Sustained unreality

Mark Steyn calls a book on al-Qaeda “A masterful new work”

It is also a masterful review:
The church dance that snowballed

A excerpt to entice you to read the whole thing:

Osama himself seems merely an extreme embodiment of larger globalized trends he’s barely aware of. The praise the New York Times heaped on Wright for his portrayal of John O’Neill, the “driven, demon-ridden FBI agent who worked so frantically to stop Osama bin Laden, only to perish in the attack on the World Trade Center,” suggested one of those artificially novelistic accounts too obviously aimed at getting a sale to Miramax. And most of the Wahhabist fellows over on the other side are too irrational for the psychological demands of fiction: it would surely be as unsatisfying as reading a detective novel where every character’s insane.

Speaking of irrationality, I’m reminded of Sam Harris’ recent writing in the LA Times:

I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right.

Conflating liberal attitudes with religious demagoguery is a useful idea. Pushing it further is also interesting. Maybe it would help the left if they would substitute the words “Christian fundamentalists” wherever they read “Jihadi”, or “Muslim fanatic.” Maybe they’d start wondering why Christian fundamentalists aren’t rioting over Madonna’s gig on the cross and beheading Supreme Court Justices on video-tape, i.e., behaving irrationally en masse. Here’s an example of where “Christ” and “Christian fundamentalist” might replace “the prophet” and “Muslim:”

…we are absolutely at war with those who believe that death in defense of the faith is the highest possible good, that cartoonists should be killed for caricaturing the prophet and that any Muslim who loses his faith should be butchered for apostasy

One Liberal meme is that the religious right’s emphasis on faith over works is too rigid a principle. Imagining Christian fundamentalists actually acting like Muslim fundamentalists might at least get Liberals to see that a Jihdadi faith absolutely demands certain “works” – of which they are prime targets – and that the Muslim fundamentalists’ insistence that church and state are one is the greater danger.

Harris again:

…my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world — specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.

…A cult of death is forming in the Muslim world — for reasons that are perfectly explicable in terms of the Islamic doctrines of martyrdom and jihad. The truth is that we are not fighting a “war on terror.” We are fighting a pestilential theology and a longing for paradise.

It is irrational not to recognize this.