In that black hole of logic expressed in it's rhetoric and unfortunately shared by too many in the Muslim world, extremist muslims are confusing issues that are only too self-evident to those of us in the West in a manner reminiscent of Political Correctness in it's disconnect with a reasonable and common sense view of the world.
How many times on TV have we in the West watched some Islamic holy man speaking with the arrogance and smugness of some kind of enlightened intellectual talking to a class of 6 year olds espouse ideas worthy of the Dark Ages? One need only read the founding charter of Hamas for a taste of this. The Nov.19, 2008 release of a tape by Al-Queda's No.2 man, Ayman Zawahiri in which he criticizes President Elect Obama for being some kind of a "house negro" is a perfect example of fundamentalist enlightenment. Zawahiri goes on to mention America's "Crusade" against "Islam and muslims", as if such a thing actually exists. Zawahiri, in yet another glittering example of fundamentalist hypocrisy talks about the presidency of Barak Obama as some kind of showcase appointment when it obviously is not. Meanwhile, the showcase appointment of Iran's "President" Mahmoud Ahmadinejad goes unmentioned.
Political Correctness and lack of resolve in the West, particularly in Europe, has had it's part to play; we in the West do not always call out these people like the silly madmen they actually are. Like Islamic Fundamentalism, the growing power of Political Correctness has caused many issues in the modern world to be falsely viewed as being not only true but self-evident. Both are based on false suppositions about the nature of human beings that has unfortunately sapped the resolve and energies of many in the West in dealing decisively with issues both internal and external to Western countries.
I define political correctness as a philosophical world view that is a collision between what the world is and what people want it to be. The unfortunate and important element is that people come to really believe that the world as they would like it to be actually exists when in fact it does not. Political correctness in the West and Islamic Fundamentalism share this distorted world view wherein what one wants to believe becomes a fact in their own minds. Therefore, in the West for example, there are no scenarios where one culture is more competent than another, merely cultures that have been more fortunate. In the West, the politically correct view of the 3rd World is something like, "but for the grace of God go I'', a reality full of could've, would've, should've. Any other view regarding the competence of 3rd world cultures is dismissed as bigotry and racism. The end result of political correctness are situations that never get solved because the problem is never recognized as a problem in the first place and truth is defined as a lie.
In the matter of Political Correctness and lack of resolve, how else can one explain Islamic fundamentalists in Europe publicly cheering 9/11 or calling for the downfall of the political status quo in countries that have welcomed them as immigrants while the government does nothing? 40 years ago such people would have been deported instantly. Like the fundamental hypocrites that they are, these Islamic fundamentalists exist only by the political largesse of the very institutions and nations they decry. It is hypocrisy on a vast scale rhetorically and perceptually speaking reminiscent of the Soviet Union's practice of disinformation. If Western governments were indeed as corrupt and worthless as these Muslims proclaim, these Muslims wouldn't be in Western countries in the first place. Immigrant Muslim dissidents come to Western countries with their hats in their hands and one can well imagine that they were very polite and humble in applying for visas and then once their in the gloves come off and the very system of laws they profess to hate is used against the host country.
Political Correctness has disarmed the West in regards to immigration; it is taken for granted by many in the West that multi-cultural societies are a goal to be strived for. In this regard a few people are making these decisions without the present populations being able to say a thing about it; if they do they are characterized as racists or xenophobes while Islamic fundamentalists in Europe state outright their intentions to take over Europe. The policies of immigration should be a matter of a national debate and Americans should not be put in a position where the government has deemed the benefits of immigration to be so obvious that the American public has no say in the matter. Radio and TV host Glen Beck said about political correctness: "political correctness is the classic Great Idea Gone Wrong. All it's done is shut us up. It hasn't changed anybody's mind. It hasn't changed our hearts. It's changed our faces. It's taken every opinion we have, it's taken every joke we have, and it's forced us to conceal it and hide it and bury it. It's made us superficial."
