Friday, 13 May 2022

Deceit in the Service of Social Change

Sociologist Ashley Frawley made an interesting point with her commentary on social engineering.[1]  The earlier concept was called the ‘social pathology approach’ leading in part to eugenics, which said society is a functioning organism and any social problem is a pathological outgrowth on this otherwise healthy body.  It can be taken literally, that some people are pathological in that there is something wrong with the individual, that they’re inferior in some way, and derogatory language was used in sociology textbooks such as ‘idiots’ or ‘inbreds’ causing social problems. 

This moved beyond the pale in the 1940s, and the new Left put forward a ‘pathological civilisation narrative’, that it’s society that’s sick and it infects the individual.  At least with the social pathology approach they were optimistic; it could be cured with individual moral education.  With the pathological civilisation approach there’s a lot of pessimism, as a kind of malaise that is spreading with a poor prognosis requiring national moral education.

The change from social problems caused by sick individuals to a sick society which needs re-engineering seems to me to be an early symptom of civilisational deterioration.  It’s difficult to maintain confidence in the great society if it itself produces problem people.  For New Zealand, Australia and North America, a Rousseauian Noble Savage culture seems to have been chosen as a solution, with a myth of society in balance with itself and with nature. 

This is a Pollyanna-like ideological answer, as with the Marxist perception of the perfectibility of society.  It is similar to the myth of Islam’s perfect system of religion, law, education, and social and civic management for the entire world.  People want to be deceived, in order to overlook the failures of these societies.  This is because, psychologically, they needed to believe in the existence of a perfect social system that not only exemplified their deepest ideals but also gave voice to their deepest misgivings about their own societies.[2]

The recent efforts in the Maorification of New Zealand society require a level of deceit that should set off alarm bells in every thinking and educated person, and yet few complain.  Changing Maori culture from a patriarchal and hierarchical society of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer tribes constantly at war, into one compatible with civilisational institutions, is an impossible task without a big lie, repeated often.  From Maoris as a race at one with nature, natural environmentalists, respectful of life whether human, fauna or flora, instinctive caretakers; a culture protective and nurturing of children, of deep spirituality and connection with the land, of the preservation of treasures tangible and intangible; through to the failures of Maoris in health, wealth and civic virtue being due in toto to the devastation of colonialism, is a fallacious and malicious manipulation of the moral outlook of ordinary people.  It ranks with the adolescent narrative-peddling of the Red Guards and the Hitler Youth.  It is a direct cause of the reaction of the far Right.  Given the recent increase in Maoris’ assertiveness encouraged by Maorification, the concomitant rise in far-Right reaction could easily result in violence at a level not seen before. 

‘Pathological civilisation’ feeds into the Marxist oppressor/oppressed mythos, which finds ready acceptance in any identity group unhappy with its status regardless of cause.  It adapts to the misanthropy of global warming, racial conflict, patriarchy, and feminist misandry. 

But ‘oppression’ is an ill-fitting epithet in the liberal social democracies of the Western world.  Handily, ‘pathological civilisation’ leaves instinct and human nature untouched, so the real cause of so many social ills, exploitation in the cause of dominance, remains unexamined.

 

 

 



[1] https://bungacast.com/2022/03/22/249-dances-with-truckers-ft-ashley-frawley/

[2] https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/07/isis-foreign-fighters-political-pilgrims/399209/

Monday, 12 July 2021

Islamic Enlightenment

Resurgent Islam is perhaps the most powerful ideological force in the world, and I’d like to address some of its doctrines which have led me to that observation.

The success of its expansion in the Western world is due in part to a separate factor, that of revolutionary Marxism, but that subject is every bit as complicated and will require a separate essay.

The challenge that Islam presents to the non-Islamic world is that of a conflicting and obligatory morality, and this will be the focus of my essay.   

