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Friday, March 04, 2016

Too Hot to Handle: Collision Impending

In which our regular writers toss around subjects a little more volatile than usual.

Germans in Stuttgart staged a protest rally last weekend over “family values”. At least 4,500 people took to the streets to protest new school curriculum that puts special emphasis on “sexual diversity and sexual minorities”.

What’s interesting about the German situation is that against the wishes of many Germans the Merkel government is importing unprecedented numbers of Muslims into its school system while simultaneously pushing an increasingly liberal social agenda, also against the wishes of a not-insignificant number of its citizens.

Tom: I bring this up, Immanuel Can, because our own Canadian government is on precisely the same trajectory and the U.S. is not far behind. It seems to me spectacularly ill-conceived social policy to pit one set of values against another. The cultural collision, when it comes, promises to be loud and destructive.

What are they thinking, IC?

Rewriting Reality

Immanuel Can: They’re thinking that if they absolutely insist on their own ideological perspective, push it no matter what, and see it through to the bitter end, then they will find themselves proved right. Reality will conform. Truth will bend. The future will be as they have predicted.

Tom: Basically rewriting reality. But any religious system that has survived 1,400 years of open hostility toward the rest of the globe is probably impervious to even the most Herculean efforts of liberal ideologues.

IC: But we all tend to see others in our own image, don’t we. We tend to assume that alien others are basically experiencing life as we do, operating on the same values and imperatives as we are, and aiming at the same essential goals we value.

That is charitable, on the one hand, because we’re giving these others credit for being reasonable and human, just as we see ourselves as reasonable and human. But there are two problems. One is that we ourselves may not actually be behaving reasonably, but rather acting in the grip of some ideology we believe too firmly to question or even recognize as an ideology; the other is that there are ideologies quite different from our own — so different, in fact, that we find it hard to imagine how people could be motivated by them at all.

But they really are. And believing that others are simply the same as us keeps us from looking carefully at their ideologies, or taking their beliefs as seriously as they need to be taken.

The Enemy of My Enemy ...

Tom: It’s a delusion helped along by the fact that Muslims and liberal progressives both generally vote on the left side of the political spectrum. But what is not always noticed is that though they may both vote Democrat or Liberal, they do so with very different agendas. These are not easy bedfellows. Their arrangement is very much a marriage of convenience, and will change drastically as soon as there are sufficient Muslim voters to lobby for the imposition of Sharia law. In Germany, for instance, once significant numbers of migrants become full-fledged German citizens, I think we’ll see them really start to flex their muscles culturally and politically, and we may start to see what is called a “preference cascade” in German society.

IC: Modern liberalism works perfectly for the Islamic narrative: it’s soft, permissive, and as Muslims see it, corrupt. By appealing to it and supporting it, they position themselves as victims when they are in danger of being criticized, but are free in all other ways to act with aggression against Western laws and values.

In the role of aggressors, they see themselves as quite justified by the corruptness of the West; but then they can use the narrative of modern liberalism to tag their detractors as “imperialists” and “Islamophobes” and prevent being called to account for their particular antisocial actions.

But this is hardly news. It takes an indoctrinated modern liberal to be so blind, so devoted to riding his own ideology into the ground, as not to see it.

Germany and Ontario

Tom: I think the German problem is not dissimilar to the one faced by the Wynne government in Ontario, except the scale is larger there. On the one hand progressivism requires educators to genuflect to cultural diversity and therefore to turn a blind eye to the more restrictive, legalistic aspects of Muslim culture; on the other, the far left is perpetually angling to get teachers to impose its progressive gender identity bizarreness on the coming and current generations.

These worldviews appear to be poles apart. I can’t see any common ground there at all. Are educators supposed to split the difference?

IC: No. What they do is this: they impose the gender stuff on the general population, but not specifically on Muslims. They preach it to everyone, but never, never call an Islamic person out on failing to obey it. They save all their self-righteous anger for conservatives and Christians.

I guess if we were being snide, we could call this the “Homos and Hijabs” policy.

Tom: Us? Snide? Never.

IC: Well, educators enforce the appearance of open-mindedness about gender and moral issues for everyone, but have a complete hands-off policy when it comes to criticizing Islamic practices.

Tom: Which is more than a little shortsighted, but as you say, they’re counting on Muslims eventually assimilating because progressive ideology is so compelling. They probably anticipate a few minor bumps in the road, but in their view the multicultural/social justice omelet is worth breaking a few eggs along the way.

