For Joe Dees

From: Van oost Kenneth (
Date: Thu 06 Mar 2003 - 14:54:35 GMT

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    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for posting the article by Mark Steyn.

    A little bit one- sided for my taste, but I suppose that was the writers intention !? The description of the behavior of the Muslims is only an one- way coded version of a far more greater debate.

    But yes, indeed, those folks seem to have problems with the notion of multiculturalism, and like A. Appiach writes, " why should I who resist,
    [ here tranferred to the Muslim-commity ( my doing)] the white ( Western) norms, the average American conventions, the racism ( and perhaps materialism and individualism also) of the ' white ' society/ culture, search for acknowledgement by those white folks !? "
    ( Multiculturalism/ Charles Taylor)

    The problem, like I see it, is not, although they connect it to it, of politics and ideology, but about people and more specific of how they look at themselves, how they relate to what makes up their identity and how they can be authentic. In our society, identity and the ways by which we can be authentic are due to the ways we can develop our Self. The Self we became is not only made by dialogue ( like Taylor indi- cates) but is also formed by ideas and practices hand over by the society and culture of which I am part.

    What Muslims ( and others) impute us is that within our communities there is never a fundamental bias where upon they can built their own identity and can be authentic in the process of doing so. But how can that be if none of our conventions is part of the set of building blocks needed for their identity to take shape !? How on earth can they make choises if they do not stipulate the conditions to make a choise from !?

    I understand perfectly that 1_ some fundamentalists use this to get more than a foot between our doors, and 2_ that you see this as a lack of respect for our values and wishes, and that thus can be the reason why they attack ( or will attack) us, but this is a far more greater problem than the both of us can comprehend. Don 't get me wrong, I do see that within both parties forces of historical/ religious and philosophical origin are at work, but in both cases those ideas work individualistic thru'. Collective arguments are just equal as those presented by the individuals, but the difference lays within what is seen as " indi- vidualistic" and what it means to be " collective ".

    In my mind two things must we remerber, 1_ that IMO, the fundamentalists are just a phase we must get through, a deadly one I am sure, but nevertheless one of history, one of education too. As long politics and religion are NOT two seperate identities, the social reproduction of education will result in collective ( religiously) goals_ one is indeed fun- damentalism. Of course, politics has still more than one piece of the pie in how a society/ community and culture is run and how kids learn about these things, but where I see that the
    ' religious ' element is somewhat on the side in our society
    ( although I am not so damn sure about it) I see more of the stuff in the Muslim- community. Religion in part of the way they live and is thus a part of how they form their identity and is thus part of how they can/ will be authentic.

    2_ There is IMO a major difference in ' memetic reproduction '_ Freedom, democracy and equality are those blocks which are part of our identity- forming process, and those are co- herent with the norms we handle within our society. So would not only gender be of importance, but also na- tionality and ethnic origin. The problem however is that some ' minorities ' are treated as such ( blacks, homo- sexuals, katholics, Muslims, women,...) and because part of our identity is getting formed by dialogue those people feel miscontent,... they lack a part of the acknow- ledgement of their identity. The other half is the part they are born with ( Muslim- sided) but this can 't compete the subject- directed individualistic bias of our society if WE all stand blind on the corner.

    We need to talk !



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