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Old 02-28-2006, 01:58 PM   #16
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oooh noooo! It's the old why people blow themselves up debate again! *runs and hides*
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Originally posted by AliEnvy
In a practical sense, it will be the values and ideals of whoever has the most economic power.
But that's why people are emigrating there--they want a better livelihood. It's why people emigrated here too. American culture hasn't always been an easy lesson to learn, either--I know my parents went through some shocks--but the point is, no one questions your right to belong (or potential to adapt) on account of your "blood." Well the Buchananites and neo-Nazis aside, that is.
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Right....but the EU was formed for economic reasons.
This isn't really true...in a historical sense it grew out of the EEC, yes, but the reason why it's grown/is growing into a much more robustly integrated animal incorporating EC, ECSC, Euratom, coordinated foreign and defense policy, and some joint policing/judicial strategies is because benefit was mutually seen in expanding the union beyond strictly financial matters.
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:07 PM   #17
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Originally posted by AliEnvy


Where does "murderous religious pathology" and historical humiliation come from though? It comes from rebelling against an authority with the power to affect your economic position.



it comes from a number of historical factors -- to reduce it to an act of rebellion both reduces the act as well as gives it more credit than it deserves.

i'm sorry, i'm just really resistant to trying to boil everything down to economics -- and i say the same thing to Free Market Evangelicals who view everything that happens as the will of the free market.

people are far more than economic entities.



[q]What makes you think that won't happen? The effects of globalization are still pretty new.[/q]


globalization has been going on for centuries. it's simply speeding up.



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Fair enough, but why?

answered above. the postmodernist in me is skeptical towards any sort of grand narrative explanation or monocausal explanations for a variety of complex behavior.
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
but the point is, no one questions your right to belong (or potential to adapt) on account of your "blood."
No, they use your pee.

Sorry! Couldn't help myself. Please don't misread, that's not an attack, just lightening the mood.


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This isn't really true...in a historical sense it grew out of the EEC, yes, but the reason why it's grown/is growing into a much more robustly integrated animal incorporating EC, ECSC, Euratom, coordinated foreign and defense policy, and some joint policing/judicial strategies is because benefit was mutually seen in expanding the union beyond strictly financial matters.
Right...but at the heart of it is economics. I haven't been suggesting that economic benefit is the only driver of social behaviour...but it is the very basic one.
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:51 PM   #19
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Originally posted by Irvine511

people are far more than economic entities.
Well, sure. But that doesn't change that it is the most fundamental behaviour driver.

Whoever has the most (economic) power has the most true freedom and they get to decide who they share it with and who they don't.


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globalization has been going on for centuries. it's simply speeding up.
You're right. But I guess it's speeding up at a rate now that's very tangible and exposes vulnerabilities of all kinds.
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Old 02-28-2006, 04:21 PM   #20
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Originally posted by AliEnvy
Whoever has the most (economic) power has the most true freedom and they get to decide who they share it with and who they don't.


i will agree with this statement, but continue to disagree with the conclusions you draw from this statement.

it's just too simplistic.
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:42 PM   #21
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I don't think I was really drawing any conclusions, was I?
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Old 08-22-2006, 09:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Pakistanis Find U.S. an Easier Fit Than Britain

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
The New York Times, August 21, 2006


CHICAGO — The stretch of Devon Avenue in North Chicago also named for Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, seems as if it has been transplanted directly from that country. The shops are packed with traditional wedding finery, and the spice mix in the restaurants’ kebabs is just right.
Similar enclaves in Britain have been under scrutiny since they have proved to be a breeding ground for cells of terrorists, possibly including the 24 men arrested recently as suspects in a plot to blow up airliners flying out of London. Yet Devon Avenue is in many ways different. Although heavily Pakistani, the street is far more exposed to other cultures than are similar communities in Britain. Indian Hindus have a significant presence along the roughly one-and-a-half-mile strip of boutiques, whose other half is named for Gandhi. What was a heavily Jewish neighborhood some 20 years ago also includes recent immigrants from Colombia, Mexico and Ukraine, among others. “There is integration even when you have an enclave,” said Nizam Arain, 32, a lawyer of Pakistani descent who was born and raised in Chicago. “You don’t have the same siege mentality.”

