Monday, November 19, 2007

Moral Fog

When do moral ends justify immoral means? What is the Right Thing to do?

This is the subtext of the current dispute that has shaken the growing alliance standing against the creeping islamization of the western world.

At what price, victory? At what cost, strength? At what sacrifice, allies?

To vainly attempt a summary of the "blog wars" dispute to date: a rupture emerged among allies in the wake of the counter-jihad conference held in Brussels this past October. The dividing fires were sparked by the contention that certain groups participating at the conference, notably the European political parties Vlaams Belang (“Flemish Interests”) of Flanders/Belgium and the SD (Sweden Democrats) of Sweden, have at their core a narrowly pro-white, rather than broadly pro-west, leaning; and that their past actions discredit them sufficiently to deny them a welcome place alongside those standing up for the preservation of western freedoms and values, today.

Charles Johnson, of the prominent US-based anti-jidadi blog Little Green Footballs, is leading the prosecutorial charge against these European groups. Gates of Vienna, with its more European focus, might be said to be serving as their defense counsel. Back and forth go the allegations and subsequent clarifications.

I think the only area of agreement remaining might be to admit how complicated a story this is to follow. What is a conscientious person to think? Are these European parties racist in their anti-immigration policies? Are they nationalistic to the point where they can be accurately described as neo-nazi in their stridency, denying even the possibility of assimilation, and change?

The answer is: it depends. It depends on your personal definitions of "racist", "nationalist", and "neo-nazi"; it depends on whether you believe people can change or moderate their views over time; and it depends on whether you accept that actions speak louder than words.

If we study this complicated story too narrowly, we can easily come to the wrong conclusions, and if nothing else the detailed context required to make an informed opinion reminds us not to presume a jump into instant expertise, just because we may have read one single source’s account on the issue. (A fault I confess I see in myself, and work to overcome)

After spending an obsessive, preposterous, amount of time researching the controversy, I come away with only the obvious perspective that since nobody is perfect, the issue becomes a measurement of what it means for someone to be “good enough” to enter into an alliance with them.

What is the character of our allies? Do judgments on character even matter, when the stakes are so high?

These are the two questions being batted around, but the important one, the one that establishes our right to victory, is the second one, as far as I’m concerned. Character matters.

It establishes our merit, it renews our strength, it sanctifies our sacrifice.

It is not only important to strive to Do The Right Thing, it is surely the whole point of the struggle, it is why the West’s current struggle against the unholy alliance of the far left and islamist fundamentalists is a struggle worth undertaking.

Our opponents find no problem in aligning themselves with forces which, in an honest accounting, they should be seeing instead as an irreconcilable enemy. To their side, clearly, ends do justify means. It is a characteristic moral compromise for them. It is the dark secret of the political left’s history, that they have repeatedly justified unconscionable crimes against humanity, because these were seen as in service towards such irrefutably “noble” ends; the professed nobility in the absolute end is then used to cleanse the conscience of any odious individual step taken towards it. Pillage, starve, kill, no sin stains their soul or stays their hand, as long as it is seen as helping bring about a “paradise” on earth. (A fair reading of history is that every group has done this to some degree, the left merely being the more recently guilty of the highest body counts resulting from their immoral behavior.)

Moral justification for immorality is horrible when the left does it, because it is horrible in itself, not merely because it is the left doing it. If we decry the tactic when our opponents use it, how dare we defend it when we do it? That’s the kind of tribal thinking which, surely, Western civilization is trying to overcome in this current clash against civilization.

Can we afford to be absolutely moral, at all times, in all occasions? As I grow older, I realize: No. There is a tipping point, tragically, at which short-term needs may outweigh long-term standards, and we settle for pragmatism. This compromise counts for nothing, however, if it is not based on a moral foundation, following a moral compass as it navigates through a moral fog. At such ethical setbacks we need to remember our moral foundation more than ever, to ensure we atone for our temporary fallen standards. Means ennoble ends. If a starving man steals bread, should he later come by the money for it he better go back and pay for what he stole. Otherwise, maybe the right thing to do would have been to go on starving.

Have we reached that tipping point in our defense of our precious western civilization? Maybe that’s what the debate should be focusing on: have we reached the point where, in order to defeat the enemy, we must become no different than the enemy we fight? Must we adopt tribal attitudes to morality, and lump people indifferently into categories, announcing that anyone in one group is identical to everyone in that group? When we do it to them, is that to be pronounced okay; it is only when they do it to us that we can object? That is what our civilization's self-declared enemies believe; are we to look to them now for our moral example?

