"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Van Dyke's Petrie Dish

The great Tom Van Dyke (below), as ever, goads the lazy Western mind into firing up some of its dormant synapses. He calls our attention to an absolutely brilliant point (and I hope that it does not lose wattage in my paraphrasing). How can the Judeo-Christian world create a civilizational bridge to the Muslim world - one which the secularists call for the loudest - when the erosion in our own belief base makes our putative value system seem sickly and/or insincere?

Truly an irony. The religionists have a chance for a meeting-of-the-minds with Islam, based on the shared belief in the One God despite the debate over details of His program. But they are too passionate about the details and won't bend.

The secularists are only too glad to bend but the Muslims are certain to scoff at such a self-serving pragmatism-masquerading-as-idealism.

So if you won't sell out you're an enemy who may not be shown any mercy. And if you will sell out you're a spineless loser who's not worthy of mercy. How do you win? There is no secular way to win. The only hope is religious, if the shared belief in monotheism mediates and moderates a modus operandi.

Something like the founding in 1776, eh what?

19 comments:

Hunter Baker said...

The bankruptcy of the left-wing opposition to the war is easily revealed in the conversation we're having. The uber-secular lefties can't tolerate conservative Christians but they are outraged at offensives aimed at the most virulent strains of Islam. I cannot help but insist that leftist opposition to the war is truly premised upon preventing the GOP from becoming too popular and effecting real re-alignment. If this war were being captained by Bill Clinton and run in EXACTLY the same way, there would be nary a peep from his fellow travelers.

Tlaloc said...

Jay, you left out the one tactic that can work: disengagement.


Hunter, you are being disengenuous. While I have absolutely no love for theocracy I recognize that I'm not an Iraqi. I'm an American. Therefore my concern as far as foreign policy is limited to the actions of America and threats to America. Actions of other countries that don't threaten America are absolutely none of my business (with the exception of truly international efforts).

Now you certainly can say that radical Islam presents a threat to America and it does which is why I do have a very strong opinion on what we should do in regards to it. The difference between us is you want to take the easy path of violence. It's really satisfying to lash out at someone (even if your religion says otherwise) isn't it? It's harder to maintain control and seek the path that leaves both of you alive. Again in case you haven't been paying attention that's disengagement.



"I cannot help but insist that leftist opposition to the war is truly premised upon preventing the GOP from becoming too popular and effecting real re-alignment."

Then you'd be wrong. I insist on not letting my home follow a path that is suicidal.



"If this war were being captained by Bill Clinton and run in EXACTLY the same way, there would be nary a peep from his fellow travelers."

Again you haven't a clue what you are talking about. I hated Clinton's support of the Iraqi containment. I hated Clinton's missiling of a sudanese phrama company. They were the wrong things to do. Serbia on the other hand was a truly international effort and was reasonable (if often poorly executed) activity for american forces.

It's telling that in order to dispute my position you are forced to make up things I have never said nor believed.

Hunter Baker said...

Wonder why I'd be addressing myself to li'l ole you, JFE? Maybe you're a special case. Maybe you're deluding yourself.

Hunter Baker said...

By the way, JFE, aren't you the one who thought it would be the warmest fuzziest thing in the world to strangle the last prelate with the entrails of the last priest? If we had a lefty pres. who pursued the current policy while talking about dangerous religious extremism and the need to contain it, you'd be jumping up and down applauding.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Hunter, Bill Clinton crafted the Liberal motto for the ages. The Conservatives always said: "You made your bed, now lie in it." The Clintonian Liberal says: "You made your bed, now lie about it."

Tlaloc said...

"Wonder why I'd be addressing myself to li'l ole you, JFE? Maybe you're a special case. Maybe you're deluding yourself."

Uh are you talking to me? Or did JFE post and then it got deleted?

Tlaloc said...

Can anyone give one example of the bush method of confronting terrorism with military violence working historically? I can have given you a direct example of disengagement working.

Hunter Baker said...

Sorry, T. I thought it was JFE, but I was mistaken. Sorry, too, to JFE.

Tlaloc said...

No problem, I'll ignore the reference to the quote from JFE then. As for delusional, well yes that's always a possibility.

James Elliott said...

By the way, JFE, aren't you the one who thought it would be the warmest fuzziest thing in the world to strangle the last prelate with the entrails of the last priest? If we had a lefty pres. who pursued the current policy while talking about dangerous religious extremism and the need to contain it, you'd be jumping up and down applauding.