Even so, members of the Pakistani immigrant community here find themselves joining the speculation as to whether sinister plots could be hatched in places like Devon Avenue. The most common response is no, at least not now, because of differences that have made Pakistanis in the US far better off economically and more assimilated culturally than their counterparts in Britain. But some Pakistani-Americans do not rule out the possibility, given how little is understood about the exact tipping point that pushes angry young Muslim men to accept an ideology that endorses suicide and mass murder...“It makes it sound like it couldn’t happen here because we are the good immigrants: hard-working, close-knit, educated,” said Junaid Rana, an assistant professor of Asian-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an American-born son of Pakistani immigrants. “But we are talking about a cult mind-set, how a cult does its brainwashing.”

Yet one major difference between the United States and Britain, some say, is the United States’ historical ideal of being a melting-pot meritocracy. “You can keep the flavor of your ethnicity, but you are expected to become an American,” said Omer Mozaffar, 34, a Pakistani-American raised here who is working toward a doctorate in Islamic studies at the University of Chicago. Britain remains more rigid. In the United States, for example, Pakistani physicians are more likely to lead departments at hospitals or universities than they are in Britain, said Dr. Tariq H. Butt, a 52-year-old family physician who arrived in the United States 25 years ago for his residency.

Nationwide, Pakistanis appear to be prospering. The census calculated that mean household income in the United States in 2002 was $57,852 annually, while that for Asian households, which includes Pakistanis, was $70,047. By contrast, about one-fifth of young British-born Muslims are jobless, and many subsist on welfare. [I was tempted to cut this part altogether, as these categories overlap so poorly..."Asian" as our census defines it is a huge category, about 15.5 times the size of the Pakistani-American community (see below), while "British Muslims" encompasses a group roughly double the size of British Pakistanis (see below). "One-fifth of young"...eh...*I think* this would mean about 225,000 people, but who knows how many of those are Pakistani. Anyone have some clearer information? ~ y.]

Hard numbers on how many people of Pakistani descent live in the US do not exist, but a forthcoming book from Harvard University Press...puts the number around 500,000, with some 35% or more in the New York metropolitan area. Chicago has fewer than 100,000, while other significant clusters exist in California, Texas and Washington, D.C. [The corresponding figure for Britain is, I think, roughly 800,000--obviously, a much higher percentage of the population overall; something like 0.17% vs. 1.3%. ~ y.]

Pakistani immigration to the United States surged after laws in the 1960s made it easier for Asians to enter the country. Most were drawn by jobs in academia, medicine and engineering. It was only in the late 80s and 90s that Pakistanis arrived to work blue-collar jobs as taxi drivers or shopkeepers, said Adil Najam...an international relations professor at Tufts University. In Britain, by comparison, the first Pakistanis arrived after WWII to work in factories. Many were fleeing sectarian strife in Kashmir—a lingering source of resentment—and entire communities picked up and resettled together. This created Pakistani ghettos in cities like Bradford and Birmingham, whereas in the United States immigrants tended to be scattered and newcomers forced to assimilate. The trends intensified with time.

A decade ago, for example, a Pakistani in Chicago who wanted to buy halal meat...could find it only on Devon Avenue. Now halal butchers dot the city and its suburbs. Thousands of immigrants and their American-born offspring still flock to Devon Avenue because of its restaurants and traditional goods...The avenue’s half-dozen rudimentary mosques have a reputation for being more conservative than those elsewhere in Chicago, with the imams emphasizing an adherence to Muslim tradition. “They go to an area where they have a feeling of nostalgia, and even psychologically it is important for immigrant communities to feel that their home country is represented,” said Dr. Butt.

