What destroyed Communism was the revelation that the system was based on lies and compulsion. All the glorious revolutionary rhetoric proclaiming victory for the workers, and equality for all, was shown to be a lie. The people living in the "workers paradises" of Eastern Europe were being held in thrall, as hostages, by the Russia army; walls were built to keep people from fleeing. Few were clamoring to enter.
The analogy with Islamofascism is clear. It is a totalitarian system that depends on controlling the thinking of its subjects; truth is dangerous to such a system. The Imams who spread hate and deceit are the spiritual heirs of Stalin and Hitler, men who used lies to destroy people's ability to think. Their crimes did not only involve destroying their opponents; they also destroyed the ability of their allies and their countrymen to think and perceive.
Since Khrushchev's speech, communism was exposed to the world for the lie and deception it was. But, in the decades since that exposure, communism--indeed, all totalitarianistic systems including Islamofascism--have recruited a potent new ally in their attempts to control the minds of men.
These cults of tyranny cannot hope to remain viable in a world where human thought is free; therefore, the goal is nothing less than to undermine mankind's perception of reality itself.
If you can convince people that objective reality is an illusion; that A does not equal A; that black is white; and that good is bad; if you can make them accept that everything is subjective and relative; then you can breath new life into doctrines that by all objective measures and standards have led to the death and misery of millions of people. Through the manipulation of language, everything can be distorted, without the messy need to resort to facts, logic, or reason.
We see the results of this new alliance in the postmodern rhetoric and behavior that assaults us on a daily basis.
What matters is not truth or falsity--only the effectiveness of the language used. Lies, distortions, ad hominem attacks; attempts to silence opposing views--all are strategies that are perfectly satisfactory if they achieve the desired effect. Ideas and reason must make way for reification of feelings; and freedom is replaced by thought control.
The postmodern assault as it is used by the new totalitarians of the 21st century is a four-pronged attack to undermine
- Objective reality
- Reason and the rational debate of ideas
- Individual freedom and freedom of thought and speech
- Progress and capitalism
The strategies used are:
- The distortion of language and meaning to undermine the individual's perception of reality;
- The use of direct or threatened physical violence to suppress speech and individual freedom;
- Politically "correct" thought control and cultural relativism to undermine reason and rational debate;
- The promotion of environmental hysteria to undermine progress, industrialization and capitalism
These activities represent the most serious assault on reality, reason, and individual freedom since the twin beasts of communism and socialism rose up early in the 20th century. And, though seriously wounded, they are rising again in a new and more virulent form.
ShrinkWrapped correctly notes that the heirs of 20th century totalitarians have found refuge in the rigid medieval religion that is Islam. Wretchard, in commenting about the horrible murder of Ilan Halimi makes the following perceptive observation:
In a perverted variation on the theme of multiculturalism, Mr. Fofana may have embodied the fusion of murderous traditions, by combining gang warfare, primitive practices and radical Islamic ideology into one lethal cocktail which the unfortunate Mr. Halimi was forced to drink. Michael Crichton often makes the point that in complex systems like global society, unexpected combinations are to be expected. This is true not only of the mutation found in physical diseases but in memes as well. Ideas, no less than organisms, continuously transform themselves. Notions of good and evil, now derided as hopelessly old-fashioned, were the old bulwarks of mental sanitation. They permitted the public to possess a sense of outrage, a reflexive fear of things that call softly and menacingly out of dark places. They could bring out the village with torches and pitchforks against the Forces of Darkness.
Good and evil was later identified through the mechanism of free speech. But until recently the existence of right and wrong itself was unquestioned. Debate had closure; there were goals worth striving for; causes worth fighting for; and beauties worth dreaming of. Today the sense of right and it's inseparable companion Free Speech stand on the edge of illegitimacy. The light is about to go out from want of air: Ilan Halimi -- and other canaries -- have expired in the coal mine.
Radical Islamic ideology is itself an unexpected combination of several toxic memes that have merged in the last 30 years. One thread of this meme is Islam itself--a purportedly "peaceful" religion that is actually historically based on military conquest and coercion of belief through jihad-- entwined with the remnants of the totalitarian ideologies of the last century.
