Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Our Resolve

Last year I wrote about the Islamic Revival. This phrase is used by critics and supporters—often as the preferred terminology instead of Islamism, militant Islam, radical Islam, fundamentalist Islam and other Western neologisms. The reason it is rarely used in the West is that it implies that what we are seeing today is just Islam—full undiluted original Islam. Sometimes this is called Salafist Islam, as if this was a sect within a larger religion. But the term just means the Islam of Mohammad and the first four rightly guided caliphs, i.e. original Islam.

Resent elections through out the Islamic world show a renewed enthusiasm for the original Islam, as the mythology describes it. Secular dictators have retooled to cash-in on the revival. Saddam was undergoing a image change prior to his fall. In a recent speech, James Woolsey explains:

“Today, however, the ideology of our enemies is vibrant, strong, and religiously rooted. It presents a very difficult problem for us, because the Islamist-Salafist ideology, in the Middle East particularly and some other parts of the Muslim world, it is attracting some of the more talented and able young men and occasionally young women of those societies. There is, in the Salafist world, fire in the minds of men. …”

“We’ve only fought one enemy in modern times whose totalitarianism had an important religious component, and that was the Japanese empire during World War II, with its distortion of Shintoism. But these enemies that I’ve described in this long war we’re in now have roots that are I think far deeper and far more involved in the history of Islam than the Japanese distortions about Shintoism.”

However, even Woolsey doesn’t understand the depth of the problem. He says, “These enemies and their totalitarianism are rooted in a distorted version of a minority view of their religions.” How is the Salafist practice, returning to the example of Mohammad, a distortion of the religion? Was Mohammad an extremist who hijacked Islam? Nevertheless, Woolsey realizes the danger and need to act: “With respect to ideology, I am of the view that we are going to need to treat the Wahhabi or the theocratic Shi’ite form of Islam somewhat the way we treated Communism during the Cold War.”

He continues the article with a discussion of oil and alternatives. But that has little to do with fighting the war. The enemy has a valuable weapon in its oil productions, not because they sell oil to us, but because they sell oil. No matter who buys the oil they will have the resources to implement the spread of Islam. If they lost their oil producing capacities, necessity would be “the mother of invention” that spurs our creation of alternatives. But the American public wouldn't accept the interim hardship unless they understood the danger of Islam. Thus, the first order of business is education. Once people understand the danger they’ll gain the will to act. We are still in the educational phase.

It took 30 years, from 1917 to Churchill’s Iron Curtin Speech in 1947, before the American people fully realized the threat of communism. Some understood in the 1920s but the 1930s was called the Red Decade because of the widespread enthusiasm for totalitarianism. It was in the 1950s that the right and moderate left fully faced the threat. Still, some on the left tried to distinguish between moderate communism (i.e. socialism) and its fundamentalist implementation in the Soviet Union. Today, we see a similar attempt to salvage Islam from the Salafists--only it is widespread and undercutting our effort to fully understand the threat.

The educational effort is still in its beginning stages. The public’s doubt is growing but there is no articulated leadership to solidify that doubt into a vocal opposition. I understand now what those early critics of communism felt as they saw the world in denial. But they didn’t give up; and neither shall we.

50 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

“We’ve only fought one enemy in modern times whose totalitarianism had an important religious component, and that was the Japanese empire during World War II, with its distortion of Shintoism. But these enemies that I’ve described in this long war we’re in now have roots that are I think far deeper and far more involved in the history of Islam than the Japanese distortions about Shintoism.” - James Woolsey

The Shintoism of World War 2 Japan came after a Imperial "revivalist" backlash against centuries of Buddhist syncretic influences upon "original" Shinto during the mid 19th Century, returning Japan to a more "pure" form of Shintoism.

I wouldn't have said "distortion" of Shintoism. Woolsey is being too multi-cultie here. He would be better off being more realistic and saying Islam and Shintoism are totalitarian ideologies when practiced faithfully.

5/3/06, 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post Jason. I'd like to comment on this:

"But the American public wouldn't accept the interim hardship unless they understood the danger of Islam."

If America (and the West) wasn't being ravaged by the toxicity of environmentalism and its anti-industrial politics we would not be at the mercy of Middle Eastern dictators. If we had greater economic liberty in our domestic energy industry (or even if we had Capitalism perish the thought), Middle Eastern oil would be largely irrelevant. We could prosecute this war without having to suffer any privations.

