are almost entirely peaceful and wonderful, and those who are not are merely frustrated and humiliated by the "Western" (don't forget the quotation marks!) imperialism.

It's "'Murica," whatever that is, that's the REAL problem and the Real Terrorist(TM)... - and, of course, bigots and "Islamophobes" (most probably racists, sexists, and homophobes, too) like you and I :)
Robert - Thu, Jan 15, 2015 - 7:04am (USA Central)
@DLPB -

"Everything we write has been covered 100 times (and ignored 100 times)."

I'm not ignoring it. You're talking about outlawing a religion to save the free world. Except that it's not free anymore after that. You are wrong.

@Michael -

"@Robert:
Listen, pal: Please either read what I write in its entirety or don't bother. Your responses address a half of what I write; if you read carefully the whole thing, you will notice that I already covered the points you again raise. As that sweet lady said: "Ain't nobody got time fo' dat!""

I apologize if I missed it, but while you espouse that Christianity uses the tools of a modern mind now and didn't back then you still don't address how backwards it is TODAY. The more religious Christians in a town the more likely it is to be backwards (increase the number of religious Christians by 5% in any town in America and the graduating class will be more ignorant). Now granted, most Islamic nations are far worse, but religion quite seriously is the enemy of reason.

I think you can see that on the whole I'm not even disagreeing with you, I just think the problem is both larger than Islam and not directly connected to Islam.

"Do, by all means, give me the date of the last time someone was stoned, beheaded, hanged, burned at stake, or otherwise murdered for any of the antecedent by a baying mob of Jews or Christians--never mind it happening on a regular basis--, and I will GLADLY stand corrected."

Matthew Shepard? Christianity breeds evil too, just not to the same level because of Westernization. Westernizing the Middle East will win us the war in the long run.

"Do secular, reformed, and genuinely moderate Moslems exist? Of course they do. Where you, Robert, and Dave make the big mistake is considering all those who do not go around beheading, stoning, etc. to be moderate. That is nonsense, and you are doing it out of ignorance (which is easily rectified) or out of feeling obligated to further an ideological agendum (less easily rectified). I doubt you will do it, but look at the extensive research of attitudes among Moslems conducted by the Pew Institute."

I appreciate the enlightenment. It is disturbing, though again Kosovo and Pakistan are far removed from my life (at least until some a$$hole leaves another crater 8 blocks down from me again). The Muslims here (in NYC), the ones in my office, the ones who come to my home... well I seriously hope they don't think like that. Obviously only they know what's in their hearts. But I have to assume that Westernization has simply taken it's toll on generations of people and turned them sane....

As I've pointed out in the past there are really, really freaking crazy countries with really crazy viewpoints (see Russia, North Korea and China for instance). I bet those people would score interestingly on a Pew poll for opinions on women, gay people, how funny it would be for America to blow up, etc. The only real difference is that they don't think they are entitled to 72 virgins when they blow themselves up in the greater glory of Allah, but then most Muslims don't ever actually do such a thing (even the ones that think it's awesome).

"SUCH PEOPLE ARE NOT MODERATES! They are barbarians, and their mindset is incompatible with the values of liberal democracy."

Agree. No qualifications, just agree. Although the stoning for adultery and the wife obey the husband bother me more than the hand chopping since we live in a country with capital punishment....

"But yeah, *I* am the bigot here."

I think, or at least I hope, you can see I am not trying to call you a bigot. I'm merely saying that I see the "war" differently. I see us as fighting a war to turn fanatics into moderates, trying to grow the power of the moderates and trying to educate the ignorant. It's just not as simple as a war against Nazi Germany. How long did Germany hold out after we killed Hitler. Go ahead, tell me who to point the gun at to end radical Islam....

Or we could do as DLPB suggests and outlaw Islam. Because telling people they can't practice their religion doesn't ever make moderate people into extremists and this could never backfire and inspire Jihad.

I hope you can see I'm not taking the caricature of the opposing viewpoint. And as to America.... since we're on a Trek board. I sort of feel about America the way Bashir feels about the Federation. When I was little I thought it was a beacon of light and good in the world. Not that stupid anymore. But even after Bashir finds out that the Federation has section 31 and tries to commit genocide he'd probably still rather live there than Cardassia, Romulus, the Dominion, the Klingon Empire, etc. I feel the same.
Cloudane - Thu, Jan 15, 2015 - 7:42am (USA Central)
That's ok, whether any of my loose implications (which were not actually aimed at a specific individual but I guess if any of the mud sticks people assume it was all for them) are valid or not I have no time for people who throw terms like "SJW" around anyway. It's usually bleated by all the 4chan/8chan #gamergate wankers whose idea of raising a concern about something is to wait until a feminist does something wrong then doxx and harrass them, then cry victim at all the "evil feminist SJWs" when they point out that doxxing and harrassing people isn't very nice, and is a bit hypocritical when they were claiming to be whinging about "ethics".
Robert - Thu, Jan 15, 2015 - 7:51am (USA Central)
The first rule for ending #ThatWhichShallNotBeNamed is to not TALK about #ThatWhichShallNotBeNamed.

