I want to take Dalrymple's analysis one step further. Islam is not simply the alternative that today's angst-ridden, alienated youth turn to because Marxism is waning in intellectual circles; it's extremism and violence resonates harmonically with the socialist revolutionaries of the 20th century; and they have appropriated the jihad as an essential component of their political and intellectual strategy to revive Marxism in the 21st century.
Let us take a look at the strategy and how it has evolved to include the Islamic fanatics.
Multiculturalism and political correctness are two of the fundamental pseudo-intellectual, quasi-religious tenets that have been widely disseminated by intellectuals unable to abandon socialism even after its crushing failures in the 20th century. Along with a third component, radical environmentalism, they make up three key foundations of leftist dogma that have been slowly, but relentlessly, absorbed at all levels of Western culture in the last decade or so--but primarily since the end of the Cold War.
All three have been incorporated into most K-12 curricula as well as the academic curricula in Western university and colleges. In combination, they are the toxic by-products of postmodern relativism.
The neo-Marxist fascists who are leading the charge in the academic world have been at the forefront of attempts to rewrite most of history and undo thousands of years of Western cultural advancement.
And, as Western culture has become completely saturated with this toxic brew, any attempt to question the validity of the neo-Marxists' premises; or to contest their value is met with hysterical accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, imperialism, bigotry, or--worse of all --intolerance or insensitivity or hypocrisy.
The self-righteousness of the neo-Marxist fascists is such that they strongly believe they are justified (even in their "antiwar" personas) to violently attack and/or intimidate any who disagree with them.
It just so happens, that these tenets (multiculturalism, political correctness, and radical environmentalism) represent three of the four pillars that are the foundation of an evolving epistemological, ethical and political strategy that the socialist remnants in the world have conceptualized and implemented to prevent their ideology from entering the dustbin of history.
And, what is most interesting is that, even as they encourage and enable Islam with the first three pillars; the Islamofascists are aiding and abetting them by using the fourth pillar- Terrorism.
We can think of the four pillars as the reason why we are witnessing a socialist revival (e.g., Hugo in the western hemisphere recently) and the rapid advancement of the Islamic Jihad all around the world.
Dalrymple's article suggests that Islam has inherited the mantle of Marxism; but I am suggesting that the two have united in a marriage-of-convenience; and that this union is the 21st century reincarnation of the failed, anti-human, anti-progress ideology formerly known as Marxism.
Osama Bin Laden in his most recent diatribe against the West delivered on the anniversary of 9/11 represents the seamless integration of all the above socialist/Marxist talking points into his justification for jihad and mindless violence.
Convert or Die is not only Al Qaeda's favorite ultimatum, it is the motto adopted by our friends the neo-Marxists.
Below is a flow chart that I adapted in this post from Stephen Hick's book, Explaining Postmodernism (p. 173), which summarizes the evolution of these strategies:
UPDATE: Columbia's recent decision to invite the Iranian president to speak is a case in point about how comfortable our academic elite are with terrorism and terrorists for all their prattle about "free speech." Do you doubt that Lee Bollinger would have coddled up to Hitler in much the same way if these "superior" senisbilities of postmodern man had been prevalent on campus in the 30's ("Tell me, Mr. Hitler, do you realize how disappointing it is that you are murdering Jews in gas chambers in such large numbers? Don't you see how upset that makes us?") I expect that any human monster would be confident of a place at Bollinger's table.
I agree with Scott at Power Line:
Columbia and President Bollinger are a disgrace. They welcome to their campus a man who is a ringleader in the seizure of American hostages, a terrorist, the president of a terrorist regime, and the representative of a regime responsible at present for the deaths of American soldiers on the field of battle. Columbia's prattle about free speech may be a tale told by an idiot, but it signifies something. And President Bollinger is a fool who is not excused from the dishonor he brings to his institution and his fellow citizens by the fact that he doesn't know what he is doing..
Oh, but how bravely and courageously Bollinger will confront Ahmadinejad! I'm sure he'll feel just great about himself afterwards.