Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Valhalla Exchange, Part IV

This post is the fourth of a multipart article where I interview a subject named "Reinhard". Reinhard is a member of FOMI - Svenska Forum Mot Islamisering (information in English; FOMI in English).

Questions are numbered and in italics, and Reinhard's responses are in
plain text. Some of these questions refer to questions and answers found in the first, second and third parts of the interview; see also the administrative questions.

33. It has been suggested that the movement of Western culture away from Christianity and toward secularism has left a spiritual vacuum which Islam is ready to fill. Please notice that I refer to the movement of Western culture, and not of Western politics. The establishment of the First Amendment guarantee of separation of church and state was, for me, an American, a major step toward the movement of politics away from religion, but the politicians and the people they represented were still steeped in (Judeo-) Christian ethics, and the laws they passed, and the way those laws were interpreted and enforced, were very much within a context of accountability and duty to a Higher Authority. Now, however, there seems to be a growing sense of "anything goes" and "everybody does it", a hedonistic sense of moral relativism with little restraint. We buy on credit, we vote ourselves a government check, we tolerate scandals among our political elites... I have the impression that to the extent that this is true in different Western societies, such societies are ripe for takeover by anyone with a firm agenda, who is willing to say "this is right and that is wrong", especially by someone who puts things in a spiritual context. What are your thoughts on that? Is the West decadent? Is the West "ripe for the picking"? What about Sweden in particular?

First of all: hedonism is good for you! It is a sign of a healthy, free society. I define liberty as the ability to do whatever you want. Liberty is inherently amoral, and must be curtailed, since some people do want to hurt others. The question then becomes – which freedoms should we curtail and why? I believe that no individual should ever have the freedom to hurt anyone else. Other than that, everyone should be able to do exactly what they want, including hurting themselves. Not everyone can be expected to approve of for instance homosexuality, but a society where homosexuality is considered criminal, limits individual freedom in unacceptable ways. Someone having sex in an odd manner with a consenting, adult partner hurts no one. Sexual moralism, especially when promulgated by the state, is always unacceptable and can never be justified.

This line of reasoning is of course something that Islamic culture would never agree to. In Islam, an individual’s sexuality is seen as affecting the state, which is a ludicrous notion. The West’s "decadence" as portrayed by Muslims, is in effect the natural consequence of a society which respects individual liberty. Mankind is by nature pleasure-seeking and thus hedonistic. Attempts to control this will always fail. What Muslims abhor in the West, is our freedom; a cliché, perhaps, but one with dangerous implications when we realize that we will never see the majority of Muslim immigrants accepting such concepts of individual liberty as we take for granted in the West. This is yet another example of exactly why many Muslims will never be assimilated; they will refuse to assimilate, because to do so would entail accepting a way of life which is unacceptable from the perspective of their culture.

The sexual liberation we have seen in the West ties into the question of the West’s fading Christian identity. Sexual liberation goes hand in hand with a move away from religion. Individual liberty can only ever be truly guaranteed by a secular society. All religion is more or less repressive when it comes to sex. The alternative to a strong religious society might seem to be a confusing mess, but it is preferrable to the alternative. This apparent confusion (resulting in large part from the fact that people are generally not used to being free) and the lack of a well-defined Western religious identity (we seem to believe in a little bit of everything nowadays), is seen as both an insult and an invitation by devout Muslims. An insult because they see people in the West as living in ways contrary to Allah’s wishes; an invitation because they believe that they can fill the spiritual void.

I do believe that Western culture has become less Christian and gravitated towards secularism, but I do not see this as a problem, since I do not believe that religion is by definition a good thing. You are absolutely correct that the present state of confusion is something which many people do not appreciate. Since mankind seeks pleasure, we will always strive to end any such state of confusion. Doubt is unpleasant, lack of doubt is pleasant: thus, Islam gains recruits from converts to Islam who see in it a fixed system which removes all doubt. While I support secularism, I also realize that many people have a need to believe in religion. Secularism is of course never an alternative to religion. This void that has appeared has to be filled with a new ideology which centers on Western values and explains why those should be defended. This ideology does not yet exist, but we can observe that its seeds have taken root (I am mainly thinking of the opposition to the current multiculturalist ideology). On a more practical level, the anti-Islamic movement has to adopt a ”broad church” approach and include both atheists/agnostics and believers of all faiths (except Islam, of course). Atheistic crusaders have to realize that not all religions are equally bad; the Christian clergy has to stop cooperating with Islamic organizations in the name of ecumenism.

As for Sweden, I would like to give a few examples of behaviour that has to stop. The Brotherhood-movement, the Christian wing of the dominant Social Democratic party, has cooperated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Social Democratic party has had close ties to the PLO since the 1980’s and systematically favour the Palestinian side in the Israel/Palestine-conflict. We Swedes, and not just the political elite, pride ourselves on our diversity and openness towards other cultures; that openness can often result in naiveté. We can be taken for a ride by Islamists skilled in the art of taqqiyah, since we do not even know what taqqiyah is. We assume that everyone is pretty much the same, wherever they come from, and are thus blind to the differences that do exist between cultures – to acknowledge these differences would be construed as racism. Since we avoid conflicts, we do our best to appease even those who actively seek out conflict. These traits of the Swedish "national psyche" contribute, along with secularism and the concept of individual liberties, to creating that "spiritual void" which Muslims believe exists (and perhaps it does, but I wouldn’t be surprised if religion makes a comeback in a big way). If this void does exist, then it is a good thing, and should be defended. A stronger sense of religious identity is not necessary to defend the West against the Islamic onslaught; however, we absolutely do need to clarify what we appreciate about Western culture and explain to ourselves why that culture is worth fighting for.

Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest for the conclusion of the interview with Reinhard, Part V of The Valhalla Exchange. Following that will be a post where I offer my thoughts on the theme.

1 comment:

anticant said...

This is an excellent, indeed eloquent, exposition of the crucial bond between secularism and freedom. Without the separation of religious dogma from government, there can be no freedom or human rights as we in the West understand them.

Yes, freedom itself imposes a burden - the freedom to choose - which many are too lazy or ill-equipped to shoulder. But if that were removed from us, we would be slaves.

It is interesting that you, YD, complain of 'a growing sense of "anything goes" and "everybody does it", a hedonistic sense of moral relativism with little restraint', in America, which is undoubtedly a far more religious society than anywhere else in the West.

There is in fact no necessary connexion between morality and religion. All religions - in which term I include irrational political dogmas such as fascism and communism - are enemies of free choice and personal responsibility, and therefore of the highest morality. Ultimately, they are instruments of control over the masses by the preachers and party leaders.