Let’s fight for the Enlightenment

I’m going to pick out a few bits and pieces on what I’ve been reading since the Paris attacks and then some thoughts.

Paul Kelly:

The likely reaction to the Paris attacks is predictable: pledges to do more in the military campaigns in Syria and Iraq, more angst and division in Europe about the refugee inflow, more pressure on Muslim communities and more action to prevent foreign fighters from ­returning to their homelands.

This is a battle of ideas, not just a test of the ability of security and intelligence agencies to foil plots. So far, the religious-based appeal of Islamic State has attracted many thousands of supporters and fighters worldwide. Neither the West nor Australia is winning the battle of ideas. Moreover, they seem ill-equipped to wage it.

There is great emphasis on Muslim grievance, alienation of youths, economic deprivation and the role of social media. There is less focus on the battle over ideology and values, a problem compounded by the ambiguity of the response of Muslim leaders.

The issue is two-fold:
1. Military response – I’ll point to more below on this.
2. Ideological response – This is a battle of ideas.

Now for the wrong ideas. Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Does this amount to “Fortress Europe,” with a new Iron Curtain to the east and a naval cordon sanitaire in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic? Yes. For no other strategy makes sense, given a threat like the one posed to Europe by Islamic extremism.

No. No. No. This focus of refugees and asylum seekers is a red-herring. Quite ironic actually – Ms Hirsi Ali, an asylum seeker herself, wanting to slam the door to all those asylum behind her.

Where I do agree with her:

European governments must do their own proselytizing in Muslim communities, promoting the superiority of liberal ideas. This means directly challenging the Islamic theology that is used by the Islamist predators to turn the heads and hearts of Muslims with the intent of converting them into enemies of their host countries.

Exactly – promote the enlightenment.

Brendan O’Neil:

The cultural appeasement must end. Yes, everyone can argue for whatever they like. And those charged with directing the political and moral make-up of our supposedly liberal, free nations must argue for precisely those Enlightened values — unapologetically, judgementally, fiercely. Bombing death cultists in Syria or heaping further paternalistic pity on Muslim communities at home — the two proposed responses to all terrorism — will do little to solve the moral vacuum in the West into which backward, barbaric gangs are moving. Let’s start by refusing to be hesitant after Paris. ‘It’s too soon to comment on this attack’, say some liberals, who are really biding their time before trotting out the usual self-loathing narrative. But it isn’t too soon. This was a despicable act, an unspeakable assault. Neither French militarism nor alleged ‘Islamophobia’ comes even close to justifying it. Nothing does. And it was an attack not only on the good people of Paris but on everyone who values living in a free and open society where fear has no place. Let us now refortify those values of freedom and openness, in a real and direct way, angrily if we must, and in the process shrink the moral vacuum in which nihilistic Islamists have been able to place their bloody flag. That’s enough cultural appeasement; fight — really fight — for the Enlightenment.

Let’s fight for the enlightenment.

The Enlightenment is a long-term strategy. In fact, many westerners would have to discover the enlightenment. The Enlightenment encourages us to be reflective. But to reflect on whether we are doing the right thing, isn’t an invitation to stop doing the right thing. As a civilisation we have become paralysed by self-doubt when we should have become energised by self-reflection. As we have discovered (or as many knew all along) is that a moral and ideological vacuum will be filled by others – as it turns out savages and barbarians.

Tony Abbott:

Islamic State cannot be contained; it has to be destroyed — because as long as it exists, the killings will continue. The more it grows, the worse the killings will become.

Peter Jennings:

What should happen now is a redoubling of the air campaign concentrating on destroying the group’s leadership. A significant infusion of Western special forces should support local groups able to take the ground fight to Islamic State.

Yes – that does mean boots on the ground and fighting to win. Not to “contain” or “teach them a lesson”.

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279 Responses to Let’s fight for the Enlightenment

  1. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Lizzie,have you been drinking?

    Not a drop until this very minute, my darling.
    I usually keep my exuberance for the Open Thread, so slipped up there.
    I have a very sharp and happy personality. Came with my lack of upbringing. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    ps Tal. And I don’t like Banz. He barges in here, bangs on and on unconstructively about numbers killed (yes, we know, we know), attacks people and then expects to be taken seriously.

  3. banz

    ps Tal. And I don’t like Banz. He barges in here, bangs on and on unconstructively about numbers killed (yes, we know, we know)

    Do you know Lizzie? Were they members of your family or friends? Murdered, concert halls, planes, trains, grocers, cafes, publishing house..

    we know, we know, do you Lizzie, do you know. Like Sinc these are just stats for you, what is the number Lizzie where you decide to actually do something;

    Its not 100 anymore, been and gone, its not 1000 anymore, done and dusted, is it 10000 getting close…I think it must be 100,000 you have in mind.

