CESNUR - Centro Studi sulle Nuove Religioni diretto da Massimo Introvigne

CESNUR 2006 International Conference
July 13-16, 2006
San Diego State University, San Diego, California
Religion, Globalization, and Conflict: International Perspectives

How We Lost Civil Islam: Globalization and the Plight of Civil Religious Dialogue

by Songok Han THORNTON (Department of International Affairs, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages) and William H. THORNTON (Graduate School of Foreign Literature National Cheng Kung University)

A paper presented at the CESNUR 2006 International Conference. Please do not reproduce or quote without the consent of the author

Abstract:  9/11 put the question of Islamic ‘Otherness’ front and center, but also heated up the biases that foreclose on any objective discussion of the matter.  The us/them polarity of McWorld and Jihad freezes us into a conceptual polarity that sanctions geopolitical unilateralism and its obverse, global terrorism.  This study explores the mediatory possibilities of civil religion, and specifically civil Islam, in the face of this geocultural deadlock.  Any hope for dissolving Huntington’s civilizational clash rests on the transcultural understanding that is possible between civil Islam and the civil religious West.  This is the cultural imperative that brought the secularist Jürgen Habermas and his would-be adversary, Cardinal Ratzinger-now Pope Benedict XVI-together in one of the greatest non-debates of our time.  Both independently recognized that at the very moment when Europe seemed to be coming together as never before, it was losing the civil religious bedrock that could make this political fusion more than a legalistic exercise.  That civilizational loss burns any possible bridge with civil Islam, which is the best ally the West could have in its “war on terrorism.”  The primary question, then, is not how we lost civil Islam, but how we lost the West.  The hollowness of today’s secularity renders us incapable of comprehending our civil religious Other.  As Walt Kelly (Pogo) put it, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” 


9/11 put the question of Islamic modernity front and center, but also heated up the biases that foreclose on any objective discussion of the matter.  Inevitably the question is more political than theological, and is enormously complicated by our own politics of inquiry.  Only the cultural Left has been inclined to grant any emic space to Islamism (political Islam), and only because of a shared anti-Western animus.  This secular reflex pays little attention to the Koranic roots of Islamism.  For that reason the West in general has remained tone deaf, or even stone deaf, to moderate strains of Islamism that are religiously motivated, and less stridently anti-Western.  This is unfortunate, because the real “war on terrorism” will be won or lost in the civil Islamic world.  America’s way of waging this war focuses so exclusively on uncivil Islamism that it fails to recognize its best ally.  Its tactics are usually so off-target that it ends up serving as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.

Civil Islam, then, is left as an ideological orphan so far as Western cultural analysis is concerned, and even Jihad is dimly understood.  It is no more representative of Islam than the KKK, which burns crosses, is representative of Christianity.  The anti-orientalist wedding of the cultural Left and radical Islamism makes sense only in terms of the tribal logic that takes the enemy of my enemy as my friend.[1]  This strange bedfellows relationship traces to the Left’s migration from its prior focus on class struggle to its present fixation on anti-imperialism.  Marx himself paid grudging respect to the colonialism of his day, which he considered an unwitting agent of revolutionary change.  Marx certainly recognized the awesome greed and hubris that drove colonialism, but thought its end result was still positive when set against the blighted traditions it dislodged.[2]

From the classic Marxist perspective, then, the East was the natural habitat of oriental despotism, and Westernization was the cure.  That in fact is not far from the standard modernist view of “development.”  In short, the modernist West, Left and Right, has stood as a solid orientalist phalanx against “the Rest.”  One would have expected the “decentering” processes of postmodernism to rectify this bias, but any such corrective is short-circuited where religion is concerned, for religiosity is in this view the very epitome of “centered” misapprehension.

