Mounting a defense

Fjordman sent me a heads up that he has another piece up at Brussels Journal: How the West Was Lost. In this piece Fjordman introduces us to Alexander Boot, Russian by birth, writer of How the West was Lost, a book in which he laments the West he left Russia for in 1970, but did not find.

His central thesis is that in the last decades national governments, especially in Europe, have replaced their professed loyalty for their constituents for a loyalty that “is pledged to the international elite that increasingly supersedes national interests.” That wouldn't be so bad, were it not for the fact that governments the West over have adopted a fully secular humanist and even post-modernist view of law:
Without God laws are arbitrary and can fall prey either to evil design or ill-conceived political expediency, which is another way of saying that without God law is tyranny.

Funny you should say that, the writer mused. In the last couple of days Gagdad Bob of One Cosmos shed his light on the convergence of secular 'progressive' and islamist doctrine, noting the onvergence and trying to explain why two seemingly diametrically opposed systems of thought would find support with each other. The two pieces, Progressive Thought and the Denial of History and Driving Truck Bombs Through the Gaps in Leftist Logic both make basically the same point as does Alexander Boot: Western culture owes it succes to a philosophy in which the horizontal (the material, the wordly) intersected and interacted with the ertical (the transcedental, the mystical).

The whole idea of science for instance is in principle a deeply religious, christian notion: God created the universe and gave it laws to obey. These laws are knowable, because God does not willfully revoke or repeal laws he himself instated (he's God, right? So He should be able to get it right the first try, doesn't He?). Secular humanist progressives deny God, therefor (theoretically) eliminating the basis of the scientific method (if there's no God, there's no truth and so everything is a social construct. This is pretty much post-modernism, were it not for the fact that somehow testing the social construct of gravity from a twentieth story window yields the same, dialectically undesirable, result). As Gagdad Bob cites:
The philosopher Michael Polanyi pointed out that what distinguishes leftism in all its forms is the dangerous combination of a ruthless contempt for traditional moral values (the vertical) with an unbounded moral passion for utopian perfection (which amounts to a coerced “horizontal verticality”). The first step in this process is a complete skepticism that rejects traditional ideals of moral authority and transcendent moral obligation -- a complete materialistic skepticism combined with a boundless, utopian moral fervor to horizontally transform mankind.

Islam on the other hand, totally denies the horizontal. With regard to the central notion in philosophy, science and Western thinking in general, the notion of cause and effect, Islam is devastatingly clear:
Causes and effects are inadmissible, according to al-Ghazali, because causes limit the absolute freedom of Allah to bring about whatever events he wills. Effects are brought about, not by causes, but by the direct will of Allah.

Thus the material interaction between causes and effects is completely eliminated, substituted by divine whim. The apple falls from the tree not because of gravity, but because of Allah. And if Allah got up on the wrong side of the bed, it is perfectly normal to expect the apple to fall upwards, for Allah is Allah and Allah doesn't give a shit for any laws he may have constructed. Everything we see happening around us, as mundane as billiard balls clicking and bumping in predictable manner is mystical, divinely effected, vertical.

The curious thing is the convergence between the Left and Islam, when the one denies completely the existence of the doctrinal dimension of the other. But the convergence happens, because both have problems reconciling their preferred mode of thinking with the practicalities of the real world. Gagdad Bob again:
But at the foundation of the secular leftist revolt against the vertical is the attendant, deeply irrational idea that there is no such thing as absolute truth, for God, among other things, is the ground and possibility of Truth. The death of God brings with it the death of the living Word, or logos. The official name of this death of the Word is "deconstruction," although it is really more of a murder (or perhaps suicide), with murderous consequences. For if truth is relative and perception is reality, then no one’s ideas about the world are any better than anyone else’s -- including Islamists. And this creates a gaping cognitive and spiritual chasm big enough to drive a truck bomb through.
Between Leftism and Islam we stand to lose a uniquely effective way of exploring the world around us.
Put it this way: the scientific revolution occurred just once, in just one civilization -- something like 99.98 percent of all scientific inventions and discoveries have occurred in Western Christendom. Everywhere else, science either never appeared, or it petered out after some initial advances -- for example, in China and the Islamic world. And the reason science could not be sustained in these civilizations is specifically religious.
We should be very careful not to lose this precious gift. But there's good news to be had in this. There's nothing like a crisis to focus the mind. It seems to me that the American Thinker piece, the two posts at One Cosmos and the latest Fjordman piece are part of the same process: Slowly we are starting to narrow down what it is that makes the West unique and yes: superior to other civilizations. We are starting to be in a position to argue coherently why multiculturalism, or cultural relativism, is akin to selling out the principles that brought the west it's prosperity and sophistication. We are starting to get our defense together.

And if we succeed then maybe, just maybe, not all is lost. Maybe in time we will be in a position to confidently go on the offensive, defeating multiculturalism and islamism with the one ideological WMD the Western world has held for more then three centuries, but has forgotten how to deploy: Rational thought.

[INSTANT UPDATE] Be sure to read ALL the stuff linked to. Yes, there's a lot of it. But there's a gem or two to be had for anyone interested in this type of debate.

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