As the founder of Mantua Books, Howard Rotberg has published works by such important writers as FrontPage Mag’s own editor Jamie Glazov, Giulio Meotti, Diane Weber Bederman, Gustavo Perednik, and David Solway, among others. Rotberg is the author himself of four books, including TOLERism: The Ideology Revealed, and now The Ideological Path to Submission:...and what we can do about it.
Mr. Rotberg agreed to expound upon his important new book in an email interview with FrontPage Mag.
Mark Tapson: Can you briefly explain tolerism and denialism and how are they propelling the West down the path toward submission to Islam?
Howard Rotberg: Tolerism is the term I came up with to describe the ideology of excessive tolerance, actually a leniency, given to those who themselves are intolerant and illiberal and who, if they obtain power, would want to end all tolerance. Tolerance is of course a term relating to something negative: we say we “tolerate” pain not pleasure. Explaining the full nature of Tolerism was the goal of my previous book, Tolerism: The Ideology Revealed. I sought to explain how Tolerism tolerates the slow ascendancy of Islamist values of terrorism, breach of human rights and attempted reversals of the wonderful liberties and advances made in western societies, where church and state have been successfully separated, and an enormous degree of freedom reigns. Unfortunately it is the Left that leads this process of Tolerism, as it is the Left that is most contemptuous of traditional Western values.
My new book seeks to explore how tolerism and its related ideologies, are beginning, in the West, to create a submission to the anti-liberal values of the Islamists, and an advocacy of some kind of group rights as more important than our historical individual rights. These ideologies include Inclusive Diversity, Empathy, Denialism, Masochism, Islamophilia, Trumpophobia, Cultural Relativism, Postmodernism and Multiculturalism.
The term Denialism is meant to indicate that the individual psychological mechanism of denial to deal with anxieties and fears has now morphed into a culture-wide ideology. Tolerism and denialism are linked in that toleration of evil or facts that might well result in the creation of a great evil, is to show a denial of the danger of the evil or the facts that might create the evil.
How brazen this has become is to study the facts for the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the American embassy in Benghazi Libya. Despite their knowledge to the contrary and despite the facts that were sure to come out eventually, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied that this was in fact an organized terrorist attack, and attempted to frame it as a spontaneous reaction against a little-seen anti-Islam video by an American Coptic Christian.
This denialism became part of the reason that Americans tolerated Obama’s disastrous Islamist-appeasing foreign policy and his moral relativism and moral equivalency between American and Islam and led to his re-election. As to Hillary, the near unanimous favorite of American media in the next election, she stated before a Congressional investigation “What difference does it make?” to the important question of whether this was an organized terrorist attack. Only members of an Administration (and its near-unanimous supporters in media and in universities) in absolute denial of the Islamist terrorist threat and the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood and its related organizations, and a Secretary of State whose closest aide was a Saudi with links to the Muslim Brotherhood could deny that facts about Benghazi do not make a “difference.”
And when reality does win out in the end, the denialists often turn to the tactic of blaming others, whether it was that Coptic filmmaker in the case of Benghazi or Israel in the case of the first front in the Islamist war against the West.
MT: One of the most heated arguments in discussions of Islam is whether there is a distinction between Islam and Islamism. Can you elaborate on the relationship between the two as you see it?
HR: Just because the Turkish Islamist Erdogan says there is only one Islam, and there is no “moderate” Islam, and he in his repression and hostility to neighbours represents it, does not mean we have to believe him. The distinction I make, following in the footsteps of Daniel Pipes, between Islam and Islamism is fundamental to my book. It is central to any hope that we might have of defeating the Islamists world-wide and those who have already become citizens in the West.
I use the term “Islamism” to describe the ideology of members of Radical Islam - and those who are complicit with them - who believe that the West must “submit” to Islam and who use violence and other illegal acts, and who define “Jihad” as an outer-directed struggle to create a restored Caliphate, rather than an inner-directed struggle for goodness; and who believe in Daar Al-Islam, meaning that once a territory is ruled by Islam it must never be ruled by anyone else, (and hence Israel and Spain, as two examples, must return to Islamic control), and who believe that wherever Muslims settle they should be governed by Sharia Law rather than the secular law of the land.