It follows that civil Islam, even after 9/11, is relatively unexplored cultural territory.  But for that matter so is much of civil religious America, though the Right has been better at tapping the politics of religious discontent.  Thomas Frank’s question as to how the liberal Left lost Kansas is relevant here,[3] for the ultimate enemy of the Left in general is not just America, but the kind of religious motivation that is as common to Acehnese as to Kansans.  Only radical Islamists register as significant others on this anti-orientalist radar screen.  Even Osama bin Laden comes across as getting one thing right: the right choice of a cultural enemy.  To that extent he is regarded somewhat sympathetically by many who know better than to openly say so.  This vocal silence got louder after 9/11, pushing Kansas even farther away-and for good reason.  This goes to the heart of what Michael Walzer sees as the contemporary Left’s paramount problem: its dearth of basic civility.  Its apathy in the face of the radical evil that struck on 9/11 forces Walzer to ask how this problem could be rectified.  How can we nurture a “decent Left”?

The same question can be applied to modernism and postmodernism, for both have remained closed to the progressive dimensions of religion.  There is a civil religious America, just as there is a civil Islam, and any hope for dissolving Huntington’s civilizational clash rests on the mutual respect that is possible between these two civilities.  This is the pre-political nexus that brought the secularist Jürgen Habermas and his would-be antagonist, Cardinal Ratzinger-now the Pope-together in one of the greatest non-debates of our era.  In the aftermath of 9/11, the two independently realized that at the very moment when Europe seemed to be coming together politically as never before, it was losing the civil religious foundation that is the civilizational bedrock of the West.  The irony is that in losing the West, we were also losing touch with the civil Islamic East.

In a 2001 lecture, Habermas recognized that 9/11 had been a response to “radically uprooting modernization,” by which he clearly meant the export of the wrong Westernization under the rubric of globalization.  Ratzinger added that a different cosmopolitanism was needed.  For Christians this would mean a return to a relationship with the natural world and its Creator.  For Indians it would mean rediscovering the inner lawfulness of “Dharma,” while for Chinese it would mean restoring concern for the “ordinances of heaven.”  In general it marks a return to the trans-cultural domain that Walzer, drawing upon Clifford Geertz’s terminology, calls the “thin” as opposed to the “thick” of cultural decency.  As Ratzinger put it, this anchors human conduct in something more solid and abiding than a democratic “play of majorities.”[4]  Without this cross-cultural and ecumenical civility, no military budget would be big enough to ward off the future according to those twin icons of us/them apocalypse, Osama bin Laden and President Bush.

Paradoxically, such cultural convergence requires at the same time a respect for the “thick” of cultural difference.  Postmodern talk of “difference” has papered over the inter-cultural impact of its own cultural relativism.  Little respect is given for more resistant forms of difference which cannot be blended into the pot of postmodern “hybridity.”  This radical in/difference is in fact the cultural arm of globalization, dissolving the “local” into a politically innocuous “glocal.”  Glocalization cannot cloak the cultural violence of globalization.  As Habermas suggests, much of what passes for progress and development is a “radical uprooting” of cultural integrity.

Granted, globalization’s cultural meltdown is never total.  If it were, it would spawn a united front of resistance.  Rather, it targets those cultural elements that happen to obstruct capitalist production and trade, on the supply side, or the advance of global consumerism, on the demand side.  Other elements are allowed to survive, and in some cases they are carefully preserved.  This division of raw and cooked-the culturally resistant and the globalized-explodes one of the last barriers to globalization.  The disparate worlds of “Jihad” stand firm against a homogeneous “McWorld.”  In the generic sense that Benjamin Barber uses the term, “Jihad” applies to any unyielding cultural element.  This resistance, however, does not necessarily fight fire with fire-the cultural violence of McWorld with the counter-violence of militant Jihad.  I would suggest that only when resistance proves impossible at a civil level does it migrate en mass to the uncivil sphere.  The key point, however, is that this migration is reversible.  To the extent that civil resistance is cultivated in mainstream Islamism, terrorism would be pushed out to border zones where it will eventually wither away.  Again, the worst enemy of Jihadic terror is civil Islam, not Pentagon action.

