A recent poster over at Jihad Watch wrote:
“Blair must be talking about some other ‘Islam’...”
This poster was responding to a recent article written by Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which he wrote such things as:
To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.
Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.
To the above poster’s incredulous conclusion, reverberating with an evident shock of indignation and surprise, that, strangely enough, Blair “must be” talking about some “other Islam” than the actual one we all—that is the obvious implication, that all of us (at least the vast majority of ordinary folks like us who are not sinister “elites”) agree—know is the only real Islam, I would respond thusly:
Guess what that “other Islam” is? It is a gigantic, dominant, sociopolitically mainstream hologram—sanitized of all defects of course—of the actual historical (and present) Islam we proud and few Jihad Watchers have come to know (and which Westerners knew, prior to the time of "the Great Inhibition", as Hugh Fitzgerald wryly terms it, overtook the West's collective brains).
This hologram has been constructed over a long period of time, at least the past 50 years, and a major portion of its construction has required, and in turn reflects, the contextual matrix of the much broader and more fabulously catastrophic construction throughout the modern West of Politically Correct Multiculturalism—of which the “other Islam” is only, though grievously and dangerously, one major wing.
More recently (in the middle of January of 2007), the Jihad Watch site has been abuzz about a new book by Dinesh D’Souza about Islam, with Robert Spencer and Hugh Fitzgerald penning four long and detailed critiques about that book and its author’s profound lacunae in knowledge about Islam. The subtext, or intertext between the lines, of these articles at Jihad Watch (and, as is usual, of every comment by the loyal readers there) shimmers with the typical attitude Jihad Watchers take whenever anyone of any degree of note and intelligence (like a D’Souza) demonstrates a colossal ignorance about Islam: How could this possibly be? How could D’Souza not know what we all know about Islam, what he too could know if he only took the time to read what is available in the texts of Islam itself and in the more substantive scholarly critics of Islam who have become unfashionable of late?
These are good questions, but the way they are rhetorically posed by the Jihad Watchers is not so good, and it reveals a serious lacuna in their thought process in turn. They can’t fathom how a an intelligent Westerner like D’Souza could possibly ignore the real Islam, so they tend to respond with what has now become a tiresomely typical bifurcation of reflexive spasms: Some (usually the unofficial commenters who don’t breathe the rarified air of Robert and Hugh standing with brandy snifters in hand upon the watchtower above the common fray of Left and Right) will proffer sinister explanations about a Leftist cabal of “elites”, or a Right-wing cabal of “elites”. Others (usually Robert and Hugh and a few others) don’t really proffer any explanation at all, opting merely to scratch their heads in frustrated bafflement—or, in Hugh’s case, to proffer boiled-down, banal symptoms (his Esdrujula Explanation) dressed up in the guise of an etiology.
But the phenomenon of a D’Souza or a Blair (or of a million others like them in the West) demands some kind of explanation: not the simplistic explanation of a cabal of “elites”, nor some verbose non-explanation that irresponsibly avoids the pressing question, but some kind of explanation for how intelligent, thoughtful and well-read people like D’Souza can get this monumental Problem of Islam so monumentally wrong. If a specifically and directly causal explanation is not available, then at least a skeletal outline of its actual dimensions should be adumbrated. In this case, however, the phenomenon is so complex and pervasive, and analysts have been so remiss in even noticing its actual dimensions, let alone studying it, that there does not yet exist a satisfying analytical explanation for it.
At any rate, in many of my essays on this blog, I have been pursuing, at least, such an adumbration of a skeletal outline of its actual dimensions—with, here and there, attempted probes into the viscera of its nature and substance. And the “it” to which I refer here is the very strange incapacity for so many of our best and brightest to maximize their Learning Curve about the Problem of Islam. I have given a name to what must have formed, and what must be continuing to cause, this incapacity: PC MC (short for Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism). This name, and my many elaborations of its contours and implications, is not meant to substitute for a thorough aetiological explanation. It is an attempt, an initial stab, at some descriptive forensics of this most exigent and perilous phenomenon—a sociopolitically dominant and mainstream impediment standing in our way of dealing effectively and rationally with an unprecedented threat to our lives and infrastructure: an Islam Redivivus.
This phenomenon which I have named PC MC impedes us in noticing, analyzing and then taking rational measures to protect ourselves against the actual Islam that threatens us now and has always threatened us, from its inception in the 7th century—though its present threat takes on the form of a revival after a period of relative incubation: hence it is “redivivus”).
And how does PC MC impede us? Principally, by manufacturing another Islam, a second Islam, alongside of—or, rather, in front of, so as to eclipse—the actual Islam of tradition, history and the news.
And what is the nature of this “other Islam”? Well, let us take a look at what Tony Blair wrote—and his description is not his invention; it simply reflects, quite closely in detail, the construction developed over the last 50-odd years by PC Multiculturalism, composed of the givens that are naturally and routinely swallowed by most everyone in the West today. Let’s see.
This holographic Islam is:
“inclusive” (whatever that means, exactly)
it “extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition”
and in its heyday, as reflected in the Koran, it was “practical and far ahead of its time” with regard to social issues.
