Sunday, 19 March 2017

Fitna - the radioactive core of Islam

The first section below consists of notes from Mark Durie’s exposition of the fitna worldview in The Third Choice pp.96-99. Following that is a discussion of how the fitna worldview plays out in the world today.

Fitna – meanings range from temptation to persecution

Derived from fatana which means to turn away from, to tempt, to seduce or subject to trials.

Fitna can include temptation or trial, including positive and negative inducements, up to and including torture. It emerged as a key concept in the context of the early Muslim community’s experiences with non-believers.

Muhammad accused the Quraysh of subjecting him and the rest of the Muslims to fitna, in order to get them to leave Islam or dilute its claims.

The eminent medieval theologian, Ibn Kathir, argued that the first verses revealed concerning fighting after the migration to Medina made clear that the whole purpose of fighting and killing was to eliminate fitna, because it could cause Muslims to turn away from Islam.

“persecution is more grievous than slaying…
…fight them, ‘til there is no more persecution [fitna].” Q2: 190-193

The idea that fitna of Muslims was “more grievous than slaying” proved to be highly significant. It would be used again in Q2: 217 after an attack on a Meccan caravan during the sacred month (a period during which Arab tribal traditions forbade raiding.)

It implied that shedding the blood of infidels is less serious than a Muslim turning away from Islam.

The other significant phrase in the lines from Q2 is “fight them until there is no fitna”. This was also used more than once. The second being the Battle of Badr, during the second year in Medina. (Q8: 39)

These fitna phrases established the principle that jihad was justified by the existence of an obstacle to people entering Islam, or of inducements to Muslims to turn away from Islam.

Put another way: fighting and killing people may be grievous but undermining or obstructing Islam is worse.

Most Muslim jurists extend the concept of fitna to include the mere existence of unbelief (kufr), so that the phrase is interpreted as ‘unbelief is worse than killing.’

Ibn Kathir equates fitna with ‘committing disbelief’:

“Since jihad involves killing and shedding blood of men, Allah indicated that these men [i.e. polytheists] are committing disbelief in Allah, associating with Him (in the worship) and hindering from His path, and this is a much greater evil and more disastrous than killing.”

Ibn Kathir Tafsir vol 1 p.528

It is on this understanding that the concept of jihad warfare to extend the dominance of Islam was based.

Ibn Kathir, commenting on Q2 and Q8 said that the command to fight means to go to war ‘so that there is no more kufr (disbelief).’

A quote from Muhammad Usmani (a contemporary eminent cleric) shows the Islamic consensus on this point:

“…the purpose of jihad…aims at breaking the grandeur of unbelievers and establishing that of Muslims. As a result no one will dare to show any evil designs against Muslim [sic] on one side and on the other side, people subdued from the grandeur of Islam will have an open mind to think over the blessings of Islam…I think that all ulema (religious scholars) have established the same concept about the purpose of Jihad.”

Muhammad Usmani Islam and Modernism pp.133-34

It is highly significant that the beginning of the Islamic calendar is defined by the end of tolerance to opposition.

This was a defining moment in the establishment of Islam, after which forbearance of fitna would no longer be an option: jihad had been declared.

Fitna is not some archaic concept but a living principle that informs Muslim doctrine today just as throughout its history. Egyptian cleric Ahmed al-Naqib, speaking on television in response to yet another Muslim mob attack on a Christian church explained:

‘… the open display of shirk—the greatest sin in Islam, associating someone else with God, which the Koran accuses Christians of doing via the Trinity—“is the worst form of fitna, worse than murder and bloodshed.”’

How clearly this illustrates the aggressive response to innocuous behavior that the fitna worldview inspires.

One consequence of the fitna worldview is that all non-Islamic phenomena become a source of adversity to Muslims. Every non-Islamic art-form, custom, or achievement emerges as a standing temptation; an obstacle to conversion; or a tacit rebuttal of Islamic claims.

What is the solution? Why, to destroy all non-Islamic phenomena through dawa and jihad. Unless the whole world is Islamized until no trace remains of non-Islamic phenomena then fitna remains, Muslims are suffering "persecution".

Another consequence of the fitna worldview is that it feeds our natural tendency to blame our problems on the behavior or even the existence of other people - the victim mentality. Some religious teachings try to counter this tendency as in the sayings of Jesus:

 “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” Matthew 7:5
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44
In dramatic contrast, the fitna worldview broadens the definition of “persecution” to include such things as mockery but it also goes far beyond this and within the same category includes the mere existence of difference (committing disbelief in Ibn Kathir’s terms).

Why are the current champions of “diversity” not concerned about this? As things stand, many of them are only too happy to shout down, vilify and compile hit lists of the contemporary critics of Islam and thereby enforce the fitna worldview.

The current diversity agenda in the Western democracies is playing right into the hands of the fitna worldview as their citizens are legally bound to “respect” difference which leads to cultural capitulation in a thousand forms like halal meat, prayer rooms, washing facilities for wudu, prosecution for pranks such as bacon on mosque doors, the institutionalized denial that Islam has a violent core, etc.

There is also a widespread belief that if Muslims are upset it must be due to some real injustice and that that injustice is our responsibility.*  This reinforces the fitna worldview on their part and the surrender to it on ours. This dynamic is playing out in millions of micro-social situations every day.

* There is of course an ironic truth in this since we are responsible for our unbelief and this is the most grievous fault in the fitna worldview. We are guilty of our rejection of the call to Islam.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

'Islamophobia' really scares me

'Islamophobia' really scares me. I find it terrifying when people use the term as if it refers to something that actually exists and is actually unreasonable.

It scares me because when people use it in all sincerity it suggests they are amazingly ignorant of Islam and its dreadful consequences throughout history; it suggests that people are not aware of the 30,000 terrorist attacks in the name of Islam since 9/11; it suggests that the millions killed throughout its 1400 year history never existed; it never happened; it was just a bad dream; it suggests that the Islamic think tanks have been hugely successful at grooming and indoctrinating people to submit to the view that Islam is perfect and can do no wrong.

