The West Must Not Defend Itself Against Islam By Waging A Holy War

Has the West learned nothing from its history?

The question arises because a relatively influential weblogger has delivered herself of some fourteenth-century notions that are designed to appeal to people of the Christian and Jewish faiths. If she is convincing, everything on which the defense of the West depends may be at risk. Her ideas are quoted below at some length; emphasis has been added by this newsletter.

The following material comes from this post, which quotes the original. The authoress calls herself “The Anchoress,” and writes on spiritual matters from a Christian viewpoint. See her weblog for an explanation of what an anchoress was (perhaps there are some genuine anchoresses still in existence), if you are unaware of this quirk of monastic, mendicant Christianity.

The post begins with this introduction, provided by Ed Morrissey of the HotAir weblog:

To the extent that the West relies on its post-Enlightenment institutions, the radical Islamists will adapt and pervert them; to the extent that the West offers secular arguments and ecumenical bromides, the radical Islamists will ignore us. In order to make progress, the West will have to relearn how to speak the language of faith — and to value its own heritage:

The Anchoress then makes her case:

The West loves its court systems, its bureaucracies, its diversities, but jihadists use these tools to further their ends. They will not be legislated, jailed, sued, or celebrated out of existence. Appeasement and the stodgy language of diplomacy will not stop them, either, because “diplomacy” is not the language being spoken in these attacks. The fundamentalists who endorse and commit terror believe they are heaven-bound heroes. First and foremost, they “believe.” Their rhetoric of jihad rides the language of faith.

It is with the language of faith that Islamic terrorism must be engaged and defeated, and therein lies the disconnect for the diplomatic West. Having reasoned itself out of faith, its incomplete arsenal is fit for battle, but not for victory. The West can speak only of borders, boundaries, markets, and measurement. Faith exists beyond boundaries and borders; it defies markets and measurement. The negotiables of the West are worldly and “the world” means nothing in the face of paradise. Islam, like all faith, is not of this world but of the world to come. Islam’s extremists, like all extremists, would like to speed their agenda along.

Jihad is not interested in acquiring land, or money, or even control, which faith understands to be illusory. What these extremists want is submission. To their book or to their sword.

We should consider that Islamic terrorism may not be defeatable, except on its own terms, on the battlefield of the supernatural.

To secularists and avowed agnostics who work to expunge all religious language from governments, that idea is anathema. I doubt it makes many Christians or Jews happy, either. But the war on terror is as much about ideas and ideals as about security and strategy. If one side’s ideas are mayhem in service to transcendence and the other side is thinking about meetings and signed papers, then secular Western diplomacy is boxing with one glove.

It is extraordinarily difficult to deal with manifestos such as this, for they sag under the weight of hidden assumptions, ambiguous statements, slogans, and errors of fact and reason. There is so much here to refute — and all of it must be rejected — that the reader may not wish to plow through a comprehensive debunking.

Please, dear reader, persist. The notions presented by the Anchoress are toxic; they must be exposed, understood for what they are, and discarded.

It may be best to summarize the Anchoress’ lunacy and break it into its main constituents (which appear in italics). Each may then be vivisected.

1. She declares the West’s political institutions weak and corruptible, even tools to be used against us. She has a point, as this newsletter has insisted: libel tourism in the United Kingdom, the unethical Human Rights Commissions of Canada, the application of the Geneva Convention to jihadis, the abuse of habeas corpus, vague and irrational concepts of human rights — all this and more constitutes weakness. She does not mention multiculturalism, postmodernism and political correctness, however; this suggests she does not understand the sources of the West’s weakness, and does not realize that they can be expunged. That is a fundamental error on her part. We Westerners can do better, and we shall, if we understand our mistakes and adapt to the challenge of Islam. The Anchoress gives up too quickly.

2. Appeasement and diplomacy are useless against Islam. This newsletter has never suggested otherwise; the Anchoress creates a straw man. Let her discard him, as he has never been part of the essential defenses of the West.

3. Because jihadis are faith-bound, we must be. Now this has to be one of the most ridiculous notions ever. When a madman attacks, do you have to set aside your sanity before you act, or can you simply shoot him?

The counter to faith, any faith, is reason. Only lunatics stand toe to toe with other lunatics and argue theology. When faith collides with faith, the argument cannot be settled; it’s just a bloody shouting match. That’s because the opposite of any faith is never any other faith.

The West need not shout. In fact it need say nothing. The most effective way of dealing with jihadi violence is to prevent it from ever prevailing. When the villains appear, kill them. Hunt them down; cut off their funds; blow up their supplies; use military and para-military means to prevent them from winning any large battles and all wars.

The Anchoress seems to leave open the possibility that the warriors of the West should be missionaries of a sort, or somehow affiliated with a spiritual teaching that opposes Islam.

To attack extremist Islam with legions of religiously inspired soldiers would confirm Muslim claims that the West is on a crusade. That would constitute an explicit, overt holy war. Could there be a more effective way to inflame Muslims everywhere?

