Friday, June 17, 2005

It's the Religion, Stupid

Victor Davis Hanson says what few people have the guts to say: (a) the terrorists are motivated by their religious ideology, (b) funded by the Saudis, (c) willing to collaborate with secular Arab-fascists, (d) hate Jews and non-Muslims regardless of “grievances,” and (e) systematically feign being offended to manipulate over-sensitive politically-correct Westerners.

We’ve talked about all of these issues.

“It’s the religion, stupid.”

Islamic militancy represents a return to Islam which is not a response to our foreign policy, but a quest to re-establish original Islam as found in the Koran and Hadith. The attack of 9/11 was a purely religious act that was cheered throughout the Islamic world for just that reason.

They are the problem.

Jihadists enter our country with ease. They are funded by Saudi Arabia who we refuse to treat as the enemy. The Saudi reach is worldwide - including Europe. We continue to stigmatize anyone who even suggests Islam may be part of the problem. Hollywood casts Muslims as victims of our prejudice while we are demonized as having created Gulags. As they burn our flag, we are expected to show respect for their war manual … I mean holy book. Their irrational hate is never mentioned (unless to hint that we are worthy of that hate). Instead, we are damned as having pathological hate for the “other.”

Both left and right are in denial.

The left belittles the Islamic threat and sees Bush as the villain in today’s world. One has little hope for the left but even conservatives fail to face the threat over and over and over. The conservatives’ superficial approach fails to understand the roll of ideology and the deep cultural change that’s required for any lasting and stable democracy. But some conservatives are OK with an elected Islamic-theocracy.

We fail to acknowledge our moral superiority.

In past wars we were clear about our moral standing in the struggle. We called barbarity evil when we faced it – but can't even raise the question now. Apparently, there is a taboo against our taking pride in our country’s achievements and finding fault with their failures. Moral relativism is undercutting our efforts to rally our nation and sustain our spirit. The gratuitous respect given our savage enemy is becoming such a farce that the public is silently becoming disgusted. And that disgust grows in proportion to the exhortations that we bow down to this pathetic warrior religion.

Well, perhaps Victor didn't go quite this far ... yet.


Blogger George Mason said...

We are in a heap of trouble because the Right walks in lock-step with the Left, and each denies its essential role and coziness with the other. The Left are anti-American overtly with their disdain for American and Enlightenment values. They actually wish for some form of socialism, which means in its every form the end of individual freedom and its social-political expression of capitalism. As disgusting as the anti-American Left are the Right with their faith. Among its other characteristics, faith is totally anti-American, in ways on a fundamental level very similar to Islam and the Left. If you go to the real roots of the ideas of faith, you wind up with an identity between Islam and all other religions, and that the Right will scream denial about. Furthermore, faith blinds the ability of the Right to see Islam for what it is, REGARDLESS OF ISLAM'S DESIGNATION AS A RELIGION. As a result, the Right bend with the political correctness breezes and lead us toward doom just as assuredly as do the Left. Christianity, America's dominant religion, is as much of an antidote to Islam (and, for that matter, socialism) as cyanide is the antidote to nerve gas. Readers could do well to read a 2004 book by Sam Harris, The End of Faith. The book has some serious philosophical flaws, particularly in the last 1/3 because the author took philosophy training at Stanford. However, what he says about faith is absolutely devastating and utterly refreshing. In its way, this book does to the Right what Stephen Hicks' book, Explaining Postmodernism, does to the Left. The answer to Islam in every respect is REASON, with all that concept requires and implies. However, even more "9-11s" will not shake the Left from its anti-Americanism or the Right from its blinding faith. Both the Right and Left will ride their Titanics to the bottom before they step into the lifeboats of reason. If America is to survive, and I strongly think it will, its survival will come from the advocates of reason--the third alternative--and not the Left or the Right.

6/17/05, 5:49 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I am a Christian and don't accept that my "faith is totally anti-American." Of course, some of Christianity's past is not pretty, but I do not see Christianity on the march today, trying to subjugate the world. Convert, maybe. It is, however, characteristic of every religion to present itself as the only way to salvation.

