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.