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Samizdata quote of the day

Our international progressive elite combines arrogance and foolishness. It arrogantly presumes to know more about ISIS than ISIS knows about itself. Then these same elites foolishly seek to conform foreign and domestic policies to address the allegedly ”true” motivations of our Islamic enemies. Thus they increase our vulnerability without doing anything to deter aggression. When it comes to fighting jihadists, the same realities hold in 2016 as they did in 1016. The west’s best weapons against jihad are its warriors, not its theologians — or its politicians.

David French

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Lee Moore

    If the proles can suffer from false consciousness, why shouldn’t ISIS ? There’s no point asking Joe or Hassan what his motivations are. The only way to be sure about people’s motivations is to ask a properly accredited expert.

  • DJMoore

    We are in a religious war; therefore, the theologians would seem at least as important as the warriors. But theologians (and their sergeants and lieutenants, the clergy) must be as honest about their own religion as the enemy’s.

    Currently, the theologians want to pretend that their own religion can be as flexible, as flaccid, as necessary to recruit the broadest range of potential subscribers. But in doing so, they recruit only the unfit fringe, while offering nothing for the vast majority, who want guidance on living upright, moral lives. We need to hear that while Christ welcomes all, He does expect that guests at His table adhere to a common standard of decency, of moral rectitude. And that this extends far beyond the charity that results in full collection plates.

    We also need to hear that we have enemies inspired by The Enemy–socialism (and its weak sister, Progressivism) and Islam. We need to hear why these two cults of greed and death are false, and are our enemies. We need to hear how these two cults can be fought, and that simply being nice to their adherents and other deviants will result in our defeat and subjugation.

    We need to know that “loving our enemies” does not mean bowing down to them.

    Only then will we have the will, the heart, the sheer guts to employ the warriors with guns.

  • QET

    As I said in another thread, with each passing day the belief that the progressive left acts only according to data, evidence, facts and science, rather than according to preconceived, unexamined and dearly held convictions, doctrines and dogmas, becomes less tenable. One does not necessarily have to understand ISIS in terms of an opposing religious faith in order to see the futility and danger of the secular faith of the progressives.

  • DJMoore, August 4, 2016 at 9:14 am: perhaps one may summarise DJMoore’s analysis of some modern Christian ‘leaders’ versus Islam as an example of:

    “The best lack all conviction while the worst are filled with passionate intensity”

    It all just adds to that 30s vibe I’ve been getting lately.

    Meanwhile, the post itself is about the passionate intensity with which our secular leaders cling to their PC convictions in the face of all contra-indications. I guess that means they belong to the worst.

  • Greytop

    Very few statements are as damaging to the west than the oft-parroted statement “it is nothing to do with islam” even when, by all reasonable evidence, the incident or outrage in question is very much to do with islam. I know it is a novel idea for politicians and so on, but a little honesty would not go amiss.

    Thing is, we the non-political public don’t believe the statement nearly as much as the politicians hope, and islam doesn’t believe it all.

  • Watchman

    Ah – this might actually be a sighting of that much-cited but not often sighted beast, cultural Marxism. And for those who are sick of this being shouted about all the time by some regulars (which includes me to be fair) I’ll explain why it might apply here.

    Marxist theories tend to assume an underlying truth which may not be obvious to those claiming non-economic reasons for their actions, primarily driven by class and progress towards a fairer society (or opposition to this by other classes). Therefore, it justifies ignoring what people say since you know that is irrelevant to understanding actions (my personal favourite has always been Marxist analysis of why medieval people gave gifts to churches, focussing on power and lordship, but somehow missing the universal statements of pious intent (it is which church that the gift was given to which is where the power and lordship comes in…)). You don’t have to be an actual Marxist to buy into this view of the world – all you have to be is someone who believes in group identity (individual action is of course only explicable as part of a group) and to have an ideal towards which you the world to be progressing.

    This methodology is so robust that Karl Marx had to describe Napolean III’s peasant supporters as not being proper peasants, because they were not acting as expected (by him – I suspect Napolean III was totally unsurprised, and if you are going to be out-thought by a Napolean, the one who couldn’t even do regnal numbers properly is probably a bad idea). But this does not stop it being promoted, because in a thread about Islam and Marxism you have to admit bad ideas don’t die. I don’t (unlike many here) blame universities who generally teach Marxism as a theory openly with full discussion, but rather those who choose (often with no great thought) to adopt the ideas.

