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Radical Islam in the managerial state

The cure for the problems of the managerial liberal state is always more of the same. Europeans wary of ‘political Islam’ provide an example. European ruling elites have noticed that there are more and more Muslims in Europe, they cluster together and don’t assimilate, their presence means crime and terrorism, and ordinary Europeans are beginning to get annoyed. The elite response to this issue, which in fact goes to the very nature and identity of European societies, is that it is something to be dealt with by social scientists and administrators as one more problem in social management.

And what do the social managers think? The problem can’t be the presence of growing Muslim communities in Europe, since that would mean that things like religion and ethnicity, which have to do with identity and therefore can’t be managed, would have to be recognized as having a role in public life. Also, it would mean that potential immigrants from Muslim countries should be treated as different from other persons, which would violate the managerial ideal of rational uniformity.

So what then? The expert response is uniform: “ ‘Islam should be taken out of the ghettos,’” one authority says, “ ‘and not be left ‘in the hands of imams preaching Shariah [Islamic traditional law].’” “’[I]ntensive assimilation,’” says another. “ ‘Under no circumstances should the Muslim communities [as a whole] be blamed for acts committed by a few fanatics.’” The authorities thus intend forcibly to abolish all the distinctiveness and therefore the very identity of Islam, while assuring Muslims of their high respect for it and their intent to treat it equally with other faiths.

The abolition of Muslim distinctiveness is of course in line with a fundamental principle of the managerial liberal state: since all persons must be treated the same, all persons must be made the same in all respects that matter publicly. Anything else would give irrationality a foothold in society and make equality impossible. Where, though, does that principle lead? Ruling elites consider the problem created by the presence of large Muslim communities in historically Christian societies a problem of technique, expertise and administration—a difficult problem perhaps, but no more than that. The reporter suggests no further implications. Nonetheless, in a comprehensively administered society it is difficult to limit the effect of tyrannical principles like the compulsory reprogramming of whole peoples. Certain implications of the intended policies seem clear and should be noted.

For starters, if the re-education of Muslims is to be “fair” the same principle will have to apply against whatever of Christianity remains in Europe. The enemy cannot be conceived as “radical Islam” without denigrating Islam as a religion peculiarly prone to violence. If an appeal to struggle “with the aim of replacing secular values by Islam” is “strident,” as the reporter says, why not one on behalf of Christian values? So the enemy must be conceived as “fundamentalism,” understood as any religious outlook that proposes anything at odds with the fundamental principle of managerial liberal society—deified appetitive humanity. In the name of rationality and tolerance we will therefore be afflicted with—we are now being afflicted with—a new conquering religion, liberalism, armed with all the resouces of the modern state and unable to recognize itself as a religion because it cannot do so without destroying its own claim to authority. Such is the nature of the modern managerial liberal state.

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Mr. Kalb’s prognosis, that Europe, in attempting to “de-fundamentalize” Islam, will, in uniform bureaucratic fashion, “de-fundamentalize” Christianity as well (assuming there is any Christianity left in Europe to de-fundamentalize), is fascinating and disturbing and well may be true; statements by American liberals such as Michael Lind and Andrew Sullivan certainly tend in that direction. However, beyond the quoted statement from the former Belgium minister of integration urging “intensive assimilation” of Muslims and counseling against blaming Muslims as a whole for the acts of a few fanatics, I don’t see anything in the linked article supporting that prognosis.

As originally posted the entry didn’t make it clear that in the last two paragraphs I used the Washington Times article as a sort of springboard for further reflections. Thanks to Mr. Auster for pointing that out. I’ve revised it now and hope the logic of the discussion is now clearer.

The logic of the Europeans’ new assimilitionist agenda that Mr. Kalb has posited comes down to this: To make these dangerous Muslim fanatics fit into our society, we’ve got to remove their particularity. But, since we believe in equality, we’ve got to remove EVERYONE’s particularity, including our own! Great insight.

So, who is the greater threat to what is left of Wetern civiliztion? The Islamists and the waves of Muslim colonists, or the all-powerful elites who seem to be in charge of everything? I’m begining to wonder who the real enemy is. This fits in very much with the earlier story from the UK regarding the “outrageous” un-PC remarks made by a Christian missionary to England from Nigeria about gays, etc.

The front page of yesterday’s Melbourne Age had the response of our State Government to recent criminal acts by Lebanese Muslims: draft more Lebanese Muslims into the police force to replace Anglo-Saxon-Celtic officers.

One of the first recruits, a Lebanese Muslim woman, is just waiting for the official OK to wear the hajib head covering on duty. (She never wore the hajib in Beirut, but began to wear it in Melbourne a few years ago as a “symbol of her commitment to Islam”.)

The photo of Ms Sukkar revealed her to be very short and plump: she looked a little like the ideal kindly aunty. You would not want to rely on her for physical protection.

In some ways I expect Ms Sukkar is exactly what the liberal managerialists are looking for: someone who identifies as a Muslim and retains its symbolism, but who has begun to adopt some core attitudes from the liberal religion.

If you’re interested the link is http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/21/1032054999035.html