Saturday, December 09, 2017

Bumping into intelligent life on Planet Jihad Watch

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115 comments attached to a Jihad Watch notice about an American citizen who was sentenced to a seemingly Draconian & Orwellian sentence of 15 years merely for vandalizing a mosque in Florida (including -- horror of horrors! -- leaving bacon on the premises).

While the other 114 comments were futzing about with peripheral issues, only one solitary comment among them pierced through to express the Meme we "in the Counter-Jihad" should all be pushing, in order to advance an awakening throughout the West about the problem of Islam:


 
I want to see Islam be removed from the West. I want to see every Muslim removed from the West and pushed back to the Islamic world to live their miserable lives, without access to ours, to cause their trouble. 

Friday, December 08, 2017

The function of the "Bad Cop" Muslim


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Muslim cleric: “Offensive Jihad means attacking infidels in order to conquer their countries and bring them into the fold of Islam”

That's a recent headline on Jihad Watch (only the 700,000th such headline in the past 13-odd years since Jihad Watch has been reporting on the growing mountain, or volcano, of the evil lava of data spewing & pullulating out of the Muslim world, increasingly spilling into our own world).

Over the years I've developed & discussed the concept of the "Good Cop" Muslim and the "Better Cop" Muslim -- the former, with his standard-issue bromides of "Islam is peace" and "we Muslims don't believe in taking innocent life" good enough to fool the broader Western mainstream, but not the slowly growing movement of awareness in the West ("the Counter-Jihad"), who, in order to be fooled, require a subtler, more sophisticated taqiyya: hence along come the "Better Cop" Muslims, like Maajid Nawaz, Zuhdi Jasser, Asra Nomani, Shireen Qudosi, Tarek Fatah, Irshad Manji, etc., et al. (qaeda).

While the intended audience for the Good Cop Muslims is the broader Western mainstream, these Better Cop Muslims have a different target: the Counter-Jihad.  And, alas, all too often the Counter-Jihad shows signs of being vulnerable to their oily wiles.  (Even the attitudes of "I'm not sure whether to trust Zuhdi Jasser, he just seems confused" (as Robert Spencer once put it preposterously, "his heart is in the right place") or "I'm not sure whether to trust Maajid Nawaz, he seems to be motivated by vanity" are signs that Nawaz and Jasser have succeeded at least in part -- sowing confusion in their audience and reinforcing the Counter-Jihadist's disinclination to cultivate rational prejudice against all Muslims.)

The "Bad Cop" Muslims, unlike their "Good" and "Better" co-religionists, are honest about Islam -- in effect saying "I weel keel you!".  The gold standard of this subtype would be the Muslim cleric squatting in Great Britain, Anjem Choudhary, who among other ejaculations of Islamic honesty, boasts that Muslims will some day "fly the black flag of Islam over 10 Downing Street".  The main function of "Bad Cop" Muslims, like the cleric featured in the headline above, is to be a contrast to the Good Cops (and to the Better Cops).  Naive & simple-minded folks in the Counter-Jihad (unfortunately they abound) think that by trotting out various Bad Cop Muslims they will help to wake up their somnambulant fellow Westerners.  What actually happens when the typical Westerner, whose heart & mind is pleasantly deformed by Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism, encounters a Bad Cop Muslim is that he immediately assumes that Bad Cop Muslim is just an "extremist Islamist".  And along with that assumption follows the axiomatic ejaculations, such as "that extremist Islamist only reflects a Tiny Minority of Extremists who are twisting Islam, and the vast majority of Muslims just wanna have a sandwich."

Thus, the net effect of the Bad Cop Muslim is to actually reinforce the view that there is no systemic, metastasizing problem of Islam.  The Counter-Jihad will likely never get through to the broader Western mainstream that in fact, the Bad Cop Muslims agree with their "Good" co-religionists, since the Counter-Jihad itself hasn't developed sufficient antibodies to the more refined Good Cops, the Better Cops.  Also, even if a typical Westerner grudgingly concedes that, sure, okay, there are extremist "aspects" (or "elements" as Robert Spencer has put it, elliptically) of mainstream Islam, there quickly follow rejoinders we have come to know all too wearily:  "But hey, all religions have extremist aspects; and anyway, the vast majority of Muslims  are moms and pops like the rest of us, just trying to get through the day working jobs to put food on the table for their kids; etc."  And the Counter-Jihad, as long as it avoids the paradigm shift -- from a problem of Islam to a problem both of Islam AND of all Muslims -- like the plague, has nothing to counter this camelcrap with.

Further Reading:

I've written many essays on this general theme.  See this Google page of a few of them for more details & analysis.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

The Jihad of Criminality (example #148,327)

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Above is a map of no-go zones in France.  As the blog The Conservative Paper notes:  They go by the euphemistic term Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones, with the even more antiseptic acronym ZUS, and there are 751 of them as of last count.

A little over a year ago, Jihad Watch reported an incident that on the surface seems like petty thuggery or criminality; but which on deeper reflection we must reasonably assume is just one of myriad, diverse ways in which Muslims are increasingly flexing their jihad in our societies -- one of thousands of reports over the years on Robert Spencer's website (not to mention on other sites, including various European ones) indicating that the problem is not merely Islam, but also Muslims, even though he doggedly, albeit elliptically, continues to deny this:

France: Muslims launch “incredibly violent” attack against two couples because the women were wearing shorts

While Spencer was just following the lead of the Telegraph article he was relaying, it turns out that deeper digging by French media uncovered this interesting detail, according to one of the chief victims of the Mohammedan attack:

“No one had shorts [on].  This is not what triggered the episode of gratuitous violence we suffered on Friday.”

Her description of that disturbing, terrorizing day:

We were having a family outing; we were returning from spending two hours roller-skating (for the gals) and cycling (for the guys). At a stoplight crossing, a youth verbally accosted me: "Hey, you're going around naked!"  I didn't understand. Then he addressed my sister: "Hey, you're nice!"

My sister was in a jogging suit, and I was wearing leggings with  knee-high socks, knee pads, elbow pads, and a cap. No shorts.

 My husband told him to mind his manners when speaking to us, that we are ladies. The youth -- who was with some other youths who were drinking and smoking joints retorted scornfully:  "These aren't ladies, they're whores!"

The French media source, Le Point, then noted:

The two young women were then jostled [by the youths] and their male companions, when they tried to intervene, were beaten with blows upon blows.

The female victim's testimony resumed:

I saw my husband on the ground, unconscious.  The youths were escalating, using barbed wire to strike our men.  My brother-in-law had intervened to put himself between.  There were a dozen that jumped him, to beat him.  You could see his head bouncing all over the place."


French text:


"Personne n'était en short. Ce n'est pas ce qui a déclenché la scène de violence gratuite que nous avons subie dimanche".

"Nous étions en famille. Nous revenions de deux heures de balade en roller (pour les filles) et à vélo (pour les garçons). Au niveau d'un feu, un jeune m'a interpellé: +Mets-toi toute nue!+. Je n'ai pas compris. Puis il s'est adressé à ma soeur: +Toi, t'es jolie+".

"Ma soeur était en jogging, et moi j'étais en leggings avec des chaussettes montantes, des genouillères, des coudières et une casquette. Pas de shorts".

"Mon mari lui a indiqué de mieux nous parler. Que nous étions des madames. L'individu qui était avec d'autres jeunes en train de boire et de fumer des joints a répondu en narguant: +C'est pas des madames, mais des putes+".

Les deux jeunes femmes sont alors bousculées et leurs compagnons sont tour à tour roués de coups en tentant de s'interposer.

"Je voyais mon mari au sol. Inconscient. Les gars prenaient de l'élan avec les grillages pour continuer à le frapper. Mon beau-frère est intervenu pour s'interposer. Ils étaient une dizaine sur lui. A le frapper. On voyait sa tête partir dans tous les sens".

Monday, December 04, 2017

Robert Spencer is either disingenuous or soft on Islam

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I'm not sure there's a third explanation for his dogged (albeit elliptical) insistence that the monstrously mountainous problem of Islam has pretty much nothing to do with Muslims per se.

