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They Hate Us for Our Freedoms

January 30, 2010 - 6:58pm
Nick Coons by Nick Coons

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As a libertarian, I'm sure you've had the conversation with someone who claims that terrorists attack the US because they hate us for our freedoms. When this is analyzed, it's fairly clear that someone can only reach that conclusion through propaganda. So let's analyze it.



The first piece of evidence is that the Koran tells them to kill non-believers and take over the world. The Christian Bible includes passages such as "12 They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. 13 All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman." 2 Chronicles 15:12-13, and the Koran includes very similar passages. So someone claiming that Muslims are prone to terrorism because the Koran tells them to kill non-believers are put into a position of having to explain why Christians aren't prone to terrorism even though the Bible tells them to kill non-believers as well.

Now, if it's true that Muslims engage in terrorist activities because of our freedoms, or because they don't like our lifestyles, then we would expect them to attack other countries with those same attributes just as much. In fact, because of vicinity, we might expect that they'd attack similar countries even more heavily just because it would be easier for them to inflict more damage. Which would mean that we'd see them attacking Switzerland. But we don't. Switzerland doesn't have Islamic suicide bombers or people flying planes into buildings.

Those are the two simple ones. The third one is far less obvious. In fact, some people in the Muslim world will say that they hate Americans, they hate various things about us, like the clothes that women wear here, or what we have on TV. And it may be very true that they hate those things, but those things don't make them strap bombs to themselves. I mean, think about it, what would it take for you to blow yourself up? Would disliking what they put on TV do it? Even if it was something you were very opposed to? Probably not.

I run an IT sales and service company, and while most of our clients are very satisfied with what we provide, we are human and we do make the occasional mistake. Because people have a generally inadequate understanding of technology, some of these mistakes are simply ones of communication. For instance, if someone buys a computer and didn't ask for a specific program, probably because they didn't know to ask, they might be upset when they get the computer home and find out that the program doesn't exist. After the fact, of course, this is all explained to them. And then let's say the speakers weren't what they were expecting. And we explain this again, that the speakers it came with were the ones in the brochure, and that other speakers would cost more. So everything is good up to this point, the customer is happy after the miscommunications have been resolved.

But let's assume that this person is really unlucky, and when transferring data from his old computer to his new one, we lost some critical files. And this would absolutely be our fault. Now when this person starts complaining (and justly) about our service, he's going to start itemizing everything bad that happened, whether it was our fault or not. He'll say that we lost his data, that he didn't get the software that should have come with his computer, that we gave him the wrong speakers. Everything that happened is going to come out, because of the one thing that was our fault.

So when the US military, along with the militaries of various other countries, occupy Middle Eastern territories, it all comes out. We hate you because your TV is scum, because your women don't cover up, because you're corrupting our culture, because your governments impose on us. But it's really only that last one that's the problem, like US military bases on their holy lands, sanctions, supporting dictators like Saddam or the Shah of Iran, and many other actions by the US and other governments that are completely hypocritical. And when you know what the US government does in the Middle East, and how long it's been doing it, this actually makes sense. How would you react if a foreign country came in with their military might, started screwing with our government. We'd point out everything we hated about them, even if some of those things wouldn't justify a call to action. And when this went on for decades, we'd likely resort to violent tactics after all other options have failed.

Not only does this make sense logically and according to what we know about human nature, but it also fits with the analysis of those that are experts on the subject. Michael Sheuer, the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit had this to say, "In the long run, we're not safer because we're still operating on the assumption that we're hated because of our freedoms, when in fact we're hated because of our actions in the Islamic world. There's our military presence in Islamic countries, the perception that we control the Muslim world's oil production, our support for Israel and for countries that oppress Muslims such as China, Russia, and India, and our own support for Arab tyrannies. ... Publicly promoting democracy while supporting tyranny may be the most damaging thing we do."

So hopefully that helps clear that up.



Related Content:

Are Terrorist Organizations Religiously Fueled? - Nick Coons
Violence Against Homosexuals Included in Hate Crime Legislation - Nick Coons


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