Proposal to destroy Islam debated at Gates of Vienna
2007, VFR published
a modest proposal on the Islam problem by a well-known author writing under the name “Westerner.” He argued that the separationist policy
I have proposed of rolling back, containing, and using military force to quarantine Muslims within the historic Islamic lands would not be sufficient to make the non-Islamic world safe, because Islamic regimes would still exist and continue to seek ways to harm us. He therefore proposed a policy aimed, not at containing and disempowering Islam, as the separationist policy does, but at destroying
In pursuit of this objective, Westener urged, among other radical steps, that—after due warnings are given to allow civilians to evacuate—Medina and Mecca be “vaporized” with nuclear weapons. In this connection he made two points. First, the attack on Mecca and Medina would not be in retaliation for any particular attack on the West. Given that Islam has been at war with us unbelievers and our ancestors since its inception 1,400 years ago, no further casus belli is needed. Second, since Islam requires external success for its claim as the one true religion to be validated, the destruction of its holiest sites will discredit the religion in the eyes of its adherents, leading them to abandon it over the course of the next century, perhaps converting to Christianity. Thus Islam could be eliminated at the relatively low cost of destroying a few evacuated cities without mass killings of Muslims.
I replied to Westerner that while such drastic measures as he advocated may possibly be called for at some future point, we are not anywhere near that point now. So we should carry out the separationist policy, consisting, most importantly, of getting almost all Muslims to depart voluntarily or involuntarily from the West, thus removing forever the immediate Islam threat from our own societies, and only then consider whether further steps are still required. Even those who strongly favor Westerner’s nuclear option ought to recognize that we must remove Muslims from the West and confine them within the Muslim world before launching an all-out war of destruction against Islam. Otherwise, the all-out war of destruction will be going both ways, in our own lands.
Westerner’s article has now been republished at Gates of Vienna. Since GoV specializes in the Islam problem as this site does not, the piece has attracted many more comments and a more intense discussion than did the original posting at VFR and so serves a useful purpose. One of the topics being debated is whether waging all-out war against Islam would turn the West into a militaristic, unfree society.
- end of initial entry -
M. Mason writes:
Though there are several other accompanying points in “Westerner’s” original article that I would endorse as part of an action program now, it is a question of the objective moral basis for launching any such proposed pre-emptive military campaign at the present time to utterly “crush” Islam “permanently” that is the first and overriding issue here. And unfortunately for those who advocate this type of strategy, a purely secular-based politics is fundamentally incapable of dealing with that issue. At best, it can only call for the supposed “necessity” of such urgent action immediately by arguments that both begin and end solely with man himself as the measure of all things and his own self-interests as he perceives them. Shorn of transcendent validation to justify such draconian actions taken against the entire Muslim world at the present time, a political philosophy like this must therefore frame the issue essentially as a Nietzschean will to power struggle in which only the strongest one survives. That is the difficulty that you’re having with some of the more vocal and extroverted secular right-liberals (and even among a few who do profess a nominal religious faith of some sort, along with various others) in discussing this subject. To them, the Lawrence Auster strategy of isolation, containment and policing of the Muslim world within it’s historic lands seems too measured, too constrained by other moral considerations, too much like a counsel of merely doing “all that needs to be done at the present time to quarantine and disempower Islam to insure our own safety and no more.” In short, for many people a message like yours comes across as simply too conservative and too Christian.
Many secular liberals of whatever stripe are going to find it difficult to face this subject in the forceful but measured terms that you’ve laid out. Lacking an authoritative standard of objective truth outside themselves, when faced with the existential issue of Islam an innate hostility to both divine truth and it’s restraints manifests itself which invariably causes them to fall somewhere on a continuum between two extremes. Those two extremes are (a) left-liberals abasing themselves before and capitulating to the pernicious Other or (b) secular right-liberals eventually come to feel their own self-interests threatened to the point that they leap to the conclusion that a massive, pre-emptive campaign of overwhelming military power launched against the Muslim world to deliver a fatally “crushing blow” to it now is the only real game in town, agitating for their own version of a “Final Solution” to the Islam problem by forcing the issue to an ultimate showdown.
