Our troubling times

I came across this article on Instapundit. It’s a Reuters article about Italian authorities criminally charging an author for defaming Islam. For all practical purposes she would be tried for blasphemy. She’s rather old and living in the US and I doubt she’ll be extradited. Glenn ends with this quote

Tom Wolfe once said that Fascism is forever descending on the United States, but that somehow it always lands on Europe. Perhaps the same is true with theocracy?

Now mind you, she is being charged in Italy, not the US. If the Italians want to dig their own grave, so be it.

The cause (I think) is based upon vastly different underlying concepts; namely the West has moved the concepts of state, society and religion (and, for the properly educated, the economy) so far apart that Westerners’ really aren’t on the same page as those raised or educated in the Middle East or in the Middle Eastern way. What is a minor matter to us is a much larger thing to them and vice versa. Political Correctness and a permanent indignation industry don’t help either.

I do think it’s going to end badly. The cumulative effect of legal and other victories on behalf of Muslim sensibilities will effectively dehumanize Muslims in the eyes of the West and move them further out of the mainstream. By expending large amounts of effort on what seem to be trivial matters (based on the conceptual differences listed above), and maintaining group unity (which also seems to be happening) it will have the de facto effect of separating Muslims from the rest of society and giving them a high-maintenance reputation. Put in more mathematical terms it will raise the costs of interaction. The long run effect of all this is that the Western world treats Muslims as exotic pets and they never assimilate.

I wonder if there are any Ricardian Theories of cultural conflict? If not, this is the genesis of one I suppose.

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