The white liberal fantasy collides head-on with the reality of Islam (Robert Henderson)

by Robert Henderson

NB: The territory taken from Iraq and Syria has gone by various titles: ISIS, ISIL and IS. I shall use ISIS standing for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria

The present mess in the Middle East and North Africa is largely the creation of the prime political absurdity which lies at the heart of the modern liberal fantasy, namely, that what they call liberal democracy (in truth a politically correct illiberal state) can be manufactured if only the right circumstances are created. This woefully wrongheaded idea reprises today the mistake made during the dissolution of the British Empire. The British withdrawal strategy was simple: for each ex-colony create the formal structures of a parliamentary democracy – parliaments, written constitutions, electoral systems and so on – and then, like a climbing plant covering a trellis, democratic behaviour would grow and wrap itself around the formal structures. It was at best laughably naïve and at worst a cynical fig leaf to cover the unseemly haste with which Britain relinquished control of their colonies.

The reason why the British post-colonial strategy failed is beautifully simple: political systems cannot be self-consciously created. They are organic growths. When it comes to representative government elected on a broad franchise ( a more honest description of the reality than democracy) , such growths are remarkably rare. Look around the world and see how many secure representative political systems there are. The Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand qualify because they have such representative systems and have not experienced violent revolution either at all or for centuries. All are Anglo-Saxon in origin. Who else? Switzerland and Iceland. Being generous we can perhaps add the Scandinavians and Holland. For the rest, including all the major European states, there is not one which has not had governments overthrown by outright violence or unconstitutional means since 1900.

To the rarity of stable and lasting representative government growing organically, can be added the insuperable problem of territories with immense ethnic and racial variety accepting the outcomes of elections with which they disagree. Indeed, such variety is probably the prime reason why representative government is so rare. Such disabling heterogeneity of population was the situation with the colonies Britain freed after 1945 and is the situation with the ethnic, racial and religious kaleidoscope that is the Middle East and North Africa.

A complaint is often made that the European colonial powers caused much of the post-colonial difficulty through their drawing of colonial boundaries which produced territories without a natural national unity. This complaint does not hold water. It is not that the European imperial powers did not draw such boundaries, but rather that it would not have made any general difference where the boundaries were drawn because the same problem would have arisen as a consequence of the exceptionally diverse nature of the lands involved. There were no discrete territories with populations which were large enough and homogeneous enough in race, religion and culture to form a natural nation state.

The fruits of recent Western meddling

The consequences of Western interference since the turn of the century has been uniformly dismal: it has either replaced harsh order with growing chaos or replaced one dictatorship with another. Consider how the present situation in the Middle East and North Africa has come about. First, Bush junior and Blair go gallivanting into Afghanistan and reduce that to a battleground for violent Islam and tribal hatreds and jealousies to play out. From there they decide to meddle in Iraq by invading on the entirely spurious grounds that Saddam Hussein represented a threat to the West because he had weapons of mass destruction. That the UN Weapons inspectors reported they had found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction and asked for more time counted for nothing. Neither did the fact that at the time of the invasion Saddam was being restrained in his behaviour by sanctions and a Western-enforced no-fly zone over the Kurdish areas. Having deposed Saddam and his regime Iraq was placed under a military occupation which went the way of all military occupations, gradual dissolution through the exhaustion of the occupying power.

Then came the miserably entitled Arab Spring, whose fruits have been bitter indeed. Because there are nonatural nation states in the area, the “Arab Spring” was doomed to the failure it has been because the states involved were all fissile territories whose diverse populations were only held in check from internecine fighting by harsh dictators, whether republican or monarchical.

Libya has been reduced to a state of anarchy with rival militias, tribes, gangs – call them what you will- making hay with the weapons made freely available by the overthrow of Gadhafi. With a grim irony Egypt has swapped a covert military dictatorship for an overt military dictatorship, whilst dispensing with an elected if Islamist president on the way. Iraq has lurched into an increasing state of disorder as the US has gradually withdrawn and is now divided between Iraq, Kurdistan and ISIS.

Most gruesomely for Western politicians, the tyrant of Syria Bashir Assad has withstood the attempts, vociferously supported by the West, to destroy him and his regime by the rag-tag and politically indeterminate “Free Syrian Army” and is now through the emergence of ISIS the only plausible obstacle to ISIS ‘ continued existence and expansion. If realpolitik ruled the West would be making common cause with Assad but because they have labelled him a devil they cannot bring themselves to do the sensible thing and make common cause with him so that he can restore some sort of order to Syria.

What can and should be done by the West?

The liberal warmongers are ever more eagerly saying that If the West does not intervene militarily to destroy aggressive Islam then parts of the Middle East will be breeding grounds and safe havens for terrorists to carry their terror into the West.

