Some brief perspectives on the relation of Islam to the Establishment and the Right.
In a recent article for Arktos Journal, Dr. Kerry Bolton described with his usual painstaking research and freedom from vulgar prejudice the connections between the agenda of the present political establishment on the one hand and the promotion of Islamophobia on the Right on the other. He went admirably far in dispelling a number of myths that have taken hold lately, both as regard Islam and the proper stance of a man of the Right thereto. For anyone who has not read Dr. Bolton’s piece, I urge them to do so in place of the present one; for what follows is little more than a largely superfluous footnote on the work that he has done, even in those few places where it might appear to diverge from it.1
Before coming to my own thoughts on how we should view Islam today, a word regarding my suppositions in this essay. I have good reasons for holding to these views, but I cannot defend them here, so I will lay them out as axioms for the present purposes. It is my supposition that there exists a network of vested political and economic interests (generally described as the ‘elites’, the ‘Establishment’, the ‘Deep State’, etc.), acting along relatively concerted lines which are divergent from, in many cases perpendicular to, the interests and desires of ‘the people’, and which therefore cannot be regarded as in any way democratic in their intentions or their functioning. At the same time, I do not believe that this network forms a unified or centralized power structure with a singular intent; there is no single group, be it ethnic or economic or supranational, which wholly controls or contains this Establishment. I believe the Establishment is rather better pictured as a continually morphing community of sometimes conflicting parties, which however can work as a single bloc and act in unison, when necessary, for the promotion of their overriding interests or the neutralization of a common threat. This network, on account of its enormous economic leverage, its influence over the ceaseless ideological engineering known as ‘advertising’, its pervasive financing or manipulation of our visible politicians, and its connections to and control over the media, is capable of influencing Western societies in any number of different ways, not least of all politically. We can visualize this as the upper stratum of the power structures that presently exist in our states – a stratum which indeed stands so far over them that it is sometimes hard to perceive it with any clarity or immediacy.
Beneath this there is another stratum, much more visible because much nearer to our view, which is populated on the one hand by generally sincere (and therefore generally peripheral) politicians, and on the other by the variety of popular opinions that are currently strong enough to make themselves felt in legislation. Because the governments of the West are nominally democratic, this popular voice can sometimes still make itself heard, and can have real impact on the outcomes of elections and referenda. (Should anyone doubt this, I invite them to furnish an explanation for the negative and even hysterical response to events like Brexit and the election of leaders such as Donald Trump.) Because this stratum of our governance can legitimately be considered ‘populist’, it bears as well the dangers and the limitations of any ‘populism’: namely, it can be moulded through incomplete or fallacious information, it is fickle over time, and it often enough votes with its heart or its stomach rather than its head or its spirit. Nonetheless, as has been seen in recent years, it tends to move in what must be considered a favourable, if insufficiently radical, direction from the perspective of the Right, especially as compared to the former stratum, which exists exclusively in detriment of any True Right.
It is clear that these two strata will sometimes be at odds. The upper stratum, when it cannot contain the currents of the lower, will attempt to direct them to its long-term advantage in every way it can; and it has proved itself unhappily effective at so doing in the course of the most recent decades.
Granted this as my referential framework, I would like to lay out certain aspects of my view of the question of Islam in Europe particularly. I state therefore the following theses:
- The Establishment is inherently secular and is opposed to every form of sincere worship, Islam and Christianity most decidedly included. The Establishment has no real sympathy for either of these faiths, despite its occasional pretenses to the contrary, and will do everything in its power to subvert and disenfranchise them both in the long run, because its own power and its own social and political objectives are predicated on the neutering of religion as such.
- Toward this end, the Establishment will willingly play such faiths off against each other in a sociological and metapolitical policy of ‘divide and conquer’. Any kind of authentic Christian-Islamic axis would represent a grave menace to this Establishment because it could potentially produce an anti-globalist front of global dimensions. (Anyone who doubts the critical points of agreement that might stand between a Muslim and a man of the Right is invited to consider the critique made of modernity by many contemporary Muslim scholars; see, e.g., the work of Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad.)2 The Establishment will therefore seem to fall down now on the side of Islam, and now against it, as the case may require and its present agenda may dictate. This accounts for the degree of seeming incoherency in the current approach to Muslim immigration and the Muslim world, whereby it appears sometimes that Muslims are given a quantity of protection and political favouring that native Europeans might crave, even while at the same time the very political and economic figures who encourage this support invasions of or ‘regime change’ in certain Muslim countries, on the pretext of overthrowing tyrannical and unliberal forms of government. The Establishment, in its geopolitical game, has everything to gain from an anti-Islamic attitude, and nothing to lose. The Establishment, in its socio-political and domestic game, has everything to gain from a pro-Islamic attitude, and nothing to lose.
