Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Islamic History in a Nutshell

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Succinctly and precisely, we may adumbrate three phases in Islamic history:

1) Imperialist expansion:  Its first millennium (7th century-17th century), during which its supremacist voracity continued to expand, albeit with complex patterns of waxing and waning and plenty of internecine problems and occasional fragmentation.

2) Plateauing stagnation followed by incremental deterioration:  Approximately the 15th century to the 20th century (one sees therefore an overlap with #1), during which its own internal corruption and degradation coincided with the spectacular ascendancy of the West to global geopolitical hegemony.

3) Islamic global revival:  A concatenation of events and processes beginning in earnest in the 20th century, with roots going back to the 18th and 19th centuries -- some serendipitous (e.g., the geological accident of the discovery of oil in Persia and Arabia); some traumatic for the Mohammedan psyche (e.g., the dismantling of the Caliphate in 1924, the "Nakba" of the founding of Israel in 1948, etc.); and some reflecting concerted machination (e.g., the establishment and subsequent international sedition of the Muslim Brotherhood, or the assiduously industrious activities of Wahhabism) -- all revolving around the unified aim to realize Islam's perennial pan-Islamic vision in order to restore and revive the former glory of #1.

ISIS, then, represents the latest spearhead of the third phase.

An analyst of the European Counter-Jihad, Christian Zeitz, who has much of worth to say, slipped up a little recently, perhaps:

"I think it is a question here of a qualitatively new condition in the Islamic world; for ISIS really constitutes one of the most compact distillates of the Islamic Weltanschauung and religion in the history of Islam generally." [bold emphasis added by me]

I'm not sure it's helpful to emphasize what might be "new" about ISIS; particularly in our current Western context of mainstream PC MC, whereby what is old about ISIS -- its grounding in traditional mainstream Islam from the 7th century to today (both in the Koran and in the Sunna, as well as in Caliphatic history, medieval and more recent) -- is routinely obscured and obfuscated by a mélange of earnestly consternated Islamo-illiteracy and anxiously Islamo-deferential disinformation.  

ISIS is in fact simply the logical culmination of the Arab Spring devolution (itself a later kinesis of the chain reaction 911 set in motion) of the geopolitical order imposed by the stupendously superior West in its reconfiguration of the world consequent upon its voluntary deconstruction of its prior Colonialist scheme upon a Muslim world that, in the centuries unfolding from its last major military assault upon the West near the close of the 17th century, had grown weaker and more and more stagnant and corrupt, breeding not only its usual and natural sociocultural malignancies, but also, like a brooding spider hunkering down in its dark corner of the world, resentments and dreams of renewing and reviving its former glory (among which were plans and activism of jihad and Islamic revival -- e.g., Dan Fodio in 18th century Africa, al-Wahhab of 18th century Arabia, Maududi of Pakistan and Sayyid Qutb of Egypt both of the early to mid 20th century; and so forth).  ISIS should be seen, thus, as the latest spearhead of a millennially perennial jihad that began in the 7th century and has never ceased since, but has only been put on pause for regrouping by mitigating circumstances beyond the control of Muslims.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Islam: Up Close and Personal

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It has only really been since we have forcibly occupied Muslim societies in Iraq and Afghanistan that we have had the opportunity to see, up close and personal, through the eyes of troops on the ground, the uglier, seamier side of ordinary Muslims and ordinary Muslim society which likely would never have been data-gathered otherwise, whether by Muslims themselves, or by PC/MC-addled United Nations human rights groups. 

Buried in the pages of a recent report of interviews with our men and women deployed in Afghanistan, conducted by the US Military (hat tips to Andrew Bostom and Diana West), we learn the following:

As West put it:  

...the U.S. Military conducted interviews (of course buried in a report few are reading and left untouched by the mainstream media) of American military personnel about how they felt trying to “win the hearts and minds” of creatures who have no hearts or minds...

Here are some quotes from that report:

Many US soldiers were appalled by the rampant torture of dogs and puppies they witnessed while being based with ANSF [Afghanistan National Security Forces] units. Many ANSF members are prone to inflicting abuse onto stray dogs they bring to the base for “entertainment” purposes.

Other ANSF members, while not condoning the torture, fail to see any importance in such behaviors given the standing of dogs in Islam.  Dogs are seen [in Islam] as vermin and many ANSF members find it inexplicable that anyone could be concerned about such "trivial matters," and deeply resent any interference.  [So much for "not condoning the torture"...-- Hesp]  This animal abuse is a substantial psychological stressor for many US soldiers and has been the cause of many serious social altercations with ANSF members.

US soldiers reported that they had observed many cases of child abuse and neglect that infuriated them and alienated them from the civilian populace. They made it very clear that they wanted nothing to do with people who treat children so cruelly.

Although not reported by the US soldiers who participated in this study, there have been numerous accounts of Canadian troops in Kandahar complaining about the rampant sexual abuse of children they have witnessed ANSF personnel commit, including the cultural practice of bacha bazi, as well as the raping and sodomizing of little boys…

Similarly, US soldiers…mentioned the poor treatment and virtual slavery of Women in Afghan society, and how they found such practices repugnant.

