The following address was given to the Wednesday Morning Club at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on April 28, 2006. -- The Editors.
Exactly twenty years ago the Soviet leadership was in deep denial about the catastrophe that had struck Chernobyl on April 26, 1986. It pretended that life could go on as before, that nothing of great importance had happened. The Comrades hoped, absurdly, that Chernobyl’s awful consequences could be concealed from all those untold millions of people doomed to suffer its short and long-term consequences.
Two decades later, Western elites are behaving in exactly the same manner on the subject of Islam. It is ironic that the misnamed National Public Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and various lesser organs of the dominant cultural Nomenklatura, have devoted so many minutes and column-inches to the criminal myopia of the Kremlin two decades ago, while remaining…not oblivious, but actively supportive, of the ongoing criminal betrayal of trust and responsibility, of which the political, academic and media elites on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are guilty.
I am not going to waste your time this morning with yet another treatise on the nature of Islam, with yet another refutation of the alleged dichotomy between "true Islam" (peaceful, tolerant, etc.) and its supposedly aberrant terrorist fringe. We are way beyond that, or at least we should be: had Americans agonized, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, whether Shinto war actually good but only Bushido was bad, the Greater Asian Co-prosperity Sphere would be going strong to this day. Those who still have doubts on this score should read not only my books, but also those by Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or…and above all, they should read the Koran.
I am also not going to talk about something called "Global War Against Terrorism" because "GWAT" is itself a misnomer indicative of the pathology of the elite class. Its squeamishness in naming the enemy is but one sign of a malaise that hampers a coherent effort. Had Scipio issued a rallying call for the War on Elephants, Hannibal would have marched into Rome in triumph. Had World War II been waged against Guderian’s Blitzkrieg, rather than against Nazism, the Reich would still have 927 years to go.
It is in the inability and unwillingness of the elite class to confront jihad that Western Europe and North America most tellingly certify that they share the same chromosomes, that they belong to one culture and constitute one civilization.
Hilaire Belloc, in The Great Heresies (1938), presciently wondered, "Will not perhaps the temporal power of Islam return and with it the menace of an armed Muhammadan world which will shake the dominion of Europeans—still nominally Christian—and reappear again as the prime enemy of our civilization?" Seven decades later, the same traits of decrepitude are present in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Canada – and here in the United States, including both the primary cause, which is the loss of religious faith, and several secondary ones.
The latter include elite hostility to all forms of solidarity of the majority population based on shared historical memories and common culture; the loss of a sense of place and history; rapid demographic decline, unparalleled in history; rampant Third World immigration; collapse of private and public manners and morals; imposition of "diversity," "multiculturalism," "sensitivity"; and demonization and criminalization of any opposition to any of the above.
One consequence is the Westerners’ loss of the sense of propriety over their lands. Before 1914, both the West and the Muslim world could define themselves against each other in a cultural sense. What this elite-mandated is to cast aside any idea of any specifically "Western" geographic and cultural space that should be protected from those who do not belong to it and have no rightful claim to it.
Another result is an elite consensus that de facto open immigration, multiculturalism, and the existence of a large Muslim diaspora within the Western world are to be treated as a fixed given, and must not be scrutinized in any anti-terrorist debate. That consensus, I contend, is ideological in nature, flawed in logic, dogmatic in application, and disastrous in its results. It needs to be tested against evidence, not against the alleged norms of acceptable public discourse imposed by those who either do not know Islam, or else do not want us to know the truth about it.
There is a problem, however. It is that a depraved mass culture and multiculturalist indoctrination in state schools have already largely neutralized the sense of historical and cultural continuity among young West Europeans and North Americans. By contrast, the blend of soft porn and consumerism targeting every denizen of the Western world, every day from millions of flickering screens and printed pages, have not had the same effect on the Muslim diaspora in the West. The roll-call of Western-born and educated Muslims supportive of terrorism confirms that failure.