This is why 'Islamophobia' scares me.

If anyone uses the word, there is a question I like to ask them: how much do you know about Islam, its doctrines, its history, its prevalent attitudes?

Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Compassion of Donald Trump

The girl in the picture below is one of thousands of sex slaves taken by Islamic State in accordance with the example and teachings of Muhammad.

What on earth has this poor soul been through? We will never know but we can be pretty sure it has been hell. Such is the misogyny encoded in the "sacred" texts of Islam that the taking of sex slaves as war booty has Sharia's seal of approval. This is the result.

It is the tip of a huge iceberg. The abuse of women through the Muslim world, where customs and traditions do not escape the influence of Islam due to Islam's all-encompassing and dominating nature, is widespread, horrific, and legal.

This reality is not something that liberals have so far been able to face up to. They have adopted a well-known arsenal of deceptions, self-deceptions and assaults against free speech in order to deny this reality. They are loathe to let go of their view that Muslims are a harmless, oppressed minority with no more inclination towards terror and subjugation of unbelievers than anyone else; they adopt preposterous ideas such as "Muslims are the new Jews"; they avoid looking at Islamic doctrines and history because it might run counter to their fantastic pre-judgements.

There was an interesting display of this recently on the ironically named "Women's March" in Washington to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump.

Take a look at this short video where protestors are confronted with the statement "Islam is misogynistic". They display an unwillingness to talk about the issues around Islam's treatment of women; they claim that wanting to talk about these issues  is "hate"; they sidestep the issue with the usual claim that all religions are misogynistic; one speaker is very proud of herself for saying that all religions are inherently patriarchal; one man thinks he can't comment because "I'm not a Muslim". I've heard this kind of nonsense from liberals so often it hurts.

What is so shocking is not so much their ignorance as their indifference to their ignorance. They don't want to know.

Because they are so ignorant, they are easy prey for those wanting to exploit them. One of the march's main organizers, Linda Sarsour, is rather positive about the Sharia Law. She tweeted, "Shariah Law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense. People just know the basics."

The Koran says, "O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war." (33:50). For commentary and justification of sex slavery by eminent scholars see here. I think Linda Sarsour would agree that these scholars know a lot more than the basics and they agree whole-heartedly that Sharia approves of sex slavery.

So the millions of victims of Islamic misogyny will have to find their salvation elsewhere. Maybe many of them are wishing Donald Trump every success in his stated goal of eradicating "radical Islamic extremism". Not blinded by the obsessive requirement to avoid any discrimination, Donald Trump is able to identify the people suffering the worst persecution and he wants to help them. That is real compassion. It is compassion born of courage; the courage to look facts in the face and to do what is necessary whilst millions of fools revile you; fools defined by their indifference to their own ignorance.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Hatred, temporal and eternal

Hatred is currently portrayed as a mortal sin; as a feeling so beyond the pale that no decent person feels it.

We are counselled to be angelically forgiving and “inclusive”, to the degree that no one, however bad or ill-intentioned, no matter what impact they are having on our lives or the prospects for our children, falls outside the compass of our compassion. Legislators are drafting hate speech laws in order to penalize “all forms of intolerance”, as if tolerance were unconditionally virtuous.

Here are some of the outfits set up to combat "hate": "Hope not Hate", "No Hate Alliance", "No Hate Speech Movement", "Unite Against Hate", "Come Together Against Hate". And yet, have these people ever bothered to ask what it is that is hated?

Instead of creating a new slogan let's reflect on what hatred is and try to understand it.

Hatred is a way of relating to certain objects, people or ideas. Many dictionaries define it as “intense dislike” towards a person or object. It signifies a relationship of intense hostility. It can be relatively trivial, as when we hate a certain food or it can be immensely serious, as when one mass of people hates another mass of people.

I think hatred can be better defined as an attitude of sustained hostility.

The Allies in WWII had to maintain an attitude of sustained hostility towards the Axis powers in order to sustain the will to fight. Once the aggression of the Nazis was eliminated there was no longer any need to hate Germans, though plenty of people did because of the suffering they had caused.

Let’s try and break it down.

According to psychologists, an attitude is composed of 3 elements:
  1. A cognitive element which consists of beliefs and ideas about the object
  2. An emotional element which consists of feelings towards the object
  3. A behavioral element which is usually an expression of the cognitive and emotional elements but which also reinforces them. However, behavior is not always consistent with the beliefs and feelings of the attitude, as for example when behavior is constrained by social pressure

Attitudes persist over long periods, often a lifetime or, at a collective level, for centuries. If hatred is an attitude of sustained hostility, then what sustains it? The answer lies in the cognitive and behavioral components.

Beliefs and ideas about the hated other are stored and rehearsed in the cognitive domain. It is here that beliefs are stored and elaborated; where memories of past wrongs are held; where extrapolations towards future scenarios based on past experience or reported experience are projected in the imagination; where inferences about likely behavior are tested. Without this dimension to sustain it, hostility would be much less persistent and less virulent.

But I would argue there is a further dimension to hatred that goes beyond hostility. This is the really toxic antipathy that demonizes and vilifies the hated group. The classic case is Nazi hostility towards Jews and the extermination program it gave rise to. 

The Nazi Holocaust is an ever-present reminder of just how far this sort of hatred can go. There have been many other mass exterminations since then: Cambodia, Rwanda, Darfur, Yazidis.

What concerns the custodians of our morals who are busy drafting hate speech laws and provisions against discrimination? They are obviously not concerned that I might hate dogs or cats or even my great aunt. The kind of hatred they worry about is that directed towards a group of people, particularly if that group is currently a minority. 

They are worried that hateful words could lead to discrimination against such a group; in fact, this is exactly what they charged Geert Wilders with in the recent hate speech trial. Wilders had asked the people assembled at a political rally if they wanted more Moroccans or less in the Netherlands.