They found it unpalatable to befriend other men who had such primitive beliefs; the cultural gulf was too wide.

They were repulsed by the abuse and neglect they observed in how children are treated in Afghan society.

US soldiers largely reported that they did not care for Afghan civilians due to these factors as well as their suspected sympathies for the insurgents.

[End quote]

These aren’t “extremists” or “Salafists” – these are the ordinary “moms and pops” which our men, under our insane COIN policy, have to try to befriend, sit on mats in yoga-style and drink tea with, and spend our blood, money and precious time helping to become human.
 
Had we never had the grim opportunity to intrude upon Muslim societies and turn over the rocks and see the maggots crawling underneath, we’d basically be thinking like Bush, Romney, Daniel Pipes, and the whole PC MC establishment -- at least those of us who can see what's as plain as the nose on our face.

Given the mountains and oceans of data we do have which indicate a galaxy of dots screaming for connection, and given the problems with data-gathering from Muslim societies which I noted above, it is irrational to persist in demanding irrefutable data before we condemn Islam. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

The West in bed with its enemy

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A typical ejaculation from a Jihad Watcher in a comments field over there today:

"It’s staggering that soo many people of different levels of authority are getting this subject very wrong it’s either gross incompetency on a huge level or it’s deliberate."

The subject, of course, is how IS, is, in fact, Islam -- and why the Western "Elites" remain stubbornly myopic to this.

We must, however, rule out the improbables:

1) It can't be gross incompetency (not on this scale).

2) It can't be stupidity (not on this scale; and besides, most our leaders and representatives in Politics, News Media, and Academe are fairly intelligent).

3) It can't be deliberate (not on this scale; most of our leaders and representatives in Politics, News Media, and Academe are relatively decent and would not knowing support an evil enemy of their society).

Once we rule out these three improbables, are we left with nothing?  What about sociology and culture?  Methinks that the typical Jihad Watcher-cum-Counter-Jihadist who insists the explanation for our massive Western myopia to the problem of Islam must be one or more of the three above just hasn't gotten out much, or when out has been strangely oblivious to the Forest for the Trees -- the Forest of modern Western secularism and its massively mainstream and dominant Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism, a fashionable paradigm guiding society implicitly with insidiously user-friendly software, a Weltanschauung as prevalent as the air and sunshine on a brilliantly sunny day.

Remember the crucial ingredients of this paradigm:

1) "Diversity" is more important to protect than the lives of our men, women and children (as our silver-haired General George Casey, sporting more fruit salad on his chest than a Filipino cafeteria worker, lectured the Americans in 2009 he was supposed to be protecting)

2) This "Diversity" may be further unpacked to air out its noxiously smelly and incoherently convoluted ravel of underwear from the baggage the modern West carries around thusly: "Muslims are Brown People, therefore we cannot say or even think anything overly negative about them, lest we commit the thought crime and the hate speech of 'racism' -- an exclusively white Western sin responsible for the worst and most shameful crimes of history and, moreover, itself a worse crime (cf. #1) than mayhem and murder."

3) The sheer numbers and dispersion of the Muslim Diaspora, a massive quantitative fact that only augments the psychological and cultural weight of #1 and #2.

4) The demographic invasion of Muslims in the form of a mass immigration -- seen by the mainstream West as an exodus of peaceful Brown People seeking a better life like any other people would do, whose existential Burden must be the White Man's to shoulder, but seen by the Muslims themselves (we must reasonably infer, from the mountain of data we have) as the Hijra, one grand wing of their global Jihad -- involving a mélange of stealth jihad, Daw'a promoting the historical lies of the Myth of the Golden Age of Islam and supposed "contributions" of Islam to Western civilization, grievance-mongering laced with race-baiting, pseudo-moderation, a Good Cop/Bad Cop collusion with the ongoing violence (in various forms, from terror attacks to all manner of lower-level criminality) of a certain volatile and indeterminable number of Muslims in the West, and Islam apologetics promoting the TMOE meme: to wit, that the problem is a Tiny Minority of Extremists Who Have Nothing To Do With Islam "radicalized" by the inherent racism of the West which, furthermore (said the spider to the fly, said the bedridden Wolf dressed as Grandma to Little Red Riding Hood), the vast majority of Peaceful Muslims can help the West solve -- with more Islamization of the West, of course!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The News: A Fractured Fairy Tale

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Recently, Prime Minister of England David Cameron pronounced more harshly no-nonsense condemnations on ISIS (e,g,m “We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes” and, in a manly Tweet subsequently, adding that the latest beheading, of David Haines, is an “act of pure evil.”).  Similarly, Obama and Kerry have these past weeks pulled out the stops of outraged rhetoric at these atrocities.

What’s going on here is what could be called Misplaced Bluster & Bravado.