Globalization, unfortunately, treats civil religion as it does any other cultural vestige: according to its use value.  Religious tolerance becomes a commercial question.  The kind of religiosity that draws tourists is deemed good.  It can stay.  What the global market fears most is religion in the open air, much as Soviet communism feared Poland’s in-the-street Catholicism.  It is the retreat of such “blooming-and-buzzing” religiosity from the public culture of the West that in Jürgen Habermas’s opinion has invited the worst kind of secular materialism to prosper unopposed.  This retreat is of course nothing new.  One thing that Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche had in common was the belief that the cultural centrality of religion was doomed.  For them, of course, that was good news.[5]  Unfortunately it is also good news for the bin Ladens of the world, who ride in on the waves of cultural reaction this inevitably produces.

Habermas, therefore, has come to view extreme secularity as more the problem than the solution.  As of 2001, in his Peace Prize acceptance speech, this erstwhile secularist began to show a new appreciation for the cultural dimension of religion.  It is not incidental that this talk was given shortly after 9/11.  Habermas, however, was not jumping on the US bandwagon of “us vs. them” anti-Islamism.  His lecture was titled “Faith and Knowledge,” not “Christian Faith and Knowledge.”  He simply recognized that there is more to be said for religious foundations than European intellectuals prone to admit.  In the EU and throughout most of the globalized world, those foundations had been systematically uprooted, and now the gift of that putative liberation was being foistered on the whole globalized world.

As the West learned all too well on 9/11, the Muslim world may not want to be “liberated.”  This is not to say, however, that Muslims do not want some form of modernization.  A standard orientalist assumption is that modernization is unilinear and exclusionary.  To make room for the new, the past must be jettisoned without resistance.  Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington hold that Islamic societies have missed out on the great transformation that categorically divides the modern West not only from the East but also from its own benighted past.  The problem with Islamic culture, therefore, is that it is stuck in its own Dark Ages.  The question is whether it can get out of that quagmire without surrendering its religious foundations.  Can Islam be modernized and de-terrorized, or is Islam itself the problem with Islamism?  In that case there is no hope apart from blanket secularization, at least in the political realm.

But what if this conventional wisdom is all wrong?  What if 21st century Jihad is not so deeply rooted in Islam as we have supposed?  Whereas most Western observers, in secular Europe as well as “born again” America, see al Qaeda as a reversion to medieval Islamism, John Gray, in Al Qaeda And What It Means To Be Modern, regards it as a modern and largely Western phenomenon.  That is not because Gray is Eurocentric, let alone “orientalist.”  Indeed, Al Qaeda can be read as an exoneration of Islamic culture insofar as Gray is blaming the worst kind of radical Islamism on the worst kind of Western influence.[6]  In earlier works he defends the concept of indigenous modernization-most notably that of Japan-against those who would equate modernization with Westernization.[7]  This leaves the door open for a distinctly Islamic modernization, free from the machinations of Bush administration “roadmaps.”  While the Islamic path to democratization is not taken very far in Al Qaeda, a theoretical space is opened in this direction.

That is enough to put Gray at odds with Lewis, the most formidable Islamist in the Bush circle.  For Lewis there is no question that the current terrorist crisis traces to centuries of Islamic decadence.[8]  Likewise Gray collides with Huntington,[9] whose famous “clash of civilizations” thesis did much to inspire Bush’s “us/them” mantra after 9/11.  That virtual declaration of war was aimed not just at al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban (which a few years before had enjoyed U.S. support by way of Pakistan) but also at any country that takes a more culturally nuanced or geopolitically balanced approach to the “war on terrorism.”  In short, any nation that does not swear fealty to Washington could end up in the President’s “them” column.

For the neoconservative hawks who surround Bush, Osama bin Laden is the ultimate cultural Other, although ironically it is his globalist savvy that renders him so dangerous.  An earlier generation of Western observers-ranging from Shia-phobic State Department analysts to cultural theorists like Michel Foucault-was equally fixated on the Ayatolla Khomeini.  Foucault at one point took Khomeini as the paragon of both anti-capitalist and anti-modernist virtue.[10]  By contrast, today’s neocons vilify not only Osama but Islamism in general.  Gray avoids this trap for one simple reason: in his view al Qaeda and its ilk are not the Other.  Their proneness to violence as well as their whole revolutionary tilt are, in Gray’s estimation, products of Western radical traditions. 

