Dalrymple: Islam is the problem. Auster: Therefore, what?
(Further discussion has continued below.)
Theodore Dalrymple has another article on Islam at City Journal. His view of the issue is becoming more and more realistic, and I posted a response urging him to get even more realistic. After I posted it, however, I found that that City Journal only displays selected comments with their article, in fact just two comments with the Dalrymple piece, which was published on June 4. So why do they invite readers to send responses, if they don’t post them online?
Mr. Dalrymple says that the ills of Islam can only be healed if Islam becomes a private religion without claims to public sovereignty, in which case, he adds, it would no longer be Islam. In other words, the only way for the world to become safe from Islamic supremacism is for Islam to cease to exist.
Notice also the irony in the title of this entry. For years our side has been urging people to understand that Islam itself—not some concoction called radical Islam—is the problem. Dalrymple is now saying that Islam is the problem. Yet, instead of cheering him, I’m pushing him further. Why? It’s because recognizing that Islam is the problem is not enough. Even Daniel Pipes—on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, that is—recognizes that Islam is the problem, but then he goes on to say that Islam can be whatever Muslims say it is, that Islam can be changed into something nicer, an idea that, if we believe it, catches us in a hopeless ameliorative project to transform the whole of Islam. So Pipes’s apparently realistic assessment of Islam still leads him into a utopian fantasy world. Dalrymple is not, Pipes-like, calling for a new, moderate form of Islam. He says that Islam itself must end. But the trouble is, to call for Islam to come to an end is as utopian as to call for Islam to make itself moderate. It does not lie within our scope and power to make such a thing happen.
At the same time, no one wants to go near the proposal I’ve laid out above and elsewhere, because (1) it involves no ameliorative project aimed at rescuing the Muslims, and (2) it means treating a fifth of the human race as our permanent adversaries, removing them from our countries, and keeping them locked up in their own. And yet this is the only strategy that is doable and would restore our safety and freedom.
Some will say that my plan is utopian too, but it’s not. Consider this. Even if we had the will to make all Muslims give up Islam, we couldn’t make it happen. But if we had the will to make Muslims leave the West, we could make it happen.
Alex K. writes:
“Even Daniel Pipes—on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, that is—recognizes that Islam is the problem, but then he goes on to say that Islam can be whatever Muslims say it is, that Islam can be changed into something nicer, an idea that, if we believe it, catches us in a hopeless ameliorative project to transform the whole of Islam.”LA replies:
Absolutely correct. I don’t bring this point up often enough—the time factor. EVEN IF Islam could be moderated, the people pushing this still admit it would take a long long time.. So what do we do about Islam in the mean time? Just allow it to keep growing stronger? The fact that even the people who admit that moderation would take a long time nevertheless want to continue admitting Muslims into the West shows their fundamental concern is not realism and safety but liberalism and openness.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 13, 2006 01:37 PM | Send