What matters to the legislators of hate speech is not how disruptive of society a (current) minority might be; no, the real threat is public discussion of the issues “because it could lead to discrimination”. But if they are forbidding discussion of the issues they are discriminating against the host society. They don’t see this fact because from their viewpoint discrimination can only occur against a minority.

Let’s have a think about what hatred is and the degrees of it there are.

As I’ve said, at one level hatred can be thought of as a type of sustained hostility. Such hostility can be based on experience. If your family has been persecuted by a defined group of people for generations, you may well feel intense and sustained hostility towards that group. 

This hostility can be described as reciprocal because it results from hostility directed towards us. This is the foundation of the “cycle of violence” understanding of conflict. Mutual hatred arises from the interaction between two groups. It boils down to perceptions and misunderstandings. From this perspective, the solution to conflict is de-escalation through the development of mutual understanding. If we can reduce mutual distrust and hostility, we can arrive at a point where two groups coexist peacefully instead of hating each other.

Hostility towards others may also be driven by group membership. As a member of group A, I may be expected to be hostile towards group B. This kind of hostility is bound up with my personal identity.

I only feel myself to be a full member of the group by feeling and expressing my hostility towards the out-group. I gain approval from my detestation of the out-group. In fact, if I fail to show enough hostility I will be suspected of disloyalty towards the in-group. In some groups this could be fatal and it therefore pays to express intense hatred towards the out-group.

This is where the behavioral component of the attitude can reinforce the cognitive and emotional components. Psychologically we need some kind of consistency between the three components and if I display hostility towards a member of the group then the cognitive component infers that they deserved it because of their membership of the out-group.

The hostility described above is still “unwritten”; it is still relatively informal. The next level up from this is the hostility that is codified in a political doctrine like Nazism.

In the case of Nazism the doctrine was based on the racial supremacy of the in-group; this supremacy is the logical precondition for the inferiority of others. It also includes the rhetoric of dirtiness and disgust. The Nazis viewed the Jews as dirty, degenerate, and corrupting. In-group members were expected to feel disgust towards them. This type of hatred could be described as doctrinal hatred.

It is in the context of this type of hostility that the rhetoric of extermination tends to arise. The hated people are so foul and corrupting that the rational course of action is to eradicate them.

This form of hostility goes beyond intense dislike and enters the domain of what I would define as true hatred. The hostility includes the impassioned and emotive elements of dirtiness, disgust, and corruption. There is moral dimension to this hatred in so far as the hatred becomes framed as the right and proper response to a vilified group.

The behavioral component can again be seen reinforcing this hatred when Jews were discriminated against and mistreated, the need for consistency between the attitudinal components would tend to reinforce the belief that they deserved it; that they truly were a dirty and corrupting threat.

We can certainly understand why the hate-speech legislators want to avoid this kind of scenario. Whether they are going the right way about it is another matter.

The final form of hatred is theological. This has proven to be the most durable and extensive form of hatred. It combines all the forms of hatred outlined above:
  • Reciprocal hostility
  • Group membership
  • Identity
  • Doctrine
  • In-group superiority
  • Disgust and enmity towards out-group members
  • The belief that discrimination and persecution of out-group members is morally right

Islam is a perfect illustration of theological hatred.

The Koran makes many allusions to the idea that non-Muslims are envious and devious towards Muslims and that they aim to draw them away from Islam. They feel enmity towards Muslims which will never end due to their desire for Muslims to leave Islam and become like themselves, which is to say, lovers of falsehood and enemies of truth, spreading corruption.

“And they will never cease fighting you until they turn you back from your religion if they can."(Koran 2:217).

“They [the unbelievers] but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and be on the same footing (as they)." (Koran 4:89)

“Verily, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allah, and so they will continue to spend it;” (Koran 8:36)

The effect of these teachings is to sow the seeds of mistrust between Muslims and outsiders; it fosters a paranoia about the intentions of non-Muslims and thus fuels a cycle of reciprocal hostility.

Islam takes great pains to separate Muslims from non-Muslims and to ensure that Muslims feel superior to all other people. It declares that, “The believers are the best of people” and that, “Unbelievers are the worst of creatures.” Non-believers are collectively described as “filthy kuffar”.

The emotional intensity attached to the word kuffar should not be underestimated. Being derived from the word for non-belief [in Islam], it essentializes the distinction between the Muslim and the “other”. It really does “otherize” people. There is a strong feeling of disgust and contempt.

In the Koran, Muslims are admonished not to take non-believers as friends and are warned that if they do so they effectively become one of them. When they are in the company of non-believers they should always maintain an attitude of enmity in their hearts, cursing them inwardly, even if they are forced to feign affection.

“O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors. They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he among you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah does not guide an unjust people.” (Koran 5:51)

“…and thou wilt never cease to light upon some act of treachery on their part, except a few of them.” (Koran 5:13)

“Allah has cursed them [the Jews] for their unbelief” (Koran 4:46)

All the functional components of Nazism such as in-group superiority, contempt for inferior and corrupting out-group members are here.

Hostility towards non-believers is a defining characteristic of group membership. Non-belief [in Islam] is “worse than killing”; a principle which underpins the unending warfare against non-believers.

Koranic verses are constantly addressed to “Ye who believe”, thus delineating believers from non-believers, and describing the ruin and misery that will be the lot of non-believers and the rewards that will accrue to Muslims. Muslims are frequently enjoined to look forward to watching the torments of non-believers as they roast in Hellfire.

What is notable about this group membership is that it is based purely on belief versus non-belief. It makes absolutely no difference if the non-believers are perfectly good people. The worst Muslim is better than the best non-Muslim.

Those showing disloyalty towards the in-group (apostates) are to be executed. “Whoever changes his [Islamic] religion, then kill him.” The world’s most popular sheikh, Yusuf Qaradawi, has even said that Islam would have ceased to exist if it were not for this rule.

