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Sunday, February 12, 2006

CARTOON VIOLENCE

The now-notorious cartoon Mohammed-caricatures were published LAST NOVEMBER 2005 in the Copenhage Jyllands-Posten. In December of that year, meeting in Mecca, a number of Muslim-state officials (including Irans' Amahdinejad) and clerics met and DECIDED TO EXPLOIT the cartoons to provoke popular protest. This cynical manipulation is like both the now-five-year-long Bush administration and Republican exploitation of the 2001 terrorist attacks and the vilification of Jews by Hitler and the Nazis. Part of the aim is to re-direct anger--felt by the peoples of all the corrupt or tyrannical Muslim states--toward external "enemies." This is always the practice of manipulative and unjust regimes. And it always works, because humans have evolved preferences for group-membership and tendencies toward solidarity in the presence of threats to the group. All that's necessary to trigger these responses is to identify an "enemy" to serve as the focus for popular resentment. As Nietzsche pointed out, this focus has the added benefit of permitting each of us to be members of the "good" by doing nothing at all, except being against the "evil." Remember the line about this in the first Bush inaugural. And since the enemy is evil, anything at all is justified. Hence the "prisoner abuse" and torture inflicted upon so many "detainees". So, even if this is another one of those historical phases, it won't be the last one...jb