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What does "Caliphate" Mean for ISIS?

Reader comment on item: The Caliphate Brings Trauma

Submitted by Alex (United States), Aug 25, 2014 at 20:19

This article contains what will probably be the most significantly bold predictions that Dr Pipes ever makes. Unfortunately, they are well-considered.

One question I have though concerns definitions: ISIS has in my Opinion a different conception if the caliphate than any other actor in the Islamic world, more similar to totalitarian rule than "the classic concept of the caliphate--of a single successor to Muhammad ruling a unified Muslim State."

Here is a quote from Hannah Arendt that I think demonstrates better ISIS conception if rule than any examination of Islamic history or the ideology or modern Islamic movements:

"Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content. The totalitarian movements, each in its own way, have done their utmost to get rid of the party programs which specified concrete content and which they inherited from earlier, non-totalitarian stages of development. No matter how radically they might have been phrased, every definite political goal which does not simply assert or circumscribe the claim to world rule, every political program which deals with issues more specific than 'ideological questions of importance for centuries" is an obstruction to totalitarianism [ ... ]

The fact that the most perfect education in Marxism and Leninism was no guide whatsoever for political behavior--that, on the contrary, one could follow the party line only if one repeated each morning what Stalin had announced the night before--naturally resulted in the same state of mind, the same concentrated obedience, undivided by any attempt to understand what one was doing, that Himmler's ingenious watchword for his SS-men expressed 'My honor is my loyalty.'"


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