Friday, May 15, 2009
An Iron Veil
Seeing the way the problem of Islam is metastasizing, one strategy for the West to take will be a comprehensive deportation of Muslims from the West, along with a global quarantine of them inside the borders of their Islamic countries (i.e., inside an approximate Dar-al-Islam). This might well be the best way to manage that problem.
Note: When this strategy is described as “the best”, this is not intended to mean that it is conceived to be perfect, without flaws. It is intended only to mean that it is the best we will be able to do, given certain unavoidable—or at least ineradicable—limitations due to the complex nature of the problem. I.e., of all possible ways to respond to the problem of Islam, this strategy may well have the least flaws and may well be the most effective: it will not necessarily be flawless or absolutely effective.
II. Adumbration of the Strategy of Quarantine
Let us adumbrate the strategy to clarify and crystallize what it entails:
1) Perimeters of the Quarantine
The location of this global quarantine would be, for the most part, the already extant Muslim countries, stretching from Indonesia to Morocco.
As for certain limitrophe lands on various peripheries of the current Dar-al-Islam—such as the southern Philippines, southern Thailand, and certain regions of Africa—these should be restored to the non-Muslim world and their Muslim populations expelled. Ideally, in addition, there would be carved out a “Greater Israel”, and Turkey would be restored to the West as “the Republic of Byzantium” from which Muslims would be expelled and into which Middle Eastern Christians could find a new home (assuming that most of them will not have been massacred by Muslims by the time we get around to helping them).
2) Deportation of all Muslims
This global quarantine must not only be limited to Muslims already living in Muslim lands, but must also extend to all Muslims living in the West and other non-Western non-Muslim lands. This will necessarily entail expulsion and deportation of Muslims from all the lands into which they have immigrated. Since there is no way to tell with sufficient reliability the difference between harmless Muslims and dangerous Muslims, the only rational conclusion will be to expel all Muslims, including of course those who have become citizens of the countries to which they emgrated, or in which they were born, since there is nothing magical about citizenship that suddenly confers upon its Muslim recipient the transformation into a harmless Muslim.
3) Halting immigration is not enough
A crucial corollary fact presents a formidable concrete problem which further argues for total deportation: Given that the entire West is currently PC MC and will most likely remain so for at least a couple of decades if not much longer, and will likely only begin to undergo a reversal of this massive irrationality as a reaction to horrific attacks by Muslims in the future, any proposal of global quarantine of Muslims cannot limit itself merely to halting immigration (supplemented by inherently limp-wristed carrot-&-stick tactics calculated to motivate Muslims to leave voluntarily)—for the obvious reason that by the time the West is ready to seriously discuss a quarantine, the numbers of Muslims within the West, both through continued immigration during those decades as well as unchecked breeding by a culture that believes in pursuing jihad through using their women as baby factories, will have increased so much, it would become silly to quarantine Muslims outside the West when the West will by that time have millions more of the enemy within its borders. Indeed, in that likely situation, to begin to enact a process of quarantine as Auster describes it—studiously avoiding total deportation for fear of violating the “dignity and essence” of Muslims—would most likely inflame the millions and millions of Muslims in the West and “radicalize” untold and unpredictable numbers among them, putting our own people and institutions at grave risk and more likely leading to a chain-reaction of internal violent events that would force the West to violate the “dignity and essence” of Muslims far more ruthlessly than Auster ever dreamed of.
Since we would have to totally deport them anyway, so the argument goes, better to begin the slow stillicide of a more coherent pedagogy now in the direction of that logical and rational conclusion in the hopefully not too distant future, rather than continue to articulate incoherent, half-assed proposals that will only tend to serve to leave us with our pants down around our ankles when the proverbial shit hits the fan.
4) Purpose of the Quarantine
The global quarantine will be similar to the “Iron Curtain” during the Cold War, though it will be its diametrically opposite mirror image: where the Iron Curtain was erected by the dangerous regime itself to keep people from escaping from its totalitarian evil to a free world outside, this Iron Veil will be set up to keep totalitarian people with violently supremacist and expansionist goals from trying to infiltrate into the free world outside of the lands in which those totalitarian people derive their historico-politico-cultural provenance.