A Brit friend of mine says, "Any religion carried to the extreme is dangerous." Problem is, the practitioners of most religions don't recognize extreme when they see it.

Even though I am a Christian, gm, I am not deceived by Islam's freedom-of-religion ploy. When I speak to fellow Christians of the necessity of dealing with Islamists as subversives (as in bulldoze the mosques), I get the whine, "But what about freedom of religion?" My response: "Islam is not a religion of personal faith. ["Personal" is the way I view my faith. I don't accept a minister's or a priest's interpretations of doctrines--I dig them out for myself. Does that make me more a follower of the Enlightenment?] Islam is a political ideology." Then I make the case for my statement. Making the case against Islam requires education as to the tenets thereof, and some people (1) don't take the time to do that or (2) let their own orientation allow them to color, often incorrectly, what they are learning.

Furthermore, Islam has not been "hijacked." The so-called radicals are the true followers of the original Islam (as Jason has pointed out). Until both the Right and the Left recognize that fact, our Western society is in grave peril. I see no hope of the Left's recognizing that fact and just a bit of hope for the Right--not much, though, because of the lockstep mentioned by gm in the above comment.

Paul Sperry writes this in his book "Infiltation" (pages 316-317): "They [Muslims] know they can advance their cause safely under the First Amendment, which ironically allows their faith the freedom to flourigh even though they deny that freedom to other faiths in other countries. They know they can raise funds--tax free--at local mosques under the protections of religious freedom....Americans are respectful of all faiths and want to think the best of Muslims."

Gm, I hope that you are correct about survival. I believe that it's more likely for the Right to be a part of the third alternative, but I am not certain.

One final thought here...The followers of Islam are exceptionally good at the divide-and-conquer tactic. I've reached the point where I don't care about the political or religious orientation of any allies who are willing to stand up against the grave threat of Islam.

6/18/05, 10:04 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Although I haven’t read Mr. Harris’ book, I think, George, that you’re unduly pessimistic about the prospects for the right in the current fight. Let’s remember, in areas of economics and defense, the right has maintained contact with reality as the left as become irrational, fantasy-driven, and just grossly in error.

Most on the right are part of that tradition that sees no conflict between faith and reason – a tradition that goes back to Aquinas. While suffering and oppression were present everywhere, individual liberty, in modern times, has only come about by men (who considered themselves Christian) applying philosophical thinking to ethics and politics. This is an excellent opportunity to focus on that philosophical tradition – one that has its roots in Hellenic rationalism. This is a tradition Islam rejected and Orthodox Christianity neglected or marginalized.

Many contemporary conservative writers are so busy bashing the relativistic, materialistic, collectivistic secularism of today’s left (a position we share) that they neglect to celebrate an absolutist, naturalistic teleological, individualistic, rational secularism having its root in Aristotle. I think this is an opportunity to seek this common ground as well stand on common ground in matters of economics and defense.

One of the problems on the right is extending ecumenicalism to include Islam. As “Always” points out, religion in America has traditionally been seen as a private matter for each individual. This means that we seldom see arguments between the religions about divorce, the Pope as infallible, etc. It’s even accepted that Jews don’t embrace the message of Jesus. The problem is that Islam is now included in this ecumenicalism. It’s difficult to get those on the right to actually examine the religion of Islam – it goes against our grain. “Always” has been able to do it by understanding that it is a political ideology first and foremost – and not a personal religion. I believe others can as well.

The above only touches upon the reasons why I think the right can wake-up as it had in the pasted when communism was the threat. I plan on writing on this more when I get the time.

6/19/05, 8:28 AM  
Blogger George Mason said...

When I see the Right marching lock-step to the beat of dhimmitude, I get pessimistic. I can easily work with anyone who identifies himself or herself as religious, provided that person can hierarchicalize his or her values and put allegiance to America, particularly its Constitution, at the top. Many religious people in the west can do this. AlwaysOnWatch reflects this strength, which I commend. AOW also indicates, quite properly, that we must not let Islamic divide-and-conquer split us on this matter.