But there is no way either to define or constrain the proper use of power on such a massive scale without the safeguard of transcendent objective truth as a moral guide, otherwise morality is arbitrarily reduced to power and the state itself becomes nothing but a weapon of power. There may indeed come a time—and in my view probably will—when much more forceful measures will be both necessary and morally justified to deal with an implacably hostile Muslim world in response to their future actions against us. There is also the distinct possibility that this may even eventually come to resemble something like the scenario that “Westerner” has described. But I agree with you that we are certainly not at that stage now. It is not the “separation” strategy that is “too liberal,” it is the moral vacuum created by a secular worldview that always falls into that trap, one way or another.
I am thrilled by Mr. Mason’s explanation of why some people find my Islam proposals too moderate. What he is saying has been in the back of my mind for a long time but I never articulated it before. I definitely sense in some of the GoV commenters, and in commenters elsewhere, the combination of secularism with unrestrained will to power that Mr. Mason describes. I think he’s made a real contribution to our understanding.
I have a question for you about your phrasing. You wrote:
“So we should carry out the separationist policy, consisting, most importantly, of getting almost all Muslims to depart voluntarily or involuntarily from the West…”
What is the precise reason you use those qualifiers—
1) “almost all”
2) “voluntarily or”?
Why not just word the clause thusly:
So we should carry out the separationist policy, consisting, most importantly, of getting all Muslims to depart from the West…
You’ve read my articles. You know that I don’t have a single formula for doing this, but a range of things that could be pursued, but all with one aim in view, which is to eliminate Islam as a force in the West. That does not require the removal of every single Muslim.
I oppose the fallacy of totalistic thinking, such as believing that we can literally destroy the whole religion of Islam, or that we can literally make every single Muslim leave the West. We don’t need to do those things, and we most likely can’t do those things. Thinking that we can, gets us into god-like delusions.
Just because a movement has a stated goal that sounds totalistic, does not mean they have to expect total results. I could have a goal to get rid of “all” mosquitos at my summer cottage, but it would be silly of me to expect that all the mosquitos would be eliminated.
The problem with couching the programmatic goal in less than totalistic terms is that it leaves loopholes. If we are not going to deport all Muslims, then which Muslims will be exempted, and why? Better to put on the table from the beginning “all Muslims” and then let the accidental Muslims slip through the cracks, as they undoubtedly will, since any system is imperfect to some degree. I.e., better to make the Muslim remnant accidental, rather than exploitable by policy in one way or another.
Finally, totalistic language in this particular context I think is helpful, because all the gradualistic language that refers to the problem of Islam tends to acquire adhesion to the politically correct multi-culturalist paradigm and therefore tends to enable its ongoing hold on our sociopolitical consciousness—whether the person articulating it intends this or not.
“If we are not going to deport all Muslims, then which Muslims will be exempted, and why? Better to put on the table from the beginning ‘all Muslims’ and then let the accidental Muslims slip through the cracks, as they undoubtedly will, since any system is imperfect to some degree.”
I do not necessarily object to your logic. If you want to argue for the deportation of all Muslims from the U.S. regardless of whether they’ve shown support for jihad and sharia or not—even naturalized citizens, natural-born citizens, and natural born non-Muslim Americans converted to Islam, you can do that. It could be argued reasonably. I acknowledge the clarity and directness of your idea; it cuts to the heart of the issue and leaves no doubts. But it goes beyond any position I’ve taken. Going back four years to my FP article, “How to Defeat Jihad in America,” I’ve advocated removing the citizenship of and deporting even natural born jihad-supporting Muslims, meaning people who by their associations or actions, such as belonging to a jihad-supporting mosque, have shown support for jihad. As for natural born Muslims who have not demonstrated support for jihad and sharia, I would first attempt to get them to leave voluntarily by offering them money to leave and by designating Islam a political ideology not protected by the First Amendment. I would make it clear that Islam is not welcome. My ultimate preference is for my proposed constitutional amendment that, paraphrasing the Thirteenth Amendment which banned slavery, bans the practice of Islam in the United States, thus making it clear at the highest level of our national life that Islam is incompatible with this country. I think that something like the mixed set of proposals I have suggested over the last four years would reduce the Muslim population to the point that the remainder would be so small and non-devout that it would not pose a problem, without our having to force out literally every Muslim in America, including all naturalized and natural-born citizens.