I will say that while I don't know Michael at all, I would assume based on what little I've seen of him that grouping him with the #gamergaters (crap, I went and said it :-( ) that are getting their jollies from doxxing and harassing women in the name of "integrity in gaming journalism" (literally the weakest SJW cause EVER) is pretty uncalled for.

Especially since he's calling Muslims barbarians for their backwards views on women. Just saying... stick to the topic!
Cloudane - Thu, Jan 15, 2015 - 8:34am (USA Central)
Perhaps. But again with missing the fact that that part wasn't aimed at him - I said "usually", explaining why I have quite a strong distaste for seeing the derogatory term "SJW" being thrown at anyone who shows the slightest signs of liberalism at the moment. Not necessarily that he is one of those.

I agree that moderate/secular Muslims at least need to be more active in showing that they are NOT the kind of people who chop hands off, behead, rape etc and condemning those who do. And those who do want to chop people's hands off, promote terrorism etc - absolutely, THEY should be banned, kicked out, locked up, whatever and are deserving of hate, I feel the same way, they're scum. But hating all Muslims, saying that the entire faith should be banned and anyone following it ejected from the country - sorry but that's bigotry in the extreme. That's where I'm coming from. A lot of humans do bad things. Should all humans be banned? I'm just saying don't turn it into an excuse to blanket hate. Right now we have peaceful non-extremists who just want to follow their own interpretation of the God(s) stuff without any of the ancient "doing harm to others", and are afraid to even go outside for fear of being threatened in the street (see the "I'll ride with you" groups et al). The religion does need to catch up with the other religions in completely eradicating the extremist murdering nutjobs (let's call it Westernisation for the sake of brevity), I just don't think bombarding all 2 billion of them with endless hatred is really going to endear them to the idea of being Westernised. As always, target the actual bad guys, not all the civilians.

In summary, I'm in favour of people not killing other people (except for defence - and yes, wiping out terrorists counts as defence) and not spewing vicious hate at other people, especially in blanket form at entire groups (religious, racial, social, whatever) who in the majority are peaceful and harmless. There are better ways that don't just rile them all up and make them more sympathetic to the terrorists.
dlpb - Thu, Jan 15, 2015 - 4:42pm (USA Central)
archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=30675

I'll leave you with this. It's pretty much what you have to look forward to based on everywhere this peaceful "religion" has ventured.
dlpb - Thu, Jan 15, 2015 - 4:45pm (USA Central)
Also, it was a pleasure reading from you, Michael. I haven't read the latest replies by the above, as they lost the debate the minute they started shouting "Islamophobia" and other such nonsense. People in France are waking up - so is the rest of Europe - and it is only a matter of time before everyone else follows suit. Deluded appeasers are on their way out the door :)
Michael - Fri, Jan 16, 2015 - 3:02am (USA Central)
@Robert:
"I think you can see that on the whole I'm not even disagreeing with you, I just think the problem is both larger than Islam and not directly connected to Islam."

Hey, I've no love for religion. Come to think of it, I look down on (yes, being the BIGOT, etc., I do LOOK DOWN ON) any incidence of uncritical, uninformed adherence to a belief, which includes religion, but extends into politics, economics, sociology, etc. And gods know that there is plenty of that going around: from the assorted religionists, to atheists, to commies, to fascists, to anti-vaccine fanatics, to anti-G.M.O. fanatics, to pro- and anti-gun control "campaigners," to pro- and anti-abortion "campaigners," to so, SO many others.

However, on the global scale, Islam empirically is destroying the greatest quantity of lives of any ideology--religious or otherwise--, both in terms of outright murder and in terms of a calculated imposition of groupthink on the individual with a view to severely restricting that individual's basic liberties.

(Just to respond to the Matthew Shepard bit: That was neither community-sponsored violence nor replicated in similar attacks.)



"I appreciate the enlightenment. It is disturbing, though again Kosovo and Pakistan are far removed from my life (at least until some a$$hole leaves another crater 8 blocks down from me again). The Muslims here (in NYC), the ones in my office, the ones who come to my home... well I seriously hope they don't think like that. Obviously only they know what's in their hearts. But I have to assume that Westernization has simply taken it's toll on generations of people and turned them sane...."

Being a New Yorker (like myself), you had better hope your work colleagues don't turn into a Faisal Shahzad (and he is FAR from being a one-off). That's all I'll say, as it addresses all the above, including the Westernization argument.



"As I've pointed out in the past there are really, really freaking crazy countries with really crazy viewpoints (see Russia, North Korea and China for instance). I bet those people would score interestingly on a Pew poll for opinions on women, gay people, how funny it would be for America to blow up, etc. The only real difference is that they don't think they are entitled to 72 virgins when they blow themselves up in the greater glory of Allah, but then most Muslims don't ever actually do such a thing (even the ones that think it's awesome)."