It is worth remembering that such a war, while certainly justified by the Old Testament, is at least ethically debatable according to Jesus’s teachings on violence as reported in the New Testament. This newsletter accepts Sam Harris’s definition of pacifism as “…ultimately nothing more than a willingness to die, and to let others die, at the pleasure of the world’s thugs.” The Anchoress may be uncomfortable siding with atheists, or may be accused of apostasy or hypocrisy; in any event, she has proposed a reckless, feckless policy that is sure to exacerbate religious bigotry and hatred.

4. The West can speak only of borders, boundaries, markets and measurements. This is a breathtakingly ignorant thing for anyone to say. The woman obviously has an extraordinarily limited education, or has forgotten nearly all of what she once knew. For whatever reason, she is an empty vessel, a literal ignoramus.

Need this newsletter cite any of thousands of examples of how the West can and does speak of much more profound truths than the mundane subjects listed by the Anchoress? Of course not.

If this single point alone does not completely disqualify the Anchoress as a rational authority on anything, then nothing will.

5. Islam does not seek control or land. It might be interesting to know where the Anchoress got these totally false notions, but all that matters is that we understand that both are delusions. Consult an historical atlas; Islam has always sought territory (remember Huntington’s “bloody borders”?). Islam has always been the most authoritarian — that means “controlling” — religion on the face of the earth. At one point, of course, Christianity matched Islam for sheer dictatorial control of the population, but fortunately Christianity outgrew that lust.

What is dhimmitude? What is submission without the surrender of control? The questions and their answers are essential, but it appears the Anchoress has no grasp of any of this knowledge.

With her astounding claim that Islam does not seek control, this female betrays yet again how far she has strayed from reason and fact. She is utterly bereft of credibility.

6. Islam can only be defeated in spiritual battle. What the Anchoress means by this vague, sappy and bombastic claim is impossible to understand. It seems, of course, that she is an atavistic prophetess preaching a crusade. If that is the case, then she can be well and truly called mad.

If she envisions a propaganda campaign aimed at undermining faith in the Koran and hadith and converting Muslims into Jews, Christians and Buddhists, she is neurologically impaired.

7. Ideals and ideas are involved in this struggle. Of course! But this is not a mating of insanity to insanity, it is a countering of insanity (a death cult) with sanity (reason). And it must be kept that way.

The ideals of the West are good enough as they are — meaning free of preposterous supernatural gibberish — to provide inspiration and hope. They can lead the West to a successful and protracted defense of its civilization. Primary among them is the concept of Liberty, as we understand it — the sovereign dignity of the individual.

What the Anchoress proposes is war waged against unbelievers for doctrinal motives. Her recidivist, irrational and error-laced concepts are the mouthings of a fourteenth-century Christian zealot.

Her targets and goals are obscure, so we cannot know how she proposes to defeat Islam. Whether she would set warrior-monks on the Muslims or flood Islamic nations with evangelists, she advises the West to shrug off its sophistication, ignore history, and abandon common sense. Her ideas would wrap the world in a cataclysmic war.

Or…perhaps she dreams of a huge synod-like convocation in which the leading Muslim scholars are defeated in debate and forced to concede that the Koran is a hoax. Of course it is, but we know that fact is totally irrelevant.

The Anchoress is a true primitive. She is a throwback to a centuries-long era of horror, a spiritual warrior ready to put the demons back in hell and save the pure of heart. The West must ignore her as the mirror image of a Muslim fanatic she is.

We can push Islam back and give it time to mature to ethical sensibility only if we avoid engaging it in religious war.

Above all else, Muslims must see that we fight and die and prevail not as Christians or Jews or agnostics or atheists or Buddhists orany religious community or coalition, but as individual human beings who wish to transmit Enlightenment values to our offspring…and leave Islam to explore peaceful permutations of spirituality.

Neither Nastian Nor Nasty, A Cartoonist Views The One With Irreverent Glee

Click and grin.

For Those Interested In Chicago/Illinois Politics, Or In Just How Ensnared Obama Is

…Rod Blagojevich is clearly the stupidest governor in all of our 50 states, and he may be the stupidest governor I’ve had occasion to write about in the four decades when I’ve been co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. … Nothing is free in politics, but there is some question as to when you pay the price. Obama has profited greatly from his interactions with the Chicago civic establishment. Now he is paying a price.

That’s Michael Barone talking, and he’s got a lot more to say about the big topic of how things got so bad in the Second City and its state.

Then, according to a weblogger who should know — he’s a law professor — “Illinois state government is looking like one big clown show.”The details here, provided by another law professor. That pretty much does it….

Meanwhile, the legacy media start to catch up. PenPo readers learned the gist of these details in Number 46. That’s what a judicious choice of weblogs will get you.

