Sunday, February 20, 2011


Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes:
'Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." So goes the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood.

What's extraordinary about this maxim is the succinct way that it captures the political dimension of Islam. Even more extraordinary is the capacity of these five pillars of faith to attract true believers. But the most remarkable thing of all is the way the Brotherhood's motto seduces Western liberals.

Hirsi Ali fears, as do I, that the end result of the Egyptian experiment with real democracy will end badly if the Muslim Brotherhood pushes its way to power (and it looks like it probably will, unfortunately).

On my last post, Geoffrey Britain poses a relevant concern in the comments regarding my conviction that both the leftists who are currently pretending that government spending and entitlements can go on forever at increasingly astronomical rates; as well as the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood are both going to get a shock when reality hits them in the face:
Unions that assume that their 'entitlements' will go on forever are in for a shock.

However, I for one am not clear on what factor would lead to the Muslim Brotherhood experiencing any shock whatsoever... If the Muslim Brotherhood’s "internationally influential spiritual director Sheik Qaradawi" does 'preach' in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for the Friday prayer service tomorrow, it's a very bad sign indeed. A fairly clear indication that the military will not stand in the way of the Brotherhood's rise to power.

I have been thinking about his point for the last few days, and it deserves a response. As he suggests, it is pretty clear that entitlements of the financial variety cannot go on forever. At some point, as they say, you run out of other people's money and hit the brick wall of reality.

But, I also think that there is another sort of 'entitlement' that cannot go on forever, and that is the kind of narcissistic entitlement and grandiosity that is always present in those individuals and the brotherhoods they form, who desperately quest for power over other people.

The central question of our time is: Will groups that desire power over the lives of others--no matter whether they are religious or secular--at some point find themselves hitting a brick wall of reality? Is human liberty inevitable? Or, are we humans always doomed to live short, brutish lives under the heel of some dictator or thug; or some group who wants to impose sharia or its secular equivalent over our lives--for our own good?

In contrast to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rami G. Khouri of the Daily Star>,an English language Lebanese news outlet, writes that the issue of whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood are involved in the process going on in Egypt misses the point. He thinks that what is happening, no matter what the outcome, is a key turning point for self-determination in the Arab world:
To appreciate what is taking place in the Arab world today you have to grasp the historical significance of the events that have started changing rulers and regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, with others sure to follow. What we are witnessing is the unraveling of the post-colonial order that the British and French created in the Arab world in the 1920s and 1930s and then sustained – with American and Soviet assistance – for most of the last half-century.

It is fascinating, if insular, to focus attention, as much Western media are doing, on whether Facebook drove these revolts; or to ask what will happen if the Muslim Brotherhood plays a role in any new Egyptian government. The Arabs are like a bride emerging on her wedding day to face people commenting on whether her shoes match her gloves, when the real issue is how beautiful and happy she is.

The events unfolding before our eyes in Egypt, after Tunisia, are the third most important historical development in the Arab region in the past century, and to miss that point is to perpetuate a tradition of Western Orientalist romanticism and racism that have been a large cause of our pain for all these years. This is the most important of the three major historical markers because it is the first one that marks a process of genuine self-determination by Arab citizens who can speak and act for themselves for the first time in their modern history.

To get some perspective on this point, we need to turn back the clock a bit to 2005, and remember how Faoud Adjami wrote that President George W. Bush had unleased a tsunami on the Middle East with his Freedom Agenda?
To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country. I was to encounter people from practically all Arab lands, to listen in on a great debate about the possibility of freedom and liberty. I met Lebanese giddy with the Cedar Revolution that liberated their country from the Syrian prison that had seemed an unalterable curse. They were under no illusions about the change that had come their way. They knew that this new history was the gift of an American president who had put the Syrian rulers on notice. The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future.

