In this post, Jeff Goldstein of protein wisdom made a comment that struck Us:
As I’ve been arguing, the way to push back against Islamic totalitarianism is to re-embrace our own western liberal traditions—a philosophy of individualism and universal rights that has been weakened by a pernicious strain of relativism that grows out of a misuse of the signifying chain (whether cynically or out of a genuine confusion over the nature of signification).
We won't go into the issue of signification and whatnot - We will leave that to the experts - but We will focus on the beginning part of this paragraph, where Mr. Goldstein advocates the reembracing "our own western liberal traditions—a philosophy of individualism and universal rights."
The West may print book and pamphlet one after the other and flood the entire non-Western world with literature to convince peoples, from all walks of life, of the superiority and benevolence of Western values; but if the people and armed forces of the West are unsure, demoralized, and subject to the mandatory kowtowing to other cultures and their values, whatever gains the West may make through its propaganda will be for nothing. It may seem to some to be preaching to the choir, but in this case the choir consists of infidels and must be converted.
As a matter of tactics and strategy, this is of utmost importance. The Soviet Union was able to recruit agents using money and sex as lure. It used ideology just as effectively. Is it not a shame that the victorious party of the Cold War is mired in such self-doubt and self-hate?
Of course, from Our perspective, this is also a matter of reality and facts: it is reality that Western values are superior to those of other cultures. Many cultures are very fond of citing their successes as evidence of their superiority. Using the same technique, one can extrapolate without any doubt or equivocation that Western values lead to progress, success, social harmony, greater happiness, development, and greater prospects for the future. One needs to simply compare the West and the Rest (of the world).
Another fact of reality is that other cultures go to great lengths to pull down Western values and vaunt their own. They are insecure. (Some who are quite secure in their superiority are deranged and illogical.) They cannot compare with the West on any basis whatsoever. So, they denigrate the West's progress, claiming that in moving forward the West is actually moving backward, and that it is a failure as a civilization. They point to declining spirituality, supposed hypocrisy and inconsistencies, and violations of other cultures as evidence of this. They accuse the West of being arrogant in their surety of superiority, while at the same time committing the same crime with regard to Western culture. Oftentimes, they will play the victim, especially by blaming their problems, challenges, difficulties, negative tendencies, and failures on the West. As omnipotent as the West is said to be, they will take credit for any success on their part. The failures are because of the West, the successes are because of themselves (evidently inspite of the West). Of course, one cannot expect logic, consistency, or reason in their rambling dialogue.
Let Us now turn to the pressing issue. How ought this to be used against anti-Western Muslims?
First, one must realize that the Muslim world is paranoid and protective. Muslims are trained - unconsciously, of course - to detect arguments that go against Islam and to disregard them. Anything against Islam is not up for discussion whatsoever (while everything against the West or any other non-Muslim culture is more than welcome to be discussed), which defeats the entire point of seeking civilized debate.
Second, one must realize that "civilized debate" is quite rare with these people. Or, rather, civilized and
reasoned debate is rare. Even if one is civilized, one may be prone to throw out irrelevant "facts," inaccurate "facts," arguments based on emotion, arguments based on misconceptions, arguments based on misrepresentation (deliberate or unwitting), character assassination, double standards, and so on.
As such, debate - in the case of Our currect discussion, discussing the faults and benefits of Western values and history compared to Islamic values and history - would be useless. As it is, the only debates circulated amongst Muslims, that We have encountered at least, are those where Muslims win (or at least do not lose). What good is a debate that no one knows about? So, debates or other such comparative discussions are right out.
Out we to convince the otherwise? We believe it is important to educate them on what they evidently do not know or know very badly. The West must correct their perception of the West and what it stands for. Many Muslims will be surprised to find out that The United States contain many conservative people whose values, to some degree and in some issues, mirror theirs. Such a fact goes against the dominant image of the West as a nest of promiscuous drug-addled atheists whose goals are to accumulate wealth and to destroy Islam. So, education is very important. In this case, education ought to go one way: the West ought not to be very much interested in what they have to say, as they say what they would say often enough as it is. It is all that one hears. The West ought to speak and write to them, planting the seeds of truth, and then leave for the plant to grow (and flourish), grow (and die), or not grow at all. There is only so much one can do.
Another important act to do would be to rediscover, reemphasize, and reembrace Western values. This can be done in many ways. We do not suggest imposing them on those who live in the West. However, politicians, public leaders, and other people who are focal points of the people's attention should be encouraged as much as possible to advocate Western values in general
. (The last thing The United States need is for incompetant actors and singers (incompetant when it comes to governing and other such serious matters) to begin promoting Western values as a tool to bring down the West.) Schools and other institutions of learning should be encouraged to teach Western values and their impact on history, even going so far as explaining how Western values helped the West reach the point it is at now and how they will help the West develop and advance in the future. Pride in Western values and culture should be cultivated at all levels of society. Those who are outcasts (by perception or fact) should not be ignored.
(As an aside: instrumental to this process would be to break the hold any movement may have over uniformity and monolithicity amongst the people. People should be free to express their opinions, per se, without fear of communal shunning. This would enable such doubly-oppressed peoples such as conservative homosexuals, black Republicans, teetotaler college students, and others to express their opinions without fear of their fascist community's total excommunication. We fear this is quite rampant in certain circles in The United States, which tendency We unequivocally abhor and condemn.)
Another tactic would be forcefully - that is, with a spine, not with a gun - establish ground rules for discussion with other cultures. If they refuse to accept these rules, the West should reject without hesitation to engage in two-way discussion with them. For too long the West has had to listen to litanies of grievances against it while unable to support themselves in the court of world opinion. As far as We are concerned, no backward, primitive, uncivilized, violent, and oppressive culture, people, or state (and there are many of them) has any right whatsoever to criticize the West if it will not accept due criticism against it. That other cultures continue to demand this is utterly ridiculous, and We condemn any such desire on their part.
And, for the record, We unequivocally condemn, and dismiss as utterly ridiculous, any demands of entitlement due to oppression or other complaints of exploitation by the West. The West worked very hard to get to where it is now, and no exceptions should be made for lazy and idiotic peoples. No one is entitled to anything, for the most part. "To the victor go the spoils (and the glory)" has been a law of humanity since its birth, and We see no reason for this to change now, especially when tinpot tyrants depend on the same law themselves.
The West must become sure and confident, and must reassert itself. The West should bow to no one. The West should not beat its breast on account of any culture, civilization, or people. Sins were made, sins were repented of, and the sins then are to exist no more. Though the West's sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. When other peoples can get away with unrepentant sinning as they speak, the West should be bound by no obligation to relive or rerepent or reatone for its sins.
What this reembracing of and reemphasis on Western values will hopefully do is cause a flowering in appreciation and even study of Western values. When this banner of hope and victory is unfurled for all to see, then people, even people of other cultures, will come and join the forces around that ensign. People of various colors, faiths, ethnic origins, languages, and food spiciness will unite - with their various differences - under one civilization that has nurtured and developed hopes, dreams, and progress. (And the fact that this has been happening for a long time now must not go unmentioned.) Unlike many other cultures, Western culture and civilization are not restricted to one race or ethnicity or heritage. It embraces and incorporates all. It is universal. Truly universal. We are proof enough of that.inna naHnu-l-al'am