Saturday, January 30, 2010

Two Models for the Encounter Between Islam and the West

There are essentially two models for the current encounter between Islam and the West. The Clash of Civilizations, the first model is held by a narrow slice of the population in First World countries, and an even smaller slice within the political and academic world. This model holds that we are experiencing a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. A clash of civilizations resulting from the desire of Muslims to create a global civilization based on their religion and culture, by displacing all competing civilizations, primarily (but not limited to) Western Civilization.

The second model is the Assimilationist Model, this model is the most widely held one, not only on the left, but among many on the right as well. The Assimilationist Model holds that the tensions between Muslims and the West, both in the West and in the Muslim world, are the product of the incomplete assimilation of both sides into a global society.

Under the Assimilationist Model, clashes in Europe or terrorism in America result from a failure by their host countries to properly assimilate Muslims within their borders. This "failure to assimilate" results primarily from Western racism, ignorance about Islam, and disrespect for Muslim values, leading to economic and social injustice. This economic and social injustice is then said to marginalize Muslim moderate leaders, who are more prepared to assimilate into their host society, and strengthens Muslim extremists.

On a global scale, violence from the Muslim world is said to be produced by the failure of First World countries to respect and adapt to Muslim culture and religion, as well as the left's old standbys of racism, and economic and social injustice. With the same results as on local level. Muslim extremists are strengthened, Muslim moderates are weakened, and stuff blows up all because we didn't spend enough time learning about other cultures.

Both locally and globally, the Assimilationist Model's prescription for curing terrorist ills is the same. For the affected countries to learn about the values of their attackers and strive to accommodate them. To provide financial benefits and various forms of affirmative action to neutralize Islamic grievances and show respect by promoting and normalizing Islam, both locally and globally. This will harmonize Muslims and non-Muslims together within the emerging global society. And then everyone can join hands and live peacefully together under the enlightened rule of a vast global bureaucracy.

While the Assimilationist Model emerged out of attempts by First World countries to actually assimilate Muslims, in its present state it is essentially a prescription for what is at best mutual assimilation, and what is at worst, a Muslim takeover. And what is worse, the Assimilationist Model is the dominant model used by politicians, academics, business leaders and the political and intellectual elite of almost every society currently targeted by Islam.

And there is a reason for that. Where the Clash of Civilizations model presents a global showdown in which not only is there no avoiding a global conflict, but that conflict will also disrupt emerging trade, international cooperation and global governance mechanisms-- the Assimilationist Model is an essentially optimistic one that says that if we all "buckle down" and make some cultural sacrifices, censor our cartoons, pay fealty to the cultural importance of Mosque and Koran, and avoid eating in public around Ramadan time, in exchange we'll benefit from from globalism abroad and multiculturalism at home (read as a dirt cheap workforce that can help fund our already bankrupt socialist systems). It's no wonder that the Assimilationist Model is so popular among the ruling elite, since it assumes that with a little cultural tinkering, everyone can be made happy. Even if it's under Sharia law. The details don't really matter to them, only the big picture does.

The different viewpoints inherent in these two models, the Clash of Civilizations and the Assimilationist Model underlie virtually all of the debate going on about Islam and the West. And what is so insidious about the Assimilationist Model is that it represents the "easy shortcut" in which societies begin trying to win over Muslims, and by the time they realize it isn't working they see no other alternative short of civil war for dealing with the problem, and this only reinforces their commitment to the Assimilationist Model as the only remaining option.

It is easy to understand why the Assimilationist Model is so dominant, given two choices, most people will choose the "easy way" out. Most people will also try to choose the nicer one, in order to feel better about themselves. The Assimilationist Model offers a minimum of sacrifice up front. There's no need to fight wars or contemplate international alliances against a rising evil. All you really have to do is run some ads, meet with some Muslim leaders, address their concerns and you're done for the day. It seems easy and at first it is. But then the demands get worse and worse, and even when you address them the violence increase. And you're caught inside the trap, and the only way to get out is chew your own leg off, on a national scale. But how many modern leaders are prepared to do that? And so they keep repeating the same futile gestures, putting more and more on the table, in the hopes that at some point the Assimilationist Model will kick in and their society will be saved. Of course the only thing that finally kicks in, is Sharia law and another addition to the Ummah, once the tipping point has been reached.

