Many people have wondered why American progressives often fiercely defend radical Islamists, who, at first glance, appear to hold political and ethical positions that are in conflict to the progressive ethos. However, what if Islamists have been erroneously classified as conservative when they have far more in common with progressives?
An Unnatural Nexus
Progressives are pro-gay and pro-trans, Islamists throw them off buildings. Progressives are pro-abortion under the slogan “my body, my choice.” Islamists are not only against abortion but see women as property to be wholly-owned and controlled by men. While progressives trash America for being a patriarchy, radical Islamists proudly and openly declare themselves the masters of an extremely patriarchal society.
Had any Christian conservative espoused the views of radical Islam, progressives would have had them de-platformed, demonetized, and canceled faster than you can say “trigger warning.” Islamists seem to be the natural enemy of the progressive left: ethically and politically as far from each other as humanly possible. Why, then, do they seem to be allies?
The Right Comparison
Perhaps the problem is that we are looking for similarities in the wrong place. Conservatives may give us a clue. Despite all their differences around the world, they all want to conserve their way of life, heritage, culture, language, and religion. Conservatives all over the world have in common a reverence for past achievements and a recognition of the dangers and difficulty of straying away from the narrow path of survival. Because of this shared overall goal, people have less trouble seeing similarities between conservatives in different cultures, even when they disagree sharply on specific beliefs and doctrines.
We can then give a cross-cultural definition of a progressive as an anti-conservative, someone who has only hatred and disdain for the past but glorifies change and the vision of the future implementation of their utopia.
Equipped with these new glasses, we can now investigate the progressive nature of radical Islam. First, conservatives and progressives have a different definition of “radical.” The word comes from the Latin word “radix,” meaning “root.” Radical conservatives may say that they want to “return to our roots” because they value the past.
Compare this to how Karl Marx defined radical: “To be radical means to grasp things by the root.” A radical progressive must uproot and destroy everything from the past to create a blank slate upon which he can imprint his glorious vision of progress.
Now consider what the modern progressive is trying to achieve: They want to destroy binary gender, the nuclear family, religion, the nation, patriotism, and respect for unborn life. First, they uproot the children from their families and put them in government indoctrination facilities called public schools.
Then, they infuse them with hatred for America, capitalism, religion, fathers, and mothers. They falsify history by teaching that America was built on racism and slavery and that the Soviet Union was so much better – with women’s rights and free health care. Modern students rarely learn about the Holodomor, the Soviet Gulags, and the Killing Fields of Cambodia, and if they do, they are seldom taught the connection to communism.
Once they have wiped out the pillars of society and destroyed the minds of the young, progressives can rebuild Soviet Man in the image of Karl Marx on the ashes of civilization.
When Islam emerged as a new religion, it swept the Middle East with force. There, churches and pagan buildings were either destroyed or converted to mosques. The goal of the radical Muslims was to wipe out the past and other beliefs and traditions. Amr ibn al-As conquered Alexandria in 642 A.D. According to Muslim scholars, Caliph Omar gave the following instruction to his commander regarding the books of the famous library of Alexandria: “If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them.”
It took months to burn all the hundreds of thousands of books in the library, thereby destroying a large swath of human history. Valuable and irreplaceable historical documents were lost forever. This is progressivism in a nutshell.
The same progressive streak can be found in modern Islamists. In 2001, the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the world’s largest Buddha statues, carved into sandstone around 1500 years ago. Similarly, ISIS destroyed many relics in Syria and Iraq, including – in 2015 – the ancient Roman city of Palmyra.
In 1966, only five years after he had devastated China with his Great Leap Forward, communist leader Mao Zedong launched a campaign to eradicate all remnants of capitalism and traditional Chinese culture from the country.
Today we know that campaign as the Cultural Revolution. In only ten years, China lost most of its cultural relics that had been preserved for thousands of years. Buddha statues and monasteries were destroyed because they were reinforcing “old ways of thinking.” In other words, they were anti-conservative – or progressive.
Brothers in Arms
Progressives differ in their vision of the ideal world they would like to build. Still, they all have one thing in common: American progressives, communists and radical Islamists want to wipe out the West and everything it stands for. In this regard, they are brothers and sisters in arms. That may explain why American progressives have such a soft spot for Islamists, who hold views progressives claim to hate.
Underneath this shared interest, they are also founded on a similar philosophical idea: collectivism. To them, the tribe is more important than the individual. Their radicalism can be understood as a natural consequence of fierce tribalism.
It is, therefore, not a coincidence that they all have converged on a common enemy: Western civilization, especially America. It is built on the opposite of tribalism, namely laissez-faire individualism. Capitalism is just a natural extension of the sovereignty of the individual.
The ideas upon which America was founded are antithetical to collectivism. Nothing threatens progressivism, including radical Islam, more than the American dream.
Read more from Onar Åm.
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