The restraint shown by supposedly corrupt Western institutions is frequently not recognized as a reflection in fact, as to their fine qualities. Gandhi has been given an incredible amount of credit for being a great humanist. The fact is that any greatness that Gandhi displayed was simply a reflection of and equally shared by, the institutions he fought against. Gandhi wasn't stupid, he was a lawyer, he knew the true quality of the institutions he fought against and in fact counted on it and lived by it. Do you think for a second that Gandhi would have tried and succeeded using his tactics in Nazi Germany? His lack of success would have been a reflection of Nazi Germany's political institutions in the same way that his success in India was a reflection of English institutions. In other words, in Nazi Germany, Gandhi would have simply been executed and we would have never heard of him.
Do you think for one minute that Martin Luther King would have succeeded if in fact he did not have a fundamental private faith in the very institutions he publicly fought against? It wasn't what Gandhi and King were fighting against that should take center stage as it often does but what they were fighting for and how the institutions they fought against already had in place fundamental moral qualities that led to their success before they were even born.
If it wasn't true that American and English institutions already possessed seeds of greatness generations before King and Gandhi came on the scene then King and Gandhi would not have been successful. In history books, English and American institutions take back stage and the greatness is given to Gandhi and King. Ironically, King and Gandhi never championed a cause that, when it came to race and religion, was as all inclusive in the way that English and American institutions eventually proved to be. Admittedly, both King and Gandhi had to focus on a narrower front but again, if they were in Nazi Germany they would have simply been executed and no one would have ever heard of them. In this way, their lack of success would have mirrored the institutions of Nazi Germany.
Do you think for one minute that Martin Luther King would have championed, for example, the cause of homosexuality as the American Constitution, however imperfectly, does? Political Correctness does not allow for such thinking. In the world of Political Correctness, thought is set in stone and many issues are taken for granted that not only are not self evident but are arguably downright false.
Political correctness saps the resolve of even great institutions. Resolve is a word not heard of much these days. At one time it was considered a good attribute to possess as a human being. These days, one could be led to believe that the only resolve shown in any great current in human affairs in the West is that of Political Correctness itself.
People who are politically correct do not feel they are politically correct. This is a sure sign of something wrong. When people come to believe in something as if it came to them from experience instead of a type of political indoctrination then something is indeed wrong. I say wrong because the basic tenets of Political Correctness have no seeming basis in demonstrable reality and so could not have possibly come to a person in the way of a personal experience. Tenets such as the benefits of multiculturalism or not giving children grades on their report cards are taken for granted in a strange mixture of hope, guilt and naivete rather any sort of empiricism. So many people in this generation would not have suddenly come to the same type of belief system unless in fact it was disseminated, whether purposefully or by unhappy accident. Robert Heinlein in 1959's "Starship Troopers" referred to these types of people as "fuzzy headed wishful thinkers".
In the case of Political Correctness I have believed from it's inception that it has indeed come about as a result of that unhappy accident, that imperfect storm. I have come to this belief because I have watched Political Correctness grow from it's inception in the United States in the 1970's. To me, the essence of Political Correctness and why it is so insidious is that it is rooted in the firm belief in things that are not true. In spite of it's name, Political Correctness resembles a less structured version of something like Communism or Socialism. Like Communism, Political Correctness assumes many basic social tenets to be true and like Communism, and for that reason, it will eventually come to failure, but not before many people and institutions are done harm. PC is a type of philosophical fascism dedicated to making our lives more perfect.
