Before the jetliners made their fateful rendezvous with the World Trade Center, like most Americans I was relatively ignorant about Islam. I knew Muslims had a Book and considered themselves “children of Abraham”. I knew they prayed towards Mecca, and worshipped in mosques. I knew their Prophet was called Mohammed. I remembered that Malcolm X was a Muslim, and that the Crusades were initiated to liberate Jerusalem from Islam during the Middle Ages. I knew that Islamic fundamentalists had taken over the government of Afghanistan in the 1990s. But that was about it.
I’ve learned a lot about Islam since September 11th, 2001.
As soon as the second plane hit the WTC, when it was obvious that the incident was a deliberate attack and not an accident, the idea of Islamic terrorists came into my head. After all, there was a precedent to recall, the first attack in 1993 and the “blind sheikh”. Just because our racial profiling after the Oklahoma City bombing was proved wrong didn’t mean that Muslims weren’t involved in this one.
And I’d heard of Osama bin Laden before — he figured prominently in the reporting on the US embassy bombings in 1998, after all — so when his name came up, it made sense.
But there were so many other names to learn, so many other factions! All those terrorist groups — there were more than just Hamas and Hizbullah: Al Qaeda, Ansar Al-Islam, Jamaat ul-Fuqra, Jemaah Islamiyah, Mujahedin-e Khalq, Abu Sayyaf, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba… A seemingly endless list of unpronounceable names.
I learned that Osama bin Laden was a Sunni, a member of a particular branch of Islam, and that there were other branches, each with its own terrorist leaders. Sufism is often considered a peaceful and enlightened form of Islam, but Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani is a Sufi, and also the head of a brutal terrorist organization with an extensive network right here in the United States of America.
The main rival to the Sunni branch is that of the Shi’a, who recognize the Prophet’s cousin and son-in-law Ali as his successor rather than the Four Caliphs. Iran is the most prominent Shi’ite country in the world, and with the accession to power in 1979 of the Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran became the world’s first Islamic terrorist regime. Khomeini and his successors have fed an assortment of terrorist groups across the world, the most notorious being Hizbullah in Lebanon.
If these fellows were military leaders or the capos of crime families, one would expect that killing or incapacitating them would seriously damage the functionality of their organizations. But Osama bin Laden has been dead or holed up in a cave somewhere for more than four years. And despite the cheesy audio tapes he purportedly issues from time to time, he is no longer in operational control of Al Qaeda. Even so, the organization continues to function; combating it requires ongoing ingenious low-level counterintelligence and interdiction.
In fact, dangerous Islamic terrorists already operate outside of Al Qaeda’s structure. Consider the latest incident in the United States, the arrest of the Sears Tower conspirators. By all accounts these are strange and marginal Al Qaeda wannabes, and were captured in a sting when trying to make contact with Osama’s people. The recently arrested Canadian terrorists seem to be similarly home-grown, as were the members of the California terrorist cell that was accidentally exposed by sloppy practices during the robbery of a convenience store.
Then we have John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, inspired by Osama bin Laden and possibly relying on Sheikh Gilani’s people for help, but acting alone while terrorizing an entire metropolitan area for weeks. Sunni or Sufi? And taking orders from whom? Either question is hard to answer.
The notorious Richard Reid, a.k.a. the “Shoe Bomber”, was loosely affiliated with Al Qaeda through various mosques and radical Islamic organizations in Britain. But a definitive chain of command, with a hierarchical terrorist structure passing orders to its operative, has never been fully established. Richard Reid converted to Islam, became devoted to the cause, got on a plane, and tried to blow it and himself up. That’s all we really know.
So what’s going on here? Where does all this come from? How do all the pieces fit together?
Osama bin Laden and many Sunni terrorists have looked to Sayyid Qutb and the Muslim Brotherhood for inspiration and guidance. The Brotherhood originated in Egypt in 1928, but has opened chapters in other countries in the years since. In its structure and modus operandi it resembles Al Qaeda. Once again, however, there is no central authority giving orders or asserting control.
Not all the violent Shi’ite groups take orders from the Iranian mullahs, and not all the Sufi terrorists pay homage to Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan. Ultimately the only things all these people have in common are the Prophet and the Koran. Islam’s holy book demands violent jihad on behalf of the faith; it sanctions any means whatsoever to achieve the spread of Islam. Violent thugs blowing up children and beheading captives all over the world are simply carrying out the basic catechism of their religion.
