Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Nor knew the force o' powder

I'm reprinting in full, the manifesto signed by 12 writers asserting that the new totalitarianism is Islamism, together with the background of the signatories. A reader writes to say that the first regular newspaper to reprint the manifesto in full is the Jyllands-Posten.

Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject « cultural relativism », which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

Signatories and their backgrounds

Ali Ayaan Hirsi, from somilian origin, is member of Dutch parliement, member of the liberal party VVD. Writter of the film Submission which caused the assasination of Theo Van Gogh by an islamist in november 2004, she lives under police protection.

Chahla Chafiq, writer from iranian origin, exiled in France is a novelist and an essayist. She’s the author of "Le nouvel homme islamiste , la prison politique en Iran " (2002). She also wrote novels such as "Chemins et brouillard" (2005).

Caroline Fourest Essayist, editor in chief of Prochoix (a review who defend liberties against dogmatic and integrist ideologies), author of several reference books on « laicité » and fanatism : Tirs Croisés : la laïcité à l’épreuve des intégrismes juif, chrétien et musulman (with Fiammetta Venner), Frère Tariq : discours, stratégie et méthode de Tariq Ramadan, et la Tentation obscurantiste (Grasset, 2005). She receieved the National prize of laicité in 2005.

Bernard-Henri Lévy French philosoph, born in Algeria, engaged against all the XXth century « ism » (Fascism, antisemitism, totalitarism, terrorism), he is the author of La Barbarie à visage humain, L’Idéologie française, La Pureté dangereuse, and more recently American Vertigo.

Irshad Manji is a Fellow at Yale University and the internationally best-selling author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith" (en francais: "Musulmane Mais Libre"). She speaks out for free expression based on the Koran itself. Née en Ouganda, elle a fui ce pays avec sa famille musulmane d’origine indienne à l’âge de quatre ans et vit maintenant au Canada, où ses émissions et ses livres connaissent un énorme succès.

Mehdi Mozaffari, professor from iranian origin and exiled in Denmark, is the author of several articles and books on islam and islamism such as : Authority in Islam: From Muhammad to Khomeini, Fatwa: Violence and Discourtesy and Glaobalization and Civilizations.

Maryam Namazie Writer, TV International English producer; Director of the Worker-communist Party of Iran’s International Relations; and 2005 winner of the National Secular Society’s Secularist of the Year award.

Taslima Nasreen is born in Bangladesh. Doctor, her positions defending women and minorities brought her in trouble with a comittee of integrist called « Destroy Taslima » and to be persecuted as « apostate »

Salman Rushdie is the author of nine novels, including Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses and, most recently, Shalimar the Clown. He has received many literary awards, including the Booker Prize, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel, Germany’s Author of the Year Award, the European Union’s Aristeion Prize, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Mantova, and the Austrian State Prize for European Literature. He is a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et Lettres, an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at M.I.T., and the president of PEN American Center. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.

Philippe Val Director of publication of Charlie Hebdo (Leftwing french newspaper who have republished the cartoons on the prophet Muhammad by solidarity with the danish citizens targeted by islamists).

Ibn Warraq , author notably of Why I am Not a Muslim ; Leaving Islam : Apostates Speak Out ; and The Origins of the Koran , is at present Research Fellow at a New York Institute conducting philological and historical research into the Origins of Islam and its Holy Book.

Antoine Sfeir Born in Lebanon, christian, Antoine Sfeir choosed french nationality to live in an universalist and « laïc » (real secular) country. He is the director of Les cahiers de l’Orient and has published several reference books on islamism such as Les réseaux d’Allah (2001) et Liberté, égalité, Islam : la République face au communautarisme (2005).

Commentary

The intellectual gauntlet has been flung full in the face of Islamism by an unlikely group which includes a Somalian woman, Bangladeshis, exiled Iranians, Lebanese, fugitive British writers of subcontinental origin and an assortment of individuals with a vague left-wing background, none of whom would have been granted admittance to a London gentleman's club in the 19th century. And their manifesto has been printed, not in the New York Times, Le Monde or the Times of London, but of all places, in a provincial Danish newspaper of no particular fame.

