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West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat download epub

by Roger Scruton


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The West And The Rest is a beautifully written and concise but also, maybe a bit for the worse as well as mostly for the better, a dense book.

The West And The Rest is a beautifully written and concise but also, maybe a bit for the worse as well as mostly for the better, a dense book. As well as to the frailties of one's own intellect even as it is fired to pursue the lessons of a natural teacher, this challenge was largely owing to Scruton's book having been already, in effect, highly concentrated by its author, who has here put the most salient features of not one but two whole civilisations at our concernful.

For one thing, the idea of the social contract, crucial to the self-conception of Western nations, is entirely absent in Islamic societies. Similarly, Scruton explains why the notions of territorial jurisdiction, citizenship, and the independent legitimacy of secular authority and law are both specifically Western and fundamentally antipathetic to Islamic thought.

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Globalization and the. Terrorist threat. When distinguishing the rest from the West I do not mean to imply that there is a unified antipathy to the Western way of life, or that the world is divided into opposing camps, as perhaps it was during the Cold War. Wilmington, delaware. However, it seems to me that there is a great difference between those parts where the Western political project has taken root, and those where it has not.

The West and Its Antagonists: Culture, Globalization, and the War on. .And. when terrorism too becomes globalized, the threat is amplified a hundred-fold.

The West and Its Antagonists: Culture, Globalization, and the War on Terrorism. In his book The West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist. Threat, Scruton, a British philosopher and prolific author, stakes out an interesting piece of. intellectual ground: certainly not anti-Western, or even anti-American, in any conventional. With al-Qa’eda, therefore, we encounter the real impact of globalization on. the Islamic revival.

Subtitled "Globalization and the Terrorist Threat," this book explores a number of related themes

Subtitled "Globalization and the Terrorist Threat," this book explores a number of related themes. A major thesis is how modern Western democracies differ from other types of societies in general, and the Islamic world in particular. Roger Scruton, who has written more than twenty books, including: LAND HELD HOSTAGE: LEBANON AND THE WEST (1987), has summarized the philosophical background of political thought supporting western forms of government and enterprises, on the one hand, and the most menacing forms of opposition threatening their existence, on the other.

Until recently, however, it modeled itself on the Assassins, and took powerful or symbolic individuals as its targets.

CHAPTER 4. GLOBALIZATION. IT IS THANKS to Western prosperity, Western legal systems, Western forms of banking, and Western communications that human initiatives now reach so easily across frontiers to affect the lives and aspirations of people all over the globe. Until recently, however, it modeled itself on the Assassins, and took powerful or symbolic individuals as its targets.

In his book ‘The West and the Rest: Globalisation and the Terrorist Threat’, Roger Scruton contests that by imposing itself and its values on the entire world through the globalization process, the West is creating th.

In his book ‘The West and the Rest: Globalisation and the Terrorist Threat’, Roger Scruton contests that by imposing itself and its values on the entire world through the globalization process, the West is creating the conditions for conflict to occur between other cultures. One example showing how Muslims use globalization to strengthen and promote their community can be found in Abu Basir’s book of rulings, where he uses the Islamic principle of "the necessities allow the prohibited".

The new book by Roger Scruton, one of Britain’s most prominent intellectuals, addresses the intellectual and political background to the September 11 attacks. Its eminently quotable pages, ranging from classical Islamic philosophy to architecture to current economics, offer a capsule history of the confluence of events and beliefs that led to September 1. -The New York Sun "British philosopher Roger Scruton’s The West and the Rest does a superb job of placing into context the horrendous events of September 11, 2001.

In this astonishing new book, Roger Scruton argues that to understand adequately the roots of Islamic terrorism, one must understand both the unique historical evolution of the state and the dynamic of globalization.With extraordinary perception, Scruton reveals the philosophical and theological roots of the current clash of civilizations. He addresses issues such as the conflict between Islam and secular law, notions of citizenship, fulfilling the human need for belonging, and why globalization provokes such an apparent desire for revenge against the West in some Islamic minds. Scruton's sober, well-informed narrative raises fundamental questions about the West's ability to recover and defend its own religious heritage while delimiting the harmful effects of its decadent hyper-individualism and the culture of repudiation it has sparked both within its own societies and the societies it touches. Finally, Scruton calls for the West to re-examine some of its assumptions about such matters as immigration, multiculturalism, progress and prosperity.