Islam is a religion with various problems in its Holy books that must be reformed or interpreted so that illiberal and hateful aspects be removed. Islamism is the powerful movement that seeks to use those very illiberal aspects to control their own people and wage an asymmetrical war against the West and implement Sharia Law in a world-wide Caliphate, enforcing submission to its dictates. Like so much of what passes for politics, it is a game all about power. It is time to stop the denial that the situation is otherwise.
We must overcome our denial and our psychological fantasies that cause us to think we can control Islamism. The only way to do it, is to overcome our reluctance to tell people of religion that certain matters will not be tolerated in the West; from honour killings to female genital mutilation, to strict Sharia Law enforcement for crimes, it is time to declare, courageously and unapologetically that we welcome as immigrants only those willing to be part of a reformed Islam – without the barbaric cultural practices that should have been left in the Middle Ages. It is not our fault that Islam has developed in such a way that it is threatening our freedoms, but it is our duty to plainly distinguish Islamism from Islam and act to defeat Islamism
But to be clear, it is up to Muslims to reform themselves if they wish to participate in Western political culture; people like me cannot do it for them. We can reasonably expect Muslim immigrants to the West to pledge allegiance to our Constitutions and confirm that taking up residence in the West means that where Sharia law and our Constitutions conflict, they will be loyal to our Constitutions.
I understand the many bloggers and commentators who argue that Islam itself contains the seeds of Islamism; but we cannot wage war against more than a billion people practicing Islam who are not a direct threat to us. In my opinion, we must acknowledge the way that the Islamist enemy feeds off of Islam, but while in theory we could starve the Islamists by attacking their food source, and attack all Muslims, in practice that is very wrong. The most important point, however, is that we are in a war with Islamism and while we did not ask for that war, it is time to fight to win. Non-Islamist Muslims must show us that they have no support for the Islamists, do not look to them as a source of imams or any direction; otherwise in war, we might have to deport people who have chosen to support the enemy rather than us.
MT: How are “fun and foolishness” inhibiting us from seriously addressing the threat that jihad poses to our values?
HR: This relates to our failure to accept that Islamism has declared war on the West and that 9/11 was our generation’s Pearl Harbor. I am particularly critical of Barack Obama with his frequent need to have fun golfing even during times of domestic or foreign crisis, and see this as indicative of a worrisome cultural trend.
In the book, I look carefully at our cultural values, and trace how over the past 50+ years, our culture has begun to emphasize having fun as a major cultural goal. This is a shift from traditional now-ignored values, such as doing one’s duty, patriotism, getting satisfaction from hard work, worshipping in church or synagogue, and living within our means both as individuals and on a national level. I find an emphasis on fun somewhat troubling in an era when the West is clearly facing a crisis brought on domestically by over-spending, and internationally by the terrorist war by Islamism for Western submission to Islamist values and influence.
Our children spend countless hours in the fun of video games and internet chatting. What education our children do receive is meant to be fun and is meant to teach them that there can be education without values, respect without being respected and tolerance without being tolerated. It is more fun for the teachers to avoid the whole issue of values and pretend that it is possible to separate values and ideology from informed discussions.
Moreover, if we appear in the West to be focused only on fun, those Islamists who enjoy jihad more than fun can easily surmise that they have a good chance of winning, and making a world-wide Caliphate when their opposition is too busy having fun to take up arms in defense of their own liberty.
MT: How is what you call “the sad ideology of inclusive diversity,” which is especially rampant in our universities, contributing to our cultural submission?
HR: What saddens me most, as a son of a Holocaust survivor, is that inclusive diversity as a leftist goal, means that in 1940 we should have allowed Nazis to immigrate and we should have accepted their diversity as part of our strength. I don’t see a lot of difference between the Islamists and the Nazis and neither should be welcomed here.
