Saturday, 27 January 2007

Combatting Fascism

Reading widely on the web one comes across so many things...

There's this quote from the author Martin Amis:
There’s a definite urge—don’t you have it?—to say, “The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order.” What sort of suffering? Not letting them travel. Deportation—further down the road. Curtailing of freedoms. Strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan. . . . Discriminatory stuff, until it hurts the whole community and they start getting tough with their children. . . . They hate us for letting our children have sex and take drugs—well, they’ve got to stop their children killing people.

Its quoted in an article by everyone's favourite Briton-turned-American and lefty-turned-righty Christopher Hitchens. Mr Hitchens then goes on to quote "my fellow atheist" Sam Harris, the author of 'The End of Faith':
The same failure of liberalism is evident in Western Europe, where the dogma of multiculturalism has left a secular Europe very slow to address the looming problem of religious extremism among its immigrants. The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.
Sam Harris seems to have gained himself a fan club of sorts. "New York Times Best-selling Author" Dan Simmons mentions his book in an article defending his short story where a time traveller from the future journeys back to the present to extol the 'West' to lose its forgiving and tolerant ways, inculcate ruthlessness and launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the Islamic world:

“Your enemies have gathered and struck and continue to strike and you, the innocents of 2006 and beyond, fight among yourselves, chew and rip at your own bellies, blame your brothers and yourselves and your institutions of the Enlightenment – law, tolerance, science, democracy – even while your enemies grow stronger.”

“How are we supposed to know who our enemies are?” I turned and growled at him. “The world is a complex place. Morality is a complex thing.”

“Your enemy is he who will give his life to kill you,” said the Time Traveler. “Your enemies are they that wish you and your children and your grandchildren dead and who are willing to sacrifice themselves, or support those fanatics who will sacrifice themselves, to see you and your institutions destroyed. You haven’t figured that out yet – the majority of you fat, sleeping, smug, infinitely stupid Americans and Europeans.”

He stood and set the Scotch glass back in its place on my sideboard. “How, we wonder in my time,” he said softly, “can you ignore the better part of a billion people who say aloud that they are willing to kill your children . . . or condone and celebrate the killing of them? And ignore them as they act on what they say? We do not understand you.”

I still had not turned to face him, but was looking over my shoulder at him.

“The world, as it turns out,” continued the Time Traveler, “is not nearly so complex a place as your liberal and gentle minds sought to make it.”

For sheer vitriol little can beat Simmons' article. He's also quoted the entire pantheon of pseudo-fascist writers and 'Clash of Civilization' hacks. All objections to the reduction of 2000 years of complex history to the clash of monolithic 'ideologies' that exist more on the pages of neoliberal political science best-sellers than in reality are brushed aside as 'materialist' (read here the old bogeyman: Marxist). Wow, if only they had read some sociology somewhere in the last 120 years, they would have found in the writings of Max Weber a 'ideological' theory of social change that was far more formidable and nuanced than their cartoonesque formulation of history.

I mean, I guess I'm one of the billion people Mr. Simmons is talking about, and I haven't ever really felt like killing anyone... not even Mr. Simmons.

But lets take that last paragraph in that quote: “How, we wonder in my time, can you ignore the better part of a billion people who say aloud that they are willing to kill your children . . . or condone and celebrate the killing of them? And ignore them as they act on what they say?"

I suppose these are questions I too should ask myself, since Mr. Simmons' alter-ego is essentially saying that he is willing to kill my (as yet unborn) children or at the least condone and celebrate the killing of them. What would my answer be?

1. Sorry, but your understanding of the world is woefully disconnected from reality, though I realise that as your deluded myth of confrontation infects ever growing numbers of people the danger of it becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy grows. Did you know that your much-cherished 'Clash of Civilizations' has been a best-seller in Iran, Pakistan and China?

2. Instead of advocating genocide I repudiate your whole agenda and way of thinking and will do my utmost to defuse this growing threat of 'justifiable genocide' under whatever cloak it wears (liberal-fascist or Islamo-fascist or whatever) by promoting through teaching humanism the very values you feel need to be discarded at a drop of the hat.

3. And why don't you put your time-travelling ass to good use and go help people like in Quantum Leap or something, you bum!


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