But we come back to the same issue: namely altruism. Altruism is killing us economically and killing us (litteraly) internationally. The solution to both is an ethics of egoism. The US is generations away (at a conservative estimate) of having that kind of philosopical rennaissance.

So my answer to the above quote is: if the American citizenry were able to understand the evil of religion (with Islam as the greatest example) it would also understand the evil of environmentalism. The culture would be indescribably healthier than it is now and it would not need sacrifices on the behalf of its people to fight a militarily innefectual enemy that it could obliterate in a weekend (or thereabouts).

D. Eastbrook

5/3/06, 1:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I wouldn't have said "distortion" of Shintoism. Woolsey is being too multi-cultie here. He would be better off being more realistic and saying Islam and Shintoism are totalitarian ideologies when practiced faithfully."

Excellent statement. But here is my question: what elements of Japanese culture made it possible for so great a Westernization? Was it the nukes that so devestated their will for war? Or were there pro-western elements hidden behind Shintoism? Also, was (is) Shintoism as life-hating as Islam? (I already suspect the answer is a strong no, but why?)

D. Eastbrook

5/3/06, 1:32 AM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Shintoism is an animistic religion full of inherent contradictions (at least to the Western rational mind). For example, Shintoists do not believe in an afterlife, but at the same time they worship ancestors and call on them for assistance and intercessions.

Anyhow, "reformed" Shintoism re-established the Japanese Emperor as a deity. America's incinerating Nagasaki and Hiroshima with impugnity did much to dispel that fanciful notion, for what good is a god who can't even keep bombs off his turf?

5/3/06, 1:59 AM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

We are fighting an army of Marxist enablers who spin all Muslim attrocities into cultural variants.
It is time for a look at the old Bolshevik network in accademia.

5/3/06, 3:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Easterbrook,

obliterate or subdue?

...that's where you lose me.

...that's where you lose ducky (hope you don't mind me speakin' out for you here)

...that's where you lose the common man.

And it's got little to do with "altruism". Have you ever heard of "grace"? Can't a healthy dog suffer a single flea to feed?

-FJ

5/3/06, 1:01 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...

The problem with fleas is that there is never just one...

5/3/06, 1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...that's why you apply flea powder to the dog every once and a while... keeps 'em from jumpin' on.

We don't need to apply the powder to the whole forest!

-FJ

5/3/06, 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can't a healthy dog suffer a single flea to feed?'

No.


Here related is the story of the flea and the man:

"Once, a flea was irritating a man relentlessly. So he caught it and said to it:
'Who are you, who makes a meal of all my limbs, biting me all over at random?'
The flea answered:
'That's the way we live. Don't kill me, for I can't do much harm.'
The man started to laugh and said:
'You're going to die now, and at my hands, for however great or small the harm it is imperative to stop you from breeding.'"

It has everything to do with altruism. But you're a Kantian, so what's the point of arguing.



D. Eastbrook

5/3/06, 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Jewish friends hate this idea, but I suggest we make baseball America's national religion and require all inhabitant's to attend one national baseball game a year, at which they must consume one 100% pork American hot-dog, and drink one 100% domestic beer.

Flea Powder for the dog.

-FJ

5/3/06, 1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We don't need to apply the powder to the whole forest!"

Depends on the forest.

"That's where you lose the common man."

Sadly this is so. The common man has been so indoctrinated with self-sacrificial ethics that an egoistic approach to warfare would frighten him. And in all probability the common man will suffer greatly for this. But reality can't be avoided nor can the malevolence of Islam or the treachery of the Left or the cowardice of the Right.


D. Eastbrook

5/3/06, 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The common man also has a right hemisphere to his brain.

-FJ

5/3/06, 1:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's where his SuperEgo lives.

-FJ

5/3/06, 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best balance the two hemisphere's Easterbrooke...

or you'll end up listing to one side when you walk.

-FJ

5/3/06, 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and that's enough insult's for one session. Sorry Jason. I can't control myself.

-FJ

5/3/06, 1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and that's enough insult's for one session"

FJ, that's all you have.

D. Eastbrook

5/3/06, 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It must be lonely wherever you reside in the political spectrum 'D... with all those treacherous lefties... cowardly righties, and all us indoctrinated common guys spoutin' Kant...

-FJ

5/3/06, 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"and all us indoctrinated common guys spoutin' Kant."

