Oakes

What to call the enemy

47 posts in this topic

Would you consider it a wise move to alienate yourself from the very means of fighting Islam?

If not, then how do you propose to fight a religion pointing a gun at your head as opposed to one that points a gun at their head?

Not sure I understand what you mean... but the difference I see between Islam and other religions today is mostly a difference of degree. Many more people are serious about Islam than are about Judaism and Christianity. When both these religions had a large, committed following, the results were just as bloody.

It's true that Islam is a current danger, while Christianity is a gathering one - which is why I support military action against militant Islam.

But there is no proper way of IDEOLOGICALLY fighting Islam without going to the root of what's wrong with it, by attacking mysticism and by identifying the arbitrary element that is part of every religion.

To put it more colloquially: You can't argue with Allah about his commandments. The proper thing to do is argue that Allah does not exist.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you on principle, but disagree with you on practice. Here is what I mean:

Yes, Christianity is a threat. But this can be countered by political and legal actions, which is of course a peaceful means of opposing Christianity.

Islam, however, must be fought with the gun. Thus we must use force to counter Islam. But we, as just a few Objectivist alone, can not withstand the numbers of Islam. So, we must ally ourselves with the Christians and other religions and use the United States Military (along with our allies) as a means of opposing Islam.

Christianity right now is still rational and benevolent enough to see the evils in militant Islam, and struggle to overcome it. In such trying times as today's world, we need to pick and choose our battles as opposed to alienating ourselves and lose overall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To put it more colloquially: You can't argue with Allah about his commandments. The proper thing to do is argue that Allah does not exist.

Hey, that's quite good. I'll remember to use that next time. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with you on principle, but disagree with you on practice.  Here is what I mean:

Yes, Christianity is a threat.  But this can be countered by political and legal actions, which is of course a peaceful means of opposing Christianity.

Islam, however, must be fought with the gun.  Thus we must use force to counter Islam.    But we, as just a few Objectivist alone, can not withstand the numbers of Islam.  So, we must ally ourselves with the Christians and other religions and use the United States Military (along with our allies) as a means of opposing Islam.

Christianity right now is still rational and benevolent enough to see the evils in militant Islam, and struggle to overcome it.  In such trying times as today's world, we need to pick and choose our battles as opposed to alienating ourselves and lose overall.

Well of course, in the war against Militant Islam, all civilized countries must participate, regardless of their faith. That's why it should be our goal to point to the large militant segment of Islam as the *physical* enemy, rather than Islam itself.

But don't expect Bush to be your ally in the *ideological* battle. Objectivists are more or less alone in this battle, and they mustn't dilute their criticisms in order not to offend religious people.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well of course, in the war against Militant Islam, all civilized countries must participate, regardless of their faith. That's why it should be our goal to point to the large militant segment of Islam as the *physical* enemy, rather than Islam itself.

But don't expect Bush to be your ally in the *ideological* battle. Objectivists are more or less alone in this battle, and they mustn't dilute their criticisms in order not to offend religious people.

And just to make it clear if it isn't - the distinction I'm making between physical and ideological enemies is not a false dichotomy between mind and body - but a practical division: the physical enemy is the one you fight with guns, the ideological enemy is the one you fight with words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, Christianity is a threat.  But this can be countered by political and legal actions, which is of course a peaceful means of opposing Christianity.

Islam, however, must be fought with the gun.  Thus we must use force to counter Islam.    But we, as just a few Objectivist alone, can not withstand the numbers of Islam.  So, we must ally ourselves with the Christians and other religions and use the United States Military (along with our allies) as a means of opposing Islam.

Christianity right now is still rational and benevolent enough to see the evils in militant Islam, and struggle to overcome it.  In such trying times as today's world, we need to pick and choose our battles as opposed to alienating ourselves and lose overall.

I agree, and would like to add that the standard is the respect for secular law. Most Christians respect the legal separation of Church and State even if they are opposed to it. They may be opposed to abortion, but do not advocate breaking the law to fight abortion, let alone resorting to violence against abortionists. In contrast, many Moslems don't respect the secular law if it clashes with the Moslem law.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But don't expect Bush to be your ally in the *ideological* battle. Objectivists are more or less alone in this battle, and they mustn't dilute their criticisms in order not to offend religious people.

I see what you are saying now. And under your terms, I'm basically saying "Physical first, Ideological next."

I guess we are in agreement then?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, and would like to add that the standard is the respect for secular law. Most Christians respect the legal separation of Church and State even if they are opposed to it. They may be opposed to abortion, but do not advocate breaking the law to fight abortion, let alone resorting to violence against abortionists. In contrast, many Moslems don't respect the secular law if it clashes with the Moslem law.

