The Great Ideologies: Islamism

Countries with Sharia Law

There are three great modern ideologies of governance.  In a series of posts, I shall examine each one.  At the end, I will assess their historical trajectory.

These three ideologies that lay claim to understand the path to justice in this world.  They are Islamism (originating with the Prophet Muhammed himself), the Left (originating with the left side of the Parliament in the French Revolution), and Social Conservatism (originating with the Declaration of Independence).

Islamism is the oldest and most self-explanatory.  It is the political-religious ideology that Islam can and must conquer the world in a grand quest to subject any and all people to the Caliphate.  In this construct, religion militarily controls the state.  Natural law is the basis for all governance.  No provision is given for natural rights (particularly women’s rights) — allowing unlimited trampling of human subjects on the path to world domination.  Its greatest weakness and its greatest strength are one and the same: coercion.  It is coercive  within the family structure (towards the woman), coercive to the citizens of Islamic states (apostacy is punishable by death), and coercive in its attempt to conquer its external enemies (Israeli Jews, Indian Hindus, or African Christians).

Centralizing power in the hands of Islamist men gives those men great strength.  They have great power to intimidate, control policy on a micro (family) and macro (government) level, and rally like-minded allies around opposition to the Infidel.  However, they are badly outnumbered — by non-Islamist Islamic men, by women, by non-Islamic citizens, and by their external enemies.  This makes their regime strong but precarious — where the Islamists can be suddenly badly outnumbered in the event of a revolution.

Islamism has spent its entire history waging warfare to achieve its ends.  It began in Saudi Arabia, and expanded, conquering and subjecting the Persians in Iran, the Jews in Palestine, the Arians in North Africa, the Christians in Spain, the Catholic Crusaders in Palestine, the Greek Orthodox in the Byzantine Empire, the Hindus in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Christians in Somalia, Sudan, and the Sierra Leone.  Currently, a handful of implacable foes resist their advances.  Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, and Kenya have resisted their southern advances into Africa.  Israel has withstood their attempts to subjugate the entire middle east.  India has withstood centuries of Islamist ambition.  Charles Martel, Godfrey of Bouillon, Charles V, Don John of Austria, and John Sobieski demonstrated great courage in the face of overwhelming odds to stop the rising tide of Islamism at critical points.  More like them will continue to have to demonstrate that courage.

Islamism is an ongoing menace to the free world that must be taken seriously and contained.  However, it is not as strong as the map makes it look.  Current rebellions throughout the Middle East are overthrowing sharia-based countries like Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and Tunisia where the anti-coercive power of the populace is being unleashed.  Islamic unity has been an ongoing problem since Lawrence of Arabia helped shatter the Ottoman Empire in the First World War.  Sunnis and Shiites can only agree that the enemies of Islam must be overcome.  But the three great leaders of Islamism — Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Libya — do not trust each other one bit.

Islamism is powerful and dangerous.  But its power is waning and is not as great as fear makes it.  Christianity (particularly Catholicism) is gaining ground in Africa through non-coercive means much faster than Islamism is winning Africa by the sword.  India is strengthening at the expense of Pakistan.  Israel is very threatened but the puppeteer of the anti-Israel groups (Iran) is facing increasing unrest from its citizens.

Since the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire, the expansion of Islamism has remained a serious threat to liberty but is undergoing a mostly-illusory expansion that is continuing in the twilight of the movement’s strength.  A much more dangerous ongoing threat to the world is the Left, the origins and trajectory of which I will examine in my next post.

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