The overwhelming majority of "commen men" have never even heard of Kant. But that doesn't change the fact that his ideas (as well as others ofcourse) significantly affect their lives.

D. Eastbrook

5/3/06, 6:47 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

""The educational effort is still in its beginning stages.""

Doesn't it strike anyone as contradictory that western experts on Islam (who've never been in a Mosque)know more about jihad than the entire population of Muslims? Robert Spencer make this point beeter than I, but I've talked to many friends and aquintences who refuse to acknowledge the violence inherent in Islam. Even when I can show them in print. They seem to think I'm trying to "trick" them. This is the logical
extension of PC. Political therory prevails over truth. People died on 9/11 because of this and more will die in the future. All because we can't admit that jihad means jihad, beheading means beheading and "untill all is for Islam" means a global Caliphate. Knowing this would have kept Muslim illegal aliens from taking flight lessons and boarding our planes. But admittedly, we would 've bruised the feelings of those who want to kill us.

5/3/06, 7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the masses have never heard of Kant, why trash him? What purpose do your rhetorical tauntologies serve? They certainly are doing nothing to convince me that Rand's entire epistemology is not merely a warmed over version of Nietzsche's "master" morality, whose foundation lies as far from "reason" as it is possible to go.

In fact, because of this very fact, you've been unwilling to engage in any form of reasoned dialectic. I question your sincerity in wishing to uncover the truth... for below the surface, your truth is nothing but a "will to power", making you no better, worse even, than the common men who know nothing, for they will admit to knowing nothing. Yet you seem to insist that you know something. So spit it out Easterbrook... "What do you know?"

-FJ

5/3/06, 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't tell me what you feel.

-FJ

5/3/06, 7:47 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Jason,

Fundamentalism is a sect, it bases its truth upon the actions of the prophet Muhammed. All religions claim an inherent truth and as I am not a member of Islam I don't much care if they base that truth on the original truth of Islam or the natural beauty of the world. All I want is for Islam to move to a derivation/sect more compatible with me as a Westerner. To have this happen does not require that I change. I am happy enough being me and i would rather the Islamists were forced to adapt.

Your argument calls upon the West to change, to become more excusively Western and not accepting of Islam. Excuse me my arrogance, but I do not see why we need to change from our current posture. The approach of accepting Shinto shrines and Social Democrats in our midst has allowed us to defeat communism and suppress emporer worship - free speech, free religion are our values and they are victorious. The threat of Islam is no different, we need to subvert it into a form acceptable to us.

To subvert Islam to our ends we need to break the power of the Islamic Revival by breaking its oil revenue. Reduction of oil demand (as suggested by James Woolsey) would damage their revenue, but not too much (as you point out the Chinese and Indians would still take up the slack). To break the oil revenue requires breaking the salafist regimes of Saudi Arabia and Iran.

What you suggest is proscribing Islamic thought, prohibition has never really worked - but thanks for suggesting it.



D Eastbrook,
Altruistic America - must remember that one, very funny. LOL

5/3/06, 9:32 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

I posted this article on my blog

5/3/06, 10:08 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
Just stopping by here a minute before I knock it off and go to bed.

Woolsey spoke at the pre-symposium event, and much of what is in this FPM aritcle was included in his speech the evening of April 28. I heard the error which you've pointed out:

However, even Woolsey doesn’t understand the depth of the problem. He says, “These enemies and their totalitarianism are rooted in a distorted version of a minority view of their religions.” How is the Salafist practice, returning to the example of Mohammad, a distortion of the religion?

Unfortunately, that evening we had no forewarning that we would be hearing lengthy presentations before the cocktail party, how that evening was advertised, so I had to take my notes on business cards.

But one thing which Woolsey did well in his speech on April 28 was to elcidate some of the differences between the Cold War and the war in which we are now embroiled.

Woolsey is an excellent speaker, with just the right touches of humor and seriousness, but he's missing the boat about Islam. We are indeed still in the educational phase, and our leaders to get educated ASAP. All Muslims read the same Koran and Hadith, and "serious" Muslims believe that these are the literal word of Allah. The Western idea of interpretation, which allows for symbolism, is not Islamic.

5/3/06, 10:42 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

"Your argument calls upon the West to change, to become more excusively Western and not accepting of Islam. Excuse me my arrogance, but I do not see why we need to change from our current posture." -unaha

If our posture is appeasement, we need to change. If our posture is denial, we need to change. If our posture is weak and ineffective, we need to change. I think you know this.

