mm150: Islam, the Marxism of Our Time

September 23, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

Sept. 11, 2001 was Pearl Harbor for this generation of the people of the U.S.

And, while Pearl Harbor shocked that generation into the realization that the world they lived in was suddenly at war, in reality that war had begun almost every else many years before.

In fact, John Keegan, the outstanding military historian, begins his eminently readable history of World War II with the Versailles Peace Conference that ended World War I, because the errors of omission and commission committed there at the end of the first Great War set into motion the geopolitical forces that led inexorably to the second.

Indeed, Margaret MacMillan’s excellent history of that conference, Paris 1919, illustrates that we reap today, 88 years later, in the Middle East and Balkans, just to name two of the most egregious examples, the bitter harvest of many of the often well-intentioned but ill-chosen decisions made there.

Thus, our War on Terrorism, declared after the tragedy of the Twin Towers, was similar to our declaration of war against Japan on Dec. 8, 1941: We came very, very late to an undeclared war that, at a minimum, could be traced back to the formation of the State of Israel in 1948, or even the Balfour Declaration of 1917, or even way back, to take the extraordinarily long view, to the Crusades.

Western culture has shared the planet with Islam for 1,300 turbulent years (as if the preceding 5 billion were any less so!).

One might posit that Western Europe learned imperialism from the example set by Islamic culture. It is a fact that the enslaving of sub-Saharan African people by Europeans was learned from, aided and abetted by Arabic traders, who had begun the horrifying practice centuries before Henry the Navigator set his fearless explorers loose.

All this as introduction to some interesting reading encountered this week.

cityjournal

Islam, the Marxism of Our Time by Theodore Dalrymple

Some troubling signs in Europe

17 September 2007

From an Islamist point of view, the news from Europe looks good. The Times of London, relying on a police report, recently observed that the Deobandis, a fundamentalist sect, now run nearly half of the 1,350 mosques in Britain and train the vast majority of the Muslim clerics who get their training in the country. The man who might become the sect’s spiritual leader in Britain, Riyadh ul Haq, believes that friendship with a Christian or a Jew makes “a mockery of Allah’s religion.” At least no one could accuse him of a shallow multiculturalism.

According to Le Figaro, 70 percent of Muslims in France intend to keep the fast during Ramadan, up from 60 percent in 1989. Better still, from the Islamist point of view, non-practicing Muslims feel increasing social pressure to comply with the fast, whether they want to or not. The tide is thus running in the Islamists’ favor.

The writer’s analogy: that fundamentalist Islam has become the refuge for the young and disaffected in Western culture, in the way that superficial Marxism was for previous generations.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Islam, the Marxism of Our Time by Theodore Dalrymple

All this suggests that Islam is fast becoming the Marxism of our times. Had Fritz G. and Daniel S. grown up a generation earlier, they would have become members of the Baader-Meinhof Gang rather than Islamic extremists. The dictatorship of the proletariat, it seems, has given way before the establishment of the Caliphate as the transcendent answer to some German youths’ personal angst.

This is good news indeed for Islamists, but not so good for the rest of us.

A blogger I had not before encountered, but added to the blogroll2 thanks to this submission, a psychiatrist calling herself Dr. Sanity, responded to the City Journal article, by indicting the current state of Western culture that is providing safe harbor for Islamic fanaticism.

Dr. Sanity: Islam and Marxism: A marriage made in Allah’s socialist paradise

In an article from City Journal, Theodore Dalrymple makes a compelling case that Islam is fast becoming the Marxism of our time.

I want to take Dalrymple’s analysis one step further. Islam is not simply the alternative that today’s angst-ridden, alienated youth turn to because Marxism is waning in intellectual circles; it’s extremism and violence resonates harmonically with the socialist revolutionaries of the 20th century; and they have appropriated the jihad as an essential component of their political and intellectual strategy to revive Marxism in the 21st century.

Let us take a look at the strategy and how it has evolved to include the Islamic fanatics.