It’s a rather common phenomenon, unfortunately: The pressure of avoiding the Camel in the Room—Islam and all the human rights atrocities that have been roiling throughout Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia (not to mention increasingly in the West) flowing out from mainstream Islam like rivers, torrents of grisly blood—builds up enormously, particularly when you are an otherwise sincere, intelligent, conscientious public leader with a responsibility you take seriously to protect the public good. But if you are also beholden to PC MC and your sense of ethics is joined at the hip with PC MC, you simply cannot think the unthinkable—you cannot think that there is a systemic and obviously metastasizing problem with Muslims in general and with their support of Islam. Nevertheless, your conscience nags at you and your intelligence is telling you there is a horrid problem of frightful proportions that is, indeed, metastasizing out of control. What do you do then? You magnify your rhetoric against this problem, but then you minimize the actual problem and whittle it down to more manageable (and thinkable) proportions, and you focus all your alarm & ire exclusively on the "radicalized extremists", the "Islamists-who-have-nothing-to-do-with-Islam"—and fashionably, on the jihadists du jour, ISIS.

“Selective conscience” was a phrase from the 60s. It’s time to revive it as a diagnostic term of the political rhetoric of no-nonsense nonsense spouted & spewed daily by our leaders and representatives in our time.

What we have here more broadly in this curious Clash of Civilizations (or, rather, “Clash of Epochs”, as George Will shrewdly put it) is a most surreal asymmetrical mirror-image that in its carnivalesque fun-house reflection distorts the problem into a Pseudo-Clash between a grandiosely hapless neo-Wilsonianism and a "Radicalism" that has nothing to do with Islam.  Thus, while the West would be truculently thrusting its chest out in misplaced bluster and bravado — punctuated by rhetoric of sincere moral superiority couched exclusively in terms of the suicidal drivel of a neo-Wilsonian idealism), tilting its Quixotic spear at the imaginary windmills of “Islamism-that-has-nothing-to-do-with-Islam” while tragicomically blind as a bat to the actual Islam under its post-Colonially meddling nose — in its preposterous game of Whack-a-Mo figuratively cutting off one head after another of the Hydra monster it refuses to see (and whose heads, naturally, regrow all the more with these decapitations), the unseen Mohammedan monster, meanwhile, is busy in its gruesomely industrious way, all too literally cutting off the heads of its hapless Harbi who have already lost their heads long ago.

This would be a story worthy of a Jorge Luis Borges channeling Cervantes and the Brothers Grimm, as depicted by Salvador Dali and televised in the adroitly cheeky terms of the Fractured Fairy Tales. If only it were only a story, and not rather our grim reality.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Deprogramming in order to "de-radicalize" Muslims

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Recently, Jihad Watch published a report of a Canadian mother, Christianne Boudreau, whose son had converted to Islam and then (of course) felt that the Levantine jihad currently raging (i.e., Syria and ISIS) was the greatest thing since sliced cheese and went off to fight the enemy as a mujahid, then got killed in the process.  The Canadian mother became so distraught at the loss of her son (both his mind and then his life) that she is organizing an international movement (in collaboration with a French mother whose two sons suffered the same horrible fate) to try to “de-radicalize” people who convert to Islam and show they want to join the Levantine jihad (the latter part of that is crucial: this Canadian mother obviously does not suspect Islam itself as the problem, only a “radicalization” that leads to an “extremism” that of course has nothing to do with the Religion of Peace -- which is precisely the larger problem).

This idea of a nascently inchoate process of “de-radicalization” from what can be gleaned in the Jihad Watch report reveals a fascinating glimpse into the sincerely hapless flailing about which PC MCs are forced to indulge when they proceed without proper Counter-Jihad training:
 
“The pair [the Canadian mother and the French mother] decided to form an international mothers group, determined that there must be a way to intervene and stop the radicalization process before it’s too late.”

By all means, MARI (Mothers Against Radicalized Islamists), try to stop the radicalization process before it’s too late by ignoring the primary inspiration and guide to the problem.

“Boudreau has also set her sights on establishing the Canadian chapter of a German group called Hayat. That means “life” in Arabic, and its aim is to work with families to help de-radicalize young men and women.”

Oh dear, a group with an Arabic name meaning “Life”—no doubt staffed by Moderate Muslims helping the hapless Kuffar deal with the problem of Jihad.

“Hayat is an offshoot of a German organization called “Exit,” which has had good success in deprogramming neo-Nazis as if plucking them from a cult. Hayat adopts similar methodology and applies it to dealing with militant Islamists.”

Ah, sounds wunderbar! There are only a couple of problems with this: There is no such thing as “Islamism”: it is a false construct devised semi-consciously to grapple, blindly, with the problem of Islam.  And secondly, other than its mass-murderous genocidal expansionist supremacist goals, the neo-Nazi disease in its blueprint, methodology, inspiration and fanaticism bears no structural or essential resemblance to the Mohammedan disease.  But part of the deeply flawed paradigm of PC MC is the dogma that forever maintains that there is nothing unique about "Islamism" and that it must resemble other pathologies so much, one can play mix-and-match willy-nilly with one's diagnoses of the problem, and with one's prescriptions to fix it.

“After meeting with its organizers in Berlin, Boudreau came away convinced that with the right funding and staff, a Hayat chapter could make a difference in Canada.”

Boudreau is spending a lot of time, trouble and money grasping at straws, while evidently ignoring the one thing that might make a difference—the approach that sees mainstream Islam itself as the source of the disease that claimed her son. (One can be assured that the staff at Hayat adroitly steered her away from any hint that Islam itself is the primary source of the problem.)

