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Whaddya make of this?

From the (always intriguing) “Harper’s Index” in the October issue of Harper’s magazine:

  • Percentage of people living in Turkey who say they are “very concerned” about the Islamic State: 33.
  • Of people living in Israel: 44.
  • In the United States: 68.

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/24/2015 - 08:57 pm.

    They are more knowledgeable than we are

    about what the real threats are.
    They also know a lot more about Islam.

  2. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 10/24/2015 - 09:57 pm.


    What does “concern” really mean? And how can it be measured?
    People know that for terrorists, the “Great Satan” is the USA. On the other hand, if we didn’t have a government and a political system which was not so used to exploiting people’s fears for political gain, people might not be so “concerned” as this poll suggests.

    “Concern” is really about fear. This poll tells me that people are fearful about an Islamic State. People in this country have been paralyzed with fear about one thing or another since 1945. It’s time we all started getting over it and getting on with living.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/25/2015 - 09:18 am.

    I’m inclined to agree

    …with both Paul Brandon and Jon Kingstad. While the numbers in “Harper’s Index” are pretty substantial, even in Turkey, it seems reasonable to suppose that those living closer to the source of the issue have a view that’s probably more realistic – and more nuanced – than the fear-mongering that’s characterized “concern” over an Islamic state here. As Kingstad suggests, “concern” is something of a code word for “fear,” and I remain of the opinion that Frank Herbert got it right in “Dune” many years ago: “Fear is the mind-killer.” People who are afraid are often neither reasonable nor rational, and historians in a century or two will look back and likely conclude that the terrorists, at least for the short term, have won.

    I’m reminded of a poster saw recently online that somewhat (but only somewhat) oversimplified a comparison between the dangers of an Islamic state and the values espoused by such Christian intellectual heavyweights as Sarah Palin and other who lately like to call themselves “conservative.” In that comparison, government is based on religious doctrine; women are legally subordinate to men; homosexuality is a crime; religion trumps science; abortion is illegal; and religion determines both government policy and education. These are all policy positions of either the Republican Party itself, or of prominent policy-makers within that party. In terms of policy, if not theology, Christian conservatives are not all that different from Islamic conservatives.

    One of world history’s most open societies has transformed itself into one of the world’s most fearful ones.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/25/2015 - 06:01 pm.

      Islamic states

      Rather than talking about AN Islamic state, we should talk about the specific entity known as ISIL.
      The Islamic state that existed a thousand years ago in the form of the Ottoman empire was a lot more open than what the current troglodytes are calling for.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 10/25/2015 - 03:41 pm.

    Turkey has lived in a dangerous region for a long time–Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Syria.

    It would be like living with the speaker turned up to 11 if every nearby conflict was seen as the arrival of the apocalypse. They have lived with all forms of brutality in their neighbors.

    For us, this is like the zombie apocalypse–a horrified fascination.

  5. Submitted by John Appelen on 10/25/2015 - 08:08 pm.


    Always remember to consider the demographics… Why would people in a highly Islamic country be as concerned about an Islamic sect /caliphate. Same for Israel, plus they have bigger closer and more immediate issues. Whereas us in the USA, we live a charmed and blessed life so any risk of violence concerns us… Besides they would apparently be happy beheading 99% of us… 🙂

    Turkey 96.5% Islamic
    Israel 17% Islamic
    USA 1% Islamic

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/26/2015 - 07:16 am.


    Those other countries don’t have Fox News, at least as a source of national news, and 9-11 didn’t occur within their borders.

    The other think is that we don’t understand how polls work, although we think we do. People react differently to pollsters in different cultures, and so the results cannot be easily compared. Remember, only about 20 percent of Americans respond to polls, so at best, polls can tell us only what one in five Americans think. Do we even know what the response rate is in Turkey and Israel?

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