The excerpt addresses the problem of how an open society can ethically deal with the dilemma created by freedom of religion on the one hand, and laws against sedition on the other. Up until now those two laws have not created a problem. But with the immigration of Muslims into democracies, the dilemma has become obvious.
How will free societies protect themselves from overthrow, and yet remain free? Mitchell writes:
[Trivkovic] insists that Islam itself is “inherently seditious” but recommends action against only “Islamic activism,” defined as the political act of propagating, disseminating or otherwise supporting “Jihad”…, discrimination against Christians, Jews and other “infidels,” discrimination and violence against women and sexual minorities, anti-Jewish bigotry, sanction of slavery, etc.
Trifkovic knows, of course, that the Koran propagates all these things and that there can be no Islam without the Koran. His point seems to be that the Constitution empowers us to ban Islam because of its politics and not because of its religion. “We do not need new legal theories, or a different conception of the First Amendment,” he writes. “[W]e need an educational campaign.”
He might be right about the law. As Justice Jackson pointed out, the Constitution is not a suicide pact, and there is certainly no overestimating the willingness of American jurists, when provided enough political cover, to argue around inconvenient legal obstacles. It seems to me, however, that a paradigm shift sufficient to get us honestly out of our ideological box would require us to admit that the First Amendment’s Anti-Establishment Clause is a large part of the problem. Any schoolboy can see that, if some religions are inherently seditious, a constitution tolerating all religions invites its own overthrow.
Our educational campaign must therefore teach two truths: that Islam is seditious, and that the Founding Fathers were wrong. Teaching the former and not the latter will cause confusion and keep us thinking inside the box.
There is also the danger that the prosecution of “Islamic activism” alone, especially when clouded by the requirement of unrestricted religious freedom, will not protect us from “moderate” Muslims who disavow the seditious aspects of their religion only until they are too strong to oppose. Trifkovic indeed warns that moderates cannot be trusted because Muhammad’s doctrine of taqiyya sanctions dissembling for the sake of Allah. He also warns that nominal Muslims, when demoralized by Western culture, sometimes sincerely rediscover their own true faith — with violent consequences.
What is needed to strengthen this book’s recommendations for a practical response to Islam is a more thorough theoretical treatment of the problem of Popper’s Paradox, which says (in words too plain for Karl Popper himself) that even open societies, if they are to remain open to some, must remain closed to others.
What do you think?