Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls and the Mirror Image Fallacy

BREAKING NEWS: "8 more Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by suspected Boko Haram gunmen"

In case you've been on another planet, the last three weeks have seen a horror story emerge from Africa -- where else -- that has provoked more than the usual amount of international interest and indignation. Some 230 girls in their mid-teens were kidnapped from their school in the state of Borno, in northern Nigeria. This happened on April 14th and none of the girls has been seen since.

Reports last week said that some of the girls were taken across borders into Cameroon and Chad. Others are said to have been forced to "marry" their abductors, who paid a nominal bride price of $12. Paying a bride price is still customary in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa, although the girl's worth is nowadays calculated in cash rather than cattle.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said everything was being done to find the girls. Walt wishes him good luck [Geddit? Ed.] and will help by explaining who took the girls and why. Here's a CNN video that makes things pretty clear. [No. Clear, but not pretty. Ed.]

CNN and the rest of the lamestream media make it clear enough that the schoolgirls were taken by Boko Haram. The CNN reporter describes them as "jihadists". What that means -- and what the politically correct western media almost never spell out -- is that Boko Haram are Islamic extremists. Fanatically militant Muslims!

Walt has written about Boko Haram before. See "Nigerian archbishop says Boko Haram fanaticism increasing" and "Islamic extremists don't discriminate; they kill anyone and everyone".

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden", has attacked schools, churches, bus stations, anything and everything, all over the predominantly Muslim northern part of Nigeria. In a video circulating on the Net today, one of their leaders, Abubakar Shekau, said the girls should not have been in school in the first place, but rather should get married. "God instructed me to sell them," he said. "They are his properties and I will carry out his instructions!"

The other reason the lamestream media are downplaying the Islamic extremist angle is that these fanatics happen to be, errr, African -- as black as the ace of spades. So when attention is called to their race and their religion, it agitates the liberal one-worlders who believe that we are really all the same inside. To do so offends their naive notions about the Brotherhood of Man [and Woman? Ed.]

To aver that people are people, undifferentiated by race, religion, language and culture, is absurd. It is the Mirror Image Fallacy, writ large. The mirror image fallacy is the wrongly assumed belief that others share our thoughts, responses, and perspectives. That is just not so. The Islamic fundamentalists are nothing like us.

So when America and Britain offer to "help", to "facilitate" or "mediate" or somehow make a connection between Boko Haram and civilized people, they are committing what Charles Krauthammer called a "plural solipsism". In "The Mirror-Image Fallacy", penned for Time way back in 1983, Mr. Krauthammer concluded "To gloss over contradictory interests, incompatible ideologies and opposing cultures as sources of conflict is more than anti-political. It is dangerous."

Further reading: "The Mirror-Image Fallacy" is included in Charles Krauthammer's new book, Things That Matter (Crown Forum 2013),a collection of 88 of his columns spanning three decades. You'll find a review and some excerpts in "The Insights of Charles Krauthammer", by Lauri B. Regan on The American Thinker website.

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