Never has free speech in the West seen so unlikely a league of defenders. Kipling understood how full of themselves the famous of the world sometimes are. His short story, the Drums of the Fore and Aft, fictionally describes how a renowned regiment ran before the onslaught of Afghan tribesmen until they were saved by their drummer-boys.

He slipped the drum-sling over his shoulder, thrust the fife into Lew's hand, and the two boys marched out of the cover of the rock into the open, making a hideous hash of the first bars of the "British Grenadiers." .. The tune settled into full swing and the boys kept shoulder to shoulder, Jakin banging the drum as one possessed. The one fife made a thin and pitiful squeaking, but the tune carried far ... "Come on, you dogs!" muttered Jakin to himself. "Are we to play forhever?" Lew was staring straight in front of him and marching more stiffly than ever he had done on parade. ... The men of the Fore and Aft were gathering thick at the entrance into the plain. The Brigadier on the heights far above was speechless with rage. Still no movement from the enemy. The day stayed to watch the children. ...

The Fore and Aft were pouring out of the valley. What officers had said to men in that time of shame and humiliation will never be known; for neither officers nor men speak of it now. "They are coming anew!" shouted a priest among the Afghans. "Do not kill the boys! Take them alive, and they shall be of our faith." But the first volley had been fired, and Lew dropped on his face. Jakin stood for a minute, spun round and collapsed, as the Fore and Aft came forward, the curses of their officers in their ears, and in their hearts the shame of open shame.

I'll wait for the New York Times.

51 Comments:

Blogger exhelodrvr said...

It will be interesting to see if the Muslim leadership has learned from the ground-level reaction to the cartoons. If they have, they will not do anything significant in response to this. If they haven't learned their lesson, and there is another strong reaction, we will draw even closer to the "tipping point." (Which, in the long run, might be the best thing that could happen.) Of course, if they don't react to this, it will also serve to underscore the hypocrisy of their reaction to the cartoons.

3/01/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Why only 12 signatures? This document should be signed by every staff member in every embassy and consulate within continental Europe and America.

3/01/2006 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

"This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field."

With no military confrontation, how are they going to survive the negotiations?

3/01/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

The ideological battle is in the West.

It's already lost in the Islamic world.

ADE

3/01/2006 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

We'll all wait for the Times, but they and the rest at present are too busy beating the drums of a trumped-up discredited CBS Poll for the 3rd day in a row because it purports to show POTUS and VP at an all time low.
Sampling "errors" be damned.

After this crusade runs it's course they will concoct the next:

No time to address such a brave, intelligent, MULTIETHNIC group of truthtellers.
...encourage the anti-humans to give them the Larry Summers treatment.
Painted in blood.

3/01/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sort of OT,
But this is my nomination for
BC Comment of the Year:
---
Wanda said...
Going back to Geraghty's comments and Wretchard's followup, I think that if this shift in Western opinion is happening (and I think it is) much more than just the ports deal is dead.

President Bush is in imminent danger of finding himself left behind by the American people, and he doesn't seem to realize it.
He could soon be in the same position as the leaders and spokesmen of the EU - a font of noble-sounding platitudes and maxims that nobody pays attention to anymore.
Meanwhile, he will have lost his ability to sway his own people's hearts and minds, because he invested everything in the cause of winning the enemy's hearts and minds
.

All the emphasis has been on persuading Muslims to change; how was it possible that nobody thought that WE might change too?
That never entered into the calculations;
it always seemed to be a given that the West would be eternally patient, open, and willing to woo the reluctant Muslim world.

But while President Bush has been anxiously hovering over his delicate Islamic plant, watching for any promising little green shoot that might repay all his efforts, behind him his own garden has changed into a dangerous, bristling jungle.

When he finally turns around, he won't know where he is anymore.

3/01/2006 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"But while President Bush has been anxiously hovering over his delicate Islamic plant, watching for any promising little green shoot that might repay all his efforts..."
---
Is that great, or what?

3/01/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Without getting too far into it, our most urgent task, our most significant imperative, is to break down the walls that Islam has built around itself--barriers that allow a most unhelpful distinction over which we cannot appeal.

