Although Malise Ruthven is credited with coining the term ‘Islamofascism’ while writing for the British Independent in 1990, the term was coined by Maxine Rodinson. Nevertheless, we have throughout the west a vast intellectual reserve providing antecedents for us to understand not only Sharia law, but historical analogies providing insight to understand the political and cultural currents that dominate Islam, especially as it confronts the west. However, this confrontation will expose a fatal weakness within the west itself that if not corrected will permit Sharia Law protection under our Constitution threatening the foundation of American exceptionalism.
Sharia law can be understood within the framework of other totalizing philosophical ideologies that have rocked the west under Marxism, Fascism, Totalitarianism and hosts of other political, national currents since the Enlightenment.
When one studies the growth and history of Italian Fascism we find currents of thought similar to the contemporary trajectory and application of Sharia Law. In their rebellion against Kantian and Enlightenment intellectual dualisms, the Italian Fascists wanted to unify what they believe Kant had divided; thought from desire, subject from object, man from nature, nature from God, citizen from state. In pursuing such a totalizing agenda they embraced purely extrinsic means of forceful assimilation, if only to affirm nationalist goals. Denying, as all movements within modernity do, the intrinsic value of personal liberty. Their view of the human person is informed from John Locke’s tabula rasa. This has dangerous portents when fused within the vortex that is Fascism.
It fell to the Church and particularly Pope John Paul II to deny the role intellectuals have in providing a ground for man to discover or remake himself. What Karol Wyojtla sought was to vanquish the perennial western desire in fashioning such a ground from idealism alone; by exhorting the Church’s Tradition that ultimate reality is a spiritual organic unity as the human person, he galvanized both the Church and the West’s efforts to be informed and shaped by insight gained at the foot of the Cross.
Throughout his tenure, John Paul understood that the presence of an organic unity that is the human person requires that the relations between its parts be necessary, not accidental. All that was put asunder by Kant and the idealisms of the Enlightenment must be refashioned in light of Christian ethics. This provides insight into both motivation and content of the ‘specificity of christian ethics’. Simply put, the Cross and Resurrection has social and political consequences. Theoretically it informs the dynamic relation between reason and faith.
Such an ideal puts the mere extrinsic drive that is Sharia Law in serious philosophical jeopardy. Admonishing ethical systems to adopt a personalism is a serious attack not only on the social and ethical tenants of Islam, but John Paul takes aim at secular life itself.
The west’s fatal weakness lies in its egalitarian grasp tethered to an erroneous forward moving positivism masking a false liberty under the guise of a legitimate pluralism.
For the Italian Fascist’s the Nation State expressed the highest reality; it was the march of a fully immanent God on earth. This was the inspiration that goaded Hitler. The rest is history!
Any ideology that ignores ethical norms given in personalism is bound to fail. This is the trajectory of both Sharia Law and Western Liberalism.