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Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: Erich - as usual reasonable and balanced

Submitted by Erich W (United States), Dec 20, 2010 at 01:20

National Review Online carries an interview program called Uncommon Knowledge. Recently an author, a former Economist journalist, was interviewed. His new book is called Rational Optimism. The interview was along the line of your own cautious optimism. There is some value to this outlook. His thesis is that in spite of the terrible deeds of humankind in the history of the last several centuries, something called progress actually does exist, so that the whole human race is gradually wealthier, healthier and gentler. He seeks to prove the existence of this progress. I am under the general impression that "the Muslim world", in spite of all the Jihadism, is experiencing far more conversions away from Islam to Christ, far more explicit aetheism and other defections and dilutions than it ever has before in its history. "Apostates" are being killed far less, in percentage to their numbers, than in earlier eras. Honor killings are being exposed more than they were. It may be that Islam is expanding and proselytizing more than ever, but it is progressively morphing at the same time. If non-Islamic societies exercise some vigilance and firmness against Jihadists in their midst and on their borders, the waves may break and some calm may come. The old monolythic absolutism of Islam does not exist any more. The the mujahadeen have the frustrated anger of those who cannot dominate.

As for Turkey, certainly it is a mistake for Western countries to push Turkey away until all hope of compatible working relationships is gone. It is also a mistake for them to ignore Turkey's lunges toward new alllies who cannot help them develop according to their own aspirations. The people of Turkey aspire toward European levels of civil rights, freedom and prosperity. They want their Republic to really work. They don't want a Russian life, or an Iranian life, or a Syrian life. So Western allies should hold the Turkish State accountable to the obvious aspirations of the people. I will stick to my guns though on Turkish independence. I think the EU is not a good option for Turkey, and there is no need for Turkey to feel any rejection or self-pity. The EU is not sufficiently democratic for optimum human wellbeing. It is a centralizing Statist burocratic straight-jacket. The Euro zone would not give Turkey sufficient fiscal flexibility for their very different market situation. The EU also does not need another big wave of Turkish immigration until the guest workers' grand children are integrated into their host cultures. Immigration takes three generations, even if the host country is wise in their policies. It is easy to flood the host society with too many problems at once. Multiculturalism and Diversity work well in an empire, but in democracies we need to have enough agreement with each other to govern ourselves together. Our cultural and religious differences need to be low profile, not high profile, or else self-government together may fall to pieces--literally.


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