    You are a fraud, we know we know, go sing imagine with Sinc while people die, as long as its not your family and friends…right 🙂

    Go talk some more, debate it, have another wine and resolve nothing, let the murders continue and talk some more, feel better…we know, we know

    You disgust me.

  4. .

    banz – how do you know “these are just numbers for Sinc”?

    Your snipe at lizzie is fairly silly considering she isn’t on the National Security Council.

  5. banz

    banz – how do you know “these are just numbers for Sinc”?

    Your snipe at lizzie is fairly silly considering she isn’t on the National Security Council.

    They are numbers for most people Dot, once upon a time they would have been numbers for me also.

    You can become Immune fairly quickly and thats life to a certain extent, oh noes, another “event”.

    How do I know they are just numbers to Sinc, I read his post, it didnt take long, we shake our heads and post RIP somewhere and some fuckwits put up a French flag on Facebook. Thats action 2015 style.

    Nobody is going to do anything, beat their chests for a while, arrest some people, but…its all too hard, they let too many in, they continue to let them in and the second generation is starting to find out how fear works. So lets talk some huh.

    Lizzie is a farkin fool, but then most people are in this matter, I was also for a quite a while, lets talk about it, 100, 1000, 10000, 100000…lets talk about it.

  6. .

    Unless you’re Marise Payne or Malcolm Turnbull – then all we can do is talk.

  7. banz

    Unless you’re Marise Payne or Malcolm Turnbull – then all we can do is talk.

    Thats not true at all Dot, I wouldnt expect MT to protect my family and I, thats my job, there is plenty more you can do also.

  8. .

    I agree with that sentiment – but how can you protect people from suicide bombers or funding and training from a rogue state thousands of miles away?

  9. banz

    You cant guarantee to protect anyone, anywhere, from anything, be it a bus, a fall of a ladder or a nut with a vest, life is risk.

    You destroy it of course. But of course, in that section of the world politics rules. Todays enemies are tomm friends dont you know.

    A lot more people are going to die, reformation of that religion is not going to happen with out a lot of death. It is the religion of death and most of the 90% who could do something are nothing short of serfs.

  10. banz

    but how can you protect people from suicide bombers

    you dont let them in, you destroy Islam or allow them the free choice to move to a country that practices it. If they are not here, no need to worry about nuts in vests.

  11. .

    There are over 476,000 Muslims in Australia. If Islam is congenitally flawed, then the problem will not go away with stricter immigration controls.

  12. banz

    There are over 476,000 Muslims in Australia. If Islam is congenitally flawed, then the problem will not go away with stricter immigration controls.

    Yes, thats why I said above – Nobody is going to do anything, beat their chests for a while, arrest some people, but…its all too hard, they let too many in, they continue to let them in and the second generation is starting to find out how fear works. So lets talk some huh.

    Its going to get worse, a lot more people will die, in this country as well.

  13. Pyrmonter

    Banz, in your self-laudatory sanctimony, have you considered the families of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Christian, Druze, Alawite, Kurdish, Yazidi and Muslim, who’ve suffered variously at the hands of a monstrous government, a government that has, like the Baathists in Iraq, used gas warfare on its own people, and the efforts of the so-called “caliphate”?

    None here will excuse (as some among the Left do) what has happened in Paris, in Beirut, in Turkey and elsewhere, to Christians, atheists, agnostics, Hebrews, Muslims or others; yet to overlook the tragedy of a civil war on this scale suggests some unfamiliarity with Matthew 22:39-40.

  14. Ragu

    For y’all

    Dr Zuhdi Jasser on how to win the Cold War against Muslim theocracy

  15. Leo i

    Its going to get worse, a lot more people will die, in this country as well.

    The price of Enlightenment on offer from Islam.

  16. Cheryl

    Russian missiles heading into Syria?

  17. El Cyd

    Not a bad discussion below on libertarianism and open borders policy. More than a couple of good kicks at multiculturalism and government.

    https://mises.org/library/open-borders-are-assault-private-property

  18. Leigh Lowe

    Yes, the Enlightenment.
    Don’t forget the Cultured Reason ™ as well.

  19. Clam Chowdah

    I’ve implied nothing. I said it straight. Not “selfish” it’s called hypocrisy.

    But that tells us nothing about the value to western civilisation in her position. It only tells us something about your prudishness.

  20. cynical1

    I’ve implied nothing. I said it straight. Not “selfish” it’s called hypocrisy.

    If we could weed out the clit choppers and suicide bombers, Ayaan may have a change of heart.

    Until, then, it’s not hypocrisy, it’s self preservation.

  21. Boambee John

    I think that Lizzie has a good idea with her idea of a law prohibiting threats against apostates.

    No doubt the first “progressive” reaction to such a law would be to scream “Islamophobia”. The reaction to that should be a bland comment that “it aims against, eg, Scientology” (one of the progressives’ pet hates). Making it easier for unhappy Muslims to leave their religion should help to break the current role of Omerta.

