On yesterday’s post “Working, Yet Not Taking Credit”, a commenter named Cave of Worms responded to my assertions about the inherent weakness of Islam, saying (in part):
…I have only to add some caution regarding the weak, for you are correct in presuming the mass movement known as Islam is weak, as all mass movements thrive on (in the words of Eric Hoffer) “instilling in their followers self annihilation and a propensity for self-sacrifice.” It is interchangeable with all other mass movements finding new followers among the same body of people, whom Hoffer described perfectly in his work “The True Believer” (1950).
The weak, and those who perceive themselves hopelessly weak, are largely underestimated in their potential power, not collectively so much as from necessity. The Nazis were, essentially, of the same kind of weakness, and thus capable of shaking Earth and making for much destruction before being overcome and destroyed; though, ultimately, they would have failed regardless because their ideology was not in league with truth.
It’s true that structurally weak ideologies may be extremely violent and destructive. There may even be a correlation between the weakness of a movement’s ideological memes and the amount of violence it unleashes upon the world.
However, if we want to undermine the doctrinal structure of Islam, it’s important to emphasize its inherent weaknesses. Below is my reply to Cave of Worms’ thoughtful comment.
There’s no denying that weak ideologies can kill millions of people and even destroy entire civilizations, since this is what Islam has been doing for the past 1,400 years. But only because of the “death to apostates” rule, without which the Religion of Peace would have been consigned to the dumpster of history before the end of the 7th century.
Islam gains its staying power by killing (or threatening to kill) those who attempt to leave it, and by forbidding all critical examination of anything else inside itself — also on pain of death. Throw in the practice of taqiyya — sacred lying — and you have a hermetically sealed protective cordon. The combination of these three memes is what gives Islam its apparent strength, and allows it to roll across the landscape like a cloud of ravening locusts, consuming everything in its path.
Too much of the Counterjihad spends too much of its time being horrified by what Islam does rather than looking at what Islam is. We waste our energies focusing constantly on the murderous brutalities committed in the name of Allah. Yes, these things are important to examine, but they should not absorb all our attention.
A preoccupation with the atrocities of Islam enhances its reputation as an invincible juggernaut, both among its own adherents and among those targeted by it. In fact, our focus on deadly Islamic violence may even be counterproductive — by inducing a sense of fatalism in those closest to the “bloody borders”, our hysteria over the ghastly realities accompanying Islamic expansion may hasten that expansion by encouraging potential victims to convert without further resistance and be absorbed into the Ummah.
A better strategy is to highlight the inherent weakness of Islamic doctrine. As I wrote a number of years ago, the three memes that protect Islam — “death to apostates”, “no critical examination of Islamic doctrine”, and “lying for the sake of the faith” — act together to produce what is known in evolutionary biology as an Evolutionarily Stable Strategy (ESS). An ESS is powerful, but brittle: it is vulnerable to slight changes in the environment of the organism (or information system) that employs it.
These protective memes form the hard, resistant shell that encases Islam. The interior memes that define its ideology are laughably weak. Absent the threat of death, they are merely ludicrous and worthy of constant mockery — which Vlad has noticed and made into his particular specialty.
This is why we need to concentrate on exposing the internal ideology of Islam (its content) and not the violence (its process). Its content cannot stand up to anything resembling rational scrutiny, and will implode if it is denied the ability to wield its murderous techniques for enforcement.
To implement the above strategy, the preservation of our right to free speech is paramount. That’s why I concentrate so much on civil liberties: if enough articulate, reasonable people are able speak out and expose the inherent ideological absurdity of Islam, it will collapse.
Denied that ability, we are all lost.