Protect the Order of Freedom
Islam baffles the Western world. A PC-induced inability to face the fundamentals translates into ineffective counter punches. Thus, meeting the challenge is hindered. Confronting Islam demands that some of our principles be questioned. It also asks us to adjust tradition imposed behavior to theirs. Without an appropriate response, we remain vulnerable beyond what suicide bombers can achieve. The Islamist impact hinges upon our commitment to principles its attacks have outdated, and of sticking to methods that had ceased to work.
The foregoing tells that the threat’s magnitude is defined by factors that differ from those by which we traditionally assess “power.” The economy that backs militant Islam is rudimentary being limited to sell raw materials that are gifts of nature. Their value is determined by the chosen foe’s ability to pay, and by his need for access. The development of technologies for gaining, harvesting, and transmitting energy, could truncate the market value of these resources.
Also, the structures that sustain the war against “unbelievers” is ill suited to support a modern war machine. Except for its human mass, the ability to create the tools for a “real war” against a determined enemy is scant. The Islamist world is incapable to produce the technology to create a modern army. The missing autarchy, in the area of food and consumer products, completes the picture.
Equally limiting is that the money from oil is not converted into a modern economy. The implied modernization would not be impossible. Other cultures that had decided to close their developmental lag have succeeded at that task. In fact, they have achieved success while having access to lesser means than what crude oil provides.
This tells us something crucial. Radical Islam pursues unfunded objectives because its project rests on a feeble base, therefore, its aspiration to control the world has shaky material foundations. If so, the radicals’ impact must come from a source that is normally not listed among the components of power politics.
Indeed, the fanatics’ power emanates mainly from the mental weakness of their foes. Call that “liberal death wish.” It is the virtue of advanced society that enables Islamists to wage asymmetric war without suffering their foe’s counter-punch. What “virtues” are meant? It is the open society, the pursuit of compromises, the belief that violence should not determine public affairs, and limited government power. Chiefly, an article of faith that assumes that all men prefer virtue to vice, that man is rational, and interested in cooperation based upon mutual respect.
Our system rests on a number of premises that, in the face of the current threat, create a security gap that threatens its ability to prevail. It is the institutionalized features of progressive democracy that create perils that undermine it from within. Thus: Our virtues become scruples that create the conditions which reduce our ability to maintain the order that converts mankind’s dream into a systemic reality.
Democracy made into a system, has assumed that its ideas are “self evident.” It followed that its system was predestined for global implementation. Nowadays, open society’s advocates must admit that democracy is a cultural product. The practice of free society, even if — in the manner of a pizza — it is well packaged for delivery, does not travel well. Being a cultural outgrowth, it cannot be projected to every location across any boundary.
We learn a lesson from the present’s challenges. Radical collectivism — in its national socialist and communist varieties — expressed presently by Islamism are two things. One, they are aggressive reactions to liberty that questions a local concept of the natural order. Second, they represent a culturally colored response to a rigid order that equates individualism with the original sin which keeps weak individuals from submerging into a mighty collective — a nation, or the brotherhood of true believers.
One might ask, how come western style democracies are so vulnerable to what is retrograde? A look back helps to comprehend the dilemma.
As in the case of its current enemies, even today’s leading countries shared once a static system. Productivity was low, and the organization of the production of traditional goods was inefficient. Due to a limiting experience, expectations had a restricted horizon. The system that governed this western version of the traditional society was oppressive and it resorted to power to maintain an order devoid of social and economic mobility.
Then a development unfolded that propelled these societies from stagnation into a trend setting role. This happened by “inventing” democracy and the matching free market economy. While freedom was institutionalized, it became evident that it had to be secured. Experience suggested that the threat to liberty comes from government. Logically, this could have led to the advocacy of anarchy. However, our ancestors concluded that the vicissitude could be corrected by better government. That meant a government with power to fulfill its assigned tasks, while being made unable to abuse its power to the disadvantage of the citizen.
In the western experience the threat came from abuses by the governors. Therefore, the progressive system aimed to keep the citizen from becoming a subject. An expression of this concern is that the resulting limited government restricted its power and gave a systemic advantage to the citizen against his government. The bias assumed that the individual could be a victim of government abuse. In our day, this has deteriorated into a mindless coddle the criminal, blame the victim, stance.
The way the courts handle anti-social behavior, the “bias” creates a gap that favors criminals. The same is true of conflicts, in which the majority is challenged by elements that “ideologize” crime as “resistance” and that make lawlessness into an expression of faith, culture, or “race.”
Equality before the law and within a community is fundamental to democratic systems. No institutionalized privilege and no system of immunity from the “law” are tolerable. Everything else undermines the system that assures us of liberty as an unalienable right. We should remember an unpleasant and therefore suppressed lesson of the last century: Freedom can be used by its enemies to destroy it.
The concern is not an argument against democracy but a plea to defend it in ways that fit the Islamist challenge. Our implementation of democracy needs to adjust to a new threat that exploits liberty’s principles to undermine it.
What not to do? Do not go for a “dialogue” about how to eliminate you humanely. Once you discuss the matter, do not consent to another “study” by a panel of overpaid “cousins” committed to deny what we all know. Predictably, the “select committee” will only recommend submission because terminating us is “their” opinion and, is the view of others not to be respected?
What to do? Close loopholes. Such as the one that forbade Belgian police to conduct night raids. (While they waited the bomber escaped.) Rethink procedures made obsolete by the “new crime” against society. Affirm that the right to oppose within the confines of a democratic order that depends upon the majority’s consent excludes immunity to subversion. Mainly, protect your people and stand up for your principles — even the ones that allow your self-defense. Do not meet threats with apologies. Do not seek the approval of subversives about actions that aim to restrain them. Freedom’s order needs to be tolerant, however, properly understood, its defenses need not be feeble. Our survival depends upon our ability to find the proper balance between submission and resistance. Nice article George.
We have an apologist for the last eight years in office. Thank God that he will soon leaving.