Slow Down, Nan-Nan — Somebody Might Be Paying Attention, Which Could Only Embarrass You

Does Botox affect the brain?? Madame Mis-speaker babbles and prevaricates her way through another “explanation” of events:

Nancy Pelosi says that Senate Republicans were “irresponsible” for opposing the auto bailout, which failed on a cloture vote last night 52 to 35. … The problem with Pelosi’s statement is that 10 Republican Senators voted with the Democrats last night, which means the Democrats could have reached 60 votes if the entire Democratic caucus voted for the bill.

Two Solons Who Should Be Removed From Office At Once, And Then Investigated Thoroughly By A Special Prosecutor

From this article comes a quote selected to make you want to read the entire piece:

Frank and Dodd, as finance chairmen in the House and Senate respectively, actually promoted irresponsible mortgages in the name of “inclusion” — the liberal concept of giving people stuff if they can’t buy it. Dodd also took a sweetheart mortgage from since-failed Countrywide Financial, which saved him close to $100,000. And Frank publicly said Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in “good shape going forward,” just weeks before both government entities collapsed.

Even the legacy media are after Dodd: see this and then there is more on Dodd here, and finally an open letter to him. Whew! Maybe something will happen.

Four Links Under The Heading, “The Bastards Will Always Try To Get Away With Absolutely Everything They Possibly Can, No Matter What”

This is an excellent weblog devoted to issues of eminent domain. If you think you actually own your real estate, you need to understand what happened when the federal supreme court lost its ethical bearings and decided Kelo. Highly recommended. — The fundamental concept of eminent domain is debated in an audio recording you will find here. California PenPo subscribers: click here and read. Then check out the weaknesses of Proposition 99, which is claimed to protect you from abuse. Given California’s incompetent legislature and submission to the state teachers’ union, you need this information. Sacramento is ravenous. If you live in another US state, you too can click on that last link and get local information.


Bail out the US automakers? What a splendid idea! Here’s a brilliant graphic that explains the rationale in terms even morons can understand. But…for those with an IQ at or above room temperature, there’s this piece, which will make you feel a lot better about the way things turned out.


In a perfect world, this revelation would hurt like the very devil: a high government official…

…oversaw the destruction of agency computer files in brazen violation of a federal judge’s order requiring the agency to preserve its records. This from a public official who bragged about her tenure: “One of the things I’m the proudest of at EPA is the work we’ve done to expand the public’s right to know.”


Ooh, blatant, disobedient contempt for the jurisprudential system and a hidebound case of hypocrisy, to boot; not good. One would assume this naughty behavior and snotty attitude would disqualify this female from being considered for a presidential appointment, eh? Well, you lose, Bunky, because these are times in which Change is venerated. O tempora, O mores! The sordid details are here.


Google is everybody’s search engine. The company is big, hugely valuable and so secretive that it could be that only a few people in the world have any true idea of the scope of the beast. Now as regards what happens when you tell Google to find something for you, well…

…if Google was ever to be found to be applying subjective human judgment directly on the process, it would be akin to the voting machines being rigged.

True. Then it turned out that…

…a small, self-selected number of people could rig Google’s search results…

…and when this was discovered and exposed,

…the reaction from the people doing the rigging was violently antagonistic.

No surprise there. But then a funny thing happened.

…what was once Googlewashing by a select few now has Google’s active participation.

That’s right: Google employees are now tampering with the search results, skewing them. That ends the claimed and much-ballyhooed objectivity of the search engine’s product, raising huge ethical questions. The rascals used to be on the outside, messing with things when they could get around Google’s protective protocols; now the rascals are on the inside, messing with things…who knows how much of the time, and to what purposes?

How the mighty have degenerated. Read all about it in this article, from which the above quotes come. Time to switch search engines?

Links On The Theme, “The Future Is Up To Us, Unfortunately”

If the USA adopts national IDs for the nation’s citizens and residents, how secure will the personal data be? “Locked away, safe as a church,” you say? Well, Trusting Citizen, consider Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin, and re-think your response. “How safe, how private?” is a question of life and death importance for some folks. Regarding whom…from the United Kingdom comes this short video. Watch it. Then think yet again.

Important: Yon on Afghanistan.

Civil rights are a continuing concern for homosexuals, as California and the LDS (Mormon) church have learned. There is no such thing as “the” attitude of the homosexual community, but if there were, it would be nice if it produced opinion like this.

What does a journalist or weblogger do, when someone calls and appeals for self-censorship in order to save lives? It seems that each case is unique, which is not much of an answer; surely there must be guidelines and limits. Perhaps this case sheds a little light on the complex issue. In any event, it’s provocative reading.

Here’s one that slipped past this newsletter when it came out. It concerns the eternal bafflement called ethics. The question: how can you have the brass-bound nerve to accuse a guy of being unethical for doing something kind and generous, when your true motive is to prevent him from voicing his personal opinion and voting as he sees fit? It’s a puzzle that should redound to the discredit of the villains, but seems to have disappeared without a trace.