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September 30, 2006

Bjorn Staerk Responds

...to my post below. Here's his response (and I apologize for the multiple boxes of text--I haven't figured out how to get multiple paragraphs into one box):

First, I should point out that whatever you have in mind when you picture a European intellectual to yourself, I'm not it. At least I think they would be offended by the comparison. I belong to no camp, and I'm unimpressed by all those people who have implied that since I'm obviously not on "their" side, I must be on the other.
Second, you say you can't control your fear. Maybe not, or at least there's a limit to it. But you can control how you react to that fear. You can train yourself not to listen to it. The reason I mentioned fear of flying one place is that I'm moderately afraid to fly myself. I used to think that if perhaps I could do it often enough, then the fear would go away. It hasn't happened yet. What has happened instead is that I've learned ways to deal with my fear. I've learned to do something that I really don't enjoy. I suspect it's like that with all fears. The fear itself may largely be beyond our control, but nobody can take away your choice - only yourself, by telling yourself you have none.
"Note the contradiction here: Your fear of the suspicious Arabs in the row in front of you is irrational, and yet it's brave to ignore it. But in order to do something brave, don't you have to be putting yourself at risk? Because if that's the case, than your fear can't be irrational. So which is it?"
Illusion and reality. The threat is mostly illusory, there is virtually no chance that you will find yourself on a plane with terrorists. But the illusion is real to you, and creates a very real fear. Ignoring that fear requires a modest amount of bravery - even though the fear is irrational.
Andrea Harris: "I'm surprised. Bjorn Staerk used to be all for fighting terrorists. However, he's been known to do parodies of deep-dyed moonbats on occasion. Are you so sure this isn't one of those parodies? True, these days it's hard to tell."
Hey, Andrea, it's been a while. This is no parody. A lot of people find it difficult to read it on its own terms, though. They seem to think one must either be on one side or the other. This post here isn't the worst I've seen, (despite that bizarre "typical European intellectual"-thing) - I've been flamed at Dhimmi Watch all day for being coward and a disgrace to the proud viking nation or whatever. The comments I've written there clarify some of the things that might be unclear.
Anyway, I'm all for fighting terrorists. I said so in the piece. But do you have a method of eliminating terrorism alltogether? If not, we need a personal approach to living with it, in addition to any political and military approaches. I didn't feel it necessary to write much about those other approaches here, I figure my readers should be able to read a post on how to live with terrorism, without being assured in every paragraph that I also intend us to fight it, like they were children with an attention deficit problem. Posted by Bjørn Stærk at September 30, 2006 01:38 PM

He also responds to Dhimmi Watch's criticism here.

My response after the jump.

Staerk offers up what is, essentially, the same complaint I anticipated in my post and addressed. As I said, I'm all for realizing there's a threat and learning to deal with it, but to describe the threat as "illusion" is simply false. It's there and it's real, even if your chances of being affected by it are low, and making a fetish out of having an open society is only going to increase those chances.

His argument that if everybody reported suspicious-looking Muslims to the authorities then it would lead to Muslims not being able to fly isn't convincing: It assumes that a) a complaint alone is enough to have someone kicked off a plane, and b) every Middle Eastern-looking person is going to be considered suspicious. Neither is true.

Also, he suggests I have an "attention deficit disorder", which is ironic because I'm still fucking fixated on this:

it is more important to you to preserve an open and tolerant society than to survive this trip

Do you really believe that, Bjorn? If someone held a gun to your head, and said that you could live by simply agreeing to profile a few Arabs at the airport, would you really take the bullet instead? What if it was pointed at someone you love?

I don't buy it. The argument stands.

digg this
posted by AndrewR at 03:20 PM

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