“It’s a sense of reining them [radicals] back in so they are closer to the family again,” she said. “They work with them closely after they’ve taken a step back and decided ‘maybe this is not for me,’ and help them get reintegrated within the community, finding a job, so they focus on the normalities.”

Yes, Canadian Mom; and some day we can realize the other goals of Miss Universe—world peace, no more hunger, and eyeliner that never runs again when you cry in joy at having won your dreams.

Another indication that Christianne Boudreau (the Canadian Mom) is reaching out to precisely the wrong kinds of assistance I gleaned from another article on this:

Muhammed Robert Heft, an anti-radicalization counsellor who works with new converts and serves as a liaison between the Muslim community and CSIS, said he corresponded with al-Gharib’s mother several times last year.

At the time she began speaking with Heft, she was still in contact with her al-Gharib. Heft had hoped to reach out to him as well.

Notice how the hefty Heft (see the video from the link above), himself evidently a white Canadian convert to Islam wearing one of those collapsed baker’s caps some Muslims wear, cleverly redirects the problem away from Islam (not that anyone was trying to direct it there, but always carefully just in case) and “explains” the problem in ways that have nothing remotely to do with Islam:

Heft said there are two types of people that choose to leave Canada for the battlefields of Syria.

He said there are Syrian-Canadians “who feel their family has been subjected to a tyrant” and then there are “overzealous converts or newly practicing people” who see Syrian conflict as “an indirect way to fight, fire off weapons, hate society and vent their frustrations.”

“One group, I would say, is legitimate in their concern and want to help their family, and one group is taking advantage of the fact that it’s a place they can go and be angry.”

This is one of the people Canadian Mom reached out to for help: like a desperate Hen reaching out to a Fox dressed as a Moderate Rooster.

Conclusion:

Before we deprogram individuals who have been “radicalized” by an “extremist Islamism” that “has nothing to do with Islam”, we need to deprogram our mainstream West. How do you deprogram tens of millions of people from all walks of life spread out in dozens of countries? The Counter-Jihad has been trying to do it, without really knowing how to do it (as there is no guidebook on how to do this), and it has been achingly slow going (for the Counter-Jihad remains only a minuscule nucleus of an activist movement, treated shabbily by the Mainstream as though infected with right-wing and racist cooties), with glimmers of hope in drops here and there of melting ice amid a still massive iceberg toward which the U.S.S. & H.M.S. Titanic barrels full speed ahead.

So far, we've been rather politely chipping away at the wall of the iceberg with icepicks only approved by the very same proponents of that iceberg on whose Titanic ship of fools they hold us, as necessary passengers & fellow-travelers, hostage.  At the very least, we need to include, as part of a diverse process of waking up our West, a more Breibartianly aggressive modality of slapping this pleasantly somnambulant Rip Van Winkle and dunking buckets of cold water on his head.

Friday, September 12, 2014

"Not all Muslims are bad"

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While it’s true that the anxiously impulsive spasm to leap to “but all Muslims aren’t bad” whenever anyone dares to call Islam itself into question is a red herring fallacy (and, alas, all too prevalent throughout the West), it’s not enough for us to react by reminding such an interlocutor that we are not talking about “all Muslims” but rather only about Islam itself.

The reason it’s not enough is that there is in fact a problem of Muslims following their Islam. And this problem is not a nice and tidy problem of a Tiny Minority of Extremists who will forever remain a small number. The problem of Muslims following their Islam has two features which have to be faced by the mainstream (and by the asymptotics within the Counter-Jihad).

The problem is:

1) systemic

and

2) metastasizing.

By systemic, it means that the problem is not just a “tiny minority” but is much broader. To say it is a broader problem triggers anxiety among PC MCs and asymptotics, causing them to worry that opening up the barrier of the Tiny Minority to consider a broader demographic problem among Muslims around the world is to lead us inexorably to the logical conclusion of “all Muslims”—and from there, of course, to rounding them up, putting them in camps, and genociding them (a natural inevitability, of course, seeing that we Westerners are naturally prone to such a "racist" “backlash”).  And so, the impulse is to shut down this line of thought altogether, to nip the thought crime in the bud, so to speak.

And when I use the locution “the problem of Muslims following their Islam”, the reasonably informed rhetorical questions this should immediately generate in us are the following: “How many Muslims are not following their Islam? And how would we really know that any given Muslims are genuinely not following their Islam rather than trying to deceive us by pretending to be not following their Islam?”

By metastasizing, I mean that the problem (of Muslims following their Islam) is not static; it's getting worse. Indeed, it has been getting worse over the course of the entire 20th century; though, of course, most Westerners have been comfortably oblivious to it until it bit them in the ass on 9/11—and even after that (and hundreds of other atrocities in the years since then) most Westerners remain clueless.
So no, we should not evade the PC MC accusation about us supposedly saying (or implying) that “all Muslims are bad” by refusing to talk about the problem of Muslims. That would be to play the PC MC game by PC MC rules.

Further Reading:

Statistics: a double-edged sword in the War of Ideas

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Oil and Water, and the rubber that meets the road...