But immigrants are not mired in the Devon Avenue neighborhood; many move out once they can afford better. Unlike the situation in Britain, there is no collective history here of frustrated efforts to assimilate into a society where a shortened form of Pakistani is a stinging slur, and there are no centuries-old grievances nursed from British colonial rule over what became Pakistan.

Where such comparisons fail, however, is in providing a model to predict why some young Muslims turn to violence, although no religion is immune. In the US there have been a few cases of young Pakistani men being arrested or tried in terror plots, in Atlanta and in Lodi, Calif., for example. A more important factor in determining who becomes a militant is most likely the feeling of being stigmatized as less than equal, community activists say, noting that such discrimination remains far more common in Britain. It is probably compounded by the fact that violence against Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon feels so much closer there, they say.

Mr. Mozaffar, the University of Chicago student, said he had grown up with revered Muslim role models like Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabar, but now there were none. He teaches religion classes for young Muslims, and the question inevitably arises whether the creed justifies using violence for political or religious aims. He emphasizes that Islam forbids killing innocent civilians, and community members here have said they will not tolerate a mosque prayer leader advocating violence.

Initial reports about the British suspects quoted neighbors as saying that some of the men had become more religious, adopting Islamic dress and praying five times a day. That kind of transformation happens in Chicago, too, but the idea that any such change should automatically arouse suspicion rather than be considered teenage rebellion or a religious conversion makes community activists bridle.

For the past eight years, Abdul Qadeer Sheikh, 46, has managed Islamic Books N Things on Devon Avenue, which sells items like Korans, prayer rugs and Arabic alphabet books. He says that since Sept. 11, he has seen signs of the bias that has existed in Britain for decades developing here. He describes a distinctive fear of being seen as Muslim, even along Devon Avenue...The attitude of the American government in adopting terms like “Islamic fascists”...he said, makes Muslims feel marked, as if they do not belong here. “The society in the United States is much fairer to foreigners than anywhere else,” he said, “but that mood is changing.”
I think the headline's optimistic conclusion might be a bit unwarranted, since they didn't actually talk to Pakistanis in/from both countries. Anyhow, some familiar themes rehashed here: the expectation of assimilation, eased by the fact that the national-identity narrative doesn't prioritize any one ethnic group; the relative lack of ghettoization (although--are British cities really any more prone to that than, say, French ones? I wouldn't know); less discrimination against Pakistanis specifically; fewer deep-rooted historical grievances; and last but surely not least, better economic opportunities (apparently, anyhow...though it's not really clear why from the article).

I'd imagine Canada offers many of these alleged assets as well.

Reflecting back on the article I originally started this thread with, I'm still a little skeptical about its "The problem that most Europeans face today is that they don't have a vision of the kinds of positive cultural values their societies stand for and should promote, other than endless tolerance and moral relativism" claim. And I'm not sure I see anything in the article above to convince me otherwise. What "positive cultural values"--other than tolerance and (some amount of) relativism--would the US have to offer that Britain doesn't? Is quicker assimilation in and of itself a "positive cultural value," or does it just mean quicker access to the benefits of whatever "positive cultural values" might exist?

The bit about "Muslim role models" was interesting too...I'd never thought about that.
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Old 08-22-2006, 11:27 AM   #23
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I'd imagine Canada offers many of these alleged assets as well.

If I look at all of my Indian friends who come from upper middle class or upper class families (read: super educated parents, etc), I would say 9 out of 10 of them "escaped" from either Britain or one of the colonies because of the inability to integrate. This is specifically true of England, where these people may have gotten PhDs, engineering degrees and so on, and faced pretty open racism, especially back in the 70s and 80s - I am not sure whether things have changed.

Canada is completely different and most of them say they would never live anywhere else - the only thing that really bugs is the weather.

