Is Religious Freedom the Suicide of Religious Freedom? – Why Islam is Not a Religion & Illegal Under the US Constitution

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Published on: November 16, 2015

Can we afford to allow the free exercise of a religion, the goal of which is to destroy freedom of religion?  Are (1) and (2) practically compatible (coherent) goals or conditions?

(1) The free exercise of all competing religions.

(2) The free exercise of a religion R which destroys (1).

(1) and (2), as practical goals, can only be compatible if there is a guarantee that the goal of R cannot be achieved.  But how can we guarantee the failure of R without taking away the free exercise of that religion?

What is religion?  Is the goal of eliminating freedom of religion a religious goal?

If there is no formal, legal, tradition (a whole vocabulary, a whole paradigm of language) carefully and coherently circumscribing the nature of freedom, justice and religion, then it is difficult to morally justify the suppression of rival forms of life as part of the process of preserving freedom.  This is clearly what we have experienced in America and, of course, Europe.  The problem with the classically liberal American political system is that it is not explicitly rooted in a tradition, like the Christian tradition.   It does not have a constitution which is truly traditional, which makes the true nature of freedom, justice and religion clear. 

Governments are either dominated by explicit and even detailed traditions, or they are poorly organized, and unstable, under an implicit tradition.  The United States is organized implicitly under the classically Liberal tradition, explicitly rejecting Christianity, in the First Amendment, and in our positive and common law, as the traditional, authoritative source of our understanding of reason, knowledge, justice, freedom, and religion.  If the United States was explicitly organized around a clear traditional conception of these things, then we would not find ourselves scratching our heads today, wondering how in the world, given the constitution, things have turned out the way they did.  The constitution is being interpreted successfully by rival traditions, including Islam, because it does not explicitly adopt any tradition.  It rests implicitly on the vague, abstract nonsense of the western Liberal form of life in which nature and reason, supposedly all by themselves, has made the nature of reason, freedom, justice and religion clear.  All we have to do is make everyone “rational.”  This childish claptrap has been shattered by history.

I do not disagree that the people of the United States, historically, have a Christian tradition.  But the American government, the constitution, does not.  And this is precisely why we have become completely decadent in our understanding of freedom, justice, and religion.  The United States is not a Christian nation as such.  Our next step is to make it so, in order to save ourselves from Islam, Liberalism, socialism, and decadence.  We can do this and still guarantee freedom of religion.  But it is the tradition which tells us what a religion is and why the practice of an authentic religion should be free.  Reason, in the abstract, cannot get this job done.  Liberal rationalism cannot save us and is not saving us.  It has become suicide.

The Paradox of Freedom is that freedom cannot be defined, understood, or practiced consistently outside of a dominant, living tradition which shapes our understanding of freedom, justice, and religion, and must, therefore, suppress rival ways of life.  Only the explicit commitment to a tradition, in our constitution, in our laws, in our educational system, relieves the paradox by insisting that the liberty of a rival form of life is not implied by our traditional concept of freedom and the goal of preserving that freedom.  When the United States goes to war it is momentarily insisting on a particular concept of freedom at the expense of all others.  There is nothing new about a nation finally insisting that its concept of freedom must be preserved at the cost of literally killing other people.  Even France now agrees.  Our concept of freedom is inevitably a limit on competing concepts of freedom.

And our concept of religion is inevitably a limit on competing concepts of religion.  Language is a paradigm, not a series of absolute, independently meaningful words.  Given a concept of freedom, a coherent concept of religion must emerge in actual practice.  If it does not, the implication is that there is no clear conception of freedom.

Hardly anyone believes in a theocracy if this means the rule of men who claim to speak for God, or to be the sole authorities on the meaning of the religious tradition.  America is full of Protestants and Protestantism by its very nature stands against popery.  But if theocrats are simply arguing that the modern nation state is doomed because of its childish insistence on being tradition-independent, then they are right.  In our book, The Rebirth Constitution, Erick Kaardal and I very explicitly aim for the conversion of the United States, as a modern nation state, into a traditional country explicitly rooted in the Christian tradition.  But this is a vision in which Protestants are not made subject to any form of popery and there is no official church for the government to corrupt and exploit.  In a fallen world, the universal church is always the chief competitor of the state, and must be made free while the state is shackled.      