5/3/06, 11:03 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks, AOW. I remember you were there and I was hoping you'd comment. It sounds like a productive conference.

I noticed the New York Sun is facing the harsh reality about Islam. There's nothing new in those articles for us but it's great to see others catching up.

5/3/06, 11:09 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,
On Friday evening, we heard Woolsey, Miniter, Phares, and Timmerman. All except Phares placed great emphasis on enlisting the help of moderate Muslims; Phares also mentioned the same, but with less enthusiasm.

Have you seen Spencer's little debate at JW with Miniter?

When I came home on Friday evening, after one too many glasses of wine (My husband chauffered me on both days--just a precaution), I was discouraged because most of what I had heard from the pre-symposium speakers was this: GWB is on the right track, and buddy-up with the moderates.

Saturday was different. On the second day, we got the unvarnished truth about Islam and the Left.

I have already posted the article which all of us were encouraged to do, first thing--the Mir story from WND. Next up is the first speaker, Brigitte Gabriel. I have that particular blog article ready and will post it tonight or tomorrow. My schedule is very busy right now (End of term is the last week of May), but my plan is to post one symposium-related article a week, probably on Fridays. If I adhere to this plan, I'll be weeks in giving my full report.

The education has just begun!

Now, if we can just get our leaders to get educated.

5/4/06, 8:23 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

If our posture is appeasement, we need to change. If our posture is denial, we need to change. If our posture is weak and ineffective, we need to change. I think you know this.

Yes I think appeasement for salafists is bad, denial of the fundamentalist sect within Islam is bad, it is weak and ineffective and needs change. I think the Islamic Revival is the problem. But offering friendship to and doing business with Turks, Kurds, Malays, Iraqis or moderates within Islam, is a good thing. They don't hurt us, why be confrontational to them? And perhaps more importantly how?

There are hundred of millions of them, can't we sell Coca-cola and Mercedes Benz? If we focus on the salafists we can. If we condemm all Muslim thought we can't.

The West has found freedom of speech and freedom of religion to be very profitable. Freedom to worship as we choose is a basic freedom. We should not limit this freedom because some percentage of muslims are attacking us. Rather we should attempt to reduce that percentage of muslims.

5/4/06, 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

unaha-closp,

Keep talkin' because you make a LOT of sense!

-FJ

5/4/06, 10:41 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Unaha, I’ll repeat what I wrote on 12/31:

“What is Islam? First we must distinguish between the ideology (philosophy) and the demographic group, Muslims (sociology.) As an ideology, Islam is understood by studying the ideas and their origin. Islam is an imperialist supremacist political ideology created by a 7th century warrior who conquered and oppressed.”

Here, I explain in detail how Islam is an ideology. Here, I explain the sociological fact that there are moderate Muslims, even if Islam itself isn’t moderate. I warn that we have to avoid an equivocation between the demographic group and the ideology, as some try to turn our criticism of ideas into a crude vilification of a nominal demographic group.”

Contrary to rumor, we didn’t give up freedom of speech and assembly when we fought communism and we won’t be giving up freedom of religion and political association when we fight Islam. Woosley is right that we can look to the example of the Cold War to understand the resolve and determination that it takes to fight this battle. Your “straw man” argument has nothing to do with what I wrote or what I’m saying. I have absolutely no idea where you think I believe we give up our rights.

5/4/06, 12:59 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Unaha-closp,

A very serious problem with Islam is its moral code.

A moral code is a set of values chosen to guide our thinking and behavior. There is always some "standard" value, some value that is the most important one, that is used to help us measure all the other values we need.

The operative term here is chosen; you can choose anything you want as the "standard" value by which all the others are measured.

Once the "standard of the good" has been selected, then everything you do that tends to support it is regarded as "good," while everything you do that tends to threaten it is considered "bad."

Islam and the West have chosen very different "standards" by which to measure the "goodness" or "badness" of their thinking and behavior.

We in the West have generally chosen "life" (as appropriate to the nature of a human being) as the "standard" of by which to judge whether something is good or not.

For this reason, thoughts and actions that tend to promote life appropriate to a human being are generally regarded as "good," while those that tend to threaten it are regarded as "bad."

There's a lot of inconsistency among people who don't understand exactly what "appropriate to the nature of the human being" means, but that's another comment. In general, to quite an extent, "life" is held by the West to be the "standard of the good."

