Ed Driscoll

THE TRAPPINGS OF MODERNIZATION

Back on September 11th of this year, we quoted Mackubin Thomas Owens’ brilliant line, that “9/11 revealed an emerging geopolitical reality: that the world’s most important fault line is not between the rich and the poor, but between those who accept modernity and those who reject it.”

Saul Singer, commenting on Mahathir Muhammed’s breathtakingly anti-Semitic speech a couple of weeks ago, picks up the theme:

Like the satisfied porcines in [George Orwell’s Animal Farm], the summiteers in Malaysia blithely adopt the language of freedom and human rights. But when they talk about oppression, they mean being deprived of the right to dictate.

Those who see Mahathir as a moderate are confusing the trappings of modernization with the modernization of the mind. Muslims, including the most fundamentalist variety, would be happy to embrace a very modern device, the nuclear bomb, in the service of an aim as primitive as the caveman’s club.

Mahathir’s speech shows that the West has made progress in convincing the Muslim world that the means it employs are futile. But the speech was also a step backward in that it challenged Muslims to wage jihad with brains, not to snap out of it altogether.

The goal of the war against terrorism should be to cure the Muslim world of a form of jihad that kills us and enslaves them. The first sign that a real corner has been turned will be when Muslims start talking about living with, rather than destroying, the State of Israel.

We’ve certainly got our work cut out achieving that.