The weight of American power, historically on the side of the dominant order, now drives this new quest among the Arabs. For decades, the intellectual classes in the Arab world bemoaned the indifference of American power to the cause of their liberty. Now a conservative American president had come bearing the gift of Wilsonian redemption. For a quarter century the Pax Americana had sustained the autocracy of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak: He had posed as America's man on the Nile, a bulwark against the Islamists. He was sly and cunning, running afoul of our purposes in Iraq and over Israeli-Palestinian matters. He had nurtured a culture of antimodernism and anti-Americanism, and had gotten away with it. Now the wind from Washington brought tidings: America had wearied of Mr. Mubarak, and was willing to bet on an open political process, with all its attendant risks and possibilities. The brave oppositional movement in Cairo that stepped forth under the banner of Kifaya ("Enough!") wanted the end of his reign: It had had enough of his mediocrity, enough of the despotism of an aging officer who had risen out of the military bureaucracy to entertain dynastic dreams of succession for his son. Egyptians challenging the quiescence of an old land may have had no kind words to say about America in the past. But they were sure that the play between them and the regime was unfolding under Mr. Bush's eyes.

What is happening now in the Middle East is part of an ongoing process that started some years back. Like all change, it is painful, messy, and frightening--and not only to those who are in the middle of it, but to those who are observing from a distance. What will happen ultimately in those countries in the short term may not be pretty; but one thing can be said from an historical perspective: slowly but surely, the people of the Middle East are lurching toward freedom.

There is a lot of reason to fear the Muslim Brotherhood gaining power in a region where the thugs of Hamas and Hezbollah have taken control; and where the dictators of Iran spread so much evil. It would be easy to be pessimistic and think that this part of the world is forever doomed to suffer under an Islamic caliphate dominated by sharia law; led by dysfunctional and hate-filled leaders who desire to either kill or enslave all others until the people around the entire globe have had liberty and individuality forcibly stripped from their grasp. The sadists and narcissists who run the Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Libya etc jsutify their desire for power by saying it is the will of some bestial and primitive god who desires human submission or he will bring death and destruction.

This mutation of Islam was predictable from its beginnings and it has come to represent the perfect antithesis of the wave of freedom and self-determination that swept the Western world. The question is which of these movements is more in touch with reality, particularly the reality of human nature? Are freedom and indivudal liberty; self-determination and the rights of man just fantasies or utopian drams?

I say they are not. I say that the utopianism is all on the side of those who want to subjugate human nature and chain the mind of man to some impossible ideal. Islam is rising in the 21st century in the same way that all the destructive utopian fantasies of the 20th century did.

And it will end--perhaps not today or even in my own lifetime--with the triumph of liberty.

President Bush's Freedom Agenda was based on a very simple notion: that around the world all men and women share the desire for liberty. Our own Founding Fathers, who were far ahead of their own time, declared that this was not merely a whimsical human aspiration but a Natural Right. Through many generations now, those who are blessed to live in America have consistently fought for that right, at home and abroad. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is an idea that took material form in the real world when our wonderful country was created by these far-seeing men.

The Arab World has not yet had its Washingtons or Jeffersons or Lincolns or Reagans. There are forces at work in that part of the world who would like to make sure that such men never are born. That is why they are desperate to control the minds of their people.

After 9/11, President Bush strongly believed that bringing freedom and self-determination to the wretched countries dominated by Islamic fundamentalism was a good idea to fight the terrorists and extremists; and it was also in keeping with our own national interest and highest values.

What all these anti-freedom, anti-life, anti-mind utopian ideologies share is the fantasy that human beings are perfectable. They cannot tolerate individual differences in thinking and hope to create an all-powerful State composed of "ideal" man who all think and behave exactly the same, Allah willing.

But let's think about how such ideas fantasies conform to the real world and the reality of human nature.

Remember the Swedish parents who were going to raise their child "genderless" so as to give him/her/it a "choice" what sex he/she/it wants to be at some future date?

Or, remember Kim Jong Il's diet of "pine needle tea" prescribed for his starving nation?

As I have said many times before on this blog, when it comes to understanding the reality of human nature, socialism, communism, and in this case, Islamism, all get failing Marx marks. They all resort to generating these biological fantasies; justify the implementation of their power over others as "God's will" or, even better, camoflage their desires by touting how "reality-based" or "progressive" they are--as if by touting their supposed connection with reality,, they can make-believe their ideology has a place in the real world.