Concerning a recent notice on Jihad Watch reporting a Chris Wallace interview with Trump's senior national security advisor, H.R. McMaster, Spencer editorialized:

Wallace adds: “But his tweets were all about anti-Muslim — about Muslim violence, he was making it.” That he would buy into the establishment narrative that opposing jihad terror is “anti-Muslim” betrays a massive confusion on his part.

Au contraire, my dear counter-jihad-mainstream frère:  Wallace is actually being more logical than Spencer is.  Spencer is either pretending that Muslims (or most Muslims) aren't a problem and only Islam is, or he really believes this.  Either way, his mission in life obviously implies, to anyone with the elementary capacity to ingest & digest the mountain of damning data he has been reporting for some 14 years now, that Muslims are a problem and that any attempt to granularize Muslims into Harmless Muslims and Dangerous Muslims is essentially flawed.  The fact that Spencer won't concede this, but routinely denies it, only makes matters worse for any understanding that might be cultivated between the two Mainstreams -- the Counter-Jihad Mainstream and the broader Western Mainstream of which Chris Wallace and H.R. McMaster (and practically everydamnbody else in the West with opposable thumbs) are members.

Further Reading:

Various essays I've written about paradigm shift that never seems to happen "in the Counter-Jihad" -- particularly this one, Third piece of the puzzle.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Cherry-picking is not always fallacious

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I've written a couple of times about the new book by Christine Williams-Douglass, one of the evidently important colleagues of Robert Spencer and an important and frequent contributor to Spencer's Jihad Watch.  Her new book being a compendium of "Reformist Muslims" whom she describes and interviews and supposedly vets with tough questions (I'll be the judge of that, when I purchase it and read it in the hopefully not-too-distant future):  The Challenge of Modernizing Islam: Reformers Speak Out And the Obstacles They Face.  See my two-part discussion of the problems of the whole premise of that book.

For now, I have a tasty cherry for my readers.

"...I support this ancient-to-modern-day reformist movement..."

Those are the words of the above-mentioned Christine Williams-Douglass referring to a "reformist movement" of Muslims that she (and, alas, many others in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream) supposes exists.  Here is the larger, tasty muffin in which this plump cherry was nestled:

"One of the cardinal services of my book The Challenge of Modernizing Islam is that, after defending why I support this ancient-to-modern-day reformist movement, it educates readers about Muslims who posture as moderate, while they wage a campaign of war against those who report on the global atrocities being committed against innocent people simply because those innocent people are of another faith and belief system."

One can plainly see that the noxious cherry I plucked out is not contravened in the least by the larger, muffiny context.  And the worst part of this is that not one single Jihad Watch reader has raised a stink, politely but firmly demanding to know why Robert Spencer is countenancing and showcasing this steaming camelcrap on his supposedly boldly "Islamophobic" website.

Friday, December 01, 2017

The search for intelligent life on Planet Jihad Watch, cont...

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A recent Jihad Watch notice about a French academic who recommends that France create an Islamic state within France in order to avoid civil war triggered an uncommonly large number of comments, 226.

Typically, only one commenter cut through the haze to voice the meat of the matter, one "SavvyKafir".  Alas, in a subsequent comment, he showed signs & symptoms of the asymptotic flu. (Cue the bromides: "Nobody's perfect"; "Perfect is the enemy of useful"; "We need to work together in a Big Tent"; "Don't rock the boat"; etc.  All true -- perhaps the West could put that on its tombstone in 2100, just before Muslims succeed in destroying our civilization...)

You can’t convert those hardcore Allah junkies; but you can deport them.  If you want France to remain a free & civilized society, you MUST deport them.

And:

Prisons aren’t the answer. Mass deportation is the answer, if Europe is going to survive.

So far so good, right? My readers might say, "What's not to like, Hesp? Isn't that what youve been saying?"  Well, pretty much. But then SavvyKafir had to have an asymptotic twitch:

Any Muslim who is not happy living in a secular society where human rights are enforced should be deported.

So SavvyKafir would have us vet Muslims according to which ones are "happy living in a secular society where human rights are enforced"?  How would we determine such "happiness"?  And could not such "happiness" be feigned (cough, cough, taqiyya)...?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The search for intelligent life on Planet Jihad Watch

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More often than not, it seems, Jihad Watch comments -- a good source to gauge the current state of mind of the Readership (as opposed to the Leadership) of the Counter-Jihad -- is an echo chamber of Robert Spencer sycophancy, salted and peppered with emotional ejaculations of little substance against "them Muzzies" (and, whenever anyone pops in there brave enough to disagree, ripples of lynch-mob deputy policing).  Previous installments in this series weren't quite this bleak, perhaps; but more often than not, Jihad Watch comments fields don't augur well for the still minuscule, but growing (at an excruciatingly glacial snail's pace) Counter-Jihad.

The numerous comments (109) attached to the recent notice of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's encomium for Spencer's latest book were no exception to this generally bleak landscape.  I.e., none of the readers, naturally, seemed to know or care about three disturbing developments with regard to Ayaan:  1) her friendship with -- and thus her lack of appropriate condemnation of -- the pseudo-"Reformer" snake-oil taqiyya artist, Maajid Nawaz, which is one likely reason why she has seemed to adopt the spurious distinction between "Islam" and "Islamism"; 2) her curiously misplaced concern about Vlaams Belang and Geert Wilders being as bad as "Islamists"; and finally, 3) her grandiose dream of Islamic Reform to solve the metastasizing global problem of Islam which Muslims are causing.

So anywho, of those 109 comments by the Civilian Readership of the Counter-Jihad, only one was of worthwhile substance -- short and sweet, written by some commenter I've never seen before there (it's usually the case that the better comments, rare as they are, come from outside the broad, don't-rock-the-boat consensus there (and certainly outside the "Rabbit Pack")).  The one sign of intelligent life was spotted as one "Cheer Bear Girl" who posted the following comment:

Islamophobia is an absolute nonsense term when you have knowledge of Islamic doctrine. Jihad is an essential teaching in Islam. Therefore reforming Islam is impossible.

I hope Cheer Bear Girl knows that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, being hailed all around her by the other 108 comments as the best thing since sliced falafel, has been working hard in various venues to push the ridiculous dream of Islamic Reform.  She's certainly not going to learn that important fact at Jihad Watch, neither by the Leadership nor by the Readership -- particularly as that ludicrous dream has been seriously considered by one of Robert Spencer's important colleagues, Christine Douglass-Williams.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Wow.

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I've thought a couple of times recently that perhaps Baron Bodissey is more nuanced than the Real-Problemers who seem to constitute most of his readership; but today on his blog, Gates of Vienna (which I have on occasion called the "Gates of Vienna Circle"), he definitively, officially outed himself:

In the title of this post I refer to “multiculturalization” rather than “Islamization”, because Islam is just one of [the] demolition tools chosen by the trans-national elites to deconstruct Western nations and cultures. 

Way to go, Baron, for shifting the spotlight off of Muslims onto the "Real Problem" -- the West.  (One wonders why he continues to call his blog "Gates of Vienna" -- which harks back to the existential threat of Muslims in the 17th century who were stopped from destroying Europe by European armies -- rather than some other title more conducive to his non- or para-Islamic focus.)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Let's talk...

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Every process has sequential steps.

Speaking of sequential steps, let's back up this delivery truck.  What "process" are we talking about?  Why, the process of "the Counter-Jihad".  And what is this process of the Counter-Jihad?  The process of it would be its activity -- and, of course, the purpose of this activity.  I propose the daringly controversial claim that the main, if not sole, activity & purpose of the Counter-Jihad (I'd rather call it the A.I.M. -- the Anti-Islam Movement) is to wake up the broader West of which it is a minuscule part.

Wake up the West to what?  To the problem of Islam.  What's the problem of Islam?  And how do we wake up the West?  And what should the West do once it has woken up?  And why isn't the broader West already waking up?  Why does it seem stuck in a surreal mode of whitewashing denial of this problem of Islam?

The questions I have teased out here, which bubble up naturally to the surface when even slightly probing this issue, are precisely what I mean by the title of my posting today -- and they reflect what I was getting at in my first sentence: The process of the Counter-Jihad, to be coherent and effective, must be sequential.  And the first step of that sequence is: We need to talk.

