A Crash Course on the Notion of the Caliphate for Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh takes issue with Donald Rumsfeld’s suggestion that radical Islamists seek to establish a caliphate.

I understand why Limbaugh and Beck peddle the caliphate notion; they make money on fear. But Rumsfeld joining the charge is remarkable. That a former defense secretary would express such ignorance about Islam — generalizing about a global religion that’s divided Sunni from Shia, radical from reformer, al-Qaida vs. the vast majority, and in so many more ways — is stunning.

No, what’s stunning is that anyone would have the nerve to proclaim herself knowledgeable in any way, shape or form about Islam without recognizing that the notion of the caliphate is at the center of Islamist thought. It requires never once having read anything written by an Islamist to think Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck dreamt up the “caliphate notion” as a money-making swindle.

Such willful stupidity is not often to be found in nature, I must say. 

  1. Ottoman Umpire

    Walsh writes toward the end:  

    “I’m not sure why Rumsfeld needs the Obama administration to use the word “Islamist.” It makes sense to zero in on violent Islamic fundamentalism, not the whole religion.”

    Doesn’t she comprehend the distinction between Islam and Islamism (or in this case, Islamist and Muslim)?  Or am I somehow misinterpreting her meaning?  

    Seems to me, at this late hour, that Rumsfeld is zeroing in exactly as she wishes, but she’s too — shall we say, “limited”? — to understand it.  

  2. Sisyphus

    Thank goodness she does not work in a field that requires communication skills or fact checking.

  3. raycon and lindacon

    The Marxist view is that the Utopia of true communalism will only come about if all of Western civilization can be annihilated, and then will come about the true workers paradise.  Islam does him one better.  Their caliphate began 1400 years ago, and wherever Islam is dominant it remains in place.  Both expand towards their ultimate Utopian vision through the route of nihilistic ignorance. 

    The real difference:  Marx never quite understood human nature enough to recognize that his ideals were entirely incompatible with it.  Islam begins with the notion of submission, the core of it’s system, not to man, but to a god, Allah.  This ideal is enforced through the function of the caliphate.

    Poor Joan Walsh appears to believe that the left has no real competition in the world domination Olympics.  That is why the left will lose even if they first prevail.  Their competition has a god on their side. 

  4. Pseudodionysius
    kylez: This reminds me of Mark Steyn’s observation that multiculturalism does not require actual knowledge about other cultures/beliefs. Anything goes, and if anything seems to bump up against the multicultural preoccupation it is said to not be true and just a product of ignorance and fear-mongering. · Feb 8 at 10:53pm

    Check the Member Feed. I dug up something you may enjoy.

  5. Craig McLaughlin

    ‘Such willful stupidity is not often to be found in nature, I must say.”

    It is often found in Journalism, however.

  6. Byron Horatio

    We live in a surprising time in that there is no Caliphate…at the moment. Since Muhammed’s successors stormed out of Arabia, there have been…less than 90 of the past 1400 years in which there has not been a unfied Islamic empire. Read EVERY radical Islamist leader today and they dream over remaking the caliphate.

  7. Mel Foil

    I gather, Glenn Beck’s worst case Islamic terrorism scenario (including an expanding radical caliphate in the Middle East) comes from a hypothetical scenario in a US government security report. For Islamic radicals, the desire is certainly there. The only question is whether they can create enough political chaos to pull it off. And in creating that political chaos, the Islamic radicals are willing to partner with other groups that also long for political chaos. First they want the right conditions, and then they’ll worry about how to take advantage of them.

  8. Skid McBrick

    That kind of thinking reminds me of something Judith Levy said in one of your special pod casts.  In effect, some Americans see the world how they want to see it and then proceed no further in terms of actually finding out what is really going on.  Facts brought up make no difference.

  9. Sisyphus

    Save us from Editor’s at Large. She is just one Wikipedia lookup away from finding out what an ignoramus she is. Will she take that step? Or check any of a thousand real sources? Or is Salon a secret reservation for the protection of the pristinely ignorant?

