Baron Bodissey of Gates of Vienna has very kindly sent me an essay he just wrote that engages with some of the culminating themes from The Death of the Grown-Up.
From Gates of Vienna:
"Making the World Safe for Apostasy" by Baron Bodissey
Even if he is not strictly speaking a Muslim, President Barack Hussein Obama has an Islamic background and is a famous sympathizer with Islam. He received an Islamic education as a child in Indonesia, and seems to identify with Muslims when implementing what passes for his foreign policy.
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Modern American policy towards Islam — especially that subset of Islam which avowedly intends to destroy the United States and the rest of the West in the name of Allah — went though several stages of development. It began as avoidance under Bill Clinton, escalated to denial under George “The Religion of Peace” Bush, and has now reached its full flower under the Obama administration. If the country continues on its present course, it is headed for full Islamization and cultural dhimmitude.
We have reached a point where nobody in public life who values his career prospects dares to mention the word “Islam” in connection with terrorism or mob violence. “Jihad” has officially been ruled out of the lexicon by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The word “terrorism” itself is discouraged, because too many people have come to associate it in their minds with Islam, for some strange reason.
We are so far down the rabbit hole that returning to a state of denial would be an improvement.
In her book The Death of the Grown-Up, Diana West examines the cultural infantilization which has allowed the West to become such easy prey for Islamic expansionism. A suicidal policy of mass immigration driven by the ideology of Multiculturalism leverages the demographic advantage of Muslims, but to guarantee an Islamic ascendancy we had to abandon “discrimination” and all the other virtues that formerly guided Western Civilization.
Ms. West was writing in 2007, before the Husseinization of America, but everything she said in her book is even more relevant today than it was back then. In her final chapter she gets to the heart of the matter:
In retrospect — namely, post-9/11 — it seems odd that these terrorists have always been called “Arab terrorists,” or “Arab Palestinian terrorists,” and have never been labeled according to the animating inspiration of their religion as “Muslim” terrorists. Such coyness has buried a relevant part of the story: the Islamic context. Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, it was Muslim terrorism that had come to Europe, and, as a result, Jews were worshipping, if they dared, at their own fearsome risk.
And not just Jews. By now, the same fearsome risk extends to whole populations, in houses of worship and the public square alike. After reading Bat Ye’or, I realized that the now-familiar strategies of fearsome-risk management — guns around the synagogue, for example — represents a significant capitulation. The security ring around the synagogue — or the airport ticket counter, the house of parliament, or the Winter Olympics — is a line of siege, not a line of counter-attack. The threat of violence has become the status quo, and, as such, is incapable of sparking outrage, and is certainly not a casus belli. Guns at the synagogue door — or St Peter’s Basilica, or the Louvre — symbolize a cultural acquiescence to the infringement of freedom caused by the introduction — better, the incursion — of Islam into Western society. Thus, dhimmitude — institutional concessions on the part of non-Muslim populations to Islam — has arrived in the West.
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And it’s here in the U.S. of A., as well. Brandishing automatic weapons, police and soldiers patrol our cities, our buses, our banks, our institutions, our subways, our trains, our stadiums, our airports to prevent specifically Islamic violence. This, lest we forget, is a situation unparalleled — unimagined — in our history. Official Washington has become an armed camp. No longer does traffic stream down Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House; the historic street is now a cement-dump-lined “plaza” blocked off by retractable security stumps. The Capitol, meanwhile, sits behind a hamster-cage Rube Goldberg might have designed, its grand staircases blocked, and metal posts — called “bollards,” I recently learned — bristling down the sidewalks. The fact is, we are living in a state of siege. After 9/11, the United States embarked on an open-ended war against Islamic terrorism, with varying degrees of foreign cooperation. But even as we fight abroad, we simultaneously assume the status of victims at home, surrendering our bags and purses for security searches, erecting aesthetics-destroying metal detectors, transforming our ennobling vistas and public halls into militarized zones under 24-hour-surveillance. This is necessary, we understand, for public safety: But is it the new “normal”? Or do we ever get Pennsylvania Avenue back? Do we ever get to make that mad dash down the airport concourse onto a plane just pushing off from the gate again? (This was an odd, if recurring point of pride of a family friend who used to time his drive from Kennebunkport, Maine, to Logan Airport with perilous precision). Don’t hold your breath; these homeland defenses sprouting up across the country look and feel like they’re here for good.
In this seemingly permanent climate of fear, then, ignoring genuine heroes — our exemplars of such adult virtues as bravery and sacrifice, honor and duty — is more than a cultural matter of infantile vanity. It is a security risk. “By our focus on victimization,” Crossland writes, “we have adopted our enemies’ standard of measure, and are handing them a victory.” It’s a psychological victory, of course, not a strategic one; but this, above all, is a psychological war.
As a people, then, we begin to make choices predicated on our new siege mentality, choices that a free people — free from fear, and, I would add, free from dhimmitude — would never make.
I’m old enough to remember when you could just walk into Dulles Airport and ride the escalator up to the observation deck to watch the planes take off and land. No one had to pass through metal detectors or have his bags searched. Departing passengers were advised to get to the terminal twenty minutes — twenty minutes! — before their flights were due to board.
I suppose we can credit the new security regimen for the lack of successful terrorist attacks since 9-11 — even though the Lap Bomber and the Shoe Bomber demonstrate that luck and alert civilians have also played an important part. But nobody should confuse the current situation with victory. A victory would have consisted of reducing half the Middle East and South Asia to rubble, and then installing compliant dictators of our own choosing in the half that remained. I can guarantee you that if we had chosen such a path, taking a plane out of Dulles would not be the grueling ordeal that it is today.
