Q. Does the Iranian regime believe that a military attack on its nuclear sites would strengthen it? Do they think that it can be avoided - that they can manage to keep the West from attacking them?
My guess is that they do not expect to be attacked. Remember, they have no experience of the functioning of a free society. The sort of self-criticism and mutual criticism that we see as normal is beyond their understanding and totally outside their experience. What we see as free debate, they see as weakness and division and fear.
Therefore I think they have a very low estimate of the forces that oppose them, whether in the US or Israel or elsewhere. They expect to have it their way, whatever way they choose.
Q. Does that attitude stem from something inherent in Islam?
No, it is not inherent in Islam. It is inherent in the kind of government under which they have lived for the last 200 years or so. In the earliest stages of Islam, the government was more open. Traditional Islamic governments devoted great importance to consultation, to content, to limited authority, to government under law; all these things are part of the traditional Islamic background.
That all ended a couple of hundred years ago. Nothing remains of it. It ended in two phases. Phase one, modernization, mainly in the 19th and early 20th century - modernization which strengthened the power of the state and either weakened or eliminated all those intermediary powers which had previously acted as constraints on government.
The second phase, the crucial one, is Vichy, when the French government surrendered in Syria and in Lebanon, a crucial Arab country, and half of the Middle East came under German control. They were able to extend from there into Iraq, which is where the Ba'ath Party's foundations were laid. The Ba'ath Party has no roots in the Arab or Islamic past. It is the Nazi party.
Later, when the Germans left and the Russians came, it wasn't too difficult to switch from the Nazi model to the Soviet model. It only needed minor retouching.
Here is a perfect example of the historical confluence of socialism, communism, and fascism. All three ideologies are nothing more than the utopian fantasies of the totalitarian mindset.
It is this same mindset, rooted in collectivist hubris and moral relativism, that forms the basis for almost all leftist thought today. And, as Lewis so astutely suggests, it is also the basis for the rise of Islamofascism over the last half century.
The alliance between historical remants of those failed 20th century ideologies--responsible between them for more human misery and death than ever before known in history--and the Islamic fanatics (who represent the 21st century totalitarian mindset) is clearly visible in the precepts of postmodernism political correctness and multiculturalism, which dovetail perfectly into the rhetoric that rationalizes terroism and the behavior that appeases and enables it. Their mutual goal and utopian dream is to control the minds of men.
The tyranny that each group desires to impose is not viable in a world where human thought is free; and thus, the purpose of postmodern philosophy 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 those tired totalitarian doctrines that by all objective measures and standards led only to a "utopia" of human suffering and death. 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 use of postmodern rhetoric and the behavior of today's political left everywhere we turn.
What matters most to the minions of the political left is not truth, or reality, or even "peace" and "brotherhood"; what matteris is how effective is the language used to manipulate others. 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 the thought control of the compassionately totalitarian concept of political correctness.
The postmodern assault as it is used by the new totalitarian alliance 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 in this assault 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
Thus, the antics of the antiwar left, combined with the jihadis mindless homicidal behavior (which makes the Iranian obsession to obtain nuclear weapons all the more frightening) have combined to mount the most serious assault on reality, reason, and individual freedom in human history.
As Lewis notes above, radical Islamic ideology is itself an unexpected combination of several toxic memes that came together over 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.
This sympathetic and synergistic interaction of the seemingly very different totalitarian mindsets--terrorism in the name of religion combined with the secular neo-marxist fascism of the left--have created a very toxic brew, made even more lethal by 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.