Is it secular law or individual rights that should be the dividing line? Many Christians respect my right to believe or not, but the militant Muslims do not. While both Christians and Muslims, qua religionists, are ultimately enemies of reason, reality, rights, liberty, and our very lives, the people the West are at war with are militant Muslims. Their initiation of force violates our rights, and entitles us to respond accordingly.

But that doesn't entitle us to bomb, say, St. Peter's Cathedral. The Pope has not launched waves of terrorist actions, despite his declarations that are consistent with all-out war on any human values.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I see what you are saying now.  And under your terms, I'm basically saying "Physical first, Ideological next." 

I guess we are in agreement then?

I see no reason to wait with the ideological battle. We should urge the administration to combat the physical threat, while at the same time criticizing its religious tendencies. And we can certainly criticize Islam thoroughly at the same time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm actually asking for caution in our ideological battle. I would prefer to fight for the status quo at the moment (in the US and in regards to Christianity). We are not in too bad of a situation right now in relation to Christianity. While it will become a threat later on, the majority of Christians today are decent people. They are mostly rational, happy, benevolent, hard working, and pro-American. There is no need in us alienating ourselves from such a large and powerful ally. By being very open and vocal in our opposition to Christianity, we risk losing some good people.

I don't think that it would be compromising to fight Islam on both ideological and physical grounds, and retain the status quo ideologically in the United States with Christianity. That battle is a more civil ideological battle, a battle better saved when we don't have militant Muslims, as well as an armed China and North Korea who threaten our very lives.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, and would like to add that the standard is the respect for secular law. Most Christians respect the legal separation of Church and State even if they are opposed to it. They may be opposed to abortion, but do not advocate breaking the law to fight abortion, let alone resorting to violence against abortionists. In contrast, many Moslems don't respect the secular law if it clashes with the Moslem law. 

Is it secular law or individual rights that should be the dividing line? Many Christians respect my right to believe or not, but the militant Muslims do not. While both Christians and Muslims, qua religionists, are ultimately enemies of reason, reality, rights, liberty, and our very lives, the people the West are at war with are militant Muslims. Their initiation of force violates our rights, and entitles us to respond accordingly.

But that doesn't entitle us to bomb, say, St. Peter's Cathedral. The Pope has not launched waves of terrorist actions, despite his declarations that are consistent with all-out war on any human values.

You're right. I equated respect for secular law with respect for individual rights because I was thinking about the U.S. The Soviet law was secular but did not respect individal rights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I would prefer to fight for the status quo at the moment (in the US and in regards to Christianity).  We are not in too bad of a situation right now in relation to Christianity.

We are in a terrible situation right now -- thanks to Christianity. Christianity, reinforced by supposedly secular philosophy, has caused all the major bad conditions of our society -- ranging from taxation and welfare programs to our pathetic defense of Western Civilization from threats (both from Islamo-fascists and China). President George Bush allowed the attacks on 9/11/2001 to happen. His response since then has been as weak, a result, I believe, of the Christian side of his Christian pragmatism.

[...] the majority of Christians today are [...] rational [....].  There is no need in us alienating ourselves from such a large and powerful ally.  By being very open and vocal in our opposition to Christianity, we risk losing some good people.

Could you explain how presenting rational arguments will alientate supposedly rational people, that is, people fully focused on facts of reality?

I don't think that it would be compromising to fight Islam on both ideological and physical grounds, and retain the status quo ideologically in the United States with Christianity.  That battle is a more civil ideological battle, a battle better saved when we don't have militant Muslims, as well as an armed China and North Korea who threaten our very lives.

I think this misses the point: The reason "we" (the U. S. and its true allies) are not now successful in defending Western Civilization is precisely because of Christianity: The fundamental principles of Christianity are no different from the principles of Islam and Chinese and North Korean national socialism.

I make a distinction between Christianity -- which is a primitive form of philosophy, that is, a set of fundamental principles -- and the actual, day-to-day "working" philosophies of individuals who might call themselves Christians. Christianity is utterly corrupt. Many individual "Christians" are semi-objective in their actual, often implicit, philosophy. They accept bad ideas through default. If such people are rational, they will welcome Objectivist arguments, not be alienated by them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm actually asking for caution in our ideological battle.  I would prefer to fight for the status quo at the moment (in the US and in regards to Christianity).  We are not in too bad of a situation right now in relation to Christianity.  While it will become a threat later on, the majority of Christians today are decent people.  They are mostly rational, happy, benevolent, hard working, and pro-American.  There is no need in us alienating ourselves from such a large and powerful ally.  By being very open and vocal in our opposition to Christianity, we risk losing some good people. 

