Monday, April 5, 2010

The Power of Ideas

Current debate about Islam based on false premises, has also been waging on Nazi Germany until decades after the event. And sadly, analysts have not taken the right message away from it. Their blaming ethnic nationalism for Nazism is like diagnosing one of the symptoms, leaving the disease itself untouched. It is sad, but it is also very dangerous.

For a long time we have been so racist to believe that only Germans could be capable of constructing a foul ideology like Nazism. But nothing could be further from the truth. According to the Objectivist philosopher Leonard Peikoff Nazi Germany could occur, due to a specific set of ideolocal circumstances. If these conditions can be transfered to another time and place, something like Nazism could happen again, pershaps differing only in form and intensity.

The first prerequisite for a totalitarian state to occur is collectivism. As Ayn Rand has cleverly pointed out, racism is nothing but a quite primitive form of exclusive collectivism. In a collective, the individuals of which it consists, are nothing but cogs, drones, existing solely for the purpose of the collective. The queen bee and her drones come to mind, as does "resistance is futile".

Ethnic nationalism, communism and socialism are all forms of collectivism. Christianity, if it ever was a collective, soon shed it with the first schism. It has since fallen apart in numerous denominations. The Ummah (the Muslim community) is also a collective, and is in its development closely related to the tribe, which is also a miniature totalitarian state.

Collectives can be exclusive: one must have a number of characteristics (racial, or a blood relationship, or a social class) in order to belong to it; or the collective may be inclusive; or both simultaneously. Inclusive collectives assimilate individuals into it, whether they want to or not. One needs only to recall the Iron Curtain or the Berlin Wall to visualize how that might work. Those who do not belong to it, can't get in and for those who do belong, there's no out.

Collectives, while offering safety in numbers for underdeveloped cultures, are in effect evil because they snuff out human creativity and smother the free will and with it, morality.

Instilled in collectives is altruism: the requirement that is demanded from the drone to exist solely for the sake of the hive or the queen. They must submit. Islam means, to submit. Soldiers are asked to do the ultimate form of altruism, to give up their lives for their country. One can see that in the defense of the realm or for the sake of universal values like liberty, this is a good and noble thing. But if for the sake of an aggressive, exclusive or inclusive collective, this form of altruism becomes an evil.

Philosophies produced by the so called German Idealists culturally strengthened the ethics of altruism. Deontology, taught by Immanual Kant for example, demands one does not lie ... not even to a murderer, even if that might save someone's life. It is obvious that in this extreme form of ethics, nobility comes full circle and starts reversing in on itself.

Suicide terrorists come to mind as a perverted form of altruism. Those who self-sacrifice in order to take out those they consider to be enemies. The Japanese kamikaze pilots in World War II performed similar deeds. Some collectives manage to rationalize sacrificing women and children, the so-called human shields.

Another ingredient required is pragmatism. The kind of pragmatism that makes you want to say: well, it may be evil and it may be dangerous, but we do it anyway. This is a form of expediency that comes to the fore when there's little or nothing left to lose. The Germans felt they had nothing to lose. World War I was lost, the German Revolution and the Weimar Republic produced cultural nihilism, and the Peace of Versailles had lumbered them with a heavy burden of reparations. Indeed, it was designed so that the aggressor might never recover to unleash another war again.

The power of victimhood cannot be underestimated. It's only justice that a victim is allowed to retaliate. It's a very strong incentive for war. Hitler told the German people they were the victims of Jewish greed and capitalism. A culture, a people or a country under pressure, with the incentive of victimhood, tends to expand by violent means. Ask the Palestinians. The Israelis are not even allowed to act in self defense, but the Palestinians, after years of prolonging and cultivating destitution and devastation, are allowed just about anything.

A real or perceived inside, or outside enemy not only helps in the cohesion of the collective itself by drawing it closer together, it also enhances the feeling of victimhood, of being in danger and under attack.

- Caption: Sioux Chief Running Antelope -

Another prerequite is relativism. This may surprise some who might expect here absolutism instead. The contrary is the case. Absolutism usually goes hand in hand with a healthy dose of self righteous tolerance, but relativism opposes universalism, enhances pragmatism and ends in polylogism. See here why present day polylogism - multiculturalism - produces sectarianism and is racist and evil.

So, aggression by a relativist, victimized collective is not inherent in Germans or in any human being, but is concocted in the cultural make-up of any given people by an ideological constellation, that given the circumstances, may be duplicated at another time and place.

Islam likes to guise itself in the robes of religion. Before the onset of political theory, the only ideological model known to man, was religion. Even Auguste Comte's philosophy of positivism as late as the 19th century took the form of a ridiculous pseudo religion. This confuses culturally relativist liberals who believe in freedom of religion and 'to each his own path to sainthood'. They are making the fatal mistake of equivocating Islam with other religions that do not share with Islam a number of ideological characterics: collectivism, relativism, pragmatism, existential angst, and a narrative based on slighted supremacy.

Home-grown terrorists like Jihad Jane are by now hardly unique. It provides proof positive that Islamic violence has nothing to do with race or is inherent in Arabs or Iranians, but has everything to do with Islam as an ideology. Apparently there is something in this set of ideas, that encourages hostile behavior, not just towards infidels, but also towards fellow religionists: most victims of islamofascism are Muslims. Watch the terror belt.

We end this post by repeating our findings of yesterday, "Easter Celebrations in a Storm of Postmodern Iconoclasm". While the older religions of Judeism and Christenity according to the Platonic mind/body dichotomy have separated the sacred from the secular, the younger religion of Islam permeates every aspect of life, including politics.

The test that liberal democracy has in store for Muslims will be if the Ummah will be able to break up its collective, and if it will manage subsequently to separate Mosque from State. That will be the sole hope of integration into Western culture, so as to avert the clash of civilizations that everyone fears so much.


Following article by David Solway on Tariq Ramadan is highly recommended. Ramadan combines Islam with postmodern ideas: it doesn't come more insidious than that.

Pajamas: "Tariq Ramadan: A Viper in Our Midst (Thanks to Hillary Clinton)", door David Solway


- Politeia: "Why Islam is an Ideology", by Dr Sam Holliday
- PJM: "Was Marco Polo an ‘Islamophobe’?", by Raymond Ibrahim
- Politeia: "Why Multiculturalism is Racist and Evil"
- Political Islam: "The Pseudo-Golden Rule or Do Unto Which Others", by Bill Warner
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