This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1674
February 22, 2006
On the crisis of the Netherlands.
This article originally appeared in
The New Criterion, Volume 24, January 2006, page 35
Events four years ago in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania alerted a somnolent world to a campaign against the West which had been growing for decades. From September 11, there was a benchmark. To those who lied that there was no terrorist threat, all one had to do was point to the scars of New York City. To those who lied that reacting to terror causes terror, that city's violation disproved that claim.
There are still today many people who insist that the jihadist attacks on so many cities—including, now, my home city of London—are not part of some wider campaign. There are, also, legions of paid and unpaid apparatchiks propagating the notion not only that there is no wider campaign, but that any wider campaign has nothing to do with Islam. Such claims—as is becoming clearer with each attack—are based not on knowledge, but on hopefulness, not on truth, but on helplessness. Western governments have so consistently welcomed Islamic Trojan horses into our cities, that the only strategy now apparent to many of them is to pretend the problem is not there, or to pretend that it is other than it is.
But as long as Muslim terrorists attack us in brazen acts of mass murder, the publics of the West will be revolted enough to turn further against the murderers and the faith which allows them to ferment. After the July London bombings, two-a-penny commentators wrote "We will never surrender" articles. Most such claims rang hollow. Obviously we won't surrender after our tube-trains and buses are attacked—and not only because there's no one to surrender to and no clear demands to meet. We won't surrender because (pace the Spanish) people don't tend to surrender when you blow them up in cowardly acts of mass murder. Nor is it particularly brave to say you won't surrender when your statistical chances of being among the arbitrarily targeted remain, for the present, comparatively low.
Our current trials test us, but they do not profoundly put our lives or our liberties on the line. To write an article against nihilistic murder in 2005 is no more "brave" than is a Prime Minister deciding to send troops into a modern conflict. It may require a considerable degree of "career" bravery, certainly, but not real bravery. One might get sacked from this or that paper, or deposed from Office, but there is not yet the threat that what you are doing when you put words on the page or opinions into the air is effectively putting your life on the line. Such talking up of bravery in our current situation merely widens the gulf in Western society between the wars our armed services fight and the populaces whose security they safeguard. Opinions voiced in the West today betray great thought and many great flaws—but they remain opinions. At least they do here, for the time being.
Thus, focus should be turned to the Netherlands. That country is caught up in the same religious jihad as we are, but in terms of technique it is the other jihad. It is not a jihad of mass murder, but one of targeted murder. It is worth considering for two main reasons: firstly, because this form of jihad will come to us; secondly, because in Holland—in the heart of Europe—the jihad is winning.
This tiny country, with a population of only sixteen million people, has around one million Muslims within its borders. In demographic percentage terms, that is higher than in any Western country other than France. Within a generation a number of the major Dutch cities will have Muslim majorities, and swathes of the country already have Muslim majorities under the age of twenty. This is a situation which has arisen without any notice being taken of what the Dutch people might think. No one ever asked whether they minded the direction in which their country was being taken, and when people did start to question it, they were accused by the left of "racism."
Yet it is not controversial to state that the Muslims of Holland are unassimilated. Vast housing projects run along the roads, bristling with satellite dishes through which the occupants absorb the outpourings of Al-Jazeera in the comfort of a free flat in the most socially liberal country in Europe. Popular resentment of them has been most clearly seen over recent years in the success at the polls for those few figures willing to speak out against the country's Islamification, ...
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MIM: Douglas Murray's new book "Neoconservativism-why we need it", is a unique analysis written by one of the movements leading ideolouges in the UK.
January 21, 2005
A British neo-conservatism? Good heavens, Carruthers!
Yes! Douglas Murray has absolutely got the point. In an article for the Social Affairs Unit, Murray argues that the way to arrest the slow death of the British Conservative Party is for it to adopt the principles of neo-conservatism. Those who read this website regularly will have grasped that I am a fan of neo-conservatism. I delivered a lecture on the subject recently, 'The Politics of Progress' (the link to which can be found in an article under that title in the Articles list) in which I argued that it is not really conservatism at all but rather a radical, progressive project to reclaim the values of western civilisation, no less, and thus mend the hole in the heart of western society.
It is no disrespect to Murray to say that is is blindingly obvious that these are the principles the British Tories should adopt, and that the reason they are mired in the nation's disdain, distrust and overwhelming indifference is because they don't even understand the questions to which neo-conservatism provides the answer.
