So the parable of the taxi driver teaches us that Islam has yet to taste of the Scottish Enlightenment. No Enlightenment means no tolerance, no notion that tolerance is essential to civilization.
What are we to do with this insight? If you are a rabid Muslim hater (there are such people after all) you are inclined to say, "see, I told you so, there is no dealing with these people, negotiation means appeasement and appeasement means only defeat, Islam must be defeated which means that Islam must be annihilated." If you are a liberal, you react in horror to such a stance, you call it the equivalent of racism, and proclaim that the root causes of Muslim intolerance must be dealt with. If you are a conservative, you reject the first as morally wrong and physically impossible (there are after all 1.4 billion Muslims in the world), and the second as impractical (we are in a war in which crazed Islamo- fundamentalists would cheerfully blow up or cities and murder us by the millions and there is not that much time or money or even patience in the enlightened world to get the job done).
So what is the conservative solution? The problem is that the world of Islam is so intolerant that it is dangerous and mortally dangerous at that to our civilization, our democracy, and our children's very lives. But the Muslim does not see himself as unenlightened. He is sure he is possessed of all of the Enlightenment there is to have and it is divine enlightenment. He denies that he is intolerant and insists that he is righteous. There is no scientific method, no idea of the marketplace of ideas, no receptivity. Just as the medicine of oncology cannot kill the cancerous cell if it cannot gain entry, so the intolerant Muslim cannot hear if he will not listen.
The honest truth is that there is no conservative solution to this dilemma. If the problem were an incorrigible criminal, conservatives would know what to do: lock him up, quarantine him. But we are dealing with a fifth of the planet here. There is an entity which showed itself quite capable of dealing with huge portions of the world's population who were ignorant, violent, and in many cases, Muslim and that entity was the British Empire operating in all the glory of its enlightened imperialist age. How did the thin red line manage the uncivilized world so successfully for so long until the royal Navy passed the baton to the American Navy?
Well, they did not do it the French way, the Brits did not go native. For the most part, they maintained their standards, they provided an efficient bureaucracy, a rule of law, and an essentially honest administration. In short, they operated within the lights of their own enlightenment. The caricature of the British colonialist of the Victorian age is of an Englishman so insular and so arrogant that he was incapable of understanding or adapting to local conditions and cultures even to the extent that he would go out into the midday sun. This is wholly unfair and a misreading of history. In fact the Brits were quite observant and really good listeners. Clive did not conquer India with only 800 men by overwhelming millions, he achieved this stupendous victory by setting his enemies against each other. He read each faction carefully and manipulated them.
I have posted time and again on these threads my belief that ultimately this intergenerational, world war against 1.4 billion Muslims for the very survival of our civilization and our democracy and our children's lives must be lost if it is not won by Muslims themselves. We must become as wily as the British and mobilize what is sane in the Muslim world to save us because they must save themselves.
But in the long haul it is only Muslims who have the keys to their brothers. If the medicine is to kill the cancerous cells in the body Islam, the medicine must somehow find the portal into the cell. We cannot enlighten our taxi driver by exhorting him to be enlightened. He is deaf and blind to these Western ideas. He does not feel himself any bit enlightened but rather threatened. He is, however, likely to be receptive to ideas which are couched in the language and the idiom of Islam. Like Clive, we had better learn the idiom.
Let me guess, your english?
You forget to mention that the reason the Brits were able to install some semblance of civilization and reason among the Muslims is that the Brits were a superior military force; the Muslims were weak and unable to confront them. (Muslim pirates did have great success in fighting the British in the Mediterranean, which of course is where we came into it.)
Muslims are fine and will accept reason as long as they are afraid of us and know that we have superior force. The advent of assymetrical warfare with disproportionately powerful weapons has changed all that.
In other words, we're going to have to deal with it some other way. Bush has been trying the British approach - go to Iraq, take out the tyrant, and install a civil society that permits Muslims the freedom to get out of the clutches of their repressive and backwards religion. But, IMHO, it's not working. Conditions have changed. We have worldwide paths of communications and transportation that Muslims use only for death and destruction. The idea of creating an enclave of rationality in the midst of the irrational Muslim world, and hoping that this will spread seems to me to be virtually impossible, because the retrograde forces of Islam have used modern technology to become omnipresent and are seeking even more modern technology to have destructive power that they believe will force the entire world to submit to them.
Much of your strategic suggestions are sound. I would add another, although I suspect a lot would oppose it. I believe we cannot meet the Muslims head to head on ideology until we get back in touch with our own heritage in the Judeo-Christian standard.
Muslims see themselves living a more holy life than do we. They believe they have a special, covenant relationship with God (Allah). Christians and Jews believe the same thing but a huge majority no longer act like they do. Until we ourselves do more to purge our society of pornography, rampant dishonesty, sexualizing of casual relationships, immorality and other vices, we can't communicate with devout Muslims. If they believe they care more about their God than do we of ours, we are ships passing in the night.
I am one of those who believe this society is living on borrowed light right now. The strength that came from moral, holy lives is dissipating rapidly and unless we do the hard work of deciding what in our society constitutes enlightenment and what constitutes hedonism or paganism, we are at a loss to dictate to Muslims what standards they should follow.
Our lives should be examples of what God-loving people are so that we can attract Muslims to either leave a destructive philosophy or reform it. Defiantly placing ourselves four-square behind the Madonnas and Boy Georges and Donald Trumps and "Sopranos" of this world just strengthens Muslim belief that our society has nothing to offer it beyond a chance to make some money.
Until we are willing to put our lives where our mouths are and clean our own house, we are at a tremendous disadvantage against those who believe they are living lives in accordance with divine laws. I'm not positing a return to Puritanism but I do believe we can do better to stand up against the gay agenda, gambling, pornography, public profanity and immodesty and other vices we know isn't ultimately good for any society and least of all for our children.