But if the West does intervene militarily to successfully snuff out ISIS, then the likelihood would be that ISIS members, especially those who come from Western states, would return to their various countries determined to wage terrorist war there. Moreover, the West would be committed to remaining indefinitely in the territory they have taken from ISIS, their very presence being a standing motive for violent Muslims in the West to attack the countries which harbour them.

Nor would the destruction of ISIS in Iraq and Syria be an end of violent Islam creating havens to protect, train and send terrorists into to the West. Afghanistan is ripe to fall to the Taliban once Western military forces are withdrawn. Parts of Pakistan are controlled by violent Islam. Libya is little more than a geographical expression filled with petty warlords and ripe for violent Islam to go to if it is not already there. Deeper into Africa there is the Boko Haram spreading throughout the West. In the East Kenya and Uganda suffer from Muslim terrorist attacks, Ethiopia and Somalia have serious Islamist incursions to deal with while in Sudan violent Islam holds power. It is increasingly difficult to point to parts of Africa which remain untouched by violent Islam.

The plain truth is that even if the West were willing and able to suppress ISIS in Syria and Iraq by force, they could never control violent Islam because violent Islam would simply keep on the move from one accommodating territory to another.

How serious a threat to the West is ISIS?

The potential of ISIS to create a lasting aggressive and powerful Islamic state is grossly overblown. It has taken a great deal of territory very rapidly, but that is unsurprising in a place like the Middle East where there is a good deal of desert and the formal states whose land has been taken were all in some governmental disarray , which is not a recipe for inspiring troops to resolutely fight a determined aggressor such as ISIS. In the case of Iraq the discriminatory behaviour of the Maliki government had seriously alienated the Sunni minority which provided a reason for Iraqi Sunnis to have some fellow feeling with the Sunni ISIS. Moreover, even where there are large numbers of people willing to resist ISIS, as appears to be the case in Kurdistan, that is of little avail if they are equipped with much inferior weaponry and training.

But taking territory is one thing, maintaining control of it quite another. That is particularly the case where the territory conquered has a population which is chronically divided by religion and ethnicity and is spread over several formal states. ISIS need to rapidly show they are up to administering the land they have taken. Easier said than done, especially as they are likely to be engaging in warfare for quite some time to come, both with elements within the territory they have taken and from outside. Terror tactics only take a conqueror go so far. They are not a sufficient basis for ruling.

There is also considerable scope for ISIS to fracture because the land they have captured is exceptionally ethnically and religiously diverse, the ISIS personnel is very cosmopolitan and may come to be resented by even the native Sunnis in the ISIS territory and ISIS will have to fight the remnant of Iraq (with its hostile Shia majority) and Assad’s Syrian Army. There is also the possibility that Iran may join in.

Much has been made of the modern weaponry and auxiliary military equipment ISIS have taken , but the equipment will require considerable expertise to maintain and operate it. Such skills, especially that needed to maintain the equipment, will probably not be available in the quantities needed. Moreover, ISIS will need to buy more modern weaponry, especially munitions, as time goes on and it is not clear who will sell it to them in sufficient quantity and quality.

A ghastly irony for the West, and most particularly the USA, is the fact that they have supplied much of the military equipment which ISIS are using , either because the equipment has been captured from Iraqi forces or because the equipment was supplied by the West to the Syrian rebels fighting Assad, significant numbers of whom share the mentality of ISIS. The fact that ISIS have had the success they have had is unsurprising given the circumstances. Keeping hold of what they have will take up all their energies for the foreseeable future.

The enemy within

The real threat to the West comes not from ISIS but the large Muslim populations in the West which the treacherous and deluded liberal internationalists have allowed to settle as they pursued their fatuous dream of a world without borders or nation states. The last UK Census in 2011 shows 2.7 million people identifying themselves as Muslims (4.8 per cent of the population). This is almost certainly substantially less than the real figure because the Census depends on self-reporting and there is a significant minority of the UK population who never complete the Census form because they are either here illegally or have a mentality which makes them think that giving any information about themselves to a government is dangerous.

How does the West protect itself from homicidal Muslims within its own territory? It would be a next to impossible question to find an adequate answer to even in a country which has meaningful border controls because of the number of Muslims born and bred in the West. In a country such as Britain which effectively has open borders the question becomes not merely hideously difficult but absurd.

In Britain the Coalition government has floundered around talking about removing passports from people trying to leave Britain if they are suspected Jihadis, , the banning from Britain of those who have been in Iraq and Syria, the reintroduction of control orders and, most pathetically, the idea that Muslim coming back from fighting for ISIS can be turned into good British citizens through re-education.

Any action by Western politicians is problematic because as a class they have lost the ability to instinctively act in the national interests of the people they are supposed to represent. They ignore the first duty of a politician in a democracy which is to ask what is best for their own people. Instead their calamitous mentality is that described in Jean Raspail’s “Camp of the Saints” where the response of politicians and the liberal elite generally to the passive-aggressive misery of huge numbers of migrants from the Third World arriving in the West overwhelms the needs of their own people.