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A commenter on Jihad Watch wrote:

“Personally, I think we are slowly being subjugated. ”

Subjugated by Muslims, that is.  And what he refers to is, of course, the creeping proto-dhimmitude the West has been cultivating in its cringing "respect" for the Muslims who continue to encroach on our societies in their demands, their social unrest, their criminality, their threats, their terrorism, and their cunningly crafty moderation.

This gave me the chance to rally a response:

Yes, the West is being slowly subjugated; however this process is only succeeding thus far for two crucial reasons usually overlooked by those in the Counter-Jihad who worry about it (or the few Christians and/or Conspiracy Theorists among them who almost seem to eagerly anticipate it eschatologically):

1) it’s proceeding under a camouflage of stealth moderation enabled by the West’s PC MC anxious need to respect diversity and avoid racism

2) it’s proceeding in the form of a pseudo-Sharia Lite which, perforce, cannot express itself in its true frankly red-blooded form.

The reason for #2 (and for the stealth camouflage of it all) is because Subjugation is, in this context—logically (if one thinks it through)—the full interpenetration and complete fusion of the Oil and Water of Islam and West. What so many in the Counter-Jihad seem strangely to fail to appreciate, however, is just how profoundly and massively and richly different this Oil and Water are, and how mutually repellent they are in their respective essences. Thus, this Subjugation is a process, not a static done deal; and this process is incremental, not swift; and this incremental process is proceeding from the superficial and mild form slowly (and under camouflage) toward its goal of full engagement and fusion (i.e., victory). However, two factors about the difference of the Oil of Islam and the Water of the West indicate that it cannot succeed:

1) their profound mutual disparity

2) the astronomic superiority of the West in comparison with Islam—on every level of comparison one can imagine (political, economic, technological, scientific, intellectual, artistic, sociological, cultural, philosophical, theological, spiritual ).

For those in the Counter-Jihad who continue to fret about an Islamic conquest, something’s gotta give in their imagination: they have to minimize #2 and magnify #1 in ways that are unwarranted and approach irrationality (and sometimes seem to bespeak a curious detachment or alienation from their own civilization).

In my view, the problem is not that the Mohammedans will succeed in their desideratum, but rather that they will be able to wreak untold mayhem, misery and mass-murder merely in trying—but failing—to suceed. For the West will finally rouse and rally to save itself when the rubber meets the road as the Oil and Water began to combine in a flammable way such that Denial will no longer be possible. The only question is: will the West do so before—or after a few million of its men, women and children are mass-murdered and horribly wounded (along with considerable chunks and gouges of infrastructure destruction) by Muslims.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Harry's Place

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In a recent article published at Jihad Watch on the PC MC "scholar" Juan Cole (who, no surprise, was assuring his readers that Islam is made of sugar and spice and everything nice), Robert Spencer writes:

“Certainly Cole’s piece reassures ignorant Infidels, such as the British Useful Idiot Sarah Brown of the UK dhimmi hate site Harry’s Place, who used it as part of her case against me as the wrong kind of opponent of jihad terror.”

I recall that episode almost a year ago where there was a brief flurry of “cultural exchange” between Harry’s Place and Jihad Watch. A few prominent Harry’s Place regulars tried to protest their counter-jihad bona fides while at the same time promoting asymptotic points & principles (such as touting as moderate the Quilliam Foundation and its influential and unctuously colubrine member, Maajid Nawaz). It’s worthwhile to revisit those 100+ comments almost a year ago.

My Jihad Watch comments handle back then was “LemonLime” and, not to toot my own horn, I'd say that my posts there delve into the heart of the matter the best.  One of the Usual Suspects that day was one "SarahAB" (whom those in the know deemed notorious); she demonstrates this week her abysmal inability to progress along the learning curve.

Meanwhile, Spencer’s characterization of the Harry Placers back in August of 2011 summed it up nicely:

“The Leftist dhimmi blog Harry’s Place, which dabbles dilettantishly in counter-jihad poses while seldom missing an opportunity to denigrate and defame genuine counter-jihadists…”

Zero summer

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Midwinter spring is its own season
Sempiternal though sodden towards sundown,
Suspended in time, between pole and tropic.
When the short day is brightest, with frost and fire,
The brief sun flames the ice, on pond and ditches,
In windless cold that is the heart's heat,
Reflecting in a watery mirror
A glare that is blindness in the early afternoon.
And glow more intense than blaze of branch, or brazier,
Stirs the dumb spirit: no wind, but pentecostal fire
In the dark time of the year. Between melting and freezing
The soul's sap quivers. There is no earth smell
Or smell of living thing. This is the spring time
But not in time's covenant. Now the hedgerow
Is blanched for an hour with transitory blossom
Of snow, a bloom more sudden
Than that of summer, neither budding nor fading,
Not in the scheme of generation.
Where is the summer, the unimaginable Zero summer?

                —T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding" (from Four Quartets)


֍ ֍ ֍ ֍ ֍

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Western Universalism (and the Humanity of Muslims)


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c6/Civilisation_cover.JPG 

The four phases of Western universalism are:

1) Israelite revelation and its early Christian exegesis

(approximately 2,000 B.C. - 500 A.D.)

