Posted by Julia from dhcp100030.res-hall.northwestern.edu (188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, February 26, 2002 at 9:05AM :
Fred, a recurring theme in your argument is the assumption that a populace has a dominant characteristic that drives its domestic, international and everything-in-between policy. This is an oversimplification.
There is no such thing as a person, group, country or continent that acts for ONLY one cause. There is such thing as a country that has its elected officials, or unelected ones, act on behalf of their electorate (or imposed jurisdiction) and do things in the name of the people. However, the people are not of one mind and one belief; neither are the political actors who wield the resources to create and enforce policies in the name of the country. There isn't a one-to-one correlation between a country's actions and the will of the people that make up a country.
One reason why is that the country is a fictive person. There is no such thing as America that 'acts,' or an Islamic country that 'acts', how can a country, which is largely defined by the people in it and the territory they inhabit, act? It is the people that acts, and from there you see it is impossible for all people in a country, who define the country, to act. Therefore, what is actually 'America strikes back' or 'Islamic Jihad' is nothing more than a bunch of oligarchs supported by various persons who act........... and not a reflection of all americans or all muslims.
(Another reason is that we don't have an absolute definition of an american or a muslim; the definition will vary from person to person; so we only have approximations of the idea of the american and the idea of the muslim)
When Assyrians say that Muslims did this, Islam did that, you react by seeing the foolishness of their argument. You are right to react to their foolishness but you lend yourself towards inaccuracy in adopting their logic to combat their foolishness as you perceive it. If Mexicans tell you all Canadians are evil, and you see the ridiculousness of their statement, it would be illogical for you to respond by saying, but Mexicans are even more evil. Because, clearly, it is inaccurate to make a judgment about millions of people that do not have one mind and one will.
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