As Murray argues, the Tories have allowed themselves to be lured by Tony Blair onto Labour's territory -- which is not, as Tory chumps imagine, a pale form of conservatism, but instead the treacherous quicksands of the counter-culture, which has become the norm for the establishment and is sucking the life out of Britain's bedrock traditions and values. As Murray writes:
'Neoconservatism in America grew out of the 'counter-culture' of the '60s, spear-headed by thinkers who recognised that the "counter-culture" was not simply a variant or alternative outlook on culture, but something which actually destroyed the culture - which wanted to do away with the culture. Polls of public opinion in Britain continually show a similar conservative streak in the general public not satisfied by any of the major political parties. The neoconservative movement recognises that a free and democratic society has been knocked off course, and that only bold, major changes are going to return us to the right track.
'The time is ripe for British conservatism to have its own revolution. Technically, this conservative movement could thrive outside of the Conservative party – but if the Conservative party adopted it, it would make life easier for everyone. Neoconservatism in Britain would declare its unwillingness to play the Labour game, and cut through vast swathes of apathy by fundamentally changing this nation's current, allegedly unalterable, course. As was demonstrated in America, the first myth to be done away with would be the myth that politics cannot change people's lives for the better.'
That last point is crucial. Neo-conservatism is a radical movement. It believes bad things can be changed for the better. It therefore provides hope. If politicians don't offer such hope, why should anyone bother to vote for them? Yet the Tories are currently split between 'neanderthal' conservatives, who want to cling onto the failed politics of the past, and 'nihilist' conservatives, who want to cling onto Tony Blair's shirt-tail as he spins Britain into some supra-national, victim-culture utopia.
Chuck it, guys. Get real, swallow your snobbishness and look across the pond. That's the future. Unless you go there too, you're history.
Reviews of Neoconservativism" why we need it
By Douglas Murray
Review by Amir Taheri
by Amir Taheri
January 24, 2006
At a time that American "neoconservatives" are under almost daily attacks by a coalition of all those unhappy about the Bush presidency, one might think neo-conservatism is the last product anyone would want to market anywhere else.
And, yet, here we have one of the rising stars of British conservatism offering a whole book to propose precisely such a product.
As the British Conservatives choose a new leader they may also want to have a look at what this book, by Douglas Murray, offers to fill what he sees as the party's ideological vacuum.
"If the Conservative Party can adopt neo-conservatism (which is the neo-conservatists' best hope in Britain for achieving party-wide standing) then it may yet return from the political doldrums in which it now resides," Murray asserts with much conviction.
But what is neo-conservatism and in what way does it differ from the traditional conservative world view that has dominated British politics for much of the past 200 years?
According to Murray "Neo-conservatism is a political viewpoint for dealing with the world." In the specific case of Britain it provides "moral and practical answers to the malaise of British politics as a whole, not just of the Conservative Party."
Murray starts by suggesting that the classical political divisions based on notions of Right and Left are now outdated, at least in democratic societies, if only because there is a consensus on the basic rules of the political game and the general economic system of society. The blurring of the distinction between Right and Left, however, has not been entirely positive. For, it has also promoted a moral relativism, itself a child of multiculturalism, in which the very notions of good and evil are frowned upon as medieval relics.
Murray believes that good and evil do exist as distinct categories and could be readily identified by anyone in possession of a system of values. Thus the principal task of politics becomes the identification of good and evil as a prelude to the promotion of the former and the combating of the latter. Neo-conservatism, far from being a conspiracy by extremist right-wingers who wish to conquer and reshape the world, is a political vision based on a hierarchy of values. It was in gestation long before George W Bush entered the White House in 2001 and, as Murray asserts, will be a key player in the international politics long after he has retired.
Murray starts with an exciting survey of the works of the key thinkers who initiated the neo-conservative school in the second half of the last century. He introduces Leo Strauss, the Chicago University's professor of politics, who trained the first generation of neo-conservatives in the 1950s. We then meet Allan Bloom who first warned against the dangers of relativism in which the worst despotic systems are assigned the same respect as the most advanced democracies- all in the name of multiculturalism. Next we meet Irving Kristol who, perhaps more than anyone else, was responsible for turning neo-conservatism from a philosophical approach into a practical political programme.
As might be expected Murray is a passionate defender of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He believes that the Taliban and the Ba'ath regime were evil and had to be removed for the forces of good in Afghanistan and Iraq to have a chance of building something different. That something different may not correspond exactly to the West's ideal of a democracy. But one thing would be certain: the new regimes in Kabul and Baghdad would be better than the ones they replaced.