As distasteful as the argument raging in the anti-jihadi blogosphere has become, it is a vital and timely reminder of our moral duty to retain a civility worth preserving, to remember the distance our civilization has traveled, as we have risen so far above the moral stain of our earlier tribalism, foolishly dividing the world into an "us" and a "them", forgiving any trespass we commit against the "other", and seeing them as cursed for not being born as one of "us".

We are not good because of what we are, we are good because of **how we are** what we are. We are defined by our choice of actions, our attempt to find the lesser of evils, and our heartfelt atonement for when we stray from the right path. Our cause is ennobled only so long as we continue our ongoing search for what it means to live an increasingly Good life... to progress.

We should, therefore, be prepared to hold out our hands to potential allies, hopeful that interaction will surely bring about more positive change in them than would the isolation of quarantine. Maybe the erstwhile ties to the VB and SD will, eventually, be revealed as improper; if that proves to be true we can admit sincere error of judgment, and move on. For we do not believe in permanent defilement; that we leave to our current enemies. We believe in a second chance, in repentance... in progress.
If we honestly believe in the righteousness of our values, we will continue to live by them, and by doing so, perhaps persuade less-than-perfect allies to change for the better... holding them, in fact, to the self-same standards we hold for ourselves.

So that together, the Righteousness of our Covenant may send a guiding light to pierce through the fog of uncertainty that has seemingly fallen, like a curtain, around us.


maccusgermanis said...

I don't see support of what are legitimately nationalists, but not socialists, as attempting to create a paradise. It serves much better in making smaller, and therefore more manageable, hells. Why else support Kurdish nationalists? (as I, and I suspect LGFers do) Nations have borders, and the geographically limited identity of divergent nationalisms is preferable to an internationally unified Umma of various dedication to the same horrible end.

The charge is that these nominal "crypto-nazis" are not true believers in the broad inclusive vision of the Center for Vigilant Freedom, nor the Anti-jihad movement in general. Neither where the Black Panthers true believers in the vision of Martin Luther King. And yet they marched, under strict direction to remain non-violent, with MLK. It is right and proper to expect, and demand, a certain decorum of all that shall partake of a communal act. But event organizers such as the CVF have as much say about what supposed "crypto-nazis" hold in their hearts as did MLK the Black Panthers. -Behavior they can modify-

That is not to say that certain groups should not be banned for their past behavior. I actually think MLK took quite a chance, having no idea how he expected that Panthers would keep their composure. But the case that LGF haphazardly makes against European bloggers and Political Parties is far from proved. The LGF crowd needs to take the accusations that they've made seriously enough to actually read the substantive, if not complete, rebuttals. The topic is of importance, and if it can be proved that VB and SD are neo-nazis, then perhaps someone other than the haphazard "whack-a-mole" machine of LGF should give a more reasoned account.

Anonymous said...

This week we dhimmified Britons are required to celebrate a taqiyya-fest known as Islam Awareness Week . This is my contribution:

The essential and fundamental feature of Islam is a seething, vicious and implacable hatred of all non-believers (kuffars), which no amount of compromise can ever appease. Until both Joe Public and his elected representatives understand this we are defenseless, because we do not know our enemy.

Here's an excerpt from a chilling article from an ex-Muslim on why Muslims hate us and always will hate us no matter what we do.

"The Qur’an teaches Muslims not to be friendly with the non-Muslims or to trust them (1). It also advocates that the non-Muslims are the associates of Satan (2) and warns of severe punishment to those Muslims who try to be in affable terms with the non-Muslims(3). A Muslim convert must not be in congenial terms even with his non-Muslim parents (4) and he is free to murder his parents and kindred (5) if they criticise the convert’s new faith. The Qur’an says that the non-Muslims are open enemies of Islam (6). Muslims are commanded to be harsh and ruthless with them (7), to terrorise them (8), to humiliate them (9), to make war on them(10) and to murder them wherever they are found (11).

A true Muslim must follow the Qur’an in complete. Therefore, it is obligatory for him/her to dislike and distrust the non-Muslims.