Well, not literally the first step, obviously.  Before we talk, we have to schedule a tea-time when it's convenient, as it were.  And a venue for this Kounter-Jihad Kaffeeklatsch, doncha now.  And what would be the subject matter, the agenda, of this talk?  And who is invited?  And how would this discussion proceed?

As to that penultimate question, it should be an open event, encouraging all Counter-Jihad Civilians to participate.  The mechanics of the process should try to give voice to these Civilians, as prominently, if not more so, than to the Leadership; since the Leadership has enjoyed a virtual monopoly of communication thus far -- with virtually the only competition from the Civilians being in the form of comments submitted into comments threads of various discussion forums (the most vibrant one, perhaps, being the comments threads attached to articles on Jihad Watch), or blogs hardly anybody reads (like, you know, that blog, what's the name of it, by that guy, what's his name... The Desperado or something...).

How it would proceed: a virtual Town Hall seems the ticket, given that we enjoy in these first decades of the 21st century an unprecedented technology for a global Town Hall -- the Internet.  What would be the procedural order of such a global Town Hall?  Well, already we can see that the "first step" would have to be preceded by organizational steps.  Perhaps influential members of the Leadership -- such as Robert Spencer, Pam Geller, David Horowitz, Baron Bodissey, Jamie Glazov, Sam Harris, David Murray, Andrew Bostom, etc. -- could lift their little fingers to begin to galvanize and get this going.  They could advertise it on their venues and politely push for it.  The first "pre-step" would be to propose a rough draft of the event, and solicit ideas about what the Civilians would like.  The second pre-step would be to plan a date to hold the First Ever Global Counter-Jihad Summit.

If only there were a venue on the Internet where people from all over the world already hold live conversations with each other -- simultaneously typing text to each other on the screen in real time, and taking turns to talk on the microphone (and, if they wish, to broadcast video of themselves).  Oh wait, there already exists such a venue:  Paltalk Chat.

[To be continued...]

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The role of the Better Moes

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As I wrote in part 1 of my 2-part series on the recent book on Muslim "Reformers" written by Robert Spencer's colleague, Christine Williams-Douglass:

Like all Counter-Jihadists who show themselves vulnerable to the wiles of the Better Cop Muslims, they pride themselves on remaining intelligently unfooled by the Good Cop Muslims, which allows them to have their cake and eat it to -- they can maintain their Counter-Jihad Cred while indulging their anxiety (rooted in their ethical narcissism) to avoid "painting all Muslims with a broad brush". 

For the umpteenth time, I will explain what I mean by the "Better Cop Muslims" (aka, "Better Moes").  First of all, the meaning of the term is relative to the similar term, "Good Cop Muslims" -- since the former are "better" than the latter.  Better, how?  Over the years, especially in the protracted, distracting wake of 911, various clever representatives of the Muslim world (increasingly expanding into our Western world) have popped up with protestations -- or rather assurances -- that Islam is a "religion of peace" and that it is "against terrorism".  Along with this basic message of honey comes a multitude of other preposterous falsehoods wrapped in deceptive half-truths (such as, to pluck from a keffiyeh one example of a thousand-and-one which one could adduce, that jihad is merely -- or (wink, wink) mainly -- an "interior spiritual struggle" when not merely the "struggle" to "make society better").

Now, this type of Muslim who has become more and more of a sociopolitical nuisance in our time only fools the broader Western Mainstream; he (or she) doesn't fool those who are "in the Counter-Jihad".  Since "the Counter-Jihad" is growing, albeit at an achingly snail's pace, it is reasonable to assume that Muslims who are worried that the West may eventually wake up in time to prevent them from destroying its great (but, of course, not perfect) civilization have realized that this growing awareness can't be fooled by the standard-issue apologetics-by-numbers taqiyya-dawa of the Good Cops.  And so, along the way, they developed a more daring taqiyya-dawa -- in short, a "better" sales pitch, in order to fool the savvier Westerners who ain't buying the Used Lemon of the Good Cops.

As I have discussed many times here (and the fine anti-Islam blogger at Logan's Warning has done similar work), the Counter-Jihad Mainstream has all too often shown signs of being fooled by the Better Moes.  This reckless naiveté runs the gamut from Frank Gaffney's gushing praise of Zuhdi Jasser; to Sam Harris's seemingly more reasoned partnership with Maajid Nawaz; to the "love" shown Muslims by Robert Spencer's colleague Jamie Glazov (whose own Counter-Jihad home has for years supported Muslims deemed to be our allies); to the ridiculously parsed doubt-cum-trust shown to "Reformer" Muslims by Robert Spencer's colleague, Christine Williams-Douglass (and Michael Devolin); to Spencer's own tap-dancing sophistry that forever holds an appropriate condemnation of these transparent snakes in abeyance (to protect his double-virtue-signalling?); down to the Counter-Jihad Civilians still scratching their heads 16 years after 911 and wondering "can we trust these Muslims? I'm not sure...Zuhdi seems like a nice guy..."

Why is there such a fertile soil of receptivity in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream to the new-and-improved sales pitch of these Better Moes?  As I said in my first two paragraphs above, which I will recap and expatiate upon here:

1) The Better Moes recognize there is a need to sell Islam to the West, as part of the Jihad of the Pen & Tongue (propaganda) -- a crucial part of the Stealth Jihad which, in turn, is a crucial auxiliary of the Jihad of the Sword which, as yet, has to remain cloaked, because Muslims are too weak militarily to engage in frank warfare against their perennial enemy (us). 

2) The Better Moes also recognize that there is the danger of the West waking up to the threat of Mohammedan intentions to realize their dream of destroying "Rome" (i.e., the West) -- and they detect this threat as located mainly in that area of the West (still minuscule, but growing, albeit still glacially and incoherently) usually referred to as "the Counter-Jihad".

3) Luckily for the Better Moes (and for the Muslims they stealthily represent and struggle for), the vast majority of the Leadership of the Counter-Jihad and perhaps the majority of Civilians thereof show abundant signs that they need to virtue-signal to the broader Western Mainstream in which they unavoidably swim and from which they evidently anxiously need approval (for more approval from them = more $$$ for Robert Spencer's new book) that they are "not bigoted" and "not racist" and "don't tar all Muslims with a broad brush".

4) With this anxious need so prevalent in the Counter-Jihad to avoid being "bigoted" against "all Muslims", the Better Moes swoop in and make a show of pretending to be deeply concerned about "Islamist extremism" -- i.e., they cleverly divide Islam into two parts, one part so small and disconnected from the massively larger whole of ordinary, mainstream Islam as to virtually denote something other than IslamBut (and here's the Better Mo but): not so small and disconnected that it becomes irrelevant to the concern of the Counter-Jihadists.  I.e., the Better Moes flirt with the seeming appearance of making deep critical cuts into mainstream Islam, even while gently massaging the crotches of the Counter-Jihadists' need to avoid tarring all Muslims with one brush, by exploiting terms that, while they cleverly imply a division of Islam into two, fall apart into incoherence when examined more closely.  (And naturally the Counter-Jihadists, anxious to avoid tarring all Muslims with one brush, refrain from examining the construct they share with their Muslim allies, the Better Moes)In short, the Counter-Jihadists desperately need to find decent Muslims to support, to show that they are not "bigoted" against "all Muslims" -- especially since long ago they have rejected the Moderate Muslim meme as untenable.  And in the Better Moes, the "Reformer" Muslims (or whatever other terms they want to use to substitute for the discredited Moderate Muslim meme), they find this Muslim ally.

Summary:

So, in summation, the role the Better Moes play is to provide those in the Counter-Jihad a way out of their quandary whereby the logic of their intransigence against Islam logically leads to a condemnation -- via reasonable inferences from the mountain of data and ocean of dots they've familiarized themselves with -- of all Muslims.  They don't want to tar all Muslims with one brush (no reasonable person wants to do this), but the force of the data & dots pulls them there.  At the same time, the typical person in the Counter-Jihad (whether of the Leadership or a Civilian) apparently is loath to examine their position more closely on this, and would rather remain on a fuzzy, emotional, and largely incoherent level.  Along comes the Better Moe to save the day, to give them (to mix metaphors) the snake oil of a Cake they can have and eat too.

