Thursday, October 25, 2007

Islam is Islamo-Fascism

As part of the “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” David Horowitz tried to give a talk at Emory University. Prevented from speaking by thugs in the audience, he finally had to be whisked away by security. Horowitz said, “I've spoken at Emory University several times and I've never seen it this bad … This is exactly what the fascists did in Germany in the 1930s.” (Hat Tip LA).

Lawrence Auster rightly criticizes the notion that only a false variant of Islam, Islamo-Fascism, is the problem. I’ve talked about the alleged “bad” variants of Islam, so-called radical Islam or militant Islam, in a discussion of terminology in this post. I have no problem with phrases that, at best, have rhetorical redundancy. However, Auster has an excellent point. Without clarification, one is misleading the audience about the true nature of Islam, which is problematic at the core.

Full practicing Muslims, however, aren’t fooled. They know their religion is under attack. This is one of the reasons they are striking back at Horowitz. The moderates, i.e. lax or lapsed Muslims, have no conceptual defense because slacking-off isn’t a principled alternative – it isn’t an ideal to rally the fight against Islam’s revival.

The focus of “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” is inherently altruistic – Islam is bad for them. Auster points this out. Still, I’d give Horowitz credit for exposing life under Islamic rule because the inherent nature of an Islamic social order is evil. They aren’t fighting for a noble ideal. However, it's Islam’s threat to the West that is our first concern, not Islam’s moral and material self-immolation. Care has to be taken not to make a priority of a concern which asks “is it good for them?”

Neither Auster nor Horowitz delves deeper into how the epistemological aspect of Islam – that of blind faith, deferral to authority, and a rejection of reason in human affairs – undermines the ability of Muslims to escape the suffocating grip of Islam.

42 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess what show they are going to have in the UK on Holloween

http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/B/britz/

10/25/07, 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Neither Auster nor Horowitz delves deeper into how the epistemological aspect of Islam – that of blind faith, deferral to authority, and a rejection of reason in human affairs – undermines the ability of Muslims to escape the suffocating grip of Islam."

Auster can't do that because he is a Christian who believes that reason is limited and that a world without faith would be doomed. In that sense, he is a typical conservative who believes that without religion and the divine, no truth or morality are possible. He is only able to go so far. In the piece you linked to, he went as far as he is capable of.

John Kim

10/25/07, 8:55 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

I think studying the theology of Islam is important in this battle. Auster and Horowitz would do well to start the first noticible glaring difference between the Judeo-Christian conception of God and Islam's conception of Allah.

The Judeo-Christian conception of God posits that God's actions are always morally good or for the greater moral good.

Islam posits Allah as amoral, just as likely to intentionally decieve someone straight to Hell as deliver them bounty and splendor straight to Heaven. Just as likely to punish a prayer as it is to reward a rape.

The possible ethical systems you can build with these differing premises will always lead to opposite and opposing philosophies. Why?

Judeo-Christian theology posits an absolute moral authority above human action.

Islam posits moral authority comes via the successful application of force.

10/26/07, 12:31 AM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Interesting points.

I think Horowitz is more concerned with the left's defense of radical Islamism as part of hardline leftist indoctrination on America's campuses.

10/27/07, 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is worthwhile to discuss the epistemology and theology of Islam. These are destructive and they go against what is reasonable and moral. However, *what is most essential is the METHOD of Islam*, which is to spread its faith by the sword.

Let us consider the epistemology "of blind faith, deferral to authority, and a rejection of reason", and the theology of an immoral Allah. How harmful would it be, if the METHOD for bringing about the desired world of Dar al Islam, was by setting an example, and by suasion? The Mohammedan would say 'I want a world where everyone is a Mohammedan, and to bring this about will set an example, and try to persuade you, but I shall never employ coercion.' Would you then be bothered, or feel threatened, by Islam?

Similarly, I would not mind if the fascist said that the world would be better off if there were no Jews, or the communist said that the world would be better off if there were no capitalists -- as long as the METHOD of setting an example or attempting to convince people prevailed. The only thing to worry about would be if their example and arguments convinced the mass. In that case, it would be the free-will of the mass that led to a slave morality.

My point is that most everyone focuses upon the beliefs of the Muslims, whereas it is their METHOD that is the essence of its evil. Ayn Rand advocated the non-initiation of force (NIF), which focussed on what ought to be the primary requirement for human relations. Note that this also applies to our civilization, for we initiate force when our government intervenes in the economy, education, health, and all else.

So my question is whether we ought to place METHOD as primary (along with NIF). Or should we treat the beliefs as primary, and then if METHOD is mentioned, say 'Oh yes, that also matters' ?

Weingarten

10/27/07, 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One added point. People complain about Ayn Rand as being selfish or having outlandish views. I may disagree with aspects of her metaphysics and epistemology. Yet, it is only Objectivism that eschews the initiation of force, which renders it as a higher morality than that of its detractors. Who has ever found a way to criticize Ayn Rand for initiating force or fraud, as do all of her detractors?