The loss of a sense of place and history experienced by millions of Westerners, whether they are aware of that loss or not, follows the emergence of a trans-national hyper-state in Europe and the notion of "benevolent global hegemony" in Washington. These two mindsets, seemingly at odds, are but two aspects of the same emerging globalized universe. The former advocates "multilateralism" in the form of an emerging "international community" controlled by the United Nations and adjudicated by the International Criminal Court (ICC), with the EU acting as an interim medium for transferring sovereign prerogatives to a supra-national body; the latter prefer to be the only cop in town. Both share the same distaste for traditional, naturally evolving societies and cultures. Echoing the revolutionary dynamism and historicist Messianism of their common Marxist roots, Michael Ledeen asserted that "creative destruction" is America’s eternal mission: "We have a glorious opportunity to improve life on our planet, and we are the right people, at the right time, to pull it off. The most dangerous threat to our success is limited vision and insufficient ambition. If we act like the revolutionary force we truly are, we can once again reshape the world…"
American proponents of this breathtakingly hubristic agenda have de facto allies among Europe’s neo-Marxist leftists of Prodi’s and Solana’s ilk. Divisions between them refer not to the common goal of advancing a global revolutionary project but only to the ways and means of doing so. The end of the Cold War has cleared the way for them to move beyond the Gramscian "long march." In the apparent defeat of revolutionary struggle – epitomized by the triumph of liberal capitalism over Bolshevism – the neo-Marxist axis has found the seeds of future victory for their universalist paradigm, which globalization makes possible by eradicating traditional structures capable of resistance.
Globalization, both in its Eurocratic and pax Americana guise, is "objectively" an ally of the revolutionary change desired by neo-Marxists, not only because it destroys the remnants of the old order, as Ledeen gloats, but also because it contains the germ of another form of globalization: the counter-Empire that will be made possible by the ongoing rapid demographic change within the Western world.
The revolutionary character of the project is revealed in the mantra of Race, Gender and Sexuality, now elevated to the status of the post-modern Philosopher’s Stone. Race, Gender and Sexuality are the Force that moves the linear historical process forward, towards the grand Gleichschaltung of nations, races, and cultures that will mark the end of history. Race, Gender and Sexuality have replaced the Proletariat as both the oppressed underclass (hence the cult of the non-white, non-male, non-heterosexual victimhood), and as the historically preordained agent of revolutionary change.
Classical Marxist political economy found the dynamics of revolution in the inevitable conflict between the owners of the means of production and the proletariat that has nothing to sell but its labor and nothing to lose but its chains. The system was self-referential and therefore fatally flawed; but in the late 19th century it seemed to possess a degree of quasi-scientific neatness. Latter-day Marxist revolutionaries go beyond any recognizable variety of dialectical materialism, however, by introducing a wholly metaphysical concept of victimhood and an array of associated special-rights claims that have worked such wonders for Islam all over the Western world. Majority populations of Europe and America, in this insane but all-pervasive paradigm, are guilty of oppression by their very existence and must not protest the migratory deluge.
The fruits are with us already. Gibbon may have had today’s Antwerp or LA in mind when he described Rome in decline, its hoi poloi morphing "into a vile and wretched populace." On present form, within a century the host-country majorities will melt away: "child-free" is used as a legitimate yuppie lifestyle term, on par with "fat-free" and "drug-free." But whereas the threat of extinction of an exotic tribal group in Borneo or Amazonia – let alone a species of spotted owl or sperm whale – would cause elite alarm and prompt activism, it is deemed inherently racist to mention the fact that Europeans are, literally, endangered species.
There will be no grand synthesis, no civilizational cross-fertilization, between the West and Islam. It’s kto-kogo. Even the ultra-tolerant Dutch have seen the light after Theo van Gogh’s murder, but they are hamstrung by a ruling class composed of guilt-ridden self-haters and appeasers. Their hold on the political power, the media, and the academe is undemocratic, unnatural, obscene. If Europe is to survive they need to be unmasked for what they are: traitors to their nations and their culture. They must be replaced by people ready and willing to subject the issues of immigration and identity to the test of democracy, unhindered by administrative or judicial fiat.
