I have been asked why I include so many articles critical of Islamist thought and action in this blog. Basically it comes down to a focus on nations and ideologies that I see having actual potential to disrupt lives here and around the world.
I am not a big fan of totalitarian thought and will never apologize for highlighting it when I see it. I will and HAVE argued toe to toe vehemently standing up for someone to have the right to say things I thought were stupid and even what I would call evil. That is words. Actions are something different.
I have also always felt that to deny someone else’s rights is rude and simply wrong. To me, any organization or group or religion or whatever that tries to force it’s opinions on people is, by default, wrong. I do not believe that ANY philosophy that includes a need for “thought police” can find many VALID conclusions in its search for “truth” with a capital T.
Whether we are looking at a group of Biblical Literalists or a sect of hyper-conservative Jews or Wahabi Islam branch we are looking at a Neo-Platonic mindset that is simply not compatible with the Post Reformation, Post Enlightenment Western way of life and thought. The world we live in is not the world that matters to these people. What matters is an idealized “other place” where all things are perfect and from which all things of this world are IMPERFECTLY reflected. This perfect plane (heaven if you will) contains the “perfect being” that in incomprehensible to this world. Human reason in this vision of reality is incapable of finding ANY great truths at all. Imperfection is built into everything and no amount of time or study will bring a person closer to real “truth”. To even try is to commit a crime against the “State” or “God”.
This is a world of revelation not inspiration. a world of doctrine, not one of discussion or debate. The “least imperfect” elite must absolutely control the masses to channel them into “proper” behavior against their imperfect tendencies and inherent nature to do things wrongly. The Radicalizing Imams, the Militant Rabbis and the Christian Identity Preachers all hold the concepts and ideals of Plato’s Republic close to heart whether they admit it (as the Marxists and Nazis did) or not.
In the West the religious attachment to these ideas has faded before the glare of the Enlightenment, a rebirth and vindication of the Aristotelian mindset that has its roots solidly in the idea that reason is useful and the world does have an order of it’s own that can be seen and understood with time.
The very idea that revelation is the only proper source of “morality” is easily refuted simply by noting that even when using wholly secular logic and psychology the non-platonic moralist arrives at the same, almost universal, concept of Do Unto Others etc. that is shared by most religions.
It should be noted that the only notable examples of philosophies and religions (i.e. Soviet Communist, Fascism, Radical Rightist Christian and Jewish groups and Wahabi and Taliban style Muslims) that do NOT accept the basic Humanity and worth of non-members are all Neoplatonic in philosophy using their “revelations” to dominate and control the “unenlightened” masses.
In the end what I disseminate and comment upon depends on how influential I think a group or movement is at the time. In the 80’s and 90’s It was radically political Christians (which is funny as the way I read the Bible Jesus was EXPLICIT in telling his followers to NOT get involved in politics lest they compromise their relationship with God) that worried me the most domestically and abroad it was the Soviets and the White Power movements abroad that troubled me most.
Today the only major threat to world peace and stability seems to be the persistence of an extreme, neoplatonic ideal in the Islamic world. Debate is not allowed. Questioning of authority is not just bad it is immoral. All reform is seen as heresy and any dissent is a crime against God rendering the perpetrator less than Human not just in the eyes of the law but in the eyes of GOD!
Whatever neoplatonic foolishness that has existed in Christianity (Mostly perpetrated by the Greek influenced Paul) has, in the West, has faded before the Aristotelian philosophy of the Reformation and Enlightenment yielding a new dawn of ideas, inventions and political evolution.
With the beginning of what looks to the beginning of depolitization of American Christianity and the disappearance of the U.S.S.R. and it’s style of Communism hardline orthodox Islam is the last one standing that seems to be a real threat to civilization in general.
Jews and Christians abound who posses a devout love of God. Yet they do not feel they are required to blindly embrace every barbaric tribal injunction that resides in their Scriptures. They follow the words of Jesus and Hillel and temper The Law they feel God wants them to obey with a recognition that ANY application of “God’s Law” that does not reflect the LOVE of God and the LOVE by God FOR Man is misguided and legalistic and should be thrown out.
There is an instructive story in in a man who was seen by his Rabbi to break the Sabbath in a small way to help a neighbor in trouble. The Rabbi told the man that if he did not realize what he had done the man’s own Rabbi should admonish him for violating the Sabbath. But, he said that if the man DID understand what he had done he deserved his Rabbi’s PRAISE! To express the Love of God in the form of love for your neighbor is seen here as being more in tune with “God’s Law” than a literal letter by letter adherence to that same law!!
Contrast this tale to any of the neoplatonic philosophies I have mentioned. Imagine a Communist or a Nazi or a Saudi Muslim telling their authorities that their breaking of the letter of the Law was actually a truer expression of the ruling philosophy.
Deviations and reinterpretations can be accepted but ONLY if they come from the top of the hierarchy. A groundswell of feeling from the masses is only seen as an evil deviance to be extinguished, never inspiration to be seriously considered. This is also why these organizations tend to rarely have peaceful transitions of power. In the political arena Total Control is sought after and ruthlessly maintained until wrested away by another faction who begins the game again. Anything less than total authority is seen as horrible compromise with evil that can only be tolerated for short times and specific goals.
As for me, I will take the Aristotelian Western view over the Platonic worldview now and forever. One works, the other only works evil. All modern sciences from the physical to the political are based in Aristotle’s ideas, why? Because they work!
Plato’s theories are today mostly confined to the remnants of two political religions , Communism and National Socialism, and the conservative sects of one major religion, Islam. Each one degrades the human worth below that of the “state” (or “God given law”) and each has resulted in a steady worsening of the general Human condition in areas they have controlled.
It can be argued that the only reason that the Nazis did not experience a serious loss of scientific advancement was that they did not have power long enough for their thought police to fully harden into place. Despite this lack of time studies of the intellectual changes in Germany over the Nazi period itself do show the stifling effect of a Platonic authoritarian system.
Another theme possessed by all of the Neoplatonic schools of thought: Exclusion of outside thought. The Communists and Nazis were great book burners. They both felt it a duty to root out and destroy any dissenting thoughts and ideas. So too the radical Christian and Jews as well as the Orthodoxy of Islam forbid their followers from even seeing certain ideas.
In a thousand years fewer books have been translated into Arabic than the number translated into Spanish in ONE YEAR. If one group (The West) can allow competing thoughts to freely enter and still retain it’s identity what does that say about the validity of another society that claims it’s only hope of survival is the exclusion of any idea that is in any way non-orthodox? One of the biggest social issues in Europe now a immigrants that come to Europe but refuse to participate in European culture OR allow it in their enclaves. Competition is stifled.
Are human reason and progress evil fantasies propagated by deluded agents of darkness? Are we all doomed unless we enslave our God-given minds and hearts to a rigid adherence to an unforgiving code that can only be interpreted by authorized agents? Are we to take it on faith that once the mind enslavers have total control of us all THEN peace and harmony will prevail? I for one know where I stand and I will continue to make that stance known.