Weingarten

10/27/07, 11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the interview with one Bruce Tefft at FrontPage Magazine (via VFR).

Unfortunately, the interviewer, Jamie Glazov, cannot help but mention the nonsense that "[Daniel] Pipes profoundly notes that Islam can be what its believers make it, they “can decide afresh what jihad signifies, what rights women have, what role government should play, what forms of interest on money should be banned, plus much else.” And we have a big stake in trying to influence them in this matter."

10/27/07, 3:53 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

“How harmful would it be, if the METHOD for bringing about the desired world of Dar al Islam, was by setting an example, and by suasion?”

Why would an advocate of an authoritarian dogmatic belief system (be it Islam of communism) care about the niceties of rational persuasion? They seek a world where individual judgment is pre-empted by dogma and by submission to authority.

Communists may have complained about their violations of free speech in the past but only as a temporary measure to gain power and do away with freedom of speech; look at the history of communism or examine the atmosphere at today’s universities.

Likewise, Mohammad set an example of tolerance and respect for religious choice when he was out of power in Mecca and needed the benefits of such a policy. Once in power in Medina, his real colors became apparent. Why ask Muslims to deploy taqiyya?

If you don’t believe in a world with individual freedom of thought, why would you hesitate to use force to establish it if force appeared expedient and rational persuasion was found ineffective?

Once you start doubting the efficacy of force you are questioning your belief system, at least implicitly. If you admit rational debate and primacy of individual judgment, you’ve given-up your beliefs. If you see reason as the means of gaining one’s values you've changed your philosophy or at least implicitly admitted that it isn’t potent.

10/28/07, 8:14 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Yes, Glazov clearly has much invested in the notion that Islam can be anything, although he does show some signs of doubt when he questions whether it will still be Islam. Still, those doubts seem to be an aside or remnant of, perhaps, his previous position.

Tefft quotes the leader of the most “moderate” or “modern” Islamic nation, Turkey: “There is no radical nor moderate Islam. That is an insult to Muslims. There is only Islam.”

10/28/07, 8:41 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

One further note.

One can use phrases like “fundamentalist Islam,” “radical Islam,” or “fascist Islam” in two ways. Consider the phrase “fundamentalist Islam.” The word fundamentalist can be seen either as a redundant word used for emphasis or a differentia to designate a subcategory. Often the context will tell the writer's intention but sometimes the phrase can remain ambiguous.

I often use the phrase “fundamentalist Islam” in a conversation with someone new. I tend to drop the word “fundamentalist” and just say Islam. If the conversation evolves I’ll speak about the “Islamic threat.” Those who agree or suspect that the problem is Islam at its core don't complain. Those who hold that it is a branch of Islam that is the problem, protest my omission of the first word.

The phrase is useful in transit. It establishes some common ground. Leftists (and Muslims) who want to whitewash Islam won’t accept any criticism. They’ll cut me off as soon as I level criticism against “fundamentalist Islam.” However, it is worth respecting the context of those who understand that Islam plays a role in the problem even if they can’t yet make-up their mind if the problem is at Islam’s root.

Horowitz is generally a “big tent” guy and welcomes both viewpoints. He tends to focus on the absurd position -- there is nothing wrong with Islam -- that is taken by the left (as Donald notes) and, of course, Muslims. Still, I’m disappointed with Glazov since he had championed Trifkovic’s book, “The Sword of the Prophet,” early on.

10/28/07, 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To my point that it is the method of spreading faith by force that is fundamental, Jason counters that certain belief systems do not permit rational persuasion. Thus he suggests that the problem is not the Islamists' method for changing the world, but their underlying beliefs. My point however is not to get the Muslims to change their method, for it is integral. Rather it is to clarify that they are beyond the pale when their approach is force and violence. At issue is how we are to counter Islam. When we get into ideas it is helpful, but when we point out their method it is telling.

Consider Jason’s argument that since dogmatic authoritarians will not change their method, we ought not focus on method. It applies equally well to their epistemology, for to modify his words ‘Why would the advocate care about the niceties of epistemology?’ Again, at issue is not how they might change, but how we can best defend against them. As long as we confine our focus to their beliefs, the issue is that of academic discussion. Here, they are pleased to enter our universities, get into dialogues, and obtain legitimacy. They will even shout down speakers and intimidate writers, under the guise of free speech and free expression. Then the totalitarians will show that many of the beliefs of their adversaries have similar irrationalities, as in our religions and outlooks. *When, during the course of a conversation one’s opponent brandishes a sword, the issue is not his beliefs, but his sword. Would someone reply that ‘we cannot expect a person with totalitarian ideas to not use a sword, so let us focus on his ideas’?*

Ideas are important, but some are more important than others. What is most important about ideas is whether they support moral or immoral actions. So even a pure idealist recognizes a relation between ideas and actions. We note the difference between someone who has vicious ideas, but does not act upon them, and someone who does. Our legal system does not prosecute people who wish to rob, rape, and murder, but only those who act on those wishes. Let us also note, that Ayn Rand did not justify war against totalitarians because of their beliefs, but because they initiated force.