2) Classical noesis in Graeco-Roman philosophy
(approximately 500 B.C. - 500 A.D.)

3) The fusion of 1 and 2 in classic Western Civilization
(approximately 500 A.D. - 1500 A.D.)

4) The metamorphosis of 3 in modern Western secularism
(approximately 1500 A.D. - the present)

Introduction:

In an article reproduced by Robert Spencer on Jihad Watch about Coptic Christians under Islamic oppression, Raymond Ibrahim writes:

... during the colonial era and into the mid 20th century, as Egypt experimented with westernization and nationalism, religious discrimination was markedly subdued.

This Wilsonian slip of Ibrahim's reflects, no doubt, an anthropomorphization of Muslims which seems typical in the still inchoate anti-Islam movement. Egyptian Muslims didn't "experiment" with Westernization: they were forced to comply with Western ways, and they only did so grudgingly and imperfectly, whilst harboring deep Islamic resentments that festered over the decades until they erupted again in the 20th century with the resurgence of Islam masquerading as "nationalism" under Nasser, and with concurrent currents of Islamic revival in movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood. If religious discrimination during the colonial era was "markedly subdued", it was not due to Muslims suddenly growing up and evolving; it was due to the imposition of Western mores upon them.

By anthropomorphization in this context, then, I mean the endowment to Muslims of the natural capacity for Westernization -- a capacity that is assumed to be shared by all humans. Or, on the flip side, human is assumed to entail that capacity by nature, and so any being who is deemed to be "human" for supposedly purely biological reasons unrelated to political science is inexorably and automatically deemed to possess that capacity by virtue of the implicit (and often unconsciously applied) principle that the standard of human being is the Homo Occidentalis.

Discussion: Western Universalism and Humanity

This assumption, of course, didn't just fall from the blue sky: it is part of the Western development of political science, which itself in classical terms (
pace Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) is the heart of philosophy. As the West began its transformation into Christendom beginning in earnest in the 4th century A.D., the noetic heritage of Graeco-Roman philosophy became absorbed into the Christian theologoumena -- whose Judaeo-Christian anthropology in its turn significantly informed and augmented the universalism already implicit in the perduring legacy of Graeco-Roman philosophy.

What makes this Western development of political science unique is its maximal differentiation of universalism. By universalism in this context, I mean the transcendence out of tribalism toward the vision that all human beings are human.

Immediately, the reader becomes aware of the circular premise of the definition: If we already know that those beings we are endowing with humanity are human, then wouldn't that endowment be superfluous?  Part of the complexity, of course, is that "human" isn't a fact lying around like a rock to be picked up (nor has it fallen from outer space like a conveniently intact meteorite to be picked up and applied); it is a complex symbolism indicative, precisely, of this millennial process of evolving out of tribalism into universalism -- a process that, incidentally, remains unfinished, and probably always will be incomplete (not to mention flawed -- which, however, doesn't mean it is not a noble enterprise nonetheless).

Modern secular natural science, in its characteristically cavalier and incoherent arrogation of philosophical questions, implies a way out of this circular conundrum: With the exception of certain (honest) atheists who try to defend a radical materialism devoid of ethics, advocates of modern natural science (who are culturally dominant in the modern West) define "human" according to materialist biological criteria, then incoherently endow that biological class, "humans", with qualities inherited from our Western philosophical and theological traditions. This provides an incoherent solution to the circular paradox noted above, bifurcating "human" into two levels or phases, the biological and the spiritual (but still denying the spiritual dimension). First, any given being who is materially defined as "human" is endowed immediately with the biological identity of "human". Then, immediately consequent upon that, it is assumed apodictically that such biological beings are endowed -- or capable of being endowed -- with the spiritual quality of "human" (even as the modern secularist may continue to eschew the term "spiritual").

The more atheist and materialist a person is, the more likely he will assume the immediate and automatic endowment of spiritual qualities as a consequence of the biological identity of "human" -- though as is readily apparent to the reader, such an endowment increases in incoherence the more immediate and automatic it is, insofar as the materialism framing such an endowment logically excludes the spiritual level. Some atheist materialists try to squirm out of this problem with elaborate theories of complexity whereby they try to have their cake of positing essentially material entities and processes (e.g., the brain) whilst at the same time, through various complex theories that may be termed "epiphenomenology", endowing those entities and processes with qualities that seem super-material.

Meanwhile, those who accept the reality of the spiritual level of humanity have their own little paradox to deal with. There is first the paradox of the (biological) human who is not quite fully "human" yet, until it is endowed with spiritual awakening of one form or another (whether being "born again" in the Protestant Christian model, or following the pull of the golden cord of the Agathon while resisting the pulls of the baser cords according to the Platonic model, or attaining modern liberal Enlightenment; or any number of other models derived from Western, and sometimes also Eastern, tradition). Few spiritualists would blatantly present -- let alone believe in -- a model whereby beings are deemed "animals" until they are inducted into the preferred model of spiritual awakening. Nevertheless, implicit in the process they advocate is a tension which points toward release in such an explanation.

The posture to adopt, as always (pace Voegelin), when there is palpated a tension whose resolution is impermissible, is to cultivate the tension as an insoluble component of the overall mystery of reality.