Again, the likelihood that among the total population of Muslims there might well be many who are not totalitarian (i.e., who are not following Islam) becomes irrelevant for our purposes of self-defense, since there is no way to tell with sufficient reliability the difference between harmless Muslims and dangerous Muslims, and given the complex nature of the danger, the risks are too high to gamble on simply assuming that certain Muslims must be harmless because of superficial indicators or worse yet, because of the mere absence of any dangerous indicators which our intelligence picks up. The most dangerous terrorist operatives will be the ones who have perfected, or nearly perfected, the skill of seeming harmless and blending into our societies in order to infiltrate deeply so that they can more effectively lay the groundwork for horrific attacks on us. To establish a principle, then, whereby we only target the Muslims who are visibly dangerous would serve to solidify policies that will precisely ignore the most dangerous Muslims.
5) Military Enforcement of the Quarantine
A crucial component of this Iron Veil will be its enforcement. It would be egregiously imprudent for us to assume that Muslims (particularly the more actively dangerous ones) will voluntarily remain within the international perimeters of this Iron Veil. The whole point of the Iron Veil is to quarantine dangerous people who threaten to attack us with the long-term goal of subjugating and/or destroying our societies. Such types of people fanatically inspired by such supremacist and expansionist goals are not going to sit quietly behind the lines of a global quarantine if those lines remain unenforced. A closely related point, to repeat ourselves, is that we cannot tell, with sufficient reliability, the difference between the dangerous Muslims and the putatively harmless Muslims—thus necessitating the broadest brush approach possible: precisely this global quarantine of the Iron Veil.
Enforcement will perforce require the perpetual threat of military attack by the West for any Muslims who try to sneak out of that quarantine. Thus, the Iron Veil will require the great expense of having military presence all around it. Thankfully, in our age of sophisticated technology, a great deal of this can be accomplished via long-range communications as well as long-range missiles and/or air power from widely spaced airbases and/or ships. Nevertheless, there will be some necessity to also integrate a policy of permanent military presence of actual military personnel at various locations along the perimeter, on land and sea.
And, of course, this permanent military presence must be prepared to shoot on sight when any Muslims try to escape—whether on an individual level or more concerted attempts. In this context, we could try to develop a policy that tries to discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims escaping from Muslim lands—perhaps by taking such fugitives into captivity first, determining whether they are Muslim or not, then allowing them to defect into the West if they are non-Muslim, and sending them back behind the Iron Veil if they are Muslim. Whatever ways we develop to try to finesse the stark ruthlessness behind the overall policy of the quarantine, those ways must not serve to obstruct its primary purpose: to maintain our collective safety.
6) Realistic Ability
Obviously, an important ingredient in the entire strategy is the ability of the West to enact it. Currently, there is no technical or material reason why the West cannot actualize this strategy: while it would of course be enormously difficult, it would not be impossible, and the West has done amazingly difficult things in the past. The only impediment that stands in the way is Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism (PC MC), which is dominant and mainstream throughout the West. With the massive opposition of PC MC, this strategy cannot even be considered for the possibility of being put on the table for discussion, and even considering it in public would likely have the effect of ruining careers in the fields of politics, the news media, business, academe, and entertainment.
7) Realistic Goal
The goal of those who seek to actualize this strategy then has to be realistic. It must factor in the following:
1) It will likely take several decades before the West is ready to merely discuss this issue rationally.
2) The stage then of discussion does not guarantee implementation. We cannot assume that PC MC is going to disappear magically and suddenly at some point. More likely than not, it is going to phase out gradually, and probably to some degree tumultously. The discussion stage will last more time—years, perhaps another couple of decades, after the decades that preceded the readiness of the West to even enter that stage.
3) This movement of the West away from PC MC in the context of becoming more rational about the problem of Islam will likely not occur, or certainly not occur as quickly as only a few decades, absent the grim event of several horrific attacks upon the West in various places over the span of those decades. In addition, various information about more and more Muslims—particularly Muslims heretofore assumed to be “moderates”—expressing their baseline hatred, intolerance and supremacism, will serve to help hasten that process.
