Yes, There Are Modernist Muslims
William James thought there were two kinds of people, the “tough minded” and the “tender minded.” Today, thinking conservatives are tough-minded about politics, while most liberals are unconscious victims of media propaganda. They are dumbed down.
Conservatives understand the real world pretty well, but they can make mistakes on the side of being too skeptical.
During the Cold War, conservatives did not realize how many secret dissidents there were in the Soviet Union. Neither did the CIA, because it is really hard to figure out a closed society. Because Soviet dissidents lived in fear and forced silence, tough-minded conservatives thought there was no opposition in Moscow and Beijing.
We were wrong about that, as we found out around 1990 when the communist world suddenly fell apart.
Right now, many conservatives also underestimate the number of Muslims who want to live as modernists, for exactly the same reason. Most of the modernists in the Muslim world are keeping their heads down, for fear of bloodthirsty fanatics.
I prefer to say “modernist” rather than “moderate.” Muslims claim to have absolute faith in Allah as portrayed in the Koran. Well -- many people have absolutist beliefs while living normal lives -- it’s their actions that really matter. Modernists Muslims may fear and despise radical imams and mullahs who have grabbed tyrannical power in many countries. They fear their tyrants, and they are right.
Former Soviet dissident Nathan Sharansky summarized his life in the Soviet Gulag in terms of Free Societies and Fear Societies.
Free Societies encourage open and vigorous debates about politics, science, religion, and everything in-between, which is crucial for a creative culture. Without free speech societies become brain-locked. It happened to Imperial China and Tokugawa Japan when they rejected Western technology. It has happened many times in the history of Islam, temporary modernist movements followed by crackdowns by the radical priesthood.
With the rise of Islamofascist cults since the 1970s, Muslim nations that were once fairly free are now Fear Societies.
But -- around the 1950s there were relatively free places in the Muslim world -- in cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Istanbul and small countries like Lebanon, and yes, even in the Shah’s Iran. You can still find photos of chic-looking Arab and Persian women walking on the boulevards of Cairo, dressed in high heels and knee-length skirts. In Lebanon there were years of freedom until the Iranian terrorist group Hezb’allah took over. Today there is still a worldwide Lebanese diaspora -- an exile culture -- that remains modernist and genuinely progressive.
There’s nothing wrong in the Muslim world that a big dose of freedom won’t cure. But it can’t come from the outside.
Most Americans don’t know that the Islamic world has actually regressed politically in the last several decades, often with the direct collusion of Western leaders like Jimmy Carter, the Clintons and now the Obamas. In capitals like Istanbul, women are now afraid of being attacked in public, and don’t wear fashions from Paris and New York. The Saudi fanatics of the Wahhabi priesthood triggered the rise of fanaticism by sending out their own most primitive imams to run mosques in Western countries, using our oil money, price-controlled by OPEC. The Iranians do the same with the lethal preachings of Khomeini, the war theocrat. Scores of primitive gangs are trying to grab power in the Muslim world, each with their own fanatical preachers, all claiming to speak for Allah.
The key to radical Islam is that its preachers claim to speak for God, elevating very flawed human beings to the status of divinity. Radical Muslims speak with absolute certainty, as if they are the voice of God.
In Sharansky’s Fear Societies a tiny power class controls the Organs of Propaganda, the cops, the courts, the secret police, the military, and thug militias like the Basiji in Tehran.
When nations regress to Fear Societies modernists go under cover. All the self-described “news” becomes corrupt and falsified, invariably echoed by our wonderful Corporate Media, which have big Saudi and Qatari investors.
But even in a Fear Society modernists don’t stop thinking. They just learn to cover up their real feelings.
Western media have a century of collusion with totalitarians like Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam -- and today, the unspeakably awful mullahs of Iran. Our media enable the worst gangster regimes in the world. (If you haven’t fired all the Corporate Media for yourself, don’t forget to do it today.)
Today, the Muslim world has regressed to a Fear Society. Ordinary people don’t want to be terrorized. They may be telling the truth among themselves, but not in public -- with brave exceptions, people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
In the last decades of the Soviet Empire, dissident newsletters started to penetrate the elites in Moscow and Leningrad. Samizdat became popular because living a lie is painful, and many people needed to hear the truth just to stay sane. I’ll bet that Vlad Putin as a young KGB officer was reading that stuff with permission from his bosses
Bottom line is that there are modernist Muslims all over the world, keeping their heads down.
And here’s the best evidence so far.
