Is my hard line on Islam unrealistic?
I think you somewhat misunderstood my position in the Gaffney thread last week. As it happens, I agree with you that there is no such thing as moderate Islam. In an ideal world, we could openly state that Islam itself is the problem, and proceed to implement a strategy of weakening and containing Islam, destroying dangerous Islamic regimes, hunting down and killing bad guys, and preventing further Islamic immigration to the West (and especially to America).
However, we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a country in which pernicious liberals exist in large numbers, and have the right to vote. Their chosen politicians now control Congress. These people are not going to go away—or change their minds—anytime soon, and any realistic strategy for the war on terror has to acknowledge this. The above-mentioned strategy would be utterly unacceptable to the liberals, and that means we need to formulate a strategy that is politically obtainable. If you say “we are only fighting against bad Muslims” then you get the center on your side and can at least do something. If you say, “Islam itself is the problem” then you won’t have the center on your side and you will wind up doing nothing.
There is also the issue of “public diplomacy.” How are we going to weaken and divide Islam if we openly state “Islam itself is the problem”? Yes, I know we’re doing a terrible job of public diplomacy, and they all pretty much hate us anyway, but openly stating that the above strategy IS your strategy excludes the chance that any of them will defect to your side. Not to mention we’d have problems with the Islamic states that are at least somewhat cooperative at this time, even though their population as a whole doesn’t like us.
Politics is the art of the possible, and I just don’t see the above strategy as possible. You may call all this the politics of despair, but I call it the politics of realism.
You wrote: “James, in the typical liberal manner, says that if you don’t want to invite people into your home, that means you hate them.”
Not at all, and in fact my original message to you said nothing about immigration. I think we have not just the right but the positive obligation to decide who to invite into our home, and to exclude people like criminals, terrorists, the culturally harmful (e.g. Muslims), and even the simply unproductive or uneducated. I don’t “hate” the billions of Third World people around the world who would no doubt like to come to America, but that doesn’t mean I actually want them coming here and turning America into a Third World country.
—end of initial entry—
If you say “we are only fighting against bad Muslims” then you get the center on your side and can at least do something. If you say, “Islam itself is the problem” then you won’t have the center on your side and you will wind up doing nothing. But the fatal problem with saying “we are only fighting against bad Muslims” is that it instantly turns into, “the good Muslims are the answer to the bad Muslims.” Which means that our primary focus becomes appealing to the good Muslims, trying to build them up, instead of defending ourselves from the bad Muslims. But since the good Muslims can NEVER be a dominant power in Islam, the thing we are banking on can never come to pass.
I suppose there are instances in which a “noble lie,” an approximate truth, can help lead toward the good. I don’t think that the Islam issue is such an instance. When it comes to Islam, only the plain truth can save us. Anything short of the plain truth about Islam leads to Muslims taking us over.
Ironically, you don’t seem to notice that even Gaffney’s “noble lie” about moderate Muslims is also rejected totally by the liberal mainstream. The liberal mainstream is into surrendering to radical Muslims, period. So the arguments you make against me (that what I’m saying will only be rejected, so I need to soften my message), you could also make against Gaffney.
As the saying goes, for the same price we could tell the truth. Since we will be rejected and excluded for speaking the noble lie that only radical Islamism is the problem and that Islam per se is not the problem, why not be rejected and excluded for speaking the truth that Islam per se is the problem?
It’s tough enough to wear yourself to skin and bone for the sake of the truth. Could anything be more ridiculous and absurd than to wear yourself to skin and bone for the sake of a lie?
There is also the issue of “public diplomacy.” How are we going to weaken and divide Islam if we openly state “Islam itself is the problem”? We can’t divide Islam between moderate and radical Muslims because the moderate Muslims can never gain any power. The sorts of divisions that would suit our purposes would be divisions between various kinds of radical Muslims, e.g., between Shi’ites and Sunnis. But we can’t count on that either. The ONLY thing we can count on is OURSELVES, ACTING IN OUR OWN DEFENSE AND SELF INTEREST. You don’t understand that. You still place your primary focus on winning over liberals and appealing to moderate Muslims. But liberals, so long as they are intact as liberals, can never be won over. They must either be defeated politically and intellectually by our side, or they must renounce their liberalism as a result of the society being destroyed by liberalism.
Also you contradict yourself.
You start by saying: “As it happens, I agree with you that there is no such thing as moderate Islam.”