4) Once the West is ready to discuss this strategy in concrete terms, the strategy itself will require an international alliance, not only on board with the general concept, but also ready and willing to enforce the Iron Veil and to allow permanent military bases on their soil and in their waters and to do their part contributing financially to its maintenance.
III. An Extended Analysis of Lawrence Auster's Objections: Limitations and/or Incoherence of Lawrence Auster
Lawrence Auster has already proposed a strategy of a global quarantine, while no other analyst of the still inchoate anti-Islam movement seems to have proposed this. An extended analysis of his proposal along with his objections to my proposal will illuminate and bring into sharper relief important features of both.
A little less than a year ago, in a comments section of his blog, Auster articulated his position on this, and also answered a couple of questions of mine that further clarified it. While Auster has numerous other articulations, this particular one lays down positions sufficiently crystallized to critique.
With regard to my point II.1, Auster seems to be in sufficiently approximate agreement.
With regard to my point II.4, I think Auster would be in sufficient agreement with the first paragraph, but not with the logical implications of the second paragraph; this will become clearer as my analysis unfolds below.
With regard to my point II.5, Auster has expressed two positions, or inchoate positions, that seem contradictory and incoherent:
First, he acknolwedges the necessity of “military force” to quarantine Muslims. Then, secondly, he makes a statement like the following:
...this containment of the Muslim peoples can be accomplished without violating their dignity and essence as Muslims.
This is a preposterous statement, on two accounts: First, forcing a people to remain quarantined by threat of military force if they disobey is a fundamental violation of their dignity and essence; and secondly, it is in fact a specific violation of the “dignity and essence” of Muslims as they understand it—whose Islam mandates proselytizing expansionism and violent jihad against those who resist that expansionist proselytization. It would be additionally preposterous to impose upon Muslims a foreign understanding of their “dignity and essence” (i.e., our Western understanding) in the context of presuming to respect that “dignity and essence”.
Auster then manages to deepen the preposterousness of his argument thusly:
If we sought literally to suppress and destroy Islam, we could be justly accused of practicing cultural genocide. But if we simply contain the Muslims in their historic lands where they can have no power over us, that would not be harming them, even under the terms of their own religion.
The first sentence goes without saying, and has the effect of obscuring the problem with the second sentence: enforcing Muslims to stay in one region of the world (however large that region might be) is obviously to harm them. Imagine if I told you that you had to remain under house arrest, or had to stay within the confines of your neighborhood, and that if you stepped outside, you would be shot. And then imagine that I had the gall to tell you that I was “not harming” you and that I was respecting your “dignity and essence”! Furthermore, as I already argued, this is precisely to harm Muslims under the terms of their own religion, which mandates expansionist supremacism as its essence. Indeed, they have been whining and moaning about being harmed for years now, under paranoid delusions of being under attack by us, and their whining and moaning only increases the more we bend over backwards to “respect” them (not to mention help them and give them billions of dollars annually).
Aside from all these problems with this particular formulation of Auster’s, then, there is the more pertinent rhetorical question to ask: Who gives a rat’s ass about the “dignity and essence” of Muslims anyway, and what does that have to do with our safety?
Backtracking now to my point II.2, Auster has also been apparently incoherent. Auster responded to my question regarding this in the context of his proposal of what seems to be a tough stance—certainly tougher than many analysts in the still inchoate anti-Islam movement—but which falls short asymptotically:
I don't have a single formula for doing this, but a range of things that could be pursued, but all with one aim in view, which is to eliminate Islam as a force in the West. That does not require the removal of every single Muslim. I oppose the fallacy of totalistic thinking, such as believing that we can literally destroy the whole religion of Islam, or that we can literally make every single Muslim leave the West. We don't need to do those things, and we most likely can't do those things. Thinking that we can, gets us into god-like delusions.