Multiculturalism and political correctness are two of the fundamental pseudo-intellectual, quasi-religious tenets that have been widely disseminated by intellectuals unable to abandon socialism even after its crushing failures in the 20th century. Along with a third component, radical environmentalism, they make up three key foundations of leftist dogma that have been slowly, but relentlessly, absorbed at all levels of Western culture in the last decade or so–but primarily since the end of the Cold War.

All three have been incorporated into most K-12 curricula as well as the academic curricula in Western university and colleges. In combination, they are the toxic by-products of postmodern relativism.

Dr. Sanity includes a useful map (MUDGE loves maps) of the evolution of the Marxist/Islamist union.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Dr. Sanity: ISLAM AND MARXISM – A MARRIAGE MADE IN ALLAH’S SOCIALIST PARADISE

A bracing analysis. Thanks, Dr. Sanity!

Finally, since there’s a war on, we turn to this look at a less than formal effort to reach the “Arab Street” with a more balanced view of U.S. policy:

At State Dept., Blog Team Joins Muslim Debate

nytimes

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR

WASHINGTON — Walid Jawad was tired of all the chatter on Middle Eastern blogs and Internet forums in praise of gory attacks carried out by the “noble resistance” in Iraq.

So Mr. Jawad, one of two Arabic-speaking members of what the State Department called its Digital Outreach Team, posted his own question: Why was it that many in the Arab world quickly condemned civilian Palestinian deaths but were mute about the endless killing of women and children by suicide bombers in Iraq?

Among those who responded was a man named Radad, evidently a Sunni Muslim, who wrote that many of the dead in Iraq were just Shiites and describing them in derogatory terms. But others who answered Mr. Jawad said that they, too, wondered why only Palestinian dead were “martyrs.”

The discussion tacked back and forth for four days, one of many such conversations prompted by scores of postings the State Department has made on about 70 Web sites since it put its two Arab-American Web monitors to work last November.

The postings, are an effort to take a more casual, varied approach to improving America’s image in the Muslim world.

Imagine! The George III-marginalized State Department actually figuring out how to used that new-fangled Internet thingy, and blogging in a potentially useful way!. The mind bloggles. Sort of a micro version of Radio Free Europe; one has to wonder whether the effort is worth the expenditure, however tiny.

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

At State Dept., Blog Team Joins Muslim Debate – New York Times

So, what do we learn from today’s trifecta of stories related to Islamic culture and its transactions with the West?

We’re at war, people.

Not the war that the simplistic Bush administration (as in naively incompetent, for which there is no excuse nearly seven years in) would have you believe.

We’re at war with Islam (as the Western world has been for 1,300 years); and with our own university-grown pestilences of “multiculturalism, political correctness, and radical environmentalism,” as Dr. Sanity reminds us. And there’s no moral high ground in war.

And I don’t believe that we’re winning.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

Non-commercial Note!: the links to Amazon.com used above are for the convenience of faithful reader and represents no commercial relationship whatsoever. Left-Handed Complement should be so fortunate as to ever collect remuneration of any kind for this endeavor. I can link, so I link. It’s technology. It’s cool. Deal with it.


mm116: Lies, Lies, and More Lies, in History-Illiterate America – The Smirking Chimp

August 26, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

There have been a number of refutations of George III’s infamous Iraq/Vietnam comparison statement of this week. Here’s an excellent one:

smirkingchimp

by Larry Beinhart | Aug 25 2007 – 7:44pm |

George Bush — and other Iraq War supporters — have argued that if we withdraw from Iraq the result will be like the slaughters — the killing fields -in Cambodia.

Here are the facts:

  • The killing fields were real. The genocide against their own people was committed by the Khmer Rouge.
  • The Vietnamese — the Communist Vietnamese — were the people who went in and put a stop to it.
  • The United States then supported the Khmer Rouge.

MUDGE isn’t doctrinaire about history. He won’t trot out George Santayana (yeah, okay, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”).