What is most important is that our public does not recognize that Islam is a threat. Consider Daniel Pipes’ view that believers “can decide afresh what jihad signifies”. We can look at this as an irrational view which says that a belief can be interpreted any way that we choose. Then we can interpret what Pipes said as meaning its very opposite, namely that jihad can only be interpreted as meaning robbing, rape, and murder. Thus, we can consider his view as contradictory. However, let us get to the source of his irrationality. He simply cannot face that Islam must be viewed as a threat. This is what *we must get across to the public, not merely that Islam has mistaken ideas, but that it is a THREAT to all that we hold dear.*

In sum: Islam will surely not operate by a decent method, whether in action or epistemology; our aim is not to reform it, but to defend against it; while dealing with the flaws in their thinking is important, what is most evil, and what places Islam beyond normal interchange, is its METHOD of spreading its faith by force.

Weingarten

10/28/07, 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason, would it be correct to say that our difference is that what you wish to get across is that Islam's epistemology is horrendous, while what I wish to get across is that Islam is a threat to us?

Weingarten

10/28/07, 11:15 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

The purpose of understanding the ideas of Islam is to understand the dispositions of Muslims. To fight Islam one must first understand its nature. It is a threat because it is egregiously wrong and if acted upon results in atrocities.

The purpose of our defense is to discourage Muslims from acting on their ideas. Here we agree. Their method is their message given that Islam is an imperialist warrior ideology of conquest and oppression. By maintaining the proper resolve and willingness to respond with the utmost military retaliation, we can hope that Muslims will not act on their disposition. In a sense we aren’t changing them in any fundamental way (as others advocate). We are trying to make them hypocrites, to frighten them not to practice what they preach.

I believe we basically agree that we need to establish a deterrent.

10/28/07, 11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason, you write:

"The purpose of our defense is to discourage Muslims from acting on their ideas...we basically agree that we need to establish a deterrent."

Isn't there a prior requirement, namely getting the public to recognize that Islam is a threat? How can we begin to establish a deterrent until the public recognizes that they are threatened?

In other words, isn't the first priority to straighten ourselves out, and secondly to fight the enemy?

Weingarten

10/28/07, 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With regard to comparing the importance of method to that of epistemology, does not Ayn Rand believe that moral ideas (such as the use of force) are more important than ideas about the theory of knowledge?

10/28/07, 8:21 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

My point is that most everyone focuses upon the beliefs of the Muslims, whereas it is their METHOD that is the essence of its evil. Ayn Rand advocated the non-initiation of force (NIF), which focussed on what ought to be the primary requirement for human relations. Note that this also applies to our civilization, for we initiate force when our government intervenes in the economy, education, health, and all else.

So my question is whether we ought to place METHOD as primary (along with NIF). Or should we treat the beliefs as primary, and then if METHOD is mentioned, say 'Oh yes, that also matters' ?


Islamic theology is fairly unambiguous - "kill the infidel" - the method IS the belief in jihad.

10/28/07, 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beamish writes 'Islamic theology is fairly unambiguous - "kill the infidel" - the method IS the belief in jihad.'

I can accept the view that method & belief are inextricable, so that both need to be addressed. Yet let us note that in discusssion we can find that beliefs (such as epistemology) are addressed, without mention of those beliefs that pertain to method. Conversely, were we to begin by discussing the method (of spreading faith by force) this would automatically bring up those beliefs that are the underpinning for killing the infidel.

*The question is why there is such an aversion to emphasizing method.* I have experienced this in industry as well as in political discussions. Part of the explanation is that many people are averse to reasoning in abstract terms. That however does not apply to objectivists. These however are committed to emphasizing reason. Hence they gravitate to the pure ideas, rather than focusing upon those ideas that directly lead to immoral action.

Weingarten

10/29/07, 9:28 AM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

I grasp what you're getting at (I think, hehe) but I don't think it has to be overwrought so much, particularly because method in Islam is systemic to the belief (i.e. the Koran is Allah's inerrant word and doctrinal guide to Muslim behavior).

Taking the killing out of Islam would be like removing accelerator pedals from NASCAR.

Muslims kill "infidels" (the method) because their beliefs both identify what an "infidel" is AND in no moderable, minceable words, says KILL THEM.

10/29/07, 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beamish, thanks for mentioning 'method' and twice at that.

My mission on earth is complete,

Weingarten

10/29/07, 6:45 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

Now you're being enigmatic. You have more to say on "method."

Take Objectivism, for example. An Objectivist believes (in a nutshell, omitting measurements here) that existence is identity. An Objectivist method would be to observe Muslims justifying murder for material gain with a religious text that instructs those who claim faith in this religion with commands to commit murder for material gain, and conclude that Islam is a martial philosophy and adherents of Islam - Muslims - are warmongers.

You can't make the same type of distinction between belief and method in Islam. Beliefs are premises and conclusions, syllogistic if-then statements. That's what the whole Koran is, as guide to living a Muslim life, you've got Allah's word.

You think you can make Allah's word better with your brain? Huh, infidel?