At the time, I responded:
Just because a movement has a stated goal that sounds totalistic, does not mean they have to expect total results. I could have a goal to get rid of "all" mosquitos at my summer cottage, but it would be silly of me to expect that all the mosquitos would be eliminated. The problem with couching the programmatic goal in less than totalistic terms is that it leaves loopholes. If we are not going to deport all Muslims, then which Muslims will be exempted, and why? Better to put on the table from the beginning "all Muslims" and then let the accidental Muslims slip through the cracks, as they undoubtedly will, since any system is imperfect to some degree. I.e., better to make the Muslim remnant accidental, rather than exploitable by policy in one way or another. Finally, totalistic language in this particular context I think is helpful, because all the gradualistic language that refers to the problem of Islam tends to acquire adhesion to the politically correct multi-culturalist paradigm and therefore tends to enable its ongoing hold on our sociopolitical consciousness--whether the person articulating it intends this or not.
To that comment of mine, I would add another important consideration—namely, that gradualistic language, even if it seems to be tougher than all the language we normally see in the mainstream, tends to reinforce the prevailing patterns of PC MC attitude and thought which entails an indefinite distinction between dangerous Muslims and harmless Muslims. Even if the gradualist happens to hold a position tougher than the prevailing PC MC position, if it is based on an acquiescence to that distinction between dangerous Muslims and harmless Muslims, then it is vulnerable to the same devastating critique—namely, that we cannot with sufficient reliability make that distinction for the purposes of our self-defense and, given the complex nature of the danger, this lack of our ability to make that distinction is too high a risk to take.
Auster’s response to my response indicates not that he holds a limited position, but rather an incoherent one:
Quoting me—“If we are not going to deport all Muslims, then which Muslims will be exempted, and why? Better to put on the table from the beginning 'all Muslims' and then let the accidental Muslims slip through the cracks, as they undoubtedly will, since any system is imperfect to some degree”—Auster then wrote this response:
I do not necessarily object to your logic. If you want to argue for the deportation of all Muslims from the U.S. regardless of whether they've shown support for jihad and sharia or not--even naturalized citizens, natural-born citizens, and natural born non-Muslim Americans converted to Islam, you can do that. It could be argued reasonably. I acknowledge the clarity and directness of your idea; it cuts to the heart of the issue and leaves no doubts. But it goes beyond any position I've taken. Going back four years to my FP article http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=13532, "How to Defeat Jihad in America," I've advocated removing the citizenship of and deporting even natural born jihad-supporting Muslims, meaning people who by their associations or actions, such as belonging to a jihad-supporting mosque, have shown support for jihad.
There are some closely related problems with this stance Auster takes, which he explicitly differentiates from mine which “goes beyond any position” he has taken:
1) He has not provided a sufficiently reliable way by which we can tell the difference between dangerous Muslims and harmless Muslims among the population of Muslim citizens of the West.
2) Surely Auster does not subscribe to the view that Muslims who happen to hold citizenship in the West and/or who happen to have been born here from first- or second-generation Muslims (or third-, etc.) are magically immune from being problematic vis-a-vis the overall problem of our difficulty in distinguishing harmless Muslims from dangerous Muslims. Thus, the only reason to exempt these Muslims has nothing to do with our problem and the danger of our problem, but only to do with respect for certain interpretations of our own laws and customs.
3) The only way to distinguish harmless Muslims from dangerous Muslims which Auster provides is superficial—if they are “jihad-supporting Muslims”. And how will we discern that a given Muslim is “jihad-supporting”? There are only two ways:
a) by simply noticing visible, external indicators whenever a given Muslim reveals them, through speech, association and action;
b) closely, though not necessarily, related to (a), through various degrees of discriminatory surveillance of Muslims.