What propels this dark Western undercurrent-which Gray sees as engulfing even today’s neoconservatives[11]-is the notion that the world can be dismantled and remade for the benefit of all, including those who want no part of it.[12]  Gray sees this reconstruction project as the very essence of modernism.  It is what the IMF shares with radical Islam, and what Marx shares with Fukuyama.  For all the sound and fury of their public opposition, the Western Right and Left hold in common an unshakeable faith that the world can be revamped according to their particular ideological prescriptions.  The World Bank and the IMF, fiscal vanguards of the New World Order, call this restructuration.  Behind it all, however, Gray discerns a religious impulse that even Marxists cannot evade.  Like Hegelianism, Marxism is but a secular mutation of the greatest teleological engine of them all: Christianity.[13] 

That same engine of futurity drives today’s neoliberal globalism.  And with a neoconservative twist it energizes the Bush Doctrine’s determination to handle foreign affairs unilaterally, and by force of arms if necessary.  This Crusader mentality (which some on the Right, such as Max Boot, Robert Kagan, Victor Davis Hanson, nascent Rightist Christopher Hitchens, and Niall Ferguson, are pleased to call by its real name: imperialism)[14] is sanitized through the belief that cultural differences are mere surface qualities.  To rid cultural others of their tradition is to liberate them, making room for the wonders of globalization.

This moral imperative is now coupled with a growing sense that cultural otherness can sometimes pose a real danger to the global order, i.e., to the world as envisioned (in descending order of public awareness) by the Washington Consensus, the G-8, Davos dignitaries, and secret Bilderberg insiders.  The Bush Doctrine offers its services to all of the above in the spirit of armed globalization, or neoglobalism: the post-9/11 melding of neoliberalism and neoconservatism.[15]  Though conservatives once opposed the liberal tendency to mind the business of other societies, neocons now join hands with neoliberals in a global war on cultural difference.

To his credit, the arch-conservative Gray contests this neoglobalist ambition as surely as any leftist must.  But unlike many arch-critics of U.S. foreign policy, such as Noam Chomsky or Chalmers Johnson, Gray does not point an accusatory finger at Washington specifically.  For him the current world crisis does not stem from the exceptional nature of American empire, though a contributing factor may well be America’s unblinking appropriation of modernist assumptions in its policy decisions.  European adaptations of those same assumptions-under sanguine labels such as the “Third Way” or cosmopolitanism-would hardly solve the problem.  Nor will a still modernist left revisionism help much, as many anti-globalists assume.  Gray sees no alternative to the sweeping anti-modernism that he posits in Straw Dogs, his last and most unqualified blast at his old Enlightenment foe.  From this vantage neoliberalism and Marxism not only evince a family resemblance in their economic determinism, but share something even more fundamental: the cardinal faith, inherited almost en bloc from Christianity, that there is one right way for all mankind.     

What made this secular universalism possible was the advent of eighteenth century futurism.  As surely as their Christian forebears were out to save souls for the great Hereafter, Enlightenment philosophes were out to improve mankind in the great Tomorrow.[16]  Neither had much patience for cultural resistance, and subsequent modernism has proven equally intolerant.  As Foucault underscored with regard to liberalism, resistance has seldom been free from disciplinary consequences.

This is no less the case with neoliberal globalism, which in the name of economic restructuration attempts to cast the whole world in its image, implanting American culture in what Senator Henry Cabot Lodge once called “all the waste places of the earth.”[17]  Such a sweeping global remake is no less cultural and political than economic.  Thus Voltaire’s injunction to “crush the infamous thing” (“ecraser l’infame!”) has been extended beyond church dogma to every vestige of cultural recalcitrance.