Islam has chosen quite a different "standard" altogether. In the moral code of Islam, the "standard of the good" is the spread of Islam.

Therefore, anything, up to and including murder and mayhem, that is used to support the spread of Islam is good, while anything, including the refusal to submit, is regarded as bad.

For the overwhelming majority of people, their religions are the vehicles for their moral codes. Since religions involve a deity, and deities are powerful and absolute, then the moral code, which is considered to come from the deity, derives much, if not all, of its qualities of power and absoluteness from the deity.

For many of us who do not believe in a deity, the source of our certainty is the fundamental metaphysical question, that of whether something exists or does not exist.

"Life" is the only entity which can utterly cease to exist in any form whatsoever. All other entities can change, but their substance continues to exist in one form or another. They can't just "cease to exist."

But not so with life; life exists, and when we die, it doesn't.

So those of us who do not rely on a deity as the source of our moral code rely on the absolute represented by the existence of life itself.

It's important here to point out that something can be of value only to a living entity; I won't go into it any further here, but I just needed to make the point that non-living entities can't have values.

It's the profound difference in our moral codes that makes the values of Islam and the West mutually exclusive.

There may well be many, many Muslims in many countries who would much prefer to be able to live in peace among the "Others," but to do so, there is one condition that must obtain: They must change their moral code.

So long as they hold as an absolute that the spread of Islam is the standard of the good, they cannot live in peace with the "Others."

If all Muslims could be persuaded to change their moral code, then many other aspects of Islam could remain comfortably familiar. But since they hold that their moral code, like Islam itself, derives from Allah himself and can thus never be changed, they are stuck in a state of permanent conflict with the "Others."

Many Muslims would probably prefer a reasonable relationship with the "Others," but as things stand now, they must "compartmentalize" Islam, living as much of their lives as they can by the relatively decent stuff, and rejecting the nasty stuff wherever they can.

The problem is, since the religion and the moral code are fused, they can't get rid of the moral code without getting rid of Allah. They can't change it; they can't select some other "standard of the good."

In every generation, there will always be some who choose not to compartmentalize, and they will think and behave using the spread of Islam as their standard of the good.

It's because of this difference in moral codes that a Muslim can kill children in a school and feel morally justified. It's a good thing to kill children, if, in so doing, they are obeying the mandate to spread Islam.

And because so many Westerners hold that all moral codes based in religion are rather more alike than not, that they think Muslims who think and act like - well, like Moussaoui, for example - have to be "crazy." One would have to be crazy, after all, to act in such an immoral way!

Well, Muslims have no corner on the crazy market. There are manic-depressives and schizophrenics among them, too.

Moussaoui, for example, wasn't crazy; he merely held a different moral code that LOOKED crazy to our psychiatrists who evaluated him, never realizing how profoundly moral codes influence thinking and behavior.

Anyway, so long as Islam incorporates into its (totally irrational) philosophy a moral code like that, there will always, generation after generation, be those who, in the name of Allah, will be on the warpath against the "Others."

The conflict will last as long as Islam does.

Amazing what a simple difference in the choice of values can produce, isn't it?

5/4/06, 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cough. You and I already had this talk cubed, so I won't say anymore.

-FJ

5/4/06, 2:55 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

It’s hard to argue with Cubed’s assertion that Islam is an ideology, or moral code, bent on conquest and subjugation. Only the lack of military capacity has limited Islam in that respect. The mandate to regain all conquered lands puts Israel, Spain, East Timor, and Greece in the cross hairs of Islam. But the goal of global conquest motivates the true jihadist. The withdrawal of the USSR from Afghanistan and the installation of an Islamist regime in Iran have galvanized the Islamic community. As has the attacks of 9/11.

We, of course, have the military power to take over most countries around the globe if we were willing to kill as easily as the jihadist. But a life-center ethos prevails. We did not hold on to Western Europe the way Russia held on to Eastern Europe. We didn’t colonize Japan they was Japan conquered Korea and China. Nor did we seek an Eastern expansion the way Germany had tried twice in two World Wars. Given our power, the lack of global conquest is unusual. But we seek to trade, not to dominate and subjugate. American’s liberty and Islamic oppression stem from two opposing ethical dispositions.

5/4/06, 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess we owe Mr. Kant and the other enlightened liberal thinkers of the past a debt of gratitude, then.

