The West is almost as in love with improving the world, as the Muslim world is with conquering it. These two contradictory impulses, the missionary and the warrior, come together in the Clash of Civilizations.
Muslim world has two approaches to the West; underhanded deceit and
outright terror. The practitioners of the former are considered moderates and the latter
extremists. The West has two approaches to the Muslim world, regime
change and love bombing. With regime change we bomb their cities to save
them from their rulers and with love bombing we shamelessly flatter and
appease them in our own cities to save them from themselves.
Muslims are religiously and culturally antagonistic to the West. Whether a
John McCain or a Barack Hussein Obama is in the White House; America is
still a great non-Muslim power. That very fact, in contradiction to the promises of the Koran and its deity, will continue to bring forth a xenophobic response
no matter how much America flatters the Muslim world.
Westerners focus their animus on Muslim leaders, on a Saddam, a Gaddafi
or an Arafat-- not recognizing that the hostility comes not
from the leaders, but from the people. We can remove all the leaders of
the Muslim world and replace them with muppets, and it won't noticeably
change the underlying bigotry of the Muslim world. And very soon the
muppets will also start chanting, "Death to America" because it's the
popular thing to do.
Regime change, whether through armed force or democratic revolutions, won't save the Muslim world.
The Muslim world is not backward by their standards, it is backward by
our standards. It refuses to make the social and political changes that the West did,
but that is because it does not like the trade-offs that come with those changes.
And that is a choice that each Muslim country and society has to make. Individualism, freedom and tolerance are
not acceptable values in the Muslim world. And totalitarianism,
theocracy and repression are not acceptable values in ours. The Muslim
world has no obligation to accede to our cultural standards, but we accordingly have no obligation to accede to theirs.
There is always a gap between civilizations, but rarely has the gap yawned as starkly as it does now. We are as eager to bring the
Muslim world into the light, as they are to drag us into the darkness.
And the momentum is on their side. We don't have the answers that we
think we do. Democracy is not the solution. Neither is embracing Muslim
culture with open arms. They don't have the answers either, but they
have something better; unrestrained violence that is fueled by the moral desperation of a
failed culture struggling against the tidal pull of that failure. Like a
drowning man, if we try to save them, then they will pull us down with
How does one
protect them from the damage that they do to their own character? And
how does one save people from their own hate?
We are not so wise and so perfect that we can claim to know how to save 1
billion people from themselves. Right now we are having a good
deal of trouble saving us from ourselves and we cannot be expected to
shoulder the burden of reforming the Muslim world as well. Whatever
spiritual or cultural redemption waits for them, can only come from
themselves and through themselves. It will not come through a change of government or lavish
praise. Only through a growing moral awareness. There is no telling when or if such an awareness will come.
There are animal rights campaigns in China and anti-rape campaigns in
Africa-- but no progress on human rights in the Muslim world. It is
likely that China will be vegetarian before non-Muslims are treated as
equals in the Muslim world.
If the Muslim world has raised up a wall of sand against freedom,
tolerance and the recognition of our common humanity-- then it is best
for their sake and ours that they remain on their side of that wall of
If they refuse to coexist with us, either locally or globally,
then that is their choice. They may have their paradise of hefty-bagged
women, towering mosques and cowering infidels-- so long as their bigotry
and oppression remains on their side of the wall of sand. When they
breach that wall, then they have to live by our laws, not theirs. If there is no room for our laws in their lands, then there is no room for their laws in ours.
Thinkers and politicians talk on of how to save 1 billion Muslims
from themselves. Remove their tyrannies, some cry. But what will they
replace them with? More tyrannies. Governments reflect their peoples.
If 1 billion Muslims really wanted to be free, they would be. The tyrants are
expressions of their condition, not repressions of their moral will. The
Muslim world does not differ on whether there should be tyranny, but on
what manner of tyranny it should be. The Arab Spring has proven that.
The most fundamental error of the West toward the Muslim world is that
of condescension. Western governments may see Muslims as minorities, but
they see themselves as majorities. And throughout the world they are
majorities. Muslims in the West do
not see themselves as minorities, but as natural majorities who have the
right to impose their will and their way of life on a minority that functions as a majority only because it has not yet been overrun and conquered. Unlike refugees who
come from cultures where they are minorities, Muslims come expecting to
have things done their way. And when the West accedes, that only affirms
the Muslim sense of privilege.
The West's missionary impulse toward the Muslim world is not only
misplaced, it is positively dangerous. How can the West convince the
Muslim world to believe as it does, when it no longer knows what it
The Muslim world lacks such weaknesses. It cannot be crippled
by moral quandaries, ideological contradictions, philosophical crises or
doubts about the future. Its members do not recognize contradiction,
rather they embrace them, until those contradictions explode in violence.
Western codes are black and white, Muslim codes combine all shades into
one. When the Muslim world is confused or in doubt, it resolves these
feelings with violence. The West does not resolve them at all. While the
West broods, the Muslim world slits throats. The problems of the Clash
of Civilization cannot be postponed much longer. They are our problem.
We cannot save 1 billion people from themselves, but we can save
ourselves from them.