Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dangerous "isms"

In the history of the world there have been relatively few organizations that have been so dangerous as to constitute a threat to humanity.   One of the first was the Roman Empire , which although it brought "civilization" to much of the world, also brought its efficient and deadly army and subjugated or destroyed many indigenous peoples.  It was replaced in turn by the Roman Catholic Church that spread Christianity by the sword and massacred millions in the name of God, for example in Mexico and throughout the Americas.  Christianity, whatever its origins of supposed meekness and "turn the other cheek," became an arrogant belief system that was contempuous of the other.  Whole civilizations that were considered "inferior" were wiped out, including the Jews, and the Inquisition, that used Gestapo-like tactics, was used to destory all "heretical" opinions as well as to enrich the Church and the Catholic States (Spain, Portugal, Italy).  
Islam was not far behind, from its origins in Arabia it was spread by the sword and Mohammed himself led the charge.  He was considered the "seal" of the Prophets, meaning the last of the Biblical Prophets and Christ, and of course more important than all of them.  Such arrogance led to mass murder in the name of Allah and the conquest of a huge Empire from Morocco to Indonesia.  Since the Muslims made no distinction between religious and temporal power, the supposed religion became embroiled in many wars of conquest and destruction from Spain to India.
The European proclivity for imperial conquests, from England to Russia, found its apex in German ultra-nationalism, that led to Nazism under Hitler.  Combined with Fascist Italy under Mussolini and Imperial Japan as the Axis powers, they tried to take over the world by force, carrying out such horrendous crimes as the Holocaust against the Jews and the "Rape of Nanking" against the Chinese.  But, they were defeated by the democratic Allies and so Nazism and Fascism ceased to exist as such.  But, Communism, that started as a means to free "the masses" from exploitation by capitalism, ended as a truly malevolant force of suppression under Stalin, who massacred millions in order to maintain his control.  Even though Communism still exists in China and combined with Chinese nationalism could be a dangerous force, China is now so imbued with capitalism itself that it is hard to predict what will happen.
Perhaps the most dangerous "ism" that has infected the world is Islamism, both in its Shia form, including Iran, the Syrian regime of Assad and Hizbollah in southern Lebanon, and the Sunni form, as exemplified by al Qaeda and including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the Palestinain Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza.  This belief system is relatively new, arising out of Islam in the late nineteenth century in Egypt and bursting into prominence with the destruction of the Twin Towers in NY in 2001.  Its motivation is an intense anti-Western hatred combined with a religious arrogance that labels all others as "infidels" who can be killed on sight.  Just as with the other "isms" Islamism will be hard to defeat, but for the future peacefulness of the world it must be confronted and destroyed.  You cannot negotiate with or appease Islamism, its declared aim is to destroy the USA and the West.  A difficult task is to distinguish between Islam and Islamism, and the current trend unleashed by the overthrow of dictators in the Muslim countries from Tunisia to Yemen has unleashed popular forces that may yet cohere into an anti-Western power.  Let Islam become a  peaceful religion, but the current riots throughout the Muslim world with the most flimsy of excuses indicate that this is unlikely to happen.  It may be that to defeat Islamism it will be necessary to also defeat Islam. 
We should remember that these "isms" or dangerous organizations are led by charismatic leaders and their followers in the name of their strange belief system are prepared to kill any who do not agree with them. As Bertrand Russell once said, "beware the ideologues, they are dangerous."


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