19 September 2007

Caliphate rising

I should have used this as a footnote to my earlier post, but I had lost track of the posts I was going to riff from (and I thought the material was located inside posts it wasn't). Anyway.

last week linked to this post from Glenn Greenwald about the amount of sincerity contained in right-wing fears of a rising Caliphate overthrowing Western democracies if we should fail in our goal to out-populate them.

Every now and then, it is worth noting that substantial portions of the right-wing political movement in the United States -- the Pajamas Media/right-wing-blogosphere/Fox News/Michelle Malkin/Rush-Limbaugh-listener strain -- actually believe that Islamists are going to take over the U.S. and impose sharia law on all of us. And then we will have to be Muslims and "our women" will be forced into burkas and there will be no more music or gay bars or churches or blogs. This is an actual fear that they have -- not a theoretical fear but one that is pressing, urgent, at the forefront of their worldview

Fred responds;

It is astonishing that anyone would think that. So astonishing that my first reaction is to think maybe Greenwald is overstating his case. But then I read the Roger Simon article that prompted Greenwald's post and the frantic recommendation of it by Glenn Reynolds, and then I read as much as I can bear of the Fox/Malkin/Limbaugh strain Greenwald cites and have to admit that he's right -- "This is an actual fear they have."
I hate to look like a fool by disagreeing with people way smarter than me, and Fred's further post gives a compelling explanation for how this could come about, but I'm not sure I fully buy into the idea of this being an "actual fear."

Let's consider what the "War on Terror" is fundamentally designed to do; specifically to pick up in the aftermath of the Cold War as a cash-cow for the military-industrial complex and a grand cosmic conflict fantasy for the protofascist right. Unfortunately the upgrade to "Cold War 2.0," required more careful planning than simply inserting "terrorist" into every sentence where the word "Communist" used to go.

For much of the Cold War, for example, it was at least theoretically possible that the Soviet Union could have infiltrated the American government to the extent of making serious mayhem, though any attempts at a coup would have lacked any popular support to have staying power (and the degree of Soviet espionage has probably been grossly exaggerated.) And they certainly had enough nuclear weaponry to turn the United States into a radioactive crater if the whole government subterfuge didn't work out.

So that fear, at least, wasn't entirely unfounded. It's unknown to me whether there's been any straight-faced attempts at rationally explaining how they imagine such a social transformation might come about. I assume it has something to do with skeered lib'ruls handing over the keys to the Senate to Al Qaeda, though it seems to me the only people living in perpetual terror are paranoid righties.

One of the newest contraptions fresh off the fear factory assembly lines is a theory by a Canadian fellow named Mark Steyn, whose claims of a brown horde seizing control of Europe by out-populating the white defenders of Western Civilization is gaining some traction with the intellectual set. It's mostly racist fearmongering that again provides more of an insight into the accuser than the accused ("We want to take control of the government by outbirthing urban liberals, so why doesn't everybody?"). But even that doesn't explain how the USA is doomed to become an auxiliary member of the Global Caliphate.