-FJ

5/4/06, 7:25 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Here in the Anglo-sphere we owe Mr. Locke, Mr. Jefferson, and countless other liberal thinkers for what is undoubtedly the greatest liberal experiment: America.

5/4/06, 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to that.

-FJ

5/4/06, 8:53 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Ideally living in a world without Islam would be marvellous, no question. But how?

Islam is partly not drinking, tithing 10% of your income to help the poor, praying five times a day - mundane and inoffensive. The compartmentalisation cubed refers to allows moderate muslims to cherry pick and choose what they feel right to worship. The Salafists say that this compartmenting is wrong and that the entire muslim faith must be adhered to, that the only duty of a Muslim is to follow the entirety of the Koran. Clearly these two modes of worshiping Allah are in conflict. I believe it is to our benefit to promote the idea of cherry picking and compartments - support the moderates. It is into this selective framework that ideas such as humanism and secularism can be introduced.

You and cubed seem to infer that we should not support the moderates because they may decide to become fully committed to Islam and that we should withold support until they change the basics of Islam (change the Koran). I believe that to be impractical (does it mean we have to stop selling them stuff?) and a bit scary (after ostracising their religion what happens?).

We should only attack those that support a fundamentalist Islam and defend those that do not. And we can do this now by using our current working Western philosophy of defensive action. You state that America did not take over it's conquored states like the Soviets took Eastern Europe, this is because Anerica acts only to defend itself and its interests. Applying that today means acting only against those that threaten and promote jihad - wahabists and iranian influenced shia. If the salafist states are destroyed then salafisms capability to do harm is greatly reduced. Acting pre-emtivey against all the moderates who are doing no harm is a waste of resource.

I am against the ideal of jihad and against the subjucation of women under Islam and against the prohibition on usury. Attacking these ideals and the idiots who cling to them is in my best interests. But the Islamic requirement to bathe feet before prayer is thoroughly mundane and not in my best interest to waste time condemning.

5/4/06, 9:15 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Well, unaha, you go farther that I would in your ambitious policy of transforming a barbaric culture. I’m not trying to change the principles of the Salafists as you suggest. I’d prefer a policy that establishes a deterrent by discouraging them from practicing their principles—in particular jihad. Yes, I argued that secularization is a long-term solution for their problems and I think it is doable but I’m not on a crusade to reform their society. I accept the enemy’s nature as it is and I believe we should be cognizant of it and act accordingly to insure that their will to wage jihad is crushed, even if the idea of jihad remains an acknowledged ideal.

Establishing a deterrent requires understanding the enemy’s way of thinking and finding their weak spot. It also requires understanding the righteousness of our cause and the vile nature of theirs. The resolve that I talk about requires an intellectual battle. The military part is not the hard part. The war will not be lost over there. It can only be lost over here. The enemy can only win by default. The decay of our culture is the biggest problem. Our inability to face the evil nature of our enemy and champion our greatness is only a symptom of the decay that we might fight.

That should be the focus on my blog but I don't think I've achieved my goal.

5/4/06, 10:13 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

I find myself agreeing with everything you wrote in that last comment. However the definition of the enemy is more specific (salafists and supporting dictators) and our side more diverse (everybody, all religions who put wealth before spiritalism). Defined thus the weakness of the enemy is obvious, their reliance on oil and our strength is our ability to take that oil for our side. Install a petty dictator or an open democracy in Iran and Saudi - we win. This war can be won over there.



BTW - merely half of the task you've set yourself of defining Westerness is very, very big. You are well grounded in philosophy and a good writer, it is nice you have this challenge to extend yourself. Best of luck.

5/5/06, 3:10 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks.

5/5/06, 6:48 AM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

FJ,

Objectivism as retreaded Nietzsche?

Bullseye.

5/5/06, 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They certainly are doing nothing to convince me that Rand's entire epistemology is not merely a warmed over version of Nietzsche's "master" morality, whose foundation lies as far from "reason" as it is possible to go."

Its not my job to convince you of anything. You would have to convince yourself through years of deligent study. But as I said, Rand is frightening to someone like you. You would have to think over much of what you know. You are obviously older and have no desire to do that as it would be too disorienting. So go on hating Rand. It means nothing to me.

Hang a big picture of Kant and Nietzsche on the wall and sing to them every night. Whatever your fancy.