The war against jihad can and must be won. The first task is to start talking frankly about the identity and character of the enemy and the nature of the threat. It is essential to discard the taboos and to discuss Islam and the Muslims without fear or guilt, or the shackles of mandated thinking. The obligation to do so is dictated by morality no less than by the need for self-preservation. "Historians in free countries have a moral and professional obligation not to shirk the difficult issues and subjects that some people would place under a sort of taboo," Bernard Lewis warned over two decades ago, "not to submit to voluntary censorship, but to deal with these matters fairly, honestly, without apologetics, without polemic, and, of course, competently."
"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles," says Sun Tzu. We know the jihadist enemy. We know his core beliefs, his role models, his track-record, his mindset, his modus operandi, and his intentions. We also know his weaknesses, which are many, above all his inability to develop a prosperous economy or a functional, harmonious society.
The main problem is with ourselves, with those among us who have the power to make policy and shape opinions, and who will reject and condemn our diagnosis. Having absorbed postmodernist assumptions, certain only of uncertainty, devoid of any serious faith except that in their own infallibility but loath to be "judgmental," members of our own elite class treat the jihadist mindset as a pathology that can and should be treated by treating causes external to Islam itself. The result is a plethora of proposed "cures" that are as likely to succeed in making us safe from terrorism as snake oil is likely to cure leukemia.
Abroad, we are told, we need to address political and economic grievances of the impoverished masses, we need to spread democracy and free markets in the Muslim world, we need to invest more in public diplomacy. At home we need more tolerance, greater inclusiveness, less profiling, and a more determined outreach to the minorities that feel marginalized and threatened by the war on terror.
The predictable failure of such cures leads to ever more pathological self-scrutiny and morbid self-doubt. This vicious circle is untenable and must be broken.
The deadlock on the Somme in 1916, or at Verdun a year later, could not be broken with the ideas and modus operandi of Messrs. Haigh, Foche, or Hindenburg. It could have been unlocked, however, had Lidell-Hart, de Gaulle, or Guderian held their ranks and positions. Winning a war demands "knowing the enemy and knowing oneself," of course, but it also demands "thinking outside the box." This cliché is apt: the magnitude of the threat demands radical responses that fall outside the cognitive parameters of the elite class. Let us start our specific policy recommendations with the complex and emotionally charged issue of constitutional rights versus national security.
In December 2005 it was disclosed that soon after the September 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency "to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying." Quoting unnamed government officials The New York Times revealed that, under a presidential order signed in 2002, the National Security Agency (NSA) has monitored the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of potential terror suspects.
A remarkable feature of the 3,800-word article, which focused on the legal, constitutional and operational issues implicit in the case, was its failure to explore the identity of those "Americans and others inside the United States" who have been subjected to NSA’s surveillance. This failure created the impression that just about any "American" may be subjected to such unwarranted and possibly illegal intrusion. The ensuing controversy was presented by the mass media to the nation through the inflammatory headline, "Bush authorized spying on Americans."
The unwillingness of the mainstream media to disclose the exact identity of the NSA eavesdropping subjects was reminiscent of its refusal to disclose the religious identity of tens of thousands of rioters who wreaked havoc in dozens of French suburbs last fall. In both cases the mainstream media were guilty of misconstruing reality for reasons rooted in their ideological prejudices and political preferences.
Within America, glossing over the surveillance targets’ identity has two objectives. First of all, it presented President Bush as an out-of-control autocrat-in-the-making whose hoods may be eavesdropping on any one of us at any time. Secondly, it also implied that a Muslim who has become a naturalized American citizen is so thoroughly and irrevocably "American," that no hyphenated designation or qualifier is called for.