Before discussing the doctrines, it’s important to understand the certainty and commitment that Islam engenders for Muslims.  It has little in the way of comparison in the West’s declining religiosity, where the integration of religion and lived experience, once inseparable, no longer exists other than for perhaps Gloriavale, the Exclusive Brethren, or individual church-members, with the proviso that Muslims live in the real world.  Also important is to understand that Muslims you may know or read of, may not represent Islam.  Quote, "There is no radical or moderate Islam. There is only authentic Islam."[i].  It engenders an unmatched intensity of belief that the vision of Islam is relevant to every moment of human life, every shade of modern human activity.[ii]

It’s generally accepted that Islam’s most important doctrine is tawhid, loosely described as ‘oneness’ but means Islam’s concept of absolute and uncompromising monotheism. The Koran asserts the existence of a single and unchangeable truth that transcends the world; the existence of a unique and indivisible being, who is independent of the entire creation. The Koran itself is the uncreated and unchangeable word of Allah, and the foundation of Islamic law.  Quote: “The social order of Islam is universal, enveloping the whole of mankind without exception.  By virtue of being human, of being born, every person is an actual member of the social order, or a potential member whose recruitment is the duty of all other members.[iii].  That social order is known in Arabic as the ummah, the brotherhood of Muslims, to which every Muslim belongs.  The Prophet Muhammad said that all children are born in a state of pure human nature but then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or Zoroastrian. Muslims have an obligation to invite such people to revert to their natural state of being, that of a Muslim.  The consequences for those who reject this invitation, known as dawah, will be covered later.

The simplicity of this doctrine certainly has appeal.  The complexity of Christianity’s Holy Trinity, transubstantiation and of original sin are absent, and the significance of Christ’s death and resurrection rendered inconsequential.  The great difficulty of converting to Judaism or Roman Catholicism is replaced with a simple sacred statement called the shahada, “There is no god except God, and Muhammad is his Prophet” made before two Muslim witnesses.

On the other hand, this doctrine divides the world in two, in a way without equal since the post-Weimar period in Germany.  One is a either a Muslim or an infidel - an enemy of Islam.  The result of this partition will also be covered later.

Islam drew on the prophetic tradition of Judaism and Christianity but proclaimed Mohammad as the last and final prophet. This was a declaration of supersessionism, that Islam was in effect the final step in monotheism.  As the absolute and ultimate of prophets with a link to Allah through the Angel Gabriel he was proclaimed ‘the excellent example for a model of conduct, and of a tremendous nature’.[iv]  So while Muhammad was mortal, being chosen by Allah he is, in Muslim practice, indistinguishable from his god.  To humanise Muhammad is an act of lèse-majesté against the Muslim God.  In recent times this has led to a prohibition on depiction or criticism, applied not just to Muslims, but the whole world.




[i] Mohamed Achamlane, Franco-Tunisian leader of Forsane Alizza (Knights of Pride), https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/7256/france-islamization

[ii] Preface p. xiv Al Tawhid – Its Implications for Thought and Life by Ismail Raji al Faruqi

[iii] Ibid, p.105.

[iv] Koran vv 33:21; 68:4

Saturday, 24 April 2021

The Extremism Machine

PhD student Angus Lindsay presented a well-attended seminar[1] outlining his research into far-Right extremism.  More of a lecture than a seminar, Angus was concerned with the recent sharp rise in Right-wing terrorist attacks, the use of social media platforms for dissemination of the far-Right’s ideas, and the responsibility of owners of the hosting platforms for such anti-social (not to mention anti-socialist) discourse.  His studies were needless to say highly focussed, and weren’t intended to digress into causation.

His focus is typical of much in the way of mainstream attitudes to Right-wing extremism, as a sort of social cancer which must be extirpated at any cost.  There has been little or no attention paid to the causes of the rise of the far-Right, however, as if it is an ex-nihilo pathology.  While I pretty much knew his answer, I asked Angus,

“What research is being done into the causes of the increase in Right-wing extremism?  It seems that the only way it’s being tackled is via Alinsky – pick the target, freeze it, personalise it, and polarise it.  Yet his ninth rule reads, “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”  Is anything being done to ameliorate the causes in order to reduce the push factor?”