Islam has an elaborate doctrine based upon the Koran, the Hadith, and the Sira, in which the superiority of Islamic belief and Muslims is articulated. The primary condition of group membership is the belief that “there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.” Adhere to this belief and you a member of the in-group.  As a member of the in-group you are superior to out-group members; you must however obey a complex system of rules in order to be considered a “true” member.

Islamic doctrine articulates in great detail why non-Muslims should occupy an inferior position in an Islamic state. It states that a non-Muslim should not have authority over Muslims; that churches and synagogues should be smaller than mosques; that the houses of non-Muslims should be poorer than those of Muslims; that non-Muslims should always give way to Muslims and be humble and respectful towards them; a Muslim cannot be severely punished for killing a non-Muslim; that the presence of non-Muslims is always a source of offense to Muslims; that non-Muslims must pay a special protection tax (jizya) to the state in order to avoid the destruction of their property and persons.

As a general principle, it is important that non-Muslims are seen to be less successful and more miserable than Muslims and there exist a whole raft of measures to ensure that this is so, particularly under the conditions of the dhimma.

The cognitive, emotional, and behavioral components of the hate-filled attitudes are all working together in the Islamic worldview. The reasons why non-believers are to be mistrusted and despised are elaborated; the negative feelings towards them are rehearsed and interwoven with the cognitive elements; and where non-Muslims are mistreated and discriminated against it is seen to be right and proper and in accordance with the moral order of the universe. Hatred is righteous.

The foundation of the theological hatred of Islam was recently stated clearly by ISIS:

“Even if you were to stop bombing us, imprisoning us, torturing us, vilifying us, and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam.

This has been the fundamental disposition of Islam towards non-believers for 1400 years.

The theological doctrine of hatred towards non-believers is projected into eternity over and over again in Muhammad’s pronouncements about their ultimate fate. They are destined for Hell and the believers will be able to enjoy the sound of their torments in the afterlife. It is a doctrine of everlasting hatred.

I hope I’ve shown how these doctrines take hatred to a completely new level and intensity and just how intractable the hatred is. Every avenue of escape is covered.

Hatred often contains an element of fear. The Nazis feared what they saw as the corrupting effect of the Jewish presence. They were also concerned about racial purity and wanted to restore the Aryan race to what they saw as its prior glory. To this end they went to considerable lengths to try and establish their pristine racial and cultural antecedents.

To the Nazis, Jews were associated with the threat of communism, universality, decadent art and music. All these were threats to German culture and the sanctity of the historic people, the volk.

Just as the Nazis saw the Jews as a source of decadence and corruption, so does Islamic theology see non-Muslims (and particularly the Jews).

A crucial component of Islamic theology is the concept of fitna. Fitna refers to trial, temptation, and persecution; it is very broad in its scope and can denote anything that could lead a Muslim to turn away from Islam.

This possibility is viewed with fear and revulsion; it is the ultimate disaster from an Islamic point of view. This helps us understand why non-Muslims are the objects of such hatred: they represent the temptation of unbelief (kufr).

You could take the view that the problem of fitna is merely one of perception. If we could reassure Muslims that we have no desire to tempt them away from Islam they would cease to feel threatened. Unfortunately, fitna is not a problem of perception; it is a problem of existence. The simple fact of our non-believing status is an affront and to be prospering in unbelief an even greater one.

The issue here is one of doctrine and it is very hard to assess what proportion of Muslims are assiduous in their application of it. Knowledge and fervor are the key variables.  What is fairly certain is that the subtle influence of group membership will bias Muslim perception in favor of the in-group. This bias will afford sympathy for those who are rigorous devotees, however murderous they are.

Logically, in the face of such a threat we should respond with sustained hostility. Our friendliness will make no difference; in fact, it may only be seen as an allurement. Within the fitna worldview we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. No amount of kindness and generosity can overcome this mentality but resistance will always be inflated into a further pretext for hostility.

Accommodating non-Muslims are eager to avoid offending Muslims. Do they ever consider why they are so easily offended? Will they ever realise that their unbelief is eternally offensive?

It is in this context that the hate speech legislators who are aiming to eliminate “all forms of intolerance” seem so misguided. Surely it is not unreasonable to feel sustained hostility towards a hateful doctrine like Islam? Surely such hostility is necessary in order to maintain vigilance and continue resistance to it? This hostility should not be confused with hatred. A temporary hostility mobilised in response to an eternal hatred will always be the lesser of two evils.

As Thomas Jefferson once wrote: I have sworn upon the alter of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.

Islam is a tyranny over the mind of man greater than any that has ever existed.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Oiling the Gears of Islam's Demise

It seems that a polarization has developed between the counter jihad, which is generally conservative based due in part to the Left’s unwillingness to face up to the doctrinal roots of Islamic terror and supremacism, and environmental concerns which are generally liberal based due in part to the Right’s reluctance to take climate change and other environmental concerns seriously. I have noticed in articles and comment threads that those concerned about the spread of Islam are dismissive of environmental concerns and there are large numbers on the left dismissing concerns about Islam as the ubiquitous “racism” or the nonsensical condition called “Islamophobia”. Dedicated counter-jihadists such as Melanie Philliips, Pamela Geller and Daniel Greenfield adopt this position. It is a great shame that this polarity has developed because environmental concerns could drive behaviour that would greatly undermine the global jihad.

A tendency with writers such as Phillips, Geller and Greenfield (whom I greatly admire for their counter-jihad efforts) is to dismiss climate change as a bogus threat cooked up by phoney science for some obscure agenda of weakening the West. They argue that climate change, if it exists at all, is a problem so far removed in the future that it needn’t concern us as much as militant Islam, which could kill us now. They dismiss the computer modelling of climate change as a hopelessly flawed science that can tell us nothing.