Russia, China, and even North Korea can be reasoned with. They do not want to take over the world, certainly not by force, nor do they want to impose their laws on everyone else. Lastly and most importantly, there have been no instances of a bunch of Russians, Chinese or North Koreans in different parts of the world shooting up an elementary school, stoning adulterers, beheading "apostates," blowing up malls, etc.



"I see us as fighting a war to turn fanatics into moderates, trying to grow the power of the moderates and trying to educate the ignorant."

I will not say it is impossible, but I will say it is an extremely long-term endeavor where the results are not at all guaranteed and the odds are heavily stacked against success. Individuals who are convinced they are on a divine mission and whose real life starts after their own death cannot be bribed, coopted or rationalized with. They will not abandon their mission because you give them a great job and a house with a pool. Nor will they abandon it if you e.g. let their wives wear a black garbage bag at work. There are de-radicalization programs being effected in some countries, with mixed success. To them (and we are talking HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of people, as Pew shows), the change of mindset required is comparable to you suddenly stopping thinking of red as "red" as thinking of it as a spoon instead. Not having had much exposure to blinded religionists (and the wacko Jesus freaks in the U.S. don't come even close) to realize that their points of reference are so far removed from ours that we cannot even comprehend or internalize it. I speak from experience, not for effect.

The biggest problem is that, even if such a mindset can be changed, it will take DECADES. Are we prepared to live with greatly abridged freedoms and with terrorist attacks for decades? Or is it simpler to just, hate to have to put it this way but, "nuke 'em"?



"Or we could do as DLPB suggests and outlaw Islam. Because telling people they can't practice their religion doesn't ever make moderate people into extremists and this could never backfire and inspire Jihad."

Outlawing anything never worked. I have a plane to catch so can't dwell on this, but we could have a fascinating (in my view, anyway) discussion about why people in most of the world actually don't go around murdering and thieving. It has very little to do with such acts being illegal.

As far as Bashir, I never watched DS9 so don't ave a clue what you're talking about :) Having said that, I do firmly think America is the greatest country in the world, being the ONLY one that guarantees virtually limitless individual freedom. More on that later...
Michael - Fri, Jan 16, 2015 - 3:05am (USA Central)
@DLPB:
I hear ya! They come from their shitholes to civilized countries under the pretext of fleeing persecution and wanting a better life, want to turn those countries into the same kind of shitholes they left, and then bomb us when we refuse. That ain't gonna fly, and people ARE at long last beginning to have enough.

We are labeled "racist," as that is the most potent weapon our oh-so "enlightened" adversaries have in their arsenal (even though the label is totally slanderous and unsuitable), but that's been so overused as to be greatly losing its desired effect.

Take care, buddy...
Robert - Fri, Jan 16, 2015 - 6:31am (USA Central)
You've never watched DS9! I can't take anything you say seriously now... :P

I just want to say I appreciate you taking the time to think about my arguments and to at least say they have some merit and possibility, even if you disagree with them and prefer the shorter more obliteration happy approach.

I don't know that I have a different opinion on the subject, but I have some information I didn't have before and some things to chew on... so what more can you want from a lively discussion!

Have a good flight :)
Michael - Fri, Jan 16, 2015 - 8:09am (USA Central)
Well, Robert, you did pleasantly surprise me, because I thought you were just another Internet dumbass regurgitating platitudes learned from the (select) media. I really do appreciate your thoughtful post.

You're right: Our main point of divergence is whether to do it the long way or in short order. Both have advantages and disadvantages vis-a-vis the various stakeholders involved, which is basically the entire world.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable exchange.

Keep the New York flag flying! :D
dlpb - Fri, Jan 16, 2015 - 12:06pm (USA Central)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1EV-oIPgoc

Something needs to be done about it, that's for sure. And Germany outlawed Nazi ideology for a reason. Soon enough, we WILL have to confront this reality.
Michael - Fri, Jan 16, 2015 - 1:21pm (USA Central)
@DLPB, @Robert:
We cannot outlaw Islam, fight Islamic extremism (which basically means at least a half the world's Moslems) by force, or embark on de-radicalization programs unless and until we are prepared to aver without any equivocation, compunction or caveat that ISLAM IS THE PROBLEM.

I mean, the leaders of the Free World bend over backward to avoid acknowledging that it is actual Moslems behind the daily atrocities. If we are unable to even verbalize the "name" of the problem, then what chance is there of beginning to address it?!?


Robert - Fri, Jan 16, 2015 - 1:38pm (USA Central)
"Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable exchange.

Keep the New York flag flying! :D "

It was, and I will do :)

As to the final solution there...

I agree with Michael and disagree with dlpb. We cannot outlaw Islam, period.... but neither can we handle the problem if we can't discuss it without being racist.

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