There are actually three major problems of the West, but we shall be dealing only with the one that currently poses the most danger to the West.
The other two problems are:
1) A vast and amorphous vector of amoral nihilism and materialism
2) Modern Gnostic projects to transform the West into various forms of utopia.
#1 continues to be a problem, but it must be seen as a relatively unavoidable—though, of course, constantly ameliorable—aspect of modern Western progress, particularly as that progress has to manage millions of people in complex and dynamic circumstances.
#2 posed colossal problems in the 20th century for the West—chiefly in the forms of Communism, Fascism and Nazism—but the latter two were effectively nullified with the end of World War II (and have only posed marginal problems here and there since then) while the former finally unraveled in the late 1980s and no longer poses the problems it once did. While there are incipient, inchoate signs that all three of these forms may rear their ugly heads again in terms of the #3 problem to be addressed below, those signs are not sufficiently coalesced to warrant anything more than peripheral vigilance for now.
3) The third major problem of the West is a distant cousin, so to speak, of the problem noted in #2 above, of modern Gnosticism: it is what I have called in previous essays on this blog ‘Gnosticism Lite’, or PC Multiculturalism. PC Multiculturalism is a curious and paradoxical hybrid: it was born of the fight against those modern Gnostic movements of the 20th century, yet, in its growth and development, it acquired features of that same modern Gnosticism—features nevertheless attenuated in their virulence by a complex relationship with a co-existing noetic culture.
The reason that I say that PC Multiculturalism is a problem of the West that “currently poses the most danger to the West” is because, according to its guiding template, Islam cannot be condemned, or even criticized, and all significantly negative data that emanates from Islam must be marginalized and surgically detached from Islam in order to preserve Islam’s innocence. This guiding template severely hampers our current struggle against an Islam Redivivus, because it forbids us from noticing, analyzing and fashioning concrete methodologies of action in response to dangers to the West that are emanating out of, and being nourished by, Islam today.
Throughout my blog over these past three months, I have been using certain terms as my thought process about these issues continues to take shape. I will now attempt to shed more light on them and put some order to them:
PC Multiculturalist template
Let us consider them one by one:
The West was born in, and has for all its centuries of existence been involved with, a struggle between noetic culture and Gnostic culture. By noetic culture I refer to the sociopolitical cultivation of a rational balance between perfection and imperfection. This culture has its roots in ancient Greece in the political science of Plato and Aristotle, and was further unfolded in ancient Rome, then in Christian Europe, and then in the modern secular West (the birth of the United States of America occurred in between the latter two epochs).
This was a movement that was developed in response to the epochal “differentiations of consciousness” that occurred in ancient Israel (with the pneumatic revelations of Abraham and Moses), ancient Persia (with the pneumatic revelations of Zoroaster), ancient Greece (with the noesis of the Ionian ‘pre-Socratic’ philosophers and then Plato and those he influenced), and the Middle East (Jesus, unfolding the aforementioned revelations of Israel). All these “differentiations of consciousness” opened up Mankind to a new relationship to the Cosmos and to the divinity that is beyond the Cosmos, disturbing that relationship that had hitherto been one of a cyclic stability and introducing a new element—the hope of an eschatological transformation of the Cosmos into perfection in some mysterious future. The noetic and pneumatic differentiations tended to cultivate a healthy response to this new situation for Mankind, more or less able to abide patiently while History continues its mysterious path toward its eschatological transformation, while the Gnostic reactions tended to cultivate a pathological syndrome, including such symptoms as:
a) excessive impatience (sometimes bordering on disgust) with imperfection and with the fact that the imperfect world is not ending soon enough,
b) an intolerant division of Mankind into “those who know the secret” of salvation and “those who are ignorant”,
c) an indulgence in esoteric rituals calculated to control the mystery of life and reveal its soteriological secrets through magic.
The peculiarly modern variant of Gnosticism—which began on all cylinders with the French Revolution of 1789 and continued with the plethora of utopian speculation and agitation in the 19th century, followed by mass-murders, revolutions and military invasions in the 20th century—introduced into the syndrome of ancient Gnosticism an element of material-political activism. This was the unique case in the West: outside the West, the other great Gnostic movement, Islam, always married material-political activism with its ideological syndrome.
The remaining three terms can all be discussed under this rubric.