D. Eastbrook

5/5/06, 8:04 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

The practicing of what we Westerners might call religious ritual--praying, washing feet, etc.--doesn't make Islam dangerous. But what Cubed referred to as "moral code" does make it dangerous. And when that moral code is bound up with making Islam the supreme ideology of the world--in other words, totalitarian--and by means of armed force and/or terrorism, the lines have been drawn. And those lines have been periodically drawn for some 1400 years, with some ebb and flow. One can make the case that the ebb occurs only because of military force and resistance on the part of Dar al-Harb.

The Salafists claim that they are the practitioners of the real Islam. Could it be that devout Muslims believe that to be the case because of multiple verses in the Koran? We Westerners are used to the cafeteria style of religion, lack thereof, and of any ideology: I like this part, so I'll believe it; I don't like this part, so I won't believe it. We use our reason and our own moral code (on which most Westerners would agree, I think) to make our choice, and we have the freedom to make those choices. But Islam, in whatever form, doesn't allow for that freedom of choice.

Furthermore, that cafeteria-style has led to the fracturing of cultural complexion and to what I refer as susceptibility to wishy-washiness. Nevertheless, underneath that softening of our Western moral code lies the assumption that all sane people will agree with the code, which is Judeo-Christian and Enlightenment in origin. Islam repudiates much of what we take for granted, so for the two cultures even to communicate is difficult, if not impossible.

All of the above is not to say that ALL Muslims are terrorists. But any movement toward secularization or moderation of the tenets of Islam meets with fierce resistance. And that resistance can be supported by Islamic theologians.

As I see it, all sects of Islam still have the same goal--Islam must rule the world, be the achievement of that goal by means of "moderation" or my "radicalism."

Cubed has made an interesting point, which I feel bears some consideration:

Moussaoui, for example, wasn't crazy; he merely held a different moral code that LOOKED crazy to our psychiatrists who evaluated him

When one holds to a particular moral code, logic from outside that moral code will fall on deaf ears or to ignoring even the existence of that moral code. What we Westerners feel is evil, criminal, unacceptable--yes, crazy--is not crazy at all because what we perceive to be aberration is normal within that particular code.

In this thread, we are all using our various types of reasoning to try to analyze an ideology which doesn't even accept those forms of reasoning because they are not in the Koran and the Hadith. And, historically, when any Muslim tries to employ the same kind of reasoning we're unable to think without using, he is declared an apostate and removed, so to speak.

I'll close with this...Any religious zealotry is dangerous when it is bound with the state. And any ideology which doesn't allow for free-thinking and critique is the same.

5/5/06, 10:03 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

D. Eastbrook,
Its not my job to convince you of anything. You would have to convince yourself through years of deligent study.

Islam teaches the opposite.

5/5/06, 10:04 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

D. Eastbrook,

Do you have a picture of Ayn Rand on your wall that you sing to every night?

5/6/06, 1:52 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Yes our moral code is wishy-washy, but it is so because we need allowances to progress in a capitalist society. If we had stronger moral foundations we may find it difficult to make profits.

Place the same pressures and potential rewards into a muslim setting by taking away the oil crutch that the hardcore islamists regimes use to enforce the salafist religion and we will likely see a similar wishy washy response in the muslim world. I see the salafist version of Islam as a luxury which is unsustainable to the leaders of Islam if competitive pressure is applied to them.

5/6/06, 3:53 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

UC,
Place the same pressures and potential rewards into a muslim setting by taking away the oil crutch that the hardcore islamists regimes use to enforce the salafist religion and we will likely see a similar wishy washy response in the muslim world.

I'm not sure that Muslims place all that much value on profits. But certainly the Muslim regimes dependent on oil dollars do.

I recently attended a symposium at which Dr. Babu Suseelan spoke. In this list of strategies, he never once mentioned capitalism; all of his presentation focused on ideology and psychology (Dr. Suseelan is a clinical psychologist). He also contends that not only the Salafists are dangerous, and gives a brief history of Islam, before the rise of Salafism. Of course, India suffered Islamic persecution well before the twentieth-century generations of jihadists.

Blogger-tech-issues willing, I will post a summary of Dr. Suseelan's presentation on Friday, May 12 (or thereabouts).

Dr. Suseelan has some essays posted at Faith Freedom. You might find his essays of interest.

I am not an expert on the subcontinent of India, but I think that what has happened there--and is still happening--bears consideration.

5/6/06, 11:14 AM  
Blogger Iran Watch said...