As long as the identifier "Muslim" stays unassimilated within the uber-identifier "human", our goal of civilizational rapprochement will continue to be frustrated by a plurality of logics.

Humans are genetically predisposed towards transactional "fairness", so long as the transaction is between equals (this affinity for and motivation towards logical consistency has been selected for). The true belief of equality between agents is therefore a precondition of fairness--a precondition of the logical inevitability of the Golden Rule. So long as that logic is blocked by obstacles of distinction, we will never get to that point with Muslims--or, for that matter, other distinguishing groups in general.

So long as Muslims believe in the supremacy of their identifier--and use the logic that flows from it to motivate their behavior--their minds will never embrace the stabilizing ethic of the Golden Rule, and we will never be rid of this war.

What's worrisome is that this battle might be lost in the West before we ever get anywhere with Islam. The rise of "distinguishing groups" at the expense of inclusive identifiers has set the stage for our own plurality of logics. In such a system, power and advantage are all, and they accrue to "us" or "them", never and.

In such a system, the will to power triumphs over the logic of morality. This is where we would be headed if Islam hadn't provided a temporary corrective.

But make no mistake: under the surface, the forces of disunity fester and boil. If distinction triumphs over sameness, our carefully cultivated world will be lost.

3/01/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"The ideological battle is in the West.

It's already lost in the Islamic world.

ADE"


This thing isn't just aimed at the Islamic world:

We reject cultural relativism , which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of "Islamophobia", an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers."

It's time to start taking on Leftist sacred cows. The enemy is just as much us as it is them.

3/01/2006 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

One question that might be asked is:
Where would we be now, if instead of all this energy going into tending this "delicate Islamic plant" sometimes at the expense of the truth and the dignity of this country and it's institutions, we had instead demanded the same kind of accountability called for here from these Islamofacists and their millions of fellow travelers?

...but that all went out the window right after 9-11 when GWB was chastised, Larry Summers like, for letting slip the "C" word.

And instead of fighting,
he switched.

3/01/2006 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Doug,

Brother Bush will know. And Hillary knows it.

3/01/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

"So long as Muslims believe in the supremacy of their identifier--and use the logic that flows from it to motivate their behavior--their minds will never embrace the stabilizing ethic of the Golden Rule, and we will never be rid of this war.

What's worrisome is that this battle might be lost in the West before we ever get anywhere with Islam. The rise of "distinguishing groups" at the expense of inclusive identifiers has set the stage for our own plurality of logics. In such a system, power and advantage are all, and they accrue to "us" or "them", never and.

In such a system, the will to power triumphs over the logic of morality. This is where we would be headed if Islam hadn't provided a temporary corrective."


It seems Aristedes, that your words point to a weird intersection between our own goal of destroying the lure of the Ummah, and the left's goal of destroying national patriotism. Yet it is the latter that gives America the ability and cohesion to defeat our enemies. I don't see a way, theoretically, to reject one group identity, yet hold the other.

So either we do reject group consciousness, and make this a battle over individuals, as you suggest. Or we declare that our group is better than theirs [which in their current forms, I have no problem doing].

Do you see a solution to the problem that I posit, Aristedes? I'm not begging the question, it is something I've been dealing with.

3/01/2006 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The answer is to promote inclusive identifiers--identifiers that can absorb and be absorbed, smoothly and without contradiction.

One of the reasons Huntington foresees a >Clash of Civilizations is his belief that "civilization" is the broadest and highest level of self-identity:

People have levels of identity: a resident of Rome may define himself with varying degrees of intensity as a Roman, an Italian, a Catholic, a Christian, a European, a Westerner. The civilization to which he belongs is the broadest level of identification with which he intensely identifies.

I reject this assertion:

However, what is Western if not the rather simple concept that we are all human, all in it together? That uber-identification flows from the West, and specifically from the Enlightenment. It is a fundamentally inclusive identifier, capable of absorbing all others that do not directly contradict.

You are right. We will never be able to dissolve all group identities. Our hope rests on our ability to absorb them into a bigger one--which, as it happens, is based on Truth.