;-)

10/30/07, 6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beamish points out that in contrast with Objectivism, one "can't make the same type of distinction between belief and method in Islam. I agree, and wish to note that this makes it even more important to emphasize the importance of method.

In discussing rational systems, we can confine our attention to metaphysics, epistemology, or political philosophy, while disregarding the method of initiating force. Here, since these areas are somewhat independent, one can address any one of them, while disregarding the rest. However, with regard to Islam, the vogue approach of dealing with its beliefs, while overlooking how they are applied, is misleading. If Beamish believes that in Islam, method & beliefs are inextricable, his argument should not be with me for addressing both, but with those who only adddress beliefs.

As an aside, I belong to a discussion group, comprised of Democrats and Republicans. A few weeks ago the moderator gave an exhaustive treatment of Islam, before opening the floor to discussion. Guess what was the only area, he didn't mention? I'll give a hint, it was Islam's METHOD.

So I was not being enigmatic, but pointing out what is generally disregarded.

10/30/07, 10:42 AM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

I recommend Hans Kung "Islam: Past Present and Future".

Kung has done superior research for his books on Christianity and Judaism and according To The New York Review of Books this volume is no different.

He also presents jihad as a force that is in fact becoming aggressive in his opinion but spends time on economics as a reason Islam has not progressed even though the philosophic framework for the advance is there.

Myself, I'm going to pay more attention to Kung than a zero like Horowitz.

10/30/07, 1:31 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

"Neither Auster nor Horowitz delves deeper into how the epistemological aspect of Islam – that of blind faith, deferral to authority, and a rejection of reason in human affairs – undermines the ability of Muslims to escape the suffocating grip of Islam."

Now what religion doesn't that describe?

10/30/07, 2:35 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

"[Daniel] Pipes profoundly notes that Islam can be what its believers make it, they “can decide afresh what jihad signifies, what rights women have, what role government should play, what forms of interest on money should be banned, plus much else.” And we have a big stake in trying to influence them in this matter."

------------------------------
I didn't realize that Pipes had made that advancement in consciousness. Maybe there's hope for the rabid right yet.

10/30/07, 2:39 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

I'm not arguing with you. When you brought up "method" you formalized a concept with a label, a concept I was having difficulty labelling. I find the "method" conception useful.

If I am in agreement with you, I think you're defining "method" (at least partially) as the manner in which beliefs (as premises) are made persuasive.

What persuades someone to accept Ayn Rand's premises? What persuades someone to accept Osama Bin Laden's premises?

Is that the method?

10/30/07, 4:51 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Ducky,

That's always been Daniel Pipes' position. Muslims don't generally believe "Allah's word" is so malleable, hence the conflict. Pipes is literally asking Muslims to censor Allah.

10/30/07, 4:59 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Or in other words, Pipes is asking Muslims to reject Islam but most Muslims aren't fooled.

10/30/07, 5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beamish, you ask for clarification about ‘method’, so allow a brief lecture on epistemology. When people reason, they employ fundamental categories, which I define as ‘dichotomies’. These are paired components, that embody differences of kind, where one cannot exist without the other. Examples are: cause/effect; mind/body; subjective/objective; male/female; parent/offspring, teacher/student, winner/loser, me/you, Weingarten/all else. (In Ayn Rand’s terminology, the components of a dichotomy, while metaphysically inseparable, are epistemologically distinct.)

I employ 'method/belief' as a dichotomy, where one component does not exist without the other. Here, *‘method’ is the way that beliefs are put into practice*, especially with regard to morality. To illustrate how this operates, consider the belief of the communist that all people in the world will be perfected and loving under a classless society. It is put into practice by murder, deceit and domination. Or consider how the Inquisition put Christian love into practice, to save people’s souls, by torture & intimidation. Today, many interpret the Constitution as a living-document, meaning that the law is whatever they prefer it to be, while politicians ‘threaten’ our enemies, meaning that they won’t deter them.

Do you think that in the aforementioned cases, we can understand the avowed beliefs, without acknowledging their associated method for applying them? Do you think that we can understand fascism, communism, and Islam, by confining our attention to their teachings, without acknowledging the immorality of how they spread beliefs by force?

Weingarten

10/31/07, 8:42 AM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

Do you think that we can understand fascism, communism, and Islam, by confining our attention to their teachings, without acknowledging the immorality of how they spread beliefs by force?

Absolutely not!

My point was, at least in Islam, drawing attention to their teachings facilitates an acknowledgement of their immoral use of force - the Koran is unambiguously all for killing this group and that group and the other group for material gain by theft and plunder. As for the acknowledgement (or implicit agreement) of what constitutes "an immoral use of force," you're not not going to lead anyone to that moral standard that wasn't already there.

(We have the killing, and the concensus that is the killing is wrong. Now show the killing is Islam.)

That's why I believe (heh!) the concentration is on belief rather than method.

Those that care to investigate find "Islam is Islamo-Fascism."

10/31/07, 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beamish:

I am pleased that you believe we must acknowledge when people spread their beliefs by force. We also agree that the teachings of Islam "facilitates an acknowledgement of their immoral use of force".