 

I don't think that it would be compromising to fight Islam on both ideological and physical grounds, and retain the status quo ideologically in the United States with Christianity.  That battle is a more civil ideological battle, a battle better saved when we don't have militant Muslims, as well as an armed China and North Korea who threaten our very lives.

To the degree that Christians today are decent people like you say, they will understand that fighting Militant Islam is in their own interest, regardless of our criticisms of religion as such. And I don't know who is this "we" you are talking about when you say: "By being very open and vocal in our opposition to Christianity, we risk losing some good people."

Should ARI stop publishing articles condemning the attacks on stem-cell research, or supporting abortion "for the time being?"

That's the same policy the US took with the USSR during WW2. The result can only be the strengthening of the religious right which will result in a Cold War (and there's no guarantee our side will win).

I don't see how continuing to honestly criticize religion can jeopardize our (nonexistent) war on Militant Islam.

To make my position clear - I'm not advocating attacking Christianity in every article we publish about Militant Islam's war against the West. That depends on the subject and theme of the article. What I AM saying is that we should not forget that it is ultimately useless, when arguing against a religion, to criticize just part of it without showing that the whole religion is flawed from its root.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Islam is the enemy – and we should say so.

Since faith and force are corollaries, all religions, in embracing the former, gravitate to the latter. However, at present, Islam is the only religion explicitly structured around the concept of theocracy. It is a complete system with laws dictating virtually every aspect of man’s existence – economic, political and social. It leaves almost nothing to individual choice; it effectively outlaws thinking.

Christianity has its ten commandments, but Islam has thousands. IslamOnline.net has an archive of fatwa issued since April of 2000. There are approximately 10,000 of them, at that web site alone. Has any other religion ever attempted to rule the lives of men in such detail? In Iran, the law even dictates the proper size rocks to use in a stoning.

Islam’s intellectuals, its imams and clerics, may condemn terrorism. They may disagree about how to achieve a global Islamic theocracy. However, they are only arguing over the means. In the end, they hold that Islam is the only valid source for the laws that should govern society. That notion is the essence of theocracy -- and I have never heard it repudiated by a Muslim cleric or imam.

We should not use qualifiers such as “militant” or “fundamentalist” or “extremist” when identifying the enemy. Such qualifiers deflect attention from the nature of Islam, from the fact that it exhorts its followers to convert infidels and, absent reason, force is the only way to do it. A terrorist is a serious or sincere Muslim, nothing more or less.

We should be using qualifiers in referring to those Muslims who have adopted some Western values, such as reason, or who deny Islam’s nature and try to cover its goals. Such people are, respectively, either “secularized Muslims” or “Muslim apologists” or “Muslim propagandists”.

Our enemy is Islam and its foot soldiers: Muslims who practice it seriously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Christianity has its ten commandments, but Islam has thousands.

Are you saying that Muslims' fatwas are equivalent to the Ten Commandments of the Hebrew bible? My understanding is that a fatwa is only a legal opinion issued by an Islamic religious scholar (not necessarily a "cleric" such as an imam [prayer leader]). A fatwa is binding on those who recognize the issuer as the best authority. However, one fatwa (opinion) may differ from another fatwa issued by another "authority" who lives in the same town. Eventually a Muslim population will reach a consensus on most fatwas, but only after long argument in some cases.

In the Catholic Church, by contrast, resolution of conflicting opinions about Church law would be achieved hierarchically: Successively higher authorities would decide until the top of the pyramid was reached, for example by a synod (assembly) of bishops -- or perhaps by a pope (officially a bishop of Rome, no matter where he came from originally, a bishop elected by the college of cardinals, who are bishops elevated to special administrative status).

P. S. -- Exactly where on IslamOnline.net did you find the list of 10,000 fatwas? I went to the site but couldn't find the list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you saying that Muslims' fatwas are equivalent to the Ten Commandments of the Hebrew bible?

I think they are equivalent in the sense that both claim to be based on divinely revealed ethics, i.e. rules of behavior handed down by god. My point is that Islam may not be unique among religions in the existence of such rules, but as far as I know the extent of the rules is unique.

Does any other religion have the equivalent of Islam's sharia?

