Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Numbers game

A new Pew poll indicates that 78% of U.S. Muslims think suicide attacks against civilians are never justified, while 13% think they are "sometimes" or "rarely" justified. Some conservatives have found these numbers cause for concern. Blogger Glenn Greenwald says that sizeable polling numbers can be retrieved for almost anything, and that this 13% means nothing.

I disagree. Only 15% of Americans strongly approve of the job President Bush is doing, but no one seems to be able to stop him or them.


Blogger Robot said...

I've read this post a couple of times, and perhaps by dint of my own stupidity, just don't understand what you're saying there in that last sentence. Can you rephrase?

9:36 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

I think that what Scantron is trying to say here is that... uh, well Scantron, would you like to take it from here?

11:20 AM  
Blogger Scantron said...

It's a joke. I agree with Greenwald. I just wanted to point out cheekily what a "radical minority" can do.

I should post more cryptically more often.

12:31 PM  
Blogger curry king said...

From that poll:

The survey shows that 47% of Muslims consider themselves Muslim first and Americans second.

From another Pew poll:

Among white evangelicals, 62% say they identify themselves first as Christians.

Of course, there is no need to mention the Christian poll in the news or even on any major blog.

7:50 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

Trick question, Curry: "Christianity" and "America" are in fact synonymous terms.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

Ok, to get past the "I can't believe those right-wing bloggers!" and "Wow, the American media is biased against the poor muslims!" jerk-off session, I believe the report was actually good news. American Muslims are happier and more integrated than those in other countries. Let's celebrate the integrative power of our capitalistic, pluralistic society and quit bitching about people that no one here really gives a shit about.

9:39 AM  
Blogger The Sheriff said...

I half agree with Austin, but I don't know if it's anything we need to celebrate. That's just what it does. That would be tantamount to celebrating electricity's ability to make light bulbs work. I mean I suppose I just don't care about people's self identifications either way.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

Well, you should. I think it's a pretty safe assumption that people who identify with their country more are those who are allowed by others to identify with their country, i.e., those who are accepted in their community. I grew up with Muslim neighbors here and saw them treated very well by their community, which I believe allowed them to accept and identify with their community much more than they otherwise would have.
In contrast, the muslim immigrants I studied German with in Germany felt totally rejected by their community. They made serious efforts to integrate and form relationships with native Germans, who almost always rejected these efforts. A symptom of that rejection is their lack of identification with their new home country, which fuels discontent and further aggression on both sides.
I don't really care about people's self-identification in its own right, but it is obvious that it is a strong indicator of social cohesion and the happiness of immigrants.

11:06 AM  
Blogger Robot said...

Why does it not mean to not care about how people identify themselves? Is this not one of the central questions of our time?

5:38 PM  
Blogger The Sheriff said...

Austin- but if you posit the problems of self identification as a symptom caused by prior frustrations at real integration and the prior disidenfication by the "native" community, which it seems like you're doing, then the problem lies within the exclusionary and nativist forces which prevent some sort of loosely named "integration". Self-identification is perhaps then a marker or indicator of those exclusionary and native forces, but seemingly meaningless in itself. No?

Robot, I don't necessarily see self identification, as I might have tried to hint at above, as a real question--It surely has a great deal of precedence and much importance gets placed on it, but I think that it only arises as a question/problem due to our fundamental inability to address notions of community, citizenship and more importantly, civility--as the common recognition of others as potential/actual political and social subjects.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Robot said...

Regardless of how austin may have phrased it, I can't see how it's possible to argue that identity is something other than a combination of the external (how others see you, how you "internalize the gaze"), and the internal (should I be religious? should I be Dutch? should I hang with the goths or the jocks? etc.). Ultimately, it seems to me that these kinds of decisions play themselves out in consequential ways for society. I would agree that identity has become a "problem" because of a certain lack of general social qualities, but I think it would take the most extreme of utopian schemes to imagine a world where identity doesn't somehow matter. "Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

4:43 PM  

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