Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ron Paul, Pamela Geller, and Culturism at CPAC

At CPAC three positions on Islam were apparent. One was represented by Pamela Geller’s “Freedom Defense Initiative” conference. The second came from the Ron Paul followers. And the third appeared in the conference’s otherwise deafening silence on Islam. Culturism has a lot to say about all three positions.

Ron Paul’s followers believe that Islamic terrorist attacks result from our overbearing presence in the Middle East. Therefore, they recommend pulling our troops out of that region. As a culturist, I agree that we should not be nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a culturist I believe the project of turning these nations into progressive democracies with respect for individual rights will fail because their cultures will not support such changes. And I agree with Ron Paul’s argument for disengagement based on our inability to afford these nation-building enterprises. Western culturists know that if the West is not solvent our values will die globally.

But none of Paul’s followers could explain why the Jihad in Thailand and India exist. Neither nation has military bases outside of their own borders. As multiculturalists do, the followers of Paul fail to appreciate that diversity is real and important. Diversity is not just about food, festivals, and fashion. Some cultures drop out of school early and think teen pregnancy is not so bad. Other cultures think our way of life is a blasphemous affront to God. Diversity is real and important. Overlooking the cultural aspects of Jihad will not safeguard us.

Geller’s event explained domestic Jihad initiatives. Whereas Paul could not believe that an aggressive Islam for Islam’s sake exists, Geller’s speakers clearly showed that it can and does exist. As a culturist, I agreed with their domestic solution. We need culturist profiling at airports. We need to limit Islamic immigration. That is not, by the way, racist - it is culturist. And, we need to recognize that western cultural practices and laws are the norm and standard in western nations. We should not recognize Sharia courts or allow, for example, veils in photo Identification. Unlike multiculturalists, culturists recognize that the West has a culture to protect and promote. Domestically Geller’s group was very culturist.

Culturism and Geller diverge on foreign policy. Culturism believes in national cultural sovereignty. Allen West said we should seek to defeat Islam, not Muslims. I am unclear how the two are to be separated. Quoting Ronald Reagan, he said victory means “we win, they lose.” That statement holds too little nuance for me. We all agree on bombing Iran’s nuclear sites and being aggressive in regions of Afghanistan that harbor terrorist. But culturists do not believe we will convert Islamic nations by the sword. If we want the sovereignty to pursue culturist policies domestically, we must also grant that right to other nations. We are not the world. We are the West. The idea that we will convert Islam nations by the sword is, as Ron Paul says, a dangerous proposition we cannot afford.

At CPAC the third position on Islam, and the largest, was overwhelming silence. Outside of Ron Paul’s “Why real conservatives don’t support the war on terror” meeting and Geller’s event, few deemed Islam worth discussing. Ron Paul at least wants to debate our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. And Geller schooled the conference on domestic threats. We conservatives, as Americans and as Westerners, need to accept culturist position that our culture is not that of the world. Diversity exists internationally. Furthermore, we must shake off the multicultural position that the West has no core culture to protect. Geller and Paul have done us a great service in making conservatives think about the West’s relationship to Islam.
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