• You cannot practically fight only Euro-Fascism or Islamic fanaticism

    After a somewhat tiresome discussion where I was emphasizing that it is not done to claim a position of solidarity in the face of religious fanaticism while running scared at the Dreyfuss affair of our generation, while smearing those who actually stepped up to the plate.  This was followed by the line that it was only horrid xenophobes and nasty people who bothered to reprint the Danish cartoons and therefore there was no obligation to do so.

    These ones, in case you have forgotten:

    Jyllands-Posten-pg3-article-in-Sept-30-2005-edition-of-KulturWeekend-entitled-Muhammeds-ansigt

     

    Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to leave aside the smear for the moment, and focus on the logic.  Now it is absolutely true that there are people who just don’t like Muslims because they are foreigners, immigrants, or first generation immigrants.  To go from this plain fact to saying that we should duck out of such confrontations is to get things backwards.  It is precisely because we do not want to see movements of the extreme right take power that we have to prove that secular, liberal (in the classical sense) voices are willing to step up to the fight.

    And so we are clear what “extreme right” means, I’m not, contra some conversations I’ve had, talking about this man:

    220px-Official_Portrait_of_President_Reagan_1981

    I’m talking about this one:

    220px-Corneliu_Zelea_Codreanu
    Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, leader of the Legion of the Archangel Michael

    A fastitidious, not to say finicky, unwillingness to touch the subject of Islamic reaction is seen for exactly what it is, namely weakness, out there in the wild-lands of politics.  It does not matter how many disclaimers are added that, of course, in principle, you might not be completely opposed to perhaps making a few denunciations if the climate was just the way you wanted it, and everyone else has a spotless record.

    To cite from an interesting essay by Nick Land on the emergence of neoreactionary thought in modern times:

    As liberal decency has severed itself from intellectual integrity, and exiled harsh truths, these truths have found new allies, and become considerably harsher. The outcome is mechanically, and monotonously, predictable. Every liberal democratic ‘cause war’ strengthens and feralizes what it fights. The war on poverty creates a chronically dysfunctional underclass. The war on drugs creates crystallized super-drugs and mega-mafias. Guess what? The war on political incorrectness creates data-empowered, web-coordinated, paranoid and poly-conspiratorial werewolves, superbly positioned to take advantage of liberal democracy’s impending rendezvous with ruinous reality, and to then play their part in the unleashing of unpleasantnesses that are scarcely imaginable (except by disturbing historical analogy). When a sane, pragmatic, and fact-based negotiation of human differences is forbidden by ideological fiat, the alternative is not a reign of perpetual peace, but a festering of increasingly self-conscious and militantantly defiant thoughtcrime, nourished by publicly unavowable realities, and energized by powerful, atavistic, and palpably dissident mythologies. That’s obvious, on the ‘Net.

    In effect, what mainstream liberal (American sense) society has proclaimed is: if you wander off the reservation even slightly, we’ll denounce you, slam you, get you fired and ostracised, and cast you out.  On the other hand if any of these outcasts decide to go the distance, decide that they don’t give a damn about the society anymore, decide to start raising militias and paramilitary groups – why in that case there’s nothing to be done.  Does anyone else see the slight problem with this?

    That’s only the start of it.  In Europe, long decades of isolation has allowed fascist strains to mutate, cross-polinate and evolve, resulting in a new breed of uniquely attractive and viable super-fascism that is making inroads across the continent – and beyond.  As I wrote at the time:

    Fifteen years ago there was a basic safeguard in place against anti-immigrant windbags.  The direct experience of just about eveyone was that immigrants and their descendants were just trying to muddle along as best they can, same as the rest of us.  You could always say, “Where, exactly, is this thread you’re on about?”  Unfortunately that now has an answer.  When you have mobs calling for the next holocaust, Arabic versions of Mein Kampf being sold with rave reviews, and mainstream mosques calling for the deaths of Jews and Hindus, that question starts sounding a little silly.

    People looking for a neutralist position in this are at best deluded.

    Category: FascismIslamJihad

    Article by: The Prussian

    • Steven Schwartz

      After a somewhat tiresome discussion where I was emphasizing that it is not done to claim a position of solidarity in the face of religious fanaticism while running scared at the Dreyfuss affair of our generation, while smearing those who actually stepped up to the plate.