This is not a rational or scientific attitude to the problem. Climate change science and computer modelling are extremely complex and scepticism is always a good attitude for scientific research. But outright denial and dismissal of research is not scepticism, it’s just a declaration based on some other belief external to the research. The only rational posture towards climate science is to recognise its complexity and to be willing to take on board what the most likely outcomes are based on probabilities.  To deny climate change outright is as irrational as to believe it without question.

The other question is the extent to which climate change, if it is happening, is caused by our emissions of greenhouse gases. To some extent this is a side-issue. If the climate is warming, we need to do whatever we can to counteract it, for our own sakes as much as anything else.

But concern about global warming and concern about the global jihad are not in opposition. They complement each other rather well. The global jihad that we now face has largely been funded with oil money from Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Qatar is a principal funder of the Muslim Brotherhood among many evils. Many western governments have been seriously compromised by the power of oil money from repressive Muslim countries and by the mass immigration, segregation, and developing sectarianism that they have facilitated. How many universities now have some dependence on money from these sources? How is this affecting the research that they do and the research they don’t do? How is it affecting what is taught and what is not taught? In his book, “The War of Ideas”, Walid Phares has shown just how pervasive and powerful these effects are.

There are now technologies on the market which can reduce our dependence on oil. See this video for solar roofs being developed by Elon Musk, the founder of Paypal. This integrated house/car system points the way to reducing our reliance on oil and other fossil fuels. This sort of thing should be very welcome news to the counter-jihad community as it would effectively reduce the funding of the global jihad by oil states. What’s not to like about that? But I fear that many who are serious about the Islamic threat are too ready to poo-poo the more liberal agenda of reducing greenhouse gas emissions whereas the two aims of countering global jihad and avoiding damage to the global eco-system dovetail rather well.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

An Exploration of the Politically Correct Worldview

Individuality has ceased to exist. We are seen only as representatives of groups. Groups have different levels of power and status in society, and globally. When a member of a powerful group speaks to a member of a less powerful group, it is automatically oppressive. The dominant group member lacks awareness of this because his membership of a more powerful group renders him blind to it. It is only through some form of sensitivity training (which consists largely of indoctrination into the politically correct worldview) that he can become aware.

This way of viewing people only as members of groups is one-sided and one-dimensional and has the effect of nullifying the value of personal effort: “You think you got where you are through your own efforts? No, you’re just a member of a privileged group.” Or as Obama said, “You didn’t build that.”

Less powerful groups suffer from oppression in various forms, one of which is simply the way they are perceived by members of more powerful groups. They suffer under “structural inequalities” that maintain and manifest this oppression. Their situation has nothing to do with personal effort or ability; to suggest that it does is proof of the blindness to structural inequality that typifies members of powerful, privileged groups. In fact, to make such a statement is sufficient to define you as a member of a privileged, “oppressor” group. This group can remain unspecified but if you are white, male, and middle-class you fit a convenient stereotype of privilege (politically correct people are not supposed to stereotype people but this one is an exception. If you are privileged, you cannot reasonably defend yourself against stereotyping. This is an aspect of the double standards that PC people feel OK about.) It is part of the PC worldview that those who belong to privileged groups do not deserve justice or even plain decency.

Although we are, in theory, all equal there is now a moral hierarchy which is inversely proportional to your position in the hierarchy of structural inequality. Those at the top of the structural hierarchy are those with the lowest moral status, and vice versa. This echoes what Bertrand Russell called the “superior virtue of the oppressed” (he did not mean it literally).

Although some people might believe that people at the top of the structure might actually be there because they are talented, hard-working, and get on well with others, the truth is that nobody is at the top who has not trodden on others to get there. Furthermore, the nearer to the top you are the more out of touch and blind you are to the oppression below. Bear in mind that we’re talking about group characteristics not individual traits. Individual traits are screened out of this worldview.

The hierarchy is not only defined in terms of wealth; that is a simple view of structural inequality. Inequality is also defined and expressed in terms of various social constructs (which for the most part are purely arbitrary) such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, sub-culture, religion, etc.

Muslims benefit a lot from this because they look oppressed but for the PC mind it must be nothing to do with their culture or religion. That is dominant group talk; no, it must be caused by oppressor groups like neo-cons and Zionists.

As is widely known, victim groups overlap in particular individuals and to the extent that you belong within the intersection of one of more oppressed groups then you are that much more oppressed and have that much more moral status. This status means you deserve that much more redress and compensation from “the system” (in fact you can screw “the system” to your heart’s content without compunction) and you suffer that much more and must be that much braver when interacting with a member of a dominant group. If that person belongs within the intersection of many overlapping dominant groups (e.g. White, male, middle-class) then the oppressiveness of the interaction will, on account of this, be that much greater.

Many of those in victim groups have an obvious interest in supporting this worldview (even if they do not really share it). It improves their self-image and reputation as helpless victims of structural inequality and gives them a sense of moral superiority over those in the oppressor groups.

But what of the white, middle-class people who in theory belong to an oppressor group but reject the privilege it offers; those who ardently support the oppressed and hate their oppressors?

These are more difficult to understand as there is no obvious self-interest. We know they tend to be idealistic and utopian; they tend to believe there are no innate differences of ability or character (and don’t you dare try to test the truth of this through objective research); they tend to believe the world will move in the direction of greater equality and that this constitutes progress; they tend to believe that society is socially constructed through narratives and that by changing narratives we can change society; their moral priorities tend to be dominated by protectiveness towards those they define as oppressed and a correspondingly strong desire not be oppressive themselves. As they often belong to privileged groups they feel the risk of being oppressive very keenly and work assiduously to avoid it.