Meanwhile, D’Souza’s Islam is roughly the same: an Islam that has been a harmless, if not a beneficial, geopolitical neighbor for 1,350 years and only recently has developed a few bad apples who are troublesome to us, mostly because we offend their noble culture that promotes “family values”—a crop of bad apples that has the strange and disquieting ability, however, to metastasize, causing the vast majority of harmless moderate Muslims to “radicalize”, D’Souza incoherently warns us, if we keep pushing our vulgar American immorality on the world.
The Jihad Watcher I quoted at the beginning responds to Blair with a suprised attitude that implies that Blair must see evil Islam as plain as the nose on his face just like we Jihad Watchers all see it so obviously; and the other Jihad Watchers more recently are equally indignant—and equally baffled (when they are not proferring conspiracy theories)—about D’Souza’s ignorance. So how could Blair and D’Souza (and a million others like them) do this?
Another Jihad Watcher proposed the hypothesis that Blair must be employing a cleverly manipulative and disingenuous “rope-a-dope” tactic in his opening remarks, praising Islam, in order to delve into criticisms later on in his essay. This might be a plausible hypothesis, were the later criticisms directed at Islam itself; but they are not. They follow the PC MC paradigm in leaving Islam itself untouched—that is, the holographic Islam that PC MC and Muslim apologists have constructed—while surgically detaching from it an “extremism” whose dangers and pathology have nothing to do with this holographic Islam itself.
No: the far more plausible explanation here is that Blair and D’Souza have swallowed the PC MC paradigm whole and its holographic reduplication of the actual Islam, as a part of their normative pedagogy imposed, with unremarkable sociopolitical massiveness, by the PC MC that surrounds them on all sides throughout the West with sociopolitical dominance and mainstream prevalence. And the paradigm that governs this holographic Islam addresses the problem of bad and dangerous Muslims popping up all over the place in this way:
1. Islam itself is good.
2. The vast majority of Muslims are moderate and good (indeed, as D’Souza would have it, admirably more “moral” than the decadent Western Leftists).
3. The bad Muslims causing trouble are bad apples who have “hijacked” that good and diverse culture, Islam.
Thus, the “other Islam”, the hologram of the actual historical and present Islam—a reduplication that has the effect of eclipsing the real Islam with its nutritious incubation and formation of evil and dangerous jihad and sharia—is the cornerstone of the construction of the paradigm.
And why shouldn’t Blair and D’Souza (and a million other elites like them, and millions of ordinary people in addition to them) believe in this paradigm? After all, it is robustly dominant and mainstream, shining like the blazing sun on a clear day all around the West. Blair and D’Souza would have to go profoundly against the grain to challenge it significantly.
Now, granted, Blair has shown a few signs, more recently, of having inched along the learning curve a tad further than others have, and so the above paradigm could be slightly altered to account for this—but even so, it would not be significantly deconstructed as it should be. Blair’s alteration would leave untouched the PC givens of #1 and #2, but would tweak #3.
3. Yes, the bad Muslims causing trouble are bad apples who have “hijacked” that good culture, Islam, but their alarming numbers and wide geographical dispersion disquiet one to the point that we wonder if there are not some troubling problems growing at the periphery of Islam—nasty warts and boils and such—which it would be nice if all the moderate Muslims who exist as a vast majority who, naturally, share our common human values, could please assist us in treating.
As long as Blair and D’Souza continue to subscribe to the PC MC paradigm and its very important cornerstone—the “Islam” that is a sanitized hologram—then the threshhold for the quantity of dangerous data about Muslims and Islam sufficient to reorient Blair’s and D’Souza’s minds will tend to remain unacceptably low: i.e., too many innocent lives under Blair’s responsibility and under D’Souza’s influence would have to be lost, unnecessarily and tragically, before the Blairs and D’Souzas of our West shake themselves out of their collective hallucination of that hologram, and finally wake up to the real Islam.
Behind and beneath all this collective denial about Islam in which Westerners continue to indulge, is a semi-conscious dread: a fear that Muslims really are dangerous, and that they will eventually force us to react against them in reasonably aggressive self-defense. Now, since most Muslims are perceived by PC MC to be "ethnic" peoples (indeed, a wondrously diverse rainbow of "ethnic" peoples from around the world), and since according to PC MC the white West eternally has within its cultural DNA the evil inclination to mistreat, oppress and genocide non-white non-Westerners -- an inclination about which the West has to be forever vigilant to suppress, lest we revert to our "shameful" past, and which, thanks to the mainstream dominance of PC MC, we are finally successful in doing (as long as, let us never forget, we remain vigilant) -- this means, effectively, only one thing:
The only thing preventing us from creating "another Holocaust" (this time against the New Jews, those poor Brown Muslims cowering in fear in an atmosphere of constantly potential "backlash" against them by the whites who surround them in the West) -- is to maintain the Hologram we have constructed, of a Peaceful, Tolerant Islam.
I.e., in a pithy nutshell:
The only thing preventing "another Holocaust" is the Hologram.