The Paradox of Freedom invokes a descriptive as opposed to prescriptive theory of knowledge.  Think of Liberalism as wishing that our merely human knowledge of Reality were ideal and absolute, rather than tradition-bound.  (Liberals do not believe in revelation as a source of tradition.)  When we set out to humbly describe how human knowledge works we find that all knowledge of Reality, including the nature of freedom, justice, and religion is traditional.  The moment science claims that it has an absolute understanding of things like freedom, justice, and religion it has transformed itself into nothing more than a competing tradition.  Traditions propose rival accounts, rival uses, of the concept of knowledge.  As long as we are free to create language, to transform its use, all knowledge of Reality remains tradition-bound.  This does not mean that a particular tradition is not absolutely true from God’s point of view.  It means that there is no excuse for the tyranny of science.

Because our knowledge of freedom and justice is tradition-bound, not absolute from a descriptive point of view, we struggle with the Paradox of Freedom.

If freedom includes the liberty to redefine freedom, justice, knowledge, science, and religion by making a competing tradition dominant, then “freedom” can never be preserved.  It is being constantly lost by some and gained by others.

Obviously, a given concept of freedom is suicidal if it promotes its own destruction; if one of its necessary conditions, or sole necessary condition, is its own abdication.

(F1)  A person P is free if and only if

(a) P is allowed to express an analysis of freedom which competes with all others, including this one.

(b) P has the liberty to substitute his rival analysis of freedom, a rival tradition, for all practical purposes.

(c) P has the opportunity to substitute his rival analysis of freedom, a rival tradition, for all practical purposes.

(d) P can and may reject (a), (b) and (c).

(d) means that P’s analysis of freedom, his tradition about freedom, may exclude (a), (b), and (c).  (F1) is a hopelessly suicidal, that is to say, impractical understanding of what it means to be free, divorcing freedom from the rule of law, from the dominance of a tradition which preserves freedom as the culture knows it, by preserving a traditional use of the word “freedom”, including its institutionalization in the written law (to the extent that this helps).  If the definition of freedom, our use of the term “freedom,” is subject to change, let alone swinging like a pendulum, then there is no freedom practically speaking.

So let’s fix (F1), making it more practical, more viable.

(F2) A person P is free if and only if

(a) P is allowed to express an analysis of freedom which competes with all others, including this one.

(b) P has the liberty to substitute his rival analysis of freedom, a rival tradition, for all practical purposes.

(c) P has the opportunity to substitute his rival analysis of freedom, a rival tradition, for all practical purposes.

(d’) P does not reject (a), (b) and (c) in practice. 

(d’) paradoxically preserves P’s freedom in this analysis.  (d’) means that P is legally prohibited from disestablishing the preconditions and conditions of (a), (b), and (c).  This does not mean that (a) is forfeit, that only (F2) will be allowed expression.  P can talk about shutting down freedom, as we know it, but he is not allowed to do it.  He himself would no longer be free in principle.  For how can P himself, let alone anyone else, remain free if he disestablishes (a), (b) and (c)?  If he wins, using his freedom, he establishes a tyranny.  Freedom cannot reject its own nature as an act of freedom.  Paradoxically, there is a limit to freedom as freedom.  It cannot be self-destructive if it is true.  Christianity has always taught us this.

Now notice that just the substitution of (d’) for (d) in our analysis of freedom logically implies the formal, legal suppression of Islam.  Islam rejects (a), (b), and (c).  And so Islam must be rejected, formally, legally, in any nation that has a survivable, sustainable analysis of freedom.  Freedom requires the formal disestablishment of the conditions of Islam.

(F2) may allow for broad and relatively deep changes in our understanding of freedom and therefore justice and religion, while removing any condition which would not allow for further change, for moving back to the tradition which was challenged in the first place.  This may be acceptable to liberals, but it is in any event an anti-liberal, authoritative, tradition-bound stand.  It quite rightly implies a related definition of religion where Islam is NOT a religion.

