2016 Reflections: Deformation of Islam and the Neoconservative Threat to Society

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It is that time of the year: a hectic month as the British people recover from their frenzied Christmas shopping, briefly punctuated with the peace of the annual family get together, only to be followed by scrambling over various items thanks to the hype produced by corporations eager to increase the debt through boxing day “sales”. As the recovery from these activities begins and the damage to the bank accounts dawn, we take advantage of this lull for some customary reflection.

This year has been a particularly unsettling one; the sordidly racist campaign which ultimately culminated in Brexit; the far-right terrorist attack claiming the life of Jo Cox – the first killing of an MP in 26 years; the B-movie being played in the US starring Donald Trump, the West-wide rise of the far-right and unleashing of political and social xenophobia, security globalisation via totalitarian measures like the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda; Britain passing one of the world’s widest and intrusive surveillance laws; the list goes on.  Sadly, it is the Muslim minority, either through scapegoating or being subjected to the fruits of this dangerous concoction of nationalism, disenfranchisement through the global neoliberal order, and neoconservative domestic and foreign policies, which has by and large, bore the brunt.

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Michael Steven Sandford – A Terrorist? A Product of Western Culture?

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What can I say that I haven’t already?

British twenty year-old Michael Steven Sandford attempted to grab an officer’s gun at a Donald Trump rally with intention to shoot the prospective Presidential candidate.  Reports state that he had been preparing for a year, had even gone to a shooting range to learn how to handle a weapon and had convinced himself that it was a suicide mission. His motive is unclear, however his target and his preparation gives plenty to speculate – if the media applied their standards equally.

Once again, we have another white, non-Muslim “terrorist” from Britain where reports fail to label him speculatively (as per the standard with Muslims) a terrorist, does not mention his ethnic or religious affinity, nor even hint at “radicalisation” and “extremism”. Plus ça change, mental illnesses (OCD and historic anorexia (?!)) are highlighted, whilst the discussion of the prevailing Western “ideology”, which, premised on individualism produces a culture that encourages a selfish “exceptionalist” attitude, is eschewed. Sandford, after all, like Thomas Mair, was a “loner” – an individualistic indication as opposed to a collectivist one.

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The Neoconservatism in Michael Gove and Celsius 7/7 (4) – Terraforming Britain into a “Closed Society”

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In this series, we will delve deeper into the views held by our new Justice Secretary, Michael Gove as articulated in his book, Celsius 7/7, with additional commentary explaining the neoconservativism underpinning the statements where appropriate, and the impact it has thus far had on the good Britons of this country.

Click here to read Part 1.

Click here to read Part 2.

Click here to read Part 3.


Why Such an Offensive Foreign Policy?

Gove leads us to believe that democracy is the best “solvent yet devised for Islamism”, or rather, Islamic self-determination. Hence the benevolent West should bestow this loving gift through bombs and arms primarily in the resource rich Middle East.  This fantasy justification has been rebutted by history itself, be it through the hypocritical stance taken on the death sentence of the first democratically elected President of Egypt, or the outgrowth of the ever belligerent ISIS from the ruins of neocon foreign policy.  The argument that democracy means a safer world is untrue; the US “democracy” has been overthrowing other democracies for decades.

No, the real reason is alluded to through shrewd wording.  Gove writes that the importance of the spread of democracy is firstly “a matter of simple, prudent statecraft.”[1] While Gove goes on to extol the hypothetical virtues of a “proper” democratic Iran, a trackback is needed and these words carefully analysed.

“Prudence” and “statecraft” have very particular meanings amongst neoconservatives. And as the citation of Allan Bloom and reference to Kristol and Kagan’s “moral clarity” in the book shows, Gove is not unfamiliar with American neoconservative works.

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