The difference between the Assimilationist Model and the Clash of Civilizations is the difference between a slot machine that asks for a quarter and a training course in electrical engineering that asks for ten thousand dollars. The first seems tempting, because it asks for very little up front and offers a huge reward. While the other asks for a lot up front and doesn't offer nearly as much down the road, and requires a lot of hard work. And much of the West's political leadership is no longer geared up for sacrifices and hard work, but for socialist bread and circuses, and the Assimilationist Model fits nicely into that mold.

But the intellectual failure of the Assimilationist Model goes even further back, because it's really the model that the West adopted for use against Communist and other far left wing workers' movements, which focused on depriving them of their base by improving conditions for workers. Since then the First World has adapted that same model for use in pacifying virtually any form of dangerous social discontent. But there's a basic disconnect between applying a model meant to deal with an ideological threat to a religious and cultural war. Because while Islam functions at the ideological level, its primary appeal functions at a cultural, national and religious level.

Islam is not simply a manifestation of discontent due to economic or social barriers, but the Manifest Destiny of Muslims in building a global Caliphate. It cannot be waved away with aid money, affirmative action or even showing respect for Islam. The Assimilationist Model is based on the fallacy that Islamism can be neutralized by coddling Muslims. It is profoundly and deeply wrong in this regard, because it fails to understand the power and appeal of Islam. But the fault lies in the left which following its Marxist model of class warfare has coded every social movement as coming in response to economic inequality. And the level of acceptance for the Assimilationist Model demonstrates the level of penetration by the basic ideas behind Marxism... even when those ideas were used to counter the rise of Marxist groups.

The left's intellectual dominance in the First World has wedded its political elite to a worldview in which local and global conflicts can be reduced to either greed on the part of developed nations and groups, or outrage against economic inequality by undeveloped nations and groups. The latter half of the 20th century has overlain those ideas with dollops of tolerance and respect, but the underlying idea remains the same. That you resolve a conflict by divide the Haves from the Have Nots, and assuming the latter can be appeased by remedying the wrongs done to them by the Haves.

The "Have and the Have Not" formula so vital to the Marxist worldview is so thorough embedded that it cannot envision actual Islamist motives as anything except as an insanity that can be pacified by weaning away their followers with economic, social and cultural incentives, or the inventions of intolerant conservative elements within their own society who are seeking to disrupt their attempt at national and global harmony.

This is why the Assimilationist Model has become a fact of life, whether it's in Europe, where governments seek to charm Muslims by showing them respect, or America, where the government is planning to spend billions to lure away Taliban fighters from their machine guns, to Israel, where the endless peace process continues dangling a limited state before terrorists who remain committed to destroying their country.

Because it is easy, because it accommodates the facile worldview of the left and provides minimum disruption to their plans for a global order-- the Assimilationist Model remains very hard to shake. Its optimism and humanism makes it seem morally indefensible to its followers. But its fatal flaw, like that of all utopian delusions, is that it is completely unreal.

The core meaning of utopia is a place that cannot exist. The Assimilationist Model too posits a mythical place brought to life by the ideological will and intellectual laziness of a civilization at war, but refusing to acknowledge it. The rate of global Muslim violence has been steadily increasing, and while the proponents of the Assimilationist Model will always defend it by finding new sources to blame for growing Muslim outrage, almost as quickly as Osama bin Laden's videotaped ghost does (US Troops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, Global Warming, Western Culture, the WTO), this sort of intellectual sloppiness cannot even begin to explain why Muslim violence is not limited to the West, why it is not limited to developed countries, why in fact its only distinctive characteristic is the Muslim violence itself.