    Pop quiz.

    What did Ataturk do on March 3rd, 1924?

    What has been the related central question engaging all of Islam since?

    Are there any hiring standards at all at Salon.com?

  10. Skid McBrick

    After reading the article, It seems to me the real driver is her absolute hatred of Limbaugh, Beck, and Rumsfeld.  It is just another opportunity to vent. She can then get some kudos and hi fives at her next lib cocktail party; “Ya! you sure showed them!”

  11. Skid McBrick

    Wow, You should really watch the video of Matthews talking to Joan, it gets even better than the article.  They are really in another dimension.

  12. Michael Labeit

    I think the caliphate objective is denied of the Islamists by many on the left because its a fantastically unrealistic aim. They just can’t believe that some people would pursue so incoherently grand an end.

  13. Charles Gordon

    Not from ignorance, more so from PC conditioned denial, she unwittingly expresses how leftists cope with the suppressed awareness of their own perfidy: projection.

    “[T]hey make money on fear” describes the motive of tribal media’s scapegoating of conservative principles.

    Because of their debasing elitism, they are making less money from our common cents.

  14. Charles Gordon
    Michael Labeit: They just can’t believe that some people would pursue so incoherently grand an end. · Feb 8 at 9:55pm

    Agree. The leftists’ myopic subversion of our way of life, their consuming schadenfreude in furthering its decline is so thorough that their nihilism has taken from them any conception of the ambitions of ascendance held by those willing to fill the void with their millennial mission to form the Caliphate.

  15. kylez

    This reminds me of Mark Steyn’s observation that multiculturalism does not require actual knowledge about other cultures/beliefs. Anything goes, and if anything seems to bump up against the multicultural preoccupation it is said to not be true and just a product of ignorance and fear-mongering.

  16. Mike LaRoche
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Such willful stupidity is not often to be found in nature, I must say.

    Though it is often found amongst pseudoconservative Atlantic Monthly bloggers.

  17. Sisyphus
    Mike LaRoche · Feb 9 at 4:15pm

     
     Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Such willful stupidity is not often to be found in nature, I must say.

     Though it is often found amongst pseudoconservative Atlantic Monthly bloggers.

     

    Oh gosh, here I was, avoiding mention of the Fallows, Sullivan, et.al., clown-car-conservatism mock circus (because nobody wants to get dragged back into that again) and now, glued to my retinaes, is a vision of the frail flagging form of Fallows defiantly thrusting his nose high and pronouncing proudly perched over yet another chamber pot, “Nuanced.”

    What? I’m not sure, but I think Sullivan just implied that Trig is the one true Caliph, and will be summoned by Claire’s cats to Istanbul for coronation imminently. Need to check with Patents and Trademarks to confirm this one. Epistemological closure or bust. Back later.

  18. Stuart Creque

    “Such willful stupidity is not often to be found in nature, I must say.”

    But of course it is, Claire. It is the same magical thinking that drove tribes all over the world to conduct human sacrifices to appease the angry gods. It’s the same magical thinking that makes winter solstice such an important holiday season, when people once gathered to pray that the Sun would return.

    Joan Walsh says that Islamists do not want to reinstate the Caliphate: therefore, Islamists do not want to reinstate the Caliphate and kill each and every Westerner that stands in the way of that goal.

    Gen. Jim Jones says that peace between Israel and the Palestinians will make the Middle East’s problems go away: therefore, the West doesn’t need to deal with the thorny issues of Islamism, Muslim autocracies, the demographic time bomb of unemployed and unmarried Muslim youth, poverty and economic exploitation in the Muslim world, or virulent hatred of Jews by Muslim fundamentalists (and quite a few secularists in the Muslim world).

    Obama says that the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t all that powerful or dangerous in Egypt: therefore, he can just let events there take their course.