Liberals implicitly accept (d), which is insane, or opt for (d’) when cornered by their own insanity.  Conservatives embrace (d’) but also wisely reject (c)

Conservatives (and Christian Neopopulists like me) do not see that rival traditions need to be guaranteed a contingent opportunity to replace concepts of freedom, justice, religion, and knowledge which are already in use.  If all of the people are free to pursue a tradition-bound life, without government interference based on “science”, then, paradoxically, there may never be a contingent, practical opportunity for competing traditions to succeed.  This does not mean that people are not free.  In other words, if our government stopped suppressing Christianity, where the current government is a rival pseudo-scientific tradition, monopolizing the primary means of cultural production (education), then Christianity, the most powerful moral force on Earth, would so dominate American culture that no contingent opportunity for Islam to substitute its own analysis of freedom, justice, and religion, would exist.  Whereas Christianity is powerful enough to actually replace failing concepts of freedom, justice, religion, and knowledge, like those of Islam, other traditions are not. 

Liberalism exposes itself most dramatically when it argues that (b) depends upon (c), that there is no liberty without opportunity.  This is liberalism in a nutshell.  It has always taken the position that the freedom of its benefactors is a claim on the freedom and opportunity of other people; that the freedom and opportunity of the many must be artificially limited by the science of the government in order to increase the “freedom” and opportunity of some.  Liberalism is now coercing Christianity as a naturally dominant cultural force in order to produce an artificial opportunity for Islam.  Liberalism opposes nature.  This is the ironic tyranny of Liberalism.  It is patently evil.  It is a very strange, suicidal account of reason, justice, and freedom.  It is anti-pragmatic.  And this is why it is dying despite the epidemic of morons spawned by the government schools.

My Neopopulist analysis of freedom, no doubt attractive to “conservatives” is

(F3) A person P is free if and only if

(a) P is allowed to express an analysis of freedom which competes with all others, including this one.

(b) P has the liberty to substitute his rival analysis of freedom, a rival tradition, for all practical purposes.

(c’) The opportunity to substitute a rival tradition is contingent on the freedom of others, neither provided nor denied by government coercion.

(d’) P may not reject (a), (b) and (c) in practice.

P himself cannot remain free without (c’) which, again, is simply the rejection of liberalism.  (c’) is the rejection of modern liberal government’s control over the means of cultural production.

(F3) suggests a related analysis of the concept of religion:

(R1) R is a religion if and only if

(a) There are competing religions (otherwise R would be “The Truth”)

(b) R is committed to (F3) as the analysis of freedom.

If we insist on keeping our freedom, defined by (F3), then we must insist on (R1).

Since Islam rejects (F3) it is not a religion and, therefore, not protected as a religion under the First Amendment, which is itself doomed under Islam.  Therefore, Islam must be a rival empire, a rival political ideology which must be resisted just as we resisted the Nazis.  Just as Nazism is effectively outlawed by the US Constitution, except for its expression (see F3(a)), Islam is also effectively outlawed.  Its practice, as physical coercion, is illegal.  Otherwise, (F3) is an analysis of freedom under which Islam cannot survive and compete.  This is its historic crisis.  Its strategy is to exploit the competing Liberal analysis of freedom (F1) and permanently disestablish (F3).  Tactically, Islam encourages (F1); it encourages Western Liberalism as suicide.

Liberalism is cultural, political, and religious suicide.  We must finally be done with it, recognizing that a nation cannot survive without a dominant tradition.  The Christian tradition will dominate, without tyranny, as soon as the government gets out of the way.  And that will be the end of Islam as political culture. 

The Islamists know this.  Terror is the last resort of a dying political tradition, a moribund empire.  Islam is barely withstanding the nature of the people (the image of God in man) within its own borders.  It sends its young adherents to the West in the hopes that the shock of Western decadence will keep them loyal to a political culture which at least gives them meaning.  Ironically, the hardcore Islamists intuit that Islam, insofar as it is a matter of the heart, survives more easily in the decadent West than within its own political control, where Islam itself has become so decadent. 

Islam is not a religion by Western standards, and whether the liberals like it or not, the US Constitution, for all of its very disappointing weaknesses, makes the normal practice of Islam illegal.  We must make this ever more explicit in America, operating on this legal fact.

Given (F3) and (R1) there is no constitutional appeal when government suppression of Islam is otherwise statutory.  This means rejecting Muslim immigrants as such, just as we would reject other people for their history of bad behavior.  It means no local government is violating the First Amendment by refusing to issue building permits for the construction of mosques.  It means the FBI should not worry about suppressing Islam as a conspiracy, not a religion.

It is either this kind of traditional sense, or a civil war. 

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