I think my policy is very radical. But it’s not radical enough for some, who literally demand the deportation of every single Muslim. It is possible that at some point Islam may become such a palpable threat to us that deportation of all Muslims will seem the right thing to do. I do not support that at this time. Also, apart from the moral issue, I think many people would be turned off by the sheer impossibility of total deportation. They will throw up their hands and give up on doing anything. This is why I favor my “graded” position, which would reduce drastically the numbers and power of Muslims in our society. If after taking the very radical steps I propose, we find that they are still not enough, then we can do more.
My long stated principle is that “Significant numbers of Muslims do not belong in any Western society, period.” The exact way that principle is put into effect is something that must be worked out.
John C. writes:
Concerning Westerner’s blog posted at Gates of Vienna about nuking Islam’s holy places, I can’t believe our military would ever recommend that action. There’s too many other much more important targets to take out. Such An attack on Muslim holy sites would incite Muslims all around the world to an even higher state of suicidal fanaticism than we have previously seen. I favor your more humane plan of Separationism. It’s doable and though large numbers of Muslims may die initially, not nearly as many as in an all out war. However, reading the comments I found it quite funny and broke out laughing when the commenter, Caballaria explained what would happen, and of course it’s true, if we warned Muslims of our intentions to nuke their shrine. Caballaria wrote:
By the way, Westerner really believes that if you tell all Muslims in Mecca to leave Mecca, they would really leave Mecca? If I know Muslims, they would all flock to Mecca and tie themselves to the holy site, all waiting to get nuked and go to meet the 72 virgins. No wait, the Saudis would actually force people to stay there, particularly women and children, so they can say the West kills women and children. Of course you can say: if they want to die let them die, but the fact is, it would be a great propaganda victory for them because they would then be able to paint us as baby-killers in the eyes of the world.
Somehow the thought of Muslims tying themselves together en masse around their sacred rock screaming “death to America”, struck me funny. And not to mention his idea of deterring Muslim attacks by firing missile loaded with pork at Muslim holy sites. I still have to chuckle.
Adela G. writes:
Islam looms as a problem for the West because the West’s more immediate problem, the ravage produced by modern liberalism, is paving the way for it.
Just as a body with a weakened immune system cannot be expected to fight off an infection, a West weakened and delegitimized by liberalism cannot be expected to exhibit enough of a sense of self-preservation to make its own survival likely.
Indeed, I see modern liberalism as the most dangerous threat to the survival of Western civilization. The decisive repudiation of modern liberalism is the necessary precursor to any action taken by the West against Islam. Otherwise such a threat to our survival will continue to proceed unopposed and even unacknowledged as such by our ruling elites.
If Islam were to disappear tomorrow, the West would still be at grave risk. If modern liberalism were to disappear tomorrow, it would be Islam facing the grave risk from a newly-revived West.
“The decisive repudiation of modern liberalism is the necessary precursor to any action taken by the West against Islam.”
True. Ironically, Conservative Swede said at the GoV thread that I don’t care about stopping Islam, that my real aim is to defeat liberalism. This has been the center of his case against me. His idea is that my real loyalty is only to Christianity, not to the West as a whole, including its secular elements, and therefore I can’t be trusted to defend the West. In fact, I have repeatedly said that secular Westerners and Christian Westerners must work together to protect the West from Islam. Not only that, but even in the GoV discussion, Swede has got the issue 180 degrees off.
