March 17, 2015

The left’s Achilles’ heel

Though conservatives view militant Islam with alarm, they have, at least, the intellectual and cultural tools to arrest and even reverse its spread.  Progressives, on the other hand, may well find militant Islam a fatal disease.

If one considers a nation as a human body, the modus operandi of the left has long been to weaken that body’s immunity to certain alien threats.  For many decades, western socialists have championed massive immigration while burdening Americans and Europeans with narratives of self-reproach and guilt.  In effect, such policies undermine the conservative forces of tradition and open up society for radical reform.  In place of the “unfair” traditional institutions and standards that make a society at least uniform enough to be stable, we are given an eternal struggle for unobtainable conditions of equality, and calls for tolerance without the reciprocal caveat of social responsibility.  To use a topical example, the default assumption progressives make is that any black man killed by a white police officer is a victim of racism, oppression, and murder.  Such an occurrence is not about the facts of an individual case, but is merely an instance of their accepted narrative.  Even the existence of police authority evokes a feeling of outrage in the properly indoctrinated.  Simply put, the status quo is wrong.  Barack Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform America” assumes the country not only has problems, but that its present institutions should be destroyed.  Long live the revolution.  For the progressive, the battle for control of society is waged between conservatives and a ragged coalition of everybody else – led conveniently by good hearted socialists, of course.  The problem with this worldview, from a purely functional perspective, is that not everybody who hates America, the UK, or even France, hates these countries because they aren’t yet liberal enough.  Some non-western peoples have their own agendas – and actually hate western liberals even more than they hate western conservatives.

What is a good liberal to do when confronted with terrorists that shoot up a room full of cartoonists who have made a career of assaulting tradition?  On the one hand, a liberal is inclined to support the terrorists for both their third-world origins and their revolutionary zeal, and it can hardly hurt that they knocked off a few minority-oppressing cops in the exchange.  On the other hand, the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo also provided sterling service for the cause by bashing Catholics, and, let’s face it – merely being French gave them a mystique all of their own.  So what’s to do?  It is an awkward moment.  The liberal mind is forced to race from one implausible scenario to the other – casting first the terrorists as disguised agents of the Tea Party, and then the cartoonists as reactionary bigots who invited their own fate.  The global village has had another drive-by massacre, but it has to be conservatives who caused it – somehow.  What the liberal cannot entertain is the idea that such violence is largely the product of his (or her) misguided and naive ideology.  A culture like Islam, based on unbending 7th century xenophobic dogma, is pretty unlikely to work and play well with others.  It will not defer to Jews, gays, Christians, atheists or women no matter how artfully you construct your narrative.  It will simply do its best to replicate itself until its host civilization ceases to exist.

Are there moderate Muslims?  Yes – and no.  There are moderate Muslims in more-or-less the same way there are Unitarian Christians.  Both terms are oxymorons.  There are plenty of people from Muslim countries who like the relative freedom of the west, who don’t like to think about the consequences of their own scriptures, and who wish the fundamentalists would simply go away.  They perform the rituals of their faith.  They call themselves Muslims.  They do so because they are not quite willing to cut their ties with their religious relatives back home, and perhaps because they’re nervous about leaving a faith whose penalty for leaving is death.  Theirs is the disease of perfectly ordinary human moral cowardice.  Most of them are indeed harmless, decent, and pitiable human beings.  It is, however, nonsense to portray Islam itself as a religion of peace.  Though many politicians of both parties would like us to believe otherwise, religions are not defined by their least enthusiastic members.  Scripturally and historically, Islam is a religion of conquest.

For progressives to make even modest efforts to purge the west of Islamic militants they would have to essentially become conservatives.  They would have to accept that the traditions and institutions of our society are worth preserving, thereby repudiating decades of systematically undermining them.  They would have to admit, too, that not all persons or religions of color are innocent victims of western bias.  The very idea of doing that would give many progressives seizures.  They have the same kind of irrational reverence for Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn that the militants have for Mohammad.  It would take a personal disaster – a beheading at their favorite Starbucks or a bombing at their children’s Montessori school – to shake most progressives from the self-righteous comfort of their dream.  Given time and opportunity the jihadists may oblige.

If progressive politicians do not change their tune, however, they will find themselves in a political death spiral of enabling the declared enemies of western civilization.  The inevitable tipping point must come sooner or later when protecting non-citizen minorities against feeling offended doesn’t trump the safety interests of everyone else.  On that day, the public will clamor for whatever leader they can find that promises to make their streets safe – or worse, they will set out in vigilante groups to solve the problems themselves.  As often as not, ethnic cleansing isn’t orchestrated from the top, but from an angry public with some score to settle.  Social engineers tend to think about the public as so much passive clay for them to mold to suit their tastes – but the reality is that ignoring human nature has always been a dangerous and often a disastrous business.

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