Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Nexus of Nihilism

Political nihilism advocates the prior destruction of all existing political, social, and religious orders as a prerequisite for any future improvement,” states one Internet site. “Existential nihilism, the most well-known view, affirms that life has no intrinsic meaning or value.”

It should confound no one that the “atheistic” or “agnostic” liberal/left has found common ground with Islam, ostensively a religious creed, thus allying itself with political/religious ideology. How can this be, when they are so obviously antithetical? For brevity’s sake, I use the term socialism throughout this commentary to stand for any of its variants: the liberal/left, communism, fascism, corporatism, or any political system that regards the individual as a mere cog of society, duty-bound to serve and sacrifice to it, and indebted to society and/or the state for his existence and well-being.

It is the thesis of this commentary that both socialism and Islam are forms of political nihilism, and that both contend that the life of the individual has no intrinsic meaning or value outside of their systems. One ascribes meaning to the individual as a unit of society and its servant, and no more than that. The other ascribes meaning to the individual as a debtor to and servant of a supreme being, and no more than that.

As demonstrated by the actions of President Barack Obama and a Democratic Congress over the last one and a half years, socialism (with fascist trappings) adheres to its purpose of destroying all existing political, social and economic orders as a prerequisite for any further improvement. This is and continues to be the goal of Obama’s “hope and change.”

As demonstrated by the alleged “extremists” of Islam, and by their “non-violent” brethren, Islam likewise seeks to destroy all existing political, social, economic, and religious orders as a prerequisite for any future improvement, which is a global caliphate in which all men submit to Islam, one way or another, or die..

These two ideologies have, for the moment, set aside their differences to work together until the common enemy, the West, is disabled, conquered, emasculated, and beaten. In the United States, it means to vitiate the Constitution, abandon the republican form of government, and institute some form of “pure” democracy. Under the secular brand, this would mean the manipulated (and bogus) rule of the “poor” and “needy” of all stripes and categories. Under Islam, it would mean ruling a subservient and obedient class of Muslims and a sub-class of conquered non-believers.

On the surface, Islam and socialism are discordant and irreconcilable opposites. In truth, they are rivals for political power, and only one can “win” in that contest. If Islam triumphs, “atheistic” and other non-believing socialists would be expected to convert and “submit” to the religious component of Islam, which is fundamentally a political/religious ideology, and to acknowledge Allah as the one and only “true” God and Mohammed as his prophet. Barring conversion, the socialist must accept the status of a dhimmi and pay jizya, or a special tax on non-believers. He will exist at the pleasure of Islam. The only other alternative offered by Islam is death.

Islam is no stranger to socialism. In fact, as Daniel Pipes and other observers have noted, Islam has made common cause with communism and socialism in the past. Islamic scholars and intellectuals have endorsed socialist trends in countries they wished to see Islam triumph. The phenomenon of America’s liberal/left making cause with Islam is just another episode of that on-again and off-again alliance.

If socialism wins, Islam is no worse off. It can exist in a socialist political/economic environment and bide its time, unless totalitarian measures are taken by the state to eradicate Islam as a rival ideology. The Soviet Union for decades suppressed both Christianity and Islam and all manner of other religions. Under socialism, everyone, including Muslims, would need to acknowledge the state or some personification of it (e.g., “Big Brother”) or some other prominent person and advocate of collectivism as the “true” God or “savior, and Karl Marx or Mao or Lenin as the “prophet.” Opposition to or digression from such deference and worship in any form would be deemed heresy, or blasphemy, and be punished with repression, imprisonment, or death.

If the West is sundered and vanquished, the two species of totalitarianism will fight savagely over the carcass, just as Hitler and Stalin fought over the carcass of Eastern Europe. That, of course, would be the beginning of a new Dark Age. Let us not forget the hundreds of thousands of “illegal” Catholic Mexicans pouring into this country. Will they convert to Islam or put up a fight? The totality of Islamic totalitarianism means just that: everyone and everything. Let us not forget America’s “native Americans,“ or the Indians, and Catholic South America, and Australia and New Zealand, and the whole of the African continent. Islam is committed to a global caliphate. That means everyone and everything coming under its rule. If the West collapses, it will be a bloody and horrendous Dark Age.

