Friday, July 15, 2005

Which lives matter?   posted by Razib @ 7/15/2005 09:01:00 PM

In a follow up of my earlier post:

"We know that the killing of innocents is forbidden," Dr. Waheed said. "But we don't see two classes of blood; the blood of Iraqis is just as important to us as English blood."
(source: Anger Burns on the Fringe of Britain's Muslims)

I have serious problems with how State Confucianism played itself out over the 2,000 years of its dominance as the central idea of the Chinese nation-empire, but, its convinction that there are grades of loyalty and fidelity (rejecting Moism), starting with family and extending out toward the state, and its rejection of abstract legalistic principle in favor of humanistic adjudication (denying Legalism), resulted in a remarkably robust system. Similarly, the modern nation-state rests on the conviction that individuals within a circumscribed geographical space are bound together to a greater extent than those outside the "magic circle" of citizenship (by blood, history, culture, conviction, war, etc.). This is not absolute, and loyalty to the nation-state coexists with loyalty to family and god(s) as well as a basic level of fellow feeling with the rest of humanity. The grades of loyalty are always applicable in the context of those outside the magic circle of citizenship, in the United States conservative Christians have been aggressive in bringing to light the persecutions of their coreligionists in Sudan and China, while secular liberals have focused on the repression in Tibet.

Nevertheless, I do think there are issues that need to be addressed with Muslims in particular. In the short-term there is the flair up of violence, but in the long term, there is the issue that there are 1 billion Muslims, scattered across dozens of countries. If Indian Americans, or Chinese Americans, or Jewish Americans do have "dual loyalties," the range of foreign policy questions where this is relevant is rather constrained because there are only two China's (PRC and ROC) and one India or Israel. On the other hand, the geography of the Dar-al-Islam is rather expansive and the number of nation-states with conflicts, potential conflicts and international grievances numerous. Regardless of whether there are fundamental issues with how Muslim minorities relate to the non-Muslim majority (and implicitly, the non-Muslim nation-state), there is the structural issue of the geopolitics of the Muslim world which are simply inescapable. Of course, as one can see with Christians, this structural issue can be obviated....

Addendum: I am not going address the implicit hypocrisy of the individual whose quotation I excised, as I doubt he sheds tears or spends much time thinking of the travails of Nigerian Christians in Kano, Roman Catholics in Vietnam, Buddhists in Tibet.