The fatal complementarity of Islam and the West

I have said many times that in resurgent Islam the liberal West has met its fate. Islam is a non-Western religion set on conquering and converting non-Moslems, while liberalism is a Western ideology set on tolerating and including non-Westerners. They are predators, we are prey. This complementarity spells the death of the West, unless there is a radical awakening on our part to the true nature of Islam and a willingness to oppose it.

But there’s a further twist to this complementarity that makes it even harder for Westerners and Americans to extricate ourselves from the trap in which our own ideology has placed us.

As I said, Moslems seek to turn the whole human race into Moslems. We are the demonic and tempting Other, whom they must conquer and convert, and against whom any deception to accomplish those ends is sanctioned by God. But liberal Westerners and particularly liberal Americans (which, when we understand the word “liberal” correctly, means basically all Americans) remain for the most part indefeasibly na´ve about the nature and goals of Islam, imagining that the Moslems (except for a “tiny minority” of extremists) are basically “just like us,” potential citizens of a democratic world order. Just as the Moslems’ hard-boiled view of us as the infidel Other stems from their very being and faith as Moslems, liberal Americans’ naive view of the Moslems as people “just like us” stems from our very being and faith as liberal Americans. Being a liberal American means being a nice person who is tolerant of others, wanting to see other people as individuals and putting group differences into the background.

For our liberal American identity to be sustainable, we must go on believing that all people are essentially like us. Therefore, if we became convinced that a billion Moslems are not basically like us but are irreconcilably different from us and mortally dangerous to us, then, instead of being open to them and accepting of them, we would have to become closed and defensive toward them. We would lose our very being as liberal Americans, as well as our hope of a harmonious, unified, equal world. And that is why we stubbornly ignore the Moslems’ actual qualities. We don’t do it simply because we are “na´ve.” We do it in order to maintain our own identity which is based on our believing that humanity consists of nice people like ourselves, and that discrimination against people on the basis of religion and ethnicity is always wrong.

We think we disregard other people’s negative qualities out of a motive of generosity and tolerance. In reality, we are pursuing an imperial impulse, constructing an image of an Americanist world in which everyone is reasonable and easy-going like ourselves and discrimination is not necessary. But—the final irony—our imperial agenda is leading to our dhimmi-likd subjection to the Moslems’ imperial agenda, since our empire is an empire of tolerance and inclusion in which we must open our arms to merciless world-conquering jihadists.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 21, 2005 03:36 PM | Send

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