Abroad, concealing the rioters’ identity fits in with the liberal world view that reject the notion that faith can be a prime motivating factor in human affairs, or that importing Muslim immigrants may be in any way disadvantageous for the host country. Having reduced religion, politics and art to "narratives" and "metaphors" which merely reflect prejudices based on the distribution of power, the elite class saw the rioters’ shout of "Allahu akbar!" as a mere idiosyncrasy that would be cured if the French state gave those "youths" more jobs, dark-skinned TV anchors, and, of course, lots of "affirmative action" in employment and education.
The legal and constitutional dilemma over whether the government should spy on "Americans" at home or not and whether a court warrant is needed or not, is worthy of debate in principle. It is both false and unnecessary under the circumstances. Radical solutions are needed for radical challenges, and they do exist. If and when all persons engaged in Islamic activism are excluded from America, there will be no need for such instrusive domestic surveillance. We don’t need any legislation to protect CAIR’s clients’ privacy, we need the law that will treat any naturalized citizen’s or resident alien’s known or suspected adherence to an Islamic world outlook as excludable – on political, rather than "religious" grounds.
For starters, it is essential to refuse or rescind U.S. citizenship to Islamic activists. All Americans – real Americans, that is, and not those who falsely take the oath of citizenship but continue to preach jihad and Sharia – will be spared the worry about Mr. Bush listening in to their phone conversations if Islamic activism is treated as grounds for the loss of acquired U.S. citizenship and deportation. The citizenship of any naturalized American who preaches jihad, inequality of "infidels" and women, the establishment of the Shari’a law etc., should be revoked, and that person promptly deported to the country of origin.
A foreigner who becomes naturalized has to declare, on oath, "that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
For a Muslim to declare all of the above in good faith, and especially that he accepts the Constitution of the United States as the source of his highest loyalty, is an act of apostasy par excellence, punishable by death under the Islamic law. The sharia, to a Muslim, is not an addition to the "secular" legal code with which it coexists with "the Constitution and laws of the United States of America"; it is the only true code, the only basis of obligation. To be legitimate, all political power therefore must rest exclusively with those who enjoy Allah’s authority on the basis of his revealed will. America is illegitimate.
So how can a self-avowedly devout Muslim take the oath, and expect the rest of us to believe that it was done in good faith? Because he is practicing taqiyya, the art of dissimulation that was inaugurated by Muhammad to help destabilize and undermine non-Muslim communities almost ripe for a touch of Jihad. Or else because he is not devout enough and confused, but in that case there is the ever-present danger that at some point he will rediscover his roots, with a whole array of predictably unpleasant consequences for the rest of us.
As for the illegal immigration from Islamic nations, it is a major terrorist threat that can and should be eliminated. New immigration legislation should include laws to exclude all persons engaged in Islamic activism from America. Such activism should be defined as the political act of propagating, disseminating or otherwise supporting "Jihad" (in its primary sense of divinely sanctioned war against non-Muslims), discrimination against Christians, Jews and other "infidels," discrimination and violence against women and sexual minorities, sanction of slavery, poll tax, etc. This definition of Islamic activism would be a major step in the direction of denying actual or potential terrorists a foothold on American shores.
New legislation should treat a resident alien’s or prospective visitor’s known or suspected adherence to an Islamic world outlook or affiliation with the propagators of Jihad, sharia, etc. as excludable – excludable, let us re-emphasize, on political, rather than "religious" grounds. The broad model is provided by the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA, the McCarran-Walter Act), mandating the exclusion or deportation of any alien who engaged or had purpose to engage in activities prejudicial to the public interest or subversive to national security.
Islamic activism should be treated as the grounds for the exclusion or deportation of any alien, regardless of his status or ties in the United States, because such activism is inherently prejudicial to the public interest and injurious to national security. Useful precedents exist. Keeping out and facilitating the expulsion of politically undesirable foreigners has been at the heart of this country’s immigration legislation since 1903 when Congress barred the admission of anarchists in response to President McKinley’s assassination. "Ideological" grounds for deportation were on the statute books until 1990, when they were repealed by Congress. After the Russian revolution foreign communists were singled out for deportation. One night alone in January of 1920, more than 2,500 "alien radicals" were seized in thirty-three cities across the country and deported to their countries of origin. Those who preach Jihad and Sharia can and should be treated in exactly the same manner.
