Sunday, February 01, 2009


In this post I discussed in detail some of the key issues inherent in all shame cultures, and Islamic cultures in particular. Distorting the truth is the only way that individuals in these kind of cultures can avoid shame and maintain honor. Thus they resort to secrecy, deception, distortion and outright lying as legitimate strategies for protecting and augmenting their honor.

Take this news article from last year as an example. The Iranian Secretary of 'Human Rights' (an oxymoron if there ever was one) Mohammad-Javad Larijani stated without any apparent irony that, " the US claims it has launched campaign against terrorism but the reality is that the country itself is the root cause of terrorism worldwide."

By the same sort of 'logic' we ought to conclude that Al Qaeda and Hamas must be the root causes of Freedom and Democracy.

If you understand that safeguarding honor, avoiding shame, and protecting the image of Islam are absolute imperatives for the these countries, then you will understand why the Islamic world is prone to falling back on the most primitive and infantile of psychological defenses--including denial, distortion, and projection.

Even more honor can be accumulated if one can deftly turn the tables and insinuate that the shame that rightly belongs to you really belongs to the enemy! Thus, you can describe yourself as the "freedom-loving", while your enemy is the "real" malignant terrorist. You can pretend your religion is one of "peace"; and all others are evil, crusading and genocidal dogmas (even as you loudly and vocally proclaim the goal of establishing a world-wide caliphate of Islam and sharia law). Rhetorically speaking, there is no end to the number of ways you can distort or invert reality.

You can do all this not only with a straight face, but with a sincerity and righteousness that would make the most ruthless and brutal dictator humbled and proud to be associated with you.

What does truth matter, when honor is at stake? Who cares about logic or reality when you have the world to conquer and infidels to force into submission.

And, it doesn't even really matter if anyone actually believes your lies and distortions or not; as long as they keep quiet and don't contest it, you're home free--with your honor intact and your enemy's in tatters.

Left unaddressed, any and all forms of psychopathology will inevitably escalate; and the lies and deceit (including self-deception) necessary to maintain honor and avoid shame will eventually rise to an even higher and more dangerous pathological level-- as demonstrated by the frank paranoia and psychological projection that is rampant in the Middle East.

That's why it is hardly surprising that this is the response to President Obama's first compassionate outreach to the Islamic world:
US President Barack Obama's offer to talk to Iran shows that America's policy of "domination" has failed, the government spokesman said on Saturday.
"This request means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed," Gholam Hossein Elham was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

"Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for (the United States) to change," he added.

As Mark Steyn comments wryly, "Not bad for a first interview." It's nice to know that the always razor sharp psychological instincts of the political left are not in the least dulled by the new 'hope and change' reality.

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