Sunday, June 29, 2008
Early Views of Islamofascism
February 7, 2008
Early Views of IslamofascismCarroll Andrew Morse
Anyone who thinks the idea of Islamofascism is a recent invention will be surprised by the series of quotes from early 20th century intellectuals linking Islam with totalitarianism upturned by Providence-area native Andrew Bostom.
Here's a quote from Carl Jung, described by Bostom as the "founder of analytical psychiatry"…We do not know whether Hitler is going to found a new Islam. He is already on the way; he is like Muhammad. The emotion in Germany is Islamic; warlike and Islamic. They are all drunk with wild god. That can be the historic future.
Mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell, on the other hand, suggested in the 1920s that Islam's sympathies lied more naturally with Communism…Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world.
These aren't fringe yahoos being quoted -- these were well-respected scholars in their fields (though not necessarily experts on political philosophy). Dr. Bostom pretty well establishes that many observers in the early and middle part of this century noted a totalitarian streak in the public expressions of Islam that they had been exposed to.
However, I'm not sure that these kinds of quotes advance the central debate surrounding the nature of Islamofascism, whether Islamofascism is a natural outgrowth of the Islamic belief system (which I believe is Dr. Bostom's position), or if it is a modern fasicist movement that has adopted the trappings of religion to hide its totalitarian nature and broaden its appeal.
That everyone -- entire religions included -- had to be placed on one side or another by those who lived through the battles between Fascism, Communism and liberal Democracy in the 1920s and 1930s probably tells us more about the state of Western political philosophy at that time than it does about the development of either Islamofascism or Islam.
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