But then you say, “How are we going to weaken and divide Islam if we openly state ‘Islam itself is the problem’”?
But according to you, if we could divide Islam, between what parties would we divide it? Presumably between the moderates and the radicals. But you’re already said that the moderates don’t exist. So, once again, we cannot end the Islamic threat by manipulating and social engineering the Islamic community in its internal characteristics to make it less troublesome. We can only end the Islamic threat by isolating and containing Islam as a whole and taking whatever further steps are necessary to deprive it of all power to affect us.
However, I want to return to one point of yours:
If you say “we are only fighting against bad Muslims” then you get the center on your side and can at least do something. I have no problem with saying that we are only fighting against bad Muslims, just so long as we don’t say that the solution therefore is to cultivate good Muslims who will somehow make the bad Muslims go away. The object must be for us to defeat the bad Muslims, even as we add the caveat that of course not all Muslims are bad, and even as we add the further caveat that the fact that not all Muslims are bad does not mean that Islam as such is not a danger to us.
Also, “not bad” is not the same as “good.” From our point of view, a good Muslim is one who honestly acknowledges that Islam as such is a danger to us. Moderate Muslims who claim that that real Islam is good and wonderful, such as the Sufi lady I spoke to at the Gaffney screening last week, are part of the problem, since they would put us to sleep and make it impossible for us to defend ourselves from the bad Islam.
Leonard K. writes:
ALL Muslims (apostates don’t count) hate Gaffney, Pipes, Spencer, Bush, etc. and call them Islamophobes anyway, no matter how many times they repeat that they are not against Islam per se. So, the Winning-the-Hearts-and-Minds strategy is not working and will not work.
That’s right. And people are afraid of saying that Islam per se is the problem, because they think that that is the same as saying that all Muslims are bad people and we must hate them. This is a fallacy that, so long as we believe it, paralyzes and dooms us. We need to recognize that Islam is totally incompatible with our society, and we need to tell the Muslims, in plain direct language, that we understand that Islam is totally incompatible with our society. That’s not saying that Muslims as individuals are bad people; it’s saying that the religion of Islam is totally incompatible with our society. From which it follows that significant numbers of Muslims do not belong in our society, not because they are bad people or because we hate them, but because the presence of Islam with its program to institutionalize sharia spells our ruin.
Once this truth becomes broadly recognized, civilized and rational solutions will begin to appear.
(Maybe someone should run this comment by David Horowitz and ask him if it’s racist and offensive. I wouldn’t want to offend anybody.)
You wrote: “But according to you, if we could divide Islam, between whom would we divide it? Presumably between the moderates and the radicals. But you’re already said that the moderates don’t exist.”
Just because Islam is not moderate, does not mean it is monolithic. There are plenty of fissures to exploit—national, factional, ethnic, racial, tribal. If you say “our problem with you is your common belief in Islam” it pushes them together and makes it harder to exploit such fissures. What we want is to put all the scorpions in a bottle and let them sting each other rather than being in our kitchen stinging us.
Well this is better than what you said before, when you seemed to be saying that the goal is to divide the radicals from the non-existent moderates. As I said, I’m all in favor of dividing Iranian 12th Imamists from Saudi Wahhabists. But that cannot be our main strategy, because, while we can perhaps influence what happens within Islam, what happens within Islam is not within our power. What is within our power is how we deal with Islam as an external totality.
Dimitri K. writes:
It is an interesting discussion about which strategy and tactics is better. However, I would like to comment not on this key question, but on one phrase of yours: “The liberal mainstream is into surrendering to radical Muslims.” I believe, it is not exactly what is happening, especially in Europe, but also is starting here in U.S. Surrendering means that there has been at least an attempt to defend oneself and does not imply invitation for the enemy to come. To put it sortly, surrendering is against the will. What is happening now is that liberal mainstream is actively and willingly promoting islamization. I would rather call it “collaboration.”
Dimitri is correct. Collaboration is a more accurate description of what the left is doing than surrender.
Andrew E. writes:
VFR has been outstanding the last several days. I had a quick comment regarding your post on the appropriate hard line to take with respect to Islam. It occurs to me that to avoid the “noble lie” or the “noble lie” we would have to call the good Muslims “self-identified Muslims,” since their beliefs contradict the sacredly held duty of all true Muslims to commit jihad against non-believers as orthodox Islam has taught for 1,400 years.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 08, 2007 02:30 PM | Send