March 24, 2007


The reason we have to fight (MICHAEL COREN, 3/24/07, Toronto Sun)

Imagine a history book being read by people in 100 years time. In a chapter entitled, Why We Fought, it would list the crimes of an ideology and a movement, Islamic fundamentalism, that became so powerful and so grotesque in the opening years of the 21st century that the civilized world was obliged to resist.

The book would explain that some of the wars of resistance were unsuccessful, or even ill-advised, but that in the end the forces of light triumphed over the death-black darkness.

It would also recount how some people in the civilized world opposed the struggle, out of self-loathing, cowardice, leftist politics or simply because they were part of the jihadist movement.

But right always wins in the end, the readers would be reminded, and did so in this great culture war.

It's strange the way the Right was capable of loathing FDR, Truman and LBJ yet supporting and even leading the Long War while the Left could barely bring itself to support the latter two and actively opposed/opposes Nixon, Ford, Reagan, GHWB, and W. At some point, you have to reckon with the notion that it just isn't their war.

MORE (via Ed Driscoll):
The Gelded Age: A review of America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, by Mark Steyn (Theodore Dalrymple, Claremont Review of Books)

French and British policy towards their large Muslim populations has been very different. There is apartheid in France: not official or legal, of course, but de facto. Whether it is better or worse to segregate, intentionally or not, your social problems in this way, as the French have done, or to disperse them everywhere so that nowhere is free of them, as the British have done, I leave to moral philosophers to decide.

When I was in France during the riots, the most striking thing was not the riots themselves; it was the complete calm, indeed serenity, of ordinary French citizens. Most of them, of course, had no more contact with the riots than they had had with the rioters beforehand. The commander of the CRS, the extremely tough and rightly feared riot police, issued a statement to the effect that the worse the situation got, the more "serene" were his men: a veiled threat that les jeunes were French enough to understand and take seriously, which explains why no cars were burnt, and no riots occurred, in the centers of any major towns or cities.

The British system, of course, has been more laissez-faire in its economic aspects, though combined with enervating political correctness in its cultural ones, which means that in the areas in which Muslims congregate there are large numbers of small businesses, many of them very successful. This is not altogether comforting, however, because it is from this stratum of society--from the sons of the owners of these businesses, who are very far from economically deprived, and who have usually been to university--that some of the suicide bombers have been drawn.

Steyn is right that the main struggle is one of ideas. Unfortunately, political correctness, which is to thought what sentimentality is to compassion, means that the intelligentsia of the West has disarmed itself in advance of any possible struggle. But I think Steyn is mistaken, or at least fails to make a proper distinction, when he says that Islam is ideologically strong and confident. Shrillness and intolerance are not signs of strength, but of weakness; fundamentalism is a response to an awareness that, if the methods of intellectual inquiry that were used to challenge Christianity were permitted in the Muslim world, Islam would soon fall apart. But if Islam fell apart in the Islamic world, what source of self-respect would be left to the population? Their backwardness and mental impoverishment would then be exposed in all nakedness.

The weakness of the isms and the inevitability of our victory make the Left's cowardice all the more peculiar.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 24, 2007 6:26 AM

It's not cowardice.

For the left-wing of the Democratic party -- well, post 1968 therefore for the Democratic party as a whole, w/ very few exceptions -- it's either about money/power or ideology.

The money/power folks see nothing wrong with opposing the policies of a Republican president in order to obtain money from the left-wing moneybags, and power by using opposition to war -- Vietnam, Cold, Iraq, Central America, wherever -- as a wedge issue to get the Republicans tossed out.

As for the ideologues -- the Kerrys, Dodds, etal --- they simply want America defeated and chastened. They ingested some combination of Marx and Fanon and see us as the problem.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at March 24, 2007 9:59 AM

Marxism--like Darwinism, etc.--is cowardice. It's hiding from God.

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2007 12:15 PM

And more:

What if that backwardness and mental impoverishment are inseparable from the whole Jim Jones snake-oil operation. What if Emperor Paleologus had been right all along.

The articles raise the possibility. Let us at least entertain the possibility that the spiritual jailhouse, having been set up as a self-perpetuating RICO can only be reformed as Shinto was reformed.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 24, 2007 2:07 PM

I don't really agree with the analysis offered.

IMO, Islamist extremism has mostly developed as a response to globalisation mixed in with anti-colonialism. Muslim societies tend to be keenly aware of how far behind the West in pretty much every area worth mentioning. The upper stratum in these societies, the ones with access to wealth, Western education and connections, have seen their incomes skyrocket thanks to globalisation and Western economic power. Meanwhile the bulk of the rest of the population's standard of living has stagnated. Another factor which Dinesh D'Souza correctly alluded to was the broadcasting of Western entertainment to Muslim societies, which outrages local sexual morality mores.

So Islamist militancy develops as a back-to-basics campaign to return Muslim societies to a pure version of Islam. A version free from corrupting outside influence which in their view leads to destruction of morality, loss of military might and being economic clients of the West. That's why forces like the Taliban and Iran imposed bans on satellite TV, nationalised industry and did their best to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. It's also why when you speak to a fundamentalist they quote from the Guardian since their economic ideas coincide i.e. western capitalism is destructive and the West serially exploits the Third World in the name of profit. A central power needs to tame the capitalists for the greater good of the nation at large. And how can a central power gain any greater legitimacy than claiming to be an inherently Islamic polity?