But Western elites are becoming seriously afraid of both the danger represented by violent Muslims in their countries and the anger of their native populations . As a consequence there are things being said now by public figures which would have been unthinkable only a few short weeks ago. The one-time Shadow Home Secretary David Davis pushes for British Muslims who go to fight with the likes of Isis to be stripped of their British citizenship regardless of whether this leaves them stateless so that their “trip to Syria is no longer a short violent holiday but a life sentence to the lifestyle they claim to espouse, complete with Sharia law and a desert climate”. The Leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage advocates the same thing while the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey says that “ Multiculturalism has resulted in honour killings, female genital mutilation and rule by Sharia law” and supports the call to remove British citizenship from those who go to join violent Islam. The Mayor London Boris Johnson wants Muslims returning from Syria and Iraq to be considered guilty until proven innocent of terrorist activity, a bald reversal of the ancient right under English law to be considered innocent until proven guilty. .

The journalist Leo McKinstry places the responsibility for the present danger firmly on successive British governments :

“The fact is that extremism has flourished in a climate formed by the twin strategies of mass immigration and multiculturalism. Open borders have led to a phenomenal expansion in Britain’s Muslim population to almost three million, many of the new arrivals hailing from parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia where Islamic sectarianism is rife.

At the same time the dogma of cultural diversity has become one of the central obsessions of the state. We are constantly told that we must celebrate the vibrant enrichment of our society. But, by its emphasis on cultural differences and its loathing for traditional British values the doctrine of diversity has been a catastrophe for Britain.

In place of integration it has promoted division and separatism. We are a land increasingly without a mutual sense of belonging or shared national identity. It is little wonder that, according to one recent survey, 26 per cent of Muslims here said they feel no loyalty to Britain.”

The problem is that while the public rhetoric is changing nothing significant alters on the ground. The words change but the circumstances remain much the same. The liberal elites are still paralysed by both political correctness and the ghastly fact that dangerous fifth columns now exist because of their mass immigration policies and the consequent need to suppress native British dissent about its effects. In addition through their policy of multiculturalism the liberal elite has encouraged ethnic and racial minorities to both live culturally apart from and behave in a flagrantly provocative manner towards the native population. The upshot of all this is that those with power in the West dare not admit there is a general problem amongst immigrant communities ( which live largely separate lives in their own communities) because to do so would be to admit that the fault lay with them.

In an attempt to circumvent the danger of being held to account, Western politicians and the mainstream media try to peddle the “violent Muslims are only a tiny percentage of Muslims living amongst us; the vast majority are well educated, peace loving, hardworking law abiding citizens”. This is a dubious proposition in itself when the crime, educational attainment, benefit take up and unemployment statistics show Muslims to be more prone to crime, have below average educational attainment and are more likely to be unemployed or on in-work benefits than the population as a whole. But even if none of those things were true the problem of violent Islam in Britain would still be there because many of the Muslims who have been outed as sharing violent Islam’s ideas are not from the lower reaches of society.

The important thing to understand is that it is never the peaceful minority which counts in these circumstances. What matters is the terrorist minority. They drive the terror and enlist the non-violent to aid them in various ways. The Provisional IRA (PIRA) in Ireland probably never had no more than a thousand people actively engaged in terrorism: sanctioning and planning terrorist attacks, making bombs, planting bombs, killing or maiming those thought to untrustworthy or simply disobedient to PIRA’s will. But there were very large numbers who were willing to provide PIRA with safe houses, to store of weapons, to tell PIRA about informers and come out on the streets at the drop of a hat to protest in the PIRA interest. In addition, the existence of a large population with a sense of victimhood (the Irish Catholics) allowed in Mao’s words the PIRA “guerrilla to move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea. “

But there are terrorist and terrorists. There are two radical differences between PIRA and violent Islam. PIRA were not driven by religious fanaticism (it was a Marxist organisation) and its members were drawn from communities which shared similar moral values to those of the British. This meant that when the time came to make a peace of sorts between Britain and Irish Republicans there was a great deal of cultural similarity between the two parties. The representatives of violent Islam, even those born and bred here, will have little fellow feeling with or understanding of the native British population.

The second and most important difference is that the nature of the PIRA and ISIS end games. For PIRA it was a united Ireland. That was a genuinely possibility because the British government accepted that if Northern Ireland voted for union with the Irish Republic they could have it provided the Republic agreed. Although hardline members of PIRA did not want to make peace, many PIRA members did , together with a majority of ordinary republicans . Crucially, the republicans in favour of peace could see it simply as a stepping stone to the unification of Ireland, not as a defeat for their cause. In addition, the demographics of Northern Ireland were heading towards a Catholic and therefore largely republican majority by the time peace was formally made.

Violent Islam does not have an end game which any Western government could concede either in whole or in part. Its practitioners want the overthrow of Western society and the imposition of Islam. There is no conception of compromise. If Britain existed under the control of such people it would be an unforgiving theocracy. Because violent Islam is implacable, no concession short of outright victory for violent Islam will end the violence. If Western governments make concessions such as granting Sharia courts parity with civil courts violent Islam will simply pocket the bribe and march on towards the final end of total dominance.