This is why there is an alliance between the totalitarians of the left-- who are the remaining outposts of communism and socialism that thrive in academic and "intellectual" circles in the West; and the Islamic fanatics of the world. Whether this alliance is a conscious or unconscious one (i.e., whether the specific component of the left actively and deliberately supports Islamic terrorism versus enabling and appeasing it) depends on the level of insight and personal depravity achieved by the true believer of today's left.
There are far too many women who see nothing wrong with Islam's suppression and infantilization of women and life under the burqa; but who scream in outrage if a scientific study suggests that there are real physiological differences between men and women. There are far too many Jews who overlook the pervasive anti-semitism of the groups they march in solidarity with. Much of this is a self-hatred that manifests itself in the suicidal and homicidal impulses that logically flow from the perverted postmodern view of the world; and part of it is the descent into emotionalism and hysteria that is encouraged by the rhetoric.
On that fateful day 50 years ago when Khrushchev actually admitted that the communist revolution was a lie, the goal of eliminating tyranny from the world became a real possibility. But the people of western civilizaiton--the primary champions of Reality; Reason and Freedom--were too quick to see the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of communism as some sort of final victory -- or the end of history.
But we now know that it was not. Though wounded, the beast survived and its offspring have now matured sufficiently to threaten us again. We have been celebrating prematurely. Ilan Halimi and all the other canaries in the coal mine lie murdered all around us. Human life and liberty are once again gravely threatened.
Those of us who refuse to close our eyes; who refuse to shut up; who refuse to be intimidated or to appease; who refuse to abandon reality, reason or freedom-- must once again call up the courage and will to defend our values and stand against the forces of tyranny.
Because, even as freedom began to light up areas of the world that had laid in the dark for generations, a new evil was coalescing that combined the virulence of communism and socialism with the toxicity of a medieval, inflexible, intolerant, and oppressive religion.
This union of totalitarian thought from both left and right was itself an unexpected combination of memes; but when you add to that lethal mix the rhetorical and political strategies of postmodernism, the result is a pure and perfect poison that threatens to destroy all human values; all human decency and all human civilization.
UPDATE: If you happen to requre further evidence of the unholy merging of mainstream leftist thought with fanatical Islam, then here is a recent article documenting the left's involvement in funding the Iraq insurgency and promoting the kind of death and mayhem so characteristic of their ideology. I'm sure that I will get plenty of email from outraged leftists who demand that I retract reality so they can go on believing they are loving and compassionate people. To them I simply say, WAKE UP.
UPDATE II: And more from the leftofascists of free speech:
Strangest of all is the scenario of such a person disliking an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam — when one of the first things those poor, persecuted Islamists would do, if they ever (Allah forbid) came to power in the United States, is crush suspected homosexuals like him beneath walls.
Yet those most oppressed by political Islam continue to defend it, even (perhaps especially) in the wake of the Danish cartoon furor. I've heard that in Europe this phenomenon is now called the Copenhagen syndrome, and some of its arguments really are amazing.
For instance: "Freedom of speech is not absolute. It has to be in the service of something, like peace or social justice," a young British Muslim woman named Fareena Alam wrote in Britain's the Observer a couple of weeks ago. Although it's true that freedom of speech is not absolute — laws against libel and making violent threats are stronger in Britain than here — Alam has it exactly wrong. Free speech doesn't have to be in the service of anything but its own point of view. If it did, it wouldn't be free speech.
I saw this sort of thinking for myself up close earlier this month when I spoke at USC about media bias a few days after the first cartoon riots had broken out. A student wearing a hijab came up to me afterward scoffing at the notion that violent demonstrations in response to the offensive drawings were even all that violent.
"Oh, how many people have died?" she asked, screwing up her face in disbelief. At the time, the death total was four or five. By now it's more than 100.
It isn't only Muslim women who are out there defending political Islam, though. Another young woman in the USC audience, after announcing that her father had been held in five Nazi concentration camps so she knows about the Holocaust, segued into a long, rambling position statement about just how little we understand the Muslim world.
But the truth is, by now we understand the Muslim world all too well. For those who manage to remain perplexed, there are many helpful news photos of placards ("Behead Those Who Disrespect Islam," "Get Ready for the Real Holocaust"), often carried by religiously shrouded women, that can clear up their puzzlement.