On the other hand, the world isn’t some Magic Slate, wiped clean every night, starting afresh every day, sparkling and new.

Some middle ground is preferred between codgerdom (we who remember everything, just before we start to forget everything) and Gen Y, who seemingly haven’t bothered to learn anything outside the narrow confines of MySpace and YouTube.

So take a look at the rest of this cogent posting:

[Per L-HC’s reformed process, please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Lies, Lies, and More Lies, in History-Illiterate America – The Smirking Chimp

The old analogy of ships of state is an apt one. The USA sails through history, accumulating barnacles which slow it down and inertia and ponderousness cause it to stay on a course way longer than necessary or advisable.

And, the generals are fighting the last war (albeit as we heard again from the White House this week with very selective memories).

The result, as we all can see, is that change comes rarely, if at all. War is still prosecuted for the same (often obscure or selfish) reasons; the face of the enemy changes, but that’s a detail.

What the generals have not yet worked out is a successful solution to the conundrum of asymmetric warfare.

Mentioned this in a comment over at Monte Asbury’s Blog (a new regular read, courtesy of A View from the Bridge at ClapSotronics): all of our accumulated $trillions of military spending did not protect us from 19 guys with airline tickets. The $trillions don’t protect Iraqi civilians nor our courageous but under-protected troops from Saudis with a clunker and some plastic explosive.

Vietnam was one of the first indicators that asymmetric warfare was a tougher challenge than the generals and their political masters had ever before faced.

Our vaunted economic might, capable of purchasing the most advanced technology and putting it and manpower in overwhelming numbers into the field, a formula that worked so well in the period roughly corresponding to the Industrial Revolution in North America (i.e., 1830-1950, Mexican Wars through WWII), didn’t protect us from a determined enemy in pajamas (albeit with powerful friends — of course, think of France’s role in our own Revolutionary War).

Have the generals and admirals and the politicians learned from this? Not well enough.

And of course the incredible irony is, that the White House finally agrees with the Cindy Sheehan and the kneejerk peaceniks: Iraq = Vietnam.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm080: Why most terrorists are so incompetent. – By Tim Harford – Slate Magazine

July 23, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

We wrote about the terrorist attempts in Britain a few weeks ago. Here’s an incisive analysis from yet another columnist I try not to miss at Slate.com blogroll2.

slate

the undercover economist: The economic mysteries of daily life.

Dumb Bomb – Why most terrorists are so incompetent.

By Tim Harford
Posted Saturday, July 21, 2007, at 7:53 AM ET

The attempted attacks in London and Glasgow, Scotland, three weeks ago surprised many people for two reasons: that the suspects were all educated medical professionals rather than desperate, uneducated vagrants; and that they bitched the job so badly.

The first revelation should not, by now, have been much of a surprise. My Financial Times colleague Gideon Rachman has reminded us that Osama Bin Laden is an engineer, his family is fabulously wealthy, and his deputy is a doctor.

Economist Alan Krueger, author of a new book called What Makes a Terrorist?: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, attempts to add to these examples with a systematic study of the evidence. He concludes that terrorists, political extremists, and those who commit hate crimes are often relatively well-to-do. This is a difficult thing to prove, not least because each of those categories is controversial and there is a world of difference between, say, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka. Krueger dips into different sources of data, each one imperfect, trying to build up a compelling picture from opinion polls, biographies of terrorists, and broader studies.

Opinion polls from Gaza and the West Bank conducted in December 2001 show that students and professionals are more likely than the unemployed or laborers to say that terrorism can be justified, and more likely to deny that a suicide bombing in a Tel Aviv nightclub should be described as “a terrorist act.” (The polls reveal more unanimity than disagreement on these points but certainly offer no evidence that education or wealth leads to more moderate views.)

When he was a graduate student at Princeton, the young economist Claude Berrebi gathered data on more than 40 Palestinian suicide bombers. He concluded that they were far better educated than the typical Palestinian, and also richer. Krueger offers a complementary picture using biographies of 129 Hezbollah fighters killed in action, although not necessarily while attempting a terrorist attack. They, too, were somewhat better educated and less likely to be poor than the typical young Lebanese man of the time.