My understanding is that a fatwa is only a legal opinion issued by an Islamic religious scholar (not necessarily a "cleric" such as an imam [prayer leader]). A fatwa is binding on those who recognize the issuer as the best authority. However, one fatwa (opinion) may differ from another fatwa issued by another "authority" who lives in the same town. Eventually a Muslim population will reach a consensus on most fatwas, but only after long argument in some cases.
This is my understanding as well. However, under theocracies like Iran and the former Taliban regime, and in some authoritarian nations like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, these legal opinions are enforced by law or by extra-legal gangs of religious police.
P. S. -- Exactly where on IslamOnline.net did you find the list of 10,000 fatwas? I went to the site but couldn't find the list.
IslamOnline holds "Live Fatwa" sessions two or three times a week. People submit questions on-line and various religious authorities provide Islam's answer or ruling. Here is a LINK.

Since April of 200, some 699 sessions have been held (there are 11 additional recent sessions not shown at the archive link.). At random, I counted the number of questions and rulings issued in 10 sessions. The average was 15. Multiplied times 699 sessions gives 10,485.

Of course, some of these are no doubt redundant, which is why I said "thousands". Whatever the number is, reading through these fatwa sessions shows the incredible extent to which Islam proposes to regulate man's life. I don't know what is more disheartening: the fact that so many individuals are prepared to ask Islam's ruling on so many details, or the fact that Islam in fact has so many rulings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We should not use qualifiers such as “militant” or “fundamentalist” or “extremist” when identifying the enemy.  Such qualifiers deflect attention from the nature of Islam, from the fact that it exhorts its followers to convert infidels and, absent reason, force is the only way to do it.  A terrorist is a serious or sincere Muslim, nothing more or less.

That's why I like "Islamist" and "Islamofascist". (I've decided to use both, depending on the situation) They are single words indicating that the evil of their ideology lies not in the fact that it is a "perversion" of Islam, but in that it is a literal, compeletely consistent practice of the religion. A Muslim doesn't fit these terms to the extent that they depart from, water down, and secularize it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ARI's choice of word-usage is "totalitarian Islam"; it's used in Yaron Brook's and Onkar Ghate's just-published op-ed. Is this the most correct term to describe the enemy we are fighting?

Too concrete. The enemy is corruption of objectivity + aggressive use of force = primitivity. To be kept in mind when talking to them...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The enemy is corruption of objectivity + aggressive use of force = primitivity.

Shouldn't a name, ideally, identify or at least imply the essential distinguishing characteristics of the thing named?

Is the enemy that the U. S. and its allies are fighting militarily really "primitivity" -- or is it more narrowly an enemy fundamentally motivated by Islam and specifically desiring to force all elements of society into conformance with Islam?

If the latter, then wouldn't "Islamists" or "Islamo-fascists" be more appropriate for a name? After all, "Islam" means "submission" (to Allah) and "fascism" names a particular political ideology based on aggression used to force elements of society to conform.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I make a distinction between Christianity -- which is a primitive form of philosophy, that is, a set of fundamental principles -- and the actual, day-to-day "working" philosophies of individuals who might call themselves Christians. Christianity is utterly corrupt. Many individual "Christians" are semi-objective in their actual, often implicit, philosophy. They accept bad ideas through default. If such people are rational, they will welcome Objectivist arguments, not be alienated by them.

I think what you said here defines what I had in mind. When I speak of "Christians", I mean those individuals who use it as a day-to-day "working" philosophy. Of course Christianity is totally corrupt; I fully agree with you on that issue.

With that in mind, here is what I meant about "alienation". As I stated, those day-to-day people are semi-rational, pro-freedom, pro-American people on average. However, because they have accepted a contradiction, most in my experience will chose faith over what is right. Thus, our attacks on Christianity I'm afraid might "blind and immobilize" those who might in any other case be our greatest allies.

I think the way of getting around this is fighting Christianity in the intellectual realm, ie. against their intellectuals, in colleges, etc. It is here that the war with Christianity should be waged, not in the office or on the streets or with your neighbors.

Islam is different in this manner. Because your coworker or neighbor in the Middle East could be a potential Islamo-fighter, and indeed many are, then it is on the streets and against the people we should fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One phrase (which is not a concept, being multiple words) that I frequently use because it can be correctly applied to the Islamic dictatorships, the North Koreas, the radical environmentalists, people who think that the American Indians should have lived as they were for the next 20,000 years, etc. of the world, is: enemy of civilization.

I use my own concise term for them which is always understood by my listeners on first hearing.

I call them "Anti-Civs."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I use my own concise term for them which is always understood by my listeners on first hearing. 

I call them "Anti-Civs."

That has the virtue of being more concise and closer to a concept.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites