Tuesday, February 8, 2011

In Search of Apocalypse: a Story of Liberal Hypocrisy and Western Naivete

In the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, many on the left were criticizing Bush and warning others, about the former president's strange religious views and how they affect his policy decisions. It was said that Bush and his 'neocon' friends have a millenarian bend and that they are looking to live out some apocalyptic biblical prophecy. Most notable is president Chirac's claim that Bush said 'Gog Magog is at hand' when the latter tried to convince the former to join his coalition for the war in Iraq (which is coincidentally the location of biblical Babylon, not to mention lots and lots and lots of Oil).

The debate went back and forth. Some claimed that the occasional Bush religious statement was merely a move for his substantial Evangelical support base. The left often tried to dig very hard to find such statements in order to try and label Bush as some sort of a religious whacko. 

Bush's critics wanted to warn us of the possibility of Bush being a religious fanatic, and rightfully so. While I believe that calling Bush a religious fanatic is much of a stretch, in the west, we have come to view religion as a private aspect of life that should not be used for public policy. This is a problem that every country with a substantial conservative religious minority has to grapple with.

Interestingly enough though, the same group of Liberals, who are taking a 'principled' stand on a western politician's religious fanaticism, are proven to be full of hot air. Because when the same conservative elements which the liberals accuse of being overly religious, point to the fact that we should be careful from Islamist movements because they are most certainly religious whackos bent on holy war and the end of days, the 'principled' liberals instinctively go on the defensive to protect the Islamists.

Quite often, you will see conservatives who make claims that a Muslim politician is radical, accused of spin and prejudice. Otherwise, comments are either ignored by the western media, or downplayed as 'vacuous populism'.

I am not saying that we and the west should judge developing nations and other cultures at the same standards as an absolute principal. After all different societies have taken different paths of development and have their own set of circumstances. But the PC cultural relativism that has taken over the west has become extremely dangerous.

In a western democracy there is a kind of unwritten principle that people need to compromise rather than confront each other, and that value judgment can be different from person to person. But beyond the semantics of day to day life, lies the common principle that unites us all, that an individual has a right to his own life, and that your neighbor has this right as much as you do.

We have to be careful and understand that the views of radical Islamists stem not only from a different moral value system, but out of a completely perverted epistemology in which God is always on their side. If God wants him to kill you because you disagree with his views and you do not follow Islam (as he sees it) you are fair game. If your country is not Muslim, then you live in the land of war (Dar al-Harb).

More importantly, we need to start listening to Islamists carefully. More often than not, they are quite frank with their intentions. When Ahmadinijad says from the podium at the UN that he has been tasked by Allah to bring about the apocalyptic conditions required for the return of the Mehdi, perhaps we should pay attention. When the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt openly wants to terminate the peace treaty with Israel and institute some of the harshest elements of Sharia law, we should not insist they be part of any power sharing agreement!


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