Insofar as Western laws reflect the rights deemed to appertain to the "human" and to the societies which humans develop and constitute, they serve to sustain a sociopolitical system of a shared anthropogoumena (intimately dependent, of course, upon the theologoumena and philosophoumena of Western tradition, and not meant, pace the Enlightenment Philosophes, to supplant them).

However, implicit in any such legal system are also penalties whereby the given society of humans punishes those among their fellows who behave in ways that go against humanity in any number of ways, ranging from the mundane to the more ethically monstrous. The superseding right of human society, then, to punish individual humans (or groupuscules of humans) for breaking the law reflects a judgment upon those individuals as having regressed from their humanity and having thus forfeited -- to whatever degree is appropriate -- their humanity, or a portion thereof. Often, this forfeiture of humanity is temporary: incarceration for a few months, or years. When the individual is freed and all charges wiped clean, his humanity qua a social being is restored. Sometimes, an individual is incarcerated for life, or executed, in which case his humanity (or a portion thereof) is irrevocably stripped from him by his society. Deportation -- of an individual or of a group -- similarly represents a dehumanization, insofar as the person or persons being deported are being banished from the cosmion of the society doing the deportation. A program of enforced deportation coupled with enforcement of a quarantine preventing the deportees from returning, would be the logical form of deportation, particularly with a group as dangerous as Muslims. (To be clear: A deportation of Muslims would not result in their dehumanization; rather, society's conclusion that Muslims are in a state of forfeiture of their humanity would lead to the rational policy of deportation, insofar as that forfeiture is actualized in seditious activities lethal to the society which decides it must deport them to protect itself.)

Of course, the above description does not intend to proceed absent an underlying tension whereby the legitimacy of the belief in an individual's humanity perdures, somehow, even during his legal dehumanization by his society. The point of this meditation, however, is to raise into luminosity the other legitimacy with which the more popular one that sentimentally champions the individual at all costs is in realistic and pragmatic tension insofar as humans need society as part of their humanity.

The Four Phases of Western Universalist Idealism:

Now we can get to the core of this essay. To repeat what began this essay:

The four phases historically are:

1) Israelite revelation

2) Classical noesis in Graeco-Roman philosophy

3) The fusion of 1 and 2 in classic Western Civilization

4) The metamorphosis of 3 in modern Western secularism.

Some factors to keep in mind about these phases:

a) The phases are not neatly distinct in time and space; there are overlaps both in time and in terms of cross-cultural influences.

b) Each phase may have important sub-phases, and some of the sub-phases may be in tension with, or even contradict, others.

c) The entelechy of universalism may be said to be cumulative, in the sense that each new differentiation contains and does not contradict the previous more compact insights, even while amplifying them with increasing luminosity about the mystery of reality.

Meanwhile, distinct from the overall process of the four phases, two massive cultural forces impinge upon them:

1) Gnosticism

2) Islam

The one, Gnosticism, is a pneumopathology within the West; the other, Islam, is a pneumopathology alien to the West.

One of the many features of Gnosticism which exempts it from the process of the Western illumination of universalism is, obviously, its doctrine of a tiny "Elect" who are endowed with gnosis, salvation, and thus humanity.

Since Gnosticism historically informed the development of Leftism in the West, and since Leftism in turn percolated into the development of PC MC which over the past half century has become the dominant and mainstream paradigm of the modern West, the question naturally arises:

Is the fourth phase of Western universalist idealism a genuine differentation, or is it a deformation of the process?

The only permissible conclusion is that it is a paradoxical fusion of both. The modern West's deformation is enabling a devolution of traditional morals, while simultaneously (and ironically) continuing to hasten its vulnerability to the depradations of the alien Anti-Civilization, Islam. Meanwhile, the modern West's differentiation is the source for a Great Reawakening and recovery of our former rationality by which we will be able to revitalize traditional morals and manage the menace of Muslims in order to protect our societies from them.

What makes this present predicament even thornier than it would be otherwise is that it is precisely not a civil war in the West: it is not a matter of the Good Guys over here, moral knights against Islam, and the Bad Guys over there, amoral libertines-cum-nihilists enabling Islam. The two factions are, if not inextricably, certainly intimately confused with each other -- on all levels, ranging from the psychological (within the hearts and minds of individuals) to the social, the cultural, the political, the geopolitical, and the legal. This does not mean, of course, that there do not exist many individuals, and even groups, in the West who perceive the situation in black and white terms as a civil war (or as a proto-civil war) against "enemies within"; but their perception does not make it so. Indeed, such a paranoid conspiracy theory itself reflects an infusion, or infection, of Gnosticism. Nor does it mean there do not exist a number of individuals who have attained clarity on this issue: they do exist, and their numbers are growing, though still lamentably slowly, and their growth and organization continues to be beleaguered by their relatively minuscule influence in the dominantly PC MC societies around them in the West.

Are Muslims Human?

So how does the analysis above inform the question, Are Muslims human?

The question teases out another question from the analytical complex: namely,

Is the quality of humanity an irrevocable given in every individual being who is defined biologically as a "human" -- or is the quality of humanity a privilege that must be earned, or which once accorded can be forfeited, according to certain spiritualist criteria?