Comments: (7)

Kahavor
According to noted English philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton, "the principle target of al-Qa'eda," whose terroristic strike against the United States in 2001 we may take as synechdochal of contemporary Islamist hatred generally, "is neither Western civilisation, nor Christianity, nor global capitalism" (156) ; nor is al-Qa'eda's motivation for striking whatever it was in The West that it meant above all to strike readily to be envisaged as vengeance for anything The West ever did in or to The Middle East but, rather, against that which we, most essentially, are : "the Muslim terrorist target[s] the nation-state [per se] as the true work of Satan" (156). "Al-Qa'eda," whose name means "base," accepts "no territory as home and no human law as authoritative" (128) ; concomitantly, it seeks to overrun our territory and eradicate our home. Insidiously enlarged by globalisation (85) even as its own lifeblood of territorial loyalties recedes (83), The West today presents the "spectacle of a secular society maintained by…laws [man-made rather than divinely proclaimed]" (158) and continuing therewith to achieve, not only the equilibrium that has eluded The Muslim World, but a sort of degenerate yet interminable prosperity. It is this spectacle that provokes in many Muslims what Scruton aptly calls "a seething desire to punish" (83), yet it is not foremost with the origins of Islamist hatred that Scruton is concerned in The West And The Rest but with our own identity, the identity of Western Civilisation, and what sets it apart from every other.

Scruton begins his survey of Western civilisational origins by asserting that our civilisation has its ultimate root in Ancient Athens, where, as the Oresteia of Aeschylus testifies, it was realized that, where the former comes into conflict with the latter, religious law should give way to civil law for the sake of long-term social equilibrium. Between this ultimate root of our civilisation and its present incarnation intervene two further great ancient institutional influences : Roman Law and The Christian Church. Scruton asserts that the first of these is distinctive, above all, in being essentially an instrument of conflict-resolution rather than the codification of its creators' tribal mores or religious imperatives. Roman Law was, correlatively, derived from no holy text but autonomous principles refined over centuries administering the most ethno-religiously disparate provinces (22). In short, Roman Law evolved into and under what Scruton calls its own "universal jurisdiction" (3), and it is the universal jurisdiction of Roman Law that has been most decisive for the development of Western civilisational identity. Nor was Roman Law anywise more influential than in its serving as framework no less than foil to the development of a third and final key influence in Western civilisational identity : The Christian Church.

Always already entrenched subjects of the mighty Roman Empire, the first Christians, though they could be passionately disobedient, hardly dreamed of ruling themselves outright. Jesus himself advised his followers to "[r]ender…to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (4). But even more decisive was the trail-blazing guidance of a learnèd imperial lawyer, Paul Of Tarsus, who directed The Early Church towards becoming, in dovetail with Rome's universal jurisdiction, an organisation not only headed by citizens but itself (corporately) a citizen. No less hedged in than hedged about by its unique status, The Christian Church transmitted the concatenated legal-conceptual heritage that remains the core of Western Civilisational identity : an ethno-religiously disinterested civil law, precedence for civil law where religious law conflicted, and, for The Church, no fewer responsibilities than rights. Race, creed, language (23), and dynasty (21), which have fueled identity-formation the world over, have all also, Scruton admits, contributed to the formation of territorial loyalties in The Post-Roman West, but what Scruton helps us understand has set The West fundamentally apart is her never-extinguished belief in "political process" (16)--public, reasoned, human consent-seeking--as the righteously ultimate arbiter of collective agreement.