Actually, I pointed out that Jefferson agreed with Diderot on this point during a discussion of the so-called religiosity of the Founding Fathers, but thanks for trying to confuse the issue.

James Elliott said...

More to the point, it's quite funny for Baker to make such a comment as the need to contain and destroy religious opponents in a thread about "religiosity being the one true hope for peace" with Muslim extremists.

Hunter Baker said...

You're the one confusing the issue, JFE. You did state that the entrail strangling remark gave you an incredibly warm feeling in your tummy, as you put it. And the remark about contain religious extremism was an example of the rhetoric a Democrat GWOT president would use to gain your allegiance.

James Elliott said...

Actually, a Democratic president would gain my allegiance because he or she would presumably stand for things like intellectual complexity, a social safety net, and civil liberties over illusory safety.

You really don't get it, do you Hunter? My problem with Iraq and the War on Terror has always been one of tactics and motiviation. I do not believe that the manner in which this struggle has been conducted is either effective or in any way moral. I did not buy the rationale for invading Iraq and deposing Saddam, and subsequent evidence has proven me right. This was never billed as combatting religious extremism. It was always about revenge, both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Had Bush said "We're going in to Iraq to depose a tyrant and then, when that country's stable, we're moving on to the next tyrant" I'd have been cheering him on. But he didn't say that, not until it was clear his original rationale was wrong. This was never a struggle against extremism until it became convenient to label it so.

My position has always been consistent.

BamaDoyle said...

The West has achieved a perfect storm scenario - heavily secularized culture that elevates satisfaction of the self above the community as the preeminent good society should strive for, coupled with technological innovations and economic success that makes community disengagement possible. The result is already being seen in Europe - and I do not mean the moral decline. I mean the decline in birthrates (I believe each woman in western Europe produces 1.5-1.8 children on average-well below replacement). The average Muslim woman gives birth to 4 children. The population shift is inevitable - Muslim immigrants come to work in European countries who require an expanding tax base to support their welfare states. In a couple of generations, western Europe will be significantly Muslim, and they will never have to fire a shot.

Additionally, the secularized culture is incapable of dealing with is the religio-centric nature of Islamic culture. I have heard an apt description of Islam - it is not just a religous worldview, but also a geopolitical strategy. The naivity of secular liberals shines in this arena. They underestimate relgious believers b/c most their idea of religion is the tepid Sunday Christian whose life does not much reflect the underlying belief system. But Islam as an institution demands strict discipline, carried out in all facets of life and enforced in ways that Christianity does not call for. They want to convert good Muslims to secular liberals, while skipping the 200 yrs of secular philosophical indoctrination that it took to bring the West to the point that its at now. That conversion will not happen in 10, or even 30 years b/c the imams are not going to compromise their theology with securlized worldviews, as the European churches did after Kant, Heidegger, Neitzsche, et al. (ie you will never have Muslim scholars debating a "death of Allah" school of theology, or the "emergent Allah", or having a "Mohammud Seminar" on how the Prophet was really just a social construct).

Finally, I think the secular Westerner, one who views this life as "it," fails to grasp the Eastern mindset at work behind this movement. The march of Islam actually pre-dates the religion itself - I would say that we could probably look back as far as the Peloponnesian war. Alexander and the Romans dominated, until the Near East became organized under the banner of Islam as a religion of conquest, when they pushed into Balkans in the east and Iberia in the west. Europe pushed back with the Crusades, then colonialism. Now we see the return of the near Easters to Europe - under the banner of Islam. And at the heart of Islam is conquest.

So, Tlaloc, as far as America is concerned, you may be right that disengagement will work. At least we would only have to endure the occasional domestic terror attack. But its a Keynesian foriegn policy, in that it may buy us peace for a couple of generations, but ultimately America must face Islam.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Welcome, BamaDoyle. Nice presentation.

Hunter Baker said...

I would be worried about the U.S. being the last stand of the West, but we've converted the Asian Rim to our economics and much of the Third World to Christianity. The cultural and spiritual legacy seems poised to continue whether Islam dominates Europe or not.

James Elliott said...

All of this "Last stand of Western Christian Culture" stuff misses one salient detail: The clash needn't be.

James Elliott said...

That said, BamaDoyle, that was a nicely written presentation of thought.

BamaDoyle said...

Thanks to all for your compliments. I do enjoy this blog, along w/ SA.