Already, in this secondary question, we see the threat of Gnosticism filtering into the analysis. We must preserve the tension with the paradoxical answer, "Yes and No". This paradoxical answer, however, must not be framed in a facile manner, such that the two parts -- the "Yes" and the "No" -- are unduly detached from one another in order to solve, or bypass, the apparent contradiction: that would be to sunder the tension. I.e., we must not detach man's social dimension (defined through laws) from his ontological dimension. Neither, however, may we fuse the two into one entity devoid of tension. Thus we may say about the Muslim -- as we say about the sociopath and the barbarian -- that qua Muslim and thus qua a renegade from, and outrageous antagonist of, civilized laws, he has not earned the status of humanity.

The question then becomes: Is the Muslim capable of earning humanity, of becoming human?

This question is tricky, and one must be on guard against allowing a facile ontology to insinuate itself into the formula -- in either direction, to erect either pole of the tension into a ground that would abolish the tension. I.e., on the one hand, we cannot simply assume the Muslim is human, and that his humanity is primary, and that thus his inhumane thoughts, speech and behavior are merely accidental, and that once we explain what accidents caused his inhumane thoughts, speech and behavior, we will have the key to helping him reform.

And on the other hand, we cannot simply assume that the Muslim is essentially not human and that it is impossible for him to ever become human. Obviously, we do apparently see Muslim apostates who are not only no longer Muslim, but who also join us in the fight against Islam and who seem endowed with human thoughts, feelings and actions.

The best we can do, given our situation and what we know about Islam and about Muslims, is preserve the mystery of the tension, and try to adumbrate a formulation that best reflects this:

1) The Muslim qua Muslim is not human in the phenomenological sense.

2) The Muslim may be "ontologically" human, insofar as we can posit a human nature he possesses.

3) The Muslim's human nature seems to have little or no effect on his phenomenological inhumanity (other than superficially through the dissimulations of taqiyya).

4) While it is permissible to posit that the Muslim's human nature plays a role in the rare occurrences of apostasization, we cannot extrapolate from there to an assumption that we can know, with sufficient reliability, how this occurs and under what circumstances it may be facilitated (much less should we indulge in sentimentalist and/or Wilsonian expectations of such occurrences happening on a scale sufficiently massive to make a difference for our safety).

Given the above adumbration, then, and when put together with the metastasizing danger which Muslims pose for our societies, it would be foolish and reckless for us to try to develop any kind of significant policy calculated to "save" a signficant number of Muslims by recovering their humanity.

Such a policy of political/psychological salvation is the asymptotic fallacy within the still inchoate anti-Islam movement. Outside that movement, in the dominant and mainstream PC MC culture at large throughout the West, the fallacy is even more foolish and more reckless: it basically involves grand policies based on sweeping assumptions that 1) the vast majority of Muslims are harmless and good (and thus there is no need for them to apostasize); and that 2) Islam is reformable and this reformation will help over time to mitigate and probably eventually marginalize out of significant existence the Tiny Minority of Extremists who are Hijacking Islam.

Were the West to eschew both fallacies, and face the grim reality of the phenomenological inhumanity of Muslims in the terms of the above adumbration, we would no longer be wasting time trying to partner somehow with Muslims and seek their cooperation in our efforts to solve the problems they are causing us. We would thus be led to more rational ways to deal with those problems, all centering around total deportation.

Further Reading:

Wildersianism and the "inner Westerner" inside Muslims

On Eric Voegelin's philosophical overview of Western history.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Game... Set... Match...?

http://phlearn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Lemon-Tennis-Balls-on-Blue-Background-by-Cristi-Kerekes.jpg

The tournament seems to be drawing to a close.  It's been several days since I delivered a killer backhand at "Wellington", with no volley back from him.  Unfortunately, no Jihad Watcher (no worthwhile Jihad Watcher, that is) cares to even weigh in at all as an extemporaneous referee to call the shot (let alone the game, the set, the match, or...  the tournament).

This is the third (and likely last) installment of my series of challenges between myself and a Jihad Watch commenter (one "Wellington") who claims to know enough about the history and nature of U.S. law to pronounce the proposal of total deportation definitively un-Constitutional.

While the dedicated reader can simply plow through the lengthy material of the three sets of exchanges one by one, sequentially, I do invite him or her to begin at the end by cutting to the chase and starting with #3 first (and even within that link of exchanges, to zero in on my very last missive) -- then go back to start at the beginning.  If the reader does take the time to go through these exchanges carefully, he will notice at least one theme:  repetition.  And that repetition in my estimation (as I expressed here and there, in my frustration) was caused by Wellington stubbornly persisting in either mis-characterizing my position, or not fully grasping my points -- apparently because he had not read me carefully enough.  Beyond that, and more gravely, he seems unable or unwilling to grasp the horrible problem of Islam.

At any rate, here are the three installments:

1. The Wellington/Hesperado Tennis Match

2. Re-Match

3. The Final Round:

Hesperado

Wellington

Hesperado

(sidebar)

Wellington

Hesperado

Wellington

Hesperado

Game, set, match...?



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