Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Juan Cole is Unintelligible - II

Just tried to post a comment at Cole's blog, relating to his statement about Gaza, but it turns out he doesn't allow unvetted comments. You can submit, but he decides if it gets posted. So just in case he decides not to post it, I'm putting it here. Ruminations, alas, has far fewer readers than he does, but at least it'll be up and Google will find it. Here it is:

"Gaza is the worst outcome of Western colonialism anywhere in the world outside the Belgian Congo."

I have been thinking about this statement for the past 24 hours, and still cannot make head or tail of it. What could it possibly mean? What were the criteria used to produce it? What set of hypothetical facts might refute it? (Using Karl Popper's method of verifying historical theses).

The best I can do is to suppose that it's a statement of an article of faith, a derivative of a set of religious beliefs whereby colonialism is the fundamental organizing principle in human relations, or at least in the relations between nations, and that the status of each group in the hierarchy of colonialism somehow confers a moral position irrespective of one's actions (shades of Calvinism, perhaps, with Grace but without God?)

If it's not that, I can't imagine what it might be. One way or the other, it certainly isn't an expression of any type of empiric thought that I've ever seen.

Update 25 hours later: Cole didn't have the guts to post my comment. I report, you decide


Lydia McGrew said...

You think people of Cole's persuasion engage in empirical reasoning? Boy, are you charitable.

Yaacov said...

Charitable, huh? Never been called that one before.