Orson Scott Card has written an excellent and timely essay, The Riots of the Faithful. In it he presents the current political crisis — exemplified by the Koran-flushing debacle at Newsweek — as a struggle between the “Smartland” and the “Heartland”, that is, between the academic/media elite and average commonsensical Americans.
One is hesitant to take issue with anyone as illustrious and cogent as Mr. Card, but the following passage is disturbing:
|Our country is at war. And it’s a war in which victory absolutely depends on the Muslim world perceiving it as a war between the U.S and its allies on one side, and fanatical murderous terrorists on the other.|
|If it is ever perceived as a war against Islam, then we have lost. The world has lost.|
It is the contention of Gates of Vienna that the nature of our enemy is not ours to choose. Whether we fight a subset of Islam, or Islam itself, is entirely up to Islam. After all, if it had been our choice, we would have fought no Muslims at all. But, on day the Twin Towers fell, the choice was removed from us.
If, in fact, there are “moderate Muslims” (as opposed to secular, lapsed, or non-observant Muslims), then it may be that we will indeed not be warring against them. But during the past four years the moderate Muslim has kept a notably low profile.
It may be that the peace-loving Muslims are intimidated by the brutal zealots who act in their name, and so are reluctant to step forward and declare their loyalty to America and liberal democracy. It may be that the deadly fanatics are a tiny minority, and that the reasonable and moderate Muslims far outnumber them.
But the Taliban were a hated minority in Afghanistan, and yet managed to rule their countrymen. The Bolsheviks were but a tiny sliver of Russian society, and yet put the entire empire under their boot while exterminating millions of their countrymen.
It is not necessary for vicious autocrats to be representative of their culture in order to control it.
And the idea that Muslims in general can be co-opted, or at least neutralized, is questionable. Consider the followers of Islam that Lawrence Auster, in How to Defeat Jihad in America, refers to as “serious Moslems”, that is, those who practice their faith diligently. According to Auster, because the scripturally-based tenets of their religion require them to have no loyalty except to Islam, and to wage jihad against the infidel whenever circumstances permit, serious Moslems are not capable of being loyal Americans, or, indeed, loyal citizens of any nation except the Caliphate of the True Faith.
If Islam chooses us as its enemy we have no choice except to fight it or submit. And when I say “we”, I do not mean Christendom; I mean Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Sikhs, Jains, Bahá’ís, Shintos, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Hare Krishnas, Scientologists, Moonies, Theosophists, Druids, Wiccans, and atheists. This is who we are; we are infidels. And they are certain that we are their enemy.
Consider a thought experiment: Suppose that aliens from the Andromeda Nebula, for their own inscrutable reasons, used their matter transporters to remove all Muslims from the Earth and relocate them to another planet.
How much religious discord would be left on Earth? From that time forward, how many people would be killed because of their religious beliefs?
Consider another thought experiment. Imagine that every “moderate Muslim” were confronted with the stark choice: join the jihadists, or defend Western Civilization. How would he choose? And if he chose the latter, would it be for principled or pragmatic reasons?
Our enemy has defined his enemy. Until that fact becomes clear to us we fight this war blindfolded.