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Monday, October 17, 2005

A Great One

The only bone I have to pick with Dr. Sanity regarding this post is that she's talking about a particular culture, not a religion, but nonetheless "Why I Reject Muslim Values" is a classic, keeper post. You can be a Muslim without being all of the things she identifies, but there is a real cultural development she is addressing.

Her post was sparked by this article in The Observer explaining why Muslims reject British values. Well, a lot of Muslims don't, although they are sexually more conservative than the more active segments of British society. The author seems to blame all problems on capitalism:
But the greatest threat to Western values arises from globalisation and market fundamentalism, changes that affect personal morality. For the market reduces even personal relationships to a cash nexus. And the transition from welfare to market state has made corporations rather than people the priority of government, which, in turn, replaces moral values with commercial values, caring with indifference, altruism with selfishness, generosity with greed.

Once there were great movements, within countries and internationally, against poverty and exploitation and all kinds of injustice - against capitalism and imperialism. Today, there are no great working-class movements, no Third World revolutions. Hence, struggles against poverty, against dictatorships and against foreign occupation grow up around religion, 'the sigh of the oppressed', and take on the characteristics of millenarian movements. At the same time, they give rise to distortions such as fundamentalism.
I don't even know what to say about this sort of thing. There are certainly social justice movements and third-world revolutions today. They are just not against free-market capitalism, which has come to be seen as a more efficient system in producing wealth in a society. (Of course, oligarchies aren't free-market capitalism, which is a point that Marxists can never understand. Oligarchies oppress economically and socially, and always will.) Abusive and unresponsive governments remain a problem that does not go away.

This is a person who sees the world through the distorted mirror of his own ideology. Dr. Sanity writes:
...if you want to understand why Marxists, communists, socialists, and your sundry other totalitarian-loving groups support and enable Islamic terrorism, read the explanation in the Guardian article above as to why we should blame ourselves for their barbaric and religiously-motivated behavior.

In case you were wondering, I also firmly reject the values of any collectivist, authoritarian purveyor of the Marxist class struggle, who enjoys fanning the flames of racism while surrepticiously resorting to it himself.
I think the real problem is not that there are totalitarian-loving groups in the West but rather that they are not challenged openly and contemptuously. The doctrine these fools peddle has failed. Why not point that out? The truth is that it is socialist societies who don't recognize the dignity and inherent rights of the individual human being. The commonality in all of the Communist utopian experiments was mass murder on a large scale, and the western socialist utopias are willing to quietly kill smaller numbers of people when they become expensive enough to be a drag on the general welfare.

The disabled, the old, the fragile and the non-conformist go to the wall in most socialist societies. Socialism seeks perfection, and when it cannot provide that it resorts to the redefinition of human value. The only exceptions have been the small northern societies which were culturally homogenous enough to actually pay the price of true socialism. Societies like Britain, Canada and The Netherlands simply don't believe in paying that price, so they redefine humanity to fit their needs - i.e. the handicapped baby becomes no longer human, but a packet of suffering that must, in the name of compassion, be put to death.

If true Islam rejects anything, it is that socialist ethic that allows society to redefine the individual to meet society's needs. True Islam defines man's relationship to God as unchangeable and man's duties toward other men as unchangeable. True Islam is utterly incompatible with the socialist ethic. I don't think it is an accident that there are agitation, rioting and gangs in so many of the concentrations of Islamic immigrants in Europe. Socialism almost always freezes things as they are, which is fine if you already have a good life, but deadly if you are trying to build one.

Marxist doctrine is one of utter vapidity, but it remains seductive in academia and other intellectual circles like journalism because it, like other religions, simplifies the whole of human experience into a series of unprovable -- and therefore unDISprovable -- theories about history. For those without any sense of the importance of individual dignity and value, Marxism then becomes a panacea, the ultimate way to simplify the messy and crude "capitalism" that is such a convenient and easy whipping boy.

It is absurd to witness leftist academics continue to insist that -- contrary to everything the Islamicist fundamentalists say about themselves, their goals, and their motives -- their REAL grievance has to do with economic injustice, defined (remarkably!) as exactly the kind of issues and concerns that leftist intellectuals discuss in faculty lounges. (What a coincidence!)

The reality is that Marxism is complete tautology: first, you begin with the premise that all observable human relations and experience are, fundamentally, expressions of economic conflict. Therefore, you are forced by Marxist doctrine to ignore all evidence to the contrary, that people can act out of such "medieval" and superstitious considerations as altruism, religious conviction, or patriotism. So then, the Marxist, after beginning with this assumption, CONCLUDES that everything he/she has just witnessed is really the manifestation of an economic conflict. It's totally circular because it is not rooted in the scientific method in which you prove or disprove a hypothesis. In contrast, Marxism simply re-interprets all the evidence until everything fits the theory, rather than re-shaping the theory to fit the evidence.

Therefore, this doctrine gives the author the license to declare, absurdly, that the religious Koran-centric rhetoric spewed weekly by OBL and his buddies is really just a distortion of the old third-world Marxist revolutions. It's funny that OBL didn't seem to notice how communism was his real goal back when he and the other mujaheddin were fighting the Soviet infidels in Afghanistan. And if you can find me a single suicide bomber who says that his reason for pursuing martyrdom is because he's disillusioned with "the transition from welfare to market state," then I'll take these kinds of arguments seriously. But until then, I'll believe the bombers themselves over their academic/journalist apologists stuck in the failed theories of the 19th century.
The failure to take what the terrorists say about their purposes seriously exemplifies how far from reality the "official" debating societies of the west have drifted.

That is not a good thing, but it does explain a lot about the middle American cultural distrust of the academic and political class.

It's not that they don't have ideas. It's just that their ideas often are utterly tangential to reality.
Excellent post.

To carry forward a theme, one might say that all religion and not just Islam, are and will forever be incompatible with any form of totalitarianism.

The real issue is one of religious leadership.

No one will say it, but those who speak in the name of Islam are thugs and political hacks- and they are being allowed to define Islam because we do not yet have the will to deal with these issues as we must.
"...but it remains seductive in academia and other intellectual circles...because it...simplifies the whole of human experience into a series of unprovable...theories"

It is also attractive because it requires an elite class of theoreticians, policy makers, bureacrats, enforcers and commissars to tell everybody what to do, and these intellectuals are in love with the idea that they, being so much smarter, have a natural right and duty to rule. We, the pitiful proletarian "mickeymass" as one liberal science fiction writer was fond of describing us (such contempt comes naturally to the liberal elite) must heed and obey our betters.
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