My Uncultured Viewpoint

I see that KPFA, the Public Broadcasting System station in Berkeley, California, has cravenly disinvited Richard Dawkins from speaking because he said: 

It’s tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it’s a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they’re not.

If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam.

and

… saying because that’s their culture so you have to accept it … well … to hell with their culture.

Now, I’ve spent a good portion of my life working overseas, so I’ve been exposed to a lot of local cultures and customs. And up to a certain point in my life, I believed that the different cultures and customs were each an equally valid way to live in the world.

I lost my innocence about this issue when I was working in the Solomon Islands, which is just below the equator north of Australia. It’s a curious place because there are about eighty totally separate languages spoken there. I knew that from my reading before I first went there.

But what I hadn’t realized before my arrival of was that eighty languages meant that there were eighty totally separate and different cultures there.

Now, at the time I was the Country Director for a development organization, something along the lines of Save the Children but aimed at the whole family and village. And one of the projects was to try to support people in maintaining their own cultural identity against the introduction of foreign ideas, whether from other local cultures or from the West. We wanted them to be proud of their history and the way that they lived. So the agency made and distributed a bunch of T-shirts that said

KIPIM KASTOM BLONG IU

Obviously not English … instead, it is Solomon Islands Pijin, the lingua franca of a place where nobody speaks anyone else’s language. However, it is based on English, as becomes obvious if I write it out as though it were English words. In that case, it says

KEEP’M CUSTOM BELONG YOU

… in other words, hold on to your customs, they are valuable.

So I thought I was doing good for the world, what’s not to like?

That lasted until the day I was upbraided by a woman in the street in Honiara, the capital of the country. Whoa, she laid into me something fierce, she was furious about the T-shirt. I was blindsided, I had no idea what she was on about.

When I asked why she was so upset, the essence of her answer, translated from Pijin into English, was as follows:

“Why am I mad about the T-shirt? Because I’m from XXXX Island. On XXXX in our custom the island women are considered to be somewhere between the island pigs and the island dogs. And when Western ideas about the equality of women started to get to our island, for the first time in our lives we had hope.

“Then you come along with your God-damn T-shirt, and now all the men are saying ‘See? The white man agrees that we should hold on to our own customs  where women are not equal to men!

Man, I wanted to crawl into a hole. I felt lower than the gum on my shoe sole. It’s painful enough to find I’ve done something bad by accident.

But to find out that I had done something bad when I was totally convinced that I was doing something good … that was unbearable. I slunk back to my office in shame and hung my head.

And ever since that day, I have held a very different view of different cultures. From then on, my new view was and remains:

SOME CULTURES ARE VILE

Yes, I know that is not politically correct. We’re supposed to make allowances for these things … and I used to do that, but no more.

I’m sorry, but a culture that keeps women on XXXX Island somewhere between island pigs and island dogs is a vile culture that needs to be either reformed or stamped out. It should be neither supported nor tolerated. We should not pretend that it is OK.

And sad to say, the same thing is true of Islam. As Dawkins said, “To hell with their culture”. It is a culture which is anti-human, anti-freedom, and more than anything, anti-women. The men of XXXX Island were rank amateurs at keeping women submissive and under their thumbs compared to the men of Islam.

culture wars II

For me, a culture whose “Holy Book”, the Koran, clearly says that it is perfectly fine for men to keep civilian female prisoners of war as perpetual sexual slaves is not a religion. It is a vile sickness that as I said above, needs to be either reformed or stamped out entirely. Those kinds of barbaric ideas worked fine in the year 632 … but they are absolutely not acceptable in 2017.

My best to everyone, Muslims included,

w.

PS—My earlier posts on this subject are here including my overview entitled “The Problem With Islam complete with cartoons.

PPS—When I wrote this, I said that the woman was from Savo Island, because that is what I remember. My friend who worked on Savo says that he thinks it unlikely that it was Savo, based on his experience there.

And it is possible that thirty years after it happened, my memory of the island name is wrong … although the memory of the humiliation I felt is as fresh as yesterday.

As a result, I’ve taken the name out of my account of what happened to me. It is immaterial to the point that I am making, and I do not want to needlessly insult anyone.

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32 thoughts on “My Uncultured Viewpoint

      • A related concept is the bizarre hypocrisy demonstrated in the “Ugly American” stereotype. Americans are shamed into being embarrassed for being American and force fed this idea of being sure to kowtow to every foreign custom they encounter. When’s the last time you heard Europeans bending over backwards to observe US customs or behavior?

        Liked by 2 people

        • In the 1958 novel, “The Ugly American” was the good guy. To quote Wikipedia, “The “Ugly American” of the book title refers to the book’s hero, plain-looking engineer Homer Atkins, whose “calloused and grease-blackened hands always reminded him that he was an ugly man.” Atkins, who lives with the local people, comes to understand their needs, and offers genuinely useful assistance with small-scale projects such as the development of a simple bicycle-powered water pump.”