We disagree that people cannot agree on what constitutes an immoral use of force. My experience is that people are able to differentiate between the force employed by those who attack and by those who defend (such as the rapist and the victim -- known as the f---er and the f---ee).

Finally, I do not understand why your "concentration is on belief rather than method." However, I am content to find someone who will address both, since my experience is that the unwillingness to address 'method' constitutes the political problem of viewing Islam as a belief to be discussed, rather than as a threat to be fought.

Weingarten

10/31/07, 3:13 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

I agree with Weingarten and believe that the solution to Islam lies not in Islamic reform, but in hamstringing its ability to use force.

Government is force.

Therefore decouple Islam from Muslim governments and we solve the problem. Or more particularly remove islamists from government.

That cannot be achieved through use of deterrent or offensive force alone. We have to ask them to help themselves, we have to make a priority of a concern which asks “is it good for them?” However we need to couch our concern in terms that cause them to question their circumstances and to denigrate the status of their Islamic leaders.

We should pour scorn on their poverty, their backward technology and their dress sense. We should strut about waving as much money in their faces as possible. We shame them and appeal to their greed. We should try to empower and arm their poor masses, forment revolt, play on their fears.

Religion is too personal a matter of faith to easily change, its motivations too esoteric.

10/31/07, 11:34 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Jason in the comments:

Why would an advocate of an authoritarian dogmatic belief system (be it Islam or communism) care about the niceties of rational persuasion?

If the advocate lacks persuasive force, he is constrained to persuasion. Jason lists examples of this occuring in Islam and communism. That is the desired solution.

If you don’t believe in a world with individual freedom of thought, why would you hesitate to use force to establish it if force appeared expedient and rational persuasion was found ineffective?

Because - Government is Force. If the government is against you, force is not expedient. Hesitation is required for an indefinite period.

11/1/07, 12:12 AM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

A generic Muslim may or may not agree that a specific Islamic terrorist attack is an "immoral use of force" or that his religion engenders beliefs that justify violence in general and / or the specific Islamic terrorist attack in question.

On the one hand, it isn't their agreement that makes an "immoral use of force" an "immoral use of force." On the other hand, it isn't their adherence to the Koran that makes an "immoral use of force" suddenly justifiable.

You and I agree that Islamic-mandated violence is essentially "immoral use of force," but a Muslim might not.

This isn't too dissimilar to leftists who won't embrace the reality that no leftist in history can be convicted of having a rational thought, despite having this fact pointed out to them time and again.

We come to the fence with Muslims and talk past each other. At least addressing the beliefs of Muslims places them on the defensive to account for the methods of Islam.

That's the best we can do. At least they'll know why we're shooting at them.

11/1/07, 1:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beamish:

You write that Muslims will not agree about the immorality of force & violence, as though I were trying to influence their reasoning. Rather I concur with Unaha-Closp that “the solution to Islam lies not in Islamic reform, but in hamstringing its ability to use force.” Nor do I attempt to educate the leftists. Rather my aim is to influence those who want to be civilized, yet mistakenly think that the issue is solely Islamic beliefs, and not its method of spreading faith by force.

Apparently you wish to dialogue with islamists about their beliefs, whereas my view is that when someone initiates force, he should be placed beyond the pale (rather than granted legitimacy in discourse). Nor do I care to let them know why we are shooting at them. Once we establish that their initiated force will be countered, we will no longer be talking past them, but shooting at them. Can you doubt that they will understand this?

One final question: do you ever find that someone is beyond the pale, so that dialogue is not called for; and if so, what places him in that category?

Weingarten

11/1/07, 9:52 AM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

You write that Muslims will not agree about the immorality of force & violence, as though I were trying to influence their reasoning. Rather I concur with Unaha-Closp that “the solution to Islam lies not in Islamic reform, but in hamstringing its ability to use force.” Nor do I attempt to educate the leftists. Rather my aim is to influence those who want to be civilized, yet mistakenly think that the issue is solely Islamic beliefs, and not its method of spreading faith by force.

It's true we probably wouldn't have any problems at all with Islamic beliefs if Muslims didn't act on the violent commandments (i.e. spread faith by force). After all, it's the ones that do that get lionized as "martyrs" and heroes.

We're obviously dealing with an ethical system in Islam that defines "actions beyond the pale" and "civilized behavior" differently from the way we do.

Apparently you wish to dialogue with islamists about their beliefs, whereas my view is that when someone initiates force, he should be placed beyond the pale (rather than granted legitimacy in discourse). Nor do I care to let them know why we are shooting at them. Once we establish that their initiated force will be countered, we will no longer be talking past them, but shooting at them. Can you doubt that they will understand this?

Well, I'm obviously not going to dialogue with an Islamist that has initiated force. And I am hesitant to meet in person with an Islamist that hasn't initiated force for a dialogue without patting him down for a bomb under his shirt beforehand.

But, that's just it. I don't doubt that "they" (Islamists initiating force) understand this. I believe "they" understand this all too well, which is why - to use an analogy - we're chasing specific hornets (if we can identify and track them) around the yard with a flyswatter, instead of burning the whole damned nest. Collective punishment, while significantly reducing measured collateral damage by intentionally blowing everything up, ultimately is self-defeating.

Welcome to 21st Century para-national warfare, coming soon to a suburb near you.

One final question: do you ever find that someone is beyond the pale, so that dialogue is not called for; and if so, what places him in that category?

I see no need to exchange recipes with coprophages, if that's what you mean.

But "Islam" is, among other things, 1.8 Billion different people, fellow human beings all, who just happen to claim to believe that the Creator of the universe provided them with an ethical framework (the Koran) that specifically places non-Muslims "beyond the pale" (in good ol' Dar al-Harb) and explicitly commands conquest of these by force. And with the reams of documentation about madrassahs around the world beating children with chains until they've memorized the Koran, I'd say there's probably a fair shake that most people in the world who claim to be Muslim are at least socially aware of the violence advocated by what the Koran says, not to mention the psychic impression of associating their clergy and religious instructors with violence and pain-compliance. That's quite a lot of people to vet for sanity, or write off and exterminate.

To make another loose analogy, some are full blown Moonies, others just buy a Washington Times at the newsstand. How do we tell them apart?

"One need not visit a madhouse to observe disordered minds. Our planet is the insane asylum of the universe." - Goethe

We're in the asylum with these whackos. What to do?

11/2/07, 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beamish:

You write that collective punishment is ultimately self-defeating. Do you mean that when we defeated Germany & Japan in WWII, it was self-defeating? Should we instead have treated them as “fellow human beings all”? Or perhaps you accept the need for collective punishment during war, but do not think that the Arab-Muslim bloc is at war with us?

I asked “do you ever find that someone is beyond the pale, so that dialogue is not called for; and if so, what places him in that category?” You apparently believe that someone who evades, obfuscates, and engages in ad hominem attacks is worth conversing with. So even if the aim of the person were solely to impede, you would continue to dialogue.

I am not addressing the over a billion believers in the Koran, but rather those who side with the Arab-Muslim bloc. These are at war, in the sense of intending to harm us. During war, the aim should not be to win the hearts and minds of the enemy, but to defeat them. This does not mean, as you suggest that we should “exterminate” them. We did not exterminate all Germans, Italians & Japanese during WWII, but only those necessary for winning the war. In other words, *it is not the individuals, but the group as a collective that must be defeated*. When individuals support that collective, they should be placed beyond the pale, but otherwise not.

When you ask “What to do” isn’t it to provide disincentives that will deter harming America?

Weingarten

11/2/07, 3:18 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

Weingarten,

My "what to do" was born of Voltaire's timeless question...

"What to say to a man who tells you he prefers to obey God than to obey men, and who is consequently sure of entering the gates of Heaven by slitting your throat?"

You write that collective punishment is ultimately self-defeating. Do you mean that when we defeated Germany & Japan in WWII, it was self-defeating? Should we instead have treated them as “fellow human beings all”? Or perhaps you accept the need for collective punishment during war, but do not think that the Arab-Muslim bloc is at war with us?

There were no Arabs or Muslims at Westphalia. For that matter, most Islamists I have had discussions with seem united on the idea that international borders should be dissolved under governance of a Caliph. "Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Dubai..." these lines in the sand are meaningless to them, except as camouflage.

Most Islamist writers I've deigned to read hate the leaders of every "country" they're classified as citizens.

So when I see the term "Arab-Muslim bloc" I picture the words meaning a league of 20 or so specific national-state governments and attendant infrastructures and populations we could have demolished by this Christmas (if we started the sorties today).

But I want to see the target list before I sign on to knocking over an "Arab-Muslim Bloc."

Clausewitz gave us two fists in this brawl:

the left fist: wars should be fought with limited aims, and

the right fist: wars should be fought to dismantle the enemies' ability to oppose you.

We've been southpawin' mostly in the war on terrorism. That wild right hook, we save for destroying organized militaries and knocking over national governments.

If if looks like were jabbing away with one hand behind our back, it's because we are. We're limiting our warfare to pinpointing enemy tactical centers of gravity and vaporizing them.

And because we can. In Iraq, we're standing in the CAPITAL of the Islamist Caliphate nostalgia fantasy singing "bring it on." Other than the tremendous insight into the logistical structure and communication paths of Al Qaeda our military needs no search warrant to exploit and act upon regionally, within minutes, the Islamists have brought nothing but impotent rhetoric to their grand goal of Baghdad Caliphate and their "kill 'em all" tactics have made the Iraqi people themselves their enemy. Civilized people tend to take a NIMBY attitude towards anarchic assholes, thusly Sunni Iraqis are turning against Al Qaeda and their kidnappings, ransoms, beheadings, shooting sprees and bombings. Numbers in the news are their families, after all.

That's what I meant by "collective punishment is ultimately self-defeating."