Where does this leave the West? It leaves the countries with large Muslim populations at perpetual risk from both terrorism and the likelihood of Western elites attempting to appease Muslims by granting them more and more privileges. These risks will increase because Western Muslims have higher birth rates than native Western populations. In addition, further substantial Muslim immigration will probably occur because Western governments will try to placate Muslims by relaxing entry requirements and border controls are always likely to be ineffective . Western black converts to Islam could also swell the numbers significantly.

Is there a silver lining or two amongst the Islamic clouds? Well, at least the realities of the situation the liberal elite have created are becoming impossible to ignore. Most encouragingly, the concept of treason is suddenly back on the political agenda. This is fundamentally important because patriotism is not an optional extra but the glue which sticks a society together. But the storm cloud which cannot be dispersed is the immoveable fact of millions of Muslims living within Western societies who harbour substantial numbers of people who are unquestioningly hostile to the countries in which they reside. That is what rule by the politically correct devotees to internationalism have brought us. It has been an act of the most fundamental treason.


  1. Actually the dictatorships that disfigure most of North Africa and the Middle East are the result of ANTI Western coups – starting with that of Egypt in 1952.

    The West and its “meddling” are certainly not to blame for Nasser – of for the 1960s dictatorships in Libya, Syria, Iraq and so on.

    These were mostly secular socialist dictatorships (claiming that the previous parliamentary governments of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and so on were dominated by landowners and businessmen – and that this was, for some reason, a bad thing) – rather than Islamic ones, but Mr Henderson has a point about Islam.

    It is worth noting that a truthful description of Islam (the sort of description of the life and teachings of Mohammed that Gladstone or Winston Churchill gave) would get a public figure (or even an ordinary person) in very serious trouble now.

  2. Paul Marks – I have not suggested that anything until the Blair years was Britain’s responsibility. I have also pointed out that only dictatorships will work in such areas.

  3. Presumably the Muslim immigrants to Europe and the UK sought the relative freedom and stability of liberal democracy when they chose to come here. Our ancestors struggled and fought wars to achieve what these immigrants are seeking to enjoy with the mere effort of modern travel. If indeed they want to live in a liberal democracy it’s time they did their part. Put them all on boats back to their home country, hand them a service rifle and a bag of ammunition upon disembarkation and let them fight for whatever form of society pleases them. Perhaps their experience here will be of some value whilst choosing their option.

    • From the comments here it seems like you (and Paul Marks) should be put on boats and sent off to fight against all this stuff you keep bloviating about, since according to you it’s a clear and present danger to whatever (unspecified) kind of polity it actually is you feel we ought to be fighting for.

      “Western Civilization” is dead, if there ever were such a thing, stop flogging a dead horse. Get over it.

      • John I have visited the Middle East (several times) – but, no, killing people is certainly not my normal practice (partly because I am Mr Punyverse rather than Mr Universe). As for the Cold War (the Marxist threat) my role was more “follow this man – make it obvious, in order to irritate him, and to distract his attention” rather than James Bond stuff (for which I am not suited).

        Indeed I can honestly state that the only occasions I have engaged in physical violence is when I have believed my life to be in danger – and even then it has been a matter of clumsy (very clumsy – indeed pathetic) ad hoc improvisation (to save my skin) rather than any impressive combat stuff.

        I am certainly NOT someone the warriors of Islam (or anyone else) should be scared of.

        But why should anyone need to go off in boats to the Middle East? There are plenty of followers of Mohammed in Western countries now (we must draw a sharp distinction between nominal Muslims and actual believers – but there are millions of the latter now in the West, and their numbers grow daily both by natural increase and by conversion), you may find yourself having to fight them without going to the Middle East. And if you do not, your children (if you have any) may well have to.

        As for your comments about Western Civilisation – I am baffled by them. I confess I have a weak sense of humour – especially for such things as “irony”. Were you being ironic? Do you really support Western Civilisation?

        • This whole thing about “Western Civilisation” bemuses me and I do find it humourous. Patently obviously what can be identified as “Western Civilisation” is, today, political correctness, graft, corruption, privilige, lies, a celebration of psychopathic tendencies. The fondly imagined “Western Civilisation” alluded to by commentators here never even existed except on paper as some kind of aspiration, the imagined end point of an ill-defined on-going process.

          I was a child in the 1960s. That was another country. I recently visited London and, for all the beautifully preserved historic buildings and parks, it’s not the London of my youth or young adulthood and, more importantly, could never be again.

          If you’re saying you want to build something you’re calling “Western Civilisation” (and why only the West?) then you need to define it rather better than it being the sum of things it’s against or what it once was in very different places and times.