Liberalism came up in the discussion because Bodissey and others had said that we have no hope of dealing with Islam as long as liberalism (or PC, or whatever) is in the saddle. In order to get people over the idea that they somehow had to wait for liberalism to go away before they could deal with Islam, I came up with my idea of making the “whole case” up front, in which we show the Islam problem, and what needs to be done about it, and the fact that liberalism won’t let us do what needs to be done about it, meaning that liberalism is a suicidal ideology and we need to dump it. Thus: reject liberalism in order to be free to resist Islam. Yet Swede is so wrapped up in his case against me as a Christian fifth columnist within the anti-Jihad movement who really opposes secular liberalism, not Islam, and who secretly sympathizes with Islam because at least it’s a traditional religion, and whose desire is not to defeat Islam but to defeat liberalism and force Christianity onto secular pagan Germanics such as Swede himself, that he turned on its head my policy of rejecting liberalism in order to defeat Islam.
1,500 years later, and it seems that some Nordics are still messed up in their head because of their having adopted, or having had forced on them, the “Jewish” God. The only way for them to heal themselves is to realize that the so-called Jewish God—really is God.
At the same time, Kidist’s point is correct. If Islam were to disaappear tomorrow, the West would still be mortally threatened by liberalism. Islam is not the reason that E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard California allowed a fifteen year old boy to run around the halls dressed like a girl wearing three inch heels and making conspicuous homosexual comments about other boys, until he was shot dead.
A. Zarkov writes:
Right now to destroy Mecca, especially with nuclear weapons, is extremely ill advised, and I think that it qualifies at a lunatic fringe suggestion. Any use of nuclear weapons short of a response to an actual nuclear attack on the US is beyond consideration as it would likely ignite a massive proliferation problem.
Here is a more reasonable suggestion. The US should quietly and behind the scenes inform the leaders of a certain collection of national states that any detonation of a nuclear device anywhere in the US, including its territories, will bring immediate and devastating retaliation on those nations. Even if we cannot directly connect the cause of the detonation to the governments involved. It’s enough for the device simply to explode. Otherwise we run the risk of an anonymous attack as a cover for a national state. Such a policy would up the ante for these countries and make clear to them they will suffer if we suffer. I think this would also pressure these countries to help us stop proliferation.
I don’t think it’s correct or fair to call Westerner’s idea a lunatic fringe idea. We face a terrible, unprecedented threat from a worldwide religion that intends our destruction. Since this blog began in 2002 I have been saying that I am interested in hearing any reasonable proposal to deal with the Islam problem. Westerners’ idea was reasonably argued, and others are free to discuss it and reject it reasonably.
A commenter named Laine at GoV says that if he tried my “whole enchilada” approach to the Islam problem at a social gathering with liberals, they would see him as a crazy, reject him, and that would be it.
Obviously I was not recommending that the “whole case” against Islam be made at a social gathering! Personally, when I am in social settings with liberals, I avoid all discussions of politics. The differences are too large, and their instant reaction against even a very moderate conservative position (let alone a radical conservative position such as we are discussing here) makes any discussion impossible.
Laine went on to say that he prefers using the Socratic method, asking questions to bring the liberal out and expose his fallacies, rather than positively arguing a conservative case. I entirely agree, that is much the best way to dealing with a liberal. If you have genuine interest in what a liberal thinks and why he thinks it (which I do), and keep asking him questions about it, you will find out the most amazing things, without arguing for any conservative position and thus setting off the liberal’s PC guns.
Adela G. writes:
You write: “Ironically, Conservative Swede said at the GoV thread that I don’t care about stopping Islam, that my real aim is to defeat liberalism. This has been the center of his case against me.”
Conservative Swede has no real (ie., rational and factual) case against you and the one he does have is based solely on what increasingly appears to be an obsessive antipathy. I noticed in that thread at GoV his weird veering off-topic in order to deliver himself of yet another irrational(ly) anti-Auster rant. I actually composed the following comment on him last night but decided not to send it because the topic under discussion is so serious that I didn’t want to derail it by ridiculing him (fun as that is). His bias against you should be obvious to all by now. Frankly, it’s so wildly off-base that I find it funny.