Basically, the interpretive model I have been developing over these past three months on this blog has tried to make sense of the current pathology in the West that cannot notice, digest, analyze and appropriately respond to the danger of an Islam Redivivus.
1) At the largest most amorphous level of cultural influence, we have the great overarching umbrella phenomenon of Gnosticism in its modern variant.
2) Coincident with the rise and subsequent career of modern Gnosticism was the sociopolitical phenomenon of Leftism. Leftism partially arose out of modern Gnosticism (particularly with the sociopolitical turmoil preceding, and coterminous with, the French Revolution) and subsequently became a hybrid of Gnostic and extra-Gnostic components. Throughout its career into the 19th and 20th centuries parallel with modern Gnosticism, Leftism has inhabited a wide spectrum running from direct participation in modern Gnostic projects, to indirect cheerleading and apologetics for Gnostic ideologies, to more or less incoherent attempts to straddle the fence between the Gnostic movements and the more noetic forces in conflict with them.
3) PC Multiculturalism arose to a great extent informed by the great project to rebuild the West after the horrific catastrophe of World War II and all the years of turmoil that had preceded Hitler’s rise to power. In the development of PC Multiculturalism, for reasons too complex to go into now, much substance was derived from Leftism—partly because the modern Gnostic movements of Hitler and associated Fascisms were perceived to be ultra-Right (while the broader penumbra of modern Gnosticism that informed it was more or less ignored), and partly because the other great ally that had helped to destroy this catastrophic bout of modern Gnosticism was the Communist Soviet Union, whose own ideology happened to have attracted many Leftists.
The PC Multiculturalist template
4) It would be a mistake, however, to locate all of the blame for the construction of the PC Multiculturalist template in the reconstruction of the West after World War II. For one thing, we would to some degree be confusing cause and effect, insofar as the dismantling of the Colonial West—which was one major feature of that reconstruction—was as much an effect of PC Multiculturalism as it was a cause of its subsequent acceleration. If the dismantling of the Colonial West was an effect of PC Multiculturalism, then the latter must have preceded World War II (since the roots of that dismantling go back to the aftermath of the Great War, World War I). And so it did. In fact, PC Multiculturalism has roots going back as far as the 19th century, and the further back one goes to trace those roots, the more entwined they become with modern Gnosticism, particularly with its disenchantment with the West and its romantic fascination with the exotic cultures of the non-Western ‘Noble Savage’.
And here we are now, in 2006, some five years after 911. All countries of the West are dominated by the PC Multiculturalist template. It dominates not only our ‘elites’, not only our governments, not only our academic subcultures, not only our news media, but also our pop cultures, our societies, and most of our masses of ordinary people. This domination has become entrenched over the past 50-odd years, and it has not been all bad: it has done much good in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, and shifting the consciousness of people toward more respect of differences in general, toward more respect for freedom, toward more respect for, and even relaxation into, an insouciant irreverance about matters of religion and social decorum. It has also, however, brought in its wake many unfortunate trends in society, most of which we will not go into here, as they have been analyzed and condemned a million times elsewhere (we alluded to this in our #1 point at the very top).
Of all the bad things PC Multiculturalism has wrought, clearly the worst has been the dominant mechanism—the template—by which, as the continual onslaught of new data from violent intolerant regressive Muslims comes over the Western radar, Islam must be whitewashed and protected as utterly innocent of any substantive role in the lethal ugliness of all that data.
I call it a template because it is like a computer card one slips into one’s motherboard. It is inert, pre-programmed, and has ready-made slots for all new data that might arrive. The over-arching ready-made slot in the PC Multiculturalist template is that—
Islam must be detached and protected from all bad things any Muslim in the world does.
The way this apodictically pre-programmed code has been written, no amount of new data can alter the outcome. No matter how horrific the new data is, no matter how frequent it is, no matter how many Muslims might do crazy violent ugly things, no matter how global their ugliness is—all of this does not matter. No amount of bad data can alter the code of the template: it will always result in the response that Islam is not the problem, it must be “extremists” who are “perverting” Islam; or it must be the bad policies of the West (particularly its right-wing “neo-cons”, perhaps with “Zionist” ties) that are triggering (or even causing) so many “grievances” among all those Muslims. But there can never, ever be a problem with Islam qua Islam.
Clearly, then, we cannot contend with our dominant PC Multiculturalist template on the level of sheer data. The template itself has to be deconstructed. How, you ask? I haven't a clue. If you have any ideas, please let me know.