What's more Steyn's math on the growth in Muslim numbers isn't very convincing. Who's to say that immigrant population numbers in the future won't conform to those in the host society? That's the trend I've seen in England. Small states like Sweden might have a problem. The larger European countries most likely not. Saying Europe's about to become an outpost of Islam seems like an attempt to play to American anti-European prejudices i.e. those effete Old Country types are just going to keel over and die like they did in the last two world wars and it'll be up to us to save it again.

"The British system, of course, has been more laissez-faire in its economic aspects, though combined with enervating political correctness in its cultural ones, which means that in the areas in which Muslims congregate there are large numbers of small businesses, many of them very successful. This is not altogether comforting, however, because it is from this stratum of society--from the sons of the owners of these businesses, who are very far from economically deprived, and who have usually been to university--that some of the suicide bombers have been drawn."

WTF? The British suicide bombers were mostly working in low-end government jobs or were unemployed. Thus far the sons of businessmen haven't been setting cars on fire. A very silly point.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 24, 2007 3:08 PM

Yes, globalism is nothing more than the Anglo-American/Judeo-Christian model. The reaction is inevitably Rationalist. The Shi'a will have little trouble adapting to our model and adopting it. The Sunni are an open question.

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2007 5:34 PM

Ali, I mostly agree with you, except that while the sons of wealthy businessmen aren't setting cars on fire, they were part of the 9/11 planning and execution.

Here in the U.S. it's unlikely we'll be making concessions like the ones in Germany and Scandinavia. Briton as well is unlikely to allow fathers and husbands to beat or kill their wives and daughters, but even smaller concessions are dangerous. Allowing burqas in the state sponsored schools whether on students or teachers is too anti-social and allowing girls to play soccer while swathed in a black shroud is past ridiculous.

The Somali colony in Wisconsin will soon make one demand too many and it'll be game over for them too. They won't handle pork encapsulated in film wrap. Next they won't work next to a Jew, or perhaps cab drivers won't let Jews in their cabs, or women who are too scantily dressed in their opinion. The list can be endless. It'll be fun to see what finally sets off the brain-dead public's outrage.

If we expect that Moslems integrate into our society just like the millions who came before them, then that's what they'll do. Ethnic enclaves only last for a generation or two because their kids will be Americans whose behavior will be indistinguishable from their contemporaries.

I think a lot of the frenzy in Islam is because they know they can't "keep 'em down on the farm" any more. There's no way of stopping communication. They can't keep their people ignorant and uninformed the way the Soviets did during the cold war. There are too many ways to learn the truth in today's world.

Posted by: erp at March 24, 2007 5:50 PM

Allow me to amplify that Shinto-Mohammadanism comparison.

Let us recall the internal resistance to reformation which characterized pre-Hiroshima Japan. Not only had converts and missionaries been persecuted to the point of outright murder, but well into the 20th Century, xenophobic fanatics murdered fellow inmates who were inching toward accommodation with the outside.

Reformation was delayed because the Shinto jailhouse was staving off its going-under by means of internal terror. Sound familiar?

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 24, 2007 7:45 PM

Japan was just a product of willful and rapid modernization in a society that lacked any meaningful religion. The key for Islam is to resist the modernizing impulse and reinforce the faith. They need to aim for the Anglo-American model, not the French.

Posted by: oj at March 24, 2007 8:06 PM

So OJ, which side are you on, the Brits or the Iranians?

Posted by: Pez at March 25, 2007 6:20 AM

The Brits demonstrated this week that they oughtn't be trusted with nukes, submarines, or taking on the Iranian navy.

Ayatollah Khamenei will have their sailors released over Mahmood's reasonable objections.

Posted by: oj at March 25, 2007 10:05 AM


If anything the Islamic Reformation is represented by the Saudi Wahhabists and their clients. A "pure" version of Islam which goes back to the strictest interpretation of the source texts. The parts of the Muslim world less concerned with blowing up school-children. like rural India\Pakistan or SE Asia, are the ones most influenced by Sufism which Wahhabists abhor as being unIslamic.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at March 25, 2007 11:55 AM

So, OJ, you're pro-terrorist.

Posted by: Pez at March 25, 2007 6:16 PM

Ali: I agree that the so-called, self-proclaimed Christian "Reformation" had posed as a return to primitive, scriptural roots, simiilar in many ways to Wahhabism. In the case of Christianity, this had been a sham, exploited by princes in order to dominate religion for secular aims.

If a system is bereft of a doctrine of the Coin of Tribute, Caesar and God being indistinct, a "return to roots" means a return to political domination of religion. The reformation we hope for our Islamic neighbors entails an abandonment of those very roots. The reformation of which I had written was nothing less than a correction of the errors referred to by Emperor Paleologus, not an intensification of those errors.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 25, 2007 6:36 PM

No, the Iranians are in the right.

Posted by: oj at March 25, 2007 7:22 PM

The Brits were in international waters.

The Iranians have been and always will be our sworn enemies and the enemies of freedom.

You sir have a choice, freedom or treason.

Posted by: Pez at March 25, 2007 7:29 PM

Too funny. If the Iranians started sailing around NY Harbor or the mouth of the Thames you think we'd not stop them? If you want to act provocatively you can't go all whiny when your foe hands you your head. The Brits are punching above their weight.

The Iranians have a freer society than we do, though it's because their government is so inefficient. It's not a question of freedom.

Posted by: oj at March 26, 2007 6:31 AM