But why now? Where are all these mujahideen coming from, and what’s fueling all this Koranic bloodshed?
To start with, there’s the explosion of Salafist funding. Thanks to the price of oil and the nefariously corrupt regime in Saudi Arabia, the Great Islamic Jihad devours a surfeit of resources the likes of which have not been seen for five hundred years or more. It’s no longer necessary to breach the walls of Constantinople and loot the cathedral, or send pirates out on a razzia to plunder wealthy merchant vessels: all the Saudis have to do is hire infidels to drill for the black goo and then sell it to other infidels. The proceeds from this lucrative racket have been plowed back into Sunni jihad activities across the globe, always disguised as “charity”.
So this is what pays for operations, but whence the cannon fodder to carry them out? All these disparate and disconnected people, training to carry out violence and willing to die in the process — where do they come from?
The Great Jihad goes trolling for potential shahids among convicted felons, particularly in the prisons of the United States, Canada, Britain, and Australia. The enlightened rehabilitative regimes in these countries install Islamic chaplains for their inmates. These religious functionaries are selected and funded by Saudi missionary organizations. Not to be outdone by the Sunnis, Sheikh Gilani’s Jamaat ul-Fuqra has an extensive prison-recruitment operation.
Islam has an impressive record of converting criminals, and this is where we find the key to unlock our mystery. The theology and ideology of Islam are eminently compatible with criminal behavior, and an operational jihad organization is functionally indistinguishable from a criminal enterprise. The Koran explicitly sanctions any method whatsoever to spread the faith, and forbids nothing when subjugating the infidel. Thus lying, stealing, rape, murder, torture, and genocide are not only acceptable, they are laudable and even mandatory when undertaken on behalf of the Ummah.
When a converted Muslim convict finishes his sentence, he not only returns to his accustomed lifestyle, he now has the protection, security, and camaraderie of his new brothers-in-jihad. In addition he has the assurance that his actions carry out the will of Allah! Who could ask for anything more?
The Chechen terrorists, then, are like the Russian mafia with a jihad ideology grafted on. Back in the 1980s Jamaat ul-Fuqra behaved like a criminal mob that occasionally blew up Hindu temples. Theft, fraud, battles over turf, the distribution of booty, the murder of rivals — all the standard elements of criminality are there, but gathered under the comforting blanket of ideology. There’s plenty of room for a cynical mobster to join in — after all, the rules and catch-phrases are few and easy to memorize; all he has to do is obey the boss, give up bacon, and hide his whiskey bottle. He can still abuse his moll; in fact, the Koran conveniently requires it.
When an Islamic terror group moves into a lawless area, we can expect it to absorb existing criminal structures — as has recently occurred in Somalia. This doesn’t mean that Al Capone would necessarily convert to Islam and submit to a more powerful emir as his new capo; the head of a traditional criminal enterprise might well choose to go down with all guns blazing. But much of his organization could be converted to jihad operations; there’s no reason a low-level gunsel wouldn’t find life under the new sheikh congenial to his taste.
But what about the non-cynical converts, the ones who really are willing to die for the cause? What about the true zealots like John Walker Lindh, the “American Taliban”? Where do they come from?
I had a friend in my college days who was attracted to radical politics. “Power to the People”, “Smash the State”, “Revolution Now” — it was always about sticking it to the Man, questioning authority, and resisting all instances of state power. Nowadays he’s studying the Koran and talking about the power of the Jews, and is seriously considering converting to Islam.
There are probably psychological explanations for this constellation of behaviors — childhood abuse by a tyrannical father and so on — but the point is that such a person is going to find Islam, especially radical Islam, attractive.
A century and a half ago the same person would have embraced Anarchism. Instead of Mohammed, my friend would have gravitated towards Mikhail Bakunin. The same behaviors and motivations are there: absolute lawlessness coupled with absolute ideology. Push nihilism far enough in that direction, and you get a zeal that exceeds all others in its ferocity.
That’s where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi comes in. Simple criminal impulses cannot explain his behavior — the ordinary criminal would never have endured the life he had to live. Only dedication to an all-encompassing ideology of destruction could have produced such monstrous behavior.
