Islamofascism- a Dumb Idea

 “Islamo-facism”: A Dumb Idea

By J.D. Porter

PUBLISHED OCTOBER 26, 2007

Like David Horowitz, CC ’59, I believe that we could end most of America’s problems if we simply repeated the word Islamo-fascism enough times, preferably from some sort of stage. We diverge on the exact methodology, however. He believes in victory through categorizing things, whereas I believe that the whole idea of Islamo-fascism deserves nothing but the utmost derision from everyone who ever encounters it. If we mock it enough, I think we might find problems that exist, as opposed to those invented by frenzied reactionaries.

One argument that really gets Horowitz’s goat is that Islamo-fascism is racist, or at the very least anti-Islamic, since it seems to demonize all Muslims. Horowitz and company deny this, arguing that it’s a simplistic understanding of the word. Apparently the “o” injects some kind of subtlety, because otherwise the word literally consists of “Islam” combined with “fascism”. You can see how some people, such as everyone, might be confused.

The conundrum doesn’t stop there, however, since Islamo-fascism seems to be neither fascist nor characteristically Islamic. Ahmadinejad might be a fascist, although he probably doesn’t have enough power, but you can’t call Al Qaeda fascist—terrorism is by definition anarchic, which is kind of like the opposite of fascism. Mussolini didn’t make the trains run on time by allowing lunatic zealots blow up the stations. Other problems in the Islamic world, like genital mutilation in Africa or “honor killings” in South Asia, don’t seem to have much to do with fascism at all, other than being bad things. You might as well call American gun violence fascistic, since, you know, fascists liked to shoot guns and stuff.

Not only that, but anyone paying attention to Iraq has probably noticed that violent Islamic organizations don’t seem to like each other all that much. I know it’s kind of nice to envision America’s enemy as one monolithic force, like the USSR, or Lex Luthor, but the problematic sects of Muslims can’t even get organized in Iraq. These guys can’t resolve an ancient dispute about the caliphate, much less band together to make some kind of evil League of Nations. It’s like Horowitz is secretly hoping to get a job writing for Saturday morning cartoons.

Even if all the Muslims in the world did have a secret plot against America, I’m not sure how using a nonsensical term would help us to thwart it. Let’s say we all agree that the real problem is not some complicated geopolitical hokum, but rather Islam (got it in two syllables, boys). Then what? Does he plan to infiltrate Islamo-fascist club meetings and ask disruptive questions? (Can Allah make a rock so big he can’t lift it?) America has a decent history of fighting fascists, but we kind of suck at fighting Muslims (killing civilians doesn’t count). In fact, everyone sucks at fighting Muslims. Other than some wins for Britain, the West has a losing record in the Middle East at least since the Crusades.

In part, this is because we don’t know what we’re talking about. While making Princeton aware of Islamo-fascism, Horowitz said of Islam, “I don’t think there has been another religion that has made saints out of murderers.” I can think of one: Christianity. It’s an easy answer because, unlike Islam, Christianity actually has saints. Two of my favorites are Saint Louis, who killed Muslims while losing the second Crusade, and Saint George, a Roman soldier who is now the patron saint, literally, of knights, cavalry and butchers. I don’t think anyone expects Horowitz to cite Catholic arcana, but it might be nice if he knew some basic facts about religion, like, “Islam isn’t just Christianity with different words,” or “People in many religions have done bad things”.

Since Islamo-fascism so successfully merges racism, ignorance, and impotence, we may need a new term. I propose that we have a Repubofascism Awareness Week, dedicated to understanding the ways that Republicans are fascists. Unlike Horowitz, I would like to point out that I am explicitly yoking the American Republican Party to fascism. As justification, I would like to cite an explanation of Islamo-fascism written by Christopher Hitchens for Slate, one that Horowitz himself has endorsed.

As Hitchens puts it, fascists endorse violence and hate “the life of the mind,” so they might, say, start wars and oppose the theory of evolution. Both dislike “modernity” and are nostalgic for “lost glories,” like, for instance, the Reagan years. Both obsess over past humiliations and are “thirsty for revenge,” so that they might endlessly reference Sept. 11, 2001 or invade Iraq. Both are paranoid (Hitchens says paranoid of Jews, but I think fear of “Islamo-fascism” is a good parallel). Both practice “leader worship,” which could lead to expanding executive power, and both believe in “the power of one great book,” like the Bible (to be fair, God wrote it). Both are sexually repressive, especially of “deviance,” like the gays with their marriage hoohah. Hitchens says both despise art and literature, too, but I think I would characterize Bush and company as simply indifferent to all that.

That’s just one definition of fascism, of course, but it’s surprising how many definitions you find would apply pretty well to the Bush administration. I’ve also noticed that many problems, such as the drought in the American Southeast, homophobia, and the War in Iraq happen in places where there are a lot of Republicans, indicating an undeniable causal link. What I can’t understand is why the right-wingers refuse to say the word Repubofascism. It can’t be because it sounds stupid, means nothing, and is offensive and pointless. They must be scared of it.

Compared to Islamo-fascism, Repubofascism is both real and logically plausible. Unlike the billion Muslims across the world, the Republicans really are working together, and they really are doing something that at least vaguely resembles fascism. Fortunately, like any problem, we can stop it now. All we have to do is raise awareness.

J.D. Porter is a Columbia College senior majoring in English.
The Lion’s Roar runs alternate Fridays.
Specopinion@columbia.edu.

Here’s a link to the article. Click here.

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3 Comments »

  1. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt to do with fascism at all, other than being bad things. You might as well call American gun violence […]

  2. Danya Said:

    Haha, awesome.. Repubofascism.. me likes!

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

  3. George Carty Said:

    IMO the nearest there’s ever been to an actual Islamofascist state was the Ottoman Empire under Abdul Hamid II. It promoted pan-Islamic solidarity while hardly being an Islamic state in the Shari’ah sense, and it also sought to purge itself of non-Muslim populations like the Armenians (something which was not the norm in Islamic states). I still don’t think it truly qualifies though, as it lacks some of the other characteristics of fascism.

    States like Nasser’s Egypt and Saddam’s Iraq were certainly fascist, but they were certainly not Islamic, either in the sense of using Shari’ah law or in the sense of promoting pan-Islamic (as opposed to pan-Arab) solidarity.


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