The problem with (b) is that the degree of surveillance which will be sufficient for our self-defense needs will be ostensibly so invasive of the rights of the Muslims that it will not be much better than simply deporting them. Or, if we adopt a lower degree of surveillance, on what basis do we dial down the surveillance? On what basis, for example, do we moderate the surveillance such that we do not surveil all Muslim citizens irrespective of whether they show any signs of being dangerous, but we only surveil those who show such visible, external indicators? Adopting this decaffeinated approach brings us back to the problem of (a), whereby the only way we can tell the danger is when we can tell the danger. This obviously is inadequate for a population of indefinite number and indefinite location who are precisely plotting attacks in camouflage. The definition of a sleeper cell is precisely a cell of Muslims that do not show up on our radar. If we thus try to manage the problem of preventing terrorist attacks by only going after those Muslims stupid enough to show visible, external indicators of being dangerous, and by in fact solidifying this approach through various policy structures, we will tend to make ourselves more vulnerable to precisely the most dangerous Muslims of all—those clever enough to blend in below our radar.
4) Furthermore, Auster’s approach has a limitation he may not have realized: by only targeting the visibly “jihad-supporting” citizen Muslims, he will perforce target only a minority, since all indications thus far show only a minority actually supporting military jihad against the West. If Auster meant this in broader terms, by including all Muslims who support jihad at all without specifying what they mean by it, then he would have a slightly larger population to deal with, but arguably still not a majority. His protestation that—“[what] I have suggested over the last four years would reduce the Muslim population to the point that the remainder would be so small and non-devout that it would not pose a problem, without our having to force out literally every Muslim in America, including all naturalized and natural-born citizens”—is an educated guess based on his strategy successfully surmounting the objections I have raised in points #1-4 above, and furthermore point #5 below (the culture of Muslim deception).
In addition, what would Auster do about citizen Muslims who say they support jihad in terms of self-defense of lands that they argue have been attacked or threatened? The vast majority of Muslims who even seem “extremist” at all like to frame their “extremism” this way and in similar terms that can seem to sound reasonable from a Western perspective, but which only the application of our knowledge of the Islamic meaning of terms uniquely unlike Western meanings, coupled with our knowledge of the Muslim culture of deception, would detect as being in fact dangerous to us. There is nothing ostensibly visibly dangerous about such “extremism”, unless we assume axiomatically that any given Muslim who seems reasonable about his Islam and about his jihad and about his sharia because he couches them all in terms that sound reasonable to our Western ears is in fact lying to us. So again: how will we tell the difference?
5) To reiterate: there is the problem of the culture of Muslim deception. Not only does this vitiate Auster’s entire program that is built upon the ability to distinguish harmless Muslims from dangerous Muslims, but also in this specific respect it undermines this distinction between “jihad-supporting” Muslims and non-“jihad-supporting” Muslims. Let us say the West gets around to implementing Auster’s approach. One way to weed out the “jihad-supporting” Muslims will be to ask them in a poll or questionnaire. To presume that any given Muslim who says “I do not support jihad [however that is defined]” is telling the truth is to make a grievously reckless presumption. Otherwise, such a West would be forced to fall back on the external, visible indicators and surveillance to supplement that, discussed above in #3.
6) All the same problems cited in #1-5 also pertain to “sharia-supporting” Muslims.
7) Auster continued in his response:
As for natural born Muslims who have not demonstrated support for jihad and sharia, I would first attempt to get them to leave voluntarily by offering them money to leave and by designating Islam a political ideology not protected by the First Amendment. I would make it clear that Islam is not welcome. My ultimate preference is for my proposed constitutional amendment http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/008745.html that, paraphrasing the Thirteenth Amendment which banned slavery, bans the practice of Islam in the United States, thus making it clear at the highest level of our national life that Islam is incompatible with this country.
Auster is here proposing two actions which would be incoherent if implemented at the same time:
1) Trying to persuade Muslims to leave by giving them money
2) Passing a law “designating Islam a political ideology not protected by the First Amendment”, which he goes on to clarify would ban Islam like the Thirteenth Amendment banned slavery.
He calls this a “mixed set of proposals”—but when a law is passed that bans Islam, then any Muslims who remain are perforce criminals. This would logically have the end result that I proposed, which Auster however previously said “goes beyond any position” he has taken.