 He could have rejected the question outright – not a factor for consideration, for example.  But to his credit he stopped to think, and said that he couldn’t answer the question.  I gave him a prompt, starting with, “The Left’s shift to authoritarianism, its support for extremely conservative agencies such as indigenous cultures and Islam, its dereliction of responsibility to the poor; cultural repudiation, grand narrative destruction and its replacement with a socially-engineered utopian aspiration regardless of consequence; media bias…”[2] but was interrupted by a young woman, with other voices chiming in. 

 Typical - I’ve noticed over the years that if men get into a serious discussion, other men will join in and contribute, while women will tend to interrupt in order to end it.  There is in general a ‘prolonged adolescence’ notable in youth and student responses, of behaviour observable in young people but carried through to adulthood due to ideological reinforcement along with suppression of contrarian ideas.  The effects are of a childish sense of unfairness without consideration of balance of interest, self-referentialism due to lack of experience, idealistic authoritarianism, and a poorly-formed ability to understand consequences or handle complexity and ambiguity.  What little that students know of the longue durée is shaped and masked by ideological stupefaction, leading to anachronistic moralising which I consider one of the great sins of the age.

 Again to his credit, Angus said that he was interested in having a discussion about Right-wing extremism’s causes.  A lecture such as his was no forum for discussion so I gave him my card and said that my perspective was on the way ideologies (environmentalism, feminism, neo-Marxism, neo-liberalism and Islam) were shaping the Western world, and that as a non-academic I nonetheless took an academic approach. I also said that 50 years from now he will view the world as I do, and realise that things have gone too far.  I don’t expect that he will respond, but given that he might be ruminative, I can hope that I’ve planted a seed and that it will germinate. 

 Angus showed a chart of the sharp increase in annual numbers of Right-wing attacks in the USA. The number I noted was ‘60’ on the scale per annum and the recent rise to that number.  I thought this trivial compared with the 20-year average annual number of Muslim terrorist attacks, 1,961, or 5.4 every day[3].  But that was worldwide, not just in the USA, yet the extreme Left has succeeded in making people forget Islam’s violent doctrines.  An overlay of the two charts would be interesting, since the frequency of Muslim attacks declined from 2014 (by an average of 10% per annum) and terrorist attacks from the extreme Right began to rise about the same time.  I considered there to be two causes of the decline – improving Western intelligence, and rising influence of ‘peaceful’ extremists exploring other means.[4]  After all, the message had got through and in my opinion the conquest of Europe was a fait accompli by early 2015, having achieved the status of Dar al-Sulh (Abode of Truce), up from Dar al-Harb (Abode of War) and now a ‘European religion’[5] according to Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder.[6]

 There was a second question I would have liked to have asked, given that extremism was the topic. 

Right-wing extremism is being compared with Islamic extremism, with one US study showing that ‘right-wing extremists’ and ’white supremacists’ were thought to be a larger threat to the U.S. than Islamic jihadis.

 

“This raises four points, firstly that Islamic violence is being falsely separated from Islam itself, when its ideology explicitly permits it.[7]   Secondly, the resource for white supremacism in the west is the white population, so their terrorist acts are dwarfed by Islamists’ acts where they form less than 10% in Western countries beset by their terrorism.  Thirdly, Right-wing extremists want no change to the hegemonic status quo, whereas both Left-wing groups and Islamists want radical change to the hegemony.  Fourthly, Islamic terrorism is honed by centuries of experience – show people you will fly planes into buildings, and it begets fear, respect and converts.  Argumentum ad baculum.

 

“Given that, how successful do you think targeting Right-wing extremists will be, when they, at least in part, want to defend Western civilisation – the most successful and globally progressive ever[8] – from its destruction by the extreme Left, as it increases its strangle-hold on liberal values?”

