Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, July 15, 2005  

On Paul Cella's Essay

Paul Cella has an essay here
that I was going to respond to in his comments, but I kept going at length to great for a comments note.

Your thoughts meet mine, but have been said with a delicacy and felicity my own would have lacked.

We are treading the ground here of the Japanese Internment during WW2. It is not the same, of course, but it is a matter of taking certain rights away; and rather than interning those whose allegiance we doubt, we must deport such or imprison them for their speech.

My fear is that it will take something like what happened in London to arouse the public. Even then, I doubt our current political sets will be serious enough to do the necessary work.

My fear is that it will take a demagogue to achieve what the people will demand for our security.

My first thought is that we must simply erase Islam from our land, and Muslims will have to leave or renounce their faith as I believe the fault is in the religion and always will be.

But I am open to moderation of this "inquisition".

The fact is that we cannot allow a religion to flourish in our land which has in it the inevitable seeds of destruction of our civilization. This is not tolerance, it is suicide.

But the facts, also, are that most Muslims have no great interest in jihad; any more than most Mormons pine for the days when they could marry as many women as they liked.

Nevertheless, the Mormons were driven West for good reason. Their moral depravity regarding marriage and attendant evils such as incest (hard to avoid when so many children are related as half siblings), and corruption of Christian society and politics (the formation of clans and tribes in essence) made it necessary to drive them out.

Mormonism has reformed itself. Can Islam do so to make it harmless and tolerant of all its neighbors? For periods of time it can since most people are always moderate. But Chesterton's warning that Islam is in perpetual apocalyptic fury is hard to ignore.

Tom Friedman in the NYT quoted:

"Some of these young Muslim men are tempted by a civilization they consider morally inferior, and they are humiliated by the fact that, while having been taught their faith is supreme, other civilizations seem to be doing much better," said Raymond Stock, the Cairo-based biographer and translator of Naguib Mahfouz. "When the inner conflict becomes too great, some are turned by recruiters to seek the sick prestige of 'martyrdom' by fighting the allegedly unjust occupation of Muslim lands and the 'decadence' in our own."

“This is not about the poverty of money. This is about the poverty of dignity and the rage it can trigger,” Friedman adds.

This partly explains Paul’s observation of comfortable, English Muslims turning jihadi (or American ones doing the same).

There never really was a Golden Age of Islamic Civilization. It was all built on the wealth and industry of the Greco-Roman world, then the Persian one. The customs of the West and East long after being conquered held a store and momentum of riches, but the slow, poisonous drip of evil at the root of Islam (whether an Arab manifestation from that culture or something new imposed on Arab culture by Mohammed and followers and then upon others doesn’t matter) finally killed the golden goose.

On its own, Islam is bankrupt as an organizer of human lives in decent and creative societies. In fact, the only reason jihad is made possible today is from the wealth it has gained from oil. Saudi Arabia is completely unprepared for that wealth to end (and it is going to end sooner than many think. The Saudis don’t have the reserves they say they do and can’t increase production as they promise because it isn’t possible for them to do so).

Is Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, or Iran any better off or prepared for their main resource to peter out?

It is ironic that the West’s need for oil has given our enemies all the riches they need to harm us, but it is a temporary situation (and we could do ourselves a big favor by building modern and perfectly safe pebble-bed nuclear energy reactors in great numbers).

Egypt has no oil and has never been a serious threat to us. Nor has Syria or Turkey or Yemen or Somalia and so forth. Those nations do great harm to their own people, but little to the rest of us.

Islam cannot help but impoverish itself. It is a way of life, a system of structures and attitudes which are self-destructive when it is normal and ordinarily practiced. It is self-mutilation and hopelessness. A great number of educated Saudis and uneducated are seriously depressed individuals.

The problem with Muslims coming to live in the West and even succeeding at having better lives while trying to maintain their cultural identity is the cognitive dissonance it creates in the next generations.

If Islam is so great, why does it suck so bad? And if the unbelievers are so evil and incompetent, why do they succeed so well at generating good things, better lives, and enjoyment in freedom?

The generation of immigrants who came to prosper and did, create generations that voluntarily impoverish themselves. They reject the West, and then reject doing well in it as a sign of their devotion to God.

To do well in America means going along with the culture and the average person. There are religiously devout people who can swim against the tide to some extent, but they are Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and so forth who forswear violence and learn how to live in an imperfect and often immoral world.

A Sikh can be an American because he doesn’t necessarily reject freedom, democracy, civic politics, creativity, innovation, trust in the rule of law. But a Muslim? There is no episode of history which illustrates that Muslims can endure a culture of freedom and thrive as devout Muslims.

It would be nice if we could accept Muslims into this country and they became as American as apple pie, who waved the flag, and loved George Washington, but is that ever likely to occur, and is it worth risking the lives of our people on such a hope? No. Not in these next few decades to come. Muslims must first prove they are tolerant and will remain so, or else they must be driven out of Eden as serpents.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 11:20 PM |