If Christianity's foundational figure might be called impractical in His unremitting transformation of the inner-life, Muhammed, who found himself amidst no such Caesarian Over-World as Jesus did, may be called eminently practical. Muhammed's world-class insight, Scruton explains, was into the utilitarian power of ritual and law rapidly to form a new community (102-3). The word "Islam" itself means "submission [that brings peace]," and it was with the forms of community-building submission rather than with the incubation of complex, inward-directed doctrine on the one hand and legal compromises on the other that Muhammed was, from the first, principly concerned. As a result of its founder's strengths and preoccupations, Islam still enjoys a "form of membership" "unparalleled," as Scruton remarks, in its capacity to satisfy longings for ritually confirmed forms of guiltlessness but which, from a Western perspective, also suffers grave conceptual deficits. That which Scruton finds most crucially lacking in Classic Islamic thought is any concept of that Western touchstone, legal personality (98), by which a church may preside without arrogating to itself all power, and any legal definition of what we call the public sphere (98), wherein political (as opposed to divinely proclaimed) solutions to collective problems might work themselves out. Scruton's word-painting of the Old Muslim City, "built cell on cell, a hive of private spaces" (100), each visited by the "stark, unmediated" presence of the Muslim God (92), nicely sums up both Islam's beauties and, vis-à-vis The West as Scruton has limned it, Islam's limitations.

The West And The Rest is a beautifully written and concise but also, maybe a bit for the worse as well as mostly for the better, a dense book. Only 161 pages long in this edition, it was very challenging to encapsulate in a review of only a few paragraphs. As well as to the frailties of one's own intellect even as it is fired to pursue the lessons of a natural teacher, this challenge was largely owing to Scruton's book having been already, in effect, highly concentrated by its author, who has here put the most salient features of not one but two whole civilisations at our concernful and comparative fingertips. I do wish, however, that Scruton had pursued his survey of the aspects of Western Civilisational Identity in simpler sequence. I think, in particular, of "a far more important legacy of Christianity" (i.e. the extolling of forgiveness--which, it turns out, is far more important than Christianity's more narrowly legal heritage) cropping up associatively on page 36, at which point I wasn't certain how to integrate that advantage of Christianity, well explained in itself though it was, into my overall picture of The Church and its differences from Islam. Another, and more important, cavil I would like to make is with the absence of any spelled-out definition of a couple of key legal-ish terms : "legal personality" and "universal citizen." I did my best, in the above encapsulation of Scruton's argument, to show that I had gathered what they mean (and I grazed internet definitions), but, in this regard, I crave the further explanation I know Sir Roger is so well able to provide.
Wenaiand
Scruton gives us a piercing concpetual analysis and deconstruction of the major qualities of Western and Islamic mindsets, motivations and goals, from political "liberal New York" to creed based Tehran. Of particular interest is his conclusion, based fully on what he considers the central tenets of the West. A must read and consideration for any citizen concerned about the state of the globe.
Browelali
Although relatively brief (161 pages) this volume is densely packed with careful analysis and incisive observation. Subtitled "Globalization and the Terrorist Threat," this book explores a number of related themes. A major thesis is how modern Western democracies differ from other types of societies in general, and the Islamic world in particular. His historical and philosophical investigations provide a framework in which to judge both the September 11 attacks, and the ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism.

He begins by noting that social bonding can take place by means of either religion or politics. In the pluralistic West, social cohesion is mainly found in the form of the social contract, whereas in the Islamic world, religion alone provides that basis. Roman law and the Christian religion helped provide the basis for the social contract, as well as bring about the Western conception of the demarcation of the religious and political spheres.

Islamic societies on the other hand know of no separation of religious and secular authorities, with religion the sole basis of the state. Just as the Communist party was a law onto itself, so "Islam aims to control the state without being a subject of the state". As a result, there are no political or social mediating structures between Allah and His will (Islam) and the submissive Muslim (Islamic citizen).

The freedoms of a democracy, including the freedom to oppose the state, to vote for alternative parties, and to freely express dissenting opinions are thus not to be found in Islamic states. In theocracies, such dissent is just not possible. And given that Islam means submission, the good Muslim is an obedient Muslim.

Both secular Western societies and Muslim societies have notions of membership. Membership in the West is made up of the voluntary, the tribal, the linguistic and the political. Muslim membership is credal, based only on the religious. The political process of the West allows for the separation of society from the state, while there is no such distinction in Islamic jurisdictions. Thus the political is the religious, whereas the genius of Western democracies is to separate the political from the rest of social and personal life.