More indirect evidence comes from studies of hate crimes, which are thought to have some parallels with terrorism. Again, economic motives are hard to find. It was once the conventional wisdom that lynchings in the American South were more common whenever cotton prices were low, indicating tough times for the economy. Historians no longer believe in the correlation. In general, hate crimes do not seem to be more common in economic downturns—although economist Emily Oster seems to have found an exception in medieval witch hunts, which were more common when crops failed.

All in all, the research that professor Krueger gathers together suggests that if there is a link between poverty, education, and terrorism, it is the opposite of the one popularly assumed. We should not be surprised to find that terrorists can add up, read, and even write prescriptions.

What is more surprising is that the attackers in London and Glasgow were so incompetent. Claude Berrebi and Harvard economist Efraim Benmelech studied—there’s no nice way to put this—the human-resources policy of Palestinian terrorist groups. They found that older, better-educated terrorists secured more important suicide missions and killed more people. Having more than a high-school education doubles the chance of escaping capture, for example.

If the terrorists in this case do turn out to be the doctors and other professionals who are, as I write, suspected of the crime, it would demonstrate that even years of education and experience do not guarantee a successful attack. Blowing up innocent people is obviously harder than it looks, and for that we can all be grateful.

Why most terrorists are so incompetent. – By Tim Harford – Slate Magazine

This is all most disturbing. If these were U.S. trained doctors, you’d think that they might have decided to blow themselves up to get off the hook for their student loans. [Ba-dum-bump].

Two questions (well, at least two) come to mind after reading this:

  1. Hey, TSA — how’s that air travel profiling coming?
  2. How well do our ever-intrusive domestic security agencies know what’s up in our own Muslim communities? (And by the way, does anyone call it Detroitistan?)

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm044: The London car-bomb plot was designed to kill women. – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

July 3, 2007

 A response to mm041: this was real, only the most recent incident in the true cultural war we’re fighting.

fighting words: A wartime lexicon.

Don’t Mince Words — The London car-bomb plot was designed to kill women.

By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, July 2, 2007, at 1:11 PM ET

Glasgow Airport. Click image to expand.

The scene of the attack at Glasgow Airport

Why on earth do people keep saying, “There but for the grace of God …”? If matters had been very slightly different over the past weekend, the streets of London and the airport check-in area in Glasgow, Scotland, would have been strewn with charred body parts. And this would have been, according to the would-be perpetrators, because of the grace of God. Whatever our own private theology or theodicy, we might at least agree to take this vile belief seriously.

Instead, almost every other conceivable explanation was canvassed. The June 30 New York Times report managed to quote three people, one of whom attributed the aborted atrocity in London to Tony Blair’s foreign policy; one of whom (a New Zealand diplomat, at that) felt “surprisingly all right about it”; and one of whom, described as “a Briton of Indian descent,” was worried that “if I walk up that road, they’re going to suspect me.” The “they” there was clearly the British authorities, rather than the Muslim gangsters who have declared open season on all Hindus as well as all Jews, Christians, secularists, and other kuffar or infidel filth.

On the following day, July 1, the same newspaper informed us that Britain contained a “disenfranchised South Asian population.” How this was true was never explained. There are several Muslim parliamentarians in both houses, often allowed to make the most absurdly inflammatory and euphemistic statements where acts of criminal violence are concerned, as well as several districts in which the Islamic vote keeps candidates of all parties uneasily aware of what may and may not be said. True, the Muslim extremist groups boycott elections and denounce democracy itself as profane, but this does not really count as disenfranchisement.