If we had had the technology for JDAMs and other precision-guided munitions during World War 2, would the Allies still have been justified to use dumb bombs and incendiary weapons on German cities (granting retaliation of V-2 rocket attacks and buzzbombs on London as the political justification, and Guernica as the historical "look what the Nazis do with their bombing campaigns" slogan). Does our technological progress in warfare make our warfare more moral or just less messy?

I think it does a different thing entirely. I think it wins wars without fighting.

If the most zealously violent Islamists are killing otherwise fellow Muslims and for all their bluster, Allah has still not provided them a relief in Iraq and Afghanistan from the ubiquitous AGM-65E Laser Maverick, we create doubt in their worldview / theology across the spectrum. The wheels fall off.

As the Riddler said to Two-Face, "No, don't kill him! If ya kill him, he won't learn nothin'!"

I asked “do you ever find that someone is beyond the pale, so that dialogue is not called for; and if so, what places him in that category?” You apparently believe that someone who evades, obfuscates, and engages in ad hominem attacks is worth conversing with. So even if the aim of the person were solely to impede, you would continue to dialogue.

Real life, unfortunately, isn't a Forensics Club. As far as "impeding," the tactic works both ways. I don't know how many dumbass Islamists have been rounded up in America or placed on watchlists or leaked info on their fellow terrorists because they believed using their laptop in a wireless hotspot to communicate rather than a public library computer would be "secure," but I'm betting it's a sophisticated number.

I am not addressing the over a billion believers in the Koran, but rather those who side with the Arab-Muslim bloc. These are at war, in the sense of intending to harm us. During war, the aim should not be to win the hearts and minds of the enemy, but to defeat them. This does not mean, as you suggest that we should “exterminate” them. We did not exterminate all Germans, Italians & Japanese during WWII, but only those necessary for winning the war. In other words, *it is not the individuals, but the group as a collective that must be defeated*. When individuals support that collective, they should be placed beyond the pale, but otherwise not.

When you ask “What to do” isn’t it to provide disincentives that will deter harming America?


the plane overhead
dropped leaflets that said
if paper was bombs
you'd all be dead...

(lyrics from one of my unfinished song projects)

Destroying "Nazi Germany" is a doable thing. Lots of targets, mostly in Germany.

Destroying "Islam" is going to require a ulter-secret deployment of Project: Thor-style orbital kinetic bombs and a third world media blitz about killer near-earth asteroids that hate Islamic countries.

Or the grueling slow route we're on. We're going to make Islam eat itself to death.

11/3/07, 6:06 AM  
Blogger VinceP1974 said...

There's a great lecture at the Heritage Foundation called

Following the Method of Mohammad: Jihadist Strategies in the War on Terror


This is the description:

To many observers the jihadis seem to have no strategy at all. Attacks around the world appear random or even counter-productive, and there is, apparently, no over-arching strategic vision driving their project. Dr. Habeck argues quite the reverse – there are coherent strategies behind the seeming randomness of the jihadist war on the West, strategies that only make sense within the ideologies of the various extremist groups.

At this page, click on View Event.

http://www.heritage.org/Press/Events/EV081204A.cfm

It's a great speech... it's basically a Grand Theory of Unification for all the various forms of jihad going on now.

And now i'll make a comment on how I see things going in the future...

I have every expectation that civilization will be destroyed by these people.

We will never find the strength within ourselves to achieve a level of savagery that exceeds theirs and when you're at war with these Death Cultists, the most savage wins. The day is coming when they get possession of not one or five nuclear weapons.. but tens or even almost hundreds.

And if that never happens, they're still going to take over Europe since Europe is aborting its future, and the Muslims are rapidly increasing numbers in Russia, and making advances down into Africa.

In 100 years they will own all of non-Oriental/non-Indian Asia, Europe and Africa.

And all that time they will be devoting their energies against us.

Iraq is never going to be a normal country, so I thikn the minute we leave everything will flair up there again.

which is why we can't leave.. so we're stuck there

And if we're stuck there that means we have to put up with these brain dead leftists acting as if they're ones that are dying.

So if we as a people dont collectively get our house in order, our society is going to descend into some farse of decadence and decline.

We need get sedition laws in place. we need to rediscover treason.

We have to totally purge the Leftists from all positions of influence.

And we will never do these things. We'll die and be so proud of ourselves for "standing up for our values" as they killed us.

blah.

11/4/07, 1:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To vincep1974:

Thanks for pointing out the “Grand Theory of Unification for all the various forms of jihad going on now.” The Arab-Muslim bloc continues to be at war with us, yet most everyone denies any cohesive enemy, because: these countries conflict with one another, their populations hate their governments, there is some cooperation with the U.S., etc. These same theories were used to lull Israel into a sense that there was no ongoing war against her. Somehow nobody seemed to notice that when the time came, these countries overlooked their differences as they tried to push Israel into the sea. Similarly, Americans do not notice the consistent anti-American actions, the votes in the UN, and the statements of the jihadists.

Now you may be correct that “civilization will be destroyed by these people.” We: lack the will to fight; reward our enemy; disregard treason & sedition; and treat appeasement as though it were an American value. However, the situation before America and England entered WWII was also bleak, and appeared to guarantee doom. Hopefully some intelligence will return upon our devastation. After all, it is difficult to commit suicide when you are being chased.