The Enlightenment drew upon the Aristotlean-Acquinian tradition as well as the fragmentation of Roman Catholic influence to free people from the domination of religion, domination so clearly present in Islam. All well and good, but I see so many on the Right trying to reassert theocracy incrimentally. It seems ok to me to be a cheerleader for a faith, if that is what one wants, and to try to persuade others to one's side. In the sense that religious fervor remains a function of prosetylzing and not a function of governmental influence, I can live at peace with religion. However serious the inroads from some on the Right who are attempting to modify the Constitution toward fusion of church and state, I remain convinced that these efforts will never be fully successful. The Left, for all its uncommendability, will protect us from that (while eroding us on other issues).

What worries me the most is what religion does to peoples' thinking. For example, when I see a leading influence of the Right, National Review, knuckling under to CAIR, I see a thinking flaw, one which makes people almost defenseless against "political correctness," among other issues. National Review is not alone. Hosts of people on the Right--intellectuals, governmental personnel and politicians, military, academics, and so on--seem utterly unable to come to terms with Islam, because their minds hang fire on Islam as a religion. President Bush worries me endlessly, as THE foremost example, of this dhimmi thinking. Islam has a red carpet into his mind through Karl Rove and Grover Norquist, as Paul Sperry documents in Infiltration, also mentioned by AOW. Islamists are exploiting this thinking (psycho-epistemological) error, and we may pay a terrible blood price for this error. You cannot fight and win against that which you cannot see.

6/19/05, 1:18 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I hear you loud and clear, George. I’m worried about the right’s blind-spot, also. I wrote about it at length last fall and I plan to write more in the future.

6/19/05, 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the mind of the jihadist, they are involved in a holy war; there is no distinction for them between politics and religion. We, on the other hand, should avoid falling into that trap. We must not approach terrorism as a Christian vs. Islam confrontation. Our system of government protects Islam as much as it does Christianity.

No, what we must do is confront these people because they ARE terrorists and USE their religion to further their political goals. This means that our "good guys" must infiltrate the local mosques to see what they can see. Not an easy task, for certain. When compared to the alternative, however, it could be a burden too heavy to carry when one or more of these wacko's walks into a mall and starts shooting.

Such an event would be the start of a civil conflict that I personally believe THEY want. As Jason once told me, our cities could begin to look like Beirut if we aren't careful. I believe he is correct.

In the Corps, we had a saying: Pay me now, or pay me later. For us, we should decide which of the two is the cheapest price to pay. I suspect "pay me now" would be better --- but I'm not sure many of our politicians, on the left or right, have the "right stuff" to do what needs to be done.

6/19/05, 3:33 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

The problem is in the mirror . Just as in the Cold War Moral relitivism equated the USA with the USSR. The truth is that our hypersensitivity to offening Islam is bigoted and part of a culture of low expectations.

We have to demand Muslims behave in a civilized manner. Shooting school kids in the back is uncivilized.

The war is nihlism vs humanity and self esteem for the enemy will get us killed.

Jason I am dreaming about Knishes and barrel pickles in VT.

6/19/05, 5:14 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'm glad that I found time to revisit this thread. Such unity, in spite of our differing orientations, is the key to defeating the danger of Islamism.

Pessimism is justified but can be countered by effective action. Or maybe I'm just stubborn. I refuse to give up!

To all,
We must continue to spread the truth and to push in the direction of the preservation of our Western cultural. We are certainly not dhimmis!

6/19/05, 11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we all hear many claims and declarations made from all quarters and levels of Islam, we perceive not only blatant contradictions among themselves, but also great inconsistency between their beliefs or claims and their deeds and the clear record of the Koran. We see no true peace, for example, in their deeds or in the Koran, quite the contrary. The declarations and commands of Mohammed are explicit and beyond question to any person with any understanding who reads the Koran. We find not only non-Muslims but also many Muslims to be quite ignorant of the Koran, deceived into thinking they serve God, even as many who call themselves Jews or Christians are grossly ignorant of the Bible.

One of the purposes of this paper is to discover the contents of the Koran to all, and to expose its spirit and essence. Perhaps as importantly, we want those who call themselves moderate Muslims to know what they are calling themselves and to what they are committing themselves when calling themselves “surrendered ones.”

9/25/06, 7:11 PM  

<< Home