Jason, you are definitely one of the most talented writers on the blogspere. Your research and insight are heads above most others.
I completely agree with your references towards Japan. Communism tried to replace God with the state while Islam replaces the state with God.
A much more dangerous proposition.

5/6/06, 1:18 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

unaha-closp said...

"Yes our moral code is wishy-washy, but it is so because we need allowances to progress in a capitalist society. If we had stronger moral foundations we may find it difficult to make profits."

Oh, dear. Oh, my. Sigh. I am in pain.

UC, Capitalism is the only form of social organization that is based on a totally valid moral code. Any "wishy-washy" qualities come from a collectivist, non-capitalist form of social organization.

You say "...we need allowances to progress in a capitalist society."

No. We need a moral code that does not require "allowances" in order to live. A lot of people have been taught that life on this earth, the "practical" kind of existence, is somehow improper, dirty, or immoral. They have been taught that only a life that is basically lived at the subsistence level, full of sacrifice (you know what THAT means - to give up something of greater value for something of lesser value), and without joy, is "moral."

There is no social system other than Capitalism, be it our own mixed system to the worst of the worst totalitarians, where individual rights are fully respected, and where the moral code supports life in a non-wishy-washy way.

One of these days, maybe with the next (post-Islamic?) apocalypse, we may even achieve a real capitalist system! Maybe the next "dip" will give us cause to stop and think.

There's a discussion taking place at a conference to be held this summer that will discuss what such a society (modeled after "Galt's Gulch" in Atlas Shrugged) would be like, and what it will take to achieve it. Wish I could go!

We in the United States have never had a fully capitalist social system, although we were much closer to it earlier in our history than we are now. The little bit of Capitalism that we have achieved is being eroded at a ferocious rate.

Capitalism refers to a society (not just an economic system) which has complete respect individual rights, without exception. There's nothing "wishy-washy" about the moral code in a Capitalist society.

The function of government in a Capitalist society is to prevent the violation of those rights. We all know how quickly THAT concept is circling the drain!

You can see where it's terribly important to know exactly what a "right" is, especially these days, when the meaning of a "right" has been dismally corrupted to mean an entitlement, or something the government lets you do.

It really takes too long to derive the meaning of a "right" in a short space like this, but sometimes it helps to say how "rights" can be violated. Someone's rights are violated when someone else initiates the use of physical force or its intellectual equivalent, fraud or deceit. In a Capitalist society, THAT'S what the government is instituted among us to do - to prevent (or punish) those who initiate the use of physical force or fraud/deceit against another. Another "shortie" that is sort of useful is, "Your rights stop at my skin." I said "sort of," but still, given our educational system and the fact that it's run by a bunch of postmodernists who despise rights, it's not too bad.

A valid moral code ultimately supports the concept of profit (which is not a four letter word, except among people who have been taught that human life should not be the standard of the good).

Only when a moral code is uncertain about whether "life as appropriate to the nature of a human being" is the primary, or standard, value upon which all others are based, does it become "wishy-washy," indecisive, uncertain, and lend itself to moral equivalency.

A moral code that does not permit us to live life in a manner consistent with our nature as human beings is wishy-washy. It always tells us that somehow, in some way, our lives are not important in the grand scheme of things. If we can be convinced of that, then we become vulnerable to all sorts of totalitarian and quasi-totalitarian systems.

Oh, my. Oh, dear. It's a long, uphill battle, I'm afraid.

Hey, everybody, go re-read "Anthem." It's short and engaging. It'll give us the best-case scenario for the future, should a wishy-washy moral code prevail, and should we one day have to climb out of the blackness of a totalitarian (Islamic?) dark age.

You'll love the ending!

5/6/06, 8:29 PM  
Blogger Weingarten said...

I strongly concur with Jason, who seeks “a policy that establishes a deterrent by discouraging them from practicing their principles—in particular jihad” and that “establishing a deterrent requires understanding the enemy’s way of thinking and finding their weak spot. It also requires understanding the righteousness of our cause and the vile nature of theirs.”

Now it is has been mentioned that this is a huge undertaking. However, there is a simplified guide for this approach, namely focusing on the principle of the non-initiation of force, which can be stated as “None have the right to initiate force, but the obligation to resist it.” Note that this principle: supports a policy of deterrence; finds the weak spot of Islam (in changing the world by the sword of the Koran); and differentiates between the ideal of our civilization, and their antithesis to civilization itself.

5/7/06, 8:57 AM  

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