Saturday, June 18, 2005


The European Mindset and Islamic fundamentalism

I’ve been intending to get this post up for about two weeks now, and just haven’t gotten to it. Over at CUANAS, Pastorius has been giving a good deal of thought to the mindset of Europe and how it relates to the U.S. and international affairs. In a very well-thought- out and well-written piece, he draws a parallel between European thinking in the 1930’s and today, pointing out the European tendency to try to avoid conflict by avoiding confronting, or even admitting, the true aims of dangerous and aggressive regimes:

And unfortunately, it is that way to this day. That may seem to be a very
extreme statement, but it isn't when you really look at the tide of history. If
you had polled the populations of Germany and France in the 1930's, they would
not have agreed with Hitler's proposal (stated in Mein Kampf) to completely
obliterate the Jews of Europe. They wouldn't have agreed with his imperialistic
desires. They wouldn't have agreed with the extremity of his views on

But, they would have excused them.The people of Europe sat back and said,
"Well, Hitler doesn't really mean everything he says. He's just blowing off a
lot of hot air. You have to understand the German culture. That's the way they
are. But, they would never really go that far."

In other words, the approach to potential conflict is simply to decide to disbelieve the existence of the source of the conflict. If the other guy is espousing beliefs and intentions which are dangerous, evil, or threatening, you simply dismiss that as mere rhetoric and choose to believe that he really doesn’t intend to do any of the things he says he intends to do. Pastorius then draws a striking parallel to the situation today:

These are the same things which are said of the Islamofascists today. I was
discussing the death of the Jew-hating Hamas leader, Sheikh Yassin, with a
European relative of mine and, in doing so, I condemned the Guardian for it's
fawning obituary of him. Hearing my opinion, my relative offered all the excuses
I layed out above. I must understand that the Arab culture has a "bombastic"
speaking style. They don't really want the Jews dead. They don't really intend
to take the entire land of Israel."But, it says that that's what they intend to
do in their Charter," I protested."Well, they don't really mean it"

This is precisely the attitude of many Europeans. The Palestinians are a poor oppressed minority, and Israel is the foreign occupier of their country. (Never mind that the territory is in fact the ancient state of Israel, and that the country of Palestine never, ever existed anywhere on earth.) While the Palestinians may say they want to oblitherate the state of Israel, they don’t really mean it. All they really want is their own little country alongside Israel. And then everybody could live in peace and harmony. Facts that are inconvenient to this view are completely disregarded, or dismissed as lies. The most ridiculous conspiracy theories and fantasies are indulged, as long as they enable the ostriches to keep their heads buried in the sand.

The truly alarming point raised in the piece, though, is the connection between this European mindset and the present-day United States:

The only difference between then and now, is that the European mindset has
been inculcated within the United States, and has gained frightening force in
the world of the American media and Academia.

So now, we, here in America, sit in the very same position that F.A. Hayek
described Europe as being in in during the leadup to World War II. We are
drastically divided in ideology. Half of us want America to win the war, and
half of us think there is no war to be fought.

Those who think there is no war to be fought are ideologically in league
with the Europeans. They deny that Iraq was a state-sponsor of terrorism. They
deny that Iran, or Syria, are a threat. Many aren't even that concerned that
Iran would aquire nuclear weapons. "After all, they are a sovereign nation. Who
are we to tell them what to do?"

The really shocking thing is how many seemingly reasonable people even
think the Afghanistan War was wrong. That it was only fought in order to clear
the way for the establishment of an oil pipeline controlled by America.As
ludicrous as these ideas sound to us who live in middle America, these are not
rare notions. They are rampant in the world of Academia, and among memebers of
our media. If you ever wanted to understand why it is that the media behaves the
way it does, constantly trying to dig up dirt on our military - about Abu
Ghraib, about Guantanamo, about one soldier shooting one unarmed Jihadi in a
mosque - I will give you the reasons.

The American Media and Academia are virulently angry with America. To them
the Bush Administration is an arm of the "Bush Crime Family." The war is an
illusion created in the interest of imperialism. It was planned prior to 9/11.
In fact, 9/11 was just a nifty opportunity. There were no WMD's. Saddam was not
a threat. It's all about oil.

Not so long ago, I had a personal experience that illustrates the point about this mindset very clearly. In the course of a discussion with a couple of people, well-educated, professional types, I raised the point that militant Islam does not want to be “left alone”, the goal of militant Islam is to turn the entire world into a fundamentalist state. I was accused of merely parroting Rush Limbaugh and all those talk radio guys. After pointing out that I don’t listen to talk radio at all, not Rush, not anybody else, they said “oh, so where do you get your information? We don’t have access to your super secret news sources,” I suggested that they pull the names of some of the Islamist “leaders” out of whatever news source they choose, and Google search those names to find out what they’re really saying.

The response? Well, they don’t have time to mess around with that. How, I asked, can you sit here and argue that I am wrong, and tell me I’m inventing facts, when you refuse to even check to see if my facts might be true? The response? “So what, who cares what they say in some speech, that’s not really what they mean.”

It’s the old joke line: “I have my mind made up, don’t confuse me with any facts.”
These folks, who have their minds firmly made up, assume I must be lying, making things up, because the factual information I present is at odds with their opinion. And, confronted with a way to verify the factual information I am presenting, they decide that even if my facts are accurate, it doesn’t matter. The teachings of the leaders of the Islamofacist movement are somehow not relevant to the Islamofascist movement, and can be disregarded.

The excerpts presented here are only a taste of the analysis presented in the original piece at CUANAS, and I urge you to take a few minutes and go read the original. It really is excellent stuff.

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