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Hesperado Book Club: Simone Pétrement

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This is a series on my blog that has had installments few and far between.  My recent posting, The Education of Hesperado, neglected to mention the books I've been adverting to in this series (though I alluded to the fact that I've read more than I implied there).  For one thing, that previous posting mostly left out my college years -- six and a half total.  Six of those years I spent garnering two Bachelor of Arts degrees, during which only the last two years out of the six were spent actually getting into my studies, once I realized I wanted to be a History major and then a little later also a Comparative Religions major; followed by an ever so evanescent stint as an ephemeral grad student at the Harvard Divinity School (which for reasons I won't go into here I precipitously abandoned after six months).  During those years and after, I devoured all manner of books (the entire corpuses of Kurt Vonnegut and Donald Barthelme and Arthur Conan Doyle, for example; or pretty much every short story by H.E. Bates I could find; or countless books I would find adventitiously on the shelves of remote stacks in the university library), which I will not recount in detail today -- other than to add that the last habit noted parenthetically is relevant for today's notice.

Today's book from the shelf is one largely unknown except to scholars in the subspecialty of Intertestamental Studies with a focus on Gnosticism:  Le dualisme chez Platon, les gnostiques et les manichéens, ("Dualism in Plato, the Gnostics, and the Manicheans"), by an obscure French historian, Simone Pétrement, published in 1967.

Previous Hesperado Book Club postings featured the following:

From Enlightenment to Revolution (1975). by Eric Voegelin (1901-1985);

Catholics and unbelievers in 18th century France (1939), by historian R.R. Palmer;

Before Philosophy: The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man (1949), by Henri and Henriette Frankfort;

Geek Myths and Christian Mystery, by Catholic theologian Hugo Rahner (brother of the more famous Catholic theologian Karl Rahner), written in German in 1957 and translated into English in 1963;

Classics Revisited (followed up by More classics revisited), by the polyhistor Kenneth Rexroth in the late 1960s;

The Symbolism of Evil (1960), by Paul Ricoeur;

my essay on Dante's idea of the "dual ultimate" (duo ultima) from his treatise De monarchia;

and my extended analytical meditation on a short piece by Albert Camus, La mer au plus près ("The Sea Up Close"), published in 1954.

Discussion:

I was turned on to Simone Pétrement's book by a brief mention of it in a footnote in one of Eric Voegelin's books (I think it was his slender 1968 paperback, Science, Politics and Gnosticism) in which the old curmudgeon who always complained about nearly everyone noted her scholarship on the subject of Gnosticism with unalloyed approval.  Once I found it at the college library and began delving into it, I was entranced by her searingly apposite instincts to find in Plato the essential core -- the paradoxical mystery of existence.

This paradox at the heart of reality may be put many ways, for its tension has many poles, all perhaps variations on a single theme.  In Pétrement's studies (both the book I feature here and an article she wrote, La notion de gnosticisme ["The idea of Gnosticism"], published in Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale in 1960), perhaps the overarching poles are between what have been known in Christian history as "this world" and the "next world" (or "this life" and the "afterlife").

Pétrement often frames this as a "dualism" though she doesn't herself succumb to dualism in probing it, leaving the way open for the posture of a Bergsonian âme ouverte in its questions before the mystery.  She also unfolds a respect for Plato as someone who may have been tempted by the Gnostic Answer, but who did not allow himself to be bewitched by it -- a thesis articulated in greater depth by Eric Voegelin in his chapter comparing Plato and St. Paul, in the 4th volume of his series Order and History; and more broadly in his essay, "Wisdom and the Magic of the Extreme".

Overall, Pétrement demonstrates a remarkably intelligent, historically literate, and perceptive grasp of the phenomenon of Gnosticism and its relevance to the deeper, ultimate questions of philosophy.  If one has come to know Voegelin, one can see why he liked her:

We live under the magisterium of the philosophy of Hegel. The trinity -- thesis, antithesis, synthesis, still seems to guide, if not physics, at least the history of the human spirit. But what I wanted to show is that such an evolution is not necessarily progress, for in surmounting opposition, one loses something very precious. The view of opposition is lost, once one enters into reconciliation. (350-351)

This is another way of articulating what Voegelin called the Tension of Existence, which is also a "tension towards the Beyond".  Interestingly in this vein, the great pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus (535-574 B.C.) is part of that rare pantheon of thinkers about whom Voegelin seemed to have had no reservations, perhaps because he too saw reality as a tension (or put more robustly as "strife", Eris).  About Heraclitus, Pétrement points out a distinction between his seeming dualism of opposition of forces, and the dualism of the Gnostics:

Sometimes dualism is confused with this theory of contrarieties. In reality, dualism is something else. Nothing shows better the distinction than the fact that, for the dualists, it is the mixture which is evil and separation which is good; while for the theorists of contrarieties, it is the inverse. (206)

And in this context, she distinguishes the Jewish Neo-Platonist Philo, who was perhaps a bit too fascinated by Gnosticism:

There is in him [Philo] an obsession with division, with tension; he believed in the necessity of separating contraries, of removing them from each other. The Logos, for him, is the Divider… For Philo, evil supports the opinion of Heraclitus; it introduces “the unity of everything and the reciprocal exchange which produces everything”. (219)

Thus Philo saw in the Heraclitian tension an overarching monism, and recoiled from it. But this overarching monism, in a sense structured by dualism, would be the stance of Voegelin as well; for what is the alternative, but to succumb to the siren song of the Gnostic Answer and cut the cord of the Tension to free-float off to one's esoteric Salvation... ?  A false Salvation, that is, whose alluring magic lies precisely in its offer of the Answer to the pain, the Dukha or fundamental "Frustration" (as Buddha would have it), of the paradoxical Mystery.  Of all the analytical philosophers I've read -- other than Voegelin -- Pétrement comes the closest to recognizing that the Tension is itself a tension between Dualism and Monism, or perhaps the more crystalline Tension between Tension and Non-Tension.

“In the Parmenides and in the Sophist, there is admitted participation despite the logical objections which sublimate duality, and without destroying duality.(55-6; author’s italics)

From all this [hints in Plato of monism or dualism], we could well infer that there are strong appearances in favor of a dualist interpretation of Platonism. But above all, one can posit an impression of something unfinished, of a thought open and free, of constant oppositions, of a reality full of problems incompletely resolved. In this metaphysics, there is a certain something that would scandalize a metaphysician. And that, perhaps, is the dualism factor. (81)

… for if it is true that dualism resolves certain difficulties, it is well known that it no less arouses other difficulties; and nothing demonstrates better that the human spirit is not wholly capable of metaphysics. (2)

֍ ֍ ֍ ֍ ֍

There is so much more in Pétrement's book which would expand my blurb into a monograph (which someday I may do).  I'll end on insights she penned on the Founding Father of Philosophy; and in doing so, showing she carefully read the original Greek of Plato's Dialogues:

As the soul is a stranger to the world or to life, the philosopher is a stranger to the civilized world. He is “bizarre” and “useless”. (52; Rep. VI, 487d, 497b)

Socrates himself said that in the eyes of others, he appeared ἀτοπώτατος, “completely absurd” (52; Théétète, 149a)

The Philosopher is opposed to the wise man, to the sage, to the sophist. The Philosopher is one who loves science, or wisdom, but doesn’t have it. The type of the Philosopher is Socrates, who doesn’t know, who has nothing, who is poor in spirit, who ascribes his better inspirations to his ‘demon’, who says in [the Dialogue] Hippias Major: ἁπορῶ αεἰ [“I am always perplexed.”] (343)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Double Virtue-Signalling

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In a recent essay (Virtue-Signalling at the Crossroads of the West), I discussed the curious but, alas, all too common tendency for Leadership in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream to virtue-signal in opposite directions, so to speak: to their constituency (the Civilians "in the Counter-Jihad"), they maintain their counter-jihad street cred by sounding oh-so tough about the problem of Islam; while to the broader Western Mainstream, they make sure (with subliminal hints of anxiety) to assure the PC MC consensus that rules our culture that they are not "bigoted" or "racist" and would never dream of "tarring all Muslims with the same brush".