In the book, I discuss Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his reliance on the idea of “Inclusive diversity” being his idea of the most important Canadian value. With respect to tolerance, he even says we should be so welcoming to poorly vetted Islamic refugees, that we must go “beyond tolerant” in what we should do for them. I ask, “Should we welcome evil ideologies as part of our inclusive diversity? Do we think that a nice Canadian welcome, together with conduct and words not just tolerant, but beyond tolerant, will turn intolerant jihadists (or those average Muslims who are used to supporting a leadership which is composed of intolerant jihadists) into tolerant Canadians?”
Trudeau, who recently graced the cover of a fawning Rolling Stone magazine is not aware that giving “rights and choices” to some illiberal people may deprive existing liberal citizens of their rights and choices. Trudeau’s support for what he calls “inclusive diversity” is based on the flawed concept in multiculturalism that all cultures are equal. He believes that diversity is a goal in itself, and like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, we must respect and admire our enemies, the Islamists. Prime Minister Trudeau now seemingly believes, that tolerating those with illiberal opinions, is not enough; we must give them “understanding” and a special place for their choices in our public realm. Unfortunately, Inclusive Diversity does not distinguish, at least in Trudeau’s mind, between Islam and Islamism. Inclusion of the Islamists is a bad idea, and one only possible when the prevailing ideology is a Tolerism heading to a Submission.
Most troubling of all, the naive philosophy of inclusive diversity has been adopted at a time that our universities have gone stupid in their adoption of postmodern idiocy. I quote Professor Philip Salzman of McGill University, about the many universities that “have established ‘equity and inclusiveness’ committees to oversee ‘just practice,’ to disseminate ‘correct’ views through literature, posters, and re-education workshops, in some cases mandatory. They also sanction faculty members who express unacceptable views. Schools of education ensure that their graduates will be inculcating their school pupils in the principles of ‘social justice,’ and in identifying the deplorable ‘multiphobes’ in their families and communities. American schoolchildren have been taught by teachers determined to discredit America, that slavery was an American invention and existed exclusively in America -- a staggeringly counter-factual account.”
Making diversity a moral end in itself, making capitalism into the cause of inequality, and “hurt feelings” the criteria for permitted speech, the young totalitarians learn that any opposition to their social justice opinions is evil or racist or fascist.
Inclusive diversity of the Islamists is a bad idea, and one only possible when the prevailing ideology is a Tolerism heading to a Submission.
MT: You devote a chapter to Trumpophobia and “resistance.” What is the danger in those phenomena, in terms of our conflict with Islam?
HR: A phobia, it must always be remembered, is an irrational fear. I don’t accept the term Islamophobia, because firstly, it is not irrational to fear the terrorism, anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-Christian and anti-Israel aspects of almost all Muslim-majority countries. But even if one can live with the use of the term phobia to describe something that is mostly rational, I believe that since the enemy is not all Muslims but just those who are Islamists or support Islamism, the term should really be changed to Islamistphobia.
The Islamists and their allies on the left have been successful in using the term Islamophobia as a sword to gain special privileges and enhance their political and cultural power. Now, the Islamists, understanding that America’s foundational values are under attack from within, show unrestrained glee, together with their allies on the Left, in their “resistance” to Trump. This resistance started the day after his inauguration as huge numbers of women marched in opposition to the will of the American people. They were organized in doing so by Linda Sarsour, the Islamist who lately advocated a Jihad against President Trump. In the book, I try to show that the self-hatred that conduces to support for Islamists, not only in America, but especially in countries like Germany and Sweden, where guilt over past crimes during the Nazi era seems to be assuaged by embracing a future in Eurabia, where no distinction is made between Islam and Islamism, leaving the countries open to submission.
I write about the New York Times, which despite apologizing for its profoundly one-sided coverage of the election, immediately after the inauguration started the same nonsense. Thomas Friedman, having had most of his opinions rejected by the American people through their election of Trump, wants to override that democracy by “A Plea to America’s Business Leaders” asking them “to do a job that you have never thought of doing before: saving the country from a leader with a truly distorted view of how the world works and role America should play in it. “Now, to people who have actually studied Fascism, it is immediately apparent that Friedman’s call for big business to ally with leftists to overrule the wishes of the American people is about as Fascist as one can get.