      Let’s look at your metaphor here — because it ties into the validity of much of the rest of what you have to say.

      L’affaire Dreyfus involved a state coverup of a binary situation — was Dreyfus guilty/not guilty. You’re using it as a way of saying “This is the critical point” — to use your martial intonation from previous posts, “the barricades” moment.

      In doing so, you imply that there *are* only two positions on the matter of the cartoons — publish, or cave. You do not leave a middle ground for “Support the right to publish, and criticize the decision to do so *on other grounds*.”

      You are actually correct that nuanced thinking leaves open space for fascism to take the non-nuanced position over. Where I think you fail is that you find this a weakness, rather than the very thing we need to hold onto.

      It is ironic that in the very article you link, there is a discussion of the problem of Wars on Abstract Nouns, yet it is that very sort of war that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has said we need to fight. Fascism and religious fundamentalism thrive on binary thinking; the “Them or us!” it creates is where they do best.

      By trying to apply the same sort of sharp division, you are not helping fight against them; you are helping to create the intellectual conditions in which they thrive.

      To use an example from over on this side of the Atlantic: Terry Jones burned the Koran, and caused riots in Muslim countries as well. Do I support his right to do that, as protected speech? I do. Do I support his doing so? No; I think it was a moronic move, one that Jones *intended* as a provocation hoping to produce violent results, and, what’s more, violent results that he would not have to cope with directly.

      Of course, Jones is a preacher,and did what he did out of religious bigotry. But it’s still addressing the free speech we as secularists should value so highly.

      We can disagree with someone’s motives, and someone’s reasoning, while still supporting their right to have said. I don’t think I need to burn a Koran to support Jones’ right to free speech.

      Before the Danish cartoons, there was Salman Rushdie. After the Danish cartoons, there was Terry Jones and Pussy Riot. The battle goes on, and we fight it in our different ways, in our different places, according to our different talents/abilities.

      • ThePrussian

        If you are enough of a fool to think that the Dreyfuss affair was only about Dreyfuss then you are enough of a fool to try this:

        “Fascism and religious fundamentalism thrive on binary thinking; the “Them or us!” it creates is where they do best.”

        A line taken in its time by: Churchill, Lincoln, Mandela, Malcolm X, just about all of the philosophes of the Enlightenment… Do you really think that I have not heard your hackneyed lines before? Do you seriously think I care for your evasions that people were being lynched simply for being Scandinavian or for being engaged in the publication? Do you think for one second that you are fooling anyone but yourself?

        Your “nuanced positions” is that you might theoretically maybe consider possibly taking a minor position of solidarity with someone you agreed 100% as long as there was no hint of controversy attached. You seriously think that impresses anyone?

        I have told you that you are no longer welcome here.

        EDIT: Breivik said in cold print that what made him decide to become a killer was watching the mainstream knuckle under to true violence. In short people behaving in the way that you are advocating here made him think, “Hmmm, I could get me some of that action…” Hope you’re happy.

        • Steven Schwartz

          I have told you that you are no longer welcome here.

          When last you phrased it, you phrased it in an if-statement, that did not accurately reflect my position; I told you then that I did not find it applicable.

          Do you seriously think I care for your evasions that people were being lynched simply for being Scandinavian or for being engaged in the publication?

          But I shall leave you to your misused metaphors, your one-sided hyperskepticism, your strawmen* and your certitude.

          I will let your readers judge which of us makes more sense,

          *Do you seriously think I care for your evasions that people were being lynched simply for being Scandinavian or for being engaged in the publication? — I nowhere said that, for example, or anything close.

          • ThePrussian

            “I nowhere said that, for example, or anything close.” I said you evaded it. Which you did. You went on about “provocations” and “xenophobes” and conveniently forgot those important details.

    • Snowwy the Black

      Any I seriously hearing the proprietor of this blog arguing that since the “bad guys” are prone to violence that we have to be violent to prevent the “bad guys” from being violent? And if that is what I am hearing, do you have any clue how utterly debunked by ALL OF WESTERN HISTORY that line is?