- The Establishment, as Dr. Bolton has so admirably shown, is therefore pleased to see the kind of reflexive anti-Islamic attitude which is increasingly prevalent on the Right, and will willingly encourage a connection between the Right and Islamophobia in the popular mindset. This grants three separate benefits to the Establishment: first, it eliminates the possibility of any kind of ideological alliance between the Right and certain healthy Islamic circles, which alliance is rather natural given the opposition to modern secular liberalism that both these groups embrace; second, it provides a useful safety valve affixed to the Right which can be employed the moment the Right gains too much in popularity (which is to say that, whenever necessary, the Right or its representatives can be censured, prosecuted and quarantined for ‘bigotry’, ‘racism’, ‘Islamophobia’, ‘fascism’, etc.); and third, it directs the popular resentment, not against our leadership or the puppeteers thereof, whereat it should rightly be aimed, but rather against a foreign, in many cases illusory, in some cases totally artificial enemy, such as ISIS, the bogeyman of a pre-planned and monolithic Arabic invasion into Europe, individual immigrants, etc.).
- The Establishment, in its geopolitical game, has everything to gain from an anti-Islamic attitude, and nothing to lose. The Establishment, in its socio-political and domestic game, has everything to gain from a pro-Islamic attitude, and nothing to lose. At least, in the short term; in the long term, there is the threat of an Islamic take-over in the government. Yet it is absurd to think that the Establishment has not accounted for this danger, and is not in some way calculating how to make the most of it.
- The Establishment is happy to see Islam diluted by the secularism of the West; Muslims who are only nominally Muslim provide a welcome stream of new labourers and consumers to its economies, permit it to maintain its delusion of ‘diversity’ (a mere cloak for the fundamental homogeneity of outlook in liberal societies), and persuade the whole of society that authentic religious faith really is an anachronistic and unnecessary ‘ideological’ accretion on human existence.
- The Establishment is equally promoted by the presence of manageable numbers of Islamic terrorists on European soil, because the chaos that these agents unleash permits the institution of more universal surveillance and the passing of increasingly invasive laws, not to mention the slandering of the religious impulse in general and the promotion of a ‘safe’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘tolerant’ secularism.
- Similarly, the Establishment is always delighted by lone-wolf attacks by members of the ostensive ‘right’, because it can use these to rebuke the true Right and to justify the ostracism, censorship, and defamation of the same.
Several other factors remain to be stated from the other side of the picture, to wit:
- There are good reasons to suppose that a working alliance, or at a least degree of sympathy, with certain elements of traditionalist Islam would be of enormous benefit to the Right, insofar as the men of the Right and the traditional believers of Islam are all battling the same monster, namely Modernism. In the third part of his essay, Dr. Bolton speaks at some length on this matter.3
- At the same time, there are about a dozen centuries of conflict standing between Islam and Christianity, or between the Middle East and Europe, which we cannot forget and must not discount. The Crusades cannot be erased from our histories, nor the very good reasons that launched them. It must not be forgotten that Islam twice attempted to conquer Europe under its special banner, and was not so very far from succeeding. Yet Islam is not European, and ample proof of this is granted by a simple thought experiment: ponder what a successful Islamic invasion would have meant for the Gothic period and its architecture and social forms; for the art of the Renaissance; for the memory of and respect for Antiquity, and for the pagan substrata which have always existed throughout Europe’s history and beneath Europe’s surface. Were Islam tomorrow to become the primary faith of Europe, what would become of the Notre-Dame, of St. Peter’s or its Sistine Chapel, of the Louvre, of the Roman ruins at the heart of Rome or the Acropolis in Greece, of centuries of European classical music and millennia of European literature? This question is yet more emphatic precisely to the degree that this hypothetical ‘European Islam’ were a true Islam, and not a false and secularized version of the same. Islam might be healthier than Christianity vis-à-vis Modernism at this historical juncture; but it is entirely fair, nay it is incumbent on us, to ask to what extent the ascension of even a very healthy Islam would represent a revival of Europe, rather than its erosion and obliteration by other means.
