“Doyle’s Colonel Cochrane was worried that the Mahdists might reach the shores of the Mediterranean and swallow Egypt. Over a century later, their desert sands have spread as far north as Germany and Norway, not only in Europe’s legal systems, but in men’s minds, as well.”
I should have included Britain, as well. And the U.S.
What can account for the difference in Western policies concerning Islam between the 19th century and the present? Is there some integral relationship between a blind toleration of Islamic fundamentalism and the West’s own drift toward statism and totalitarianism? Even in the 19th century, which was governed, as Ayn Rand observed, by an “Aristotelian spirit,” the moral sanction men repaired to was Christianity and a derivative form of secular moral altruism that spawned the elements of statism. This was evident in Doyle’s novel; it is a phenomenon that occurs in most 19th century literature.
I also referred in my “Desert Sands” commentary to the West’s polices of vacillation, conciliation and accommodation when dealing with Islamists and virtually every other brand of totalitarianism, including Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Kim Il Jong’s North Korea, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran.
Iran has seized fifteen British sailors and marines. What has been Prime Minister Tony Blair’s response to it other than a faint baring of teeth? In a recent TV interview, he stated that he doesn’t understand why Iran keeps doing these things, because such actions are only making Iran unpopular. The only “justice” he can think of in the way of an ultimatum or retaliatory response is to apply economic sanctions against Iran – with the approval of the U.N. and the European Union, of course. That, and “quiet,” behind-the-scenes “diplomacy” or compromise to “tone down the rhetoric.”
God forbid that he propose unilateral action, such as ordering the British Navy in the Gulf to defend itself and remove a few Iranian ships or other military targets by way of persuasion.
God forbids? Or “world opinion”? With Blair’s urging, Britain has progressively surrendered its sovereignty to the bureaucrats and parasites of the European Union, which explains Blair’s tepid and arguably impotent “anger.”
Ahmadinejad has called “arrogant” Britain’s refusal to “apologize” for the alleged violation of Iran’s waters. He knows, however, that it is the arrogance of a cream puff and a “has been” paper lion.
What has been the U.S.’s response to the piracy and hostage-taking? A “show of force” in the Persian Gulf, close to where the Britons were taken, wasting thousands of gallons of aviation fuel in planes from two aircraft carriers. That really impressed the Iranians. Yesterday, President Bush waved his rubber sword in the air, called the Iranian piracy “inexcusable,” and insisted that Iran free the Britons. “Snake Eyes” Ahmadinejad must have laughed and remarked to his fellow thugs, “Yeah, right! Hey, guys! Look at me! I’m unpopular! I’m sad! Gee!! I’m so scared!”
Excuse me, Mr. Bush, but you excused Iran five years ago by not taking direct military action against that one member of the “Axis of Evil.” Can you blame the tyrant for taking leave to commit more depredations? The Britons did “nothing wrong”? But it’s your word against Ahmadinejad’s about what is “right” or “wrong.”
Last week, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a so-called ally and special hand-holder of President Bush’s, opened the Arab Summit in Riyadh by calling the American presence in Iraq an “illegitimate foreign occupation.”
The White House’s response? In another instance of a surrender of sovereignty, this time America’s, a timidly worded disagreement that cited the approval of the U.N. Security Council. Perhaps even worse, with the administration’s knowledge, great gobs of Saudi Arabian oil money are being funneled to a multitude of subversive, Wahhabist or Islamic organizations in the U.S., ranging in fields such as “civil rights” (CAIR) to educational textbooks that explain to helpless, indoctrinated American schoolchildren the blessings of Islam.
These actions – or non-actions – are evidence of turning the other cheek, a solely Christian virtue that goes far to account for the present state of the world.
Robert Mayhew underscored this point in his article, “The Rise and Fall of Greek Justice: Homer to the Sermon on the Mount” (The Objective Standard, spring 2007). In point seven in his explication of Christian morality, “Accept Divine Judgment,” he notes in regard to Christian justice:
“The willingness to apply divine justice does not make Christians better or more admirable; it makes them much more dangerous.”
The Christian virtue of turning the other cheek – of not resisting evil but refusing to judge certain men and their actions as evil – in especially our foreign policy over the last half century, has created a passel of parasitical, hostile states that can exist only by grace of semi-free Western nations, especially by grace of American non-judgmental pragmatism. Ayn Rand noted this in her notes for Atlas Shrugged:
“This is just like totalitarian economies that can exist only on the energy stolen from the free economies, who thus create their own Frankenstein monsters.” (The Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 453)
Frankenstein monsters such as Saudi Arabia, the U.A.E., Iran, Putin’s Russia (and before that the Soviet Union), Castro’s Cuba, Hugh Chavez’s Venezuela, Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, the Sudan, and many, many more parasite states – including Iraq. Are these states in themselves dangerous, or is it the premises of Western leaders?
For example, is Islam a corrosive that possesses an indefinable but ineluctable power to suborn and ultimately destroy Western values, turning them and men’s minds into wind-blown sand? Why does New Testament Christianity seem to be no match against an apparently virulent Islam? (Has a Moslem ever turned the other cheek?) What is the difference between the moral certitude of Christianity and that of Islamic fundamentalists? Should we blame the nihilistic subjectivism of pragmatism and multiculturalism, which inculcates in men a fear of defending themselves or their values?
In her Journals, Rand observed:
“The reason why people who start out with many virtues and a few flaws grow progressively worse, with the flaws winning, is the fact that an evil cannot remain stationary; it must either be eliminated or it will grow (like “a few” controls in a free economy). The question I ask myself here is: but what, then, happens to the virtues, which I consider indestructible (in the sense that a truth, once perceived, cannot be eliminated and replaced by an error)? (pp. 625-626)
Grasping the truism that flaws in a man’s moral character – a character largely governed by reason – will win out if not checked and eliminated, one can say the same about a culture, as well. Christianity, or its partner, secular altruism, if unchecked and eliminated as an operative moral code, is bound to enfeeble the West in its conflict with Islamic jihad.
Rand stated in her Journals that unchallenged and uncorrected flaws are the result of either errors of knowledge, or a refusal to acknowledge a fact. In the second instance, a man “has closed the door to knowledge, therefore closed it to correction, and therefore his error (and his evil) will grow worse and worse.” (p. 626)
Both Bush and Blair have refused to acknowledge the irrational nature of Iran, of Iraq, of Saudi Arabia – of virtually everything that imperils Western civilization, because they refuse to acknowledge the irrationality of their own policies. They have closed their minds to correction. Witness Bush’s willingness to “stay the course” in Iraq, as though loyalty to an irrational, fruitless policy will somehow transform a quagmire into victory. This is how they jeopardize the existence of the West and allow Frankenstein monsters to exist, and be sustained, and set the terms of our existence.
It is not Ahmadinejad and Putin and Mugabe who are dangerous. It is the premise of Western leaders that the best morality is to be non-judgmental, to “love” (or tolerate as a difference in opinion or culture) totalitarians and sanction every brand of irrationality, including religious doctrines, and to surrender pro-life values in exchange for non- or anti-life values, such as “peace at any price,” or environmentalism, or wealth -consuming foreign aid.
Arthur Conan Doyle, in his later years, after becoming famous for creating his evidence-gathering, reason-governed Sherlock Holmes, became an overt mystic, believing in spiritualism. He was an agnostic on the question of the existence of God (reason is impotent to answer the question of His existence, there is no “evidence” of it one way or another). That agnosticism logically allowed him to believe in the existence of a “lesser” realm of wandering souls of the dead who could communicate with the living.
The West has followed and continues to follow the same course, of abandoning reason in favor of the “spiritualism” of non-judgmental pragmatism/altruism. Reason is not an automatic governor of or check on one’s actions. It requires conscious application in every action of one’s life, including foreign policy. The West has systematically abandoned reason for over a century. We have political leaders whose minds are closed to correction, who refuse to acknowledge the disastrous facts of their policies.
The perilously bizarre results are plain to see to everyone but those who are comfortable with being blind.