The ways in which they do this are:

  • To be very solicitous towards members of victim groups
  • To hold a lot of animosity towards oppressor groups and to advocate for oppressed groups
  • To be hostile to their own privilege group(s)
  • To reject their membership of privilege groups. This is ultimately impossible and is the cause of a conflicted identity in these people
  • They identify more closely with the oppressed groups as a way of rejecting their own privileged groups and as a way of identifying with the higher moral status of the oppressed
  • As moral status becomes a more important part of their identity they become more self-righteous; as they become more self-righteous they become more judgmental and damning of oppressor group members, to the extent that they eventually demonize them
  • Once they have demonized members of oppressor groups they often adopt the view that the end justifies the means. This leads them to sympathize with terrorists (“terrorism is the weapon of the dispossessed”) and enjoy a sense of identification with the terrorists’ hatred of their own society
  • By being so opposed to their own privileged in-group they gain additional moral credit for being wholly identified with “the other”; they feel free from the taint of “otherizing”

By identifying so much with out-groups, the PC mind is afforded a great deal of reassurance that it is not being ethnocentric. To be ethnocentric is a kind of cultural egoism and this attitude is anathema to the PC mind. Unfortunately, as research on minimal groups has shown, the tendency to see one’s in-group as preferable or superior is almost impossible to avoid. It occurs even when people are assigned to groups randomly and know they have been assigned randomly.

A very useful strategy for those wishing to avoid this tendency is to develop a habit of in-group rejection and out-group preference. Once this habit has been practiced for a reasonable length of time it becomes almost as automatic as in-group preference; the trick has probably been accomplished by identifying out-group as in-group and in-group as out-group. I think the PC worldview relies a great deal on this psychological manoeuvre.

By adopting a habit of in-group rejection, the PC person feels virtuous, rebellious, and proud. He develops an attitude towards the in-group that is a default for members of out-groups and thus feels comfortable identifying with their sense of in-group supremacy and their negativity towards his own in-group.

Once embarked on this journey of rejection of their own group membership and identification with the superior moral status of oppressed groups they are likely to adopt the view that their own society is not only no better than others but is actually worse. Certainly from a moral standpoint this tends to be seen as true. This has been elucidated very well here so I won’t dwell on it now. Suffice to say that much of the tu quoque arguments we hear from PC people are evidence for this underlying moral assumption. Moral assumptions are often expressed in rationalizations which is what most of these tu quoque arguments amount to.

What of those from oppressed groups who think like members of privileged groups? The classic case is the black man who rejects the worldview of structural inequality and argues for the importance of personal effort. This is anathema to the PC worldview which can only think in terms of collective effort. Personal effort represents disloyalty to the oppressed group as it reinforces the narrative of the dominant group that personal effort is important. Black people who think this way are likely to be branded as Uncle Toms or coconuts. They are casting themselves dangerously adrift as they effectively reject the cozy worldview of an oppressed group member yet have no real friends among the dominant groups who will never truly accept them. Obviously by aspiring to be members of the dominant group(s) their moral status is compromised.

An international moral hierarchy begins to emerge wherein the most powerful nations are the most oppressive and they have the lowest moral status. This is particularly true of Israel which from this perspective is an extension of the USA which is face to face with one of the (or even the most) oppressed groups that has ever existed and therefore the one with the highest moral status, the Palestinians. As such, they can do no wrong and to criticize them for anything would be to expose one’s own moral blindness and insensitivity towards a truly oppressed people.

Given their lofty moral status, the Palestinians can do whatever they like without fear of moral opprobrium whereas Israelis, being members of the group labelled “Israel”, are subject to demonization. Their own history of real oppression over 2 millennia counts for nothing. Their moral status is purely a function of the present calculus of oppressor status as opposed to oppressed. Their achievements in building a prosperous and free society by their own efforts in the face of intense opposition from all around them also counts against them.

What can one say to break the spell?

Perhaps, for a start we have to speak to them in terms that they worry about. This does not include true and false or even right and wrong to a great extent because they have a clear view of who is right and who is wrong which is decided purely on the basis of group membership.

They usually worry about being oppressive. They might take an accusation of stereotyping quite seriously. With their worldview built of groups in which individuality disappears they are certainly vulnerable to this accusation.

They are also vulnerable to the charge of demonization. This is something they do based on group membership and their own sense of high moral status as a consequence of identifying with oppressed groups. They may well be taken aback if this is presented as a moral flaw.

If groups lose their high moral status the more powerful they become, then it should follow that as Muslims become more powerful they will lose their high moral status in the PC mind. If we couch our objection to Islam in terms of power and oppression over weaker groups, this should resonate with the PC mind. Of course, we always have to reckon with a great deal of dishonesty and evasion.
The PC care very much about their worldview. They need it to be validated by others. They are therefore highly resistant to information which runs counter to it. The persecution of minorities by Muslims does not fit into their worldview so they pay no attention to it.

We could therefore accuse them of caring more about their worldview than about people who are really oppressed or about understanding the real causes of their oppression.

We could argue that their worldview is blinding them to the reality of real oppression, as distinct from the largely imaginary oppression that they fume about. They therefore betray the cause of combatting oppression.

This brings us to the heart of the current fight against oppression: the fight against Islam. Islam is the major source of oppression, both in terms of its oppression of Muslims and non-Muslims. The counter-jihad movement seeks to defend people of today and of tomorrow against this oppression. The PC people, blinded by their worldview, will have none of this; Muslims are the victims of our oppression as far as they are concerned and anyone who is against them or their religion is an oppressor; someone of low moral status, fit to be demonized.

The PC person would claim to not be self-interested but this is untrue. Their self-interest is certainly concerned to maintain their worldview and their favorable view of themselves within it.

Can they be accused of moral cowardice? By failing to challenge their worldview; by remaining one of the herd; by failing to challenge any aspect of the herd’s thinking? Well, yes.

PC is now a major form of oppression in itself. Its Kafkaesque rules of conforming are highly oppressive to the ultimate minority, the individual. It outlaws opinions that do not fit its worldview and therefore removes freedom of speech.

It constrains people’s thoughts by enforcing a worldview upon them; demonizing them if they fail to conform (think of the enforced diversity training for deviants); or through prosecution. This now manifests itself in “hate speech” charges against those who see Islam as a threat to free societies (Geert Wilders, for example). It is thus an ally of the greatest engine of oppression today: Islamic jihad.

