Glenn Beck is talking this week about the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, their role in Egypt and their connection with Iran and other Islamists and Islam supporters to create a Caliphate, and Islamic global State. Beck's ideas will certainly be attacked and ridiculed, but when we listen to the words spoken and written by many Islamist groups, it's clear they intend to spread their influence and control as far as possible. It's also easy to see alliances being formed between promoters of a Caliphate and modern communist-influenced groups which have the same over-arcing goal of destroying the West and "expropriating the expropriators".
The picture Beck paints is not a scew-ball conspiracy theory, it's a reality, but the question is how large is this alliance and how influential have they become? In a way I see it as the last gasp of an old division between the liberal, scientific, enlightened West and the spiritual opposition to modernity and materialism, although it's much more complex than this. It's possible for a diverse alliance to form around a religious movement like Islam. Lenin's and Stalin's communism became much like a religion which drew support from the Sartre-type communists and socialists and unions, and many of the flaws of soviet communism were overlooked because the goals of defeating Western culture and dominance were similar. It's also easy to imagine that Egyptian youth could be seduced by the Muslim Brotherhood who promise a Muslim-style freedom and democracy which fits their cultural understanding more closely than western values.
It's not clear, however, that a Caliphate will attract enough support from educated youth across the Mid-East and Europe to create a real threat to the West. I believe Islamism as practiced by fundamentalists will go the way of Stalinism as it receives more light. The seduction is the vision of oppressed conquering the oppressors, which in different, more modern terms is what has inspired unions and socialists and progressives to fight against the Man, the Fat Cats, the Capitalist Pigs. To a certain extent there is truth to the reality of elite power players controlling to varying degrees the majority. I write about this reality all the time, but from a much different perspective. I beleve there is a more natural process by which people through limited government and the rule of law can establish a free market thereby creating equal opportunity and widespread prosperity and freedom.
The movement Beck is talking about has other plans whereby power and control is still in the hands of an elite few -- the Spiritual Rulers -- and the majority is dominated not by the State but by Allah as Allah is represented through the spiritual leaders. This is just another form of domination. Shortly after 9/11, Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's intellectual heir, was on Bill O'Reilly's show, and Peikoff told O'Reilly that everyone was focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, but the real problem generated from the spirtual leaders of Iran. O'Reilly called Peikoff a lunatic, and Peikoff is highly strung, but Peikoff was right.