Today in an "open letter to the Stanford community", Spencer, true to form, stands his ground firmly with one foot in both Mainstreams.  His slavish devotees, of course would be as blind to the virtue-signalling he telegraphs to the broader Mainstream (unless some of them actually agree with it); as, ironically, are the PC-MC-besotted majority of students and faculty at Stanford.  The former ignore it, to keep alive their sycophantic praise of their Fearless Leader; while the latter can't see it in their fanatical paranoia about anything even remotely hinting at being anti-Islam (let alone the modestly, and oh so carefully more robust "intellectual criticism" of Islam Spencer brings to the table).

Let us note a couple of the little facial tics or twitches, or burps or hiccups or farts, of this virtue-signalling, shall we?

Of the attacks against Spencer that have appeared in the Stanford Daily in the weeks ramping up to his invited lecture there yesterday, he quotes a student, one Siena Fay, who wrote:

“He [Spencer] believes Islam is ‘the only religion in the world that has a developed doctrine, theology and legal system that mandates violence against unbelievers and mandates that Muslims must wage war in order to establish the hegemony of the Islamic social order all over the world,’ as he stated in an interview on C-SPAN in 2006. Funny; I don’t recall Malala Yousafzai advocating for violence and world domination. Must have missed that headline.”

Then Spencer responded:

Unfortunately, Malala Yousafzai is not the touchstone of what Islam is and isn’t, or of whether or not it teaches violence. 

Why “Unfortunately”...?  Thanks to Spencer's own Jihad Watch, Malala has been outed as a practitioner of Jihad of the Pen (and Jihad of the Nobel Prize), as I documented in my essay from back in April of this year, A laboratory of the Counter-Jihad (Jihad Watch comments).  (Indeed, the first two paragraphs of that essay of mine would be a useful introduction to my posting here.)  Does Spencer really think the Stanford PC MCs among the student body and faculty (whom he recklessly tends to generalize as "Leftist fascists") will let up on their damnation of him because he throws them a bone?  Or maybe Spencer actually believes Malala is not doing jihad? That she's one of the "secular Muslims" he envisions living in Kumbaya harmony with the rest of us non-Muslims?  We'll never know unless his fans stop being so bloody sycophantic and just muster the balls to ask him.  (Other older essays of mine are relevant here: Robert Spencer's Moderate Muslims and What's the difference between a "Muslim" and a "Jihadist"?)

Moving on, after Spencer boldly spends quite a few words virtue-signaling in one direction to his fan base by telling Stanford readers how bad Islamic jihad is (e.g., “In 2017 alone, there have been 1,805 Islamic jihad attacks in 58 countries, in which 12,752 people were killed and 12,852 injured”), he adds, anxiously virtue-signalling in the opposite direction:

Yes, not all Muslims, or even a majority, are terrorists. But to take the stance that there is no problem regarding jihad terrorists’ use of Islamic texts and teachings, and that the greater problem is “Islamophobia,” is to turn from reality to fantasy. And to do that is a betrayal of the academic mission in itself.

First of all, how does Spencer know that "not all Muslims, or even a majority, are terrorists"?  He can't, of course; it's just an assumption, based upon applying the rule of "innocent before proven guilty" to Muslims (along with generous dashes of "they can't be all bad" and heaping spoonfuls of "most of them must be like us, just living normal lives trying to get through the day and have sandwiches" along with, for good measure, a half-cup of "I know some nice Muslims who smile at me and wear blue jeans").

Secondly, the problem of the global revival of expansionist Islam isn't merely one of the front-line practitioners of the Jihad of the Sword otherwise known as "terrorists".  There are the multitudes of other Muslims practicing any one or more of the panoply platter of forms of Jihad.  Indeed, as we must reasonably assume, all Muslims are doing some form (or forms) of Jihad; and if we don't clarify this reasonable assumption and wake up our fellow Westerners to it, Muslims will eventually succeed (probably by the end of this 21st century) in their perennial goal to finally bring down "Rome" (i.e., the West).

So when Spencer anxiously virtue-signals to the Stanford Mainstreamers, "Hey guys and gals, I don't think many (or even most!) Muslims are terrorists!" -- he's seemingly essentially agreeing with the TMOE Meme they hold dear to; namely, that only a Tiny Minority of Extremists are the problem; perhaps not "Tiny", probably larger than that, but certainly "not all Muslims, or even a majority..."  The only -- and glaring -- problem here is that the PC MC Mainstream doesn't care how much we might try to appease them by letting them set the rules of the Conversation.  Their non-negotiably axiomatic premise is that any criticism of Islam that goes beyond the most delicately gingerly, that fails to be based upon a general respect for it (hence only criticizing small or peripheral parts of it) is tantamount to "hatred" and "bigotry" if not also "racism".

And what the Counter-Jihad Mainstream can't get through its head is that the broader Western Mainstream, seeing life through its politically correct multi-culturalist framework, is drawing logical conclusions -- conclusions that the Counter-Jihad Mainstream stubbornly persists in refusing to face and discuss.  I've articulated this every which way but loose in literally dozens of essays over the years.  I'll put it in a nutshell for the purposes of this essay here today:

Since Islam is the most important thing to Muslims, culturally, psychologically and existentially -- contiguous with, if not the lodestar of, their meaning of life -- obviously any criticism of their Islam as profound and comprehensive as the criticism implied by Robert Spencer's years of Jihad Watch postings, his lectures, his books, and his various videos, cannot be so casually detached from a profound criticism of Muslims.

Or, if we are honest and have intellectual integrity, we'll stop futzing around with the semi-decaf of "profound criticism" and go all the way with the more robustly full-bodied "condemnation".

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Western Muslim (or the Muslim Westerner)

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I count two times on Jihad Watch recently where this meme has popped up, and it's not unreasonable to assume it reflects a deeper problem; namely, the problem I used to call "asymptotic" -- i.e., the retention, to one degree or another, of PC MC values in the hearts and minds of Counter-Jihadists who otherwise affect to be oh-so free of such values.

The first instance is not that surprising, as it was penned by the egregiously soft-on-Islam colleague of Robert Spencer's, Christine Williams-Douglass, whose asymptotic tendencies I've noted a few times (see especially my two-part series on her recent book on Muslim "Reformers" as well as this Google page of the few essays I've written alluding to her nougaty softness on Muslims).  Without apparently even thinking about it (thus reflecting a given so deep in her psyche it's natural to blurt it out), Williams-Douglass recently referred to a Muslim who happens to be in the West as a "Westerner".  The title of her Jihad Watch report was:

Ex-wife of Islamic State chief: “I only had babies to raise them as killers”

As one reads further, one notes that this "ex-wife" (likely not much different than an Islamic sex slave) is named "Tania Choudhury" and, in the mainstream report Williams-Douglass cites from the Mirror, that Tania is "[o]ne of five children born in London to British-Bangladeshi couple Nural and Jahanara Choudhury..."

If we "in the Counter-Jihad" have learned anything these past 15 years since 911, it is that no Muslim is really a "Westerner" because the Islam they self-identify with is inimical to the West -- not merely on some abstract level, based on ideas, but literally, in terms of a war Islam is waging on the West now (and has been waging since at least the 8th century A.D.).  But, of course, this epitomizes the very crux of the problem of the problem of the problem (i.e., the problem of the Counter-Jihad)  -- namely, its ongoing inability to fully process the horrifying mountain of data about Islam it has otherwise been on the forefront of assimilating. 

Speaking of 911, the article's sentence describing Tania goes on to say:

"...she told how she became radicalised and sought revenge on the west after 9/11..." and then subsequently became the "wife of convert to Islam and jihadist John Georgelas..."

Naturally, Robert Spencer's stalwart colleague of the Counter-Jihad, Christine Williams-Douglass, made no mention of this ridiculous meme of a Muslim "becoming radicalized" in which the broader Western Mainstream indulges. 