    The really sad bit of all this is that the people arguing that ISIS are not influenced by their own stated reasons are not only idiots (albeit theoretical idiots – David French gives no firm examples other than tangentially the Pope), but they are idiots who don’t even understand how Marxist theory has expanded. Historians figured out Marx’s three-fold division did not work, and the Marxists therefore came up with the tributary mode of extraction to explain minor things that Marx had not dealt with like the Arab expansion, the lack of a slave economy in most pre-industrial socities without strong urban nucelei and frankly the fact that for a nineteenth-century historian Marx was way out of date even then. This presupposes a mode of dominance, particularly in siutations with decentralised power, where ideology is used to justify extraction but not necessarily imposed, and thus is a good fit for say a religiously-motivated takeover, whilst allowing room for identifying the role of ideology as at least a feature in understanding the manifestation of the underlying class struggle.

    Of couse, I don’t buy any of this. I just enjoy arguing with Marxist historians – or at least modern ones, who tend not to be ideologically opposed to a pint with ideological opponents. But it is still sad when a viewpoint is taken that is not only wrong, but not even up-to-date in terms of the underlying wrong ideology.

  • John Galt III


    Islam – Would you please read the Hadith, Sira and The Reliance of the Traveler. Then if you truly think you have absorbed what you have read, then tell us you have seen the light.

    Cultural Marxism/Frankfurt Schule/March Through the Institutions – We are now 80 years into this. For a first hand account of what it is like to be on the receiving end of this Leftist bullshit, read “Enemy of the State” by Tommy Robinson. I just finished the book and to anyone who is sentient, Cultural Marxism has infested every part of the UK establishment: education, media, socials services, government, police and prison system. It is an insidious flesh eating reality. Your country is way further down the path to Sepuku than you realize. We’re getting there as well.

  • Watchman

    JG III,

    I asked around after our last exchange on Islam, and none of my Muslim contacts thinks Reliance of the Traveler is required reading – most haven’t heard of it, and those that have are rather down on it. It appears to occupy a similiar place to the works of Jerry Farrawell in Christianity; required for a few and ignored or unknown to most.

    But my problem with your self-appointed expertise in Islam aside (I actually ask Muslims what they do you see – kind of in line with the original post funnily enough), why are you telling me to see the light? I see ISIS as you do I suspect, and they are the only bit of Islam (other than the historical Arab conquests, which were the catalyst rather than the result of Islam as far as I can tell) that I mention here. Do I come across as supporting them.

    And whilst I don’t doubt that institutions have been taken over by people who think in cultural Marxist terms, this is hardly complete, and indeed often runs into the problem that adherents are generally incompetent in positions of power. I can happily believe the US government is controlled by cultural Marxists (because incompetence is a lietmotif) but find it hard to understand why you believe from the US you can tell us what the UK is like; I live in the systems you describe (and work in one, with my wife working in another) and the idiots exist, but are less important than they were, especially because most of them nailed their colours to the masts on policies like multicultralism which destroyed their credibility (seriously – try telling a UK Univeristy they need to be multicultural rather than just vibrant (which means something very different) and people will discount you as a trendy crank at best or a nutcase at worst). I can’t help but wonder if you, from the middle of the US, don’t need to come and visit the UK which is very different from the country you imagine (one or two European countries might be more similiar).

    Basically you see cultural Marxism everywhere, but never define it. I have engaged with it, understand it, and know if it not everywhere, and the politically correct manifestation is in retreat, at least in the UK. Tommy Robinson is hardly a disinterested or reliable observer: he is equally statist and collectivist as the quasi-Marxists, just in a racist rather than a class-based way. If that is the best evidence you have for something, you might want to consider saying nothing.

    To sum up my position so you can’t be confused. Cultural Marxism exists, as an interpretation of facts through a Marxist worldview (it is not a conspiracy since Marxism does not encourage agreement amongst those following it). It is not that widespread in my experience, and even the similiar logics of political correctness and the like are not all-prevasive, especially if you read beyond the headlines. The problems with government and institutions is not so much that they have been taken over by believers in a particular point of view, but that they exist and therefore have influence and power – and this is where the problem lies. I might even buy the argument having cultural Marxists taking control of many of these institutions would be good – they are normally too incompetent to do the damage a moderate statist can do (in UK terms, Tony Blair is far more dangerous than Jeremy Corbyn because one is irrelevant).