Even when the unbelievers harbour no enmity or dislike towards the Muslims, they (the Muslims) must not take the unbelievers as friends and allies. The infidels’ unbelief (that is, their refusal to convert to Islam) is the main reason why Muslims must hate them.

Refusal to convert to Islam in itself is considered as an act of hostility and oppression. That is why non-Muslims are open enemies of Islam—nothing, not even their good intentions, could render them friendly towards the Muslims!"

The numbers refer to Koranic references in the original article. Read it all!


Anonymous said...

Isolation and quarantine can be good ways to deal with competitors and enemies. It gives you a chance to shame them with ‘untouchable’ status. And you can attract some of their supporters and create pressure on them to reform or fade. If engagement is to be done it should be engagement through strength.

I tend to think Charles probably has good political instincts on this one. Picking the fight was risky and possibly unnecessary. It is not bad politics in America to disassociate yourself from people who enjoy flirting with David Duke groupies though. That crowd is poison.

You raise a good point in underlining the fact that how you answer the ‘to-ally-or-not-to ally?’ question is related to the way you interpret the present political threat. If your back is to the wall you ally with the devil himself. I tend to view radical Islamism as the last gasps of a dying dogma so cautiously waiting things out is the better policy from this view. And it allows the luxury of not having to feign respect for the white nationalism crowd. If one sees a relentless colonizing horde of 7th century fanatics than VB may just look oddly comforting. I’m also inclined to believe that people in Europe lack the patience for the long view and will generally gravitate toward VB and co. We’ll see.

Charles Henry said...

Maccus, you make interesting comparisons in bringing up MLK. I must confess I don't know very much about him, or his efforts on behalf of civil rights. (I went to school in Canada at a time when he wasn't part of our history curriculum)
I certainly had no idea the black panthers were actually part of his movement! This has made me want to study his example more closely. May I ask you for a good starting point? Is there a book or documentary that you could recommend?

I agree completely with your description of the manner in which criticisms of european nationalists have been handled by Charles Johnson. Very disappointing behavior on his part, to the point where it casts a discrediting shadow on much else of the work he's done. (Is this how he approches studying everything that he blogs about?).

Even if he gets proven 100% right, he's still revealed himself as a less-than-noble ally in his own right.

Charles Henry said...

Najistani, I've been curious to know if you've seen a poll published last month on Christianity Today's website, (I believe that is a UK site) on the reasons given by ex-muslims for leaving their faith and becoming Christians?

I'm in a bit of a rush right now, so won't have time to dig up the link... but I've been meaning to post about it; if nothing else I'll just drop it here in the comments later when I find it, to get it to you.
By coincidence I had read one of your comments shortly before seeing this survey of apostates, and wondered immediately what your take on it might be...

Charles Henry said...

rightly or wrongly I tend to think about how I've handled individuals as my guide for handling groups, and in the case of choosing isolation over interaction, wouldn't there be too common a pattern that isolation merely reinforces bad behavior?
I can recall many instances where I've witnessed occasions when isolating a recalcitrant individual only served to get them even more dug into their ways, and it made it all the harder to get them to change later. (in fact not succeeding at all, in my anecdotal experience)
In reading Bernard Lewis' books on islam, I came away with the sense that it was inescapable comparisons with the unavoidable westerners in their midst that did much to deflate the vanity of militant islam in recent centuries, and that perhaps it has been isolation that has allowed the militant vanity to return to its present scale.
I like to hope that everyone is "reachable", however naive an ideal that may be... increasingly, I come to the conclusion that isolation just won't work as often as would some kind of patient interaction.
As you say, though, patience is in short supply, but I would add that is the case here on our shores just as much as in Europe. Our traditional understanding of "time" is much affected by modern technology..!

maccusgermanis said...


I'm afraid no books come to mind. I suppose my understanding comes from the fact that, MLK very much was a part of the curriculum taught within the shadow of "Bombingham."

Unfortunately, I've been unable to find anything to substantiate that individual Panthers marched with King. I should clarify that even the version, that I recollect being told, but am unable to verify, did not include organizational co-operation between the movements. Rather, what was related was, that individuals that associated with militant black separatists were allowed to march individually, with the understanding that they remain non-violent.

Such is the power of myth that whether the story was told to me in an attempt to discredit King -which to my mind it did not- or to soften the image of the Black Panthers, it reinforces the concept that an individual is independent from the movements they have associated. Of, course it would be a stronger point if such participation (of panthers) could be proven.