“There are no Christians, as far as I know, blowing up buildings. I am not aware of any Christian suicide bombers. I am not aware of any major Christian denomination that believes the penalty for apostasy is death. I have mixed feelings about the decline of Christianity, in so far as Christianity might be a bulwark against something worse.” Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion. Emphasis added.
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams
In Part 6 of this series I offered this same quote by Dawkins, and noted the irony in the fact that Dawkins has done more than his fair share to undermine Christianity. The ‘decline of Christianity’ has been matched by a corresponding increase in the power and influence of secular humanism. Throughout this series, I have been arguing that secular humanism is fundamentally powerless to resist Islamicism. In short, Christianity provided a bulwark “against something worse” that secular humanism is incapable of providing for itself. This poses a particularly serious problem, since secular humanists seem to be hellbent on bringing as many Islamicists as they can get into Western culture.
Now, secular humanists actually intend this as a strategy for defanging Islamicism. They believe that if only more Muslims were exposed to the delights of Western culture, over time, Islam would go the way Christianity has gone in Europe. This indeed was a successful tactic for undermining Christianity, but this is because there are certain aspects of Christianity that facilitated the tactic. Islam does not share those aspects, and in fact, has doctrines directly contrary.
The steady encroachment of Sharia in Europe seems to support my contention that secularizing Muslims does not, and will not work.
This series is about ‘solving the Islamicist problem once and for all,’ so it follows that what we need to do is consider just how it is that Christianity was a bulwark, why secular humanism fails, and what can be done to rebuild the bulwark.
First, an anecdote.
Who else remembers the scorn that was heaped onto George Bush and the neocons for promoting a free election for the Palestinian Authority in 2006? In this ill-fated venture, the idea was that people–Muslims included–would elect respectable, non-terroristic folk, if given the opportunity. You would think that liberals and Democrats would have heartily supported such an effort, but you would be wrong. In the end, the Muslims elected Hamas, a fine pack of Islamicists if ever there was one.
Now, the irony here is that it is precisely this sort of thing that secular humanists think will be their winning strategy: if only Muslims get a good taste of the benefits of the best part of Western civilization, democratic rule high on the list, they will slowly but surely move to adopt the ‘humanistic’ values that go along with it. This has not been the case, and, I am arguing, will never be the case.
Not because of any ethnic or racial aspects (per some who lean towards white supremacy) but because of the nature of the Muslim religion itself, which does not fuel a culture that is compatible with democracy. To get a taste of the kind of ‘democracy’ that Islam is inclined to produce, consider this ‘draft constitution‘ for the Caliphate, written up by Western Muslims. Now, these proponents believe that their government would be highly tolerant and completely consistent with Western values, which deepens the irony considerably. For example, they write:
All citizens of the State shall be treated equally regardless of religion, race, colour or any other matter. The State is forbidden to discriminate among its citizens in all matters, be it ruling or judicial, or caring of affairs.
My secular humanist pals are sure to rally around that one! Look at that tolerance!
But then, there is this:
The State implements the aHkaam shar’iyyah on all citizens who hold citizenship of the Islamic State, whether Muslims or not, in the following manner:
a. The aHkaam shar’iyyah is implemented in its entirety, without exception, on all Muslims.
b. Non-Muslims are allowed to follow their own beliefs and worships.
c. Those who are guilty of apostasy (murtadd) from Islam are to be executed according to the rule of apostasy, provided they have by themselves renounced Islam. If they are born as non-Muslims, i.e., if they are the sons of apostates, then they are treated as non-Muslims according to their status as being either polytheists (mushriks) or People of the Book.
In previous episodes of this series, I have explained the dynamics of ‘Islamic tolerance’, with reference to terms such as dhimmitude, and so on. It isn’t my purpose here to dwell on this, but rather to make clear that we have to clarify John Adam’s quote:
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
It is imperative to note that by ‘moral and religious’ he meant, contextually speaking, Christians. Not just any ol’ ‘moral and religious people’ will resonate with the Constitution… or the underlying principles that created the Constitution in the first place.
I haven’t researched all of this to make a truly definitive defense of the following proposition, but the research I’ve done seems to suggest its accurate: the freedoms and liberties most enjoyed by Mankind in the last few centuries have existed almost entirely within Christian communities operating on basic Christian principles.
One strains to find exceptions, and the ones we might consider are usually short-lived. Turkey, for example, was secular… up until recently. Japan seems to have a pretty good, working democracy, but then they had to have their clock cleaned 60 years ago, and democratic principles forcefully impressed on them.. by a largely Christian culture. The French Revolution was ghastly, but the democracy that finally emerged (many decades later), I would submit, emerged only because the Cult of Reason failed to murder all the Christians in France.
I would argue that observed correlation between Christian culture and freedom has very much to do with the fact that the culture was Christian. I have said repeatedly that it is this culture that is being slowly and steadily dismantled, but what I want to do in this post is highlight some of the specific things intrinsic to Christianity that made it the ‘bulwark’ it was. I will leave it as an open possibility that the ‘bulwark’ could be rebuilt without making Christianity the ‘state religion.’