Murray shows that neo-conservatism does not limit itself to issues of foreign policy. In domestic politics, neo-conservatism seeks a return to the fundamental principles of capitalism, the only system in history that has produced long-lasting wealth, both individual and collective, in scores of culturally diverse societies.
Murray asks why has neo-conservatism aroused so much anger and hatred around the world? Some of that anger and hatred has come from despotic rulers and their hangers-on who feel targeted by the idea of regime change. They hate neo-conservatism because they fear it might toppled them as it did with the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, or may force them to eat humble pie as did Libya's Colonel Kaddhafi, the Sudanese military rulers, and the Ba'athists in Damascus.
But neo-conservatism is also hated by the remnants of the left who have not yet recovered from the shock of the Soviet Union's sudden collapse. They blame the early neo-conservatives under President Ronald Reagan for policies that made it impossible for the USSR to continue its existence at any level. The vast majority of those who oppose neo-conservatism, however, are liberals in the West who sincerely believe that it is no business of the Western powers to save other nations from their despotic rulers. These liberals argue that different nations have different cultures that are all equally worthy of respect. And since the West has no means of knowing whether or not the people of, say Burma, really wish to be freed from their military regime there is no moral justification for regime change.
Murray says that as far as foreign policy is concerned it is the Labour party in Britain that has adopted much of the neo-conservative world outlook.
He writes: "In Britain, neo-conservatism's most significant outlet to date has - perhaps surprisingly- been found in the Labour party. But the outlet has been restricted to the government's foreign policy. It is inconceivable that the Labour party would adopt neoconservative principles on domestic policy, such as lower taxation, reduced state interference and more successful social justice measures."
This is why, he hopes, it would be the British Conservative party, under its new leader, that will adopt neo-conservatism as a whole, in both foreign and domestic policies.
Murray believes that Britain, under any party, will remain "a steadfast ally" of the United States as far as the war against terrorism is concerned. But he warns that opponents of neo-conservative ideas will continue to fight against it for as long as they can.
He writes: "Our fight should be prosecuted not only by the army and police forces, but by the general public, intellectuals, politicians and all those with any sense of civic responsibility."
Whether one agrees with him or not Murray has made a valuable contribution to the global battle of ideas.
This item is available on the Benador Associates website, at http://www.benadorassociates.com/article/19272
"Neoconservatism" reviewed by Brenda Sims
Neoconservatism is neither new, nor particularly conservative. Its intellectual roots lie firmly on the left among American liberals and radical socialists opposed to Stalinist totalitarianism. Politically, it first emerged on the centre-right of the American Democratic party, which was alienated by the counter-cultural relativism, self-hatred and defeatism of both the leadership and grass roots towards the close of the Vietnam war. The champion of this wing was senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, a strong contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972 and 1976. Many of his followers, including Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, eventually gave up the struggle and joined the Reagan administrations of the 1980s. Today, American neocons are an embattled group, unfairly assigned primary responsibility for the intelligence mistakes preceding the Iraq war. They are also, with more justice, portrayed as the architects of a supposedly quixotic project to democratise the Middle East.
Hitherto, neoconservatism has travelled badly; even among Conservative MPs only a handful — including two of the most intelligent, David Willetts and Michael Gove — openly accept the label. Now the Social Affairs Unit, a Conservative-leaning think-tank, has brought out two timely books exploring the case for a British neoconservatism. Douglas Murray's Neo-conservatism: Why We Need It sees it as the only viable intellectual strategy for the Conservative party. It is a trenchant attack on "counter-cultural degradation, growing statism and relativism". Much of the argument is familiar. In this respect, the message, delivered with panache, doesn't differ much from Conservative platforms in the last two elections; some of it has a distinctly hard edge.
Where Murray makes a refreshing break is with regard to the removal of Saddam Hussein. He defends this not as an exercise in pre-emption, but as part of a broader enterprise to promote democracy in Iraq and the wider region. This is a risky strategy (not least because deposing Middle Eastern tyrants can also make it easier for terrorists to operate), but Murray does not flinch from seeing his argument through to its logical conclusion. He sees the replacement of Arab despotisms by participatory politics and civil society as the first step towards defeating the Islamist terror that threatens western security. This places Murray well outside traditional Conservative foreign policy, which has tended to be guided by a more narrow, pessimistic sense of the national interest.
This item is available on the Militant Islam Monitor website, at http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/1674