And the jihadist Tania married to embark on her career on the front lines of the Jihad of the Sword, who was a convert to Islam (from his name, one reasonably assumes he was a British son of Greek extraction -- shades of Yusuf Islam!), by virtue of his choice to join our enemy, abdicated not only his citizenship but also his identity as a Westerner.

Of course, Christine Williams-Douglass points none of this out in her report -- even though she articulates the screaming reasoning for why she should be pointing these things out:

"This deeply disturbing account of a brainwashed Westerner, the wife of convert to Islam and jihadist John Georgelas, is similar to scores of others, yet most leaders refuse to acknowledge the Islamic theology of death, hatred and a false greatness that motivates jihad activity. Thus those leaders enable this jihad against Western interests, and likewise enable the abuse of women and children."

The second instance of this meme popping up is more disappointing, because more surprising, as it comes from a journalist I thought was more savvy than that -- Giulio Meotti.  It comes in a report published on Jihad Watch about the recent revelations of the Good Cop Tariq Ramadan ("Good Cop" because his affectations of being a "Moderate" "Reformer" are clever enough to fool the broader Western Mainstream, but not clever enough to fool the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, as the "Better Cops" like Maajid Nawaz, Zuhdi Jasser, Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah, et al.(qaeda) are all too often able to do)In a breezily parenthetical description, Meotti glibly refers to a Muslim activist in England who, as a self-stylized feminist, more astute observers would deem a "Good Cop" Muslim, in the following way:

"An English militant for women’s rights, Aicha Ali-Khan, had gathered signatures to fire Ramadan from the prestigious university..."

Notice how Meotti honors her with the title of being an Englishwoman, even though she is named after the Mother of All Stockholm Syndrome Muslimas (Aisha) who grew up to be a fierce jihadist; the founder of Shia Islam, Ali ibn Abi Talib; and lastly, the lineage of one of the most brutal islamic dynasties in history (which is saying a lot!), the central Asiatic Khans.  Not to mention that Meotti also shows himself to be fooled by her "militant" activism "for women's rights". Whether that makes her a "Good Cop" Muslim or a "Better Cop" Muslim depends on whether she is capable of fooling not merely the Western Mainstream, but also the Counter-Jihad Mainstream.  While Meotti is one of those twilight participants "in the Counter-Jihad" who seems at best to straddle both Mainstreams, the fact that his piece was published at that bastion of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, Jihad Watch, indicates that this Aicha Ali-Khan has managed to fool them to some degree (not a difficult thing to do, alas); and so, as we strip her of the honor of the title of Englishwoman, we extend to her the backhanded compliment of the title of Better Cop.

But as I say, simply being a Muslim should disqualify Aicha Ali-Khan and Tania Choudhoury -- and any Muslim whatsoever -- from being honored with the designation of being "English" (or "American" or "Canadian" or "French" or "Belgian" or "German" or "Italian" or "Spanish" or... etc.).

Will the "Counter-Jihad" learn this in time to help wake up the West to its protracted, metastasizing peril at the hands of a veritable Mohammedan invasion in this, our 21st century?  I see few signs to be hopeful about the answer to that question.

P.S.:  By contrast, we have a writer, Michael Walsh who, in his essay on the Counter-Jihad Mainstream site, Ruthfully Yours, writes about a Muslim family in Ireland with likely connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (not that mainstream Islam isn't already no better than the Muslim Brotherhood).  In his piece, Walsh appropriately questions their identity, so glibly assumed in mainstream media, as "Irish".  For many (if not most) in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, the mere fact that "Mr Halawa was born in Ireland and grew up in Firhouse, a suburb of Dublin" would make him an "Irish" "citizen" -- magically delicious and impervious to deportation as a member of a seditious organization (Islam) that is now at war with us.  Of course, I can't say for sure whether Michael Walsh wouldn't balk at the more robust position I advocate here -- namely that any and all Muslims are not, because according to their own Islam they cannot be, Westerners.  And it's difficult to say whether Walsh is "in the Counter-Jihad" per se, and whether he is part of the Leadership or is just a Civilian.  He seems to occupy that amorphous in-between area (roughly the same indistinct waters Giulio Meotti swims in), of which one indicator is being published on Ruthfully Yours, I suppose.  (Interestingly, I notice that Ruthfully Yours never seems to give any acknowledgements to Robert Spencer or to Jihad Watch -- almost as though he and it don't exist -- even though it occasionally publishes pieces by six-degrees-of-separation individuals like Daniel Greenfield (a regular on the site of Spencer's longtime friend and colleague, David Horowitz), Raymond Ibrahim (still occasionally published on Jihad Watch), and Giulio Meotti (who, as noted above, was recently published on Jihad Watch).)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Virtue-Signalling at the Crossroads of the West

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There's a kind of two-way virtue-signalling going on in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream.  This peculiar virtue-signaller will simultaneously

1) assure the broader Western Mainstream that he's not "racist", nor "bigoted", nor "Islamophobic".

2) assure his own colleagues & followers that his Counter-Jihadiness is tough and no-nonsense and politically incorrect.

Perhaps the most gracefully slippery practitioner of this double-purpose virtue-signalling is Robert Spencer, the émnence grise of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream.  He glides between these two poles with grinning aplomb like Fred Astaire tap-dancing on ice.  His new book, Confessions of an Islamophobe, is a clever attempt to juggle the balls of this contradiction, proudly affirming & owning that increasingly common epithet by which the broader Western Mainstream tries to vilify those who condemn Islam, while never disavowing his solemn stance that he is "not anti-Islam" and "not anti-Muslim" (see my previous essay, Confessions of an Oxymoron, for details).

Thus Spencer can say (winking at his audience of followers) that he is, proudly, an Islamophobe, whilst telegraphing to the broader audience of Mainstream Westerners that he is not really an Islamophobe at all -- nor (anxiously adding) a "racist" and a "bigot".  Spencer thus plays the double game of simultaneously affecting to thumb his nose at the Mainstream West while letting them set the rules of the Conversation.  And he's been doing this tight-rope act for years.  I've spent hours detailing arguments based on evidence for this over the years on this blog, and my former, now retired, blog "Jihad Watch Watch".  Four older essays are a good start for any reader interested in this facet:

...damned if you don't...

...damned if you do...

Still Incoherent After All These Years (cont.)...

Who speaks for us in the Anti-Islam Movement?

As I wrote in the first of the four essays listed above, referring to the various transcripts one can find of Spencer having arguments with readers in comments threads of Jihad Watch about why he refuses to condemn Islam (years ago, when there actually existed a few Jihad Watch readers who had enough balls to question Spencer's coherence):

...such as Transcripts Part 2: Jihad Watch readers politely yet firmly take Robert Spencer to task; and Robert Spencer's Two Hats: Keep Your Day Job... One can see there Spencer insisting doggedly why he is "not anti-Islam".  Yes, that's right, a man who has forged a career amassing mountains of data indicating that any sane, decent human on the planet should be anti-Islam, stubbornly insisting he is "not anti-Islam".

At any rate, Spencer recently posted a notice on Jihad Watch, complaining that another member of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (though far less well-known), John Derbyshire, called him names -- specifically an "Islamophobe" and as someone who "hates" Islam.

I.e., what we have here is one Counter-Jihadist (Derbyshire) anxiously trying to virtue-signal to the Western Mainstream that he's not as bad as a fellow Counter-Jihadist (Spencer); while Spencer, in turn, doubles down his ambiguity masquerading as oh-so-no-nonsense toughness by contrast.  In effect, Derbyshire is trying to out-virtue-signal Spencer -- and Spencer, instead of actually proving to his audience that he is more of an authentic Counter-Jihadist than Derbyshire, instead opts for sophistry (and/or incoherence) in order, apparently, to try to preserve his bi-valent paradox by which he can preserve his virtue in the eyes of both Mainstreams.