Conditio sine qua non all along is to accept and declare that the First Amendment does not protect Jihadists. It is in the American tradition that nothing ought to protect those who advocate the overthrow of the United States Government by force and violence, and, at bottom, that is what the Jihadists are up to. Legal regulators need to grasp that Islam itself is a radical, revolutionary ideology, inherently seditious and inimical to American values and institutions.
Acceptance of these proposals would represent a new start in devising long-term defense against terrorism. We are in a war of ideas and religion, whether we want that or not and however much we hate the fact. This war is being fought, on the Islamic side, with the deep conviction that the West is on its last legs. The success of its demographic onslaught on Europe enhances the image of "a candy store with the busted lock," and that view is reinforced by the evidence from history that a civilization that loses the urge for self-perpetuation is indeed in peril.
These proposals are not only pragmatic, they are morally just. They will elicit the accusation of "discrimination," even though no such label is applicable. Targeting people for screening, supervision and exclusion on the basis of their genes would be discriminatory indeed, but doing so because of their beliefs, ideas, actions, and intentions is justified and necessary.
Islamic beliefs, ideas and intentions as such pose a threat to our civilization and our way of life, and not some allegedly aberrant variety of Muhammad’s faith. The elite class rejects this diagnosis, of course, but among reasonable, patriotic, and well-informed citizens the debate on Islam’s nature should be long over. Americans did not agonize over communism’s "true" nature during the Berlin air lift in 1949, or at Pusan in 1950, but acted effectively to contain it by whatever means necessary.
Yes, back then we had a legion of Moscow’s apologists, character witnesses, moles and fellow-travelers, assuring us that the Comrades want nothing but social justice at home and peaceful coexistence abroad. They held tenured chairs, staffed the New York Times’ Moscow bureaus, controlled many Hollywood studios, and dominated all smart salons on both coasts. They explained away and justified the inconsistencies and horrifyingly violent implications of the source texts of Marx and Lenin. They explained away and justified the appalling fruits: the bloodbath of the Bolshevik Revolution itself, the genocidal crime of the great famine, the show trials and purges, the killing machine that destroyed millions of innocents known as the Gulag, the pact with Hitler, the works.
Today their spiritual heirs in politics, the academy and the media establishment act as Islam’s apologists, character witnesses and fellow travelers. They explain away, with identical scholastic sophistry and moral depravity, the dark and violent implications of the source texts, the Koran and the Hadith, the deeply unnerving career of Muhammad, and 14 centuries of conquests, wars, slaughters, subjugation, decline without fall, spiritual and material misery, and murderous fanaticism.
Some eighty years ago Julien Benda published his tirade against the intellectual corruption of his times, The treason of the intellectuals. For generations prior to the twentieth century, Benda wrote, members of the Western intellectual elite ensured that "humanity did evil, but honored good." The "Treason" of the title occurred when they gave up promoting lasting civilizational values and allowed short-term political preferences to distort their understanding of the intellectual vocation as such. Benda’s argument found wide resonance at a time when fascism, nazism and bolshevism dominated Europe’s political and intellectual scene. Today the "treason" of the elite class takes a different but essentially similar form. It upholds the allegedly universal values of multiculturalism, inclusiveness and antidiscriminationism to the detriment of the particular value of our civilization and all its fruits. The propensity of the elite class to the betrayal of culture – Benda called it "a cataclysm in the moral notions of those who educate the world" – remains the same, however.
The fact that normal people don’t realize the magnitude of the problem works to the advantage of the people like Blair, Soros, Zapatero, Prodi, or Kerry. Their ideas, which but two generations ago would have been deemed eccentric or insane, now rule the Euro-American mainstream. Only a society inured to the concept of a "open borders" can be unblinkingly told that Islam is good and tolerant, that "we" (the West) have been nasty and unkind to it over the centuries – remember the Crusades! – and that "terrorism" needs to be understood, and cured, independently of Islam’s teaching and practice.
