This article is the third in a series of 6 on an interview I conducted with Ted Shoebat on the Taliban peace talks. This link will take you to the Table of Contents and Condensed Interview.
In the video my first order of business was to sum up Ted’s credentials. As I say both in the interview video and in the first article of this series, Ted is an author of multiple books and countless articles. Many of the articles are available at shoebat.com. His area of interest is primarily Christian heresy with a focus on Islam. Because of the nature of Islam he has naturally become interested in politics as well. His books include “For God or For Tyranny” and “In Satan’s Footsteps.”
In describing his area of interest Ted also describes Islam. He emphasizes that he prefers to analyze Islam as a religion and not as a secular movement, in contrast to some other experts in the area. Ted goes over the origin of Islam, finding it ultimately to have been originated as a Christian heresy. He mentions that the result of analyzing Islam from a secular lens is an overall negative impact on foreign policy efficacy.
Not only is there an impact to foreign policy, but in those countries where Islam is influential there is an effect to domestic policy. Ted argues that when Islam succeeds it naturally leads to a Sharia State. A Sharia State is a nation with a particular policy stance consistent with the Islamic concept of Sharia Law. An Islamist is commonly understood to mean a Muslim who acts for political purposes. I asked Ted point blank, “Do you see a dividing line between a Muslim and an Islamist…Where does politics intersect Islam?” He wittily retorted, “Politics never has to try to intersect Islam, it’s already there!” What this means is that he views every Muslim as an Islamist because Islam itself has politically necessary implications.
Shoebat makes the funny but reasonable comment that, “Islamist is basically a term that…Political pundits have made up so they can prevent themselves from being seen as bigots.” It is considered by some offensive when political action is asserted to be based upon religion. Political correctness is one way to evade this offensiveness to some degree. Personally I have found that a politically correct stance is a sign of weakness, because the alternative is direct confrontation and direct confrontation is usually avoided by those who are incapable of succeeding using it. I would create a direct confrontation wherein I would ask why falsehood does not justify bigotry. In other words, why is it wrong to be intolerant of lies? I would then establish that Islam is false and therefore anti-Islam bigotry is justified. Let’s be clear that bigotry is not the same as hate and Islam is not the same as Muslims. Although we have every right to be intolerant of falsehood, we have no right to hate people of any kind.
Many other pundits, however, are understandably unprepared for this kind of confrontation. They then choose to abide by the politically correct methodology in which a new term is invented, in this case the term ‘islamist,’ which specifies only those Muslims who are acting for political purposes. Ted brings to bear the fact that all Muslims, in following Islam, are necessarily acting for political purposes and therefore the term islamist is not only undesirably complicating, the label itself is not recognized at all by those who are given it. Ted rightly points out that, “There’s no group of jihadists right now sitting around a camp fire in Afghanistan saying, ‘well we’re Islamist we’re not Muslim,’ they see themselves as Muslim…and they’re actually right. They are Muslim and they are followers of Islam and they are following the Quran.”
We may conclude by taking Islam as another example of a general principle highlighted by Caeconomics. All decisions are based on worldview. Not only on the Christian worldview, but on whatever worldviews are had, their degrees and their interactions. Islam necessarily impacts politics because it is a kind of worldview. It also necessarily impacts economies in both indirect and direct fashion. First, Islam directly impacts economies by modifying personal preference of Muslims. It modifies personal preference by altering the subjective, or perceived, utilities of Muslims. Halal meat, for example, suddenly becomes much more desirable than Kosher meat when one becomes Muslim. Secondly, Islam, or any other worldview, indirectly impacts economies by modifying the structures of law and politics among other structures in that society. Legal and political structures in turn effect the economic structure. Worldview determines morality which determines individual preference which determines societal preference which determines societal function.
Thank you for reading and please join us in the next article where we begin to delve into those societal structures and relationships. The next article is called Organizations of Islam.