This isn't the first time this has happened to Spencer.  None other than Sam Harris, about a year ago, gave Spencer some of his own medicine he's given in the past to, for example, Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang -- i.e., treating Spencer as though he has bigoted cooties and has to be held at a distance of a 6-foot-pole.  For a fuller skinny on this, see my essay, Play It Again, Sam.  In this context, Sam's partner-in-counter-jihad-bromance, Maajid Nawaz, did the same thing to Spencer -- and Spencer made the unsurprising mistake of treating Nawaz's attack as an intra-Counter-Jihad problem, because, of course, Spencer won't boldly condemn Nawaz as a stealth jihadist (indeed, Spencer has referred to Nawaz preposterously as a "freedom fighter").

(Sam Harris, incidentally, resembles Spencer in his attempt to be unctuously smooth about playing to both sides; but because Harris is more solidly ensconced in the Western Mainstream, he sort of has the mirror-image opposite problem Spencer has -- playing the same double-game, but from the diametrical angle, so to say, since his audience, being mostly in the Western Mainstream, are about as anti-Islam -- at best -- as Daniel Pipes is.)

To sum up this surreal situation:  Luminaries who are "in the Counter-Jihad" (a phrase that continues to be on the verge of incoherence -- the fault of those very same Luminaries and their slavish devotees) have one foot in the Counter-Jihad, one foot in the broader Western Mainstream.  Since these two realms contradict each other on certain basic, important points -- like, oh say, the exigency of a full-blooded condemnation of Islam (all of Islam, not just "elements of Islam" as Spencer would have it) -- such a stance will perforce be incoherent and self-contradictory. 

Incoherent stances can and do flourish, when they have followings of slavish devotees.

Further Reading:

The key to the puzzle

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Confessions of an Oxymoron...

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Robert Spencer's new book is titled Confessions of an Islamophobe -- meaning he is proudly owning the term even though he realizes it's a silly neologism whose function is to shut down inquiry into the seamier side of Islam by labeling the critic as something radioactive in our Western culture dominated as it is by political correctness.

It would be safe to say that this book is, among other things (many of them useful),  Spencer's latest attempt to brand himself as a staunchly no-nonsense critic of Islam.  To his slavish acolytes, of course, he need not lift a littler finger in this regard to demonstrate his bona fides.

However, to my knowledge, he has never repudiated the solemn statements he made some ten years ago.  To wit:

I am not “anti-Islam”. (Robert Spencer, in a Jihad Watch article, June 27, 2007)

A few years later, he also for good measure added:

I am not “anti-Muslim,” as I have stated many times. It is not “anti-Muslim” to stand for human rights for all people, including Muslims… (Robert Spencer, in a Jihad Watch article, September 17, 2011)

Now, it's understandable, if you're a typical Counter-Jihad Civilian who has not yet undergone the paradigm shift from a focus merely on Islam to a focus on both Islam and Muslims, that you would find no fault at all in your Fearless Leader saying he's "not anti-Muslim".

Indeed, when recently Spencer was selling his book in a Jihad Watch posting, he made the following visionary declaration:

I want a society in which women, Jews, Christians, gays, secular liberals, and secular Muslims can live freely and without fear of being brutalized, victimized, or denied basic rights. [bold emphasis added]

And, needless to say, of the commenters on that thread, the only readers even mentioning the egregious quote were 3 -- and all 3 approved of the sentiment.

But come on now -- a Counter-Jihad luminary seriously insisting he's "not anti-Islam"...!!??

That's more befitting of the Twilight Zone than our increasingly grim reality as our West continues to placate and facilitate Muslims in their expansion into our world.  And it should be a hard pill to swallow from even the softest Counter-Jihadists (never mind the less soft, including all those who vehemently assert they are oh-so tough on Islam) who haven't yet quite melted into a liquefied pool of Daniel-Pipesian nougat.

And, naturally, none of the Civilians in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream have even noticed this, or even know about it (and even if they found out, most of them wouldn't care).

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Paradigm Shiftless

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In promoting his new book, Confessions of an Islamophobe, Robert Spencer has put up various brief postings over the past weeks approaching it from different angles.

In one report of how, when certain "Republican" students invited him to speak at Stanford, "Leftists" were "in an uproar", Spencer goes on to quote from the campus newspaper article about it based on their interview with Spencer, which he describes as "unusually even-handed for a campus paper".

Buried in the middle of it is perhaps the most important point in the entire issue of the whole damned mess of Islam, the West's myopia to Islam, and the Counter-Jihad Mainstream's myopia to the aforementioned:

When I asked him [Spencer] why he thought students were oblivious to the nature of the threat that Spencer will talk about, he called out the media. “The mainstream media conflates reasonable, intellectual critiques of Islam with attacks on Muslims as people,” he said. He hopes that the event, billed as an “honest conversation,” will help to clear up some of those misconceptions…. [bold emphasis added]

After all these years, Spencer apparently hasn't taken the trouble to figure out, and examine carefully, why it is that the mainstream media conflates these two things; and whether they don't have a logical reason to do so.

And of course no one "in the Counter-Jihad" (much less outside it) will notice, and ponder.

In the sleepwalking wake of the latest terror attack this week in New York City, we see, for the thousandth time, the broader Mainstream repeat their anxiety about the prospect & potential for just such a conflation.  Just take a look at the Jihad Watch stories this week.  And as sure as rain follows more rain, the "Counter-Jihad" (such as it is) stands its irrational ground, refusing to face the fact that its assertive condemnation (Spencer's gingerly "intellectual critiques" notwithstanding) of Islam inextricably involves a condemnation of all Muslims, since being a Muslim at the very least obviously implies a support for and solidarity with the Islam being condemned (or "intellectually critiqued" in Spencer's namby-pamby formulation) by us.

As long as Spencer, and the rest of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream Leadership along with its more or less fawning Civilians, ignore this, it will not undergo the crucial paradigm shift that has perhaps the only chance of saving the West from eventual destruction by Muslims by the time this 21st century comes to its close (give or take a few decades).

That chance will require social expansion (which eventually becomes sociopolitical influence); but social expansion will be unlikely to ever occur as long as the two Mainstreams are talking past each other.

Monday, October 30, 2017

"Religiously Incorrect"

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Bat Ye'or (center); David Littman (right); and Filip Dewinter (left)*

An astute phrase by the great David Littman, at a presentation he gave in Ottawa in 2010.  Be sure to see all four parts (which should be there at the same YouTube page).  Featured in one of the later parts is his wife, Bat Ye'or, author of studies on Islamic dhimmitude.  And, unlike most in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, he doesn't think it automatically excludes "politically incorrect" but that, rather, both pertain when dealing with Islam.  If I had a riyad for every time I've heard some Counter-Jihad Mainstream Civilian say: "Islam is not a religion -- it's a political ideology!" -- as though he or she had just had an epiphany, I'd be richer than George Clooney's Dominican gardener.  Apparently the concept of it being both is too complex for their simply binary brains.

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* (standing warmly closer than a Robert-Spencerian 6-foot pole next to Counter-Jihadists unafraid to catch his allegedly "neo-Nazi" cooties)


Sunday, October 29, 2017

A little conversation about the whole damned mess...


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A Jihad Watch commenter once asked me:

How would JW folks be able to accomplish what they are trying to do better by taking on board what you are saying?

Well (I said), I see that as a two-part or two-fold question. The still inchoate anti-Islam movement remains embryonic and not entirely coherent because there seems to be no concerted platform: I.e., what exactly are JW folks (reflecting all who are “in” the still-inchoate anti-Islam movement) trying to do?

So your question also includes that internal question. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better to have a vaguely amorphous anti-Islam antipathy more or less galvanizing a growing embryo of a movement than not to have that; but surely more definition is needed.

Unfortunately, I often see, when some JW folks are prodded with probing questions about the problem of Muslims, discomfitting signs of a soft, squishy, nougaty center corrupted by asymptotic caramel, such that what I thought were no-nonsense stalwart Counter-Jihadists turn out to be barely distinguishable from George “Muslims-are-decent-moms-and-pops-like-the-rest-of-us” Bush’s war on terror.

