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Miscellaneous, Seen on the 'Net

The War of Ideas

03.09.07 | 13 Comments

I’m sorry for the postflood this afternoon. This is most likely the last one. However, author Jerry Pournelle posted something on his site that I’ve been saying for a number of years now.

As to policy regarding Iran, time is very much on our side. The West’s cultural weapons of mass destruction are doing their work in Iran and doing it well. We recently heard General John Custer telling us how al Qaeda and other such outfits use the Internet to recruit suicide bombers and other members. It all sounded grim, but what that really says is that Internet access is growing: potential suicide bombers are using the Internet.

If the West can’t manage to win in the war of ideas: if we can’t put on a better show, and demonstrate that here and now you can live in a world of blue jeans, rock and roll, rock stars, wristwatches, jewelry, pretty girls, careers for girls, pretty clothes for girls, freedom for women to drive cars and go shopping, education for everyone, birth control — well you get the idea — if we can’t make our real world more attractive than a place where you get 71 unconsulted virgins for blowing yourself up, then we’re really in bad shape. Radical Islam and the culture death shouldn’t be more attractive to young people than what we can offer.

Of course we aren’t trying to win that way. The West’s intellectuals compete with each other to tell the world what a rotten place it it, how AmeriKKKa is dangerous and needs to be brought down, (We don’t like this world of ours! Bring it down! Bring it down!) are feeding al Qaeda some of their best lines.

Read the Pournelle’s entire post. This is exactly what I’ve been saying, but some of my more hawkish friends seem to think this makes me a softy since I’m not advocating IMMEDIATE! NUCLEAR! DESTRUCTION! Personally I think that a kind of cultural fossilization in which we replace a culture bit bybit with our own is pretty insidious. It just doesn’t have the immediate, visceral satisfaction that some people want. There is more than one way to win.

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13 Comments

Comment by Kyle
2007-03-10 09:47:16

I’m not advocating immediate nuclear destruction. I’d like to avoid that one if I can. But I don’t think the cultural invasion is going to cut it. Especially when you consider much of the reason the drooling radicals hate us is BECAUSE of our culture, and what it does to their precious youth. We might have to just beat the hell out of them, then allow our culture to do its work.

I.E.–Japan following WWII.

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Comment by Prest0
2007-03-12 17:00:46

“Especially when you consider much of the reason the drooling radicals hate us is BECAUSE of our culture, and what it does to their precious youth.”

And that’s my (and Pournelle’s) point. We already have them afraid. The world they’ve known for the last several centuries is coming to an end, and all the IEDs in the world can’t stop it. *Nothing* they have can stop it. These are the destructive tantrums of a dying culture. Yes they are deadly, yes we are totally justified in doing everything in our power to protect ourselves. I just disagree with your conclusion that the only solution is to militarily crush them first. Maybe it’ll come to that, but not necessarily.

 
 
Comment by Jerry
2007-03-12 13:34:45

I would prefer a cultural invasion. But I think it will take decades, perhaps centuries. The muslim world needs to endure a Rennaissance first. This would include equivalent 30 years wars in the Muslim world, unfortunately.

Nuking em till they glow is pretty extreme. But I choose that before an American city is ignited. Will pray that neither event occurs.

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Comment by Prest0
2007-03-12 17:05:49

And Americans don’t think in terms of decades or centuries. We are a country of instant gratification. Freedom is highly infectious. It is a matter of faith that given enough time, our culture will totally transform their own. If put our minds to it as a country, there are many things we could do to speed it up.

 
 
Comment by kyle
2007-03-12 15:04:57

Gotta agree with Jerry, I’d much rather them get microwaved than us.

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Comment by Prest0
2007-03-12 17:01:37

I think “Duh” just about covers that. :)

 
 
Comment by Dirty Unicorn
2007-03-13 10:07:38

Yep. I think it’s inevitable, but I am looking at a bigger picture (as presented in your shift happens post) in that the internet has a backflow effect into OUR (American) culture and the youth of America are now seeing more readily than ever before the whole world. Nothing the likes of us could ever have imagined is happening now. Our cultural “pipeline” was National Geographic, Mutual of Omaha, and foriegn exchange students… unless you were actually hip enough to backpack in Europe or (un?)lucky enough to serve a stint overseas. The internet provides that instant gratification of seeing other culutures and more imprtantly actually CONNECTING with everyday people from other parts of the world that happen to like some of the same things you do.

I doubt we will even begin to understand what the ineternet and wireless communications is going to do to us as a culture much less a species. It will take time, but not much…

Also I wanted to point out about Kyle’s comment
>I.E.–Japan following WWII.

Look at modern Japan.

Our culture has begun to adapt/adopt to theirs in the last 15 years or so (movies, games, anime, ELECTRONICS, kanji, martial arts, Sushi, etc etc)

One Laptop for every Child is a big example of this forming world culture that is coming like it or not…

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Comment by Prest0
2007-03-19 20:03:21

I think that’s a very astute observation. I suspect that because our culture is largely commercialized these days ours has a stronger influence, but I suppose that’s one for the historians to decide.

 
 
Comment by Neal5x5
2007-03-13 19:15:06

I agree that people gravitate toward freedom and cheap DVD players, but many do so while inciting hatred for the cultures and peoples that provide them. I don’t think it’s a given – see modern China – but familiarity with the benifits of America and western culture is no guarantee that violence won’t happen. Those most likely to murder and commit acts of terrorism in the name of jihad are middle-class and upper-class men who have lived in the US or are at least well addressed to Western culture.

In general, I believe that Baywatch, Starbucks, and Walmart will do more to bring peace, prosperity, and cheap lingerie to the world than weapons and beligerent bluster, but it’s the exceptions to this rule that bother me. Ahmenijhad (sp) believes himself to be the fullfillment of an apocalyptical prophesy, and any culture that embraces death as a sacrement bears careful watching.

Actually, this reminds me of a funny cartoon. Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam are running for mayor of a town. Bugs Bunny pulls out a stick and says in a Teddy Roosevelt-like voice: “I speak softly, but I carry a big stick!”

Yosemite Sam hears this and produces a larger, knotted branch and says “Oh yeah? Well I speak LOUDLY, and I carry a BIGGER stick. And I USE it, too!” and smacks Bugs Bunny over the head.

I’m not sure what that means, but it was a funny cartoon.

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Comment by Prest0
2007-03-19 21:06:48

You’re right–it’s no guarantee. But I think if we shift the cultural center of gravity from indifference or benign support of terrorism to disapproval and unacceptance, they’ll reach a tipping point at which they really do start policing themselves. We can’t hope to eradicate every wacko out there–today there are Germans and Americans who still think that the Nazis had the right idea–but we can move them to the fringe where they are in low numbers and easier to contain.

 
 
Comment by Jason
2007-03-19 18:14:21

While we hope that our culture is taming the Muslim/Arab world, that same culture is being influenced by the masses coming across the southern border. Who knows, some day Muslims may be demanding Mexican food, free healthcare and cars with hydraulics and funny paint jobs.

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Comment by Prest0
2007-03-19 19:59:26

I submit new evidence for my case.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,259621,00.html

As soon as an Iraq branch celebrates its first year in business, we’ll know we’ve truly won.

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2007-03-21 11:26:19

[…] know I’m a proponent of cultural imperialism. We’ll win the war by keeping new terrorists from being created. But for some it’s […]

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