Here’s my take on his comments at GoV which I wrote late last night before I read what you posted here at VFR:
In the discussion at Gates of Vienna, Conservative Swede writes: . The first and current step is about educating people about Islam. The person that surely does most effective work on that front is Robert Spencer.
I think Con Swede is unhinged. In the midst of an interesting discussion, he cannot resist going off-topic to deride you, even to the point of making the stereotypical insult that you’re a pajama-clad blogger. First he compares you unfavorably to the ever-watchful Robert Spencer and then to the decisive man of action, Berlusconi. Evidently, nothing less than your donning a suit (little does he know you already wear one when blogging) and begging Spencer’s forgiveness while evicting hordes of marauding gypsies from their camps in New York City will satisfy him that you are, indeed, on the right side, not merely the Christian side.
So what do the lone crusaders Erich and Auster make out of that? They spend an obsessive amount of time in attacking Robert Spencer. And they are not the least embarrassed in doing so and at the same time lecturing the world around them that they certainly know the only true way to get things done. It has never struck them how very lonely they are.
If you want to learn something about how to get things done, two guys sitting in their pajamas behind their computer all day, without an organization or network, is not what you are looking for. Instead watch and study Berlusconi and his ministers in action. This is the way to present the case. This is the way to get things done. Step by step.
John L. writes:
Sadly I believe Mr. Mason is correct.
In all likelihood, those “secular liberals of whatever stripe” will remain in control of policy until some truly spectacular Islamic atrocity causes most of the left-liberals to turn into right-liberals. Then, having never before considered the rational, humane options for self-preservation, they will leap in a panic to commit genocide.
Still, we must do our best to prevent that by implementing Separationism.
John L. continues:
There is one important virtue of Separationism which I have not seen you bring out in your discussions. I believe it would be helpful in getting the policy accepted.
From my recent studies of Islam, I conclude that Separationism is actually the most charitable policy towards the Muslims. Much of left-liberal policy is based on wanting to be or appear to be a good person; you and I agree that our self-preservation trumps that desire, but the fact that Separationism is the most charitable policy towards the Muslims spikes the left-liberal guns, if we could just bring it out.
Why is it the most charitable policy? Well, Islam demands that Muslims conquer the infidel IF they are able. Islam is not a suicide pact; if the infidel lands are too strong, the duty of jihad is in abeyance. Their false Prophet spent years preaching in Mecca, too weak for jihad, so if the balance of force is against them, there is no shame in remaining in truce.
At the moment, by our weakness, we have created the situation in which the Muslims’ religious obligation to conquer us is active. Under Separationism, we would be strong, and that religious obligation would be suspended.
Thus, Separationism is the most charitable policy for individual Muslims. Most Muslims, as liberals never cease to repeat, do not actually want to conquer the world. Separationism charitably relieves them of their unwanted duty to do so. Nothing would be as kind to the great mass of average Muslims as a policy that allows them to say to the jihadis, “Well, of course I support jihad, but the infidels are just too strong right now, so we have to wait like the Prophet (pbuh) did in Mecca. Allah will bring us victory sometime.”
Very well said. If I may quote a four year old article of mine:
Moreover, this containment of the Muslim peoples can be accomplished without violating their dignity and essence as Muslims. If we sought literally to suppress and destroy Islam, we could be justly accused of practicing cultural genocide. But if we simply contain the Muslims in their historic lands where they can have no power over us, that would not be harming them, even under the terms of their own religion. As I have mentioned here as well as in a previous article, one of the paradigms of Islamic conduct is Muhammad’s earlier life in Mecca, where his message was rejected and he was helpless. When Muslims because of adverse external conditions are unable to wage jihad, they calmly accept the situation because it fits the pattern of Muhammad’s own life; indeed, their laws explicitly accommodate them to that exigency. It is no shame for a Muslim to accept defeat, because he views it as temporary, and so he waits patiently for future jihadist opportunities to arise. The wait can be very long—centuries, in fact. And that should be just fine with us.