          • Well, I think most of the LA bloggers and commentariat would consider PC- however it is defined- as an overlay over our normal culture. So would you consider Western Civilisation to have existed prior to, say, 1970?

            • OK, let’s play this game – in spite of the fact we’re not going back there and can’t go back there because things have fundamentally changed in the world by way of telecomms and the international movement of poeople. In the 70s Western Civ was defined by what it was against, the Soviet Empire. Supposedly we were fighting against Communist outrages like: pervasive state surveillance, denial of freedom of speech, detention without arrest, state control of commerce … need I go on? The Berlin Wall falls and magically Western Civ suddenly doesn’t need freedom of speech and all that jazz.

  4. My apologies Mr Henderson – I was thinking of previous posts on the “Libertarian Alliance” site (and not by you). As for Mr Blair – the man’s weird mixture of cynical political opportunism with wild eyed innocence (thinking that Iraq could be recreated as Hampstead – and using all sorts of political tricks to get Britain to go along with his vision) is astonishing. Is dictatorship the only answer? No I do not believe so – I think the traditional monarchies (limited by clan and “tribal” elders) were better, but most of these governments were overthrown in the 1950s and 1960s. Charles Martel – the first generation of immigrants from Pakistan (and so on) were loyal to their “clan” structure and were broadly “Sufi” in their religion. Their children have none of that tribal-clan structure to be loyal to – and (ironically under the influence of Western rationalism) reject the “mystical” practices of the Sufi. That leaves the children and grandchildren of the immigrants with one thing – Islam (the “pure” doctrines of Mohammed – without all the civilising customs and traditions that had grown up to mitigate this stuff over the centuries). Even “back home” in places like Pakistan the relatively tolerant world of the 1950s is gone – “pure” Islam is the march (with a lot of oil money financing it).

  5. Paul Marks: It is worth noting that a truthful description of Islam (the sort of description of the life and teachings of Mohammed that Gladstone or Winston Churchill gave) would get a public figure (or even an ordinary person) in very serious trouble now.

    Thanks to cultural Marxism and the Frankfurt School. But we must always remember that, altho’ the Frankfurt School were GERMAN (just like Karl Marx), the folk who followed their lead were NOT German. Therefore we must not single out Germans for their central role in crushing free speech and opening the floodgates of mass immigration to Muslims and other vibrant folk. If we do, Paul Marks (himself possibly of German extraction) may be forced to rebuke you in typically calm and rational Germanic fashion:

    “It would, of course, be emotionally satisfying to cut Kevin Carson’s Black Flagger (Black Flaggers like Carson will side with the Red Flagger Marxists – indeed they already are and have for years) throat, or blow his head off with a bullet (although he would be more likely to do those things to me) – but it is the job of politics to AVOID THAT SITUATION.”


    In that case, thank heavens that British politics is in the capable hands of folk like Ed Miliband, on the Labour side, and Lord Feldman and Grant Shapps on the Tory.

  6. Yawn. This is all so overblown. Just bunches of hot-headed young men with too much testosterone. I don’t doubt the usual suspects used to bloviate about the International Brigade and commies under the bed, now it’s phantom Arabs with knives.

    Yes, we have the enemy in our midst and it’s far from Muslim radicals, it’s our political and banking establishment whose only allegiance is to power and money. They’re the ones that we need chase off and then these minor diversions will simply melt away in face of free market forces and rising prosperity for everyone.

    Eyes on the prize.

  7. Quite right Enoch – it is the job of politics to AVOID THAT SITUATION (the situation of war) my point exactly, I am glad you agree with me. Nor do I believe that the moral law is about being a slave to the passions – indeed it is often about resisting them.

    As for “the Germans” I certainly have not mentioned them in this thread – and I do not believe that any nationality is “collectively guilty” of anything.

    For the record my great grandfather was a Russian Jew – a wrester, whose first action in the United Kingdom was to throw a man who pulled his beard into the river Thames (a rather nasty place to be thrown in the late 19th century). But this does not mean that all Russians (or all Jews) throw people into rivers.

    Mr Pate – your making light of the Marxist threat (a movement that has murdered more than a hundred and fifty million human beings – and has vast influence in the education system and culture generally) is misguided (to say the least).

    As for your implied claim that those who control the forces of Islam are stupid – you are wrong, they are often highly intelligent.

    It is difficult to know what to say to people who do not think there is a Marxist threat or an Islamic one – in spite of the vast evidence to the contrary.

    It is like trying to talk to people who think AVOID THAT STITUATION means NOT AVOID THAT SITUATION.

    Which Sean Gabb (and his fellow cretins) seem to believe.

  8. Oh, by the way…..

    Continental Europe (including G.) has lots of P.C. inspired restrictions on liberty of speech (just as Britain does).

  9. There’s so much that could be written on this thread that it’s too daunting to write any of it. So one quick observation: which is that it’s quite striking that the only two major threats to our society are both puritan moral formations (Political Correctness and Islam). Which would imply that some thought may produce a strategy that can deal with them both simultaneously.