But they are wrong. So very wrong because they refuse to look at the violence, death and human suffering they leave in their ideological wake. I am not talking about normal human suffering that occurs everywhere all the time because human beings are far from perfect and do bad things to each other even when they have freedom and civilization. No, I am talking human suffering and death on a scale that before the 10th century was unimaginable.

The ideologies that lead to such poverty, misery and death are truly evil; and the face of evil constantly renews itself in every day and age. Yet, evil's in whatever ideology it wears always has the same ultimate goal remains the same: a world that is anti-mind, anti-life, and anti-reality.

The parents who wish to deny the biological reality of their child; the dictator who pretends that people can live on pine needle tea; the protesters who refuse to acknowledge that their entitlements cannot go on forever; or the Islamic fanatics who are so sexually repressed and frightened of the sexuality of women that they force women to walk around in shapeless sacks are cut from the same cloth: THEY WILL DEFY REALITY FOR AS LONG AS THEY POSSIBLY CAN.

Denial of reality can work for a time, but sooner or later it will destroy the individual; the group; the society; or the nation Someone should tell them it has been tried many times before, and by much smarter engaging in it. In the long run it won't work. It cannot work. It has NEVER worked.

But the denialists will keep on trying to deny reality no matter what the cost to those around them. Their narcissism and psychopathy demands it.

The latest crop of tyrants in the Middle East may give way only to a new crop; but their reign will not last either. They will be able to survive for a while on the money they never earned and which, if they ever come to rule the world, they will not be able to produce. Without oil, the entire Middle East would have remained a backwater of abject human misery and suffering. Islam, which may have started out so well back in the good old medieval days when even was pretty competitive with the West will also run out of other people's wealth to spread their evil.

And then their supposedly god-given "entitlement" to rule over our lives will eventually face a brick wall of reality. I'm not saying when, only that it will because the lurch toward freedom will continue.

Because the [imperfect] human spirit can never be completely crushed. That spirit is born fresh and new in every single human being at birth. And so, even after centuries of misery; after centuries of trying to squash out that spirit in every single child, even those in the Middle East are rising to demand their freedom.

Yes, perhaps only some of those rising are real examples of the indomintable human spirit's desire for freedom and self-determination; yes, perhaps many are just part of the clone army of collectivist jihadis; and yes, perhaps they may win this round (or not), but sooner or later, the human spirit will rise again....

Because that is our nature.

The desire to be free to live our own lives and pursue our own happiness is as real as anything about the human species. The westward expansion of humanity over the millenia is a testament to the intensity of that desire and will. Always have our ancestors made the trek westward, pursuing the freedom to live as they choose.

America, Reagan's shining city on a hill, is the most recent destination; the most westward; but this journey was never about geography really. It has always been about the human mind and its need to grow and explore and to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield; to reshape the external world and create wealth and beauty where none was before. It little profits an idle king; nor does it profit an ordinary man--anyone who wants to live life to the lees; has a hungry heart; and yearns in desire to follow knowledge like a sinking star beyond the utmost bound of human thought....

There is a reason our species admires heroes; and within each and every flawed human being; male or female, tall or short,young or old, Christian, Jew or Muslim; there is a potential for the heroic.

It is never too late to seek a newer world; to escape any bonds of oppression and tyranny; and to build another shining city on a hill. In fact, I believe it is human destiny.

And that is the brick wall of reality that the Muslim Brotherhood and any group or individual who seeks to control the human mind will eventually run smack dab into.

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match'd with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoy'd
Greatly, have suffer'd greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Thro' scudding drifts the rainy Hyades [1]
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;
For always roaming with a hungry heart
Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments, [2]
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy.
I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end, [3]
To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
As tho' to breathe were life. Life piled on life
Were all too little, and of one to me
Little remains: but every hour is saved
From that eternal silence, something more,
A bringer of new things; and vile it were
For some three suns to store and hoard myself,
And this gray spirit yearning in desire
To follow knowledge, like a sinking star,
Beyond the utmost bound of human thought.

This is my son, mine own Telemachus, [4]
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle--
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro' soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centred in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.
There lies the port: the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toil'd and wrought, and thought with me--
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads--you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all; but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.
The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles, [5]
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

No comments: