ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Islamofascism? You Betcha!

Christopher Hitchens on why the term Islamofascism is appropriate, regardless of what the Moonbats on the Left think:

Defending Islamofascism
It's a valid term. Here's why.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, Oct. 22, 2007, at 11:33 AM ET

The attempt by David Horowitz and his allies to launch "Islamofascism Awareness Week" on American campuses has been met with a variety of responses. One of these is a challenge to the validity of the term itself. It's quite the done thing, in liberal academic circles, to sneer at any comparison between fascist and jihadist ideology. People like Tony Judt write to me to say, in effect, that it's ahistorical and simplistic to do so. And in some media circles, another kind of reluctance applies: Alan Colmes thinks that one shouldn't use the word Islamic even to designate jihad, because to do so is to risk incriminating an entire religion. He and others don't want to tag Islam even in its most extreme form with a word as hideous as fascism. Finally, I have seen and heard it argued that the term is unfair or prejudiced because it isn't applied to any other religion.

Well, that last claim is certainly not true. It was once very common, especially on the left, to prefix the word fascism with the word clerical. This was to recognize the undeniable fact that, from Spain to Croatia to Slovakia, there was a very direct link between fascism and the Roman Catholic Church. More recently, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, editor of the Encyclopaedia Hebraica, coined the term Judeo-Nazi to describe the Messianic settlers who moved onto the occupied West Bank after 1967. So, there need be no self-pity among Muslims about being "singled out" on this point.

The term Islamofascism was first used in 1990 in Britain's Independent newspaper by Scottish writer Malise Ruthven, who was writing about the way in which traditional Arab dictatorships used religious appeals in order to stay in power. I didn't know about this when I employed the term "fascism with an Islamic face" to describe the attack on civil society on Sept. 11, 2001, and to ridicule those who presented the attack as some kind of liberation theology in action. "Fascism with an Islamic face" is meant to summon a dual echo of both Alexander Dubcek and Susan Sontag (if I do say so myself), and in any case, it can't be used for everyday polemical purposes, so the question remains: Does Bin Ladenism or Salafism or whatever we agree to call it have anything in common with fascism?

I think yes. The most obvious points of comparison would be these: Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. ("Death to the intellect! Long live death!" as Gen. Francisco Franco's sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined "humiliations" and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression—especially to the repression of any sexual "deviance"—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.

Fascism (and Nazism) also attempted to counterfeit the then-success of the socialist movement by issuing pseudo-socialist and populist appeals. It has been very interesting to observe lately the way in which al-Qaida has been striving to counterfeit and recycle the propaganda of the anti-globalist and green movements. (See my column on Osama Bin Laden's Sept. 11 statement.)

There isn't a perfect congruence. Historically, fascism laid great emphasis on glorifying the nation-state and the corporate structure. There isn't much of a corporate structure in the Muslim world, where the conditions often approximate more nearly to feudalism than capitalism, but Bin Laden's own business conglomerate is, among other things, a rogue multinational corporation with some links to finance-capital. As to the nation-state, al-Qaida's demand is that countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia be dissolved into one great revived caliphate, but doesn't this have points of resemblance with the mad scheme of a "Greater Germany" or with Mussolini's fantasy of a revived Roman empire?

Technically, no form of Islam preaches racial superiority or proposes a master race. But in practice, Islamic fanatics operate a fascistic concept of the "pure" and the "exclusive" over the unclean and the kufar or profane. In the propaganda against Hinduism and India, for example, there can be seen something very like bigotry. In the attitude to Jews, it is clear that an inferior or unclean race is being talked about (which is why many Muslim extremists like the grand mufti of Jerusalem gravitated to Hitler's side). In the attempted destruction of the Hazara people of Afghanistan, who are ethnically Persian as well as religiously Shiite, there was also a strong suggestion of "cleansing." And, of course, Bin Laden has threatened force against U.N. peacekeepers who might dare interrupt the race-murder campaign against African Muslims that is being carried out by his pious Sudanese friends in Darfur.

This makes it permissible, it seems to me, to mention the two phenomena in the same breath and to suggest that they constitute comparable threats to civilization and civilized values. There is one final point of comparison, one that is in some ways encouraging. Both these totalitarian systems of thought evidently suffer from a death wish. It is surely not an accident that both of them stress suicidal tactics and sacrificial ends, just as both of them would obviously rather see the destruction of their own societies than any compromise with infidels or any dilution of the joys of absolute doctrinal orthodoxy. Thus, while we have a duty to oppose and destroy these and any similar totalitarian movements, we can also be fairly sure that they will play an unconscious part in arranging for their own destruction, as well.

Jim Hoft at GatewayPundit has an excellent roundup of Islamofascism Awareness Week.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (10)
Stupid Country said...

I marvel at the investment of brain power in building a pseudo-philosophic basis for what's basically a marketing gimmick for the cynically-styled "War on Terror." These people have way too much time on their hands.

St Wendeler said...

Well, if the Left didn't spend so much time denying the fact that we're at war, such an effort would not be necessary.

Stupid Country said...

We're not at war. It's a fiction. And saying so isn't leftist.

St Wendeler said...

Is it some big conspiracy to create a non-existent enemy so the corporations can keep us down and keep funneling taxpayer money into their coffers?

enlighten me...

St Wendeler said...

Or is it merely a faux war intended to increase the political clout of Chimpy W. McBushitler, ultimately allowing him to declare martial law and remain in power indefinitely?

Was 9/11 simply a 21st century version of the Reichstag fire?

Are we seeing the initial stages of a fascist, corporatist dictatorship?

Is it The End of America as we know it?

More on Naomi Wolf's idiotic "thinking" in an upcoming post....

Stupid Country said...