After all, the U.S. Constitution achieved this… but then, it did so trusting in the fact that most of the people were already Christian in the first place… which is sort of my point. Will the Constitution continue to deliver freedoms and liberties after Christians have been reduced to a minute minority? I don’t think so, hence my warnings. The Constitution will not succeed in a secular-dominated culture, and certainly not in an Islamic one, in large part because both secular humanists and Islamicists share this ideological affinity: statism.
Islam breeds a statist point of view, which I have been terming ‘Islamicism’ (ie, Islam + fascism). Not all Muslims are Islamicists. Secular humanists also tend to be statists. There are, again, exceptions (eg, the Ayn Rand school). All statists have this in common: the belief that given enough time and effort and ‘good will,’ a government can be ‘tweaked’ so that it eliminates abuse, corruption, tyranny, and so on, and maximize freedom, liberty (within limits), etc.
When the government fails to deliver this, the statist proposes more government as the solution. Eg, the reason why Communism fails is because it so far has only been implemented ‘locally’; if only the entire world were subjected to the Central Planners, it would all work out. Eg, if the entire world were under the dominion of Sharia, there would be world peace. Eg., we can deliver health care to all, but only if we make everyone participate in the system.
Now, I would be willing to strongly consider the possibility that ‘more government’ could in fact solve many issues, but another of America’s founding fathers already put this in perspective, too:
But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In forming a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” —James Madison, The Federalist No. 51
The secret of the Constitution’s success is that it reflected the reality that men are not angels. And since ‘government’ basically just means ‘the ruling over men by other men’, and men are not angels, it follows that ‘more government’ actually ends up just giving men more ways to hurt the men they rule. That’s why the Constitution enshrined a ‘limited government’ perspective… which is one of those things that secular humanists in the U.S. have been busily dismantling for well over a hundred years.
‘More government’ would solve many issues if men were angels, but then, “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Since men are not angels, statism will always, inevitably, inexorably, drift towards the demonic.
The Christian doctrine describing this phenomena is ‘original sin.’
It isn’t just that the Constitution took this doctrine to be a real facet of humanity, but that the people the Constitution originally ruled also took this doctrine to be a real facet of humanity. That is, the people themselves understood that their own freedom depended very much on restricting the powers granted to other men, which necessarily meant that they themselves would have to pick up the slack. That is to say, if they weren’t going to turn to ‘more government’ as the solution, then they would have to take ‘self-government’ very seriously. The idea of ‘checks and balances’ implemented at the Federal and state levels would have to be implemented in some way at the local and individual level, as well.
Since one cannot even trust one’s self to operate at all times in an ethical way, one had to be prepared to give wide latitude to one’s fellow man. And since most men shared the same viewpoint about themselves and each other, it followed that for the most part, people left each other alone.
This is the source of America’s history of ‘tolerance.’ The secret of its success lies in the belief that Man is a corrupted, dismal creature, who tends to want to devour his fellow man. The doctrine of ‘original sin’ is itself a check and balance against tyranny. By contrast, the belief that man is capable, through the march of progress, of creating ‘liberty and justice for all,’ has usually brought tyranny. Often, in a short amount of time.
Part of the ‘bulwark’ that was dismantled is this more realistic perspective on humanity, and, over time, its implementation in our core institutions. It’s restoration is critical, especially if we want to co-exist with Muslims in our communities. Nobody–whether atheist, Muslim, or Christian–should be able to even contemplate the idea that, “if only Massive Bureaucracy X were managed by people with my viewpoint, all problems would be solved.” But the only way this idea can be ‘checked’ is if there isn’t a Massive Bureaucracy to co-opt in the first place.
There are several other aspects of ‘rebuilding the bulwark’ which I will have to treat later installments, but I have to say a word about how this is to be applied in a wide scale.
In many respects, Islamicism is very much like Communism, and poses the threats that it does precisely because of its global aspirations. What I have discussed above only ensures that any of these Global-statist ideologies can do any real damage within Western Civilization. It does not say what we are to do about, say, an ambitious Islamicist (or Communist) regime.
But it is not hard to extend the principle of ‘original sin’ out to the level of ‘nations.’ In the same way that we cannot trust ourselves, even if we have good intentions, we cannot very well trust other nations. Not even the ‘Christian’ ones!
An individual must be prepared and allowed to defend itself — hence, the second amendment.
A community of individuals sharing this worldview also has the right to be prepared and allowed to defend itself–through policing, a ‘national guard,’ and so on.
A nation consisting of such communities consisting of such individuals must be prepared to defend itself.
Precisely because other nations cannot be trusted, our own nation must be armed to the teeth. But, this ‘arming’ must reflect robust checks and balances, for the very same reasons and based on the same rationale.
A nation so armed, and so equipped with checks and balances, at the very least, will never be able to be subjugated by ‘Statist’ powers, in whatever form they take. The most important thing a Statist power needs to understand when viewing a nation such as the United States is that any attempt to attack it is going to be met by decisive, overwhelming force. There is more than self-interest, here. One of the reasons why Statist regimes grow in the first place is that they have a reasonable hope that, some day, they really can dominate the world.
Depriving them of this hope creates a ‘rot’ within their own system. We saw this with Communism. We’ll see it with Islamicism, too.
For now, though, one of the biggest reasons why Islamicism poses a threat to the world is because Islamicists smell blood in the water. They really think they can win. And this is what makes them so dangerous.