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 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 durĂ©e 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.

 

Friday, 13 November 2020

The Perils of Islamism's Silver Lining

Shireen Qudosi’s essay Response to France Ends Questions on Islamism[1] in the Clarion Project is a near-faultless assessment of the cause of recent events in Europe, but one phrase jarred – “Islamism is a distortion of the Islamic faith”.  I would question this on the basis of Islam’s doctrine of naskh, abrogation.  This raises a paradox of great significance to the West, the consequences of which are far-reaching.

Abrogation has its origin in chapter 2 verse 106 of the Koran - “Whatever a Verse do We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring a better one or similar to it.”  The cause of this was a crisis of faith in 622AD at the time of the hijra, Muhammad's move from Mecca to Medina where he became a political and military leader.  Explanations for this verse being brought into being can be found on the Islamic Studies website[2], Raymond Ibrahim’s Islam’s Doctrines of Deception[3], and Mark Durie’s The Qur’an’s Turn to Violence[4], each of which gives a particular perspective of this most important concept.  As Dr Durie points out, the change of tactic, “it was not you, but it was Allah Who killed them”[5], was very successful, and its legacy persists with Islamists today. 

Given Islam’s essentialism[6], the doctrine of al-naskh wa al-mansukh (the abrogating and the abrogated) would appear to favour Islamists as the true interpreters of Islam and the Koran.  Needless to say this has serious repercussions for the West.  Attempts to express either a ‘Meccan’ or a Western form of Islam as the true faith can be shown to founder, as responses to Dr Zuhdi Jasser’s attempts to foster a moderate form of Islam show[7].  To fundamentalists this is blasphemy and apostasy. Moderate Muslims are abundant but they cannot drive changes to the agenda and call it Islam, which has been successful for 1,400 years by resisting change.  Islam’s forces of hegemony such as CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood have no reason at all to modify the process, merely to refine it in tune with the times.  The evident success of Islam’s doctrines of violence and deception, and the active support of the Left, require Islam to remain precisely as it is.

There is a much deeper problem that lies within the phrase “Islamism is a distortion of the Islamic faith”.  It has become popular to vilify those who use violence to achieve Islam’s aims, but in doing so it opens the way for fundamentalist groups who eschew violence but have the identical goal, that of bringing the entire world into submission to the will of Allah.  This is well-outlined by Elham Manea in The Perils of Nonviolent Islamism[8].  It is a dangerous and digressive discourse which furthers the aims of Islam, which by all civilisational standards fails the citizens of its nations.  France’s struggle with Islam is a harbinger of the fate of all Western countries.

The problem is Islam.


 



[1] https://clarionproject.org/response-to-attacks-in-france-ends-questions-on-islamism/

[2] https://www.islamicstudies.info/tafheem.php?sura=2&verse=106&to=107

[3] https://www.islamicstudies.info/tafheem.php?sura=2&verse=106&to=107

[4] https://markdurie.com/the-qurans-turn-to-violence/

 

[5] https://www.islamicstudies.info/tafheem.php?sura=8&verse=11&to=19

[6] “This ummah [nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell.” When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, “al-jama‘a,” that is, the group which most literally follows the example or “sunna” of Muhammad, a thing not so simple to do."  Al-Bukhaari nos.71, 3641 no.1920

[7] https://thefederalist.com/2017/01/30/muslim-reformer-speaks-battle-islamism-pc/

 

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

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...