Category Archives: fundamentalism

Islamism’s intellectual content is nugatory and contemptible

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 13.23.31Mohammedanism rushes in where Marxism can no longer tread

The downfall of the Soviet Union, writes Dalrymple, resulted in

an ideological vacuum for people seeking a total explanation of their discontents, people who—thanks to the spread of semi-education—were probably more numerous, and therefore more desperate, than ever. The only alternative on hand, and one with much deeper roots than Marxism, was fundamentalist Islam.

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 13.19.44Islamism’s

intellectual content—the idea that a return to Islamic practices of the past (apart from the use of Kalashnikovs, etc.) is the solution to life’s woes everywhere—is so nugatory and contemptible that it is not worth an intelligent person’s efforts to refute it, any more than it is worth trying to refute the idea that the moon is made of blue cheese.

Alas, says Dalrymple,

Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 13.19.21nothing is so foolish that some philosopher has not said it, and no utopia is so absurd that people cannot be found to believe in it and, worse still, fight for it.

Islamism

would form yet another chapter in Walter B. Pitkin’s A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity (nearly 600 pages long) had the author not died in 1953.

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The lure of fundamentalist Islam

Römische Ruine mit einem Propheten, 1751, Giovanni Panini. Graf Harrach’sche Familiensammlung, Schloss Rohrau (outside Vienna)

Römische Ruine mit einem Propheten, 1751, Giovanni Panini. Graf Harrach’sche Familiensammlung, Schloss Rohrau (outside Vienna)

Dalrymple points out that many immigrants to Europe are drawn to radical Mohammedanism because they see it as an antidote to Western degeneracy.

Those parts of Western culture they see are…the least attractive side: gross promiscuity, the idea that one’s whim is law. They do not understand anything of the better aspects….If we lack the confidence to pass our culture on to our children it is hardly surprising we do not have the confidence to pass it on to other people.