Gray adds that even Enlightenment tolerance-presumably its finest gift to the modern world-was not so original as is commonly assumed.  We are reminded that the harbingers of liberal tolerance were quite at home in the Ottoman Empire, in Moorish Spain, Buddhist India, and imperial China.  If there is a lesson in these antecedents, it is that there is no single and incontestable path to modernity.[18]  Western liberalism is only one way to “get along” in a post-traditional world.[19]  But a simple rejection of liberalism-such as Foucault attempted in the midst of the Iranian Revolution-would leave a dangerous void.  The liberalism we jettison would almost certainly be replaced by some other form of modernism, and as Gray admonishes, there are many reactionary modernisms waiting for such a chance.  Fascism and al Qaeda, Gray’s prime examples,[20] would appreciate his assistance in ridding the world of their chief competitor, liberalism.

Gray and Foucault-strange bedfellows in the war on global liberalism-fail to see that their case rests on a very liberal intolerance of intolerance.  But the biggest problem with Al Qaeda, the book, is simply that it presses its case too far.  Undeniably there are modernist elements in al Qaeda, the movement, but its ultimate objectives are another matter.  In that respect it can be compared to the Ayatolla Khomeini’s shadow government in Paris before his fateful return to Iran in 1979.  Only in terms of some of its means and ends (certainly not suicide bombing and doing Allah’s will) can Gray justifiably describe al Qaeda as a globalist multinational.[21]

He is right that globalization, try as it will, cannot squeeze all difference from wayward societies.[22]  So too it enlists a wide variety of religiously-oriented players, ranging from Pope John Paul II to Osama bin Laden.  On this point Benjamin Barber was wrong in his assessment that McWorld and Jihad are on opposite tracks, as the former consists of centripetal forces and the latter of centrifugal ones.[23]  The agents of globalization are too diverse to allow for blanket convergence, while the cellular fragmentation of al Qaeda still requires a good deal of central organization-hence the strategic importance of Osama himself.  Where Barber was right, and in broad agreement with Gray, was in his contention that the liberal democratic terminus of Fukuyama’s “end of history” is anything but a central feature of globalization.  It is the anti-democratic proclivity of McWorld and Jihad alike which links them in a dialectic of global terror.[24]   

In holding that there are many ways of being modern, and some of them are monstrous,[25] Gray set the stage for a culturally conservative anti-globalism.  It is arguable that in one way or another all globalist modernisms are monstrous.  All certainly trade in cultural repression, and the most advanced ones also run a thriving trade in arms.  In this respect al Qaeda and McWorld are fraternal twins.  One can acknowledge this without agreeing with Gray that al Qaeda’s worst qualities are globalist imports.  Rather, its relationship with globalization is largely instrumental.  This includes a public relations dimension, for the glaring defects of McWorld well serve the organization’s legitimacy within the Muslim world.

Likewise, McWorld depends upon Jihad for public approval of its newly activated militancy.  Jihad licenses it to act as if it were at war, even as its captured adversaries are denied the basic rights guaranteed all prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.  Names such as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have become synonymous the world over with U.S. indifference to international law, not to mention the values that once commanded profound “soft power” advantage.[26]  Acting on the erroneous belief that it can dispense with soft power, unipolar America now lays siege to every form of cultural difference (except, of course, where oil or mineral extractions are at stake, as in Saudi Arabia, or where there is thought to be some compelling geopolitical advantage, as in Pakistan or Uzbekistan).  The resistance this evokes is doing more to destabilize the global periphery than Cold War bipolarity ever did.[27]  The result is mounting global disorder, with countless new zones of anarchy that are perfect breeding grounds for jihadic terrorism.  One of these zones is Iraq, which has become the chief training center for a new generation of urban terrorists.[28]

