The esteemed Ace of Spades makes a striking observation this morning:
One problem with liberalism has always been that those promoting it are, and largely have been, cowards.
The creed is not inherently cowardly; in fact, most of it is brave....But a lot of the people championing it are morally uncertain and physically weak types. This has caused liberalism to be associated in the world with vacillation, compromise, and cowardice.
I knew someone who once told me he despised liberals as cowards. So you're conservative? I asked.
"No," he replied. "Communist."
And that is the knock on liberalism. Other creeds are dark, stupid, and murderous, but they appeal to young men because they seem to be espoused by strong men, rough men, ready men.
And liberalism, meanwhile, is mostly a collection of pious platitudes mouthed by sissies.
There is some justice in this. Moreover, it helps to illuminate an important commonality between the two most important totalitarian creeds of our time: Islam and Left-liberalism.
It’s a common observation that left-liberals, for all their pieties about “helping the poor,” do very little of it personally. They prefer to vote for politicians who will then enact programs – preferably federal programs, so that no one can escape – which will result in armies of bureaucrats spending oceans of tax dollars, the greater part of which will pay the salaries of “compassionate” types like themselves and a piddling fraction of which will become benefits to the officially recognized “poor.” That’s left-liberal “charity:” the sort that declines to dirty the left-liberal’s own hands or distract him from his enjoyment of the Chardonnay and Brie.
As anyone with three functioning brain cells knows, in practice this resolves to a program of totalitarian control of just about everything in the name of “compassion,” “social justice,” or what-have-you. My term for this is social fascism: the drive toward a totalitarian State that has first claim on all things, and regulates everything down to the smallest detail, under a rationale of “good intentions.” (Jonah Goldberg calls it Liberal Fascism, which has more immediate political application.)
Left-liberalism / social-fascism is currently on the skids with Americans, owing to their disgust with the current regime. (What we can and will do about it remains uncertain.) However, the ironclad will that animates its allegiants cannot be denied. They are determined to have their way; they will stop at nothing. They regard no strategy and no tactic as out of bounds.
I can’t cite many overt expressions of such an unbounded, absolutely determined political will. However, I can cite one:
In the Nazi leadership’s view, Rauschning (a one-time friend of Hitler’s) reports, “the more inconsistent and irrational is their doctrine, the better….[E]verything that might have gone to the making up of a systematic, logically conceived doctrine is dismissed as a trifle, with sovereign contempt.” “To all doubts and questions,” writes Rosenberg, “the new man of the first German empire has only one answer: Nevertheless, I will!” [From Leonard Peikoff’s The Ominous Parallels]
Are left-liberal policies inconsistent? Irrational? Left-liberals don’t care any more than the Nazis did. They know what’s best for us, and we’re damned well going to swallow it...at the point of a gun, if need be.
If Islam’s political culture isn’t yet plain to you, Gentle Reader, you must have skipped a few of the essays here. Islam is inseparable from its political program, and that program is totalitarian:
“Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for Holy Warriors! These are hundreds of other psalms and Hadiths urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.” – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
"The minarets are our bayonets; the domes are our helmets. Mosques are our barracks, the believers are soldiers. This holy army guards my religion. Almighty Our journey is our destiny, the end is martyrdom." -- Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey
The totalitarian mindset must be coupled to absolute will. People resist being ordered around, which is why the myrmidons of the State carry guns and forbid us to have them. (Note how many federal bureaucracies have armed themselves. Note how military hardware has been distributed to local police forces nationwide. And note how Obama’s Department of Justice has descended to the use of sub-legal means to throttle the supply of firearms and ammunition to private citizens. Do you really think that’s coincidence?) So to enforce a totalitarian program, the State must be willing to kill until the survivors have all submitted to its yoke: a program that requires the firmest will of all.
In that regard Islam is exactly the same:
The Qur’an contains detailed instructions and examples of how to meet unbelievers. The first instruction is that they should be called to Islam; in fact, the Qur’an says you cannot wage war against unbelievers until you have preached to them. The second instruction is that if they do not convert to Islam, then, they must be fought. The third instruction is that if they surrender, or convert, then you must stop waging war. The final instruction is that if they do not convert or surrender, then they must be killed. This is the optimum route for Islamist expansion: A tidal wave of war, subjugation and conversion.
While we were in the Mosque, the Prophet came out and said, "Let us go to the Jews" We went out till we reached Bait-ul-Midras. He said to them, "If you embrace Islam, you will be safe. You should know that the earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle, and I want to expel you from this land. So, if anyone amongst you owns some property, he is permitted to sell it, otherwise you should know that the Earth belongs to Allah and His Apostle." [ Sahih Bukhari, 53:392]
Fight against them until idolatry is no more and God's religion reigns supreme. [The Koran, Sura 2, verse 193]
The sole difference between the Islamic mindset and that of the Leftist lies in their professed intentions. Their absolute determination to rule in all things – to compel, prohibit, and expropriate without limit – is utterly the same.
If you need a grace note for this comparison of today’s two foremost totalitarian creeds, consider how utterly ruthless both of them are toward critics. Islam decrees death for those who dare even to differ with its dictates. Left-liberals, currently without the legal authority to silence dissenters by force, use extra-legal means: vandalism, extortion, intimidation, hackery, slander, and whatever other tools are ready to hand. That they do so under a cloak of self-righteousness doesn’t alter the totalitarian will that powers their tactics.
A Christian will reject Islamic theology reflexively, as Islam denies the divinity of Jesus. Yet that same Christian might find some of the policies of left-liberalism appealing entirely on the basis of their supposed intentions. Yet should he press a left-liberal espouser of such a policy for its record in practice, or ask what evidence would cause the left-liberal to doubt the soundness of his policy, he’ll be answered with a flood vituperation likely to exceed his expectations. Given the proliferation of such tactics, is it reasonable to doubt that the left-liberal would resort to force, were he able to get away with it?
And given all the above, why would any man of good will award one iota more respect to either of these totalitarian creeds than to the other?