At the root of the domestic malaise is the notion that countries do not belong to the people who have inhabited them for generations, but to whoever happens to be within their boundaries at any given moment – regardless of his culture, attitude, or intentions.
Another pernicious notion is that the resulting random melange of mutually disconnected multitudes is actually a blessing that enriches and elevates an otherwise arid and monotonous society.
A further evil fallacy is the dictum that we should not feel a special bond for any particular country, nation, race, or culture, but transfer our preferences on the whole world, "the Humanity," equally.
Such notions have been internalized by the elite class in America and Western Europe to the point where they actively help Islamic terrorism. In America the process has been under way for decades. By 1999 then-Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott felt ready to declare that the United States may not exist "in its current form" in the 21st century, because the very concept of nationhood – here and throughout the world – will have been rendered obsolete.
A generation earlier such uttering from a senior government official would have caused a scandal. By the end of the 20th century it bothered only the unsophisticates who persisted in assuming that the purpose of what Dr. Talbott was doing at the Department of State was to ensure the survival, security and prosperity of the United States within the international system, rather than its eventual absorption by the system. But his was an exultant prophecy, not an impartial assessment. The ideological foundation for Talbott`s beliefs was stated bluntly: "All countries are basically social arrangements, accommodations to changing circumstances. No matter how permanent and even sacred they may seem at any one time, in fact they are all artificial and temporary."
To the members of his class in Washington, New York, Brussels, London and elsewhere, all countries are but transient, virtual-reality entities. Owing emotional allegiance to any one of them is irrational, and risking one’s life for its sake is absurd.
The refusal of the elite class to protect Western nations from Islamic terrorism is the biggest betrayal in history. It is rooted in the mindset that breeds the claim that "force is not an answer" to terrorism, that profiling is bad and open borders are good, that Islam is peaceful and the West is wicked. The upholders of such claims belong to the culture that has lost its bond with nature, history, and the supporting community. In the meantime, thanks to them, the quiet onslaught continues unabated, across the Straits of Gibraltar, through JFK and O’Hare, Heathrow and Schiphol. Far from enhancing diversity, it threatens to impose a numbing sameness and eradicate the identity of target-populations, to demolish their special character and uniqueness.
That supporting community, the real nation, is still out there, in North America and Western Europe alike, working and paying taxes. When it is told of Islam’s "peace and tolerance," or when its children are forced to recite Muslim prayers at school, it grumbles about someone’s stupidity or ineptitude, but it still does not suspect outright betrayal. The betrayers, meanwhile, promote an ideology of universal human values, of a common culture for the whole world. In reality, however, the proponents of politically correct "diversity" are creating its exact opposite: a soul-numbing monism. They may not even realize why they abet Islam. For all the outward differences, they share with the mullahs and sheikhs and imams the desire for a monistic One World. They both long for Talbot’s Single Global Authority, post-national and seamlessly standardized, an ummah under whatever name.
Those Americans and Europeans who love their lands more than any others, and who put their families and their neighborhoods before all others, are normal people. Those who tell them that their attachments should be global and that their lands and neighborhoods belong to the whole world are sick and evil. They are our main enemies and jihad’s indispensable allies. The elite class, rootless, arrogant, cynically manipulative, and irreversibly jihad-friendly, has every intention of continuing to "fight" the war on terrorism without naming the enemy, without revealing his beliefs, without unmasking his intentions, without offending his accomplices, without expelling his fifth columnists, and without ever daring to win.
It is up to the millions of normal Americans and their European cousins to stop the madness. The traitor class wants them to share its death wish, to self-annihilate as people with a historical memory and a cultural identity, and to make room for the post-human, monistic Utopia spearheaded by the jihadist fifth column. This crime can and must be stopped. The founders of the United States overthrew the colonial government for offenses far lighter than those of which the traitor class is guilty.