Briefly, a deranged terrorist killed yet more scores of innocents yesterday, July 14, 2016, in Nice, France, on the occasion of Bastille Day.
We do not know if this attack is connected to a known terrorist outfit. Preliminary reports point to a “lone gunman” of Tunisian-French origin. These inconclusive facts of the investigation so far, however, did not stop Newt Gingrich — who so badly wishes to achieve what he sadly regards as a career pinnacle of being Donald Trump’s Vice Presidential pick — from echoing the latter’s racist and unconstitutional “counterterrorism” measures (a charitable phrase for these ideas). These boil down to easily digestible media sound bites designed to whip up hysteria against Muslims en masse. Implementing the measures Trump and Gingrich suggest would require shredding the constitution, an ironic prerequisite for such principled conservatives. It is no wonder that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced it would be time to move to New Zealand were Trump elected. She knows she would be out of a job according to any meaningful definition of the term.
Gingrich’s bright idea is to subject all Muslims in the United States — that’s right, without qualification — to a “sharia deportation test”, whereby anyone who expresses support for “sharia” (who knows what he means by the term) would be subject to deportation. Would there be a questionnaire online? Special tribunals of Muslims by county? A Fox-News panel of experts on Islamic law to adjudicate? He left out the details.
In any case, the latest terrorist outrage has inspired social media calls to truthfully diagnose the “real problem” here and dispense with either PC blindness on the left or the wacko fascism of the right. I duly gave this some thought. Here’s what I came up with. I really believe it’s the patriarchy.
Culture of Terrorism — Some Thoughts:
Daesh (ISIL) is a group made possible through a toxic combination of, in my opinion: 1) patriarchy – the notion that human societies should unquestioningly follow the leadership of a group of authoritarian (and often damaged) group of men; 2) it’s close cousin, misogyny, fear and hatred of women and their sexual, social, economic power; 3) colonial fracture, which emasculated the patriarchs and fomented a centuries-long process of the European world economically, politically and militarily dominating the non-European world, almost always extremely violently 4) post-colonial vengeance — a process whereby the newly “liberated” non-European Other realizes that they are still subjugated and thus tries to exert their power using the means they have; which brings us to 5) religious fanaticism, which in the Islamic case can not be separated from the mechanisms at work in all of the above points, to which we should add literalism, a desire for easy answers, a fear and hatred of critical thinking, and a toxic impulse toward social conformity, which again, serves the fundamental interests of patriarchy.
These thoughts are in part the results of my research in Nigeria, whereby a group of highly patriarchal men attempted to ignite a sharia revolution as a form of post-colonial redemption against the poverty, corruption and authoritarianism they still live under. I think many of these thoughts apply to the Arab world as well. Far from being only a problem of the west, this toxic patriarchy is a world wide phenomena.
How interesting it is, therefore, that those in the western world who want to punish all Muslims anywhere in the world, including non-patriarchal non-violent men, women and children, for the actions of insane toxic militants, are overwhelmingly themselves patriarchal, anti-woman, homophobic, conservative fettishists of social conformity who in most instances are themselves religious literalists if not fanatics in their own right. I’ve long suspected that the most fundamental problem of all is toxic masculinity anywhere it rears its ugly head. All authoritarians must be challenged and disempowered.
I eagerly await Newt’s thoughts.