          I hope he didn’t damage their culture in doing so. /sarc

          Liked by 1 person

          • Never read the book nor saw the movie, to be honest, but have heard the term for decades. I have ALWAYS associated the term “ugly American” as referring to the American corporate rapist that has screwed over every country he has gone to “for profit.” Thanks for letting me know there was another meaning at one time, since lost in economic destruction of local economies world wide.

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    • > I often used to say that I have no need for tolerance of those who do not tolerate me and my kind.

      you need to be a bit careful here. The left is claiming that they are justified because they don’t need to tolerate the intolerant.

      The key is that we need to be able to tolerate opinions and speech of all kinds, including the most hateful. It’s actions that we must oppose, not speech. We can oppose opinions, but we need to oppose opinions with speech, not violence.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Here is a recipe of my friend Jenda O:
        Lets’s declare The Day Of Tolerance.
        The next morning, everybody who did not show enough tolerance will be shot.

        Like

  1. I couldn’t agree more Willis and what you’ve said is just plain common sense. I think your cartoon is excellent and unfortunately very accurate. Indeed weakness and liberal stupidity is the real long term suicide bomb.
    Sam Harris has also run foul of these gutless left wing donkeys and his run in with Ben Affleck etc on Bill Maher’s show just proves that you can’t speak your mind and then expect these fools to engage in a sensible argument.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Willis. I’ve been studying Texas history lately and often thought the same about the Comanches who ruled Texas for 300 years. Their warrior culture encouraged them to take children and young women as slaves, which they also sold and bought. The men they simply tortured to death in the most awful ways. One captured slave, Rachel Parker, who saw her father and mother tortured to death at the age of 8, was the mother of Quannah Parker, the last chief of the Comanche. He led them away from this life and into white civilization and they eventually became one of the most successful Indian tribes. Some cultures and religions should not be allowed to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do not care what
    ….male chauvinism pigs
    whine and snivel about.

    I will not wear a burka, naqib, hajab, etc
    and anyone who “religiously believes” that women should
    …..to maintain their “place” in society
    is very low on my list of things to care about.

    and lets not go into the “guys” indoctrinating/brainwashing on FGM
    …..because it is “good for the women to be submissive”
    maybe we should “remove” some “family jewels” in a most obnoxious way.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I consider the day starting well when I learn something new.
    Because I have read your views on Islam, and agree, that is not what I learned today.

    But, and this is minor, I learned the Washington Post uses the line “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Who knew?

    Also, from your first link, Dawkins is quoted as saying:
    … but we don’t do what Trump did and say all Muslims should be shut out of the country.
    At some point The Donald may have said something such as that (in the campaign ?) but when it was presented as a Presidential order, it did not say “all Muslims.”
    I think the wording was “travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries.”
    So, I’ve learned that when reading Dawkins it is a good idea to verify.

    Like

  5. Mark Steyn wrote about this Monday:

    Richard Dawkins has become the latest speaker to be prevented from speaking at Berkeley. Professor Dawkins is a world-famous scientist, whose book The Selfish Gene has just been voted “the most inspiring science book of all time” in a poll commissioned by the Royal Society.

    His science is not the problem. Dawkins is also an atheist.

    That’s not the problem, either – or it wasn’t when he was principally urinating over the Pope (“a leering old villain in a frock”) and the Catholic Church (an “evil corrupt institution” that’s also a “child-raping institution”). All three quotes are from just one Washington Post column: that’s how respectable and mainstream Dawkins was back then in 2010.

    Alas, Dawkins is an equal-opportunity atheist, and feels just as unkindly toward Islam. Hence the announcement from the “liberal” sponsor of his Berkeley talk, KPFA Radio.

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    • Thanks, Bob. I could care less what the “core texts” say as long as there has been a reformation. For example, back in the day and following the “core texts” of the Bible, both Jews and Christians stoned people to death for working on Sunday. Says so right there in Exodus, it’s what you’re supposed to do. Bad core text, no cookies.

      BUT ever since about the time that Jesus said “Let him without sin cast the first stone”, CHRISTIANS AND JEWS GAVE UP STONING PEOPLE TO DEATH. Basically, they stopped practicing that particular abomination.

      But Muslims? They are STILL DOING IT. Today. As we discuss this.

      I don’t give a flying fark what people did 2,000 years ago. That was a savage and barbaric time.

      On the other hand, I care very much what people are doing today.

      And today, because it is the only religion that has NOT had a reformation, Muslims are still stoning women to death in 2017. That is not a religion, that is a sickness.

      So please, spare me your nonsense about how we’re all equal in “tribal cruelty”. We are not equal at all. Islam is NOT just Christianity in funny hats. You truly don’t get it.