      • ThePrussian

        1. I think you mean “am I”

        2. You are not “hearing”, you are “reading”.

        3. You are reading, but not understanding. I am saying, and I will repeat this as long as I have to, that unless people are willing to speak out, at times very loudly and very obnoxiously, when it is called for, against the menace of Islamic fanaticism, and show that classically liberal society will not cave in to violent intimidation – not only will that throw the door wide open to those willing to use violence to get what they want, it will drive more and more people to seek protection by joining those who are willing to use violence, but on “their” side.

        Now is that clear? I believe in being as loud and strident as we can be – because the alternative to that will be violence on a collosal scale.

        It does not take that much to push a society out of rational politics and into tribal politics. It does not take that much to cause a society to fall apart. I’ve seen it happen close up, twice. Believe you me, it is not something you ever want to see even once.

        Here’s one hypothetical scenario that’s horribly likely: Islamic aggression and supremacism continues to rise throughout Europe with the European ruling class continuing on its line of appeasement. More and more people who see this up close drop out of the society and turn to far darker voices (seen the number that Front Nationale gets in France?). Then something really ghastly happens. Dirty bomb, serious uprising, something. Next step? Civil war.

        I’m vehement about this stuff for a reason.

        • Snowwy the Black

          “Now is that clear? I believe in being as loud and strident as we can be
          – because the alternative to that will be violence on a collosal scale.”

          Yes, that’s entirely clear. Mr. Schwarz has described you with perfect accuracy. For you there is no complexity, no nuance, nothing but “us or them” and you just don’t see how that’s the very same fascist thinking you claim to abhor.

          “I’m vehement about this stuff for a reason.”

          The sin we hate most is the sin we ourselves are guilty of. That’d be the reason. Good day, sir.

          • ThePrussian

            Let me see if I have this straight: If you write against fascism, you’re a fascist, and if you specifically write against violence, you advocate violence.

            This makes sense on whatever planet you’re from I’m sure.

            • Snowwy the Black

              You know, if you’d chosen not to completely misrepresent what I wrote, I might have given you the benefit of the doubt. But now I know you’re just an authoritarian wearing a twisted ideal of freedom to cloak the ugliness within. And I hope that wherever you are you never see a scintilla of real political power- it’s far too easy to imagine you simply deciding that Muslims should be extirpated.

            • ThePrussian

              “completely misrepresent” before rewriting what I say, for the second, or is it third?, time. Given that you accused me of advocating violence at the start… Projection alert.

              “It’s far too easy to imagine” indeed. “It’s far too easy to imagine that you are secretly a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir in disguise”. Whatever.

    • Brive1987

      Maybe I am coming in half way through here. I would appreciate clarifying your thesis if that’s ok?

      I assume your premise is that Islam has a religious/cultural element manifested in an influential sector of that population that’s incompatible with western democracy and the values born from the enlightenment.

      That certain factors will increase the momentum of this core element and that momentum may increase until it is potentially irreversible and western values will be replaced as the dominant social glue.

      These factors include but are not limited to basic increase in immigration = more islamists, population growth = more islamists, economic problems within immigrant communities, perceived weakness in secular / christian societies.

      That a pound of prevention now is worth a ton of (fascist) reaction later.

      That small l liberal mentalities are stopping this ounce of prevention.

      Have I got that right?

      • ThePrussian

        Hmmm, not quite. I’ll lay this out in three replies. The first is the nature of the “prevention” I should like to see.

        On a personal level – you, me,vocal atheists generally – its is a matter of speaking up and speaking out. That means taking a loud stand of solidarity in matters such as the cartoon crisis. That means being completely unapologetic about hurting feelings when it comes to speaking honestly about the nature of Islamic misogyny for example. There are related points, such as the need for solidarity and backing each other when things get rough. The foregoing is why I find Myers’ stance unconscionable.

        When it comes to “we” as regards the body politic and our elected representatives, it is along similar lines. Not only do I think that every newspaper worth its salt in the Western world should have reprinted the cartoons, I think that every government that even pretends to believe in free speech should have displayed them. Just to say, “No, sorry we are not going to be intimidated, we will not be threatened like this”. Some other things I’d like to see: a serious effort of support for apostates and women’s rights, not abstract, but concrete (if President Obama would initiate some program like, “For every there drone strikes we donate the cost of one to a charity defending women’s rights in the Islamic world” I would never say a nasty thing about him ever again). Similarly, there should be an attempt to help refugees from Islamic violence, like the Egyptian copts. A motion to crush and eradicate the Islamic slave trade. An intense research programme to get us off oil. That sort of thing.