Secondly, your question points to an important dimension of our overall movement: namely, that we are in, as Frank Gaffney aptly puts it, “the battle space of the war of ideas”. As such, this important dimension is about E-C-P: Education, Communication, Persuasion. And this war is not a civil war so much as a war that should remain civil — a struggle to persuade the majority of our fellow Westerners who persist in their myopia which, sociopolitically and psychologically, is a giant mass of tissue combining pleasantly passive laziness with starry-eyed politically correct sincerity. As such, it will take years, if not decades, to wake them up to the problem of Muslims. To recognize my previous point is to recognize that our internal dilemma is not as neatly polarized as most JW folks are irresponsibly implying all day long.

And this penchant for most JW folks to indulge in this polarization (between “Us Ordinary folks who get it” and “Them Damned Leftists over there”) is highly ironic, given how soft and naively gullible so many of these JW folks are about Muslims. If they could only adjust these two parameters to try to reverse them into their mirror image (tougher on all Muslims, more understanding of “liberals”), the movement’s “battle space” would become much more efficient, in tactics and substance. I think part of what’s going on here is “TPS” — the “Tea Party Syndrome”: These JW folks I am describing are really fixated on the “real problem” — Liberalism, with the problem of Islam only a peripheral sub-problem currently occupying their attention.

Postscript:

It is our grim luck that Muslims will help this overall situation, by being unable to control themselves in the coming decades as they continue to spiral and metastasize in murder and mayhem, seemingly haphazard, but more likely than not part of an overall goal of Jihad conquest over "Rome" (i.e., the West), facilitated by the Useful Idiocy (paradoxically a "morosophy") of that same West.

Will the "Counter-Jihad" get its shit together in time over the coming decades to avert the catastrophe by waking up (a sufficient number of) its fellow Westerners?  I used to be a "pessimist for now, but ultimately an optimist" on this question. Now, alack, I tilt decidedly worseward. And I can thank the "Counter-Jihad" in large part for my gloominess.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

the ISISberg

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A recent headline on Jihad Watch, building on a Breitbart report:

“With collapse of the Islamic State, Europe and U.S. flooded with thousands of jihadis”

Has anyone in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (never mind the broader Western Mainstream, blind as a bat to the problem of Islam) considered that this was the strategy of ISIS all along?

What everybody thinks, apparently, is that the main motive of ISIS has been to found a return to the Caliphate and try to initiate world conquest one piece at a time -- while having Satanic fun massacring, beheading, raping, torturing and terrorizing.

Has anyone in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (never mind the broader Western Mainstream, blind as a bat to the problem of Islam) considered that this was not in fact the intended present goal, since Muslims know they can't topple the West (as it stands) by military/paramilitary means?

It is more reasonable to work from the premise that the only hope Muslims have for bringing down this vast, complex, sophisticated, seemingly impregnable Fortress-Civilization called the West -- light years ahead of the Muslim world in technology, science & social infrastructure -- is to engage a two-pronged process:

1) interpenetrate the West with millions of Muslims and continue to do so for decades to come; and

2) continue to provoke, encourage & manipulate our Western PC MC reflexes to whitewash Islam so much as to virtually enable its deepening infiltration.

#1 will ensure that in the future, there will be enough Muslims throughout the West, infiltrated into every social nook and cranny, to be able to implement military/paramilitary actions that, unlike the terror attacks they've done to date, will have a chance to successfully destroy our civilization.

#2, meanwhile, will help to ensure that #1 continues to proceed without any obstacles other than the false obstacle based on the specious premise of a division between "Extremist Islamism" and a supposedly benign "Islam" (or the Counter-Jihad Mainstream version of this, the division between "Jihadists" and "Reformist" or "Secular" Muslims) -- a premise that actually facilitates the ongoing infiltration of Muslims (#2).

#1 represents quantity -- sheer numbers of Muslims.  Meanwhile, #2 reflects the quality of their presence in the West -- i.e., sufficiently deep infiltration in the future to gain access to areas they still, in our time, might have trouble penetrating, in order to pull off horrific terror attacks far worse than 911, and far more numerous than what we've seen to date.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A conversation about the "problem of the problem" at Gates of Vienna -- Part 2

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Pursuant to my previous essay, A conversation about the "problem of the problem" at Gates of Vienna, I got around to reading through the 134 comments there.

Many, if not most, of the posts are off-topic (somehow people got off on an unrelated tangent of the tiresome atheist/theist arguments one bumps into a lot on the Internet).  Of the ones on topic, many (if not most) were either Real Problemerist (yes, an awkward coinage, but befitting an incoherent phenomenon) or were off on a related tandem, which I suppose while I'm on a coinage bent, I could dub "Sheeplist".  I.e., they accept Bodissey's premise, that the problem is not merely the Dastardly Elites, but also The People -- and so they turn their paranoid lenses on their own fellow citizens and proceed to explain how it is that Ordinary People allow themselves to be duped & manipulated by the Evil Elites; with, of course, a darkly pessimistic view of their fellow man.

When one commenter did so,  Bodissey shot back with a good question. In effect, how is it that we "get it", but all these other people more or less like us, don't?

Another commenter tried to redeem the first one, but Bodissey wasn't buying (read on from the previous link above).  

Other commenters tried to address Bodissey's objections (including the original commenter "ext"), and thus a full-blown discussion ensued on the "Sheeple Hypothesis", at times addressing the most relevant aspect of it -- why are we, in the Counter-Jihad, so free of "brainwashing"? Why are we not "Sheeples"?

No real light was shed, of course.

Then Bodissey dropped an H-bomb: His view of the Real Problemer Apocalypse:

I don’t think anything short of a major social collapse can change the trajectory we’re on anywhere in the West. California, Sweden, and Germany will just be the ones to go first. I’ve basically given up hope that the current system can be preserved more or less as-is. It has to collapse — and millions of people have to feel the resulting intense pain — for change to occur.

However, I reason that the more of us who understand the dynamics involved, the better. Someone will be pulling together a new, truncated civilization After Things Fall Apart (as the title of Ron Goulart’s novel had it). Warlords, demagogues, and ruthless predators will almost certainly part of the mix. But the more people who at least partially understand the deep reasons behind the process preceding the collapse, the more likely that there will be pockets of humane civilization emerging from the chaos.

-- with no mention of Islam or Muslims, and a clear implication that the cataclysmic Fitna he envisions will be caused/prosecuted as much by non-Muslim ne'er-do-wells as by Muslims.

Then Bodissey refocuses on Islam:

I’ve arrived at a similar conclusion about the atrocities committed by the Islamic State and other jihad outfits. You can bounce around all the sociological and psychological explanations you want, but in the end there is no accounting for it by ordinary causation. I can’t describe what is happening in any meaningful way without using the word “satanic”.

One doesn't know how it figures in his grander Apocalypse, other than as one important symptom of a broader disease. It's probably significant that his focus here isn't on Islam and all Muslims, but rather on ISIS and "other jihad outfits" (the Counter-Jihad Mainstream version of the Tiny Minority of Extremists). 

More outright Real Problemerism follows for a few comments (the main culprit, one "Nemesis"), followed by another digression onto the Atheist/Christian argument, then back to the Real Problemerism (for example, this one).

Otherwise, digressions onto generalities so amorphous -- genetics, general psychology, sociology, the Christian Fall -- as to be virtually useless to the main question

Then Bodissey returns to the main point of the whole topic when he again contemplates the distinction between Those Who Get It and Those Who Don't.  An essay I wrote nearly ten years ago is relevant to this problem:

"Islamophobia" and the "Chill Factor"  

In that essay, I dissect a fascinating old made-for-TV movie about two scientists who are sent to an arctic station where the previous crew had all mysterious disappeared.  The two scientists, played by Robert Culp and Eli Wallach, represent two types of rational thinking. One of them pursues the mystery to its logical conclusion, which is unthinkable, following the Sherlock Holmes dictum: "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." The other scientist proceeds by erecting the unthinkable into a dogma that must never be thought -- even when it means their doom.

Of course, it matters what the "it" is (in Those Who "Get It"); a by no means settled matter -- that being, in fact, the very nodus of the problem of the problem of the problem.  I.e., not so much the primary problem (Islam), and not so much the secondary problem (of the West persistently  myopic to the primary problem) -- but the tertiary problem of the Counter-Jihad (such as it is), as a symptom of its ongoing incoherence continuing to grapple ineffectively with the previous two problems.