      The Koran says Muslims can keep sexual slaves. Mohammed himself did it, and HIS FOLLOWERS ARE PRACTICING IT TODAY ALL AROUND THE PLANET. That is the face of modern Islam.

      Your attempt to equate that modern Islamic savagery with modern Christianity or Judaism is not the solution. Such puerile Pollyanna claims are not even part of the solution.

      Those claims, that Islam is just another religion, are the problem.

      Take a look at the cartoon. One of the guys in it, justifying Islamic savagery, is you.

      Sorry to be so blunt, but the truth is, some cultures are vile, and the culture spelled out in the Koran and followed by modern Muslims is one of the vilest. It is anti-human, anti-modernity, anti-equality, and hideously anti-woman. THAT is what you are cheerleading for by claiming it’s somehow just like other religions.

      w.

      Liked by 2 people

      • A sabra I knew described Islam as the “teenager” among the 0 , 1 , and 2 messiah Abrahamic sects . I find the gradient between Jews generally endogamous exclusivity , Christian evangelizing and Islam’s requiring in some sense consistent .

        While a good deal of Islamic extremism is an attempt to reject Western modernity , It has been greatly exacerbated by the West’s imposition of a segregationist supremacist theocracy on the region by , in particular , Truman , and the nascent global governing UN in the collapse of the British Empire after WWII . ( see http://cosy.com/Liberty/FirstClause.htm . ) Not only have there been permanent refugee camps since the Nakba , but permanently occupied territories zionists even refer to as Judea and Sumeria in their claim , even if genetically northern Euro ashkenazi , that their exclusive as hell g_d gave them , as a tribe , 6000 years ago . And even if you family has actually lived and been buried on the land for generations , if they started believing in a messiah or 2 along they way , they lost their birthright .

        While I lost a great friend in 0911 ( see http://cosy.com/y01/d0911.htm ) , the zionists have slaughtered close to twice as many of their fellow indigenous palestinians in the last decade — largely with USA tax funded 21st century arms . ( See ifamericansknew.org . )

        And that’s not to mention the devastation the US and the West has wreaked upon the multiple countries in region over recent decades as proxies for the zionists .

        So until the West stops giving the zionists a moral pass on and in fact subsidize their destructive segregationist supremacist philosophy , and come to incorporate the fundamental notions of equality implicit in our own First Amendment , and brought much closer to realization in our country a half century ago and even in South Africa a generation ago , radical islam will have an unending flow of new recruits .

        Israel needs a de Klerk .

        Like

        • “Zionists” … Bob, I had some respect for you until that rant.

          The Palestinians teach their children to hate and to kill. Their version of “Sesame Street” teaches children that “Zionists” should be exterminated. They refuse to recognize Israel’s basic right to exist, and their declared aim is to kill every Jew in the Middle East.

          They celebrate people who are suicide murderers of innocent women and children. They name streets after them and pay a stipend to the families of bloody-handed cowards.

          And when the Israelis gave them the Gaza Strip for their own to run as they choose, in response to the Israeli offer they turned Gaza into a rocket launching pad, a center for those who murder children in their cribs and schools, and a charnel house.

          That is a VILE culture, regardless of what you think of “Zionists” … dude, my opinion of you is now unprintable. Please dial back on your parochial anger and bitterness. It’s not doing your reputation any good.

          w.

          Like

          • ‘ “Zionists” … Bob, I had some respect for you until that rant. ‘

            Bingo. ‘zionists’ is just a code-word for ‘Jews.’ Not to mention the conspiracy theory he also espoused. Total garbage.

            Like

        • Bob:

          While the policies of the Israeli government are not, and should not be, above criticism, when someone demands of the Israeli government conduct and policies he would not demand of any other government, especially Israel’s adversaries, it is completely fair to question his motives. And so I question yours!

          You also get the history completely wrong. As many of the great multi-national, multi-cultural, multi-confessional empires of earlier centuries (e.g. Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman) collapsed in WW1 or WW2, decisions had to be made how to split them up when they were no longer viable.

          In the case of the Ottoman Empire, Jews were a longstanding, continuous, and significant population within the empire. This was true even before the Zionist movement — Zionists were a small part of this population. For example, at the end of WW1, the largest population in Baghdad was the Jewish one, larger than either Shiite or Sunni Muslims. To this day, there are more Jews in Israel descended from these “indigenous” populations than from the Ashkenazi.

          So the international community after WW1, through the League of Nations, started the partition of the Ottoman Empire. Now, partitions are messy affairs and often do not go smoothly, but this was far from the worst one. Arab intransigence against any Jewish state put things in limbo until after WW2, when finally the UN authorized the partition, albeit with vastly reduced and indefensible boundaries for the Jewish state. But the internationally authorized Jewish right of settlement in all lands west of the Jordan River was not rescinded (and still has not been).