        • Brive1987

          I agree that both individuals and government should fully support humanistic / pluralistic goals consistent with our liberal western tradition – and ‘reject those attitudes that belittle the importance of being human’.

          I also recognise that segments of contemporary Islamic thought are in
          contradiction to these goals.

          I’d also agree that concerns of first world privilege and relativism stifle acknowledgement of abuses against what I would consider “objective” human rights.

          Problem is how to marry a desire for liberal pluralism and self determination while also setting (and in the case of your argument perhaps enforcing) firm boundaries on thought and cultural mores. This concept appears oxymoronic.

          The pagmatics seem even more insurmountable when we think of communities already meshed within our society …..

          And it’s these difficulties that seem to be motivating Snowwy the Black and Steven Schwartz’s reactions to you.

          I also note your suggestions were largely reactive – speak up as individuals,
          encourage free ‘thought space’ and support those orgs dealing with the human fallout.

          If the situation is as serious as you suggest (analogous to Europe circa Anschluss?) then an aggressive and seemingly disproportionate reaction is required now. Even if only, in the first instance, a clear cultural mission statement and intent to police. Sounds a bit uncomfortably familiar though …

          And moving beyond that, how exactly do we wage war on ideas without descending to ‘thoughtcrime’ and social fascism? Certainly America’s efforts to have its cake and eat it too with the Patriot Act have been less than stellar.

          That said I hope there is a solution because there is a problem thats moving beyond the conceptual and into the tangible.

          I don’t want to live with the prospect that “in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war”

          :-)

          .

          • ThePrussian

            First of all – that last quote? Niiice :-)

            Believe you me, I really do not want to live with that prospect either. It is why I fly into such rages at the irresponsibility of certain people. It’s us in Europe who have to face the consequences. And this is my home; for better or worse, I have to see it through.

            I don’t think that we are close to the Anschluss. That would mean something like Turkey reverting to fully blown Ottoman status and invading, with the help of local Muslim populations.

            Intransigently defending liberal civilization while avoiding measures that would destroy it another way is indeed difficult. That is why I place defence of women’s rights and refugee rights right at the center. I think that if we suddenly had a massive influx of Coptic Christians from Egypt and from the rest of the Islamic world, that would serve to redress this insane situation. It’s a way of bringing the hammer down on Jihad while simultaneously flushing out the racist and neo-fascist elements.

            • Brive1987

              Ah so targetted immigration to dilute Islamic presence? However I suspect it doesn’t take many Islamists to disrupt a significantly larger cultural base.

              By Anschluss I meant more figuratively – ie an incident which in hindsight provides a watershed moment where thought patterns were set, but which at the time didn’t trigger appropriate warnings. I suspect Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Behring, Fortuyn, defacto sharia law in certain
              UK communities and changed, irreversible population demographics in Europe may, in hindsight, collectively form such a milestone (set in a historical context).

              If your thesis is correct then I don’t believe we would have the luxury of maintaining a pure liberalism. The question would be “how much will we lose” and what would our society look like as a consequence.
              I suspect this’d be dictated by how long we wait to act (or fold) and whether said action is reactive or proactive.

              Of course maybe there is no threat and the premise is wrong Y2K style.

              ………………………………

              OT Yes I am a fan of 40K – though more a Black Library tragic (Horus Heresy and Dan Abnett) than tabletop. Did love traditional ‘Dawn of War’ though ….

              ………………………………

            • ThePrussian

              I cannot disagree with your penultimate paragraph – but, on the other hand, there are plenty of people who think that classical liberalism has to be abandoned and it is war to the knife from now on. I don’t think the world is a worse place for me trying to hold out for those values as best and as long as possible until there really is no doubt.

              Re:whether there is or is not a threat, I see from your IP that you are from the Land Down Under. Things are a little different over here. May I recommend you read the following?

              http://www.examiner.com/article/as-muslim-population-grows-what-can-happen-to-a-society

              Throughout Europe we’ve already have Islam abolishing our effective right to freedom of speech, we have 60% of Jews fleeing the Netherlands, we have rampant anti-semitism, we have an effective veto over our political process.

              Re:helping refugees from this violence, from Egypt and Nigeria, it gains us allies, it helps those being persecuted, and it acts as a stop against racist infiltration and racist resurgance. Any of those seem a good reason to me.