3/01/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

What is the difference between "Islamism" and Islam? What exactly is "Islamism"? In the light of my question, does anyone have a clue as to how Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer would debate this issue?

3/01/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

I am struck by the term "secular values". While I agree and I am a big fan of secular government I wonder at how all the religious folks who post here feel about this. I wonder how those who think that "In God we Trust" should remain on the currency and government funded statues with the 10 commandments in court are perfectly ok feel about this call for universal secular values.

3/01/2006 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

How can there be a clash of civilizations when one of the civilizations has barely answered the bell? The Muslims know who they are and what they stand for. Very clear and unambiguous. We, on the other hand, are very, very divided and do not possess near the confidence of our own core values, civilization, religions, and traditions. While the Muslims are psychologically bulking up, we are in the throes of anorexia.

3/01/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The reason for this imperative is evolutionary, based on the nature and motivations that inhere in man. We really do treat "others" differently. Our motivations and justifications really are different for "us" and "them".

Confirmation bias shows this. Hyper-scrutiny of our opponents and lax scrutiny of our friends shows this. We have a propensity for categorization, and we have a propensity to use these categories to calibrate our logics and mental approaches. Somewhere down the line it was selected for.

Is it so outrageous to posit that we're all human, all equal, all in this together? I hope not, because it's the truth. Getting people to believe it's true has been the biggest reason for our success, for the reasons mentioned above.

As Steven Pinker says, our founders were, in a sense, evolutionary psychologists. They did not reject man's nature, they strove to harness and restrict it. Their intuition, for that's what it was, has become our salvation.

3/01/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Ash,

The probable difference is that the people who want "In God We Trust" emblazoned on the currency are not going to hunt you down if you disagree nor prevent the newspapers from publishing a contrary opinion.

3/01/2006 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

What is the difference between Islam and Islamism

The sub-set Islamism is contained within the super-set Islam, as is the sub-set moderate or modern Islam. I would define the difference between moderate Islam and Islamism as the ability to live among other beliefs without motivating to conquer and subjugate them. Whether moderate Islam is a viable alternative within the self-contained logic of Islam Entire is still a question that has no ready answer.

3/01/2006 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This also explains the inevitable failure of tolerating intolerance. It flows from the same logic that instilled the Golden Rule as the defining ethical norm of agent interaction.

3/01/2006 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

wretchard, I agree the Islamofascists are radical but the statement does assert Universal Values and one of those universal values is secularism. It is hypocritical to maintain that only Islamists should be subject to secular values. If the objection is simply that they hunt people down and kill them then maybe we should be discussing due process and rule of law instead.

3/01/2006 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

fred,

If you scroll towards the end of the comments at Jihad Watch there is a comment about the rise (and fall) of the use of the word Islamism as distinguished from Islam.

3/01/2006 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How does an Individual sign on to this Manifesto?
How do we forward this Manifesto to the White House?
How does this Manifesto ignite a Movement?

3/01/2006 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

How do we Rally to the Drummer boys?

3/01/2006 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Cutler: Indeed! I have concluded that much of the Leftist opposition to the War is based on the realization that once we have reached certain conclusions about the requirements of dealing with the Islamic Facists, then so many other cherised Leftist principles will surely fall as well.

If you have to dump cultural relativeism, then relativism itself as a concept has to be jettisoned as well.

In fact, Leftism virtually is defined by protection of nonviable cultures - and lifestyles - so much so that I don't see how you can reject it and still be a Leftist.

3/01/2006 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

John Zogby:
Islamofascist Terrorist Enabler.

3/01/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Or do we wait for them to be killed,
in another Mohammedan salvo?

The men of the "fore & aft"
they waivered,
their Drummmer boys died.

Will the dozen Drummer boys fare better,
before we Rally?

3/01/2006 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

This is the same thing, from a different view. A manifesto that calls for more dialogue, not military annihilation and reconstruction, is nothing interesting. When one of them calls for a campaign against Persia or demands al-Sadr's head on a platter, now that'll be some progress.

Meanwhile, why in the f'k do I have to hear about high-speed chases and the usual non-story about the coming housing bubble bursting when Iraq is teetering back and forth on the brink? I hate the media and all its slaves.

