Monday, August 08, 2005

Islamism - the New Marxism?

Is the growth of Islamism due in part to its replacement of Marxism as the standardbearer of ant-Western animosity? Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online: "I Have Rights!":
Osama bin Laden's prattling about the Crusades, for instance, merely shows how poisoned Islamism is by Western Marxism and anti-imperialism. Muslims used to brag about winning the Crusades. It was only after the West started exporting victimology that Islamic and Arab intellectuals started to whine about how poorly they'd been treated.

To a certain extent, radical Islam in Europe has taken the place of third-world Marxism — hardly a big leap when you think about how many Vietnamese "revolutionaries" were trained in Parisian salons. It's all about fighting capitalism, American "imperialism," modernism, etc. Marxism no longer provides a workable model, but the Islamists think sharia might. At the same time, like fascism and Communism before it, radical Islam provides a sense of purpose and meaning for losers and misfits who blame their misfortunes on "the system" (variously defined as the ruling class, the Jews, the capitalists, Col. Sanders, etc.). In this sense, Islamism is less about religion than ideology, and less about ideology than it is about alienation and low self-esteem.