Interestingly one of my closest friends is Sikh, born in London, but moved here when she was very young. Her parents are academics who went on contract to Australia in the 90s (so relatively recently) and said it was the most overtly racist place they had ever been to. They were actually born in British colonies in Africa, then attended high school, university and grad school in London, spent time in Dubai before settling in Toronto so we are talking about well travelled folks. Australia was the only place where they felt they couldn't wear a turban in the open because of the comments and stares they were getting and they said they'd never been so happy as the day they boarded their flights back to here. I don't know much about Australian history and attitudes but I found it a bit surprising that a former colony like Canada would be so starkly different from their POV.
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:14 PM   #24
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i've puzzled with this as well. i've had many friends of south asian descent, and all seem to fit in quite well in the US despite the usual cultural growing pains that all immigrants feel to some extent or another. all tend to be very successful as well.

one friend sticks out -- high achiever, Phi Beta Kappa, currently a student at Harvard Med School. he spent 2 years on a scholarship studying at Cambridge in the UK, and while, of course, 99% of the students were open and warm and accepting and that his American-ness was more of a cultural hurdle than his South Asian ethnicity, he still had bottles thrown at him one night by a bunch of hooligans.

i suppose it must come down to history. there are certainly all kinds of racially motivated crimes in the US, but it seems to me that the sort of casual, continuous harassment that we hear about in the UK between whites and south asians is only analagous to the harassment between whites and blacks in the American South.

i'm not sure i can venture a guess as to any new postitive cultural values held by the US and not by the UK, but i do think Europeans, and certainly the UK, still harbor romantic notions of what might be known as "the organic community." this phrase was coined by Richard Hoggart in his book The Uses of Literacy which essentially laments the loss of organic working class culture at the hands of an imposed mass culture.

i wonder if mass culture, where the consumer is king, where it's about individual fulfillment through consumption, and the adoption of a brand identity, isn't actually freeing when compared to the expectations set up by notions of this organic community, notions of warm beer and cricket and rainy sundays in the pub (which i suppose might be comparable to "mom and apple pie"). the organic community is ultimately based upon race, for how could it not be? it simply seems more difficult for a foreigner to place himself within that collective memory, and just as difficult for a native to see the foreigner within that collective memory as well.

and if i had my copy of Gravity's Rainbow with me, i'd quote a mind blowing passage about all of this.
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Old 08-22-2006, 12:40 PM   #25
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As the thread starts off with a mention of Pat Buchanan's Death of the West it might be worth noting that his new and related book State of Emergency was due to be released today. Drudge printing some excerpts on Sunday. As with any newly released book, expect the author to hit the cable political shows starting this week.
Should make for some lively debate.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:41 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

Reflecting back on the article I originally started this thread with, I'm still a little skeptical about its "The problem that most Europeans face today is that they don't have a vision of the kinds of positive cultural values their societies stand for and should promote, other than endless tolerance and moral relativism" claim. And I'm not sure I see anything in the article above to convince me otherwise. What "positive cultural values"--other than tolerance and (some amount of) relativism--would the US have to offer that Britain doesn't? Is quicker assimilation in and of itself a "positive cultural value," or does it just mean quicker access to the benefits of whatever "positive cultural values" might exist?
Having immigrated from Pakistan, and knowing, literally, hundreds of people who have moved to Canada and the U.S., i can say that the main driving factors for us were/are better economic opportunities (and, therefore, a better life for ourselves and our kids), a sense of the West having a just and free society with minimal chaos (i.e. tolerance, democratic institutions, rule of law with minimal corruption...at least exponentially less corruption than what's found in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc.), and also a sense that the U.S. and Canada are successful countries, whereas Pakistan is not. Successful in the sense that they had a vision for their nations and that vision, overall, has been borne out. We, as Pakistanis, have a dreadful sense of failure...how our country started off so promising, but, within a couple years, it became apparent that the leadership wasn't there and that we were headed for a failed state.