 Considering the extreme Left and Islamism using each other as stalking horses, and Marxists’ unabated desire for the overthrow of capitalism, I think I know the answer to that one, too.



[1] “The extremism machine: exploring the effects of digital capitalism on the far-right field.”  Victoria University, 21 April 2021. https://www.gleanreport.com/events/angus-lindsay/

[2] The full list, while by no means complete, ran as follows: “The Left’s shift to authoritarianism, its support for extremely conservative agencies such as indigenous cultures and Islam, its dereliction of responsibility to the poor; cultural repudiation, grand narrative destruction and its replacement with a socially-engineered utopian aspiration regardless of consequence; media bias; supporting moral and cultural relativism which denies one’s own culture’s values; depreciating advanced culture and elevating primitive culture; its alienation of ordinary people and failure to respect conservative values; its failure to address neo-liberal ideology, and worse, its refusal to reverse its doctrines; support for individual rights over duties and relational solidarity, reducing trust; anachronistic moralising, criticising and diminishing Western colonialism while incorporating the much more deadly and morally supremacist Islamic colonialism; diminishing jihadism while escalating the much lesser Right-wing terrorist threat; support for agitated responses to climate change and Right-wing extremism; moral support for fringe activities such as veganism and gender variability; blank slate theory and repudiation of instinct, especially sex roles and hierarchy; empowering the individual at the expense of the state; treason of the clerisy; tyranny of merit… The list goes on, but the result is the rise of Right-wing populism such as Trump and Marine le Pen.

[4] http://www.telospress.com/store/The-Perils-of-Nonviolent-Islamism-paperback-p254990694

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxjL3CIs0xw

[6] https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/5511/france-the-west-and-the-islamist-challenge

[7] Doctrines include, tarhib wal targhib, al-wala wal-bara, naskh, jihad, takfirism and the death penalty for apostasy, blasphemy and heresy. 

[8] Summary:

o    Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms – of expression, of religion, from want, and from fear. Plus freedom from oppression. 

o    The creation of the nation-state (allowing protection of citizens, taxation and limits to expenditure).

o    Tribalism – minimising, reducing tribal warfare, with the state offering an overarching entity

o    Delegitimating caste systems.

o    Abolition of slavery, influencing the rest of the world through colonialism and hegemonic pressure, and the consideration of reparations.

o    Abolition of the death penalty

o    Abolition of cannibalism, human, child and widow sacrifices.

o    Monogamy.

o    Outlawing FGM and child labour.

o    Religious tolerance, and its balance with reason

o    High value of human life and the increase in life expectancy.

o    Reduction of poverty (rate is one-half to one-fifth, US 1960)

o    Welfare for the poor, unemployed, children, the sick and the retired.

o    Universal health care, starting with the Christian church and spread by missionaries.

o    Limits to working hours and days; employee rights, minimum and living wages, work safety

o    Copyright.

o    The scientific method.

o    Industrial revolution and almost all technological advances;

o    The green revolution, the control of famine, and ecological balance with respect to population growth.

o    Freedom of speech and association.

o    The rule of law, common law, habeas corpus, and the presumption of innocence.

o    Human rights; rights of women, prisoners, animals and minorities.

o    Eliminating racial, cultural, sexual and religious prejudice.

o    Eliminating religious and ethnic conflicts.

o    Universal suffrage.

o    Democracy, which allows for a continuous moral change and the avoidance of civil war;

o    Capitalism and the commodity cycle.

o    Checks and balances of the powers of the state.

o    Western countries scoring consistently highly on almost all civilisational indices.

o    Influencing the rest of the world on modernisation, civilisational values and virtues through hegemonic influence and colonisation.

 

Deceit in the Service of Social Change

Sociologist Ashley Frawley made an interesting point with her commentary on social engineering. [1]   The earlier concept was called the ‘...