Obviously the “war on terrorism” has been falsely advertised.  Jihad provides a vital service to the post-9/11 Washington Consensus: the perfect excuse to transform the power economics of neoliberalism into the power politics of Empire.[29]  Gray is certainly no friend of this new imperialism, and even readers on the far Left could mine useful points from Al Qaeda.  The problem is that here, as in most of his recent work, Gray overshoots the mark.  He has a serious navigational problem, rather like the travel agent who gets us from New York to Boston through L.A.  He insists that we address the twin evils of McWorld and Jihad by first eradicating the evils of modernity, if not the problem of evil itself.[30]

The result is political retreatism on a scale that only an arch-conservative could endorse.  The idea that Gray has totally abandoned Thatcherism may need reconsideration.  Granted, he has been a vociferous critic of globalization, which seems to run against the Thatcherite grain.  But globalization does not require much active support.  It simply needs the absence of active political resistance.  It was none other than the father of conservatism, Edmund Burke, who said that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Gray’s relativism of the Right was matched on the cultural Left by Michael Foucault’s postmodern relativism.  Foucault was not to stand by and do nothing.  As of the late 1970s he was activistc enough to support the Iranian Revolution, on location, in a journalistic capacity, despite the fact that he had long since abandoned any affiliation with the traditional Left or any other politics that required a grand narrative.  Or so it seemed.  It turned out-as Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson argue in Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism[31]-that Foucault, in the name of postmodern difference, was prone to turn orientalist dualism on its head.  If the modern was the source of progressive Enlightenment before, now it was denounced as a repository of all things evil, whereas the pre-modern was now consecrated as the virtuous “other.”  And in Foucault’s mind the pre-modern was alive and well in the East.

This might have made for a harmless exercise in postmodern fantasy if Foucault had kept it as abstract and opaque as most poststructural theorizing has been ever since.  But, with little cultural preparation for the task, Foucault applied his inverse orientalism directly to the Iranian Revolution, taking the Ayatolla Khomeini as his avatar of pre-modern wisdom and virtue.  This grand delusion-complete with its own grand narrative-was short-lived, to be sure, but it nonetheless exposed the drift of Left culturalism, and suggested the black humor that could result when postmodernism meets up with something so concretely “other” as the Iranian Revolution (or 9/11).  Iranian women-and European feminists who took their plight seriously, as Foucault did not-would not require this lesson in how not to impose fictional grids of meaning on history or politics.  They were prepared to declare a hex on both houses-Western Orientalism and Khomeini alike-but first they settled for declaring a hex on Foucault.

Had Foucault been right about the inherent premoderinity of Islamic culture, then the opening question of this paper would be easy to answer: Islamic modernity would be a contradiction in terms, and civilizational clash as Lewis and Huntington conceive it would be inevitable until the Islamic world undergoes sweeping secularization.  It is arguable, of course, that Foucault was quite right about Islamic premodernity, but was simply wrong about the goodness of premodernity.  What Khomeini inaugurated, in any case, was “otherness” as a living nightmare.

The great hope for Iran’s future, and for much of the Islamic world, is that most devout and decent Muslims want to awaken from that nightmare.  They themselves are the living proof of the complementarity of Islam and modernity as well as Islam and democracy.  They need no American roadmap, and certainly no American invasion, to set them on their way.  Nor do they need any form of postmodern theory to tell them they are the significant “other” that Foucault sought in the East.  Given the chance, they will define their own otherness, not in terms of premodernity, but as a modernity of their own making.

[1] This is on roughly the same moral plane that during the Cold War led all US administrations, Republican and Democrat alike, to support Right wing dictatorships the world over, simply because they were at odds with communism (so long as Washington paid better than Moscow).

[2] Shalom Lappin, “How Class Disappeared From Western Politics,” Dissent (Winter 2006), http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/articles/wi06/lappin.htm.

[3] Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (New York: Henry Holt and Co., 2004).

[4] Edward Skidelsky, “Habermas vs. the Pope,” Prospect, Issue 116 (November 2005).

[5] See Richard Wolin, “Jürgen Habermas and Post-Secular Societies,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (September 23, 2005), http://chronicle.com/temp/email.php?id=ny1f9umriy271ke40qa2stjo37h77uh8.