One simple way to undercut PC habits of mind is to just say what we see and say what we do not see. This is not to argue that what we see is correct; it is simply to report honestly what we see and what we don’t. This a way of subverting the PC worldview because the PC worldview is a highly fabricated distortion of reality which seeks to conform to a worldview shared by others; it is a worldview sustained by the conformity of many millions of people. We can provide a quiet example of innocent non-conformity instead. It’s a return to childlike honesty which reports that the emperor has no clothes.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


It was wholly unexpected.

40 years ago I craved such an experience but had given up on the idea; the path was strewn with paradoxes and deceptions; it appeared to require that I become a far better person than I could ever hope to be. And was any of it true anyway?

But whilst on holiday, preceded by a beautiful dream and an experience of the night sky 2 days before, it came. I had an experience of cosmic Oneness which put me in an ecstasy; the ground of all being was divine bliss, a bliss that is infinite and ever-lasting. I don’t know how long this experience lasted but it must have been about half an hour. It has transformed my perception of everything.

I wrote the following:

I felt Truth kiss me in the night; her kiss was pure and infinitely Light;
In that moment she taught me this: “The essence of Nature is infinite bliss.”
Both the I and the Me obscure Divine Reality,
But Beauty and Truth combined illuminate the mind.

What I experienced was cosmic unity, eternal and infinite. It was an experience shared by many mystics, saints, and poets. In his book, “The Varieties of Religious Experience”, William James quotes the words of Dr Bucke, a psychiatrist who had such experiences himself and studied those of others:

“The prime characteristic of cosmic consciousness is a consciousness of the cosmos, that is, of the life and order of the universe. Along with the consciousness of the cosmos there occurs an intellectual enlightenment which alone would place the individual on a new plane of existence-would make him almost a member of a new species. To this is added a state of moral exaltation, an indescribable feeling of elevation, elation, and joyousness, and a quickening of the moral sense, which is fully as striking, and more important than is the enhanced intellectual power. With these come what may be called a sense of immortality, a consciousness of eternal life, not a conviction that he shall have this, but the consciousness that he has it already.” [p.384 from the chapter on Mysticism]

One thing I have written about frequently on this blog is the paradigm shift from the Ptolemaic geocentric model of the universe to the Copernican. A shift which I often liken to our need to be less ego-centric. Ironically, it was by stepping back into a pre-Copernican view of the universe that the ground was prepared for the experience of cosmic Oneness. I saw a devotional universe in which all things were participants and expressions of the same blissful order.

The question obviously arises as to whether this is a special form of perception or a special form of deception.

My view is that it is a form of perception that occurs when the normal ego-based consciousness yields to a non-egoic form of consciousness. Instead of seeing things from the point of view of our limited, temporal ego we see them from the point of view of a universal self or non-ego.

This is why we cannot will these experiences. The will is of the ego and the ego is precisely that which needs to get out of the way.

I’ve been a big fan of Sam Harris and have dabbled with his advice on meditation. This video was an eye-opener for me (payment is required but for me it was money well spent) and his recommendation of D. E. Harding’s, “On having no head” was highly useful for developing the right kind of focus (away from the ego).

The key feature of this non-egoic perception is Oneness, a sense that all is one, one is all and that there is absolutely no separation from it.

The Third Patriarch of Zen puts it this way:

“When the ten thousand things are viewed in their oneness,
We return to the origin and remain where we have always been…
One in all,
All in One-
If only this is realized,
No more worry about not being perfect!
When Mind and each believing mind are not divided,
And undivided are each believing mind and Mind,
This is where words fail,
For it is not of the past, present or future.”

Quoted in Aldous Huxley’s “Perennial Philosophy” (p.89 - Chapter “God in the World”)

If the ego stands in the way of such experiences how are we to overcome it? This is the question of all true religion.

Goethe said,

“From the compulsion that all creatures binds, who overcomes himself his freedom finds.”

The “himself” here is the ego.

I am not a Christian and have been agnostic regarding God but I can see how many of the teachings of Jesus represent genuine guidance towards the Divine Reality. I’ve never understood the doctrine that he died to save us from our sins; it strikes me as a genuine misunderstanding.

“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:25

My reading of this is that the rich man has an augmented ego. He is self-satisfied and proud. It is this that blocks his path to the Kingdom of God, the experience of Oneness, which he can only reach via an absence of ego.

The dominance of the ego has to be overcome. This is scary for us because from an egoic point of view the ego is all that we are. It is vital to understand Jesus’ emphasis on humility and his own profoundly humble example.

This is also why Pride is the number one deadly sin. You’ll notice it is not murder. The deadly sins are really concerned with what blocks our way to the Divine Reality and they do this because they are all aspects of egoism, and Pride quintessentially so. Pride is that quality of puffed-up-ness which prevents us from passing through the eye of the needle.

The great Christian thinker, C.S. Lewis writes, in Mere Christianity, that pride is the "anti-God" state, the position in which the ego and the self are directly opposed to God: "Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind." Pride is understood to sever the soul from God, as well as His life-and-grace-giving Presence. (from Wikipedia “The Seven Deadly Sins” see Hubris.)

Other examples of Jesus teaching humility are:
- “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”
- “Address the mote in your own eye before the beam in another’s”
- “Blessed are the meek”
- “Blessed are the poor in spirit”
- “Blessed are the pure in heart”

Humility is the prime cardinal virtue. It describes that state of the ego as softened and pliable like water. In this state it has transparency and the ability to allow other things to pass through it; things like light and heavenliness. It is the truly religious throughout the centuries who have cultivated this state.

Beauty has the power to soften and sometimes overwhelm the ego giving rise to powerful experiences of Oneness.

The Seven Deadly Sins are correctives to egoism.

In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Lucifer becomes the fallen angel on account of his pride. Pride severs his relationship with the divine order and precipitates his fall from grace. The egoic and non-egoic are on a see-saw, the more one is up the more the other is down.