PC dictates that we in the west should be as suspicious of Norwegians as of Arab Muslims in our fight to ferret out terrorists despite the obvious fact that there are no Norwegian terrorists. The ACLU argues that it is to protect the integrity of U.S. law; allowing negative legal precedents sets us up for more of the same. There is no evidence that this is true. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War and yet it remains alive and well today. The idea is that using common sense in an unconstitutional manner will somehow inevitably propel the United States towards a dystopian, Orwellian nightmare from which we will never extricate ourselves. Playing on imaginary fears while people plot to destroy Americans seems silly but if you work in a legal office all day and not on the frontlines in a battle against terrorism then this is your reality. In fact, using the U.S. Constitution in a way that flies in the face of common sense is harming America in our over zealousness to protect a minority of one. It is ironic that organizations like the ACLU accuse the U.S. government of using fear to advance agendas while the ACLU is actually more out in the open in it's use of such tactics.
While factions in the U.S. fight to protect the complete integrity of a nation of laws, terrorists cut off the heads of non-combatants on video tape and sucker children into becoming suicide bombers in an orgy of violence unfettered by morals or laws. We have become a "nanny state".
We fight to protect ourselves from ourselves.
Stopping ourselves from doing ourselves harm seems to be the main thrust of the PC generation. However it's implementation seems be more of what one would expect of a condo association; don't smoke cigarettes, keep your lawns cut, etc. Jack Williamson wrote a Science Fiction novelette in 1947 called, "With Folded Hands". In it, Williamson creates a world where android helpers become popular on a fictional future world and the aim of these androids is to take over menial tasks in order to free mankind for more important aims and to "guard men from harm". The programming of these androids quickly becomes a fascist type of oppression as even the act of a human wielding a hammer is deemed too dangerous and in the end the humans of this planet are left with nothing to do but sit with folded hands.
Williamson later said he may have written the story out of a "deep seated distrust of benevolent protection."
Sometimes one gets the feeling that we'll all be wearing helmets before leaving the house just in case we might trip. Certainly one didn't wear bicycle helmets a generation ago but they are completely common now. While some would argue that we have simply come to out senses in this regard I would say that it is a symptom of how scared we in the West have become of the world at large. Some Americans worry more about the bad things that could happen than the good. Audacity or even slight risk has no place in this world. The meek seem to be indeed inheriting the earth. When you are governed by a PC generation you are being governed by a generation of cowards but who view themselves as simply careful and sensible. It is as if such people have taken Edmund Burke's quote to heart, "Better be despised for too anxious apprehensions, than ruined by too confident security'.
Like Gandhi and King, but in a harmful rather than positive way, Fundamentalist Islam takes advantage of the simultaneous greatness and lack of resolve of the institutions and countries they vie against while at the same time decrying that their greatness exists in any way whatsoever and are in fact hopelessly corrupt; and their answer is Islam. That will straighten the world out.
Aside from the fact that you cannot point to an Islamic country that could be considered a political or social success story in Western terms, most people just don't want to convert.
The plain fact is that had Western countries not possessed calm restraint in a manner exactly opposite to the lack of restraint Fundamentalist Islam claims the West has, then these mostly European fundamentalists would have been deported long ago from their European havens, if ever allowed in as immigrants in the first place, and their countries of origin would today be enslaved and the 1000 mosques that exist in the United Kingdom would be reduced to 0.
Fundamentalist Islam lives in a dream world that bears little relation to reality in a manner which parallels America's own tenets of Political Correctness. To no one's surprise, they claim to live in a type hyper reality that we in the West with our drug, media, and money induced comas have no conception exists because we live lives protected and insulated from harsh reality.
One sometimes gets the feeling that Islamic Fundamentalists are being driven in a direction they feel is opposite to the values of Western culture simply to create a distance from that culture rather than an attraction to where that direction leads them; it is the distance that matters. These fundamentalists are running from something but to what?
Cultures can embrace outside influences with a pragmatic view, as something that is natural and inevitable or sometimes look at such influences as insidious and destructive, a rising tide that threatens to overwhelm and drown their native cultural identity. On a trivial level, I remember once seeing a note on a bulletin board in Rio de Janeiro where the annoyed author wanted to remind people at large to refer to a web page in the Portugese venacular rather than simply pronouncing the English word with a Portugese accent. In the larger matter of the middle east the question is whether fundamentalist Islam is justified in blaming their own cultural inadequacies and insecurities on the United States.
