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Islamic Reformation and institutional libertarianism are two unrelated (or are they?) themes that I am going to cram into one brief post especially since our gracious host is not holding up his end here, heh. (Hint hint.) Of course, I’m not either, but that’s OK because I don’t own the blog.

Firstly, Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo puts into words something that I’ve felt for a long time. In the endless, boring, stupid, non sequitur arguments about whether Islam is fit for the demands of modernity (answer: depends on what you mean by “Islam”, “fit”, “demands”, and “modernity”, all of which have slippery meanings in this discussion), one particularly annoying repetitive theme is that Islam needs some kind of Protestant Reformation. Educated people should at that point put on their Inigo Montoya costume and say, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” To wish a Protestant Reformation on someone is to wish decades of death and genocide on them. And as Marshall quite correctly points out, the geopolitical situation of the Muslim world, particularly the vastly greater internal involvement of foreign vested interests, makes that form of political development, even in the intended intellectual sense, likely impossible. By mostly the free choice of developed Western countries, practically every major conflict, debate, political discussion about the role of religion stands substantially in relation to the influence of the West.

Secondly, I think libertarian readers have found that I am sometimes unkind to libertarianism. Unfortunately, I’m going to reinforce this impression by linking to Mark Ames’ discussion of the role of “user-pay” policing and libertarian institutions in creating the kind of situation that is continuing to bubble in Ferguson and the St. Louis area. Now some libertarians might claim that that’s not what they meant, but the institutions that claim to represent libertarianism and are its only meaningful source of influence on economic/social policy very much did intend to disconnect as many services as possible from public provision. At heart, I sympathise with the desire of many libertarians for a society in which no hierarchically coercive relations need exist, and maybe we can design such a civilization if we begin from the ground up (…), but the truth is that nontrivial quantities of coercive state planning are currently required to create a society that behaves at any approximation as something fair.

(h/t for both links to Naked Capitalism)

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This page contains a single entry by Mandos published on September 26, 2014 10:06 AM.

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