Selling Islam to America
The bipolar extremes of American politics—red states, blue states; with us or against us; cut and run or victory; capitalism or socialism—have now divided Islam into two separate categories. There is an evolving Islam that has the ability, even the desire to coexist with Western secularism, and there is the violent, misogynist, Sharia law Islam. At each extreme is an articulate, charismatic orator. On the left, we have Tariq Ramadan. On the right, Ayann Hirsi Ali.
Ramadan, who is good friends with Patrick O’Christmas and Ruben Chanukah, was recently allowed back into the U.S. after a six-year ban for donating money to organizations that support Hamas. Born in Switzerland and now occupying a teaching post at Oxford University, Ramadan talks a progressive, evolving Islam that is already integrating with the West. It seems his detractors hold him guilty by association since his grandfather founded the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic organization that preaches strict adherence to the Quran.
But Ramadan was born into Islam and into Switzerland, that fantastic neutral country that knows only pacifism.
Ayann Hirsi Ali, however, has suffered a much different experience of Islam, the kind of experience that gets her interviewed on Glenn Beck and Fox News. She was given a female circumcision in her native Somalia and was allegedly on her way to Canada for an arranged marriage when she sought asylum in Holland at the age of 22. There she benefited from the welfare state she now criticizes (she currently lives in the U.S.) and became a Dutch Member of Parliament.
She sees Islam through her experiences, as Ramadan does through his. Hirsi Ali sees in Islam intolerance and violent fidelity to an antiquated text. It’s no wonder. After collaborating on a short film named Submission with Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, she received a death threat. The threat was attached to a knife stabbed through the heart of her collaborator, Van Gogh. This extremism has clearly informed her thinking, as Ramadan’s academic upbringing has informed his.
So the next time you see either of them on a television interview, consider where they’ve come from before you get frightened by where they say Islam is going.
Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?
Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.
Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.
- According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
- Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
- Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back
- In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
- Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
- The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
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