Tough-Minded Realism Is Needed In the West's Fight Against Islam
In a last attempt to gain at least partial control over Europe, the Ottomans joined in alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I – together the Central Powers -- in a life and death struggle with Allied forces. As we know, the Central Powers lost the war, and the Ottoman caliphate which had existed for approximately 600 years was dismembered in 1922. The Ottoman Empire became Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Qatar, and Bahrain. Islam in the Middle East would no longer speak with one voice, and would no longer mount a united military threat against the West.
Today, however, as in WWI, we see the same principle of Islam allying with elements of the West. Militant Islamists are connecting with centers of authority and power in Western societies to advance their desire to subvert the West and eventually to take over. Only now they are working with atheists, leftist politicians, and appealing to elements in Western society that the Harvard philosopher William James at one time called “the tender-minded.” These persons, according to James are “generally intellectualistic, idealistic, optimistic, religious, free-willist, monistic, and dogmatic.” Except for “religious” and “free willist,” these adjectives might describe the left in America, especially in our universities. However, unlike James’ typology, our present-day “tender minded” carry their viewpoints to a point of absurdity or even borderline insanity.
So, if someone is blowing up skyscrapers with airplanes, or setting off bombs that are blowing limbs off spectators at a marathon, or maiming and killing a gathering of celebrants at a nightclub in the name of Allah, they are not, according to the left, representing Islam, but are people just like you and me, except they have been misguided through indoctrination by some fanatic minds espousing some deviant variety of Islam. They hardly represent what they claim to represent. Their words and actions are misleading. We should not fight fire with more fire or with laws protecting us from giving visas to people from Islamic countries where violent thinking abounds. Rather, we need to have greater vigilance, curtail the sale of guns, and aggressively try to get angry Muslims into psychotherapy.
The tender-minded are thus idealistic, but they are also optimistic. For them, we live in a Kumbaya world. They cannot forget the words of the immortal philosopher Rodney King who, following the Watts riots in Los Angeles, said, “Why can’t we all just get along?...” If you tell the leftists that the Islamic caliphate attacked Europe only 100 years ago with full-scale military mobilization, the intellectualistic left will tell you that you are over-simplifying and merely justifying your Islamophobia. “People are people,” they will say. “It’s a complex world, but we can and must have peace with all people no matter how difficult it may appear on the surface.” Then we may ask them: “But how do we know that it’s complex and that their intentions are, at bottom, good, if we see so many catastrophic acts of merciless aggression and hate?” And some may say to you (as was said to this writer by a leftist acquaintance), “It’s all about economics. They are poor, deprived. Once greater balance is attained between the per capita income of the West and the per capita in Middle Eastern countries, much of the hate will die down. It takes time, but for the sake of peace, we must be patient.”
Contrast this response with James’ other intellectual type: the tough-minded. The tough-minded are defined as “sensationalistic, materialistic, pessimistic, irreligious, fatalistic, pluralistic, and skeptical.” Putting aside “irreligious,” many of us who are deplorables would fit James's tough-minded criteria. James mistakenly considered the religious Christians of his day to be “wusses,” which is why he classified them as tender-minded. But then as now, a large number of the religious should be classified as tough-minded. We who are religious Christians see that we need to protect our lives, our property, and our sacred honor from the wanton travesties of unbelievers and those who would violently usurp our freedoms. Today’s religionists must remember the heroic Charles “The Hammer” Martel who turned back the Islamic armies in France in 727 A.D. to begin the long process of pushing the Allah-people out of Europe, a process that literally took more than 700 years. That process, though accomplished with expulsion of Muslims from Spain in 1492, has not been and never will be accepted by Islam. It is difficult for many Americans to realize the hold these past events have on the Muslim psyche.
An Egyptian engineer, working temporarily in a food store until he could secure professional employment, became intensely angry and agitated as he recounted to me the outrage of Western perfidy as evidenced by the Crusades begun in 1095. Contrast his outrage with the American mindset. Are Americans still seething because of the British use of force in 1776 or in 1812? This will give you some sense of the contrast in mentalities. He was literally livid with resentment.
We are skeptical and more than skeptical that the religion of peace is peaceful based on 1400 years of evidence. We are pluralistic in that we want to maintain the marketplace of ideas which is the hallmark of the West with its freedom of religion. It is this pluralism that Islam wishes to replace. It is an inherent principle of Islam that there be no pluralism. Why are Islamic countries now the backwater of scientific advancement, creativity in music and art, and in social services? Many of their officials and wealthier citizens fly out of their countries if medical treatment is needed. Look at New York City in the U.S. where many Muslims live. There is not one Islamic hospital even in that city which boasts of hospitals founded by Jews, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and Catholics all of which serve all religions, races, and nationalities without prejudice. We, the tough-minded, are sensationalistic and pessimistic. We know that the sensational travesty of 9/11 was an act of war, not a prelude to peace. We know that even though the enemy is not one country nor even an alliance of countries, as in our previous wars, that the enemy is quite real. We are in the midst of a burgeoning catastrophe of violence originating in the Islamic world, and must continue to do all we can to suppress it. Moving our embassy to Jerusalem is an important step in expressing the tough-minded realism that William James, one of America’s greatest philosophers, describes.