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Thursday, 9 October 2014

Judging Ideologies

It is very easy to identify bad practice perpetrated by those with whom you disagree. I do it when I draw attention to the deaths caused by Socialists (national and international) in the twentieth century. I do it when I point to the millions of deaths caused by Muslims in their conquests and conversions, when I deplore the attitudes of Muslims to women and gays and when I when I ask you to observe that the politics of the Islamic world bring not prosperity but backwardness and corruption.

Anjem Choudary does it when he rails against the culture of the West; although he is disingenuous to suggest that sexual predation is pretty well exclusively a western phenomenon. It is not. It is in-built in Islam. And that is the point.

Hypocrisy is preaching one thing and doing another – being a whited sepulchre. Human beings have a predilection for hypocrisy. Baptists, Mormons and Catholics behave hypocritically; so do Socialists and Muslims. It is very easy to convict Christians of failing to obey the two great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbours.

When we judge an ideology, we should do it from First Principles. It is not enough to catalogue the crimes of Hitler or bin Laden. By doing so we simply invite the riposte, ‘What about the Crusades, the Inquisition and clerical child abuse?’ I may make a convincing claim that the Arithmetic of cruelty makes Mao and ISIL worse than Torquemada or ‘Christian’ slave traders. My real job should be to demonstrate that and why Socialism and Shari’ah lead to abuse and violence.

This is harder than accusing Socialism of creating famines or Muslims of ‘honour killings.’ Making the case that Catholicism is essentially and fundamentally better than Marxism or Islam is a tough one. Marxists and Muslims are going to be very hard to persuade. Even the uncommitted are a huge challenge. We will never win over everybody, especially by doing History and Arithmetic. We have got to go deeper. We have got to show that espousing ideology X leads to behaviour Y.

Robert Spencer and David Wood are two American thinkers and activists who do Islam the courtesy of knowing what it teaches. They quote the Koran and Hadith chapter and verse. The Austrian School of Economics dismantles Socialism axiomatically. They show that it cannot be made to work without violence and oppression, that it leads to poverty and immiseration.

Milton Friedman tells us that a society which values equality over liberty will end up with neither. Being fallen human beings, we will never create a perfect society, although we can improve society. Some societies are better than others. Migration statistics are a clue. North Korean embassies around the world are not swamped with visa applicants. Another penalty of the Fall is that we have to think a lot harder than we like.

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