November 23, 2015

AUSTIN BAY: War For The Terms Of Modernity:

The terms of modernity in the free societies Bin Laden and his successors despise have historical roots; the Enlightenment and the Treaty of Westphalia are two significant examples. Enlightenment skepticism spurred scientific inquiry and technological success that spurred economic development.

After the disaster of the 30 Years War, Westphalia attempted to separate religion and politics. Catholic princes would tolerate Protestant subjects, and vice versa. It took a couple of centuries, but Europe and North America began producing societies that were experiments in “liberating reform”; they were political experiments permitting individual freedom of expression, which would include free expression of religious faith.

In contrast, violent Islamist utopian idealists only permit their expression of religious faith.

Democracy, as a vehicle for freedom, is never perfected. Because they hold regular and meaningful elections — which produce peaceful changes in power — democracies structurally deny the possibility of human perfection, at least on Earth. Like communists, violent Islamists are peculiar utopians, convinced they create a perfect society that, once created, will remain perfect. Shared utopianism is one reason al-Qaida — and now ISIL — find it useful to rework anti-U.S. and anti-democracy communist propaganda tropes. The Guantanamo Bay gnashing and wailing is revised communist Cold War-era agitprop.

Al-Bagdadhi shares Bin Laden’ s goals of correcting history. He did Bin Laden one better by proclaiming himself caliph. History has been going wrong for Islamic expansionists since at least the 16th century, but really took a nosedive in 1924 when Turkey’s reforming general and political genius, Kemal Ataturk, ended the caliphate.

In fall 2001, Bin Laden released a tape where he damned “80 years” of Muslim indignation. He was referring to Ataturk’s decision.

Erdogan, sadly, is no Ataturk.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.