Parsing Possibilities

So what do you see as the likely outcome of all this?

IC: Where this is going? Who knows? We might think it will inevitably issue in an Islamic takeover or the collapse of the West, but maybe not either. Scripturally, there is no reason why an ideology called “Islam” even needs to exist in the End Times, so it’s quite possible the whole thing would disappear. But maybe not. Who knows?

Tom: Yes, I know: “I’m a doctor, Jim, not a prognosticator!”

But let’s break that down a little. Three possible outcomes: One, we get to live under Sharia law. Two, parallel systems evolve to coexist within the same society until the whole thing collapses somewhere down the road. That’s already happening informally on a small scale in places where there are so many Muslims in the education system that those that aren’t simply move somewhere else where the demographics suit them better, leaving the Muslims to do as they please.

The one thing I don’t see happening is a compromise with Islam where Muslim children attend secular schools and sit still for Kathleen Wynne-style ideological programming. It’s a difference that can’t be split. Do we agree about that, or do you have a different experience with Muslims in the classroom? Do you get to see how this sort of thing is received?

IC: Muslims have two reactions. The less common right now is outright resentment (as when Islamic parents revolted and refused to provide their children for the new ‘sex ed’ curriculum). More common is that because numbers are still comparatively modest in some districts, they simply simmer. Whether this simmering will cool, or whether it stands to erupt is something we do not know absolutely. But it’s unquestionably there.

Tom: These are primarily kids born in the West, or overseas?

IC: Kids who’ve just arrived are of two types: the type that is glad to be here and has no interest in making issues, however traditional his own practices may be, and the type that is carrying resentment from his homeland and enacting it here. But it’s the second generation, the ones actually born here but raised on the politics of resentment derived from his ancestral home, who are most likely to go postal with it. I’ve seen that over and over.

By third generation, a degree of assimilation is more likely to have set in; but for all we know, that may only last so long as the migrant subculture here isn’t dominant in an area. After that, we may see more anger sustained in the third and fourth generations. We’ll have to see.

Tom: Not promising, for sure.

The Durability of Islam

IC: And that raises another question: how durable, really, is Islam? It already is in desperate straits in some ways: it’s lost its empire, been defeated at Jerusalem, losing its alleged “third holy site”, and is manifestly behind the West in technological and economic progress. The whole Middle East is afire with its homicidal insanity, as we see every day.

When you get to screaming and burning effigies in the streets, taking women by force and immolating your children, I think it’s a pretty clear indication your ideology is in a credibility crisis. And you know it.

Tom: Now, I would tend to agree with you on that last point, except I’d add this caution: Islam doesn’t have to succeed technologically or be able to maintain a credible and appealing ideology or even hang onto its “holy sites” in order to wreak total havoc in the West. We’re not talking about traditional warfare here, or some competition for hearts and minds between opposing religious ideas where the “winner” is the one with the most adherents at the end.

The average Western mind is entirely unprepared for the scale of cultural (and physical) damage that can be done by even a small percentage of Muslims committed to jihad. The West has entirely lost what columnist Mark Steyn refers to as “civilizational confidence”. Our institutions are almost uniformly leftist, and unwilling to admit there is any threat to our way of life at all.

My thought is that creating chaos in the West doesn’t require all these young Muslims in your classes and others like them all over North America and Europe to fail to integrate. It only requires one in ten, or one in twenty, or even one in a hundred to fail to integrate.

But now I’m prognosticating, and as you say, who knows where this is all headed? What I do know is that our current philosophy of progressive education is no match for even a small number of people prepared to kill infidels. They’re just not operating on that wavelength at all.

Parents and Children

No matter who comes out on top, it’s not an encouraging picture. What is a Christian parent to do about all this, IC?

IC: Well, we’ve got to take care of business at home. There may have been a time when we could trust the education systems of the post-Christian West to do a decent job of raising or educating our kids on our behalf ... and maybe not. But that time is long past. Parenting now needs to be more deliberate: a sort of counter-cultural deprogramming of what the world is feeding into our kids.

Tom: Agreed. Currently many Christian parents across North America are educating their kids at home. At present that’s viable in some parts of the West. I note, however, that progressives are not happy with this at all. In Norway, they’ve fought it tooth and nail, finally outlawing home schooling entirely. Which makes sense from their perspective: they can’t create a social justice paradise unless everybody buys in, and in order to get that buy-in, they need your kids where they can propagandize them.

