Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Maybe the Jihadis Will Help Us Kill Two Birds With One Stone

Yesterday I read a profoundly troubling piece about Islam, an interview of a Pole that converted to Islam. I was alerted to the article by a reader of this blog. Today we have a jihadi attack on the Westminster Palace, the home of parliaments.

This is personal to me because, 50 years ago, I used to walk across Westminster Bridge and past the Houses of Parliament, exactly where the car crashed into the pedestrians, on my way to work at Sir William Halcrow and Partners.

However, I used to walk on the other side of the bridge. So that's all right.

On one particular day in 1965 I filed past the catafalque of Sir Winston Churchill in Westminster Hall where the British national hero lay in state.

The liberal Polish convert to Islam was adamant about Islam. It cannot adapt to the modern world without killing Allah. That's because Islam is completely black and white. Either something is halal, permissible, or it is haram, forbidden.
There is also one hadis saying: there are things that are haram and things that are halal and in between there is the zone of uncertainty – do not go there. 
 So that means no critical thinking is allowed for Muslims: no gray areas for them.

But the whole point of the West is the investigation of the gray area, wrestling with the problem of what lies between the permissible and the forbidden.

So, on this Muslim's witness, Islam must be at war with the West, even as it is tempted and corrupted by the cornucopia of the West's riches and gadgets.

So we get to my understanding of history.

The great revolution in the last two hundred years, with the industrial revolution, is that wealth no longer consists of food-growing land. So the great instinct of humans, to defend their patch of land from invaders in necessary border wars, is defunct. Now wealth does not consist in land, nor yet in natural resources; it consists of intangible capital, the ideas and the techniques in men's minds. And everything is negotiable; everything has its price, so you can always pay to get access to resources like food and fuel.

Naturally there has been a huge reaction against this new truth, because we are all primed to believe in Gerald O'Hara's faith in "land, it's the only thing that lasts." So said the proprietor of a cotton slave plantation, an agriculture that rapidly exhausts both land and slave.

Really, socialism is an attempt to return to a lost agricultural Eden. I saw a book at HalfPriceBooks last weekend titled something like American Socialisms. It is a history of the socialist experiments in the US in the first half of the 19th century, New Harmony, Brook Farm, Oneida, etc., the attempts to instantiate the ideas of Fourier and Owens. These were comical attempts to redo agriculture at a moment when agriculture was about to be transformed by the industrial revolution.

And so we get the great 20th century wars. First the two German wars, about what exactly? Germany, the most advanced country in Europe needing living room? For what? The prosperous Germans could buy anything the world had to offer.

Then we got the battle against Communism, a cold war of position and propaganda, that was won by the United States with a few border wars around the periphery of the Communist Bloc.

Now we are shaping up for a war against Islam. And now the jihadis just attacked the mother of parliaments.

We should thank the jihadis. They are, to coin a phrase, sending out a cry for help: Stop us before we kill again!

If they knew what they were doing, they wouldn't be doing minor acts of terror; they would be quietly biding their time until the moment came for the great uprising, what Hardt and Negri call
“KairĂ²s,” the “moment when a decision of action is made,” for the “extraordinary accumulations of grievances and reform proposals must at some point be transformed by a strong event, a radical insurrectionary demand.”
Well yes, but you wouldn't want to signal it, and teach the West to prepare a defense and a strategy against violent Islamism.

In the history of the last century or so, the century of the Left, the constant demand has been to accommodate the outsiders with neo-feudal politics that betrayed the promise of the market and its culture of trust for the rest of us.

And the good old middle class has acceded to many of the left's demands, even though it has replaced the lean republics of the 19th century with bloated administrative states in the 20th century that have given out the national treasure to organized special interests.

But now, I suspect, we are reaching the moment of truth. Can the west accede to the demands of Islam? Can it accommodate Muslim immigrants without demolishing the idea and the practice of the west? Can we allow the left to champion another outsider group, and force us all to sit around for another fifty years while its members learn the way of the city and the culture of trust?

My feeling is that just as German follies gave us two world wars and Communism a half-century of cold war, we cannot avoid a momentous clash with the Islamic world.

The problem is, as the liberal Polish Muslim admits, there is no common ground between the west and Islam. And since Islam has nothing except oil and gas its strategy is naturally to migrate from the barren lands of Arabia to the rich lands of the west, and then metastasize throughout the host.

But I think that the necessary development of antibodies to Islam in the west will force us to finally deal with the Left, and its vile policy of indulging outsiders in their feudal, pre-bourgeois culture.

Because the only really valid job for government is to protect the people from foreign and domestic enemies.

And there is nothing like threats from knifers and bombers to remind us all of that.

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