Furthermore, as with the global quarantine, Auster seems strangely disconnected from the implications of physical enforcement that all laws require. If a practice is banned by law, then those who continue to practice it, when found out, must be punished by the law. The only way to save this particular “mixed set of proposals” would be to have stages: Stage One, bribe citizen Muslims to leave. Stage Two, if that doesn’t work, make Islam illegal and punish all Muslims who break that law—which obviously means, punish all Muslims for the crime of being Muslim, since being a Muslim necessarily involves practicing Islam. Stage Two, however, suffers from the problem noted above: it results in the same “totalistic” approach that Auster previously said he doesn’t like and which “goes beyond any position” he has taken—whether all the Muslims will be totalistically interned, or deported, it’s still totalistic. Why not simply stand for deporting them from the beginning? It seems that Auster is doing pretty much the same thing that he regularly (and rightly) accuses Spencer of doing: weaving a subtle, complex position that never touches ground where the rubber meets the road.
Auster then wrote:
I think my policy is very radical. But it's not radical enough for some, who literally demand the deportation of every single Muslim. It is possible that at some point Islam may become such a palpable threat to us that deportation of all Muslims will seem the right thing to do. I do not support that at this time.
The problem with Auster’s caution here is a general problem which an individual, a group, or a society faces when they are assessing a systemic danger and their response to it. Reasonable people always desire to deal with such a danger in the least “totalistic” way possible: the least “totalistic” method is usually less costly, is less cumbersome, and by being casuistically attentive to details, it tends to be less immoral, or at least less insensitive to moral concerns.
When a systemic danger has not risen to the threshhold of being a “palpable threat”, however, it does not mean it is categorizable only one way. I.e., we are not simply talking in binary terms here about one of two choices—either a danger known to be a “palpable threat”, or a danger that is known to be not a “palpable threat”. The realm of “not a palpable threat” may be subdivided further, to reflect our ability to discern significant degrees. Some dangers that are “not a palpable threat” can be persuasively argued to require only low levels of casuistic, non-totalistic response. The danger of Islam, however, has a complex set of unique characteristics, both quantitatively and qualitatively, that altogether move the rational person concerned with the safety of his society to move from the relatively restrained level of response to the level of proactive prevention—a proactive prevention that again, given the nature of the unique threat of Islam, cannot stand coherently on anything less than the “totalistic” presumption that no Muslim can be trusted.
8) Finally, Auster cites a factor that purportedly would make his strategy superior to my “totalistic” one:
...I think many people would be turned off by the sheer impossibility of total deportation. They will throw up their hands and give up on doing anything.
Auster here apparently underestimates the high degree of PC MC throughout the West, since one important feature of the PC MC psychology, both reflecting and based upon the mechanisms of its paradigm, is that the slightest whiff of anything “bigoted” or “racist” or “Islamophobic” functions as tantamount to the worst manifestation of it. We have seen time and time again when Spencer, or even worse Daniel Pipes, express a decidedly “gradualistic” critique of Islam—even going out of their way to withhold criticism from Islam itself and going out of their way to profess a belief in the existence of innumerable “moderate” Muslims—are nevertheless vilified and marginalized virtually as though they had been standing on rooftops with bullhorns advocating immediate genocide of all Muslims. It thus does not matter in our PC MC culture if one “gradualizes” a strategy to manage the problem of Islam: Auster’s “graded” approach will be processed in the PC MC mind such that it is tantamount anyway to the “totalistic” approach.
And here the PC MC mind is not being altogether irrational: for they can smell an incoherent rat, if even only semi-consciously. I.e., this reflects the underlying incoherence of all asymptotic analysis that shrinks away from the logical conclusion of the totalistic assessment of the problem of Islam and of all Muslims, and thus flowing inexorably from that, a totalistic way to manage that problem. Thus, when a Spencer or a Pipes meticulously and massively present the mountain of data that indicates—both quantitatively by its sheer extent and qualitatively by numerous distinct factors—that Islam and all Muslims present a uniquely formidable threat to the West, and then when that same Spencer or Pipes hastens to add that he is not condemning Islam or all Muslims, the PC MC person receiving this presentation has good reason to be suspicious. The same goes for Auster’s “graded” approach and his contention that our PC MC culture will more readily swallow it rather than my “totalistic” approach.
Questions about the "Iron Veil"