Only at the tail end of the coverage was it admitted that a car bomb might have been parked outside a club in Piccadilly because it was “ladies night” and that this explosion might have been designed to lure people into to the street, the better to be burned and shredded by the succeeding explosion from the second car-borne cargo of gasoline and nails. Since we have known since 2004 that a near-identical attack on a club called the Ministry of Sound was proposed in just these terms, on the grounds that dead “slags” or “sluts” would be regretted by nobody, a certain amount of trouble might have been saved by assuming the obvious. The murderers did not just want body parts in general but female body parts in particular.

I suppose that some people might want to shy away from this conclusion for whatever reason, but they cannot have been among the viewers of British Channel 4’s recent Undercover Mosque, or among those who watched Sunday’s report from Christiane Amanpour on CNN’s Special Investigations Unit. On these shows, the British Muslim fanatics came right out with their program. Straight into the camera, leading figures like Anjem Choudary spoke of their love for Osama Bin Laden and their explicit rejection of any definition of Islam as a religion of peace. On tape or in person, mullahs in prominent British mosques called for the killing of Indians and Jews.

Liberal reluctance to confront this sheer horror is the result, I think, of a deep reticence about some furtive concept of “race.” It is subconsciously assumed that a critique of political Islam is an attack on people with brown skins. One notes in passing that any such concession implicitly denies or negates Islam’s claim to be a universal religion. Indeed, some of its own exponents certainly do speak as if they think of it as a tribal property. And, at any rate, in practice, so it is. The fascistic subculture that has taken root in Britain and that lives by violence and hatred is composed of two main elements. One is a refugee phenomenon, made up of shady exiles from the Middle East and Asia who are exploiting London’s traditional hospitality, and one is the projection of an immigrant group that has its origins in a particularly backward and reactionary part of Pakistan.

To the shame-faced white-liberal refusal to confront these facts, one might counterpose a few observations. The first is that we were warned for years of the danger, by Britons also of Asian descent such as Hanif Kureishi, Monica Ali, and Salman Rushdie. They knew what the village mullahs looked like and sounded like, and they said as much. Not long ago, I was introduced to Nadeem Aslam, whose book Maps for Lost Lovers is highly recommended.

He understands the awful price of arranged marriages, dowry, veiling, and the other means by which the feudal arrangements of rural Pakistan have been transplanted to parts of London and Yorkshire. “In some families in my street,” he writes to me, “the grandparents, parents, and the children are all first cousins—it’s been going on for generations and so the effects of the inbreeding are quite pronounced by now.” By his estimate and others, a minority of no more than 11 percent is responsible for more than 70 percent of the birth defects in Yorkshire. When a leading socialist member of Parliament, Ann Cryer, drew attention to this appalling state of affairs in her own constituency, she was promptly accused of—well, you can guess what she was accused of. The dumb word Islamophobia, uncritically employed by Christiane Amanpour in her otherwise powerful documentary, was the least of it. Meanwhile, an extreme self-destructive clannishness, which is itself “phobic” in respect to all outsiders, becomes the constituency for the preachings of a cult of death. I mention this because, if there is an “ethnic” dimension to the Islamist question, then in this case at least it is the responsibility of the Islamists themselves.

The most noticeable thing about all theocracies is their sexual repression and their directly related determination to exert absolute control over women. In Britain, in the 21st century, there are now honor killings, forced marriages, clerically mandated wife-beatings, incest in all but name, and the adoption of apparel for females that one cannot be sure is chosen by them but which is claimed as an issue of (of all things) free expression. This would be bad enough on its own and if it were confined to the Muslim “community” alone. But, of course, such a toxin cannot be confined, and the votaries of theocracy now claim the God-given right to slaughter females at random for nothing more than their perceived immodesty. The least we can do, confronted by such radical evil, is to look it in the eye (something it strives to avoid) and call it by its right name. For a start, it is the female victims of this tyranny who are “disenfranchised,” while something rather worse than “disenfranchisement” awaits those who dare to disagree.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

Photograph of Glasgow Airport by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

The London car-bomb plot was designed to kill women. – By Christopher Hitchens – Slate Magazine

So, maybe not so much Beavis and Butthead after all. Nothing like adding a bit of context.

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE