The Murdoch flap

J.K. Rowling led the charge ridiculing Rupert Murdoch for the following tweet:

Maybe most Moslems are peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.

Sunday (1/10), the Harry Potter author started an avalanche of ridicule with these tweets:

I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I'll auto-excommunicate.

The Spanish Inquisition was my fault, as is all Christian fundamentalist violence. Oh, and Jim Bakker.

Not to be outdone, the creator of BBC sitcom Citizen Khan, Adil Ray, put in his quips' worth:

I think all of Australia should be held responsible for Rupert Murdoch.

Aziz Ansari, the U.S. standup comedian and one of the stars of the sitcom Parks & Recreation, chimed in:

Rupert Murdoch is responsible for all pedophilia committed by anyone Catholic. Rupert Murdoch why are you pro-pedophile :(

And here are some other lovelies:

Murdoch thinks all Muslims should apologise for terrorism. So on behalf of white people I'd like to apologise for Rupert Murdoch.

Am I to be held responsible for the rantings of octogenarian media moguls because we're both Caucasian?

It’s obvious.  One can’t hold all responsible or the actions of a few in any given classification.  Blame all Italians for the Mafia?  Blame all Christians for the Inquisition…?

It would seem, then, that Murdoch’s stupid reasoning doesn’t pass the yuk-yuk test. 

But now how does the above square with the PC mantra that all Americans must all share the blame for slavery/treatment of American Indians/sexism/colonialism/jingoism/cultural fascism/economic exploitation?

Of course, it is absurd to maintain that every human being is responsible for the actions of any other human being for which there is a common class membership.  The issue is whether one is responsible for the actions of individuals that share a common ideology when those actions have basis in the ideology.  Catholics in general are not responsible for the pedophilia of a few of its clergy, because the ideology in no way supports such actions.  By contrast, Islamic Hadiths seem to support child marriage and rape of infidel women.

Not that the answer is, in general, an easy one.

For example, are the Branch Davidians responsible for the David Koresh cult?  Koresh claimed justification in the ideology of the Branch Davidians.  The answer most people (I imagine) would give is “no.”  However, most people (I imagine) would say that all members of the KKK are responsible for criminal acts of individuals and subgroups acting in accordance with the KKK ideology.

The Yemen branch of al-Qaeda has proudly proclaimed responsibility for the Hebdo massacre.  Are all al-Qaeda to one degree or another thereby responsible?

And then there is the pivotal and challenging question as to what degree is the ideology of Islam supportive of such acts, and, thereby, are Muslims who do not reject that aspect of the ideology culpable – if indeed such rejection is even possible?!

Rupert Murdoch, rather than having committed a stupid logical fallacy, has raised an important issue.

Let me close with the following quote:

Islam’s religious texts call upon its followers to commit terror and to fight to a much higher degree than any other religion, concludes Tina Magaard, who graduated from the Sorbonne in Paris as a Ph.D. in Textual Analysis and Intercultural Communication after a three-year research project that compared the basic texts of 10 religions.

‘The texts in Islam are clearly distinct from the other religious texts as they to a much higher degree call for violence and aggression against followers of other faiths. There are also direct incitements to terror. This has long been a taboo in research in Islam, but it is a fact we have to acknowledge,’ says Tina Magaard.