3/01/2006 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The signers of the Manifesto have my appreciation and my admiration. That the Danish newspaper with the unspellable name is doing the heavy lifting is in and of itself a statement about the mindset of the EUSSR.

The manifesto I want to see is the one that tears down the Dome of the Rock and turns it into a seawall along an Israeli beach.

3/01/2006 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

All or nothing, pb?
No incrementalism?
No gaining more Muslim's calling for Change?

dan,
Iran teeters on a brink of what?
Revolution?
Regional Hegemony?
A Deal with Russia?
A Propaganda Campaign?
Processing 1% of the Uranium needed for a Bomb?

3/01/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

These dozen stand up, to assured death threats and fatwahs, dan though, says that they do not do enough.

To stand alone against the tide and have lesser men belittle the effort,
Shameful.

3/01/2006 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

I generally like the statement. It is far more direct than much. I'm hoping for the best but things like this worry me:

-----
To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.
------

I can picture Louis Farrakhan saying this thus whatever I think I understand about said declaration might be different from the commitee that is going to push buttons.

3/01/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

cutler:
I see "secular values" as a dead end; a contrdiction to the visions of our founders who dreamed of limited government, equality under law and fredom to practice ones religion under those laws.

I see those that espouse them as reliant upon ever larger bureaucracy, confused about religion (never took the time) and largely clueless about how to live a fullfilling life.

3/01/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

http://www.frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=21448

Interesting. Too bad Frontpagemag is sort of a tabloid.

3/01/2006 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I do not want to minimize the Manifesto, its signers, or the editors at Jyllands-Posten but I am way past going ga ga whenever somebody other than a blogger says that Islam(ism) is a totalitarian ideology. We know that.

I want to see the people who make the decisions demanding "good" behaviour from the Muslims in our midst and from all 56 members of the Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC). You can define good behaviour to your own standards, but the constant whining has to stop.

3/01/2006 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

sorry, I meant to address that to ash

3/01/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Arthur Dent said...

This is off topic but I’ve not seen the point addressed in detail anywhere. Are Mohammed pictures really are unacceptable in Islam?

We all know the cartoons are a red herring, but is there evidence within Islam suggesting that pictures of Mohammed are OK?

3/01/2006 04:56:00 PM  
Blogger rufus said...

Bush is where he ought to be tonight. India will be important. An Island of relative calm in an agitated and dangerous sea. Potentially, a True ally. We will need a few of those in the Decades ahead. And, India will need us.

Barring the unlikely probability that we would, by total war, preempt the coming storm by completly Destroying the Iranian Regime, the Storm will gain in magnitude in the years to come until it attempts to overwhelm the entire world.

In the inevitable Conflagration the Storm will exhaust itself upon the breakwaters of India, China, Australia, The United States, Europe, and Russia. But, there will be many dead.

3/01/2006 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger fred said...

peterboston

Thank you for the link to jihadwatch. I read a good part of that discussion and found it interesting. They unearthed an interesting point about Islam's absolutism being very much like the various ideologies that spun out from the French Revolution. Totalitarianisms, all.

3/01/2006 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

First, rat - I wrote "Iraq," not Iran.

Secondly, this effort is too little, too late, and means nothing. Sorry. Some of the signatories already do heroic work - the Dutch MP Ali, for example. I've read enough of Rushdie's crap over the last few years to know what this declaration of vanity amounts to. So perhaps I spoke imprecisely - to those signatories I admire, congratulations and thank you. The others gain nothing in my estimation from their participation in this one obvious proclamation. Forgive me.

3/01/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I guess it's just the subtle bt salient social-democratic aspects of the piece I don't like - but maybe, under these circumstances, it is a petty reason. I'm just anxious for serious combat in the cultural domain, but it's certainly impracticable, probably unfair and in any case not necessary that these folks become Reagan/Thatcher/Churchill knights of valor.

