Sunday, October 12, 2008
The problem with the term “Islamo-Fascism”
Robert Spencer in this response to a Muslim apologist articulates, apparently unwittingly, the problem:
The term "Islamo-Fascists" no more blames the religion of Islam than the term "Italian Fascism" blames Italy for fascism. It merely refers to those Muslims—who obviously really exist—who invoke Islam to justify violence and supremacism, whether they are invoking Islamic doctrines correctly or not.
I.e., the problem with the term “Islamo-Fascism” is that it does not blame Islam.
Apparently, however, this is no problem for Spencer. In fact, it is for him a point of defense against the aforementioned Muslim apologist who imputes to him a censure of Islam, which imputation he denies.
The problem with the asymptotic defense of the term “Islamo-Fascism” noted above is, among other things, the analogy given: “. . . it no more blames the religion of Islam than the term “Italian Fascism” blames Italy for fascism.”
There are good reasons, however, not to blame Italy for Italian Fascism:
1) Italy has a much longer history than its bout of Fascism: Italy as a sociopolitical culture goes back centuries, while its nation-state entity is over 150 years old. Its episode of Fascism, by contrast, lasted only approximately 20 years.
2) Italy as a sociopolitical culture and as a nation-state—before and after its brief episode of Fascism—has been a good partner of the West, enriching the West with culture on many levels, and more or less behaving itself in a civilized manner.
3) Even during its brief episode of Fascism, Italians were not united, and a good number of them contributed in various degrees to a resistance against Mussolini and his ally Hitler—a resistance that, in its small but important way, helped the Allies win World War 2 and save the world from the alliance of Fascism, Nazism and Japanese Imperialism. This resistance movement bespeaks a degree of sociopolitical health resident within Italy even during its darkest, most diseased hour.
All these reasons not to blame Italy do not apply with Islam, relative to “Islamo-Fascism”:
1) All the features of “Islamo-Fascism” represent not some brief, recent episode within a longer history of Islam—they are perennial constants throughout the entire historical career of Islam, solidly based in its cultural matrix that fuses religion, politics, laws, ideology and sociology, from the beginning in the 7th century to the present.
2) Throughout its historical career from the 7th century to the present, Islam has not been a good geopolitical neighbor at all, but has been attacking the West since the beginning, and only let up during the latter 300-year period from the 17th century to the mid-20th century because of the abysmal nadir of weakness to which it had unprecedentedly sunk. Since the mid-20th century, its classical militant supremacism, along with the attacks upon the West that formed a major component of that supremacism, has been undergoing a revival.
3) Among Muslims during the current revival of “Islamo-Fascism”, we see no signs of anything remotely like the resistance movement of Italians who fought in various ways against the Fascism that had infected their Italy. The best we see from Muslims in our time are a handful of transparently weaselly, if not duplicitous and mendacious, protestations of their good will, of the benign goodness of Islam, and of their Islamically-based opposition to “terrorism”. In fact, and on the contrary, we more often than not see too many signs of Muslims expressing their loyalty to the trans-national Umma over and above their loyalty to any non-Islamic polity or to the neutrally secular political theory that has guided the laws and politics of the modern West and most of the rest of the world in the past two centuries, increasingly refined and crystallized with each passing generation.
Adverting to an “Islamo-Fascism” distinct from “Islam” is sort of like pointing out the danger of flaring sun spots to spacecraft that might be traveling too close to the sun, but refusing to say that the sun itself is dangerous. It is a distinction worthy of the most sophistically nitpicking angel-on-the-head-of-a-pin Scholastics of the Middle Ages.
The other difficulty with the asymptotic defense of the term “Islamo-Fascism” is its lack of sociological and anthropological sophistication, as evidenced in this other part of the quote from above:
"It merely refers to those Muslims—who obviously really exist—who invoke Islam to justify violence and supremacism. . ."
This delimitation of the problem and danger we face tends to inculcate a myopia to the widespread, amorphous, largely intangible ways by which innumerable Muslims dispersed globally and extrapolated in a kaleidoscopic complexity of associations and organizations—both official and unofficial—enable Islamic jihad in all its myriad forms. This enablement can take all manner of passive forms, in varying degrees, as well as all manner of active forms, from outright participation and material support to collusion in different permutations. There is a sense in which Islam—however multifarious and “diverse” it is (or precisely through its unique “diversity”)—functions as a vast organism on a macro level with real effects on the micro level all tending toward the furtherance of the goal of Islamic supremacism by hook (stealth) or by crook (violence).
And this myopia which the asymptotic analysis tends to foster lends itself all too easily—particularly in the context of a surrounding mainstream dominance of politically correct multi-culturalism—to irrational retention of innumerable Muslims within our societies and an irrational categorization of the majority of them as “moderate” and therefore harmless, thereby serving to facilitate their deepening infiltration into our institutions and social fabric, which in turn will make it that much easier for cells among them to plot and plan horrific attacks on us in the coming decades.