The Clash of Civilizations remains the only rational explanation and prescription for action. But it is also a difficult one, both practically and morally for many people to accept. But understanding the other side, requires understanding the flaws of the Assimilationist Model. For it is by understanding the nature of another's delusion, that we can begin to show them the truth.



Keli Ata said...

It is indeed a clash of civilizations. They won't integrate themselves and have no intention of ever doing so. We need to stop playing Uncle Tom...or Uncle Ahmed.

Shavua tov:)

Keli Ata said...

Isn't it ironic that virtually every American protested when Nancy Reagan slightly bowed to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the US years ago, yet we're bowing and catering to Muslims is even worse than Nancy's slight bow.

Mikec said...

There was a time when the US took the war to the 'shores of Tripoli' in order to put down Islamic (Wahabi) piracy whilst Europe was paying the neccessary bribes and ransoms.

The ensuing 'peace' lasted for 150 years and has only re-emerged because of perceived western dependancy on OIL. There is oil in Alaska, but the will to exploit it in Washington is not there.

Is this because the global agenda needs the destabilizing influence of Islamization? Do the political elites believe that when the right time comes they can buy off the Imams? or is it that they rather like the Saudi model where a liberated royal family (the political elite) live a high life whilst the people are kept in line by the metawa (religious police)?

Anonymous said...

Essentially not different than the appeasement policies of the 1930's re: another totalitarian movement, fascism exemplified by the German variant of Nazism. In the end, appeasement failed & resulted in a war in which over 50 million people were killed.

trencherbone said...

Muslims have an arrogant sense of supremacism and automatic unearned entitlement which cannot be removed by normal means

yamit33 said...

Keli Ata
I don't think it is a clash of civilizations. I think it is clash of religions. Islam against everybody, primarily Edom, (Christianity). and all against the Jews. We are the penultimate target of both. Why? Because we screw up their theological dogmas.

From the Novel the "Haj". Palestine, 1937.

An Englishman warns the Haganah: Every last Arab is a total prisoner of his society. The Jews will eventually have to face up to what you are dealing with here. The Arabs will never love you for what good you've brought them. They don't know how to really love. But hate! Oh G-d, can they hate! And they have a deep, deep, deep resentment because you have jolted them from their delusions of grandeur and shown them for what they are a decadent, savage people controlled by a religion that has stripped them as one commands a mob of sheep. You are dealing with a mad society and you'd better learn how to control it.

At the end of the novel, Uris has an exceptional Arab, an archeologist, admit: Hate is our overpowering legacy and we have regenerated ourselves by hatred from generation to generation, century to century. The return of the Jews unleashed that hatred, exploding it wildly, aimlessly, into a massive force of self-destruction. In ten, twenty, thirty years the world of Islam will begin to consume itself in madness. We cannot live with ourselves; we never have. We cannot live with or accommodate the outside world; we never have. We are incapable of change.

The last thing the government of Israel wishes to see published by Jews is the truth the truth about the implacable hatred Arabs harbor against Jews and Israel. The obscenity of this hatred is evident throughout the media of the Arab world.

Morry Rotenberg said...

The Clash has been going on since Mo came out of the Arabian penninsula in the 7th century. The problem that we have today is that we no longer have men like King John III Sobieski of Poland who put the dagger through the heart of the Ottomans on the outskirts of Vienna in 1683. We also have no more Ronald Regans who put a dagger through the heart of Soviet style communism. Unfortunately, a dagger wasnn’t sufficient to put the vampires of expansionist Islam and Marxism to a permanent death. The wooden stake still needs to find its place in the heart of expansionist Islam and its felow travelers on the Left.

Following Him said...

The following is a true account that needs to be repeated.