Why has the liberal/left formed a “gentlemen’s agreement” alliance with Islam? Islam opposed communism in Afghanistan, but one suspects that was mere opposition to a rival totalitarian ideology, not for sovereignty reasons. What would Islam profess to see it has in common with a strain of secular statism? What would advocates of secular statism profess to see it has in common with a political/religious ideology?

What are the commonalities of secular statism (or socialism) and Islam? What premises do they share? What are their shared ends? Are those ends similar or dissimilar or radically divergent?

The ends are demonstrably dissimilar and divergent. What unites them?

One thing stands out: The liberal/left, of its own accord and without evidence of an invitation, sides with Islam on several issues. There is Supreme Court appointee Elena Kagan and her penchant for Sharia law. There is Keith Ellison, Muslim representative from Minnesota. There is Barack Obama, who has a Muslim background and who has initiated an “outreach” to the Muslim world in a way he has not “reached out” to the Christian or secular world (except to pick its pockets).

The chief commonality between socialism and Islam is the deep-seated hatred -- and I would say is the fundamental motive of both socialism and Islam, its desiderative essence -- of the West, specifically of capitalism, of individual rights, and of freedom of speech. And particularly of America. What is it about those three hallmarks of Western culture that arouses the shared animosity? They are the requirements of an independent, unobstructed, free-to-act, selfish, value-driven, and life-affirming man. They are the descriptive attributes that cannot be permitted in a totalitarian society. They are diametrically opposite of what secular statism and Islam require to function. They are the unified, integrated nemesis of collectivism. They do not describe the “ideal” man in either ideology. Such a man must be eradicated, destroyed. And once destroyed, such a man in either system cannot be permitted to come into existence.

Under either system, the individual is but an obedient, manipulated, exploited, unquestioning manqué.

Islamic or Sharia law commands that Muslims who convert to Christianity or otherwise become apostates must be killed (Redda Law); women found guilty of adultery must be stoned to death; men can beat and rape their wives as disciplinary measures; homosexuals should be killed. Several Muslim texts declare that Jews are pigs and monkeys; killing them before the end of the world is a religious duty for Muslims. Muslim texts, approved by all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (Shafeii, Hanbali, Maleki, and Hanafi) state that Muslims must declare ceaseless wars against non-Muslims to spread Islam and those they conquer must either convert to Islam, pay jizya, or be killed.

The two brands of jihad -- violent and stealth -- must continue until the whole world is contained in the Islamic Ummah. Then there will be peace. An Islamic, totalitarian peace.

This is nihilism. Islam knows the good, and wishes to destroy it for the sake of its destruction. To replace it with a form of mass, universal zombie-ism, a society of the living dead.

Not something the left/liberals much contemplate. They are focused on the short-term gain of destroying the existing orders. The zealots of Islam, however, do not much contemplate their rival ideology or its practitioners. They are not concerned with the doctrines of socialism. They practically endorse them in their literature. They, too, wish to destroy the existing orders, to subjugate the individual in mind and body as thoroughly as the secular statists wish to. Should they lose the contest for power, they will continue to exist. They know that should they win the contest, their rivals will not be around for long.

The secular statists wish to destroy the good, as well, and replace the “existing order” with a zombie-populated mechanistic one that functions automatically in defiance of social and economic laws. In defiance of reality. This, too, is a nihilistic goal. They wish everyone to wade in the sump of socialism and be happy with what deleterious effluvia “society” provides them.

But, which is the more perilous ideology? Does one oppose Islam or socialism first? Or both at the same time? Which is more heinous, which is to be feared the most?