- There is a portion of Islam which truly is interested in converting or subverting all European infidels, conquering the whole of Europe for the establishment of a continent-wide caliphate and putting down all forms of opposition to the Qur’an through a military interpretation jihad. They view, and not altogether insanely, the mushrooming population growth of even nominal Muslims in Europe as a means toward one day attaining this end, at first through democratic election of Islamic or Islam-sympathetic leaders, and perhaps subsequently through violence or the threat of violence. This cannot be regarded as anything other than a threat to European political and cultural autonomy, and the larger the Muslim population in Europe becomes, the more feasible such a plan appears to be.
- Along the same lines it would be irresponsible and indeed blind of us not to note the degree to which a certain kind of Islam has been associated with the development of parallel communities on European territory which hardly stand for the rebirth of Europe. While this is a problem pertaining more to immigration than to Islam as such, nonetheless Islam provides the glue by which these communities are held together and transformed into a scourge against, not so much the Establishment, as peacable European citizens. Nor can it be negated that these communities, and the faith which characterizes them, have been responsible for producing an abundance of terrorist attacks which in many cases aim directly at Christian events, symbols or individuals. When church burnings and desecrations have become common events, when a priest has been beheaded in his own church on European soil during a church service, when Christians, no matter how tepid their faith may be, are no longer free to join confidently together as Christians even for comparatively innocuous modernisms like Christmas markets, and when all of this is accountable to a specific religion, we are compelled to look at that religion with great care and to ask to what extent its dogma is truly productive of such a situation.
- The conditions for any kind of coalition or understanding between the Right and certain Islamic schools or groups must therefore be approximately as follows: we would recognize a common enemy, and to that extent we would agree to lay aside our very real differences in light of an urgent communion of purpose. We would seek to defend authentic Islam in traditionally Islamic countries, and traditionalist Muslims would likewise agree to defend our European traditions in European territory – this, wholly despite the fact that these two traditions are finally incompatible with one another. This is an old-style confederacy such as the nations of the past were wont to form with one another, each recognizing the other’s territorial, legal and customary claims and working in respect of these toward the containment of a common foe. Insofar as our Muslim neighbours refuse to accept these terms, we cannot regard them as allies but as agents of those powers that would destroy us (either the Establishment or else a globally ambitious Islamic extremism, or else the two working in a kind of strange and totally temporary synchonicity or symbiosis).
It appears to me absolutely necessary to recognize both Islam and the octopus-like Establishment for they are: the former a rich and inherently multifaceted tradition with a variety of outlooks and positions, some fluid with our own and others viscous to it; the latter a creature which seeks power at all costs and is blithely unconcerned with ideology of any kind whatsoever, save as ideology serves the end of expanding its control. It is difficult to get one’s hands around either of these phenomena, and it is easy to fall into any number of confusions. One would like to take a firm stance one way or another on the Islamic question, but reality rejects all efforts at simplification and forces us to a subtler and more nuanced view. Likewise, one would like to ascribe to the Establishment a unitary approach to the Islamic question, but this is precisely what one cannot find anywhere one looks in the political order today. This because the Establishment will use Islam where it is useful, will suppress it where it is not, and will change its approach diametrically depending on new circumstances and the outcome of current events. It will do precisely the same thing with the Right itself, if we are not knowledgeable and intelligent enough to counter it.
We of the Right cannot fully embody this same flexibility on account of our adherence to deep principles, and if we deny those principles in order to free our hand we will traduce our very reason for fighting and abort the world we would promote long before it has ever been born. But we can be flexible in our understanding of the situation; nothing constraints us to see the world from a skewed or limited perspective. Dr. Kerry Bolton’s work is indispensable for that, and it is my sincere hope that I have modestly contributed in the same direction with this all-too-brief analysis of an immensely complicated problem.
3Francis Parker Yockey also had some very interesting ideas on the related question of how the Third World might be marshalled in the struggle against the hegemony of the United States; apart from the books that Yockey himself has written, Dr. Bolton has written a first-rate biography on him which discusses this matter, among of course a great many others. See Yockey: A Fascist Odyssey (Arktos, 2018).