Think simpler and less conspiratorial than that. The claim that we're "at war" enables the President to cling to claimed extraordinary wartime powers. It's been Dick Cheney's little crusade for 30 years, to shift the balance between Executive and Congress. It's a legalism used to further a sociopathic political game. And no, I'm not expecting a coup d'etat. When 2009 comes along, Bush is history. For once, I find myself on the same page as Hillary Clinton; she was in the news this week expressing suspicion of all these new powers she would inherit.

You can have extraordinary vigilance and effective terrorism interdiction without calling it war. The War on Terror is no more a war than the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs. It's a brand.

I don't know anything about Naomi Wolf. I'm sure she's some extremist. It amuses me that you keep equating me with extremists.

St Wendeler said...

So, The GWOT is simply a brand that Cheney devised to further his desire to consolidate power in the executive branch...

All so successors (likely Democrats) would enjoy greater power.

I don't doubt that Cheney has sought to restore the CiC's prerogatives in conducting National Security, but it seems a bit far fetched to say that we launched a war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and more clandestine operations in other countries simply for that end.

You can have extraordinary vigilance and effective terrorism interdiction without calling it war. The War on Terror is no more a war than the War on Poverty or the War on Drugs. It's a brand.

I agree that War on Terror is a misnomer, since you don't go to war against a tactic, but opposing ideologies. However, in today's environment, where to cause offense is one of the most heinous acts. In reality, we are at war against an ideology - a whacked out, crazy ideology that is willing to intentionally kill innocent women, children, and other civilians in order to achieve worldwide obedience to their ideology. (They're also willing to fight among and disguised as civilians, increasing the likelihood of civilian casualties - counter to the Geneva Convention requirements that "legal combatants" be identifiable.)

With Regard to Naomi, she is no extremist... adviser to Gore (queen of the Alpha Male approach) and part of the intelligentsia within the Manhattan bubble.

Heck, she's a thought leader within the Left - and is less "radical" than the Code Pinkers, MoveOn'ers, and Kossacks that are becoming more prominent on the Left.

Stupid Country said...

So, The GWOT is simply a brand that Cheney devised to further his desire to consolidate power in the executive branch...

All so successors (likely Democrats) would enjoy greater power.

Yup. There are those, of whom Cheney is only one, who believe the Presidency is too weak in relation to the other branches. He's in a position to do something about it, and he's not only grabbing power for himself and Bush. It's not the reason for war in Afghanistan. (It may be the reason for the strategy of stalemate in Afghanistan, and most certainly IS behind the projections of a decades-long quagmire in Iraq.)

It's a philosophy of government thing. But that doesn't make it constitutional or moral or likely to survive the current neoconservative experiment.

I'm not buying "war against an ideology." Shooting someone for believing something or saying something is un-American. You can't shoot an ideology. And you can't institutionalize these easily-abused extraordinary executive powers for the next two to three decades, which is the most optimistic assessment I've heard of how long it would take to suppress radical Islamism as a source of unrest and terrorism, and still have a society recognizable as the one guided by the US Constitution.

I would welcome a declaration from President Hillary that the US is, categorically, not at war.

I say that knowing that I've just contradicted my own position -- because it's not up to the president whether the US is at war. Constitutionally, it's up to Congress. Period, end of story.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Muslims Against Sharia congratulate David Horowitz FREEDOM CENTER and Mike Adams, Tammy Bruce, Phyllis Chesler, Ann Coulter, Nonie Darwish, Greg Davis, Stephen Gale, David Horowitz, Joe Kaufman, Michael Ledeen, Michael Medved, Alan Nathan, Cyrus Nowrasteh, Daphne Patai, Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, Luana Saghieh, Rick Santorum, Jonathan Schanzer, Christina Sommers, Robert Spencer, Brian Sussman, Ed Turzanski, Ibn Warraq and other speakers on the success of the Islamofascism Awareness Week.

Islamofascism (or Islamism) is the main threat facing modern civilization and ignorance about this threat is astounding. We hope that this event becomes regular and reaches every campus.

A great many Westerners do not see the clear distinction between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism). They need to understand that the difference between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism) is the same as the difference between Christianity and Christian Identity Movement (White Supremacy Movement).

Original post

USpace said...

Well said piece by Mr. Hitchens. Europe could use one of these Islamo-Fascism Awareness Weeks. They are trying but they just get shutdown, either by the politicians, or the fascist brown-shirts who beat supporters of Stop Islamification of Europe groups.

These fascist wackos at American Universities who shout down free speech can not be allowed to become more violent, if they do they must be taken down; unlike in Europe where they are getting away viscious beatings on supporters of Anti-Islamofascism.

Like recently, the fascist anarchist thugs who beat the leader of SIAD and some supporters in Copenhagen last Sunday with metal pipes, they are total human garbage, and so are the law enforcement pigs who let them get away with it.

Fight back against those that treat women like slaves, and stone gays and adulterers to death! Democracy NOT Theocracy!

I think we all must start calling the Islamofascists ‘racists’. We should scream that they are hateful towards the Christian race, and the Jewish race, and the Hindu race, and the Atheist Race, that they are Christianityphobiasts. They will scream that Christianity is not a race, and we’ll say:

“See, Islam is NOT a race either.
And by the way, the Bible doesn’t say to convert, conquer or kill non-Christians (and any similar violent BS the Christians long ago grew out of) like the Koran says to do to non-Muslims. So there YOU RACIST hater of non-Muslims! You’re a Kuffarphobic!”

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
don’t call a spade a spade

Islamist terrorism
not related to Islam

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
you have NO rights

to hate religions
that demand to convert you

absurd thought -
God of the Universe calls
for sick ideologies

that deny human rights
KILL adulterers and gays

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
be very afraid…

of saying the wrong things
TRUTH is especially BAD

. ."