I guess my own take on this most crucial aspect of the present conflict is the one Andrew McCarthy underlines in the NRO Corner and Opinion Duel with Trish's favorite quasi-neocon Mansoor Ijaz: the Islamic religion is hardwired for fundamentalism of the variety haunting the globe due to the status of the Koran and canonical rules of exigesis. In that context, quoting Koranic scripture is a game the moderates, reformers, secularists and Reaganites cannot win, no matter how goodnatured. The later abrogates the former; the later context is Islam Triumphant, the earlier is Islam Diplomatic - and given the later form, it is hard not to regard Islam Diplomatic as merely Hudna Islam. I do not trust it. And in any case certain now-famous features of Islamic societies, regardless of their Islamic discourse, are evidently most animated, for purposes of international relations, by folks whose sense of pride is out of all proportion with theit actual ability, which leaves them to conspiracy and terrorism almost as a matter of necessity. What does this entail? Certainly not killing all the Muslims, or anything remotely like it. But such a manifesto as this is, as welcome as it is, subtle leftism and all, strikes me as an insufficient rallying cry and certainly too dull to pierce the hard petina of the dominant Islamic personality.

But by all means, let's have more, every week. Let it be like samizdat. Osama bin Laden evidently said "The Awakening has begun." Surely we need our own awakening, and maybe this'll be a great start. I'm just deeply skeptical. Ibn Warraq, for example, writes with much more force on his own.

3/01/2006 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Ash said...

enscout wrote:

"I see "secular values" as a dead end; a contrdiction to the visions of our founders who dreamed of limited government, equality under law and fredom to practice ones religion under those laws.

I see those that espouse them as reliant upon ever larger bureaucracy, confused about religion (never took the time) and largely clueless about how to live a fullfilling life. "

I think there is a big difference between the freedom to practice ones religion and a government espousing a particular religion. Once you open the door to a government, or the 'law' being sourced from a particular religion you are sliding down the slippery slope of using a religion to justify the governments laws and actions. You seem to suggest that it is impossible to live a fullfilling life without religion. I think you wish to extend this to 'an ethical life is impossible without a religious foundation'. I respectfully disagree. Nor do I think that a larger bureaucracy need follow a secular approach.



rwe wrote:

"Leftist opposition to the War is based on the realization that once we have reached certain conclusions about the requirements of dealing with the Islamic Facists, then so many other cherised Leftist principles will surely fall as well."

I am appalled at how so many continue to conflate the War in Iraq with a war against Islamofacism. In fact, Saddam was an allay against Islamofacism. He may have been a brutal immoral pan Arabist dictator but he had little patience or sympathy for the Islamofascists. Most from Iraq had hidden in Iran. He ran a secular government whom suppressed the Islamism of the Shia and he fought a war against the mad mullahs in Iran. The War in Iraq should not be confused with the War against Islamofascism.

3/01/2006 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Clash of civilizations?While I agree with Fred that the fiber is being eaten out of our civilization by leftie termites ;I think its a mite bit of a stretch to find anything resembling civilization in the Islamic world.Never mind what was whenever,but now its nihilism,barbarism,mass insanity,failed nation states,gross hypocrisy.
I'll sign the petition.

3/01/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger reliapundit said...

It's swell that these famous Left-leaning intellectuals have taken a universalist/non-relativist stand on human rights, but the REAL issue is: What are they willing to do about it?!

Are they willing to support a proactive, bold, aggressive counter-attack - including sanctions, blockades and even preemptive military strikes?

Will they urge their own nations to do more to help the USA and the UK and the other coalition members assist the emerging Iraqi democracy?

Will they support an end to immigration without assimiliation? Will they support the deportation of radical Muslims who incite violence? Will they demand that nations which don't allow its citizens the universal human rights outlined in the UN Declaration be demoted to "observer status" at the UN?

Will they at least criticize their comrades on the Left who - at best - have been skeptical of Bush, and at worst accused him of being a lying, torturing war criminal who went to war for oil/Halliburton/family revenge?

Or do they just want to sign petitions and send strongly worded, high-minded letters?

I suspect it's the latter, and we don't need them for that - we already got Blix and Baradei and Kofi for that!

I pray they prove me wrong, and that this represents the beginning of a more unified West. If that's the case, we will be more likely to have the resolve necessary to defeat the enemy in this - THE LONG WAR.

