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Sunday, February 10, 2013

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the mere suggestion that these outbursts of violence and anger are caused by seemingly obvious triggers like Koran-burning or crappy-film-trailer-distributing provokes scorn from many on the left

True. I myself am guilty of this; though on the whole, the bias in America is certainly the other way -- Muslim rage is supposed to be entirely due to their fanatical faith and inherent irrationality, and not at all due to their political subjugation.

Agreed, and that's one of the reasons why there's resistance to admitting that in cases like this the anger really is irrational: because doing so feels like opening a door to the many people out there who want to use the irrational anger of raving fundamentalists to dismiss the genuine grievances of the entire populations of Muslim countries who have a very rational desire not to be bombed and occupied. But it's a mistake to meet black and white thinking with black and white thinking.

Indeed. As usual, Orwell thought it out also:

Whenever A and B are in opposition to one another, anyone who attacks or criticises A is accused of aiding and abetting B. And it is often true, objectively and on a short-term analysis, that he is making things easier for B.

... The trouble is that if you lie to people, their reaction is all the more violent when the truth leaks out, as it is apt to do in the end.

... The whole argument that one mustn’t speak plainly because it “plays into the hands of” this or that sinister influence is dishonest, in the sense that people only use it when it suits them. ... Beneath this argument there always lies the intention to do propaganda for some single sectional interest, and to browbeat critics into silence by telling them that they are “objectively” reactionary. It is a tempting manœuvre, and I have used it myself more than once, but it is dishonest. I think one is less likely to use it if one remembers that the advantages of a lie are always short-lived. So often it seems a positive duty to suppress or colour the facts! And yet genuine progress can only happen through increasing enlightenment, which means the continuous destruction of myths.

Tribune, 23 November 1945

Beautiful; thanks for the quote and link. It's always remarkable to me how he not only saw it all so plain but said it so well.

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