Conversely, in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice we experience the uplift afforded by the overcoming of pride by love.

Which brings me to Muhammad. I don’t know what happened to Muhammad in his early days as a religious teacher but during the later Medinan period he is clearly aligned with the ego, the anti-God state.

Islam became an entirely egotistical religion, almost a religion of the ego and the will, and it was overseen by an egotistical God of arbitrary will, summed up by the ubiquitous boast of “Allahu Akbar” – our god is greater.

Muhammad’s intense pride can be seen in his inability to bear the criticisms and mockery of his detractors. He therefore had them assassinated.

He identified the goals of his own will with the directives of divine will. Divinity in his mind was almighty and arbitrary, a supreme ego akin to his own. The Islam of Muhammad is a massive ego trip.

Whereas Jesus illuminates the world by reflecting the light of divinity, Muhammad darkens it with his nefarious, egotistical will.

That Muhammad divided the world into those who accepted his prophetic status and those who did not was evidence enough of his falsehood. The attribute of Divinity is Oneness not Twoness.

The Deadly Sins of the Ego are: Pride, Gluttony, Avarice, Sloth, Envy, Anger, Lust.

Muhammad appealed to his followers in terms that would satisfy their egos and the deadly sins. The promise of worldly wealth and grandeur; the promise of sex slaves to satisfy their lust; the opportunity to get the better of those who were more successful; the promise of an afterlife modelled entirely upon the appetites of the ego: virgins, wine, unlimited sensual pleasures.

He raved about the torments that would be suffered by those who failed to accept him and continually encouraged his followers to gloat on them, indeed one of the great pleasures of the afterlife would be to see them suffer. This is egoism pure and simple.

He taught that “those who believe” should hate everyone else: Divisive not unifying.

I believe you will search the Koran in vain for a scrap of spiritual guidance. This is because, for all its bloated pretensions, it is a book of the ego not one of divinity.

One of the greatest teachings of Jesus was to guard against self-righteousness. Islam gives its followers much of the appearance of spirituality. Slavish devotion, obsessive rituals, fasting, prayer, modesty of dress, external cleanliness, but the inner fruits of its doctrines are pride and contempt for others. This is a wholly unspiritual outcome.

With the doctrine of voluntarism, Islam has even developed a metaphysics of egoism. According to this metaphysics, no event occurs in the universe that is not specifically willed by Allah. Allah is not subject to any constraint such as the laws of Nature, to suggest so is to suggest his absolute will is not absolutely powerful. "Inshallah" is the appeal to Allah's supreme egoism.

Because it has no spiritual truth it has to resort to force and coercion. Devoid of truth it deploys the ultimate fallacy – the argument of the stick (argumentum ad baculum).

The Koran is not one of the world’s documents of the spiritual life. It is rather a testament to the egoism of one man – Muhammad.

Muhammad, whose ego was so lustful he married a girl of six and found a “divine” reason (a “revelation”) saying that he should have his cousin’s wife, Zainab.

This is not the behaviour of a spiritual guide but of a wholly unspiritual egoist. Muslims should be told this in no uncertain terms whilst they have time to rectify their lives in accordance with better principles.

I think the fundamental idea behind the Islamic project is to create a sacred space that is unassailable; logically, a world dominated by Islam would be unassailable. The only snag is it wouldn’t be sacred. Islam as it is now constituted is a massive ego-trip. Ego-trips aren’t sacred.

Islam has burst through the centuries building exponentially upon the first ejaculation of Muhammad’s rapacious ego. That is really all it is; an elaborate extension of his ego.

Islam now stands face to face with a decadent de-Christianized West. Our politically correct culture has descended into a farce of ego protection wherein certain groups of people are protected from the beneficial pain of corrective truth – a dismal fact that ensures our descent into ever greater pretense and untruth.

There is a grain of goodness in political correctness in so far as those who are politically correct are often trying to protect those they see as weaker than themselves. We should guard against the pride that can grow from being better educated, better qualified, better mannered, or better financed than others but the game of PC has become an absurd circus of protecting the egos of others from harsh truths. We know truth when we hear it; when know it when we see it (though we’ll often turn away quickly). It has an undeniable resonance. Those people would be far better off left unprotected that they might feel the force of truth to diminish their egos. They would then, less full of pride, be beacons of truth themselves.

The Christian preoccupation with not straying into egoism has an echo in the orientation of the cultural left. The left is always referring us back to our own cultural failings when we point out the failings of other cultures. Political correctness is to some degree a corrective against cultural egoism; likewise the constant reiteration of tu quoque arguments: “what about the Crusades”, “what about the slave trade”, ”what about colonialism” etc.

Where there might have been an element of nobility in this tendency it is also a great falsifier. Truth must prevail. Ignoring the faults of others whilst constantly inflating our own may feel like a kind and noble thing to do but it has the awful effect of falsifying reality and energizing the egoism of people whose culture already renders them proud and contemptuous of others.

And yes, there is much to be said for concentrating on putting our own house in order. However, we cannot do that if some egotistical savage has destroyed the house.

One of the easiest forms of pride to fall into is in-group supremacy. Here again, the Left is frequently urging a corrective but it becomes overly negative towards the in-group and overly flattering towards out-groups. When this flattery is directed towards those of a supremacist culture it makes their cultural egotism even more bloated.

Western hedonism may be little better in terms of educating us away from the ego but it does have the merit of leaving individuals at liberty and not inducing intolerant expressions of piety - although the new piety of political correctness is a strong contender. The culture of the West has also allowed the possibility for cultural self-criticism to exist. This is a direct product of the non-egoic teachings of Jesus. Christianity, being a true expression of divinity, puts us on guard with respect to our ego, both the individual and the collective form.

The question is now whether we can regain enough awareness of what we are really about to return to non-hedonistic, non-egoic terms of existence and prevent a worldwide slide into the abyss of Islamic egotistical totalitarianism.