  • Watchman

    Actually, re-reading John Galt’s first paragraph, it comes across as a missionary statement – read these texts and see the light! Is he really an undercover Muslim missionary?

  • Alex

    If the proles can suffer from false consciousness, why shouldn’t ISIS ?

    Ha! I could not have put it better myself!

  • John Galt III


    The meme in the Western World is that in Islam there are a few bad apples and lone wolves misled by crazy imams because Islam is tolerant and peaceful.

    I am suggesting that people read what Muslims read and know. If and when you do, the light bulb goes on and you see Islam as a 1,400 year organized crime syndicate that is also a religious/political system. Then read al-Awlaki’s writings. I have and in brief, he sums up all the Muslim writings and condenses it to say: ” There is no need to work or produce because everything belonging to kaffirs rightly belongs to Muslims so it is perfectly ok to kill all the world’s non-Muslims and take all their shit including their women.”

    You won’t see that explanation on the BBC or in the Telegraph and Blair/Cameron/May as well as our politicians in the States and so forth are just as ignorant of Islam and won’t tell you either.

    So, the Western world can try to figure out what Islam has been, is and will be or it won’t. If it does not, it is finished.

    Analogy: In Germany in the 1920’s there were a dozen or so German and Austrian newspapers catering to its Jews. Only one of them reviewed a book by a former inmate in Landsberg prison. That book was released in two volumes in 1925 and 1926: Mein Kampf. That one review said the book was a bunch of nonsense and the author would soon be forgotten.

    To me, the French author Houellebecq in his new book “Submission” should be read by everyone here. Some Eastern Europeans see the same thing:


    Or, Europe just runs out of candles, flowers, phony tears, speeches and Teddy Bears

  • Watchman

    JG III,

    I think the problem is you see Islam as one thing, when it is in fact a religion, and therefore maleable. So there are plenty of those who follow the version of Islam you fear, but they are only one strand of thought. You have never indicated that you know Muslims personally, so I would be careful on generalising about all muslims due to what you read. In short, you are right that there is a danger from extremists (I think that is a given, and to understand them your suggested reading is possibly worthwhile), but you seem to be assuming all Muslims are like them which is contrary to the evidence of my personal knowledge.

    And interesting analogy, but the problem in Mein Kampf was not an isolated book, but simply one represntative of a lot of extreme literature floating around 1920s Germany. It might appear significant now, but check how many other similiar books were written which did not become significant. Picking an example out of context is hardly a convincing argument.

  • Paul Marks

    Good quote.

    Perhaps the prize for biggest idiot of the international elite goes to Pope Francis – who blames the Islamist attacks on “making money God” which is his definition of “capitalism” (nothing to do with Islam – of course). Not even Barack Obama would say such a thing. Only a Latin American Jesuit could be so astonishingly ignorant and misguided.

  • gongcult

    The Poles and Lithuanians have suffeted immeasurably from the onslaughtd of Nationsl Socialism and the Marxist-Bolsheviki- variants.The rest of the West should note their history and realize their current leaders are sounding the alarm-when no one else is forthright and perspicacient!

  • Thailover

    Paul Marks wrote,

    Perhaps the prize for biggest idiot of the international elite goes to Pope Francis – who blames the Islamist attacks on “making money God” which is his definition of “capitalism” (nothing to do with Islam – of course). Not even Barack Obama would say such a thing. Only a Latin American Jesuit could be so astonishingly ignorant and misguided.

    Well, though the bible says LOVE of money is the root of all evil, it also says that one must choose between god and mammon, when mammon REALLY means personal wealth creation. It was SOOO demonized by christianity that the term was even erroniously interpreted to be a literal demon in the middle ages.

  • Thailover

    Even the “moderate” muslims agree that gays should be hanged, those that insult the prophet should be murdered and apostates and/or atheists should face long prison terms if not outright murdered also.

    Countless international polls support this. It’s so bad that when one thinks of “bad” Islamic nations, one thinks of places like Pakistan, but not Indonesia for example, but in Indonesia, a woman can be arrested and sentenced to public cane-beating because she wore her dress “too tight”. And of course these “standards” are not standardized, but are all completely arbitrary.

    It’s time people stop bending over backwards appeasing theocratic brutality.