This current FIFA World Cup (in Qatar) has witnessed Westerners making the most of their opportunity to recycle many Orientalist clichés, however there’s a particularly telling and recurring complaint that seems odd even by their own standards: the ban on beer (or at least the public consumption of alcohol, as there seem to be “designated fan zones” where alcohol consumption is permitted).
Numerous news outlets consider this to be absolutely outrageous and something beyond comprehension. How could Qatar have taken such drastic measures? For instance, the New York Times discusses it as part of some sort of “culture clash.”
Our focus in this article won’t be the dangers posed by alcohol or ethanol to our health. There are already countless articles on this particular issue.
Let’s instead evaluate the Western inability to live without alcohol. It is simply astounding that there’s an entire civilization that can do without God, without parents, etc., for most if not all of their lives. But here they are, completely unable to swallow the possibility that they may have to live without alcohol for less than a single month.
And why is it that they need and depend on alcohol so much?
Is it because they want to be “rational” (while accusing Muslims of being irrational)?
Is it because they want to “defend women’s rights” (while accusing Muslims of being misogynists)?
The answer to these questions is a pretty straightforward no. In fact, alcohol conflicts with all of the above and more. It transforms people into mindless brutes with no notion of self, consciousness, identity, and so on—basically everything that makes us human.
We could even say that it mutates them into animals or something more astray than animals.
The reason I would use such phraseology is because it is actually what we find in the Qur’an (7:179):
Indeed, We have destined many jinn and humans for Hell. They have hearts they do not understand with, eyes they do not see with, and ears they do not hear with. They are like cattle. In fact, they are even less guided! Such ˹people˺ are ˹entirely˺ heedless.
This is a “controversial” verse for many (if not most) of the disbelievers. However our point here is precisely this. Their entire civilization is obsessed with transforming humans into something more astray than animals.
Counter-intuitively, just to show how this actually goes much deeper, we’ll avoid delving into the most obvious intellectual animalization movement of the modern West that is neo-Darwinian evolution, with its ape-fetish.
Animalization in Philosophy
In modern Western philosophy, the two main philosophical traditions are known as rationalism and empiricism. The former is represented by René Descartes and the latter by British thinkers such as John Locke, David Hume, and others.
For rationalists, the basis of their epistemology—or the means by which one may access certain knowledge—is human reason.
For empiricists on the other hand, the basis of their epistemology is the senses, through seeing, etc., and basing their epistemology on the senses led them to comparing humans with animals. After all, animals have senses too.
It is thus no wonder that Étienne Bonnot de Condillac (Locke’s main disciple in France) is described as “blurring of the oppositions distinguishing man and animal,” as noted in an academic article (p. 70). Then you have the aforementioned David Hume (one of the main empiricist thinkers), who proclaimed that “no truth appears to be more evident, than that beast are endow’d with thought and reason as well as men.”
After all, if access to truth is gained through the senses, then animals exploring their natural habitats are also seeking truth through experimentation.
Some two centuries later, this equating humans with animals would lead Peter Singer (one of the West’s most popular philosophers and “the father of the animal rights movement”) to try and justify bestiality (sex with animals). After all, they’re “just like us” right?
Animalization in Economics
Scottish moral philosopher Adam Smith is often considered to be “the father of modern economics” because of his 1776-essay, The Wealth of Nations.
Yet many place another name before his: the relatively unknown Dutch physician, merchant, and philosopher Bernard de Mandeville. This is someone that Adam Smith was indebted to and someone whose main essay also includes a reference to animals, The Fable of the Bees (published in 1714).
Mandeville can be described as being the father of liberal economics for having anticipated notions such as free-market and laissez-faire. And when applying these to morality, it becomes a paradigm that is not only centered around notions of egoism, selfishness, and ruthless competition but also as a rebuttal of any form of religious morality.
An article summarizes the book as follows:
In the poem, Mandeville imagines a hive of bees that copies in its every detail and activity everything seen in human society. Greed, selfishness, the pursuit of material profit and pleasure dominate everyone in their activities and in their conduct toward others.
No regard is shown for others in market conduct, with each one following their own defined self-interest for personal gain and enjoyment for the fulfillment of their earthly desires. Yet, out of these “vices” of materialistic self-interestedness comes industry, innovation, a mass of goods and services that generate a life of material and culture comfort and ease that benefit all, even though it was no one’s intention, design, or purpose.
In other words:
Acting evil is not only good, but also necessary “for the economy.” (It should also be noted here that according to Mandeville, bees don’t often appear as evil as they should, unlike humans.)
Those who want to personally evaluate the conclusions of such a liberal, individualist, and utilitarian approach to the economy can read a book by Austrian School economist, Walter Block: Defending the Undefendable (published 1976). Within this book, he basically defends drug dealers, pimps, etc., on the basis that they are, from a purely materialistic perspective, “important” economic actors that are “contributing” to society.
I mean, how would many women “generate wealth” that is “contributing to society” if they didn’t become prostitutes? At the end of the day, all of these “contributions” increase the country’s GDP!
Just let that crazy line of thought sink in for a moment.
Animalization in Psychology
In psychology there was a strong trend towards animalization too. We could argue that part of this was with Freud’s overt sexualization, but it was mainly manifested by the behaviorist movement, which was very influential after WWI up until the late ’50s when Noam Chomsky dismantled it (and empiricism as a whole), enacting the so-called cognitive revolution.
It was founded in the United States by Watson and in the Soviet Union by Pavlov, and this was for discernible reasons:
America was going through Fordism (the idea of standardized mass production), and the Soviet Union itself was totalitarian. Thus both civilizations essentially needed a “mechanical,” soulless individual. And behaviorism, which desired to study humans as animals in terms of deterministic laws and conditioning, was obviously the perfect psychological tool.
Just as Pavlov famously conditioned his dogs (for which he’d receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1904), behaviorism aimed for the conditioning of individuals in the same way—as valueless workers in Communist Russia or as brainless consumers in Capitalist America.
The most famous of the American behaviorists, B.F. Skinner, would regularly try and remind us that humans and animals aren’t that different.
So, Are They More Astray Than Animals?
This kind of animalization in philosophy, economics, and psychology wasn’t to be kept in the books of a few select individuals. Instead, it would define the nature of Western civilization, something William Davies calls The Happiness Industry (within his book, named as such).
It is basically the godless civilization of soulless individuals who seek some elusive happiness through their hedonistic lifestyles.
This explains the latest episode in Western behavior with what’s going on in Qatar:
They no longer have God, family, values, etc., but for some reason they’re outraged at not having a beer for a few weeks while watching some silly and completely inconsequential football matches.
Is getting drunk—and temporarily annihilating the very “reason” they try to employ against Muslims—really that important and vital to their existence?
Contrast this with the very purpose of our creation:
And [know that] I have not created [either] jinn or human beings [for any other end] but to [know and] worship Me [alone]. (Qur’an, 51:56)
They are more astray than animals.
Animals at least submit to Allah.