Which theory plausibly explains the West’s magnetic attraction?
RADICAL ISLAMIST THEORY: : A secret cabal has tricked the rest of the world into coveting western democracy, freedoms, fads, movies, fashions, hobbies, music and games.
NEUTRAL THEORY: It is “normal” that personal taste would incline most people to prefer such things.
Has any society ever been so flexible, so open to change and so capable of rapidly evolving as the West? By contrast, the ideal of extreme Islamists is incompatible with modernism–partly (see iran) or wholly (see Al Queda/ Taliban). How can a philosphy so bleak, so backward, so stagnant, so totalitarian, so rigid, so suspicious of change and so deeply repulsive in practice win over most people by peaceful means or retain their allegiance after a coup? It is impossible.
Knowing this, radical Islamists deliberately foment xenophobia, encourage conspiracy theories regarding alleged “cultural imperialism” and use force, terror and bribery (for the more gullible and illiterate). In their Perfect World , we would all face a Breszhnevian dark ages forever –ruled by an aristocracy of aged clerics with Koran in one hand and whip in the other. Don’t worry. I’d rate their chance of victory no higher than King Canute’s in his battle with the sea (look up that legend online) or George Armstrong Custer at Little Big Horn.
To grasp what radical Islamists are up against check out the following report. Though the setting may be Indonesia, it could be youth anywhere in the Middle East…or Korea…or China.
More than half of the nation’s 230 million people now have cellphones with access to the Internet and the latest trends overseas. With a more open society in the past 10 years, Western influence is everywhere.
Hipster-oriented stores appear in Jakarta’s Western-style malls. At the youthful FX Sudirman mall, teenagers seek out skinny jeans, ironic T-shirts, and salons specializing in the latest New York look. In nearby Kemang, university students flock to such stores as Monka Magic Vinyl, where the latest record from Arcade Fire is sold alongside fixie bikes.
“Indonesia is becoming homogenized,” says Eka Annash, advertising art director and singer for the popular punk-rockabilly band The Brandals. “We’re borrowing culture from the US.”