3/01/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger John B said...

Wretchard and others:

The CBC Radio program As it Happens interviewed Caroline Fourest, one of the signatories, tonight. The interview is available on the program's archives:

http://www.cbc.ca/insite/AS_IT_HAPPENS_TORONTO/2006/3/1.html

The interview is the second of Part I and begins at the 10:30 interval. Note there are periods of silence between interviews where copyrighted theme music is deleted (usually 20-30 seconds).

3/01/2006 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger John B said...

Sorry, the link I posted was cut off (must learn link tags one day).

Here is the home page for the program. The interview aired on March 1 and if you search today it will be under "latest show". Tomorrow I expect it will be under "past shows"

http://www.cbc.ca/aih/logs.html

3/01/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Fleming said...

anti-jihad manifesto misses the point

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/869

3/02/2006 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

aristedes
I always read your comments with interest. You are right when you state:

"We will never be able to dissolve all group identities. Our hope rests on our ability to absorb them into a bigger one--which, as it happens, is based on Truth."

But what do you do with someone who cannot (read will not) distinguish belief from make believe.

Sometimes, unfortunately, the sad answer is that you will kill them.

Why? Because life's too short, and your evidence is better than their make believe, and they want to kill you

This is where we are at.

ADE

3/02/2006 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

It mystifies me how so many Muslims (no matter what their ideology) fail to comprehend the inherent polytheism within the concept of "clash of civilizations" or "dialogue of civilizations". Implicit within both concepts is the assumption that that which makes us civilized has different origins in different societies. In other words apartheid -- or multiculturalism. Or polytheism. Take your pick.

Mr. Samuel Huntington's notion of a world defined by Kulturkampf is not particularly different from Nazi ideology -- just replace the word "race" with the word "civilization" and presto -- "clash of civilizations". (For that matter, replace the word "class" with the word "civilization" and Mr. Huntington sounds like a Bolshevik!) The very concepts he uses set the world on fire, for it is the most radical Islamists who agree with him wholeheartedly (although they usually see a conspiracy behind him, given his close historical association with the Trilateral Commission...) Beyond how Mr. Huntington mis-defined "Western Civilization" to supposedly include English and French speaking North America and Christian (or post-Christian) Europe but not South America (which is culturally inaccurate because Argentina or even Brazil has far more in common culturally to Europe than the United States) and excluding Orthodox countries like Russia, his definitions give ammunition to every fascist on the planet.

In this sense, this manifesto is an inherently monotheistic statement as opposed to the polytheism of the Islamists. Implicit within this document is the notion that that which makes us civilized -- especially the high civilization of modernity -- is universal. In other words, that which makes us civilized has one origin. That origin may be a deity or it may be "just the way things are" analogous to the laws of gravity and thermodynamics, but the key notion remains that that which makes us civilized has one essential origin -- not many.

In this sense, the true origin of monotheism could be seen at least as much in the meditations of philosophers and mystics as in the rantings of desert prophets. I think of many philosophers -- Socrates, Plato, Lao Tzu, Sankara, Plotinus, Averroes, Spinoza and many others, who thought in terms of seeking that which is universal.

I could meander more, but for the sake of clarity, I will dogmatically assert that civilization has one essential origin. Creating and maintaining a technological society requires social attributes that, if not universal in all of human history, are universal among societies with enduring cultural and technological achievement. In both their desire to foster the worship of the false ideal that civilization is based upon the worship of different deities and their overall desire to promote a new age of ignorance, the Islamists have sought to export their decadence and cause all civilization to crumble. And in the Islamist crusade to promote ignorance and their cruse form of polytheism, they also promote the idolatry of Osama bin Laden -- the real Hubal of our time.

3/02/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger vogz said...

Peter Fleming,

Belien is right; the manifesto misses the point. I hope Wretchard follows up on this.

Ash,

The hitch with living in a postmodern world is that there is no consensus about "secular values". It's a contradiction in terms.

3/04/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Baillie said...

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Mid'i-anites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me...

3/06/2006 01:18:00 PM  

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