matedog wrote:Do extreme fundamentalists give a shit what the moderates within their sect or faith believe? I think moderate condemnation would really do much. I didn't do a damn thing with the Mormons (the most readily available comparison I could conjure).
No, they don't. The rules are the same as fundie Christian nutjobs vs. the whole spectrum of other Christians. Insufficient intensity of belief in precisely and exactly what one extreme fringe believes makes the whole of everyone else enemies of [insert broad-based religion here] that they claim to be the only 'true' stewards of. The majority of the hate inflicted by Christians in the U.S. comes against other Christians in the U.S., and the majority of the dispute on religious interpretation comes against other Christians. Catholics and Mormons are heretics to Baptists. Rick Santorum-ish narrow-interpretation Catholics are heretics to other Catholics. Polygamist extremists within Mormonism are heretics vs. mainline Mormons. And separate Pentacostal megachurches whose glass edifices stare right across each other on I-35 outside of Dallas probably hate each other more than anyone else because of the sheer splitting-hairsness of their differences. The differences are so slight that the slightest differences generate the most anger, and thus left to their own devices the "religious right" expends all its energy destroying itself as its default
This is the entire basis of sectarian violence throughout human history: expend the most energy splitting the tiniest of hairs. Nihilism uncontrolled leads leads to entropy...fracturing of ever-smaller segments. This is why sectarian violence is always the end state when there's a large-scale power vacuum over a region. Human history is very consistent about that. It has absolutely nothing to do with which given mainline religion it is. ALL of them exhibit this behavior.
Whatever binding energy sustains a bloc identity has to inhibit these matter-antimatter collisions of each sect's nihilism that are the natural
condition. Take the energy out of those natural matter-antimatter collisions by redirecting the anger with layers of abstraction...a political coalition or nationalist coalition. The abstraction usually has jack shit to do with the actual beliefs and actual grievances generating the anger...but just redirects and focuses it on a different enemy. It's basic control and mastery of fire...humans perfected that in caves 200,000 years ago, then learned to apply it sociologically. And thus you have these coalitions of the religious aggrieved doing the bidding of some elite(s) who found the right layer of abstraction to shiv in there to redirect that anger otherwise expended on each other towards the elites' goals.
-- This is the modern 'religious right' in U.S. politics. They didn't become hand-in-glove the Republican Party until some savvy operators started manipulating a bunch of powerful...but very much localized...pockets of influence to start pooling their resources nationally instead of taking it out on each other. It takes extreme mental gymnastics to shiv enough abstraction in there to unite such a coalition, but it happened. The modern incarnation of it that started in the 70's and 80's came together around an 'abstraction' of abortion and sexual politics not shared in the same intensity by any two sects...but became a cause of them all by having fractured grievances collected and re-focused on a couple issues with consequential electoral politics. And now those abstractions have become layered on so thick that the elites controlling the fire have pretty much made tax cuts for the wealthy a "religious" consensus without anyone noticing the absurdity of that argument within their own individualized dogma. It's happened before in this country...see the consolidation of religious grievances behind slavery and prohibition and how much authoritarianism got perverted out of those coalitions. It'll happen many times again in this country even after the current incarnation loses control of the fire and re-fractures. It's just fire control and entropy.
-- This is Middle East terrorism. What was al Quaeda before the mid-1990's? A bunch of Saudi trust fund babies killing other Saudis with 0.01% different beliefs. With a matching 0.01% difference in ex-Soviet shoulder-fired missiles puchased on daddy's credit card vs. ex-Soviet shoulder-fired missiles smuggled by drug mules on the other side(s). They were such a pain in the ass and so infuriated the local rabble wherever they set up camp that they got thrown out of like 3 countries before
anyone in the West knew their name. How the hell did they become an infinitely-replenishing label for worldwide jihad when the 'organization' itself was just a singular street gang figuratively outfitted in Abercrombie and Polo? And how did they do it as Sunnis who were the blood enemies of all the Shiites in the countries they ultimately did their most fucking around with? The same way they all do...fire-taming coalitions of the aggrieved. This time around the U.S. occupation after the Gulf War. Does it matter that Sunnis and Shiites blow each other up about a million percent more often than every chant of "Death to America!" by this coalition of the aggrieved, and every waking hour of the day they're more terrified of each other than any foreign power? No. Because "Death to America" is the only thing the rest of the world hears.
-- This is ISIS/ISIL. Who the fuck are they..."restorers of the Caliphate?" FFS...nobody in their right mind wants a new Caliphate any more than anyone in their right mind asks for "a return to good 'ol direct monarchy without all that ceremonial bullshit". Caliphates either slaughtered and enslaved a shitload of people to restore their power, or took power from the exact opposite angle by going "live and let live" on any religious practice (incl. Christianity, Judiasm, etc.) for purposes of administrative wonkiness. And again...Shia vs. Sunni. Sunnis like a state-based solution with heads-of-state...Shiites like theirs divinely appointed from whoever gets to claim birthright straight from Muhammad. So a bunch of Sunni caliph nihilists are up for invading primarily Shiite territory to impose their world order? Mmm'kay, that's going to go over real well. How did they control the fire well enough to get their (generally overstated) numbers? By making it all about the puppet dictatorships in Syria and the de facto one barely holding on in Iraq. And...oh yeah...both Assad and al-Maliki (and his successor) are Sunnis too. But "insufficiently" nihilist Sunnis in the way that Sunni ISIL are nihilist Sunnis. But this all gets framed in military terms, and "We're gonna free the living shit out of you!" rhetoric vs. two states swimming in military surplus from 30 years of various Western conquerors and shifting Western alliances.
So...yeah, clearly they're all alike and the centrist middle just isn't doing enough to make crazy people not-crazy. Why can't they do more? Is it perhaps because they've got their hands full trying to keep the crazy people on their own street from killing or imprisoning them? Or, in more 'civilized' lands...legislating them out-of-existence?
Fucking hell...is this what the 4 people who still watch CNN to always get "both sides of the issue" still really think about how the world works?