    Another quick thought is that this really is the latest stage in a process that’s been wreaking havoc for over 2000 years. The Romans had a virtually identical problem- it being the template effectively- in having to deal with Messianic Judaism- the first “jihad”. As with our situation, it had both a heartland in the East, but also a huge diaspora community throughout the civilised world. The Romans of course had two attempts at pacification of Judea, both of which only allowed subsequent flare ups, so the third time (not worrying as we do about human rights) they literally obliterated the country. The sting in the tail of course was that a new variant arose out of the diaspora, and managed to become the Roman state religion; and then in another irony a further variant (Islam) obliterated Rome itself.

    So, not a problem that people have much success with solving, historically. Food for thought.

    The basic problem is the Judaic innovation of declaring that God’s will is the only thing that matters. It means that anyone who believes they are doing God’s will can’t be reasoned with, since any worldy goals (peace, human rights, etc) are inherently subordinate to doing what the Big Cheese wants. That was the thing that baffled the Romans, for whom something worldy- being a roman citizen- was the most important thing, and is the thing that baffles us, who are so worldly focussed, too. Ultimately you are left with few strategies; you can kill them all. You can try to persuade them that their interpretation of God’s will is in error. You can try to get them to abandon the religion itself. Or, er, you can kill them all.

    The Romans seem to have combined “kill them all” with the sponsorship of a non-jihadi form which became Rabbinic Judaism; it reinterpreted God’s will as setting the messiah in an indeterminate future rather than now, along with independence for Judea the same. This is not dissimilar to current attempts to sponsor notionally “moderate” forms of Islam. But subsequent events show that this didn’t really solve the problem, so more novel thinking is needed.

  10. Just to add that, on reflection, the above may seem rather anti-semitic, so it should be borne in mind that I’m referring to Jews of 2000 years ago, not those of today. Both Judaism and Christianity, and Jews and Christians, have evolved a long way from the Ancient World. Islam’s basic problem is that it hasn’t.

    It also looks a rather negative or hopeless comment, so in a positive light I think it is worth pointing out the obvious, which is that we are not the Romans. We have things that they did not have. We have modernity, they did not. We have science and reason, they did not. We (contra John Pate above) have Western Civilisation, they did not. We have a profusion of publishing capabilities, the internet and almost universal literacy, they did not. We have the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment, they did not. We have Miley Cyrus writhing naked on a wrecking ball, they did not.

    The latter, I suspect, may be the somewhat suprising key to the solution.

  11. Neither Judaism not Christianity hold (or held in Roman times) that “God’s will is all that matters” – if that were true there would be no Talmud (no effort at applied legal reasoning – that Selden compared to the Common Law and asked for a copy to study during his imprisonment).

    Indeed the Islamic cry to the Jews was “raise your hand” – that did not mean surrender, it meant take your hand off passages in the Torah (for example the death penalty for adultery) when you are reading aloud (the practice of Talmudic Jews being to place their hand over such passages when reading aloud in case they read them by accident – and misled ignorance persons into actually carrying out the literal words of the Torah) – the Islamic case being that the WILL of God is the only definition of good and evil (that reason may play a part TACTICALLY , in the methods used to enforce God’s arbitrary commands, but that it plays no part in deciding what good and evil [right and wrong] actually are). There was an effort to introduce reason into the strategic (not just the tactical) vision of Islam – but it was defeated a thousand years ago.

    This may also be the case for Calvinism (although I suspect that a Calvinist would dispute that) – but it certainly is not the case with mainstream Christianity and never was. Even Augustine (who basically invented the theological justification for persecuting other Christians) was not anti reason – far from it. This is why Erasmus (and other Christian thinkers) were so disturbed by some of the comments of Martin Luther (especially as Luther fell ill in his latter years) – “that whore reason” and so on (it should also be noted that the Luther’s claim that the literal words of scripture trumped reason was very selective of scripture – for example when it was pointed out to him that the Epistle (letter) of James contradicted his teaching on faith and works, Luther simply replied that it was an “Epistle of straw” – thus showing he had contempt, at least in his old age and ill health, for both reason AND scripture).

    Of course not just Roman Catholic thinkers have made these points – so have Anglicans (and many others). I am Church of England (Anglican) myself. Indeed modern Lutherians are not like Luther in his old age and ill health (they are more like the younger more tolerant Luther – still an strong enemy of Papal claims, but NOT a man given to [for example] terrible rants about the Jews).

    The sympathy shown by some 18th century thinkers for Islam (for its determinism and its claim that reason is only of instrumental, tactical, value) is deeply disturbing. Although it should not be over stressed – as these thinkers were kicking against Christianity (and a way of doing that was to show sympathy for Islam), they were not really closet Muslims or anything like that.

