We face two conflicts in the present day and against the present day. Both conflicts are being fought against ideologies dislocated in time, longing urgently for the past and the future.
Islamism is a reactionary ideology preaching a perfect world to be gained by stepping back to the 7th Century origins of its founding and seeks to recreate it by enslaving women and non-Muslims, making Mohammed’s false treaties with Christians and Jews, this time no longer in Arabia, but around the world, and then subjugating them to usher in an age of perfect peace.
Progressivism looks for its utopias not in the splendors of the past, but in the wonders of the future, its fanaticism fueled by the wonders of the emerging technologies of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries fused with the delusion that these material technologies could be matched by social technologies of equal depth and effectiveness, bringing forth both a technocratic utopia of physical technology and social technology.
Utopianism is a matter of faith and perspective. One man’s utopia is another man’s nightmare. And like many matters of faith, those who cannot be convinced must often be compelled.
The Utopianist is dislocated, feels born out of his proper age and fervently at odds with the tenor of the time.
For the Muslim, this is a matter of pure culture, for Islamic civilizations were left behind in the great rush of forward momentum experienced by Western civilization within the past centuries. The modern world is a Western creature and though it boasts many comforts and achievements, the Muslims who inhabit it can never feel fully at home in it. Unable to dream of a great future, they dream instead of a wonderful past that will sweep away the alien complexities that they could rarely learn to live without, and replace it with the purity of the desert and the simplicity of the sword.
For the Westerner, the dislocation is also cultural, it is the clash between the mechanical accomplishments of the civilization that he lives in and the decay of the spiritual and aesthetic values of its culture. The artist and the sculptor despaired of matching the engineer in the last century. The cleric feels a trembling in his bones when he sees the visions spun by theoretical physicists. Rather than exceeding themselves, the bearers of the cultural traditions of the West have often chosen to diminish themselves, fleeing into ugliness and unbelief, defacing and distorting the traditions they bear, rather than rising to face the challenge of their civilization’s material accomplishments and subsuming their fears of inadequacy in the expansion of their heritage’s possibilities.
The sensitive soul of the middle class child bemoans the industrial revolution without realizing that the only reason that there is a middle class and that he isn’t toiling in the fields and she isn’t at the mercy of any passing knight is the very materialistic technological revolution that the sensitive soul bemoans. For centuries, the dislocated Westerner has physically or philosophically attempted to retreat to a pastoral Eden, to the garden and the field tended by the Noble Savage, erecting complex theories to promote a new simplicity.
The dislocated Westerner finds in the form of the Noble Savage, a fellow dissatisfied soul rebelling against the constraints of civilization, and discovers too late the cost of savagery and the alternative to the new world of freedom that Newton’s Apple and the slide rule, and its rude children, the factory and the company have made. The Muslim is the latest in a long line of noble savages, fellow travelers on the road to a terrible Utopia that only one of them shall ever see.
Trying to synthesize a cocktail of the spiritual simplicity of the imagined past and the social technologies of the future, the dislocated Westerner invariably creates totalitarian horrors, monstrous bureaucracies and secret police forces who guard the efficacy of his philosophies, so that rather than escaping the factory, the life of men toiling in his utopias become the factory, slaving over flawed mechanisms of ideas, living as cogs in a broken machine that grinds up men and feeds their bodies to its own fallacies.
In this too the Muslim is his equal, resolving the contradiction between the comforts of the present and the purity of the past through an endless war whose irresolvable nature allows him to stand for the past while enjoying the comforts of the present.
The past was never pure and neither are those who long for it. It was always as flawed and marked by its mistakes as the present. And the future is no more pure than the present, it only appears pure because like a blank page, it is as yet unmarked by the disappointments and the crimes that have become a part of every era of existing history. Time cannot be rolled forward or backward at any pace but other than its own, its crimes and mistakes cannot be erased, only added to. The only better world that we can make is the one that we are making every day, not by tearing the world apart to form a new world, but by the laborious task of building up and holding up the world of the present day against its pressures and stresses.
In this task we are confronted by terrible forces, striving to tear apart our world, our civilization and our way of life, for the utopias of the past and the future, and against them we stand, the ordinary men and women of the present, not the children of the dawn or the night, but the happy offspring of the day who do not look to the sunrise or the sunset, but embrace the possibilities of the present.