Weingarten

11/4/07, 8:19 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

Cubed here.

Many Christians point to the fact that on the whole, few Christians have engaged in the kind of behavior we have commonly seen throughout history among Muslims, and that few Christian nations are mired in the hatred of knowledge, and the resultant poverty of many Muslims.

To the defenders of Christianity, this stands as proof that Christianity is, at its foundation, inherently wiser and more progressive than Islam.

Robert Tracinski, in the December 1, 2006 issue of "The Intellectual Activist" in Part II of "What has Jerusalem to Do with Athens?" pointed out the actual reason for the profound differences between Islamic areas of the world and Christian ones.

To me, it was one of those "Duh!" kinds of things, like Columbus showing his critics how to make an egg stand on its end. Why hadn't I noticed it myself?

Christianity, Trancinsky points out, unlike Islam, did not spread to the east, but to the west, through Greece. On its way to Europe, Christianity acquired quite a bit of what the Greek philosophers had to offer - an admiration for, if not a total committment to, reason as a means of acquiring knowledge, etc.

I was very excited to see the article when it came out nearly two years ago now, because I had often wondered about the source of the differences that existed between them despite the fact that both faiths had their origins in the Middle East.

Tracinski points out that even though ultimately "hostility to Classical ideas won out," that Classical learning "was so central to the writings of the early Church Fathers that it could never be fully purged from Christianity."

Just think--in all likelihood, had Christianity not passed through Greece on its way to Europe, but had gone east in competition with Islam, those of us whose ancestors came from Christian (of any sort) Europe would be leading a very different kind of life indeed! It was a close call!

If you can get it, it's a truly extraordinary article.

Well, it's late, and I'm still not at my best, but very excited to be (more or less) back.

11/6/07, 3:03 AM  
Blogger VinceP1974 said...

ann:

Interesting comment. I thiknk you're onto something.. here are some quotes that I sprang instantly into my mind as i read yours:

[some time has gone by as I went looking for the quote]

Well I can't find it. But this one is similiar:

Theodore Roosevelt wrote:

“The Greeks who triumphed at Marathon and Salamis did a work without which the world would have been deprived of the social value of Plato and Aristotle, of Aeschylus, Herodotus, and Thucydides. The civilization of Europe, America, and Australia exists today at all only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization, because the victories stretching through the centuries from the days of Miltiades and Themistocles to those of Charles Martel in the eighth century and those of John Sobieski in the seventeenth century.”

“During the thousand years that included the careers of the Frankish soldier and the Polish king, the Christians of Asia and Africa proved unable to wage successful war with the Moslem conquerors; and in consequence Christianity practically vanished from the two continents; and today nobody can find in them any "social values" whatever, in the sense in which we use the words, so far as the sphere of Mohammedan influence. There are such "social values" today in Europe, America, and Australia only because during those thousand years the Christians of Europe possessed the warlike power to do what the Christians of Asia and Africa had failed to do - that is, to beat back the Moslem invader.”

11/6/07, 3:40 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

To pick-up on a point Cubed makes (aka Ann) the early Church fathers thought highly of Greek and Roman thought. The thought so highly that they declared that the Greeks got their ideas from the Jews. Here are some quotes from Copleston’s History of Philosophy:

“Clement of Alexandria regarded philosophy as a gift of God, a means of educating the pagan world for Christ, as the Jews’ means of education had been the Law. He thought indeed, as Justin thought before him, that Plato had borrowed his wisdom from Moses and the Prophets (a Philonic contention); but just as Philo had tried to reconcile Greek philosophy with the Old Testament, so Clement tried to reconcile Greek philosophy with the Christian religion. In the end, of course, it was the attitude of Clement, not that of Tertullian, whcih triumpthed …” (p15 Vol 2) (Also see page 26 of that volume for more).

“… he [Eusebus of Caesarea] regarded Greek philosophy, specially Platonism, as a preparation of the heathen world for Christianity ….” (p29) “Like Clement and Origen, and like Philo also, Eusebius thought that Plato had borrowed the truths he exposes from the Old Testament …” (p30)

“… but in ethics he [St. Ambrose] was influenced by Cicero, and in his De officiis ministrorum, composed about 391 AD and addressed to the clergy of Milan, he provided a Christian counterpart to the De officiis of the great Roman orator.” … “…one of the factors which helped to prepare the way for the favourable reception eventually accorded to Aristotelianism in the Latin West was the work of the last of the Greek Fathers, St. John Damascene.” [p37]

Of course, it was Aquinas, who championed Aristotle, that had the greatest influence on reviving philosophy in the Christian West. By comparison, the Orthodox Church in the East had no such figure. The separate developments of Western and Eastern Christian nations show a major divergence in the centuries that followed.

I hope to catch-up on the other comments later today. Nice to see Cube back. Welcome vincep1974, excellent points and quotes ... I'll have to read that link.

11/6/07, 7:15 AM  

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