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Monday, September 20, 2010

War Against Islam?

Before you read this and come to the conclusion that I am bigoted and prejudiced against Islam and Muslims just let me assure you that I am bigoted and prejudiced against Islam and Muslims, but no more so than I am with Christians, Jews, and every other religious sect. In a democracy I am obliged to tolerate your religious beliefs but nothing says that I have to respect them. If you want me to respect your religion you shouldn't believe in stupid shit. You wouldn't expect me to respect astrology, would you?

Whether we want to admit it or not the United States of America, and perhaps the Western world, is at war with Islam.  As is the case with almost all wars it’s a stupid, pointless, and unwinnable venture that will surely irrevocably damage both sides.  If we are going to insist about waging a war against Islam we should have the common sense to realize that there is no armed solution—something America’s military leaders are too dim-witted to understand. If there is even one member of our armed forces elite that has suggested the futility of a military solution, Obama should promote him to the top of the pyramid and then fire all of the morons who insist on re-living Viet Nam only this time in Afghanistan.  If we are going to have a war then it should be a war of ideas and our ideas are just better.

I also have my doubts about the sort of war being waged against Islam in France which has banned certain Muslim dress in certain sectors of the society. I partly agree with the idea but it’s sort of a tricky path to follow.  To the critics of the policy I will say that what people need to understand is that separating women as is done in Muslim societies goes against the secular nature of Western democracies. We find it offensive. A nation has a right and a duty to inculcate its citizens in the values it represents.  I find the burka to be completely ghoulish and creepy and it also completely violates the ideals for which we stand in the West. We don’t think anything about banning certain forms of dress or non-dress. You can’t enter a bank while wearing a motorcycle helmet and you can’t sit down in a restaurant shirtless, so why is banning the burka or the niqab so terrible? There is absolutely no way that we should allow public school teachers to wear these garments in the classroom.

But instead of waging war with these sort of defensive tactics we should be on the offensive against Islam and all forms of religious ignorance—and all religions promote ignorance.  How exactly do we do this? We do it by promoting education. Religious ignorance is quickly devouring America in the form of fundamentalist Christians. The only way to reverse this tide of stupidity is with a counter tide of education. We need an updated version of the Enlightenment in America. The Enlightenment 2.0. Once we have installed it properly in America perhaps we can export it.

I think that most countries in Europe have already ungraded to The Enlightenment 2.0. Now they need to make sure their Muslim immigrants have a copy of the new program and make sure they leave their outdated religious software back in their home countries, or at least give these people plenty of incentives to discard their medieval myths as soon as possible.  

Instead of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq America should have sponsored and promoted liberal and moderate Muslims clerics around the world (while possibly waging a covert war against the radical imams—but we’d keep that a secret).  There certainly is a sizeable and powerful element of Islam that is at war with the West and our ideals. On a positive note the ideas put forth by radical Islamists are based on the most ignorant of superstitions and the most callous interpretations of their own faith. On the down side there seem to be a lot of ignorant people willing to follow Islam’s most hateful and violent leaders.

I’m not saying that our war of ideas will be easy or easily won but we have to start playing more offensively against the negative forces of religious extremism in all its forms. When something like 40% of British Muslims say they would like to see Sharia law implemented in Britain you realize that perhaps we have let things go too far.

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