And so we have what might be called a Demonic Convergence, a confluence of destructive impulses that Islam gathers unto itself. In the terms of Chaos Theory, Islam is a “basin attractor”, an asymptotic solution to all the differential equations of nihilistic human behavior.
Any impulse that longs to destroy Western Civilization — which, for the modern world, means all civilization — will gravitate towards Islam. The criminal gets ideological justification for his behavior, the sadist gets to rape and murder to his heart’s content, and the hippie radical gets to stick it to the Man for all eternity.
This is what we’re up against: the Big Tent of ideological nihilism. The closer any given society gets to the behavioral sink, the more Islamic it tends to become. Just look at the death-cult that is “Palestine”, voluntarily living under the yoke of the sadistic murderers of Hamas. Or the chaos of Somalia, now turning from the rule of the warlords to the rule of Shari’ah.
Or consider the banlieux of Paris, with their burning cars and rampaging “youths”. Those destructive and lawless kids are only marginally ideological, but they do know their identity, and it is most assuredly Islamic.
The West is scarcely equipped to deal with this Demonic Convergence. Our own ideology for the last century or so has coddled and encouraged the nihilistic outcasts of modernity, showering them with self-esteem and all the benefits of the welfare state.
When a glimmer of realization finally begins to show through, as formulated by the artists whose drawings ignited the Danish Mohammed cartoon crisis, it is quickly squelched by the keepers of the conventional wisdom. The violence engineered to create the crisis must be our own fault; after all, the grievances of any disaffected and marginal people are always our own fault.
The protesting Muslims reinforce the West’s suicidal tendencies, threatening violence in ways that an average law-abiding citizen would never be allowed to express. The shakedown always works; the protection racket has the desired effect. “Give us X — censorship of your publications, more social programs, government-funded mosques, the wearing of headscarves for our schoolgirls, separate swimming pools for men and women, an endless list — and we won’t bomb your transportation facilities or poison your water supply.” The craven, democratically-elected authorities (with the notable exception of the Danes) always cave in to the demands, and thus the ratchet gets turned up another notch, to rest there until the next crisis.
The final element of the Demonic Convergence, the coup de grace for Western Civilization, is provided by our own news media. Absolutely determined to end the administration of a particular American president and a particular political party, there is no limit to what they will do, no tactic to which they will not stoop, no secret they will not divulge, and no principle they will not betray in order to accomplish their purpose. The Saudis are better funded, but the Mainstream Media are more powerful, and together they provide a synergy that is capable of destroying us all.
These are the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle called “The 21st Century”, scattered on the table and the floor around you. How might they appear when they’re finally assembled?
Wow, very good article, summing the situation up nicely and connecting a lot of dots (ahem… puzzle-pieces) 😉
One thing that strikes me though is that one piece seems to be missing from the question of “why now?” is the classical [i]”Intent vs. Capability”[/i], and where we knew with the Soviet Union that they had the capability, but we weren’t sure about their intentions, with Islam we have for long doubted their intentions and in the process ignored their intentions to the point, that now when they have the capability (or getting close) we don’t believe their intentions (despite the 1300+ years of history to prove the opposite). Given this is it really any wonder that some of our political leftists think that they can use the Islamic movement to further their cause, they think they can use the muscle of Islam to further their own agenda, not realizing that they in fact are the useful idiots who by their very actions are giving the muslims the capability that they sorely was lacking — a platform to work from and to tear at the cracks of our societies.
Well.. yes and no. I defer to no one in my contempt for the Islamists and the elites, and I have few illusions about the threat the combined force pose to the West. But capable of destroying us all? I refuse to countenance defeat, or anything suggesting we are on a slow downward spiral to multi-culti dhimmitude. The elites are quite successfully marginalizing themselves, have been since the Sixties; what we are witnessing is the death rattle. Don’t mistake noise, their once core competence, for strength. Far as the Islamists go, suicide attacks and hopping on the grievance train is not a strategy for victory. For havoc, yes. Damage, yes. Victory, no.
And I’d be very careful of mistaking the long patience of the West (and I mean here chiefly America and the non-BBC England, the two countries with which I’ve experience) for incipient dhimmitude.