We are the true moderates for we stand at the middle ground of the present day, respectful of the past and optimistic of the future, but refusing to sacrifice all we have in a mad dash for making another world.
The utopian is a fanatic, who at every opportunity informs us that he would rather die than go on living in this world, who makes a fetish of his revolutionary martyrdom, making his unreason into his crowning virtue. Like a stubborn child, he believes that his destructiveness and self-destructiveness will convince us to submit, when in actuality it convinces us only of the necessity to resist. He hoards his unhappiness and resists the world by making plans of how the world should be so as to make us as unhappy as him.
As the world trembles and civilization appears to be slipping away, as the sun darkens and the clouds throw back its sullen glare, the utopianists of both breeds and creeds have descended to bring on their terrible past or equally terrible future, tearing apart nations and civilizations, destroying knowledge and learning, killing in great number and deluding in equal number, for the fulfillment of their fanatical cause.
And against all this, stand we, the men and women of the day who refuse to cede our lives, our liberties and our nations to their mad dreams and madder schemes. We refuse to be subjugated, oppressed and terrorized. We refuse to accept their creeds, their tortured logics and their terror networks as proof of their inevitability. And above all else, we refuse to concede that their battle is won and the day is done. We refuse to concede our pasts to those who scheme for the future and our future to those who scream for the past.
Our ground is the earth under our feet, the hard soil of the present day and its harder won accomplishments extracted by sweat and toil, by genius and tremendous accomplishment from the obdurate obstacles that have stood in the way of our forefathers and foremothers, of those who have labored for all the achievements of the present.
Theorists theorize of the titanic conflicts that sweep the world and fill volumes with their categorizing of class wars and racial wars, of conflicts cutting across and through various lines and forms, and yet the most elemental conflict is the one between those who want to keep the world as it is and those who are driven to change and destroy it.
This fanatical impulse for which they will die and kill is not driven by necessity, for who in truth has prevented the Muslim from going into the desert to hoard his wives like his camels and to stone one another to death over trivial offenses.
The Muslim who truly wishes to live this way need travel only as far as the nearest Bedouin village, convert his capital into commodities and beg for admittance. But the most devout of the terrorists never even consider this option. It is not so much that they wish to live in a cave, as they wish to force us to live in caves. Like all murderous utopianists, they only imagine that they are builders, when they are actually destroyers. What truly drives them is not a wish to live in the 7th Century way but the power to foreclose any other alternative in a theological feudalism that will destroy all other ways of living, while allowing them to live comfortably in villas, while they preach the destruction of the world.
And the Western sensitive soul can go back to the land any time he chooses. There are no shortage of plots of land looking for cultivators and if the Amish can go back to the horse and plow, there is no reason that he could not do likewise. And if it is the future he seeks, there is no stopping him from setting up any social system backed by any philosophy he chooses, so long as it does not involve the active abuse of small children. But such experimenters inevitably burn out and go back to their plans for forcing us to live in a way that they themselves have no desire to.
We have taken nothing from them, as they incessantly claim, but they plot, struggle and strive to take everything from us, not least of all things, the right to maintain our stand in the present, rather than be driven into the dark nightmares of their pasts and futures.
Now is the twilight of our era, we stand at the uncertain point between night and day, between the life of our world and its death. While those around us struggle to bring about a perfect world, chanting their slogans and sitting on their committees, blowing up their bombs and screaming in their cities, we fight to hold on to the present. We stand against the fall of night and maintain the day.
We are ordinary people and our mission is a simple one. We are the preservers of the present. Our task is to stand against the destroyers, the dislocated in mind and body, drawing up their plans for mutant civilizations, their distorted visions of the past and future set in ideological dogmas, for the plain and simple things of the present. While they seek to take away our nations, our beliefs and our children away from us, we fight to preserve them and to keep our world with us.
We have no grand schemes or manifestos, no glorious visions of caliphates and socialist republics, our vision is of our homes and our stores, our families and our friends, the communities that we have built and the small things that we have done every day of our lives for the sake of all these things. These small things, the little uncounted freedoms and the self-chosen responsibilities are our manifestos, they are our battle cries and they are what we fight for. They are our world and we hold them now in the light of day against the destroyers who would bring against us the fall of night.