Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Response to Video

I am not sure that Leo Strauss and Sayed Kotb can be credited with masterminding the neoconservative and radical Islamic movements, respectively. It did not seem like Leo Strauss, in particular, was that concerned about religion. Rather, his agenda was "good versus evil" like the TV show, Gunsmoke. He wanted to reorient the country from the liberal freedoms and recreate the myth of America. His main enemy, as portrayed, was the Soviet Union. Sayed Kotb did seem much more dedicated within the religion of Islam. His leap of faith (no pun intended) was when he believed the infection of selfish individualism has corrupted both the people and the leaders that is was now justifiable to kill Muslims in a holy war (Jihad). 
The neoconservatives relied on a union with the religious fundamentalists and that seemed to come way after Strauss. Curtis, the writer of the documentary, declares that the fundamentalists really didn't get involved in politics or government until the 1980s. I grew up in North Carolina and find it hard to believe that this group of people were not involved until the 1980s. They may not have had an organized voice, but they were not first time voters when Reagan came on board. 
Regardless of whether Curtis is right about naming two rather obscure people as the initiators of our current "Reign on Terror," he is right about the role of religion to justify war, jihad, killing, torture, and so many other evils. The structure of religion has been a terrible thing for much of mankind's history. The more extreme the religion or the believers, the worse the atrocities. This is irrespective of Islam, Christianity, or Judiasm. If you have God on your side all terrible things are possible. 

1 comment:

Allison Fish said...

I understand what you are saying, but I do not think that Strauss and Kotb had the same goals in mind. The Neo-conservatist agenda was admittedly not really about religion; they didn't actually believe God was on their side, they just wanted the Masses to believe so. In contrast, Kotb, however skewed his ideals may have been, actually seemed to believe he was following the tenants of Islam. I agree that the religious fanatics existed long before the 1980s, but I think the actions of Strauss just gave a name to the movement and helped to mobilize the fundamentalists. There is a certain emotion that gets tapped into when god is used as a justification for doing harm to other people or other nations. Some are appalled; others are even more adamant about the cause than before. All terrible things are possible, its just that some people have the audacity to use religion as an excuse, such as the Neo-Conservatives, which are still going strong. My fear, however, is that these people no longer know that this is all made up and actually believe in what they are preaching. Scary thought, huh?