In Brazil for example, as in most countries, the fact that they are living everyday with technological and cultural phenomenon that never originated in their own country doesn't seem to be a problem based on the 12 months spread over 17 years I have spent there.
In the middle east the exact opposite seems to be the case; even while embracing and even needing products and cultural trends emanating for the West there seems to be vast resentment stemming from middle eastern frustration at the lack of respect and prominence it held centuries ago compared to today. One sometimes gets the feeling that some muslims, in looking at a can of Coca-Cola, see behind it a monolithic and threatening Western presence; a presence threatening their once glorious hegemony, threatening their cultural values.
The introduction of such soft drinks as "Mecca Cola" and "Qibla Cola" speak to a regional and cultural Islamic childish preoccupation with such themes. The managing director of Qibla Cola said, "The product is promoting an anti-injustice approach, an anti-exploitation approach", and one of it's slogans is "Liberate Your Taste". This perfectly illustrates the level of and partial origin of, anti-Western hostility in Islam; American pop culture is fought against on some unreal battlefield that exists only in the heads of a jealous Islam that cannot relegate in their own minds the past, lost glory of Islam and the present day reality of the sorry state to which Islam has fallen. Extrapolate this jealousy to men on the moon, the uncertainty principle, fractal geometry, autos, music, ipods, stock markets and on and on and one can see that this misguided and distorted perception of middle eastern Islam's relationship with the West is indeed an unhealthy one and this perception is entirely out of the control of the West since it is not the job of peoples' around the world to kowtow to Islams' own lack of self-esteem.
Seen from this perspective the terrorists of 9/11 and other such ventures come off as jealous children, intent on a demanding show to the world of how much they should be respected. Since an adult cannot argue with a child on this level all that has been forthcoming as a response is a spanking in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Terrorists are utterly dependent on the very technology they decry as infidel and even haraam in carrying out their violent aims. Blithely using Western methodologies and technologies they inwardly hate will drive any culture mad if they are misguided enough to think in such a fashion. The illusions that oil money brings together with childish jealousy and unreasonable arrogance brought about by middle eastern Islams' unwillingness or inability to accept it's true place in world affairs seems to be at the heart of much of the resentment toward the West.
If Islam believes that the rest of the world exists to prop up past dreams of glory on the part of Islam then it is in for a rude awakening. When middle eastern oil money runs out one can well believe the West will remember how selfishly and arrogantly that money was used by Islam. Wahabism will fold away it's golden tents and return to it's true place in the affairs of men, that of a backwater and minor offshoot of Islam that no one would know of today if not for oil money.
Besides claiming to be generally more blessed, holy and pure than the West, the other idea that Islam flogs about is the general idea that the West does not understand history in the way that Islam does. My own point of view is that there are probably more libraries and history books in the MPLS-St. Paul area than in all of Iraq may not be to the exact point, but it certainly points to some areas of concern with this philosophy on the part of Islam. The fact is that if one believed in a muslim view of history then one would be living in the land of Oz. You only have to look at how countries like Syria and Egypt have the most far fetched versions of their military catastrophes against an outnumbered Israel to see a small part of the problem.
One of the main differences between Islam and the West is that the West generally believes that no matter how much the truth hurts that it will set you free, Politically Correct report cards aside. Islam believes that if the truth hurts, ignore it and make up another. This is a fundamental chasm when it comes to Islam and the West. Show me a culture that will prefer an pleasant alternate version of reality in preference to a hurtful truth and I will show you a culture of failure, a future that the United States is itself eventually headed for if liberals in the US don't come to their collective senses. In other words, if you come to blame others for your negative lot in life you will be a failure. This is arguably the case of the majority of Islamic countries and cultures. When Islam has done well for itself then they take all the credit - when things go bad for the middle-east they have mostly others to blame it on. One can easily come to this belief in Islam's attitude towards history in the rhetoric coming out of countries in the middle east. The Islamic view of the Crusades, for example, is so shamelessly and hypocritically distorted as to be almost unrecognizable.