  12. The Talmud was written in Babylon after the destruction of Judea. Which was my point reallly; Rabbinic Judaism was a new form which was more accomodationist than the absolutist, messianic form that fought three wars against the Romans. That is why, as I pointed out above, it pushes off the messiah who will restore the pure, independent Judea to an indeterminate distant future, rather than the “messiah now” which had driven the wars. That’s my reading of the history anyway.

    • There were two Talmuds (originally) one written in the north (where Jews were never fully exterminated or driven out) and the other, yes, outside the Roman Empire.

      But yes – both are written in the period after the destruction of the Temple.. Judaism before the destruction of the Temple was not like Islam (the attitude to reason was quite different – at least among some Jews), but it may have been much closer to it.

      The central difficulty with Islam is the teachings and the LIFE (the example) of Mohammed himself – it is very hard to see how this central difficulty can be dealt with. Although some Mosques do teach a radically “modernised” version of Islam.

      According to Innes Bowen (“Who Runs The Mosques” June 14th 2014) there are two such mosques (out of 1700) in the United Kingdom.

      Two is better than none.

  13. First, off topic; many thanks to Sean for making the font black rather than grey, so I can read this blog again.

    Second, tangential; I don’t like the thumbs up/down for individual comments. I notice that someone went through all Paul Marks’ comments on the 5th and thumbed them down. In this forum if nowhere else, if you don’t like a comment, you should reply to it. So I’d ask Sean to remove this option. Isn’t the “star rating” at the top already sufficient?

    Third, substantial. Robert has written an excellent essay. It’s good enough that I want to make some reasonably serious comments on it. I’ll do that, but it will be days rather than hours.

    • Glad you like the new font colour. Indeed, thanks for raising the matter. You forced me to experiment again with the CSS file. Re the thumbs up or down button, I hadn’t noticed this. I will take soundings.

      Re RH – If your comments are sufficiently long, do send them to me as an original post.

    • Neil – the Black Flaggers round here (both the Fascists and the anarcho communalists – who should hate each other, but have formed a little alliance as far as I am concerned) do not like me.

      If they did like me I would deeply ashamed. If I upset them, then I am doing the right thing, So I welcome their “thumbs down”.

  14. Sean: Again I join Neil: Thanks for the dark font. Er–what happened to the off-white background? I liked that because it cuts down on glare. Nevertheless, if that’s the price for the dark font, it’s worth it.

    This is instructive, anyway. It means the problem is not entirely a matter of too-low contrast. The very high brightness is itself a problem. And that’s why I do like the very few sites (I can only think of two) that present white letters on a very dark ground.

    Anyway, thanks. 🙂

    • Off white is only for the featured posts. Once unfeatured, the background reverts to white. I will listen to comments on this, but am running out of steam on the new blog and need to do some paid work soon.

  15. Question to all: I know that many people object to thumbs-up/thumbs-down; I’ve seen this in many places.

    Out of curiosity: Why?

    • Julie,

      I can only speak for myself, but for me it’s because it enables rude, irresponsible people to give a “black mark” to a comment, or to many comments from the same commenter, without having the grace to bother to make a substantive reply. That’s exactly what someone did to Paul Marks on this very thread.

      • Ah. I see. Hm. Well…but it works the other way too. A person can quickly indicate approval of or agreement with a particularly good comment without having to take the thing apart so as to deal with it in detail. Also, more and more websites require you to “sign in” using Disqus or Google or some other foul “service” if you wish to actually speak, and one often Likes a comment but not enough to mess with signing in and out.

        And…speaking of Mr. Marks…I often “Like” his comments when I’m out and about on the World-Wide Web and run across them.

        Anyway, thanks very much for your response. It makes perfect sense. :>)

  16. I would like to thank Robert for an interesting and well thought out article that poses many of our issues into a nutshell.

    Unlike some of the commentators here who like to try and expunge the roles that Western and ‘Zionist’ fuelled actions have brought upon the world, I think that Robert is correct to point some of the blame upon the actions of recent governments in both America and Britain.

    On this, it is a bit like the fools who blame President Putin for the mess in that part of the world, when it if it was not for external meddling and funding from such nations and the EU, it would not even be happening.

    An important point raised is the fragility and almost unique conditions which have allowed us to live in relative peace, orderliness and ‘prosperity’ for such a long time. We have been the exception and not the rule, which is another reason why it is such a ridiculous idea to try and “laugh off” or “ignore” what is widely transpiring – which somebody else here seems to want to do.

    So far, they do not refute any of the issues being presented, but instead seem to want to shirk off the entire concept as a whole, even questioning what it is we are supposed to be defending.

    I do not lay awake at night fretting over ISIS jihadis chopping my head off, or blowing me up in a shopping precinct – and would agree that it is rather laughable (at least at this stage) to suggest that it is going to be happening regularly here in the present times. It has happened already, it will happen again, but we are not yet at the stage were it is a normality like it is in other hotspots around the world.

