Some of you are looking at that title and saying something like “Islam will never Westernize. Their ‘reformation’ will only make them more fundamentalist/more literal about the Koran.”
It is beyond the purview of these posts to go into the nature of Islam as opposed to other religions, and I’m not stupid enough to tell you that Islam has no bloody borders, or that religion has nothing to do with terrorism.
What I’m going to tell you, on the other hand, is that Islam is not always on the warpath. Under certain conditions, it becomes far more tractable, and its culture even starts changing. No, it’s not pretending to be tractable until it has a chance to strike, or actually it doesn’t matter if it is. If it stays in that mode long enough, kids will be raised in a westernized lifestyle and eventually, terrorists will find no foothold. And yes, this will happen for the simple reason that our way of life is better and more successful. If we communicate this to the vast masses of Islam who live inside their countries, are told daily they’ll inherit the Earth by the power of Allah, and don’t know any more about us than our leftists really know about them.
If you doubt the previous paragraph, google images of Iran under the shah. There are others from other now-crazy-Islamic countries. Honestly, looking at them, they look like scenes from any Mediterranean country in the fifties and sixties.
What changed? Well, “old fashioned” Islam took over. Although, to be fair, saying “old fashioned” Islam is like saying “that good old-time religion” relating to Christianity. There were always many flavors and it also changed through the centuries and regions. A current “fundamentalist Islamite” would have a serious clash with those from the time of Mohammed.
What happened was that the West lost its confidence. It was taken over by leftists, pacifists and cowards who are multiculturalists because at their heart they really don’t understand there are other cultures. They think the difference between cultures is just what you wear, what you eat, and what festivals you observe. The concept of completely different software inside your head, shaping how you see the world, is alien to a left that never hesitates to claim there is no objective reality. (No, I don’t believe this. But how you learned to see reality shapes what you see. For instance, if Americans see a woman loaded with books coming out of a college at 8 p.m., they see a student, while in Portugal in my day, they saw a whore, because no respectable woman was out unaccompanied at 8 pm.)
So, as the neo-Marxists (and sometimes Marxist-Marxists) took over, “everyone knew” in the West that the problems of Islam were economic problems. This comes with a dose of the idea America is war-mongering and exploiting. So when we’re hit, the appropriate way to stop the attacks is to apologize.
The problem is that Islamic countries were shaped by tribal desert culture. This, in turn, is wrapped all around the religion, but even without the religion, the way they “read” the world would be the same.
In desert tribal cultures, you’re dealing with a form of tribal warfare. But since the tribes were often small, isolated, and could not survive even small clashes, the procedure is somewhat different. The first point of any meeting of two tribes/clans was what I call the “Baghdad Bob” phase.
If you read about the clashes between Islamic countries (look, I just read a lot, okay? It’s an addiction), what you find is that the bluster is what we’d consider “unbelievable.” Again, remember Baghdad Bob and all the American bellies roasting in hell? If not, go and look him up. I’ll wait.
In fact, what we found in liberating Kuwait in 1991 was that often there was incredibly little behind the bluster. The mother of all battles fizzled as the Iraqis loaded their crappy military vehicles with loot and beat feet. (And then we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, but that’s something else.)
What you have to understand is that this works when the war is between two Islamic countries. They’re both really strong on invective and really weak on follow-through.
Now take the present situation between the west and Islam. We – and by “we” I mean the elites who, in concert with the other – leftist – elites across the world, project an impression of what we really are like – cringe and apologize and talk about our guilt.
This is utterly incomprehensible to Islamic cultures. It’s not that they don’t want to understand us. It’s not that they don’t think we’re strong. It’s that in their cultural signaling we’re telling them we’re scared, small, and afraid of them.
They have no concept that these voices don’t speak for all of us; they have no idea of how big we are (yesterday talking to a friend who came from an Anglophonic country, we both told my husband no foreigner can understand how vast and diverse the U.S. is. Much less can the Islamic world).
And what we’re doing is running around – in their view – being so afraid of them that we preemptively surrender and don’t dare hit back when they bomb us. Why, even when we killed Bin Laden, we gave him an Islamic funeral.
To us this means that as a multi-religious society, warfare stops at, for lack of a better expression, the gates of eternity.
For them it means their fundamentalists are absolutely right: their religion is superior, which is why we respect it, and they’re soon going to conquer the world, which is why they keep hitting us.
Note they’re not hitting us with nukes or armies – see above, no follow-through – and that is because a) they’re not very good at that, and b) they’re getting mixed signals.
When two desert tribes meet and the weaker one doesn’t immediately fold, then tribal warfare as it is in most of the world takes over, with a twist: you attack and commit atrocities, but because your group/tribe tends to be small, these are concentrated but not continuous atrocities. Or as we’d call them, terrorist attacks.
Islamic countries spawn terrorists because we are telling them, in a language between words, that a few acts of terror can win the West and all its riches (which they know from TV and the internet) and that we’ll pay them tribute forever. Yeah, sure, it is only their younger, crazier (mostly) men who actually do this. But the rest of the culture doesn’t rise to slap them down, because our reaction to the attacks – prayers, candles, condolences, guilt and self-abasement – tells them the violent members among their group are really close to winning.
In those circumstances, speaking is only going to mean you lose along with those weak foreigners you tried to defend.
And meanwhile on our side, we see the acts of terror, and more and more of us – beneath the umbrella of the appeasing media and the supine governments – start wondering if there’s anything worth saving, even unto the children.
This is how Dar Al Islam ends up a sea of blue glass, and how the West ends up becoming something more akin to the Rome of the Empire than the Rome of the Republic, and how individual liberties vanish from the world, possibly for centuries if not forever.
The way to combat it is to speak their language, by which I don’t mean with words. Oh, words too. Go ahead and hire a million Baghdad Bobs. We might be too far gone for them to have any effect, but who knows? And it’s cheap. There should be enough carnival barkers, out-of-work actors, and used car salesmen to shout into microphones for reasonably low pay. And I’ll confess this will be easier in the U.S. than in Europe, where being proud of your country, your culture and your civilization has been a “crime” since WWI at least. But still, it should be possible.
Second, stop with the “respect towards Islam” as applied to terrorists. Go ahead, smile at the woman in the hijab at the zoo with her kids. She might be horrified and think you’re a lech, but she won’t think you’re ripe for conquest. But stop being nice to people who are killing us and our children, and defenseless women, and people who have never hurt them in any way possible.
Hunt the terrorists as aggressively as possible (unlike, say, letting the perpetrators of Benghazi drink coffee in sidewalk cafes in all the peace in the world). No matter how small or how large the terrorist act is, hunt down the perpetrators and all their connections (which might mean large numbers of their relations) and kill them in as splashy and horrific a way as you can manage. Then publicize it.
Because the idiots will always be with us. People like the wife of a noted science fiction writer writing paeans to the Tsarnaev brothers need to be ridiculed across all of the west. We can’t silence them, but we can make it clear to the terrorists how few they are, and how powerless.
Death and bluster and a projection of cultural confidence is the only way we can stop this train wreck short of genocide. And the train wreck – and genocide – is not in the far distant future, if I’m judging the mood on the streets right.
But it does require our providing a counterpoint to the appeasers of the left; it does require our replacing our pacifist/coward politicians; it does require banging into the hard heads of the left that different cultures really are different.
Can it be done? I don’t know. But it’s worth a try.
And it’s our only hope to save civilization as we know it.