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Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy 
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Post Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
This thread is for discussing Chapter 3 - Defining the Enemy. You can post within this framework or create your own threads.

Chris O'Connor

"For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"




Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:48 am
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
Chapter 3 was interesting and seemed mainly a setup for further sections. Although Harris' description of three types of enemy and the philosophical discourses on them seemed superficial, I don't see how he could have done much better in an only ten page summary (Harris himself admits that he has simplified the theories immensely).

The real interesting part of the chapter comes at the end when Harris is discussing Hunnington's 'clash of civilization'. In criticizing Hunnington, Harris correctly points out that other non-Western civilizations could also assert the universalism of their civilization. If this assertion of universal relevance is inherent in any civilization, as Harris points out, then conflict becomes inevitable. Harris then states, if this is the case, "It follows that the only possible solution would be for one of the civilizations to triumph and crush all the others." This is followed on the next page by the question, "What happens if these other civilizations continue to assert their own style of universalism more and more insistently, just as the West was deciding to conserve its own dwindling strength?"

Although Harris does not say it, I read an implication here that he does believe that this conflict is to some degree inevitable and that the West (i.e., the United States) needs to act now while we are still the dominate military and economic power in the world.




Mon Aug 09, 2004 1:14 pm


Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
I must admit, I was waiting for this chapter to dive into the deeper material, but it seems to just be building the groundwork. I'm in agreement with you on that Mike. I'm reminded by this chapter that I do need to read my copy of Clash of Civilizations.

There was one thing I did not understand, it is a remark on page 46 about "Bernard Lewis's triumphalism." I've read some of Lewis's stuff, and I think that comment really came out of left field. Did anybody understand it?




Tue Aug 10, 2004 3:11 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
pctacitus:

I never read Lewis, but after reading your post, I looked him up and got a general idea about his views.

Lewis is mostly focused on Christianity and Islamic religious superiority and conquest (conversion and erradicating the infidel). I can see how Harris was trying to use this on those terms, fashioning it in a more political as opposed to religious paradigm.

I may be off because I do not know Lewis inside out, but this is what my mind came up with based upon my limited research.

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Wed Aug 11, 2004 8:27 am
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
I've read some Lewis, a book and a bunch of articles and what you are saying seems like the Said Orientalism stereotype and unfitting with Lewis's writings and what he has said in interviews. Lewis doesn't strike me as triumphal so I guess I'll just have to hope Harris shows up so I can ask him in person.




Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:48 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
I would have to read some of his work in detail in order to understand if what you say is so. I am at a disadvantage here.

This is just the jist I got from the brief reading on his theory that I was able to squeeze in.

Mr. P.

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Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:08 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
can someone help me out? Harris claims there are three theories of the enemy, 1) the rational actor theory, 2) the enemy as the overbearing and irrational person who insists on having his superior status recognized and 3) Marx's theory. But after reading the Marx's enemy section three times, I don't see the 'enemy' theory. Is Marx's enemy the economic class of which you are not a member?




Tue Aug 17, 2004 11:59 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
Three theories of the enemy:

Greedy - Rational Actor
Oppressed - Struggle for recognition of equality
Overbearing - Seeks to force recognition of superiority

Is number two the Marx theory? Probably. Sad to think of someone as an enemy who just wants to be accepted as equal!

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:02 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
Liberty and Freedom are complex concepts. They go back to religious ideas of Free Will and are related to the Ruler Mystique implicit in absolute monarchs. Without absolute monarchs patterned after the Old Gods and ruling by the grace of a belief in religious indulgence, Liberty and Freedom would never have gained their present meaning. These ideals owe their very existence to past examples of oppression. And the forces that maintain such ideas will erode unless renewed by dramatic teaching or new oppressions. - from Frank Herbert's Heretics of Dune

Decry oppression all you want, I shall decry it with you, but without it, there is no basis for freedom.

Edited by: pctacitus at: 8/18/04 10:34 pm



Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:10 pm


Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
Marx's theory would be more in keeping with the desire for equality than superiority, especially with the use of oppression as many of those who later latched on to his ideas liked to use oppression as if everybody is oppressed.




Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:21 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 3 - Defining the Enemy
"Help, help, I'm being oppressed!"

Monty Python - Holy Grail

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:37 pm
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