By Ted Belman
Hirsi Ali reviewed THE SUICIDE OF REASON: Radical Islam’s Threat to the Enlightenment by Lee Harris. Her review is entitled Blind Faiths.
“Several authors have published books on radical Islam’s threat to the West since that shocking morning in September six years ago. With “The Suicide of Reason,” Lee Harris joins their ranks. But he distinguishes himself by going further than most of his counterparts: he considers the very worst possibility — the destruction of the West by radical Islam. There is a sense of urgency in his writing, a desire to shake awake the leaders of the West, to confront them with their failure to understand that they are engaged in a war with an adversary who fights by the law of the jungle.”
Hirsi Ali, after discussing Harris’s view of Islam as imperialistic, describes another of Harris’s views,
Harris goes on to argue that the Muslim world, since it is governed by the law of the jungle, makes group survival paramount. This explains in part the willingness of Muslims to become martyrs for the larger community, the umma — uniting peoples separated by geographical boundaries, with different cultures, heritages and languages. According to Harris, this sense of solidarity is sustainable only with the weapon of fanaticism, which obligates each member of the umma to convert infidels and to threaten those who attempt to leave with death. That is, the aim of Muslim culture, so different from that of the West, is both to preserve and to convert, and this is what enables it to spread across the globe.
This reminded me of the views of Eric Hoffer set out in The True Believer.
Wikipedia summarizes his views thusly,
Mass movements spread by promising a glorious future, and they need people to be willing to sacrifice all for that future, including themselves and others. To do that, they need to devalue both the past and the present. Therefore, mass movements appeal to the frustrated; people who are dissatisfied with their current state, but are capable of a strong belief in the future and to people who want to escape a flawed self by creating an imaginary self and joining a compact collective whole to escape themselves. Some categories of such people are the poor, the misfits, the creative thwarted in their endeavors, the inordinately selfish, the ambitious facing unlimited opportunities, minorities, the bored, and sinners.
Sounds right to me.