None of which is meant to imply I think we can ignore the threat. I agree that we are at the new phase of a very old war (the war of the West against Islam) and a youngish war (the war of liberty against revolutionary nihilism), but I think it is the last phase. It may very well be the most desperate phase, the longest, and the ugliest. But we will win.
It’s more interesting to consider what “shape” the revolt of the West against the elites will take. It could be relatively peaceful, or it could be a bloodbath. It will probably be somewhere in between, but it will happen.
One factor that is often overlooked in explaing “why now” is the effect of the 9/11 attack. September 11 was much more than an attack. It was a call to arms – an inspiration. The spectacle of those towers collapsing in flames demonstrated to the Islamic world that the Great Satan was vulnerable after all.
A true eyeopener of an article. You are putting the pieces together pretty well.
Personally I have for some time found a good deal of hope in the fact that the loony left seems to be in love with Islamism.
For all of my relatively short life, the left has seemed allmost untouchable, and I have felt desperation more than once in the last fifteen years, because of apparently being the only one in my social circles who could see the dead hand of Marx as the evil it truly is.
But in the last few years, it does seem like the winds are changing, intolerably slowly yes, but changing none the less, and the fact that leftie loonies find new friends in the jihad movement gives me hope, because allthough the loony left has always seemed to be in possession of some minimum of restraint and rationality and so have been able to go under the moral radars of common folks, with the jihad movement it simply aint so!!
And so, when the jihadies get more and more maniac like and their atrocities get worse and worse, finally they will bring the skies down over themselves, and when that happens, the loony left will have less credibility than ever before.
That may not sound like a lot, but even if our culture survives the demonic convergence you describe, the danger will still be there as long as Marx’s dead hand isnt cut off. So yes. I have high hopes for the future.
But it might get bloody first.
What an amazingly enlightening article! Like most of your posts, it will take me several days (and several more commentators) to understand more fully the ramifications of this article. Many of my questions about Islam’s strategies have been answered. How inspiring to hear from freedom-loving, courageous people like Zonka, James Holyfen and Mackety. Thank you and God bless you all!
Brilliant Baron, simply brilliant. This should make the council sit up!
A very good analysis of the latest flare-up of a prowling, funadamentalist Islam. This waxing phase of jihad may differ from those of the previous 1300 years in a couple of critical ways.
1. Petro-dollars, lots and lots of them, may provide the essential funding that previous uprisings lacked. Saudi financing of missionary Wahabbist hate cannot be underestimated and due to our oil addiction, western governments have yet to confront the financiers. This must be done and yet to do so will only aggravate and possibly universalise the Muslim world’s paranoia about Christiandom. In spite of an open media, we have already seen the polarising effects as home-grown jihadis pop-up like weeds.
2. A secular, post-modern West may not be prepared to abandon its long held humanistic beliefs in time to recognize an existential threat. If the Islamists are patient and do not overplay their hand, time is on their side.
I like your use of “demonic convergence.” I’ve often thought that a militant Islam on the march in a world gone mad is so supernatural that only an evil hand could be coordinating the current events and madness we are witnessing.
Unlike the previous clashes over the past 1300 years, this time, there are no Christian armies to turn back the hordes.
I agree with you most of the way, but I think that our society is doomed in the sense that we are now in a nexus of time where we have two choices, either to submit to Islam or evolve. There will most likely be a period of turmoil and unrest, but in the end I’m confident that Islam will be beaten and our culture will be renewed, in much the same way as with the renaissance. And as always when a culture turns multi-cultured — history shows that it’s the final days of that culture and a mono-culture will follow.
Brilliant essay. Need to submit for
wider circulation. Thanks.
Brilliant analysis, i have just stumbled upon this blog and I must say it is fantastic, you are the new Charles Martel, please keep it up.
This idea of demonic convergence may be more apt than you first think, Baron. I’ve held the opinion for the last year or so that Islam – the religion itself – is a perfect candidate for the “antichrist” spoken of throughout the new testament. It never made sene to apply it to a particular man; the idea of anti-christ is literally someone, or something, that is against christ, and Islam fits the bill perfectly. More than any other ideology it stands against reason and truth, and against the very foundations of the judeo-christian faiths in a way that no other religion would even contemplate. It is a twistied, evil mirror of the jewish and christian faiths. Every aspect of these faiths that is good is called evil in the Koran, and everything that these faiths despise is called good.
