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February 19, 2004

The gentle jihadist & other tales

It seems that the mainstream-Left is is becoming cautious about its modus vivendi with "moderate" Islam in the West. They have alway known that beasts of the deep lurk in the belly of multiculturalism, but a muscular Islam actualizes what was previously a theory. When I read the book Taking Back Islam: American Muslims Reclaim Their Faith, I was struck by the double-think of many of the authors, asserting that Islam must change in one paragraph, and stating that Islam is not the problem, it is the cultures that espouse it, in the next. These banal platitudes remind me of running in place, the solution simply recapitulates the problem, giving birth to the next generation of spineless apologetics.

A Slate piece, Veil of Tears, chronciles the rise and fall of "Arab feminism." The interesting point is that these written-for-public-consumption articles always seem to point to the 1950s as the peak of Arab feminism-the very decade that the "American housewife" reached the apotheosis of her development. While the Arab woman has (according to the conventional narrative) regressed toward a quasi-pre-modern-state since the the days of Ike, her Western sisters have rushed headlong though the sexual revolution and emerged out the other end of the transformative apparatus changed. The implication is clear, the 1950s marked the decade when Arab social liberalism and American social conservatism converged toward some semblance of similarity.

On another note, Randy MacDonald expresses his opinion on the veil & France. Randy's opinions reflect many of my own. He is a non-heterosexual. I am an apostate. Our very existence demands that the old time religion be crushed underfoot, castrated and disemboweled, driven to the inner & personal realm, a faction on the margins waxing nostalgic for the days of old. Our existence demands that this be so[1]. It is not a matter of right or wrong, but the dominion of their way or our way.

My co-blogger notes that a social equilibrium once altered is difficult to reattain, yet I feel that this analogy works best for modern liberal societies. The march of science and the concomitant artistic & cultural ferment that is the West, the modern itself, makes us forget the power of the eternal recurrence. A cyclical view of time did not emerge ex nihilo, rather, it is a rational formulation of the order of things in a world that is changeless, always shifting between narrow & permanent constraints. Because we in the West have broken the eternal cycle of suffering does not deny that the day might come when we are once more trapped in the wheel of existence. Complacency is the mother of regress.

Addendum: People are dying for selling beer in Iraq. This, our once and future Lockean democracy, the Light Unto The Arab Nations. Look to your Heineken and remember the important things in life....

Update: Schadenfreude over at NRO over the silent collapse of the Muslim-Left alliance.

1. This applies to the geographic domains of the post-Christian West. An attempted imposition of a universal moral order on a global scale at sharp variance with local traditions is bound to backfire.

Posted by razib at 01:51 PM