In that, Canada and the U.S. demonstrate a positive vibe...positive, empowering values, AND a sense that there is equity in opportunity (there are challenges on this front, of course)...especially in Canada where, along with the economic opportunities, there's also strong emphasis on government's role, and on community, social programs, etc. It's something that Muslims, especially, can relate to (since Islam has huge emphasis on looking after the family, after the community, etc.).

I think the biggest problem emigrating-to-North America Pakistanis (Muslims) have is that sense of "moral relavitism." For new arrivals, there is a sense that the society is too open when it comes to some things...well, it all mostly comes down to sex. Many new arrivals that i've known (mostly doctors) come in saying "We're only here for a couple years. Learn from the best, then go back to Pakistan to share our learnings or serve our country. But i'm not bringing up my kids here. Don't want them to become Western...have all that pre-marital sex, watch porn, start doing drugs and drinking."

They all say that, but from all the people i've known, absolutely no one has moved back to Pakistan, their kids' dangers to Westernization be damned. I think most of them realize that the "demon" West they used to know was a product of very narrow experiences in Pakistan (just as how the West views the East), and that once you experience the West, your mind changes fast. And the tolerance and acceptance and free-society aspects of the West easily allow for free religious and cultural practices to be preserved. In short, we can have our economic cake and eat our cultural/religious pieces of it too.

And most people i know refer to themselves as Canadian or American, but when asked "Where are you from?" proudly say "Pakistan."

I think a major portion of the challenge facing EU countries is the economic disenfranchisement of the Muslim communities. A similar thing is happening in some Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, for instance), where the 18-35 male demographic has a huge unemployment rate and really lacks economic opportunities...they are open to becoming radicalized, leading to similar problems in Arabia et al.
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Old 08-22-2006, 01:47 PM   #27
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^ very interesting, Judah. FYM always benefits whenever you post.
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Old 08-22-2006, 07:44 PM   #28
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^ very interesting, Judah. FYM always benefits whenever you post.
I agree.
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Old 08-23-2006, 07:57 AM   #29
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I'll third that...
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Originally posted by Judah
In that, Canada and the U.S. demonstrate a positive vibe...positive, empowering values, AND a sense that there is equity in opportunity (there are challenges on this front, of course)...
Significantly more so than Britain, then? Because I think that's the part that surprised me here (and I take it maybe Irvine and anitram, too). Perhaps it's just naivete on my part--I've known only a few British South Asians (none of them Muslims), and none really all that well, and I don't think I ever inquired into any of their views about Britain--but I guess I just tended to assume, Well the UK's political culture isn't all that different from ours really, and London at least always seemed so vibrantly cosmopolitan to me (though that's just as a tourist), and there seem to be(??) a fair number of well-to-do South Asians there, so...On the other hand, I did also once have an apparently sweet and friendly English coworker who stunned me one day by going off on a rant about "filthy Pakis" and how they're ruining our nice English towns, etc., which repulsed me and I let her know it--but at the same time, I occasionally heard local white people (this was all back in New Jersey, where I went to college) using slurs like "dots," "towelheads" etc. with reference to local Hindus and Sikhs. So it didn't occur to me to assume this lady's views were broadly representative of British anything...but maybe they were. I guess I should probably know better, since I grew up with my parents always emphasizing how lucky we were to be growing up here in the late 20th century rather than anywhere in Europe in the early 20th, no matter how cosmopolitan things might've seemed there on the surface, and no matter the occasional slur or two we might encounter here, because at least there's no long history of menace behind it in this country.
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I think a major portion of the challenge facing EU countries is the economic disenfranchisement of the Muslim communities. A similar thing is happening in some Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, for instance), where the 18-35 male demographic has a huge unemployment rate and really lacks economic opportunities...they are open to becoming radicalized, leading to similar problems in Arabia et al.
I don't doubt this, and I've certainly seen evidence of it firsthand in France...I guess I just thought (again, probably naively) that Britain was maybe a bit different, that the ghettoization tendencies were perhaps not so strong there, etc. Then again, I was unfamiliar with the different US/UK immigration histories (as mentioned in the article) concerning the different ratios of blue-collar to white-collar jobseekers, lesser tendencies here to arrive in large groups all at once, etc. Which makes sense; North America is after all a very long way to go...is it more expensive to move to and settle here, as well? Honestly I have no idea.