The Crusading European armies at their height commanded territories in present day Syria and Israel for the most part that were tiny and transitory in comparison to the lands invaded by Muslims before and after the Crusades. In fact, there is no real comparison between the 2 events such is the territorial and temporal difference in lands conquered and held by Christian and Muslim.
Why then do muslims refer to Westerners as Crusaders as if the events of the Crusades was such a fearful memory that it is burned into the consciousness of muslims in the middle east? In fact, if either West or East has a claim to such a horrible cultural memory it would be the West. The truth is that the West treats the history of the repeated, prolonged and in most cases permanent invasions of muslims into Christian territory as just that, history, and have moved on. One can only speculate at the motives of Islam in this instance as to whether we are talking about a culture that can be so ignorant of it's own past or if we are seeing deliberate Soviet style disinformation on the part of muslims.
One thing is for sure, this issue of the Crusades of the middle ages reflects little credit on middle eastern Islamic rhetoric or perception and points up the same overly magnified and largely imaginary harm United States foreign policy has inflicted on the region; both events have attained the status of an urban myth in the region although unfortunately a myth that has been reacted to as if real.
Another popular view in the middle east is that the United States deserves to have some of the violence it has perpetrated in the middle east visited on it's home soil. Looking back on this attitude from 2008 Islam has perpetuated a self fulfilling prophecy, although backward in it's timeline. Apparently, Fundamentalist Islam believes that if you live in a neighborhood where there are never any bombings that you are not experiencing true reality. Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists want to make sure that we in the West will share this hyper reality; thus, 9/11. It possesses a kind of mad logic but mad is mad and this is the heart of the problem. The reality of the claims by militant Islam to live day by day in a more violent world then the West and thus have more experience with death and bitter heartbreak does not bear up under scrutiny. In fact, the middle east had not been involved in any large scale wars with horrendous casualties in recent centuries other than the Iran-Iraq war in the 80's.
To the Americans alone, 600,000 dead in the Civil War and 300,000 dead in WWII speaks to a more intimate contact with the death and devastation war can bring than any Islamic country can claim. The fact that these calamities have not been visited on American soil itself since the Civil War seems to be the main philosophical complaint of Islam. In the case of Germany, Japan & Russia, nothing in the annals of Islam can lay claim to more devastation in terms of lives lost and cities obliterated. Once again, Islam's claims of an intimate knowledge of death and violence in comparison with the West simply doesn't hold water; Islam's historical perspective is more convenient than real. In a country like Syria for example, the murder rate is less than one-fifth than that of the U.S. according to Interpol and when it comes to rape and robbery it is much, much worse in the U.S. There is no reason to fly airplanes into American skyscrapers simply to help us remember, we have plenty of murder and violence already. We've already had plenty of chickens come home to roost through our own history and need no reminders from cowards who have no taste for an enemy in a uniform that can fight back.
Islam has been given more than a fair break in history and in the media - especially by themselves. History will look back on the middle eastern Islam of the last half century as a culture gone mad on overweening arrogance fueled by oil monies. The lack of any true historical perception of either itself or of the West is devastating and there is no reason to believe this will change in the next 50 years. All the West can hope for is the inevitable decline of oil revenues in the middle east which serve only to propagate arrogance and violence. In the end, middle eastern Islam will turn in on itself and become a backwater with little to recommend itself to the rest of the world or money to threaten it. Unfortunately this will only increase immigration to the West Islam dislikes so much and until political correctness in the West and it's blind obsession with the virtues of multi-culturalism ceases to decrease the resolve of Europe and America, home grown terrorism will not stop.