This is the best summary of the Islamic Jihad Complex that I have ever seen. Great job, Baron.
I think James Holyfen is too positive in his outlook when he says that the noise the Left are making these days are akin to a death rattle.
Unfortunately, wherever I go I hear Leftist ideas thrown about, half-formed, by people young and old, and far too intelligent to reasonably believe such dumb crap.
But, believe it they do. And, they believe with a believers fury.
Perhaps, a strong shock may pull shake their foundations, may bring them tumbling down, and break their beliefs into rubble. Perhaps, but I wonder whether it will.
For instance, what do you think the Left would say were we to be hit with a nuclear weapon? Even if an Islamist group took credit, I believe the Left would find a way to blame it on Bush. They would say it was because he took his eye off the ball. It’s because he’s friends with the Saudis. It’s because he didn’t get Bin Laden. It’s because of the Iraq War. It’s because of our support for Israel. It’s because we try to dictate to the Arabs. It’s because of our Islamophobia. Etc.
Do you really think the Left would perceive it any other way?
Sometimes I think Fjordman may be right, that our conflict with Islam will for a time take a back seat to a Civil War within the West.
oops, sorry about that…
Zonka: yes, the “multi-culti” culture, if it can be so dignified, is over/done/finished. Thank God. And it’ll be less an evolution into something new — perhaps I’m qubbling over words — than a “reversion” (ha ha, a loaded word among us Islamophobes) to what we, as Westerners, have been and are.
The death rattle of the “multi-culti- cult/ure” will be prolonged, and it will probably result in some form of a civil war in the West while the Left — the children of Ropespierre, Marx, Rousseau, Lenin, Derrida, Foucault, et cal — are flushed out of the system. And the reason for my confidence is captured admirably by pastorius, who characterizes correctly that constellaation of beliefs as “dumb crap.” Because it is — it a system of beliefs that allows one to construct interesting thought experiements within the terrarium of academe, the newsroom, or the literary salon, but it had absolutely no relevance and validity within the real world.
The left, in other words, owns certain isntitutions — academe, the media. But those institutions — and we ourselves — overrate their power and their influence. They can make noise, but that is all they can do. They have no divisions, they have no capital. Look at it another way — they went from being allied with the Soviet Union, with its huge army and semi-functioning capital and industrial base, to being allied with stateless criminals all of whom hail from economies completely dependent on notoriously cyclical commodity prices — that is, not the creativity and entrepreneurship that had made America and the West such a powerful engine of growth.
And everyone within this world – the world of capital and business, the people that genuinely have power because they control productive resources and intellectual property — know that what the left is preaching is a lie. Is an absolute, complete, ridiculous, contemptible lie. Hayek beat Marx, he also beat Keynes. Although bursts of statism remain, it is completely unworkable economically and everyone that is actually a decision-maker knows this.
In the same way, we all know that the multi-culti is a contemptible lie that doesn’t work. All the sensitivity and diversity training capitalist types like me undergo at the corporate offices — we all know it’s a lie, even the people its designed to “help.” It’s analagous to the last days of the Soviet Union, when the “workers” would attend the Communist Party meetings — and both the listeners and the speakers knew that what they were hearing was complete and utter falsehood.
it doesn’t matter, in other words, what the left says. People know it is a lie. And as Fjordman has indicated, the facade is starting to crack in Scandinavia beneath the weight of reality.
It’s going to be bloody and it’s going to be ugly, but getting rid of sicknesses usually is.
Doesn’t seem to be any way to trackback to this post? I thought it was worth a link and wanted you to know I thought so…
God, and I thought I was an Islamophobe!
I don’t understand how trackbacks work; I wish I did. I just followed the procedure to activate them on our posts; the rest happens as if by magic.
If I understand the physics of it correctly, phlogiston travels through the aether to make the trackback. Or something similar.
Do you really think the Left would perceive it any other way?
Will you stand in the smoking, radioactive remains of a city and proclaim to all and sundry that if the Democrats had been in charge it would have been worse?
I see that you and I have assembled the puzzle-pieces in the same way.
Bravo! Very well done. will be linking with my next post.