Observe cause and effect. When reason and Aristotelian philosophy governed the West, Islam was a fringe religion practiced in the uncivilized hell holes and backwaters of the world. Its practices of extortion, slavery, and brutality were beyond the pale of rational existence. It had no power to conquer the West or make any inroads in or demands on Western culture. There were no stagings in Muslim madrassas of a mullah-approved version of Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio,” no Offenbach-like can-cans performed by women in smothering burqas or any other proscribed garb. No Muslim St. Gaudens sculpting Diana the Hunter, nor an Abdullah Hill building a private railroad across the Arabian wastes. The philosophy of life and living enjoyed in the West was incongruent, impossible, and antithetical to life under Islam. Winston Churchill observed just how deadening the religion was (and still is).

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy….Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science - the science against which it had vainly struggled - the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

When the West began to abandon reason, at first piecemeal, then wholesale as it did throughout the twentieth century, all kinds of political and social pug-uglies began knocking on the West’s door. Islam began to acquire influence and an ascending momentum.

In short, socialism, or secular statism, adopted as a continuing political policy in the West, together with its destructive offspring, egalitarianism and multiculturalism, facilitated the invasion of and ascendancy of “radical” Islam, and in combination fostered the growth of competing ideologies of La Raza, black power, and other strains of collectivism.

Were it not for the multiculturalism, egalitarianism, and unlimited government power to impose such policies on America, to favor one group over another -- that is, the power to “level” the playing field to advance one alleged minority over another, in exchange for reciprocal support for the bestowers and dispensers of such favors at polling places -- Islam, La Raza, all the various beneficiaries of “group rights,” would remain, if they existed at all, on the farthest fringes of a free, civilized society, impotent by virtue of their inherent irrationalism.

All this has been examined before by professional intellectuals and perceptive observers, sometimes profitably, other times not. But I sense that the paradoxical nexus of today’s left/liberal alliance with Islam remains an insoluble paradox. However, I have a detective hero whose operating motto is, “Nothing that is observable in reality is exempt from rational scrutiny.” His specialty is to solve what I call “moral paradoxes.”

The left/liberal-Islam axis is a paradox that will remain one only to those who defer to the inscrutable in their lives, their economics, their philosophy. They are the ones who will end up slaves, or dead. They are the ultimate facilitators and enablers of the nihilists.


Teresa said...

A fascinating and rational study of the meaning of events, Ed. I can see that socialism has made the growth of Islam possible. In the long run, if the growth of socialism isn't stopped, the Muslims, with their willingness to die, will surely come out the winners.

It is Christianity that has made socialism successful. Another paradox but both are altruist. You say, " the requirements of an independent, unobstructed, free-to-act, selfish, value-driven, and life-affirming man..." are not "permitted in a totalitarian society". While many Christians have become so westernized that they appear to be independent, etc. in fact they too are the "obedient, manipulated, exploited, unquestioning manqué(s)". I see them as the ultimate facilitators of nihilism.

Anonymous said...

Teresa: True, ultimately Christians (and Muslims) are the core facilitators of nihilism (ergo, of socialism and Islam). Both creeds are altruist in nature. Both denigrate life on earth, existence on earth, and promise a pleasant afterlife if one obeys Christ's or Mohammad's commands to a T, and eternal hellfire if one doesn't. But to be a consistent altruist, one must have values one is willing to sacrifice, or if one has no values, be willing to sacrifice the values of those who have them. The latter describes Obama, Pelosi, et al.

I think many American Christians today are beginning to have an inkling -- just an inkling -- of the consequences of their "faith," and are in various ways, via the Tea Party activists, demanding that the government stop practicing altruism and sacrifice for the "greater good," which more and more are also beginning to see is a sham and a racket. Many I think are approaching the point of actually understanding Ellsworth Toohey's final speech to Peter Keating. The next step for them is to grasp Galt. And so many of them will be faced with a life-changing decision -- to become apostates in relation to Christianity and to repudiate the whole welfare state.


Jason said...

It's almost humorous how the dominant intellectuals and mainstream media refuse to make the obvious identification of Islamic Sharia law as being religion-based socialism/communism/collectivism. They call it totalitarianism and "absolutism" without even a mention of its being a collectivist, socialist political system.

Mike said...

Wow, Ed, you're really on a tear this week. Well done.