LONDON--The other day Ken Livingstone, the mayor of my hometown of London, organized a conference on Islam and the West. It was a carefully rigged affair in which handpicked speaker after handpicked speaker stood up and announced that the democracies were to blame for the tidal wave of murder sweeping the world. To provide a spurious air of balance, the organizers invited a few people who dissented from the line of the Muslim Brotherhood and its British allies. Agnès Poirier, a French feminist, was one of them, but she pulled out because although there were no special facilities for Christians, Hindus and Jews, Mr. Livingstone had provided separate prayer rooms for Muslim men and Muslim women.
She wanted to know: Does Ken Livingstone's idea of multiculturalism acknowledge and condone segregation? It clearly does, but what made this vignette of ethnic politics in a European city worth noting is that commentators for the BBC and nearly every newspaper here describe Mr. Livingstone as one of the most left-wing politicians in British public life. Hardly any of them notice the weirdness of an apparent socialist pandering to a reactionary strain of Islam, pushing its arguments and accepting its dictates. (emphasis mine)
I have noted repeatedly on this blog that the political left has made common cause with, and routinely enables the Islamofascists and their religious totalitarian agenda. This reality is far from weird; it is the political strategy that has been adopted by the socialist and communist remnants of the 20th century.
Maybe you haven't noticed Hugo Chavez, the darling of the political left, and dictator extraordinaire sucking up to radical Islamic terror regimes as he establishes his socialist paradise in Venezuela? Or, perhaps you haven't noticed how China and Russia frequently come to the defense of the new totalitarians of Islam quite regularly in the U.N.? Partly this is because they want to thwart the interests of the U.S.; but primarily it is because philosophically they feel at home with the totalitarian ideology promulgated under of the Islamic religion.
Observe how easily Islam has been able to subvert key Western values--such as freedom of speech and expression (e.g., the Danish cartoons as just one example)--with a degree of invincibility and outraged virtue, capitalizing on a tactical opportunity that was not present prior to the latter part of the last century. Since then many on the political left, particularly the remnants of utopian socialist ideology, can be counted on to aid and abet Islam's claims to victimhood by the West and the sense of entitlement they exhibit for the West's money.
Everywhere the leftists march and strut their stuff, you will see the tacit support given, either consciously or unconsciously, to all the thugs of the Middle East (and elsewhere) who engage in jihad, murder, and the most vile anti-semitism, sexism and homophobia.
Yes, on the surface it certainly does seem weird, if you only listen to what they are saying. But when you consider the underlying philosophical principles of the left and those of radical Islam and then observe their behaviors, you will discover the philosophical harmony that exists between them.
Islam--particularly the extreme elements-has easily been able to take maximum advantage of the Achilles heel of the West; a vulnerability that has come into existence as a result of the rarely articulated philosophical and political strategies adopted by the political left when they abandoned classical liberalism. In the table below are the philosophical elements of Classical Liberalism versus Postmodernism. Over the last 50 years or so, the values of the West , the beacon of classical liberal ideas, have incrementally been eroded and undermined as Western intellectuals in the academic world have embraced postmodern ideas.
The two world views are not compatible.
Fundamentally threatened by classical liberal values, the world view of radical Islam happens to be entirely compatible with the new postmodern philosophy.
The essential anti-reality, anti-reason, anti-human collectivism that underlies radical Islam is practically indistinguishable from today's leftist thought processes. Of course, the particular content and the ultimate destination are unique for each; but only to the extent of the differing utopias they each desire to impose on the world.
That they each desire to impose their own version of utopia on the rest of us is the metaphysical and epistemological glue that binds them together. Either we submit willingly, or they will use any and all coercive strategies--including violence and terrorism--to bring us around to their way of worship. The left does it for our own "good"; Islam does it for the sake of Allah.
Despite the rhetoric of "peace" and "love" and "brotherhood" and "justice" that emanates from the left and from Islam (the "religion of peace"), both subscribe to their own unique brand of "jihad" (the political left prefers to call it "revolution"). Both are quite comfortable with initiating and using force up to and including terrorism to achieve their ends. Of course, they generally couch it in terms of self-defense--and that is why identity politics and the quest for ultimate victimization from the imperialist/ capitalistist West (Marx's "oppressed" vs "oppressor" dialectic applied via multiculturalism) come into play.
The vulnerability created within Western culture has been effectively used to optimize Islam's own religious, political, psychological, and military objectives. And they have been successful precisely because they are in philosophical and ethical step with the political left of Europe and America.
The identity politics of today's left is based on two quasi-religious and pseudo-intellectual tenets that conveniently enable and promote the Islamist agenda. They are multiculturalism and political correctness. Multiculturalism exists to undermine Western culture at the expense of other cultures (the basic mantra of the multiculturalist is "All cultures are equally good, except for Western culture, which is uniquely bad); and political correctness "engenders evil because of the violence that it does to people’s souls by forcing them to say or imply what they do not believe, but must not question.” [Theodore Dalrymple]
Both intellectual strategies have been widely used by leftist intellectuals unable to abandon the socialist ideology, even after its catastrophic failures in the 20th century. In fact these two doctrines have been slowly and relentlessly absorbed at all levels of Western culture in the last several decades, clearing the way for a constant and steady undermining of Western values; including freedom, democracy, and trade. The process has accelerated since the end of the Cold War, and it is so insidious that most people don't even realize that objective reality and truth, as well as reason and logic have been replaced with the subjectivism and relativism of postmodern rhetoric.
A third strategy is also effectively being used specifically to undermine capitalism and modernism and progress (interesting that those who use it call themselves "progressives", isn't it?) is radical environmentalism (whose totalitarian/fascist agenda I talk about in this post). Radical environmentalism is just another extreme religion that has its holy icons and priesthood/imams with their various apocalypic visions. Is it surprising that jokingly Al Gore is referred to as the "Goracle"? Humor has a way of cutting through the BS.
Radical Environmentalism, multiculturalism and political correctness have been incorporated into most K-12 curricula and all college learning environments. They have been at the forefront of attempts by leading academics and academic institutions to rewrite most of history and undo thousands of years of Western cultural advancement. And further, as the culture has been completely saturated with this toxic brew, any attempt to question the tenets' validity or to contest their value is met with hysterical accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, imperialism, bigotry, or--worse of all --intolerance or insensitivity.
In all these areas, debate has been "closed" and anyone questioning the premises are identified as heretics and apostates.
In a previous post I described how these these three political strategies represent three of the four pillars that are the foundation of an evolving epistemological, ethical and political strategies that the world's socialist remnants are using to revive their defunct and destructive ideology, and that they seamlessly entwine with a fourth strategy adopted by the Islamofascists--terrorism.
Below is a flow chart that I adapted from Stephen Hick's book, Explaining Postmodernism (p. 173), which summarizes the evolution of these strategies and which was in the Dr. Sanity post linked to above. I refer you to this excellent book (see my sidebar) for a more in-depth analysis than is possible in a blog post. The summarizing chart is worth posting again because in order to combat terrorism, and avoid succumbing to the ideological assault from socialism and communism's advocates in the 21st centruy, Western Civilization must rouse itself from its self-induced subjectivist fog and reassert its fundamental values.