Reading an article on MSN News about the Islamic State in northern Syria, it became apparent to me: ISIS has set up a classic example of government, and it’s not too bad as governments go! Now I am only half kidding… while there are plenty of negatives to the Islamic State, it would be subjective to call those worse than the atrocities committed in and outside America by the government of the U.S.A.
If you follow this blog, you probably know by now that I see real merit in the possibility of a society organized without government. That is why I want to highlight some similarities between ISIS and the USA. If people think the Islamic State is bad, they should also realize these same negatives exist in various potencies within our own government.
The group famous for its beheadings, crucifixions and mass executions provides electricity and water, pays salaries, controls traffic, and runs nearly everything from bakeries and banks to schools, courts and mosques.
While its merciless battlefield tactics and its imposition of its austere vision of Islamic law have won the group headlines, residents say much of its power lies in its efficient and often deeply pragmatic ability to govern.
Well they may be murdering people… but without them who would keep the electricity on, provide water, build the roads, and teach the children? Same goes for ISIS! Ba-zing! I’ll be here all week.
…even activists opposed to the group described how it had built up a structure similar to a modern government in less than a year under its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Reuters journalists are unable to visit the area for security reasons.
Well, to be fair, it is probably safer for journalists than St. Louis.
…the group “has restored and restructured all the institutions that are related to services,” including a consumer protection office and the civil judiciary, the resident said.
Was it not Senator Elizabeth Warren who helped to start the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which spies on, sorry, helps us by keeping track of our credit card transactions? And how might the Islamic State be making sure consumers are protected properly?
Prices are also kept low. Traders who manipulate prices are punished, warned and shut down if they are caught again.
The group has also imposed Islamic taxes on wealthy traders and families. “We are only implementing Islam, zakat is an Islamic tax imposed by God,” said a jihadi in Raqqa.
Guys, guys, the tax was imposed by God, okay? And it is just going to effect the super wealthy, because at some point, I think they have earned enough. Also greedy businessmen are not paying their fair share, and are totally gouging the consumers, so they need a government to set prices and make sure no one is being taken advantage of. And honestly, the Islamic State ain’t so bad! Look what they do with the proceeds of their holy taxes:
Fighters receive housing – including in homes confiscated from local non-Sunnis or from government employees who fled the area – as well as about $400 to $600 per month, enough to pay for a basic lifestyle in Syria’s poor northeast.
One fighter said poor families were given money. A widow may receive $100 for herself and for each child she has, he said.
What a coincidence, I was just blogging about how the U.S. confiscates homes from political dissidents and awards them to our fighters! We call it civil asset forfeiture. Who knew we had so much in common with the Islamic State! I’m starting to feel better about them already.
The group has also invested heavily in the next generation by inducting children into their ideology. Primary, secondary and university programs now include more about Islam.
The group also accepts women who want to fight – they are trained about “the real Islam” and the reasons for fighting.
Oh lordy, in America we don’t induct, we simply allow the government to choose what the children will learn and keep them locked up in government institutions for 12 years so that they will fit into society better. But we don’t indoctrinate! But hey at least ISIS does what it does for the children; and in northern Syria there may be a civil war, but at least there’s no war on women!
Reflecting Islamic State’s assertion that it is a government – rather than simply a militant group that happens to govern – Baghdadi has also separated military operations from civilian administration, assigning fighters only as police and soldiers.
Hahaha oh my god, I’m dying over here! “Rather than simply a militant group that happens to govern”. What the hell is the difference? And that is the point I am trying to make here. Men pointing guns at us run America, and men pointing guns at them run the Islamic State. Oh, so they have a slightly different brand of state control? They govern a little different, a little harsher, in methods we are unaccustomed to? Here in America we prefer, “a kinder, gentler, machine gun hand” (Neil Young).
It’s all the same, and when you consent to being governed, you are just as likely to end up with ISIS as you are with the government of the U.S.A. The problem is that we allow a certain group of people to initiate force against innocent civilians, and we say it is okay for the sake of order, for the sake of government. It is never okay to allow aggression by one group of society, whether that unprovoked aggression ends with people beheaded for worshipping the wrong god, or locked in a cage for smoking a joint.