Electronic media decentralizes. It permits every single individual to be a center without margins. There is no analogue in the natural world that can challenge its scope or authority. The problem is when we permit such innovation to eclipse the human person. Technological innovation is not an object, it’s a relation. I often think that progress itself is dependent on a false view of human freedom itself. Given the political and theological problems intrinsic to contemporary Islam, technological innovation and its erroneous vision viewing the human person as an appendage to consumption is perhaps the greatest intellectual threat facing the West today.
How can it be fixed?
Return to natural law. And in so doing we eradicate an extrinsic view of human personhood that dominates both a consumerist West and militant Islam by effectively reorienting components of both the Enlightenment and Reformation.
What is the relevance of this threat?
The West continues to view the human person as an appendage to both production and consumption. Radical militant Islam views the human person along juridical lines of thought, eliminating ‘ontological’ questions that dominated both Islam and the West for a thousand years.
Leo Strauss arrived at his most formidable thought in examining Medieval Islam, especially its theoretical foundations absolving philosophical rigor for a monolithic theology that is today’s militant vision. Huxley and Orwell provided the much needed philosophical writings the west required in dealing with the offspring that was the Enlightenment and Reformation: for Orwell it was the social and political impact of Marxian militant centralization, in Huxley it was the impact of efficiency under the guise of benevolent governance. Both perspectives have epistemological and moral consequences that if quarried can help moderate Islam as it wrestles with the intellectual enormity that is today’s militancy.
The challenge facing Islam today? Discover the dangers of eliminating philosophical thinking. Discover reason and its import for faith.
The political consequences in eliminating reason is disastrous: Islam will usher in a Nuclear Totalitarian State, embracing the dystopic vision enumerated by both Orwell and Huxley.
The current canard that Israel cannot be both Jewish and Democratic reveals a most pernicious apocalyptic vision of political craft. It permits us to understand the Totalitarian Vision that motivates the Islamists.
The Islamists advocation for Israeli self identification along purely libertarian lines is disingenuous and hypocritical. Such advocacy has no relation whatever to the political or historical practices of any nation. This advocacy reveals the shortest path to militant domination. It also permits the impact of a rising Zionism, one primarily informed from natural law.
Can religious and ethnic heritage violate democratic principals?
Yes, if natural law does not inform how we define personhood! This is the current problem for Islam.
The larger question of the current status of Arabs in Israel does not reach the significance of an ontic question. They’re still human! If Islam cannot or will not permit language to be informed from natural law, it will remain paralyzed. The real danger is not paralyzation. The real danger is the cultural and political impact of apocalyptic language defining ‘humanness’ outside of natural law. The late great Catholic political scientist Eric Voegelin wrote for decades on the impact of ‘immanentizing the eschaton’. Islam is dangerously close to this point as evidenced it its advocacy in conflating personhood with ethnicity.
How else to put it: Islam needs a Reformation!
How do we begin?
The Cordovian Spanish philosopher Xavier Zubiri is a great place to start!
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