After Obama pressured Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak to step down, the US covertly supported the Muslim Brotherhood, the very same fanatics who assassinated Anwar Sadat the peacemaker forty years ago. We now see that Obama always supports Islamists, both in Iran and in the Sunni world. But modernist Egyptians were shocked and outraged when the Moobers started to impose harsh Shari’ah laws on them. With Saudi money, the Egyptian Army staged a coup that enlisted a wide political spectrum in Egypt -- everybody against the Moobs. They got rid of Obama’s favorite Muslim Bro and elected General Al Sisi, who has now turned out to be a modernist in the tradition of Anwar Sadat.
In other words, millions of Muslims refused to go back to the Dark Ages. Today, Egypt is waging a nasty civil war against the Brotherhood (which also spawned Hamas in Gaza). It is a fight to the death, and the modernists are winning so far.
In sum, Egypt had a choice, and chose modernism.
Al Sisi’s government is never going to look like a Jeffersonian democracy. But it will be immeasurably better for ordinary people, and for civilized values like tolerance and freedom. Al Sisi is a devout Muslim, but he is also a practical and educated man, who does not want to inflict another big war on his people. He is a Muslim who understands the difference between terrorist monsters and civilized peoples.
These are vital points to think about.
Obama and his crowd have favored the most primitive and barbaric forces in the Muslim world, the mullahs and the Muslim Bros. This is nuts, and it runs totally against American policy since Thomas Jefferson (who had a brief conflict with the Barbary Pirates to protect American shipping). Obama’s Big Lie that America “owes much to Islam” is a breathtaking falsehood, so outrageous that normal people don’t even know whether to laugh or cry. It’s a typical Obama middle finger to America. He enjoys that kind of stuff. He keeps doing it compulsively.
The United States and civilized nations must figure out who the good guys are in the Long Jihad War. National suicide is not an option.
It is not that hard to figure out whom we should be supporting in the Muslim world. It is the people who come the closest to our real values. Those do not include child rape, stealing hundreds of children for the slave market, as Boko Haram keeps doing in Nigeria.
American blacks must understand that Boko Haram is doing to African children today exactly what Muslim slave raiders were doing to their own ancestors. The Muslim slave trade in Africa has never stopped. Black slavery was only stopped in Europe and many of its colonies. Black Muslims in America keep lying about that history. Maybe it is time for American blacks to face the truth about Islam and slavery.
In the upshot Obama has enabled Boko Haram enslavement of African children. Obama is profoundly illogical on this issue -- he goes along with Farrakhan and his ilk, and he must know in his heart that the glorification of Islam by the great-grandchildren of African slaves is a perversion of the truth. It is perhaps the most basic lie in Obama’s rigid belief system.
The Soviet Empire crumbled from a mix of internal “contradictions” and external pressures. It wasn’t just Western leaders like Reagan, Thatcher and Pope Paul II, although they played heroic roles. The Evil Empire fell when dissident movements started to tell the truth in public. Seventy years of Soviet tyranny and mass murder had failed to improve the lives of ordinary people compared to capitalist-democratic states.
Today, there are few Marxists in Russia and China -- but crowds of them in Western universities and media. The Russians and Chinese can’t deceive themselves about the horrors inflicted by Mao Zedong, Stalin, Pol Pot, and the rest. Only Western fantasy mongers still believe in Marxist Utopia.
The same process of self-liberation can happen in the Muslim world -- if we become clear and confident of our own basic values and ideals. We can’t export our own political tradition, but we can make damned sure that we are not threatened with nuclear annihilation by moral monsters. We must therefore support the natural enemies of the fanatics, Muslims who want to live in peace with the world. We know they exist, and if we are consistent in our own values, and express them in our actions and words, the new Axis of Evil will crumble in time.
(That means respecting the sovereignty of nations like Libya, as long as they do not threaten peaceful peoples. Obama has in fact conducted the most imperialistic war policy in our history, with the least moral justification.)
The key is to divide the sheep from the goats. They aren’t hard to spot, because like ISIS, they boast about murdering innocent people. Try Google Images for “ISIS massacres” and you’ll get pages of actual photos showing sadistic butchery by these sadistic barbarians. Obama may support their “revolutionary” violence, like his father supported the Mau Mau terror gangs. But normal, healthy Americans can’t stand it, and they are right.
History is repeating today, specifically the Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact of 1938, which proclaimed an alliance between Soviet socialism and the National Socialism. That fundamental Red-Green alliance is easy to see in the Obama crowd.
Today we are penetrated and propagandized by a new fascism, the radical Muslim kind. Our media may never tell the truth, but the New Media will try to do so.
Like it or not, the Long Jihad War is Cold War 2.0, with hot spots in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and more.
If we only apply the great lessons of the Cold War, we will start winning, and the whole world may avoid disaster.
We have a solid moral basis in our successful political tradition — the most stable constitutional tradition in the world.
All we need is to arm ourselves in our own moral foundations and act accordingly.