We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it wasn’t just the jihad that brought about our current debased state of fearfulness. Cuban terrorists — remember them? — started the hijacking fad back in the seventies. By the time the mujahideen deployed their forces on the information battlespace, it had already been softened up by the Marxists, cultural and otherwise.
Our collective fear and cowardice took decades to mature, and we are now living with the predictable results, as Ms. West so lucidly describes:
Standing around Logan Airport last summer with some time to kill, I watched crowds of travelers winnow down to single file in order to pass through a phalanx of metal detectors, dutifully unstrapping wristwatches, dropping off keychains, and removing their shoes. They were, of course, cooperating with airport “screeners” charged with determining whether any of them had secretly bought a ticket to paradise — not the Pearly Gates one, but the 72 Virgins kind — and not some earthbound destination. I wondered whether these low-level indignities would get passengers home safe and sound, or whether they would require body bags, burn masks and prosthetics to reach their final destination. It was shortly after the London Underground bombings (7/7, 7/25), and it seemed like an open question. As this final line of defense against murder-in-the-skies deployed, I wondered when the arsenal would also include those high-tech scopes and scanners we read about that are designed to identify retinas and fingerprints; and I thought how strange it was that even as we devise new ways to see inside ourselves to our most elemental components, we also prevent ourselves from looking full face at the danger to our way of life posed by Islam.
Notice I said “Islam.” I didn’t say “Islamists.” Or “Islamofascists.” Or “fundamentalist extremists.” Or “Wahhabism.” Except for Wahhabism — an overly narrow term for the jihadism that permeates all schools of Islam, not just this infamous Saudi one — I think I’ve tried out all the other terms in various columns since 9/11, but I’ve come to find them artificial and confusing, and maybe purposefully so. In their amorphous imprecision, they allow us to give a wide berth to a great problem: the gross incompatibility of Islam — the religious force that shrinks freedom even as it “moderately” tolerates, or “extremistly” advances jihad — with the West. Worse than its imprecision, however, is the evident childishness that inspires this lexicon, as though padding “Islam” with extraneous syllables (“ism,” “ist” “ofascist”) is a shield against PC scorn of “judgmentalism”; or that exempting plain “Islam” by criticizing fanciful “Islamism” or “Islamofascism” puts a safety lock on Muslim rage — which, as per the Danish cartoon experience, we know explodes at any critique. Such mongrel terms, however, keep our understanding of Islam at bay.
Diana West has put her finger on the essence of the problem. The taboo against discussing the nature of the Islamic threat is part and parcel of the universal childishness of modern American society. We don’t want to look at the heart of the problem because what we might see is too awful to contemplate. It’s scary and icky and would force us to make choices that almost none of us are ready to face.
So we’re putting it off. We say, “Eeewwww! Gross!” and push it away from ourselves. We wait for Daddy to come home and make it all go away.
But the grown-ups aren’t going to take care of it. There aren’t any grown-ups left anymore, at least not within the cloistered precincts of those who make and implement public policy in Western countries. The kids are running the show.
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Just for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that instead of the limp-wristed milquetoasts who man our present governments, the real grown-ups — people like Diana West and Mark Steyn and Col. Allen West and Bat Ye’or — were in charge of dealing with the Islamic threat. What would they do differently?
To start with, they wouldn’t rule out any terminology or body of description when studying the enemy. They’d examine the stated doctrines of those who are trying to kill us, and would take them at their word.
By doing so they would learn that our enemies publicly state that they make war on us in the name of Allah, in order to impose Islamic law on the entire world. They do this because their scripture requires it — it is written down quite clearly in the Koran, the hadith, and the sunna — and all four major schools of Sunni Islamic law, as well as Shi’ite doctrine, describe violent jihad as a duty for all Muslims.
They would come to realize that Islam is not just a religion — and perhaps not even primarily a religion — but a specific totalitarian political doctrine with violence at its core.
A reasonable investigation would reveal that the command to subjugate the infidel through violence is not “extremist”. It’s not a “fringe doctrine”. Islam has not been “perverted” or “hijacked” by those who practice violent jihad. Violence lies at the very core of Islamic doctrine, and Islam itself has told us that repeatedly, if only we would listen.
I’ve been blogging the Counterjihad for almost six years now, and during that time I’ve been watching for evidence that Islam has the capacity to reform itself. I long to see a demonstration that there really is an alternative to “extremism”. I’ve been patiently drumming my fingers, waiting for the “moderate Muslim” to appear and take charge.
And, throughout those six years, whenever I thought I’d found a “moderate”, it always turned out to be some brave soul who was raised as a Muslim but no longer believes in Islam. Virtually every “moderate” is an apostate in all but name.
It’s a hard fact to face, but anyone who truly believes in what is written in the Koran either fights jihad in the name of Allah, or supports those who do.
This is the crux of the problem, but it also offers a solution: the way to encourage “moderate” Islam is to create a space in which people can abandon their belief without risking their lives. Millions — perhaps hundreds of millions — of Muslims are ready to leave Islam, but they are justifiably afraid for their lives if they do so.
We need to make the world safe for apostasy.
But first we have to man up. It takes guts to say the forbidden words:
“The problem is Islam.”
There! That wasn’t so bad, was it? Don’t you feel better now?
It is incumbent upon us to look at the situation clearly and realistically, even if it leads to grim and alarming conclusions about the nature of what is facing us. Several decades of dire consequences lie ahead, no matter what we do.
Whether we decide to hide under the bed and whimper, or grab a shotgun and confront him, the intruder is already in the house.
It’s time to start acting like grown-ups.