Democratic citizenship helps to limit state power and deter totalitarian temptations. However as the onslaught of radical individualism and secularism sweep the West, former loyalties and the sense of social membership are quickly giving way. As the concept of citizenship disappears, social membership is strained and the basis of democracies is undermined. In the light of such social and political fragmentation, the religious membership of Islamic societies stands in sharp contrast.

However Islamic unity is based on force and power, not consent. Religious toleration, taken for granted in the West, is a foreign concept in Islamic societies. Islamic law applies to every aspect of life, and leads to the denial of the political. All is religious, and mediating structures are unheard of.

While Christianity teaches us to give to Caesar what is his, in Islamic thinking nothing is Caesar's, everything is Allah's. All is religious because all is Allah's. Thus Islamic membership is all-embracing and all-demanding.

But Western membership, or citizenship is unraveling, making Western democracies vulnerable and lacking in direction. Thus the inability of Western nations to unite against the real dangers of terrorism. Thus the mistaken notions of moral equivalence, where ruthless Muslim dictatorships are seen as no better or no worse than Western leadership. Thus the real possibility of the continued demise of the West coupled with a resurgent rise of Islam.

Yes there are exceptions, such as authoritarian democracies (e.g Singapore) and democratic Muslim states (Turkey being the only real example). But Islamic nations are inherently undemocratic. The political freedoms we enjoy in the West are largely unheard of in Islamic societies. And while the majority of Muslims do not support terrorism and murder, enough do to make for a lengthy battle between the West and Islam.

In the past Christians may have wrongly used the edge of the sword to command loyalty to the faith, but that has always been a perversion of Christ's gospel, not a fulfillment of it. But for a Muslim to take up the sword for Islam against the unbeliever is both sensible for a member of a theocracy and endorsed (at least in some interpretations) in the Koran.

Indeed, terrorism and conquest have a long history in Islam. And modern Western-trained Muslims, backed with Western technology and the revenue of Arabian oil wells, have made for the kind of terrorism witnessed in New York and Bali. Many explanations and justifications for such terrorism have been put forward, but the truth is, as Scruton documents, "Islamism is not a cry of distress from the `wretched of the earth.' It is an implacable summon to war, issued by globetrotting middle-class Muslims".

Since opposition cannot be found in Islamic countries, only a re-invigorated West can adequately deal with the terrorist threat (and Muslim terrorism against other Muslims is not uncommon). But this requires a renewal of the idea of citizenship and community, and a renunciation of radical versions of individualism and secularism. The religious (mainly Judeo-Christian) basis of Western democracies needs to be revived and encouraged not just in the private sphere but in the public as well.

Thus Scruton's book is not only a warning about the anti-democratic makeup of Islamic societies, but a wake-up call to the West to re-explore its roots and re-establish its moral and cultural foundations. Without a revived West the prospects for the war against Islamic terrorism look bleak. But this volume helps to remind us that the stakes are high and some things are worth fighting for. Hopefully this book will serve as a much-needed call to action by the West. If not, we have much to fear from the future.
Marirne
I am not sure that this book is about the West and the rest that includes China, India, Russia, Brazil. It is more about the West and Islam. This is not surprising since it was written in response to 9/11. For Scruton the West is comprised of territorial states whose democratic features include a seperation of state and church, and an insistence on loyalty to the state. The Islamic world on the other hand is a civilization in which loyalty to one's particular state is secondary to loyalty to Islamic Civilization as a whole. In Islamic civilization there is no loyalty per se to the state, but rather to the global Islamic community. Islam does not seperate church and state but makes them one.
Scruton sees a loss of faith and decline in functionality in the West, and contrasts this with an Islamic world whose loyalty is o Islamic civilization as a whole. He sees the rise of global terror in connection with the growth of Islam in the world.
West and the Rest: Globalization and the Terrorist Threat download epub
Politics & Government
Author: Roger Scruton
ISBN: 0826470300
Category: Politics & Social Sciences
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Language: English
Publisher: Continuum; Reprint edition (January 6, 2003)
Pages: 200 pages