But surely different attitudes towards "minorities" as fellow countrymen also have something to do with it; surely Saudi Arabia isn't precisely analogous, and Irvine's onto something with his idea that it's harder to "break into" British/French/whichever local culture, but easier here, where the collective memory doesn't revolve around some particular group's (long long, old old) story? (And I wonder if your "national success story"-appeal idea perhaps ties in here, since it implies--I *think*--a shorter collective memory.) I can certainly agree that Fukuyama and his ilk tend to understate the importance of economic factors, but surely most poor young Muslims in Birmingham and Riyadh, respectively, wouldn't explain what's hurting their communities--or what the best solution to that is--in the same way? From what I can tell, the anger among British Muslims has more to do with "Britons discriminate against British Muslims, and Britain bullies and exploits Muslim countries" than with "Blair and his government are corrupt authoritarian thugs, unworthy of rule." (I realize that if you really stretched it you could conflate these two analyses, and perhaps that's exactly what an extremist would do...but, my sense from this article is that both elements of the former--plus, I guess, poor economic opportunities as well--are necessary to create the sort of environment where that happens.) And Britain is less than 3% Muslim, so it's not like an Islamist government, or even a powerful Islamist party, makes sense as a "solution" to aim for there...not that alienation and withdrawal make for good alternatives, either.
Quote:
...strong emphasis on government's role, and on community, social programs, etc. It's something that Muslims, especially, can relate to (since Islam has huge emphasis on looking after the family, after the community, etc.).

I think the biggest problem emigrating-to-North America Pakistanis (Muslims) have is that sense of "moral relavitism." For new arrivals, there is a sense that the society is too open when it comes to some things...well, it all mostly comes down to sex. Many new arrivals that i've known (mostly doctors) come in saying "We're only here for a couple years. Learn from the best, then go back to Pakistan to share our learnings or serve our country. But i'm not bringing up my kids here. Don't want them to become Western...have all that pre-marital sex, watch porn, start doing drugs and drinking."

...I think most of them realize that the "demon" West they used to know was a product of very narrow experiences in Pakistan (just as how the West views the East), and that once you experience the West, your mind changes fast.
I think these two things--attitudes towards family/community, and attitudes towards diversity in moral codes--tend to be at least somewhat related, and that Westerners for our part tend to have somewhat the reverse response to "Asian values" (I'm using the term tongue-in-cheekily, and with the standoffs between Lee, Zakaria, Sen etc. on the subject duly in mind). That is, we tend to contemplate what relatively little we know about "Asian" families/communities (I don't think most Westerners have a distinct concept of "Muslim" families/communities per se, and to the extent we do, it basically piggybacks the "Asian" stereotype--perhaps with misogyny and zealotry thrown in for good measure) and we think, Hmmm...close-knit extended families; high prestige of elders; reverence for traditional cultural values...yeah, I can see the appeal of all that, but...sounds suspiciously like a ticket to repression and stagnation and passivity all the same.

And probably there is some amount of truth to both perspectives. Although this principle obviously has its limits, and they're different for everyone, it really can be amazing sometimes how when you give up a certain amount of control over something, you discover levels of meaning in it you never realized were there before.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:42 AM   #30
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"American-style national identity" is far from being properly established. Patriotism and national sovereignty are wrongfully mistaken for nationalism and blindness. Too many Americans seem to believe that they are somehow inferior to the French.

Maybe they've never been to Wisconsin?
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