          The neighboring Arab countries immediately and illegally invaded, but were horribly unsuccessful. For the next 19 years, Israel existed behind somewhat expanded (but still not really defensible) borders. After another defensive war, they expanded these borders a little further.

          These expansions are completely valid under international law as the results of a defensive law. Why do you demand givebacks of Israel and not of anyone else?

          You seem to yearn for the “good old days” when Jews went meekly to their deaths without defending themselves.

          And to blame Islam’s problems on this tiny sliver of land is really arguing that Islam is so pathetic that it cannot tolerate any setback at all. Is that really what you want to assert?

          Like

        • Bob, you reminded of an old Soviet era joke. A Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra performs in New York. The conductor of the New York Philharmonic orchestra invites his Russian counterpart to dinner. The Russian says: There was some very unfortunate publicity about the Soviet Union here. We are supposed to oppress Jews. We don’t let them get a higher education. That’s a total drivel. Take my orchestra, we have 47 Jewish musicians, they do their work just like everybody else, no one discriminates against them in any way. The American replies: Thank you for clearing that point. Unfortunately I can’t give you exact numbers. In my orchestra there are undoubtedly many Jewish musicians, but no one has ever bothered to count them.

          Like

  6. An NG pidgin phrase that I liked for a two man saw was “pushme, pullyou, big pfella him come very fast.”

    To check if my memory was correct, I googled “pushme, pullyou, big pfella him come very fast.”

    Whoooops……led to many sex sites.

    Love your work, Willis.

    Cheers from down-under

    Geoff

    >

    Like

    • New Guinea Pidgin is a bit different from Solomons Pijin, which in turn is a bit different from Bislama. PNG Pidgin has lots of German words, Bislama has lots of French words, and SI Pijin has an all-English derivation.

      My favorite time was when I asked my secretary to locate a document I needed. After searching for a while she said,

      “Boss, me find’m, find’m, find’m … but me no look’m”.

      Best to you and all my Aussie and Kiwi mates, and my friends in the Solomons.

      w.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A lot of what is commonly attributed to racism is actually dislike of, or fear of, some aspect of a culture.
    People ask, rhetorically or not, why should skin color (or some other superficial aspect) make a difference?
    Short answer: it’s not that, it’s something else, and skin color is just an obvious but fallible marker.

    If you want to study history for this, you have to go all the way back, to monkeys or whatever it was we evolved from. Monkeys can be cruel and vicious. We can still be cruel and vicious, but at least some cultures have evolved to more or less control this human nature.

    Like

  8. Richard Dawkins:
    “It’s tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it’s a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they’re not.”
    Well when tempted I also would say all religions are bad.
    But atheism is a religion.
    And I would say, religion is inescapable.
    Now if you say all established religion is bad, again yes there are bad. But also I would say atheism is also an established religion.
    Though established religions might to some extent, might not be inescapable.
    [Though I am not saying it’s worth the effort or if by chance one were not entangled
    in any of them, this would be a good thing.
    Or put it in different way, the US is a Christian Nation or has Judaeo-christian values, and
    one would need to be quite isolated from society to not be influenced in what christian established religion has done and is doing which you will assimilate and incorporated as your ideas and values.]
    Anyhow, all religions are bad.
    Willis Eschenbach:
    SOME CULTURES ARE VILE.
    I would say:
    All cultures are vile.

    Though some cultures have fair number of pretty good ideas.
    Equality under the law is a good idea.
    Governments trying to create Equality is a bad idea.
    Everyone is equal is bad idea.
    Ruled by law- good idea.
    Rules to govern people- bad idea.
    More rules then anyone could possibly follow- very bad idea/excessively vile.
    Etc.

    Islam is has a lot problems. And like all religions it’s didn’t start out as being less problematic, but
    needs to be noted that recently it’s got a lot worst.
    It needs some sort of reformation- but hard to see this as being a simple or bloodless process. It would need several miracles not to be a completely nasty, hideous, costly, and awful ordeal.
    .

    Like

  9. Willis, decades ago now, I was collecting a degree in Anthropology. Anthropologists are notorious for be ing “cultural relativists” which simply goes along with your T-shirt slogan. But by the time I collected my degree in Anthropology (well I was an archaeologist, but in the US that’s often the same thing) one of my professors had begun to discuss with certain of us the concepts of “pathological” cultures and cultural pathologies. One of the troubles this planet is suffering through is the “its their culture” response to the monstrous. I don’t think personally that DAESH is any more monstrous than many western “Christian” groups would like to be. There were groups – collectively “Dominionists” – active in the ’80s and ’90s that advocated the “reintroduction” of stoning as a punishment for various social infractions. Beheading is merciful in contrast, but at present they are still just ‘wannabees.’ I hope it stays that way. I am really happy to see you have your own blog. Your analysis and yarning is some of the very best on WUWT.

    Like

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