And Archonix, again we are on the exact same page. . .
great stuff. thatnks.
here’s another angle to the question: why now?
the salafists/whahhabists moved evermore rapidly because the age of oil is ending. and with it their potential wealth/leverage over the infidels.
the jihadists wanted to capture the oil rich lands from afghanistan thru to oil rich central asia and iraq and takeover saudi arabia. had they succeeded, they would’ve cornered 80% of the world’s oil.
this oil-rich land grab is different than their grab to restablish the caliphate.
this grab was subservient to their 1400 year old committment to that jihad.
BTW: the shia-sunni schism has been a bloody one from the very beginning of islam.it wont end until islam is ended.
Great article! I’ve linked to you here:
re: “Putting the Pieces Together”
Demonic convergence …. idiolgical nihilism.
Exactly. You don’t have to dig very deeply into the left to find the core. It ain’t very deep. Cultural Marxism (PC) and Envirionmental Marxism (no definition required). Supposedly they love Mother Earth so much they want to wipe out her cronic disease. Mankind.
Ironic isn’t it. The universe is an accident and mankind the apex of evolutionalry consciousness but the experiment was a failure. The highest form of consciousness in the known universe is insane and needs to be destroyed.
If you doubt this, google Eric Pianka. THIS is the apogee of Leftist thought and I’ve listened to many of them express similar beliefs. These hidden intelligentsia of the Left almost always deny they are even liberal and won’t even use the word Left in any political sense. They are far to elete to stoop to such burgeouis sentiments.
I’ve learned a lot about Islam since September 11th, 2001.
There are a whole lotta people out there who have been hitting the books on Islam since 9/11. I hope it gets harder and harder for Islam to camouflage itself with ignorance.
#%@! stupid spelling errors. You never see them until you post.
Would I stand in the smoking remains of a city and say it would have been worse had the Democrats been in power?
Why do you ask? Do you think that logically follows from what I did say?
I think it is likely that whether the Dems or the Repubs are in power we will eventually get hit with nukes by Islamofascist terrorists. I think Bush and Blair and our allies are doing some wise things in order to avoid that happening. I don’t think they will necessarily be able to stop it.
However, I do think that a large portion of the Left in America are doing what they can to stop Bush from doing what he can to stop it.
What do you think?
Have I got something wrong here?
Whoa, terrific post, Baron. Nice on the jigsaw graphics. I’m linking this one.
Blogger doesn’t yet have native support for trackbacks, but instead supports a feature called linkback. You don’t have to do anything except make the link in your post and, like Baron says, the phlogiston will move through the ether to make it work. In fact, it already has.
This is a very worthwhile posting.
There are two (and a half)observatons I’d like to add.
First: Hans Magnus Enzensberger, the German poet and essayist, has been studying for almost half a century the fundamental links between criminality and politics, in special radical politics. His long essay on the contemporary situation (it’s called “The Radical Loser”) reaches conclusions similar to your own. He sees the suicide-bomber as someone closer to the regular serial or rampage killer than to what we think of as normal or even ideological politics.
And, second: the origins of most Western misunderstanding as well as of Political Correctness lie in the way Western reformers began to think about crime some 300 years ago. Instead of someone responsible for his deeds, the criminal became a victim of society. Instead of punishment, understanding, reeducation and rehabilition were and have been the order of the day. I’d bet there’s a high correlation between being strongly against capital punishment and favoring the “understanding” of jihadists and suicide-bombers.
(And there’s a deep arrogance, rooted in the Elightnenment, according to which, with our superior, rational knowledge, we can prove to criminals that they’re wrong and, then, they’ll gratefully learn from us how to mend their ways. In short: ethics has been superseded by didacticism, while the evil-doer is just a kind of ignorant pagan that hasn’t yet been informed about the redeeming power of goodness.)
Thus, dealing with terror as a law-enforcement problem means, among other things, exactly NOT enforcing the law, not punishing the guilty and so on.
Finally, the idea that, in place of the proletariat, it was the lumpenproletariat that should be recruited for the revolution was already formulated in the 60s by the likes of Herbert Marcuse. It is an inheritance of those times that nowadays leftists and liberals see the “victims” of the “establishment” not as the working poor, but as those “excluded”, “marginalized” etc. And, obviously, they’re the new agents of the utopian revolution.
