I’m seeing lots of consternation and alarm at the fact that some of us disagree with Ayaan Hirsi Ali on the Dear Muslima or Fallacy of Relative Deprivation or Not serve you cake or Who does the dishes question. How dare we disagree with Ayaan HA on anything, don’t we understand how much worse it is in Somalia or Bangladesh or Saudi Arabia than it is here?
Well, that’s a fatuous question, for a start. Of course we do. I for one write and post about it all the time. But I also write and post about other things. That’s all there is to it, really – we can pay attention to more than one thing, and it’s really not up to Ayaan HA to decide what we’re allowed to pay attention to.
I wouldn’t object if she just said pay more attention to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and Daesh. There’s always room to pay more attention. What I object to is her saying pay less or no attention to more local issues. Last week I objected to Dawkins’s explanation that he tells us that FGM is worse than sexual harassment, as if we didn’t know that until he told us. I objected to it because of the obvious implication that we should stop paying so much attention to sexual harassment (the implication that he made explicit-through-sarcasm in the actual Dear Muslima). This week I object to Ayaan HA’s explanation that issues of domestic division of labor are less important than not being allowed to leave the house, for the same reasons. One, we all know that, and two, I reject the implication.
PZ did a post on the subject on Friday. Today he posted about some of the pushback he’s getting, which included a claim that “Ayaan is deserving of SUPPORT in her efforts, regardless of any perceived gaffes.”
Well that’s quite a generous arrangement. Regardless of any perceived gaffes? So if she advocated genocide for instance we should still SUPPORT her, because she’s deserving of SUPPORT?
Also, it’s always so particular, isn’t it. Ignore the “gaffes” of the famous important conspicuous people, but of course not those of the smelly peasants who dare to criticize them.
Sorry, but no. I think Ayaan HA is right about many things, but she is also a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and she seems to be talking only to her colleagues there.