Andrew C. McCarthy is the former Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted the Blind Sheikh and his friends for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. After he secured convictions, he recounted what he had learned along the way in Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad. When it comes to understanding the Islamist war against the United States, Andy is like Walt Whitman: He is the man, he suffer’d, he was there. I find myself returning regularly to this book.
Andy has stayed on the case. In The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, Andy followed up with a closely argued account of Islamist designs on, and inroads in, the United States. In a sense, the book provides a counterpart to David Horowitz’s The Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left. Whereas Horowitz’s book focused on the Left, McCarthy focused on the Islamists, elaborating on events that have occurred and lessons we have learned since Horowitz’s book was published in 2004.
Andy’s new book — to be published presently as an ebook by Encounter Books, available for preorder now — is the incredibly timely Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy. Encounter Books publisher Roger Kimball advises that he has moved up the publication date of the book in light of the events of the past day and that it should be live on ebook outlets within a day or two.
In part 2, we post a video with Andy discussing the book. Here Andy graciously responds to my request for his comments reflecting on current events related to the themes of his new book. He writes:
As shown all too clearly by the atrocities committed at our diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya – on the anniversary of 9/11, of all days – there is a dear price to be paid for remaining willfully blind to the ascendancy of Islamic supremacism. That is the major theme of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.
What we are seeing play out in the Middle East, with discernible overtones in our own country, is no “Arab Spring.” The regnant narrative of Muslim masses yearning for freedom and finally throwing off the yoke of dictatorship is a fairy tale. What we are witnessing is the phenomenon of choice exercised in a different civilization, a civilization in which the concept of freedom – “perfect slavery” or total submission to Allah’s law – is virtually the opposite of Western liberty.
That we’ve failed to come to grips with this stubborn fact is understandable, although that we should remain in the dark after decades of attacks on America is inexcusable. The brute reality is that Islamic supremacism is not the fringe ideology of terrorists; it is the mainstream Islam of the Middle East.
Poll after poll, and now election after election, tells us that strong majorities of Muslims desire to live under sharia. However sharia may be interpreted by Muslims who have embraced life in the West, it is, in Islamic supremacist ideology, a totalitarian framework for society: All aspects of life – from economic and political affairs, to military campaigns, down to relations between the sexes and mundane matters of hygiene – are dictated by the repressive teachings of classical sharia, enforced by the Islamic state.
It is not that Islamic supremacists do not grasp our way of life. It is that they reject it as corrupt and dissolute. They firmly believe their own standards are not merely superior but mandatory – and that they are under a divine command to spread them until they are globally dominant. Those standards are antithetical to Western democracy, beginning with our fundamental premise that people are free to make law for themselves and chart their own destiny, irrespective of any religious or ideological code.
Spring Fever argues that what is called the “Arab Spring” has already happened, in Turkey. There, despite a decades-long secularization project and embrace of the West, the Islamist regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has returned the nation to the Islamist column in less than a decade.
Erdogan followed the Muslim Brotherhood’s gradualist, rigorously disciplined approach, which systematically enables a dedicated minority faction to erode democratic principles and undermine their guardians. In the Arab Middle East, where no similar, thoroughgoing effort to suppress Islam in the public square was ever attempted, Islamization will happen much more rapidly. Indeed, in Egypt, Mohamed Morsi has accomplished in a matter of weeks what Erdogan needed years to achieve.