Oh, about the “why now?” question, I think Enzensberger would say that this is one of the unintended consequences of globalization. Before globalization there were, naturally, criminals and nihilists anywhere and everywhere. But, with globalization (interconnectedness, fast travel, communications all over the globe, growing immigration, as well as failed states), several inter-or-transnational ideas or ideologies, all-embracing ones, started to compete among themselves and, thanks to its simplicity, to how adequate it is, to the fact that it was already ready to use (prêt à porter), that there has been much (and, by the day, an increasing amount of) cash flowing towards it, Islam or Islamism or Islamicism triumphed over its potential rivals. In spite of their moral inversions, even the “enlightened” reformers still saw crime as a problem that had to be dealt with. If criminals weren’t guilty of anything (because they were THE real victims), crime was still seen as an aberration, as something negative that needed to be eradicated. Thanks to its convergence with Islam, crime now became a positive cause. Earlier it was, according to the liberals, at least a kind of symptom. Now it is the cure, or even health itself.
Crap. Now I’ll have to wait till next week if I want to win the Link Whorage contest at Watchers. How am I supposed to win if this kind of thing gets entered. Next time can you perhaps make a few spelling mistakes or something?
You resort to anecdotal “evidence”: “I had a friend in my college days . . . “
and conclude – somehow – that “questioning authority, and resisting all instances of state power” led your friend to the Koran and Islamo-anti-Semitism. and “A century and a half ago the same person would have embraced Anarchism.”
Now this leads me to believe that you would not recognize anarchism if it kicked you in the whatever.
I am an anarchist (more precisely an anarcho-capitalist – see http://www.blackcrayon.com ). I question authority, and I believe that the state is a fundamental source of human suffering. Yet, contrary to your shallow, neocon aspersions, I am not a Muslim (let alone an Islamo-fascist). I do not commit violence. I am concerned about the decline of the West and its proud culture of individualism and freedom (i.e. I’m no nihilist). I may question authority, as all lovers of freedom must constantly do, but I have the utmost respect for property and property rights.
Please, before you descend half-cocked from the heights of the new Kahlenberg, assess what you are fighting for, and do not seek your salvation with the state. The revolution to fight Islam and other evils should first take place between the ears of the individual. That inoculates him from the seduction of simplistic and violent “solutions”.
hjalmar, you have obviously missed the entire point of the post. You are talking about a specific utopian proto-philosophy that you happen to have leapt upon (although you seen to have mislabelled libertarianism as “anarcho-capitalist” which is itself rather a controdiction in terms given a state of war of all against all that would ensue, but whatever), whereas baron is talking about the psychological makeup of those attracted to “protest” ideologies, regardless of what those ideologies are.
Further, its not at all clear that you understand the type of anarchism rampant at the turn of the century. It certainly wasn’t “anarcho-capitalism”.
I’m not sure where your antagonism is coming from. Since I am a libertarian conservative, I am automatically suspicious of state power. If you read some of our other posts, you’ll see plenty of evidence for that.
My only point is that people who would have been drawn to Anarchism in 1880 are at least as likely to be drawn to radical Islam instead in 2006. I admit that the evidence is anecdotal, and my conclusion is intuitive, but are you so certain that I am wrong?
Statistics on these topics are hard to come by. I’m afraid we shall have to be content to rely on anecdotal evidence, and our differences must remain a matter of opinion for the time being.
Our differences of opinion inside the circle are dwarfed by our agreements on the larger stage. Calling them “antagonism” is, perhaps, a little over the top, but my comments sprout from the treatment of the old, proud culture of anarchism being misrepresented by the antics of a few misguided kooks from the 1880s. I want you to be more rigorous in the choice of your examples. This can only strengthen your arguments and positions. Keep up the good fight.
I cringe when I see “utopian” around “libertarianism”. First of all, it’s patronizing, and secondly, it reveals the superficial level of the user’s knowledge on the collective jumble that flies under the banner of “libertarian”. Anarcho-capitalism has solid anarchist and libertarian (for want of a better word) roots. I’ll repeat the http://www.blackcrayon.com url, and add http://www.hanshoppe.com. Go knock yourself out. You’e welcome.
hjalmar: After you finish cringing, perhaps you’ll explain to me
a ) if you truly see a concrete future world in which there is no state or alternative form of coercion-based civil mediation. A source of evil the state may be, but it is a necessary evil. Remember, only in theory do states “wither away”. In praxis they cannot and do not. That is why I call anarchism in any form “utopian”.
b ) Libertarianism has many attractions for most who dwell towards the classical liberal end of the political spectrum, and we probably all agree that the less government interference in daily life the better. Having said that, when one identifies oneself as an “anarchist”, it smacks of dogma, and further than that it suggests a follower of utopian, never-to-be-realized dogma.