The passage will doubtless strike some readers as too soft. I too have doubts about it, because it seems to be implying that Islam, apart from its eternal program to harm and subjugate non-Muslims, is a perfectly legitimate religion in itself, which I don’t believe. Nevertheless, this points in the direction of a sane solution. For us to aim at literally destroying the entire religion of Islam, as some people advocate, would put us in an insane position. No. We must do what is doable, and what will render us and the rest of the non-Islamic world reasonably safe. To aim at eradicating Islam from the earth is like aiming at eradicating evil from the earth. It is a form of hubristic madness, which the Western tradition has repeatedly warned us against.
Thus Islam itself has provided us with a satisfactory solution to the Islamic threat, which is to restore the Muslims to the relatively powerless condition of Muhammad prior to the hejira.
Karl D. writes:
I am disappointed at the level that some commenters at GoV have stooped. I am in total agreement that intellectual discussions have become very nasty and personal on the right. I have experienced this myself (though not at your level) for merely disagreeing with someone and was astounded. It is just as nasty as you would expect of the left on any college campus. I saw nothing in your comments to draw such ire. Zenster who I think is a very intelligent guy seems to suffer from a bad case of the “know it all’s”. He rarely makes a comment under 500 words and seems to know everything about everything. I also think he hooked onto the Swede’s dislike of you along with the recent Robert Spencer argument and was just spoiling for a fight along with the Swede. Does it justify any of this? No.
I am just offering my own take as someone who is familiar with the cast of characters at GOV. I think there are definite psychological issues at play here. Fortunately, as you saw, not everyone is like that. The Baron is a very reasonable fellow and I have never seen him attack anyone for merely disagreeing with him.
Terry Morris writes:
Having now read the comments more closely, particularly the entirety of John L.’s comments and your reply to John, I see something else I’ve pointed out before (at my blog, Webster’s Blogspot, as I recall), namely that Separationism is the most morally responsible approach we can take to the growing Islam problem. (I am very concerned about the moral implications of how we ultimately solve the Islam threat.)
Terry Morris writes:
I was scanning the comments to the article when I ran across this statement made by you,
“To aim at eradicating Islam from the earth is like aiming at eradicating evil from the earth.”
which caught my attention because it immediately brought to mind the first time I recall President Bush making his famous statement following the attack on the WTC to the effect that we would not stop until we’d eradicated evil from the earth (or how ever exactly he put it at the time), to which I reacted then by pointing out the utter senselessness of the remark.
I don’t know whether you were referencing Bush’s statement, but you’re absolutely right, there’s no way in hell we could ever eradicate evil from the earth. What makes anyone think we can is beyond me. We can’t even eradicate Islam from the earth, which would be much more doable, to use your term, than eradicating evil from the earth, of which Islam is only a part.
Mr. Morris and I discussed this further and located Bush’s statement. To my surprise, on September 14, 2001, at the National Cathedral memorial ceremony three days after the 9/11 attack, Bush said:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at July 28, 2008 01:51 AM | Send
Just three days removed from these events, Americans do not yet have the distance of history. But our responsibility to history is already clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil.
Now, one could say that read in context, Bush meant ridding the world of the particular evil that caused this attack, not getting rid of evil as such. But that won’t wash. For any person in a responsible position, let alone the leader of the world’s most powerful country, to say that we must “rid the world of evil” shows a dangerous loss of touch with reality.
And, by the way, see how the neocons—the phalanx-like promoters of Bush’s utopian ideas—are now attacking as “utopian” Barack Obama’s mere descriptoin of himself as a “citizen of the world.” Worthy of the laughter of the gods is the sight of universal-democracy worshipper Michael Novak denouncing Obama’s “citizen of the world” reference as
a utopian, unreal, angelic, inhuman term, an abstraction of the sort that leads to immense bloodshed as human irregularities are hacked off and angularity is loudly planed away.