In the book, I note that the Trumpophobic resisters immediately started a quest to overthrow their President. The American comedian, Sarah Silverman, actually tweeted, “Wake up and join the resistance, once the military is with us, the fascists get overthrown.” Former Secretary of Labor, under Bill Clinton, Robert Reich has been spending large amounts of time writing about how to “resist” the Trump White House, and is especially interested in counselling federal employees, who should uphold the policies of the President, how to resist them.
The vile Georgetown University Islamist, Nathan Lean, (director of research for the Pluralism, Diversity and Islamophobia project at Georgetown University's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding) actually called for a “public uprising” to overthrow Trump. It seems to me that when the apologists for Islamism start to join the radicals and call for violence, that pretty much validates all of our concerns that they are submitting to radical Islam or Islamism.
MT: Are you optimistic or pessimistic that we can reverse our slide into submission to Islam?
HR: In the book, I attempt to show what we can do about the Ideological Path to Submission. If I did not believe that we can reverse this slide into submission, therefore, I would not have written the book. I do note the prevalence among French intellectuals to write books admitting defeat and showing the decline of French culture and democracy in the face of Islamist immigration - and accepting that submission is at hand. Of course both France and Sweden have extensive “no-go” zones where Islamist radicals rule, and aside from some concerns about Dearborn Michigan and Minneapolis Minnesota and several other cities, America is not as far along in giving up its sovereignty which is what the no-go zones mean.
My chapter entitled “Evidence of Submission”, I suppose, leaves the reader feeling very pessimistic. But then I turn to several possible avenues for change and optimism. The first is the concept of social resilience, and we note the work of several scholars on how Israel, surrounded by Islamist enemies and subject to continuous terrorist attacks, has managed to achieve a social resilience to ward off submission. Social resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and cope effectively with change. There are certain coping, adaptive and transformative capacities that can be learned. We have little choice: if we react to major terrorist attacks by appeasement, by striving to be nice to all Muslims, or by adopting a cultural Stockholm Syndrome, or a guilt which turns into masochism or depression, this will cause us to lose the war declared against us.
Another area requiring study is how can move away from the cultural relativism and hopelessness of postmodernism to a more values-based optimistic post-postmodernism; we must persuade the women, the blacks, and the leftists who think Trump is the enemy that it is the Islamists who are the enemy. A country with the divisions in its body politic resulting from the 2016 American election will have a hard time resisting the submission that the Islamists want.
A post-postmodern will understand that the worst Islamophobia comes at the hands of other Muslims. How can anyone looking at contemporary Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or Yemen, fail to understand that? A post-postmodern will understand that we have every right, and duty, to defeat Islamism not only for our benefit but for the sake of everyday Muslims who would benefit from freedom
We must understand that we are in a War. Either we submit to Islamism or Islamism submits to us. Those within Islam will also have to decide whether submission to Allah means no submission to western liberties. We cannot share our sovereignty with those Muslims who continue to submit to the Islamists.
The sooner we understand the ideologies that I discuss in the book, which lead us from tolerism to submission to the enemy, the sooner we can reverse our losses and start winning this war.
I think I can sum up my position as follows: The first step is reversing the Obama era refusal to face and name the enemy. The second step is understanding that this is a war but if we stick together and develop social resilience, we can win this war. The third step is to understand what ideologies are damaging our ability to win the war. The fourth step is to differentiate, on the one hand, between the Islamists and their supporters, and on the other hand, those Muslims willing to reform their religion’s compatibility with our justice system and our liberal democracy as a precondition to joining the centre of our societies rather than the margins. The final step is to teach our children (after teaching the teachers) that we are the good guys, that the world has bad guys, and we cannot tolerate a descent into submission to the bad guys.