[6] At the opposite pole from Gray’s position is that of Andrew Sullivan, who shortly after 9/11 declared America to have entered a “religious war” between Islamic fundamentalism and its antithesis, liberal pluralism.  See Elizabeth Arens, “Getting Along,” Policy Review (February 2002), http://www. policyreview.org/FEB02/arens_print.html.

[7] Concerning native Japanese modernization, see John Gray, False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (New York: The New Press, 1998), p. 18.

[8] Michael Hirsh charges that “the Lewis Doctrine”—which denigrates Islamism and thus favors secularization in the Middle East—has been responsible for some of America’s worst blunders in Iraq.  See Michael Hirsh, “The Lewis Doctrine,” Prospect, No. 107 (February 2005), http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=6678&AuthKey=12ba88da3f8…

[9] In other respects, as Danny Postel points out, Gray and Huntington are members of the same conservative fraternity, both being cultural essentialists.  See Danny Postel, “Gray’s Anatomy,” The Nation (December 22, 2003), http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20031222&s=postel. 

[10] In the latter respect Gray and Foucault are curious allies.  Both have turned savagely against the Enlightenment and its modernist progeny.  Concerning Foucault’s anti-modernism and his resulting love affair with the Iranian Revolution, see Wesley Yang, “The Philosopher and the Ayatollah,” The Boston Globe (June 12, 2005).

[11] John Gray, review of Ideas: A History from Fire to Freud, New Statesman, http://www. newstatesman.com/Bookshop/300000098646.

[12] Gray, Al Qaeda, pp. 117-18.

[13] Ibid., p. 7.

[14] Ferguson’s criticism of President Bush is that he has not been extreme enough in his neoconservative politics.  Nor has he, in Ferguson’s opinion, fought the war in Iraq aggressively enough.  See Ann Talbot, “What Price an American Empire?” World Socialist Web Site (December 7, 2004), http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/dec2004/book1-d07_prn.shtml. 

[15] William H. Thornton, New World Empire: Civil Islam, Terrorism, and the Making of Neoglobalism (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005), passim

[16] Gray, Al Qaeda, pp. 102 and 104.

[17] Henry Cabot Lodge quoted in Howard Zinn, “The Power and the Glory: Myths of American Exceptionalism,” Boston Review: a Political and Literary Forum (Summer 2005), http:// bostonreview.net/BR30.3/zinn.html.

[18] Gertrude Himmelfarb, for example, distinguishes three different models of Enlightenment.  See her book, The Roads to Modernity: The British, French and American Enlightenments (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004); and also see Peter Berkowitz’s review of her book, “Enlightenment Rightly Understood,” Policy Review, No. 128 (December 2004), http://www.policyreview.org/dec04/berkowitz_print.html. 

[19] Gray, Al Qaeda, p. 113.

[20] Ibid., p. 20.

[21] Ibid., pp. 76-77.

[22] Ibid., p. 113.

[23] Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World (New York: Ballantine Books, 1995).  Oddly Gray never mentions this classic study.

[24] Ibid., p. 6.

[25] Gray, Al Qaeda, p. 2.

[26] See Joseph Nye, Jr., The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go it Alone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 9.

[27] Regarding this instability see Gray, Al Qaeda., p. 53.

[28] Ibid., pp. 73-74; and Tom Regan, “Blowback in Iraq,” The Christian Science Monitor (June 23, 2005),  http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0623/dailyUpdate.html.

[29] Thornton, New World Empire, pp. 1-2.  

[30] His hit list includes Reason with a capital “R,” and some readers feel it reaches to the small “r” as well.  E.g., David Gorden in a review of Gray’s Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals (London: Granta Books, 2002), The Mises Review (Winter 2002), http://www.mises.org/misesreview_detail.asp? printFriendly=Yes&control=218&sortorder…

[31] See Rafia Zakaria, “The ‘other’ Orientalism,” Frontline, Vol. 22, Issue 26 (December 17-30, 2005), review of Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson, Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005), http://www.flonnet.com/ fl2226/stories/20051230001007500.htm.