TOLERANCE AND mutual respect for different cultures and religions is great — as long as it is mutual. When it's not mutual, then tolerance becomes a self-destructive doctrine. When it is not mutual, one side gives and the other side takes. In normal parlance, it is called being a doormat.
Islamic supremacism is religiously-sanctioned intolerance, and many in the West tolerate the intolerance out of a blind multiculturalism. But multiculturalism (respect for other cultures) need not be blind. The addition of one simple distinction is all that is needed.
When I was younger, I lacked the same distinction in my own personal life. I had read the book, How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, when I was very young, and it had a profound effect on the way I treated people. And for the most part, the effect was good.
The basic approach to Carnegie's book is to give to people, to trust them, to see the best in them, etc. When you do this, people will respond positively, and they'll give back to you and trust you and they'll want to fulfill your trust, etc. This approach has worked great for almost everybody I've ever met, because most people reciprocate. It becomes a mutual thing.
But several times in my life I ran into people who only took advantage of my kindness or generosity. They took, and sometimes not only did they not reciprocate, but sometimes they've even responded to my kindness by stabbing me in the back. They weren't interested in cooperating. They didn't care about good long-term relations.
With those people, I had to figure out a different way of dealing with them. I had to make an extra distinction. My tolerance and goodwill were blind. I did it with everyone indiscriminately, and that's just stupid.
A few years ago, a biography of Dale Carnegie came out, and I found out that Carnegie left out a chapter in his book. He didn't get the chapter to the publisher on time so the book was published without it.
The missing chapter was about what to do with uncooperative, selfish, self-serving people. A small percentage of the population doesn't have normal human empathy. The way you deal with these people must be different or you're just being foolish.
A very similar thing is happening with orthodox Islam and multiculturalism. There is nothing wrong with the multicultural doctrine. Nothing at all. It's wonderful, in fact. One of the reasons democracies are so much more enjoyable countries to live in than non-democratic countries is because we are so tolerant of each other.
But the multiculturalism doctrine is incomplete. It is a great strategy for most people and most cultures and most religions. But it is disastrous when you stick with it blindly.
All that's missing is the added distinction of mutuality. We can simply amend the doctrine to something like this: We respect all religions and cultures who do us the honor of respecting ours as well. All others will be treated with less generosity.
Another characteristic of both selfish people and Islamic supremacists is the use of deception. They pretend to be thoughtful and kind. They pretend to be peaceful, tolerant, and cooperative. They try to fool their victims into keeping their guard down. They pretend in order to gain an advantage.
Over time, most of us have learned to pay attention to what people do and see if it matches what they say. Most of us who have lived long enough to see our 30s do not automatically trust everyone. We give people a chance to earn our trust. That's a sensible way to live.
Orthodox Muslims often try to fool non-Muslims in the same way selfish people do. They mimic peaceful religious people. They try to act as if they believe what we believe (see the principle of religious deception), and this makes it more difficult to determine whether or not these are cooperators or back-stabbers. But we can apply the same principles we use in our personal lives. We can watch what they do and see if it matches what they say. We don't have to automatically trust. Let them earn our trust.
On the DVD, Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West, you can literally watch what they do. You can see Muslim leaders saying one thing to the western media, appearing to be moderate, peaceful, reasonable Muslims, and then you see the same person saying another thing entirely to their own people in Arabic.
If we didn't automatically trust, we could see they are intolerant, uncooperative, and even bloodthirsty, and not the cooperative people they pretend to be.
If we pay attention, we will see some Muslims are not mutually respectful. In fact, they actively exploit our well-ingrained respect for other cultures, and use it against us, considering it a weakness they can exploit.
For years, the Wahhabi Muslims in Saudi Arabia have been spending their oil-enriched billions building mosques all over the western democracies. They then preach hatred of the West in those mosques, and we have been allowing this.
Within Saudi Arabia, no churches or synagogues are allowed to be built.
The western democracies, in other words, are being doormats. We are giving and allowing, respecting and tolerating, and the Islamic supremacists are taking, expressing intolerance, and stabbing us in the back. Being a doormat is not a successful long-term strategy.
TIT FOR TAT
In the 1970's the political scientist Robert Axelrod created a computer "world" using the famous Prisoner's Dilemma as a game computer programs could play against each other. He wanted to find out which computer program would succeed the best.
The Prisoner's Dilemma is a hypothetical situation used to test whether someone will cooperate or compete, and how well the strategies work in the long run.
The game is played by two people. If one cooperates and the other competes, the one who cooperated will lose and the competitive one (the selfish one) will win. If they both compete, they both lose, but not as badly.
If they both cooperate, they both win. That's how the game is set up.
If you were one of the prisoners, what would you do? That's the dilemma. How much can you count on the cooperative nature of the other person?
The game is often played repeatedly with the same two people, each of them choosing to cooperate or take advantage of the other through successive rounds of the game.
The Prisoner's Dilemma game is designed to parallel real life. If two people in real life cooperate with each other, it very often works to their mutual advantage. But if one person cooperates and the other takes advantage, it often works out very well for the selfish one and very poorly for the cooperative one.
On the other hand, if you go around preempting people — trying to take advantage of them before they take advantage of you — you will miss out on the advantages of cooperation, people will resent you, and you might get people working against you.
What is the best long-term strategy? This is the dilemma we are faced with every day, personally as well as culturally.
Robert Axelrod, the man who created the computer world, invited computer programmers to create a program to play the Prisoner's Dilemma with other programs. The question is, which program would succeed the best?
In a game that resembles the real dilemma we all face, what strategy is the most effective?
The program that proved the best was named TIT FOR TAT. It was designed by Anatol Rapoport and it was one of the simplest programs submitted. For the first interaction, it would cooperate. After that, it would repay in kind whatever the other did. That was the whole strategy.
If the other cooperated, TIT FOR TAT benefited. So did the other. If the other took advantage, TIT FOR TAT cut its losses immediately.
As the game went on, TIT FOR TAT gained more (and lost less) than any other program. In The Moral Animal, Robert Wright wrote, "More than the steadily mean, more than the steadily nice, and more than various 'clever' programs whose elaborate rules made them hard for other programs to read, the straightforwardly conditional TIT FOR TAT was, in the long run, self-serving."
And it's the most fair to everyone involved.
I suggest we in the West use the same program when dealing with other countries and other cultures. We should begin with tolerance and cooperation, and then be as tolerant and cooperative as the other is from that point on.
We would be fools to tolerate intolerance — even if that intolerance is hiding behind a cloak of religion. An intolerant culture should be the exception to the principle of universal multicultural tolerance.
For example, if orthodox Islam does not tolerate other religions, it should not be tolerated itself.
Tolerance and cooperation are definitely the best way to go, but only if the other side is tolerant and cooperative also. If they prove to be otherwise, intolerance and competitively cutting our losses is a sane response.