  22. Hugh

    I won’t fight for the Enlightenment.

    The West is today in its supine defenseless condition because of the very ideas spouted by the enlightenment philosophers Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Descartes, etc – the turn from Aristotle and Aquinas, the rejection of final and efficient causality and essences in metaphysics, and of the possibility of objective knowledge of the real world in epistemology, coupled with the destruction of ethics by relativism. The long march of the enlightenment – all in the name of “reason” and “freedom”, etc, but in effect emptying these words of their traditional meaning – has meant we as a culture are devoid of any weapons or even motive to fight the barbaric monstrosity of Islam. We are reaping the enlightenment whirlwind, and if all we do is heroically recover the enlightenment to drive away our present foe, we will merely reset the clock and find ourselves in the same pathetic condition in a few centuries hence. Ideas have consequences.

    The only fully adequate response is to go back beyond the so-called “Enlightenment” to the ideas it so irrationally but effectively abolished – the metaphysical thought of Aristotle and Aquinas which underlay the growth the West to its full glory. There we discover the correctly conceived ideas of freedom and human dignity we Westerners truly cherish.

    Once again, I cannot recommend too highly to Cat readers the youtube lectures of the Aristotelian/Thomist/classical theist Ed Feser, skewering the ideas propagated by the Enlightenment which have had such a disastrous effect on philosophy and beyond down to the present day.

  23. Rob

    My interpretation “You have implied that Ms Hirsi Ali is somehow selfish for wishing to close the gates against other refugees after she has found herself benefiting in the bounty of the west.” Is quite reasonable despite your dissembling.

    I’ve implied nothing. I said it straight. Not “selfish” it’s called hypocrisy.

    Actually Mr Sinclair you said “

    Quite ironic actually – Ms Hirsi Ali, an asylum seeker herself, wanting to slam the door to all those asylum behind her.

    So you didn’t call it ‘hypocrisy’, and neither did you attempt to explain to the readers the reasons behind Ms Hirsi Ali’s suggestions. Actually had you called her hypocritical you may well have more readers and bloggers rounding on you for your lack of explanation.
    Ms Hirsi Ali is a victim of Female Genital Mutilation who fled the Muslim lands to the safety of Europe.
    Ms Hirsi Ali is an apostate and as such condemned to death for deserting the Islamic faith.
    Ms Hirsi Ali was the friend of Theo van Gogh who agreed with Ms Hirsi Ali that Islam is a curse on mankind. He paid with his life for a film about violent Islam that he produced with Ms Hirsi Ali. He was killed in the streets of Amsterdam in a jihad, with his throat cut multiple stab wounds and effectively disemboweled and left with a knife in his chest proclaiming the sovereignty of Islam. For more on this https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Theo_van_Gogh
    Ms Hirsi Ali has in addition to Geert Wilders had a Jihad placed on her head and has been under police protection since 1994.

    Now since it is accepted that the majority of the new comers to Europe are 75% male and Muslim, it does not seem hypocritical for Ms Hirsi Ali to suggest blocking the borders to allow for an orderly and safe passage for genuine refugees for the safety of herself and other Europeans.

  24. Rafe Champion

    Hugh there is a great diff between the Continental and the English/Scottish enlightenment. You will not make sense unless you grasp the difference.

    I have read Feser and disagree with him.

  25. Hugh

    Thanks, Rafe. But there’s not really much difference between the two Enlightenments in their rejection of aristotelian metaphysics, especially efficient and final causality, is there? And also in epistemology – Cartesian doubt, Humean scepticism and Kant’s denial of the possibility of knowing the world in itself are all roads in the same general direction away from the Aristotelian/Thomist realist account.

    I guess if one is for the Enlightenment on these points, then yes, one would be against Feser and the A/T position! Still, I’d be interested in hearing your take at some state. Or links you’d recommend.

  26. Hugh

    (state) stage. Sorry – early Friday afternoon sherry.

  27. Hugh

    To rehearse the point – is my alleged difficulty that, (Hume/Scottish), all of my concepts of the external world, including entities such as European and English/Scottish Enlightenments, are just fabrications? Or (Kant) is it that my non-grasping pertains to the Enlightenments-an-sich? Or the phenomenal Enlightenments? Etc.

    And I’m sorry to bring this up, but Professor Peter Singer, who thinks it perfectly OK to have sex with animals – chickens, specifically – is a very clever and charming man, and a scion of the English/Scottish Enlightenment. So what exactly is the difference between the Enlightenment heroes and those barbarians at our gates?

  28. The Consigliere

    Finally a post that I almost completely agree with on the Cat (apart from I guess the now mandatory schtick in the O’Neil quote about ‘self-loathing liberals’).

    You got me in the feels with the defence of Enlightenment values. We need to find it’s enemies both within and without, be relentless, forceful and meticulous in routing them both ideologically and when it is effective, militarily.

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