IC: Absolutely. And we can expect that. Christians can do the right things now, regardless of consequences, because they have hope in eternity. But for the secular, liberal left, there is no hope but the belief in their own ability to engineer society to produce whatever earthy advantage they wish to produce. Thus they must, at all costs, seize the limited opportunity they have between the womb and the tomb to make their vision happen. And they think that the way to do it is to so indoctrinate the next generation with the liberal vision that their utopia has some chance of coming about.

They have no other hope: what else can they do? And what incentive have they to back off?

Global Fetishism

Tom: My own daughter is college age, and the Wynne government has introduced mandatory courses on globalism that blatantly push kids to mentally pledge allegiance to the U.N. ahead of family and country; to think “globally” about issues like the environment, tolerance and social justice; to prioritize a globalist, progressive worldview above all else. And the best part for them is they’re getting our college kids to pay for their own indoctrination.

IC: Well, and the Ontario curriculum was crafted by a child pornography collector under the direction of an adulterous lesbian, for the purpose of enforcing “sex education” according to their tastes. So they use the public purse just as freely to advance their agenda. They don’t like you saying that, but it’s obviously true: who else’s ideas would they be promoting?

At the same time, you notice that for all the invasive stuff they’re imposing on the general public they’re not even touching the question of what to do with conservative Islamists who utterly reject them. When they name their enemies, it’s the old triad of conservatives, Christians and Jews — never the Muslims. Again, it’s that H&H policy rearing its ugly head.

Tom: Indeed. We should get back to what you were saying about deprogramming our kids, because there’s certainly lots to deprogram them from.

Individual Opinions and Habits of Thinking

IC: Certainly. But here’s something Christian parents rarely understand: It’s not individual opinions that are the most pernicious thing our kids are receiving, as bad as some of those can be. For example, “Good people don’t express doubts about transgenderism” is far from the worst kind of thing they get. What’s far worse is the habits of thinking that they acquire: non-rationality, moral relativism, uncertainty about their faith, knee-jerk conformity to the average, terror of public opinion, consumerist identity-formation ...

Those things are far harder for parents to understand, let alone fight. But they’re far worse because they translate into a general pattern of life and set of attitudes that are thoroughly anti-Christian, and which pollute many opinions, not just one.

Tom: It’s a bleak picture we’re painting here. Got anything uplifting we can close with?

Cultivating the Renewed Mind

IC: Oh, yes. Here’s the good news. Christianity is about being different from your society. Not only that, it’s about thinking differently — not just having different opinions, but actually using different kinds of mental processes to decide what’s right, good and true. In other words, it’s about “the renewal of your minds”.

To benefit from this, all we have to do is soak ourselves in the Word and prayer each morning, not proceed into the secular day on our own steam. We also need to take the things the Lord reveals to our minds by his Spirit and obey them — put them into action in our daily lives.

If we do that, the Lord himself will renew our minds. And nothing the world throws up against our minds will withstand such an onslaught.

And if we don’t? Well, I’m sorry, but I just don’t have a working alternative to that.

Tom: Very much so. We’ve talked about the impending collision between liberal progressivism and Islam, but as it turns out they’re really two sides of the same poisonous lie: that Big Government and ideology — whether it be religious or secular, pushing toward Dar al-Islam or the Just Society — can transform the human condition and bring us heaven on earth. It can’t and it won’t, but that’s probably why the two apparently diverse worldviews are currently coexisting rather well.

Their real enemy is Truth.

1 comment :

  1. Unfortunately history has shown that people and nations can be their own worst enemy. The only hope I see is that societies have over the (very) long run acted like electronic control circuitry with a built-in control loop (e.g. a thermostat). So that, when the setpoint of unbearable is reached, corrective action will set in. Unfortunately, at that point, a very heavy price will have to be paid by societies to achieve a correction. Prayer may be the only effective means of minimizing the impact of such a correction and sometimes may even be effective in averting it. Also, one must not forget that any such scenario playing out will serve to confirm the argument of either one of the sides. I.e. if God does not exist then, in the competition between secularism and religion, the secular side should and would indeed win out and produce a beneficent society for all (as they advertise so far). If they are wrong their experiment will fail and result in damage to the individual and to society. It is clear that the latter case is already shaping up as evidenced by moral decline and the increasing disparagement and harassment of the Christian faithful and institutions.