General Black Jack Pershing …

Sept. 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948

Just before W.W. I, there were a number of terrorist attacks on the U. S. forces in the Philippines by Muslim extremists.

General Pershing captured 50 terrorists and had them tied to posts for execution. He then had his men bring in two pigs and slaughter them in front of the now horrified terrorists.

Muslims detest pork because they believe pigs are filthy animals. Some of them refuse to eat it, while others won't even touch pigs at all, nor any of their by-products. To them, eating or touching a pig, its meat, its blood, etc., is to be instantly barred from paradise (and those virgins) and doomed to hell.

The soldiers then soaked their bullets in the pig's blood, and proceeded to execute 49 of the terrorists by firing squad. The soldiers then dug a big hole, dumped in the terrorist's bodies and covered them in pig blood, entrails, etc.

They let the 50th man go free. For the next forty-two years, there was not a single Muslim extremist attack anywhere in the world.

General Pershing … one of the wisest men our country ever had.

Lemon said...

The was no 'stone age'.
There has always been one age where men have lived side by side with cave men.
We do so today.
There are cultures that are extremely backward and primitive.
Until not long ago there were people without fire.

You can dwell in a cave both physically and/or mentally.
Some wander out of the caves to become nomadic but the mind is set in the dark cave and it can't go beyond that.

A National Geographic researcher married a person from a primitive tribe in South America.
Even after years of marriage and living elsewhere the person could not adapt or learn.

Keli Ata said...

Yamit, you're right about it being a clash of religions. However, at least in the US I see many so-called "moderate" Muslims trying to distance themselves from the more radical branches of Islam by claiming the actions of Hamas, al Quaeda etc. are the results of more primitive Arab middle eastern culture rather than Islam.

Semantics probably but when you're dealing with political correctness it's nice to be able to read through the lines.

Islam and Arab culture are too intertwined to really know which is influencing the other. So I think it is a clash of cultures.

yamit33 said...

Keli Ata said...:

at least in the US I see many so-called "moderate" Muslims trying to distance themselves from the more radical branches of Islam by claiming the actions of Hamas, al Quaeda etc. are the results of more primitive Arab middle eastern culture rather than Islam.

There is only one Koran like there is only one Tanach. What you call moderate Muslims are at best apostate Muslims or like a Great Rabbi once said" There are no moderate Arabs, just stupid Arabs and smart Arabs: " The smart ones tell you what you want to hear and the stupid ones tell you what they actually think"

Or "A Moderate Muslim only wants to kill Jews moderately"!!

Keli Ata said...

Islam and Arab culture are too intertwined to really know which is influencing the other. So I think it is a clash of cultures.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University Talk about Arab Terror - Part 1

Mordechai Kedar in al-Jazeera about Jerusalem & Islam

I.N Fidel said...

islam is peace,let there be no doubt about that.Just look at the number of people given the blessing of eternal peace prematurely.what we see as dead bodies are in fact beneficiaries of peaceful islam.According to the international institute for strategic studies,100 000 000 people recieved the benefit of peaceful islam during the 20th century.How much more evidence of the peace of islam do you want

Anonymous said...

Islam means Submission, the West wanted (through G.W. Bush) to molify the people after 7/11 and found the "nice" translation which is wrong. It's not me saying this is Prof. Mordechai Kedar.

yamit33 said...

A National Geographic researcher married a person from a primitive tribe in South America.
Even after years of marriage and living elsewhere the person could not adapt or learn.


Which one couldn't adapt? The researcher or his wife from the primitive tribe?

yamit33 said...

Anonymous said...

Islam means Submission, the West wanted (through G.W. Bush) to molify the people after 7/11 and found the "nice" translation which is wrong. It's not me saying this is Prof. Mordechai Kedar.


Is 7/11 a significant date or a typo?

Christopher John said...

I don't hand out plaudits very often but this has to be one of the most penetrative and relevant articles for our times. It deserves to be read widely, especially around 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and Foggy Bottom.

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.

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