Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cross Post: Has the West Corrupted the Islamic World?

Dzhokhar Tsarnayev, whose brother was killed in a gunfight with police after the pair blew legs off of athletes and killed three persons at the Boston Marathon finish line, was charged with use of weapons of mass destruction. The "Progressive" press is trying to deflect criticism away from Salafi jihad, claiming that the motives of the young terrorists are not clear.

Meanwhile, the President of Chechnya accused Americans of radicalizing the terrorist brothers. At first, this appears preposterous, but it is a common theme shared by Salafi Muslims and "Progressives" alike. The narrative is that the culture of the United States of America is so corrupt, and in fact, disgusting, that the plight of impoverished, hopeless-feeling Muslims is the fault of Americans.

Salafists and "Progressives" cite apparently different sources of the corruption: too much freedom to wander from the way of Allah, and, capitalism.

However, there is a common denominator of both: individual rights.

Is there, then, any truth to the allegation that individual rights have corrupted youth, particularly, Muslim youth? My answer is a resounding "no."

However, this is a different question than "has the West corrupted the Islamic world?" You might be surprised that my opinion is, "Yes, it has. The West has corrupted the Islamic world."

How could such a thing happen? In my opinion, it was a two-step process: first the West corrupted itself, and then, secondly, the corrupt West corrupted the Islamic world. The corruption of the West occurred first in the halls of academe, in the departments of philosophy. It went from the Kantian version of Lutheran Pietism, to Kantian skepticism and ethics of duty, to Hegelian praise of the State, to John Dewey’s "pragmatism," to Marxism, to Stalinism, to "Progressivism," to postmodernism, to Alinsky-style community organizing. The end product was mooching, looting, the destruction of values for the sake of destruction (nihilism) and the "total transformation of America." The goal of the "Progressives" is that all that would remain of the old America in this corrupt America would be lip service to altruism, or, as Obama calls it, "shared sacrifice."

How, then, did the Islamic world become corrupted by the corruption of America? There are many examples, in the early twentieth century, of Muslim-majority nations that admired and emulated the West. Lebanon, when I was growing up, was considered a democratic nation. Middle-class Egyptians were secularized and admirers of the West, using France and England as their role models. Turkey was administered by the "Young Turks" who secularized the society (even banning the hijab and the fez) and began the ultimately failed mission of integrating Turkey into Europe.

What happened? Kant’s idea that true reality is unknowable, and that morality is a product of duty regardless of the consequences, trickled down. In the USA, we ended up with Obama. In the Middle East, they got Mubarak and Assad. In my opinion, they are all examples of how Kantian and/or postmodern "Progressive" ideas end up in in political action.

To a young man born into a family with a Muslim past, trying to make sense of college and a job market with few jobs and fewer opportunities, the Salafist message might make sense. While American youth of the same age might distract themselves with heavy metal music to express their rage, environmental children’s crusades, and, of course, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, some Muslim youth (and some non-Muslim young Americans too) might find the call from the minarets more appealing. The focus, is not on this world, but another transcendent world. Death, according to a Salafi creed, is welcomed.

What was the impact on the Muslim world? Lebanon, no longer democratic, is a killing field more or less under control of Syria, who is more or less under control of the ayatollahs of Iran. Egypt, with the gleeful approval of the Alinskyite Obama, has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, a gang who proudly calls themselves Salafist, while the secularized Egyptians flee. Turkey, having reverted to Islamism, rebukes and humiliates their former ally and friend, Israel. Corruption? Yes. Trickle-down corruption from Europe and Progressive America.

Helping Muslims build Islamic Republics, in the style of George W. Bush, will not end the corruption. Destabilizing secular regimes in favor of Salafist regimes, in the "Arab Spring" style of Barack Hussein Obama, will not end the corruption. And, yes, even serious (but ultimately failing) attempts to keep the wrong kind of immigrant from crossing the border via Mexico, Canada, the East Coast, the West Coast, and the air, a favored intervention of many conservatives, will not end the corruption.

The corruption is in the realm of ideas, and the only way to end the corruption is to confront the bad ideas. The West will end its corruption of religious and secularized Muslims by ending its own corruption. There is no shortcut.

This article was originally published on April 22, 2013 on Means Of Survival under the title "Has the West Corrupted Islam" and is reposted here with permission of the author, @AynRandFan