The failure of Islamic culture to cope with the modern world also ensures that it will be an elixir in the Middle East for perceived global unfairness. For hundreds of millions who are quite reluctant to change their views about women, other religions, tribal affinities, free expression, and consensual government, it is far easier to blame the logical consequences of their material backwardness on others — most likely Jews, Westerners, and less observant Muslims. The mystery is not that they believe such things, but that we do not believe that they do. When Dr. Zawahiri cites “climate change” as one of the sparks that set him off, I think we have entered the realm of lunacy.
c) Obama believes that something the Bush administration concretely did might have provoked Muslims and explains the present tensions. If a transgression sparked violence, then a non-transgression will prevent it. If we could only close Guantanamo, get out of Iraq, promise to withdraw from Afghanistan, lead meekly from behind in Libya, or stop renditions, then again peace would follow and terrorism would wane. Obama has little concept that terrorists strike when they feel they can, but are more likely not to when they feel they can’t — or that they can hate us for reasons that transcend what Americans do on any given day. While their hatred, fed by envy, feelings of inadequacy, and appeasement, cannot be moderated by euphemism, the expression of it certainly can be by hard pressure on their sponsors — the very tactic that Obama has derided, as he has sought normalization with Iran, Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas.
d) In the multicultural world of our elites, religious expression and the landscape in which it occurs, like everything else, is a sort of buffet. People take what they want, each according to his taste, no one selection any better or worse than any other. Islam is no different from Buddhism and Christianity, which have had their own zealots and mass-murderers. Islamists grasp the ramifications of this relativism far better than we do, and expect latitude from the West that they would never grant to non-Westerners. Apparently killing a cartoonist can shut down a Western society’s free expression quite quickly. And blowing up a church in an Islamic country is not at odds with demanding subsidies to build a mosque in Europe.
These multicultural doctrines are not subject to empirical data. An epidemic of Muslim terrorism can be ignored when we find isolated examples of Christian intolerance. We can call such relativism moral equivalence and cultural relativism, with a strong dose of utopian pacifism. But the end result is that Western elites have no concept that their culture, religious heritage, or contemporary values have made them in any way exceptional. Apple is in Silicon Valley and not Islamabad: no doubt the legacy of colonialism. Millions seek to reach the U.S.; none wait in line to go to Egypt or Algeria: no doubt imperialism still at work. There is no Princeton or MIT in Syria: again racism or class oppression.
If our elites quoted above are unsure about themselves, why would they not be unsure about their enemies as well?
In terms of their amoral cost-benefit analysis, a few may die, hopefully abroad, on the altar of multicultural piety, so that millions more might live in ecumenical harmony.
The tragic truth is just the opposite: thousands will die on the altar of multicultural piety, so that millions more will not live in any sort of harmony.