    However, I have laid awake at night worrying about the ingredients that are baking this particular cake, including the wider racial and religious transformation of Britain. I cannot speak for Robert, but I certainly see this as a disaster for Britain, a recipe for creating a living hell in the future – and not least, a dire situation for the survival of the indigenous people of Britain as a whole.

    Enemies come in many forms, and whilst I would agree that ‘financial terrorism’ is a great problem, that does not mean that there are not other problems in the mix too. To blow it off as “a few youths with too much testosterone” is in my opinion dangerously naive and complacent.

    As for the “reds under the beds” thing, it not exactly a secret that there have been many Labour ministers, both past and present, who have come directly from that background and have even colluded with Communist Russia in the 80s as spies. In my opinion, there is hardly a public institution that is not infested with the ideas and principles of what was once radical leftwing thinking and agendas.

    The threat was not of a violent nature, but more of a social dynamic nature. This time, I think we are dealing with the ingredients of both – whilst at the same time, the establishment has no ability to get a grip on this situation.

    But that is because they are not interested in protecting the British people, only the functions of the state, their own political systems and interests, the wider charade of what “Britain” and “British values” are supposed to be….which are in fact liberal values, globalist values, meaningless values that are gibberish and airy-fairy.

    I do not really go in for the shrill “anti-Islam”, terrorists are everywhere, media driven reactionary hype, nor ‘ban the burkha’ and all that kind of tripe – but I do appreciate that there is a problem that is working on a whole different basis to those stereotypes that are given. It is organic, it is demographic, it is political and more.

    Lord Carey was in the Daily Mail the other week stating what a failure multiculturalism had been (being rather hypocritical, seeing as he was a promoter of it in the past) – he rhymed off a load of problems that it had created, including the ‘terrorism’ aspect and the jihadi fighters.

    “Aha! At last!” people were saying in the comments section…… however, when you read the article in full and understand what he is saying, he is merely advocating more liberalism to try and solve the problems that liberals have created.

    In fact, so arrogant are these liberals like him, that he was suggesting that the solution is more “inter-faith dialogue” and that, with this dialogue, the “values of liberal democracy” will win the day over these communities and the radicals!

    You really could not have made it up……but there you go. These are the ridiculous games and moves that are afoot by the establishment. Out of one mouth they raise the prospect of the threat to the nation from radical Islam, yet on the other, they are praising the contribution of Islam to Britain whilst cutting the ribbon on new mosque opening days and letting hundreds of thousands of immigrants still flood into Britain every year.

    It is ridiculous to take them seriously or entrust our future in them. They have no control over this situation now. It is all a pretence.

  17. I can not find Mr Pate’s latest comment here (although it arrived in my in box). It was something about freedom of speech no longer being necessary in the West after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I am going to guess that Mr Pate was being sarcastic.

    I hope that Mr Pate really supports freedom of speech – as expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (the Bill of Rights, building on the British Bill of Rights, being the classic statement of pro liberty principles – repeated, sometimes in slightly better language, in the Constitutions of most of the 50 States).

    “From my brother Severus, to love my kin, and to love truth. and to love justice, and through him I learned to know Thrasea, Helvidius, Cato, Dion, Brutus; and from him I received the idea a polity in which there is the same law for all, a polity administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government that respects most of all the freedom of the governed”.

    The Meditations of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius – a classic of Western thought for almost two thousand years (a favourite of Alfred the Great and others).

    Such principles were certainly not a “game” to the people who fought and died for them over the centuries (including in the Cold War – read the names of the dead at, for example, Langley Virginia , and show proper respect – not ignorant Black Flag ism). That the West is not (and has never been) perfect is no argument for not supporting the West against our enemies – to claim it is an argument for not supporting the West (in the grim struggle of this world) is misguided Rothbardianism (utter folly). The consequence of not supporting the West against our enemies is not “freedom” – it is ashes and dried blood, with the survivors being subjected to the most base tyranny and enslavement.

    The question is what form of government (if any) best safeguards these principles – and (as the son of Marcus Aurelius himself shows) absolute monarchy is a BAD way. Freedom (even for citizens) proved, in the end, to be dependent on the Res-Publica that the absolute monarchy had swept away.

    If the monarch is above the law (and any formal expression of his will has the force of law) how can freedom possibly be maintained in the long run? The central Roman Imperial idea (and Byzantine idea) – denied (from the time Charles the Bald in the 9th century onwards) in the “feudal” West (with the opposed Western idea being that fundamental law is above the rulers, and that they are subject to it – and its idea that the landholders can, and must, act as a check upon the government), is not compatible with freedom. Cicero and Cato the Younger were proved correct. As were people such as English Chief Justice John Holt and American Chief Justice John Jay in more modern times (whatever their errors – they got the fundamental things right).

    I believe that the ideas of the “Old Whigs” were broadly correct on this subject (as they normally were – on most things).

    However, can the political ideas of the Old Whigs be applied to an Islamic population?

    I doubt it. Although I hope I am mistaken.

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