Minor points on Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s article regarding minority dictatorship
It’s not about intolerance, it’s about principle and belief.
Overall, it is correct that a minority with strong preferences will impose them on a majority without such preferences, given no barriers.
Places I disagree with NNT:
The West is currently in the process of committing suicide.
Since losing its soul, the West has been coasting on inertia, built up when it had a soul. Now it’s just winding down.
is not permissible to use “American values” or “Western principles” in treating intolerant Salafism
In fact, American values and Western principles are such vague concepts that they have been interpreted to justify everything from religious repression and persecution of Catholics and Mormons (the cavalry was called in to deal with the latter) to incinerating civilian populations en masse. It’s just that the present Salafists pose no immediate threat or competition to those holding the megaphone. The odds of a New York Times editor being murdered by Muslim terrorists are lower than the odds of him dying in a car accident, and certainly it is inconceivable that Muslims will replace his social class at the helm of American society. In the meantime, they make a great instrument with which to kill his class enemies by proxy in Fallujah and Kunar, and to replace them demographically in Lewiston, Maine.
Every single accretion of Sunni Islam seems to be there to accommodate the most intolerant of its branches.
You may as well use “most principled” as “intolerant.”
Julian had tried to go back to Ancient Paganism in vain: it was like trying to keep a balloon under water.
Of course-the Greeks and Romans had ceased to believe in their gods literally centuries prior, and who’s going to die for a metaphor? Naturally, today’s West feels the same way about what used to be its religion as one of Julian’s Romans felt about Jupiter or Antinous.
Egypt has a flat terrain. The distribution of the population presents homogeneous mixtures there, which permits renormalization
Terrain has nothing to do with it. Egypt’s desert landscape channelises the population no less effectively than that of any mountain range.
But in places such as Lebanon, Galilee, and Northern Syria, with mountainous terrain, Christians and other Non Sunni Muslims remained concentrated.
Samaria is no less mountainous than Galileee, and yet its Christian and Samaritan population dwindled centuries ago. Bosnia is more mountainous than Serbia, yet the Bosnians converted to Islams and the Serbs didn’t (except for in the Sanjak, which is quite mountainous.)
Why? Because the Christianity of the Bosnians (a Gnostic sort of branch,) and the faith of the Samaritans had hollowed out and had no external political support to make it materialistically worth keeping.