A reliance of the liberal imperitive of “community of interest”, and especially a voluntary one, has been proven time after time after time to be unworkable. To borrow from Rousseau, sooner rather than later someone is going to abandon the communal stag for the individual hare. And to invest one’s intellectual capital in the hunt for the stag is a recipe for disaster.
In any event, I hesitate to speak for Baron, but I believe he was using a throw-away example of radicalism to illustrate a psychological attraction to radicalism rather than an intentional pairing of anarchism and Islam.
It is just criticism. The opposition always criticises the government. If a nuke is used and Bush fails to prevent it, criticism will come in buckets.
No need for civil war, only to defend the criticism. all that is needed is to win elections.
No, it was not a throwaway example. The extreme version of anarchism (of which Bakunin was a leading theorist) has more in common with radical Islam than with any other ideology. The anarchists of the 1880s invented what is now called terrorism: killing civilians was part of the plan. They believed that the Socialist Revolutionaries, Communists, etc. did not go far enough in their program to destroy captalism. Anarchists wanted to take the tree of capitalist society off at ground level and then uproot the stump.
I’m willing to take Hjalmar’s word for it that he represents a different kind of anarchism, and that there is an ideology called “anarcho-capitalism”. But such a thing would have made no sense to 19th-century European anarchists; it would have been an oxymoron.
I’ve been somewhat out of circulation lately (what can I say ? Summer is busy for me)…but this is absolutely brilliant.
The “why now” question asked by a commenter is a good one…and I think you hit on it with your observation that the zealot types who earlier would have gravitated to anarchism or the “Go Reds, Smash State” crowd have now started reading their Koran.
In a sense, I think that is what makes the Islamofascist movement so lethal for us: because our homegrown malcontents (of the alienated pseudo-intellectual variety; of the media elite and the unassimilated immigrant variety) have been able to make quasi-alliance with a real sort of counter-civilization; the humiliated and broken Arab world, that is now able to fuel its alienation and hate with petrodollars.
Anybody with sense could see that Soviet communism was three-quarters old style imperialism combined with bunkum for the masses — only the pseudo-intellectual crackpots who memorized Marx without understanding him, who could never understand that Lenin was all about power, could be stupid enough to buy it. Moreover, between its wacko economic theories and the cultural deficits in Russian civilization created by 70 years of mass murder and terrorization of the Russian educated classes, the whole thing was bound to collapse of its own weight anyway.
Islam, by contrast, gratifies the need (1) of the elites of the Muslim world to keep their positions; the need (2) of the aforesaid pseudo-intellectuals to belong to something larger than our material world (you will never persuade me the Left, in its great collective heart, doesn’t want to be slaves); all tied in with (3) the desire of the rest of the world and our own so-called intellectuals to bring Western Europe and particularly America to heel. To top it off, the islamofascists can call on God to sanctify all of this.
Finally, and I realise this is a long comment — I don’t think we can prevail in this war unless we get our own house in order first. Unless we can re-domesticate the Left, and wean it away from the transnational, commmunitarian mirage (a dead end if ever there was one), the best we can come up with is a suspended sentence.
where are you getting this man?
Do you have any proof of almost anything that you have said?
People are all saying, ‘very good post” etc etc, do not ‘they’ want to verify the information that you now claim to possess about the Muslims and Islam?
Just read and research on your own first, please, before making such sweeping statements.
Verify what, where…?
Verify the religion of today’s nail bomber? Verify 5:32 and 5:33? Verify the Stone and the Tree? Verify that since the Quran appears racist and must be perfect, god must be accepted as racist?
Verify that the supposed wonderful Andalusia resulted in Maimonedes, who lived in it repeatedly referring to Mohammad as ‘the madman’?
Verify that Sayd Qutb was a racist loon, urging a modern Kharjarite freak party?
Things like that?
BTW Baron, this made it into the FYEOD, Strategypage group.