            • Brive1987

              IP doxer. :-)

              The article does not surprise and maybe we are heading a similar track:

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZrNcEoAusw

              Overlay is a bit … Unsubtle but the report is off the news here.
              ……..

              http://www.news.com.au/national-news/probe-into-boy-holding-beheading-sign/story-fncynjr2-1226475238920

      • ThePrussian

        Now, here is the second part of this, why speaking out for people like you and me is of vital importance. I’ll illustrate this with a hypothetical reader of Myers’ blog (or, for that matter, some of my commentators), whom I will call Mr Nice. Mr Nice believes in all sorts of conventional left-liberal causes – defends gay marriage, worries about sexism, defends the rights of immigrants (a number of causes I defend myself), and so on. Then something happens that makes him realise that Islam is a problem. Maybe he sees the violent homophobia, maybe he talks with a survivor or Darfur, something like that.

        1. He goes to Pharyngula, and tries to talk about his experience. He is promptly told that he is a nasty, hateful, bigoted pseudo-fascist for even bringing it up by people like Snowwy the rabbit here.

        2. Shocked and disgusted he goes looking for answers elsewhere. And he finds them. He finds a very large community that welcomes him in and listens to his story sympathetically, and says, “Yes, we get it. We know exactly what you mean”. The community also says, “You see? We’re not such monsters after all. All those nasty things they said about us – didn’t they say the same things about you, just because you tried to speak up about what they _claim_ to value.” Mr Nice takes the point.

        3. The standard blog-feedback phenomenon sets in. Mr Nice sees more and more the sheer extent of Islamic fanaticism and violence – and he isn’t about to listen to yells of “Fascism!” from people who ignore ultra-violence and extreme anti-semitism.

        Now note that up to this point, none of this is illegitimate or even that morally questionable. Here’s where it gets nasty.

        4. After taking a lot of this stuff in, Mr Nice starts asking what can, seriously, be done? He’s tried speaking up about this, and his reward has been ostracism and bile. Now he starts hearing rumors about some _other_ people, on the fringes of this movement, who have some ideas about that. So he starts reading their books. And after a while, Mr Nice isn’t so nice anymore…

        Does that sound plausible?

        This is why I think it is essential to carve out a place for the secular atheist movement in speaking up about this. What I hope is that, just maybe, I can get to someone in stages 1 through 3 and say something like “I know exactly where you are coming from and agree with you completely about Islam. Have you considered helping out at a local charities helping defend women’s rights or the rights of apostates? Or maybe giving some of the refugees a helping hand? You’ll do more good, and be much more effective, than if you join the EDL and beat up some innocent Muslim”.

        Now is that going to work? I do not know. I do know that what will not work at ALL is Snowwy’s tack that the best way to respond to these problems is to increase the rhetoric and call everyone involved a super-special, extra-nasty, double-chocolate hateful cupcake with fascist sprinkles.

      • ThePrussian

        Here is the third part (sorry, this is in reverse order). After the bad news comes the way worse news. I mentioned the EDL. They are the aforementioned bad news, but they are bleeding heart liberals compared with what’s out there. Allow me to instance the case of Breivik. You can look quite a long time in the history of neo-fascist and neo-Nazi violence, or even Islamic violence, before you see anything with quite that level of lethality. And worse, that level of evil intelligence. Brevik didn’t attack a Mosque or an immigrant center – he attacked the one area where he knew he would do the most damage and cause maximum intimidation: the children of Norway’s political establishment.

        That is because Breivik isn’t a neo-Nazi or a Klansmen or any of the usual bunch of washed out, white-supremacist losers. He’s the first of a new generation of fascists, highly intelligent, highly capable and extremely dangerous. The products of decades of mutation and selection has produced a new variant of fascism that has been purged of all its weaknesses (such as the reliance of racism) and leaving absolute, pure, 175 proof lethality. This should terrify anyone, because while Breivik was the first, he will not be the last.

        So that is where I am coming from. I’m willing to put quite a lot on the table if it means avoiding the absolute horror that would be a European civil war between Islamic fanatics on the one side and Beivikists on the other.

    • Mark Citadel

      Codreanu was a great hero for the Traditional order. If only we had leaders like him today.