The war between Reason and Unreason 8

Every day one can find reports that dozens, on some days hundreds, of men women and children have been slaughtered, in hideous ways, as they were going about their daily business. Strangers throw bombs into their homes, mow them down with automatic fire, blow them up in buses and schools and shopping-malls, at street markets and on the roads. The killers are Muslims, the majority of the victims are also Muslims though many are Christians. Why? Had the victims committed a crime? Had they harmed their killers, or threatened them? No. The killers killed because they were instructed to do so by a warlord who reputedly lived some fourteen hundred years ago. His sole grounds for giving the order to murder was that his god desired it. (He discouraged the killing of fellow Muslims, but that part of his inspiring doctrine is not obeyed.)

The Religion of Peace collects the reports and provides links to them. It keeps count of the killings. Today’s tally of  lethal attacks carried out by Islamic terrorists since the massacres of 9/11/2001, is 21,800. (The figures are displayed daily in our margin.)

Where is the outrage? Where is the moral condemnation? That’s much harder to find.

Sam Harris wrote about the violent protests that were whipped up throughout the Muslim world when cartoons of Muhammad (the warlord) were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005:

Let us take stock of the moral intuitions now on display in the House of Islam: On Aug. 17, 2005, an Iraqi insurgent helped collect the injured survivors of a car bombing, rushed them to a hospital and then detonated his own bomb, murdering those who were already mortally wounded as well as the doctors and nurses struggling to save their lives. Where were the cries of outrage from the Muslim world? Religious sociopaths kill innocents by the hundreds in the capitols of Europe, blow up the offices of the U.N. and the Red Cross, purposefully annihilate crowds of children gathered to collect candy from U.S. soldiers on the streets of Baghdad, kidnap journalists, behead them, and the videos of their butchery become the most popular form of pornography in the Muslim world, and no one utters a word of protest because these atrocities have been perpetrated “in defense of Islam.” But draw a picture of the Prophet, and pious mobs convulse with pious rage. One could hardly ask for a better example of religious dogmatism and its pseudo-morality eclipsing basic, human goodness. …

Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe. The demographic trends are ominous: Given current birthrates, France could be a majority Muslim country in 25 years, and that is if immigration were to stop tomorrow. Throughout Western Europe, Muslim immigrants show little inclination to acquire the secular and civil values of their host countries, and yet exploit these values to the utmost — demanding tolerance for their backwardness, their misogyny, their anti-Semitism, and the genocidal hatred that is regularly preached in their mosques.

Political correctness and fears of [being accused of] racism have rendered many secular Europeans incapable of opposing the terrifying religious commitments of the extremists in their midst. In an effort to appease the lunatic furor arising in the Muslim world in response to the publication of the Danish cartoons, many Western leaders have offered apologies for exercising the very freedoms that are constitutive of civil society in the 21st century. The U.S. and British governments have chastised Denmark and the other countries that published the cartoons for privileging freedom of speech over religious sensitivity. It is not often that one sees the most powerful countries on Earth achieve new depths of weakness, moral exhaustion and geopolitical stupidity with a single gesture. This was appeasement at its most abject. …

Our press should report on the terrifying state of discourse in the Arab press, exposing the degree to which it is a tissue of lies, conspiracy theories and exhortations to recapture the glories of the seventh century. All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the Earth. … Otherwise, we will have to win some very terrible wars in the future.

Or lose them, which looks more probable in the light of the moral failure that Harris rightly diagnoses.

It is time we realized that the endgame for civilization is not political correctness.

It is not respect for the abject religious certainties of the mob.

It is reason.

It should be. But those of us who fight or stand for reason one way or another, have lost all the important battles of the last twenty years – almost all since the end of the Cold War. The Communist ideology we thought had been defeated with the collapse of the Soviet Union reigns in Western schools and universities, drives most of the political parties of Europe, and is in power in America. Islam continues to advance steadily as Sam Harris foresaw it would. We have lost many battles. Have we already lost the war?

  • liz

    The human race is sick with two illnesses – religion and collectivism.
    Both cause the regression of the masses into subjugation under mind controlling tyrannies.
    Who knows if a cure is possible? We haven’t been able to rid the world of either one after centuries of applying reason as an antidote.
    The fact that the entire country is now subject to a president who is apparently infected with the most virulent strains of both seems to prove that the antidote isn’t working.

  • Luther

    Jillian – unchecked by some unseen force or event, it’s clear the war has been lost. I have no doubt that hot battles will eventually be waged, but to what effect?

    Let us explore the realities: like minded people of reason are geographically scattered, the natural tide of human politics has always tended toward a ruler, and even if it’s possible to carve out an area apart – like say, Texas – the statists will not just leave it alone.

    What other outcomes are possible? What type of events will be needed to change the course?

    • Jillian Becker

      Luther – I share your pessimism. Only, I tell myself, reason is still operating significantly – as Science chiefly. I mean of course real Science, not environmentalism which is a dogmatism that dares to call itself Science. And the free market cannot be obliterated – it arises again and again because it is “the natural order of liberty” as Adam Smith called it. And there is always the possibility of that unseen force or event. So I have not yet despaired. Not totally.

      • Luther

        Jillian – the free market can be obliterated. Islam obliterates *everything* in it’s path; I’d wager that’s why most of the muslim world is a festering stink hole.

        What type of unseen forces or events can we imagine? A clear eyed counter-jihadist for President? A nuclear detonation in an American city? Can you name some others that might move our course?

        • Jillian Becker

          Most desirably, a president who will fight for America, for what America stands for.

          New discoveries in Science and new technologies can have enormous unforeseeable effects. Though of course conquest by Islam would put a stop to all that.

          Nuclear war would change everything, though not necessarily for the better.

          There could be civil war in Europe. Less probably, secession in the US.

          But the unseen is the unseen. And the Unexpected leaps as it were out of nowhere and can bring huge consequences.

          Someone – a chess player – once said that every advance in human affairs is “a knight’s move forward”. But it’s not always a good move.

    • WmarkW

      I’m not pessimistic. I think once we learn to distill a viable petroleum substitute from inedible plant matter, the influence of Islam in the West will sink like a stone.

      • Luther

        WmarkW – is that something that is on the immediate horizon? If it is would you please kindly point me to that information? I’m just not aware of it. Thanks

  • consvltvs

    There is some good news in the fact that web sites like Religion of Peace and Atheist Conservative and Thunderf00t are ringing the alarm bell. As for the death of civilizations, Dylan Thomas said it best: “Do not go gentle into that good night.”