If you have some difficulty, as I do, in seeing President Bush as being as dangerous and wrong as Hitler perhaps it is because of a failure to appreciate the world view that gives rise to this perception. I’ve heard it called folk or cultural Marxism, transnational progressivism, even multiculturalism. In his essay A Communism for the 21st Century, Scandinavian blogger Fjordman takes a good look at this ideology that proposes a Utopian future where cultural difference and national borders become obsolete.

What the proponents of this ideology don’t say is that even if it were possible to melt all human beings into one people, which is in my view neither possible nor desirable, this project would take generations or centuries, and in the intervening time there would be numerous wars and enormous suffering caused by the fact that not everybody would quietly allow themselves to be eradicated.

All aspects of your person, from language via culture to skin color and religion, are treated as imaginary social constructs. We are told that “all cultures are hybrids and borrow from each other,” that we were “all immigrants” at one point in time and hence nobody has a right to claim any specific piece of land as “theirs.”

I have heard individuals state point blank that even if Muslims become the majority in our countries in the future, this doesn’t matter because all people are equal and all cultures are just a mix of everything else, anyway. And since religions are just fairy-tales, replacing one fairy-tale, Christianity, with another fairy-tale, Islam, won’t make a big difference.

Taking unilateral action as a nation and ‘constructing’ the conflict in terms of good and evil, as President Bush has, would be the naive application of obsolete and illusory constructs from the past. Stupid also because Bush clearly doesn’t have this understanding of the world which is commonly taught as superior to older ideas in many of our schools and universities. To the world view under discussion he is like some idiot insisting that appendicitis is an example of daemonic possession in a medical school classroom. He very clearly has no understanding of this worldview, and is therefore especially obnoxious in the eyes of those who hold it. The underlying Marxist notion that the triumph of its ideas is historically inevitable puts Bush painfully on the ‘wrong side of History’. He epitomizes everything that is wrong and stands in the way of their vision for the future of the world and so becomes in their eyes the Bushhitler. No matter that he bears no discernible resemblance to the historical Hitler.

I went to a university where we were exposed to the great minds of Western culture on the theory that in order for our generation to extend the achievements of that culture we had to understand how it had developed. So I too hold those older ideas and do not see them superseded by postmodernism, moral and cultural relativism, and the contemporary Marxist theory that underpin the transnational world view. In particular I do not hold the view common in these circles that the West in general and the US in particular have been such a negative force in the world that they deserve to be defeated and extinguished by other cultures. Nonetheless, I don’t see Bush as particularly competent at upholding the ideals of Western culture. He is often tongue tied and by turns muddy and over simplified in his thinking. His performance is all over the lot, veering from naively idealistic about the spread of democracy to numb in his handling of the Katrina crisis. But he gets the main point. He swore to uphold the constitution of the United States and fully understands that defending America when attacked is part of his job. How well he has done that is clearly open to debate and the judgment of history. What is not open to debate for me is the right of the United States to defend itself when attacked as it was on 9/11. I do not accept that the idea of the nation is obsolete for the simple reason that we have found nothing to replace it. Clearly the idea of nationhood is changing in a rapidly changing world, but it is even clearer that our best efforts to create a transnational institution – the League of Nations and the UN – have, to put it charitably, not come close to succeeding. Furthermore, the events of the past six years should have shown beyond question that there are deep and abiding differences between cultures around the world that will not allow an internationalist vision to succeed. Certainly not this vision of the left nor even the vision of universal globalization held by the right. Right now it is utterly obvious that the Islamic world is going through a time of aggressive cultural assertion and resistance to any secular world view and even modernity itself. They see modern secular theories of any stripe as nothing beside their possession of the exclusive truth of Islam and the all encompassing greatness of Allah. The fanatical among them claim that they will prevail because they love death, and that the West will fail because we love life. (Notably, the moderate among them such as Grand Ayatollah Sistani or the Lebanese cleric al Husseini are not concerned with jihad but the wellbeing of their flocks.) What I see is that radical Islamists can entertain such ideas because the West is seriously divided against itself. The Muslim world has reacted to the spread of modernity at a time when the modern world itself is still locked in a debate about how it constructs itself and its future. That debate is far from finished. Fjordman puts it this way:

One of the really big mistakes we made after the Cold War ended was to declare that Socialism was now dead, and thus no longer anything to worry about. Here we are, nearly a generation later, discovering that Marxist thinking has penetrated every single stratum of our society, from the universities to the media. While the “hard” Marxism of the Soviet Union may have collapsed, at least for now, the “soft” Marxism of the Western Left has actually grown stronger, in part because we mistakenly deemed it to be less threatening.

I think that portion of the left sees itself as poised to banish the Bushhitler and his worldview for good and all in January 2009. I don’t think so. Although international progressivism is the creed of a significant part of the American left I do not think it will prevail in the US. America may indeed elect a Democratic president and conservatives may feel that an Obama or a Hillary would throw the doors wide open to this world view. I think rather that both are closer to the center and will defend the US in their own way – albeit less aggressively than Bush. Fjordman sees the future of Europe more darkly:

This is what is happening to the West today. Europe itself could become a failed continent by importing the problems of Africa and the Islamic world. The notion that everybody should be free to move anywhere they want to, and that preventing them from moving into your country is “racism, xenophobia and bigotry,” is the Communism of the 21st century. And it will probably lead to immense human suffering.

The voices that oppose this view have not been silenced in America or for that matter Australia nearly as much as they have in Europe. I do not think international progressivism is a sustainable basis for Western society in the 21st century. It cannot cope with the non negotiable moral absolutism of radical Islam because it offers no resistance. The real debate for me is what form of resistance, of self defense, will prove effective for the West. Our first efforts – particularly Bush’s first efforts – have been mixed so there will be movements left and right in the West. France and Germany have recently moved to the right. England and the US – perhaps Australia – look set to move to the left. I believe the debate will continue and in the end will be decided by the ability of our differing views to cope with the challenge of radical Islam.

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