Wise words from Theodore Dalrymple...
Nice to see Theodore Dalrymple in the Toronto Globe and Mail today - he's one of my favorite conservative commentators. I don't have a link to his article, but here's a couple of cogent paragraphs:
Many young muslims reject communal self-examination in favour of conspiracy theories and the exaggeration of supposed grievance, for of course the only defect of Muslim society that believers permit themselves to admit is unjust powerlessness vis-a-vis the unbelievers. The pivotal role of the suppression of women in reinforcing Muslim stagnation is a taboo subject. But if you discourage half of your population from seeking education or a career, as occurs in some Muslim populations, it is hardly surprising in a modern economy that educational and economic levels are, in the aggregate, low.
Muslim journalists repeatedly write in British newspapers that Muslim anger must be understood and presumable assuaged or appeased: as if Descartes had written, "I'm angry, therefore I'm right." But rage is not its own justification, and the rage of young men is frequently misplaced. They project outwards what they feel inwards; and, if they have sufficient intellectual sophistication to do so, they give their petty discontents -- and the discontents of the would-be bombers are petty -- a vast significance. Education gives them the mental dexterity conceptually to transmute concrete evil into abstract good.
When un-self-critical and self-pitying anger meets ideology, the result is often murderous. The compass of the evil done by the uneducated angry is usually small by comparison with that done by the educated (or at least, the technically-trained) angry. The worst the uneducated can manage is a mob and a riot. It takes education, or training, in close alliance with resentment, to put evil more extensively into practice.
As to whether Islam is intrinsically or only contingently propitious to resentment, I leave it to others to decide. But there is no stopping education and training.