Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Doctrine to Combat the Islamic State IS

The Islamic State IS is raping, pillaging, slaving, crucifying and beheading its way through the Middle East. The savagery seems to attract countless young Muslims from East as well as West. What went wrong? 

Shiraz Maher, an expert in radicalization explains IS and its attraction for Muslims in the West. 

Ghaffar Hussain, Managing Director at the secular Quilliam Foundation (bio) brings up an excellent point in a piece on the Telegraph without actually answering the question he poses:
It's no surprise that James Foley's murderer had an English accent. We need to counter and undermine the narrative which makes the ideology of the Islamic State attractive to some young men in Britain. (Source)
Let's break this down into two basic questions: what makes them reject the most successful philosophy in human history - Liberty - in terms of freedom, prosperity and self realization for the individual? And secondly, how come they look for an answer at the most backward, oppressive and irrational collectivist system presently known to man - the Islamic State under Sharia Law?

Why the Caliphate? 

Jihadists have repeatedly answered this question for us, but mostly fleetingly and no one appears to have heeded it: "We have tried Nationalism, we have tried Socialism, we have tried  fascism and we have tried democracy, and it didn't work. Perhaps these Western concepts are just not suited to Muslims. So let's try our own political ideology: the Islamic State under Sharia, or the Caliphate". But when exactly is a system considered to 'work'? 

Western Jihadists and their apologists cite alienation, poverty, discrimination and oppression as the motivating factors for their rejection of Liberty. These are the same complaints we heard a century ago about the 'lumpenproletariat', and decades later of the working class. And finally regarding minorities. 

And yet here we are presented with yet another alienated cohort: second or third generation immigrants who are well educated and media savvy, who communicate with each other through their latest iPhone, and yet are morally outraged with the system that provided it all. Rap artist and Foley executioner Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary is but the latest example. (Source - h/t @RealShowStopper) Update: Bary is one the three suspects. Update: British man who beheaded #Foley lived in £1m home in London. (Tweet) Update: Bary a.k.a. Jihad John and L Jinny.

Finding Utopia

Western Jihadists are reminiscent of the radical groups of the past: the Baader Meinhoffs of this world and the Rote Armee Fraktion, the New Left and the Frankfurt School before them, Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground. These are not poverty stricken youngsters, but idealistic advocates from the middle classes fighting for a better future for those less fortunate than themselves. These advocates reason from a position that there is a system that can 'work' and that a state of perfection is actually achievable.

But that position doesn't reason from the point of view of the individual. It implies some form of collective, be it a system, a state, a society or perhaps the whole of humanity. That makes it Utopian, and that answers precisely the question what can possibly go wrong? It subjugates individual human beings to a greater whole, whether they like it or not.

But Utopianism doesn't even stop there. Because it reaches for perfection, the aim justifies the means. Which is why every Utopia builder feels justified to pile the bodies way up, as we see currently in the Islamic State. Utopia is only achievable by coercion and by potentially very violent means. 

Slaves and victimhood

The narrative current under Muslims and Socialists (whether they know it or not) follows the world view that individuals have no free will of their own. This makes them either slaves or victims. This victimhood is very important in that it provides them with a secondary moral cover for violence. The collectivist world view of man and his place in the universe has much to answer for in all the violent upheavals during the last two and a half century. Islamism is but the latest.

The facilitators of Utopia are refusing to understand that man isn't determined by his social environment, but by the values that are the result of mental hard-wiring. As a result of this denial, they exonerate Islam of any responsibility and blame Western society instead, even though that provides them with all the tools they need to make a success of their lives (if only they had free will). 

Islam as a political ideology

Islamic Scripture and the life of its hero, Mohammed, provide an example and a moral cover for violent Utopianism which is in fact not that different from the Socialist program.

But what makes Muslims essentially different from Westerners as they themselves claim? Muslims are of course ordinary people like you and me. The difference is that they have been fed on an anti-individualist idea that is a throw-back to tribalism. What Islam needs is an individualization process.

The individual became the operative unit in the West, because that seed is rooted in the personal salvation of Judeo-Christianity. Utopia is fine and dandy for the Netherworld, but will never be achievable in real life. No two men are equal and it's the differences between us that make us strive for better.

A doctrine for combating evil

After the beheading of the journalist James Foley at the hands of probably a second or third generation immigrant from the UK, Obama declared his faulty doctrine: that IS "speaks for no religion", that "no faith teaches people to massacre innocents", that IS fan boys are our equal citizens, and that IS "is not about us." (Source)

We have no hope of combating the most brutal, dangerous and destabilizing force since World War II, as long as our politicians don't grasp the facts: 
  • that it is ideas that shape the values on which we act;
  • that Islam is a political ideology, not for the Netherworld, but for the present (which is why it's called a Caliphate, instead of Heaven);
  • that the Caliphate is the ideal state according to Islam;
  • that infidels have no right to dissent and are therefore never innocent;
  • that Western values are the direct opposite and therefore an existential threat to Islam;
  • that Islam is at war with us, even though we don't consider ourselves at war with Islam.
As long as Western leaders are laboring under the wrong premises we don't have the beginning of a long term strategy to deal with the Caliphate of IS. Ideas matter, because they cause untold human suffering and countless lives, again and again.

More on IS Live Blog: "Obama In Denial on IS' War in Western Values".