Friday, January 26, 2007
“Islamonausea” and PC Multiculturalism
What arouses, and then informs, a visceral as well as a rational Islamonausea, are pools (or rather oceans) of data from four sources: The news, personal testimonies, history, religious texts.
1) Terrorism and extremism on the news.
2) Testimonies of personal experience of those who have lived among Muslims, or who have encountered Muslims.
3) A history of 1,400 years of grotesquely brutal pillage, conquest, massacres, subjugation, enslavement, and conquest.
4) The central texts defining Islam for all Muslims—the Koran, the Sahih Hadiths, and the early Muslim biographies of Mohammed, or Sira—as well as the luxurious jungle of parallel and peripheral texts of legal exegesis based upon those three, written throughout the centuries into our own with the dogged Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder of scribblings by utterly mad men, in recent years sprouting branches or serpentine tendrils of various “Q & A” advice websites from clerics on the Internet.
What PC MC (Politically Correct Multiculturalism) does with these four offenses to human intelligence and decency roughly comprises the following:
a) First and most solemnly of all, PC MC forbids the concatenation of 1-2-3-4. We must treat each of these separately and never connect any dots among them, the better to thwart any attempts to put a whole Islam on the table for discussion and criticism. PC MC often has recourse to an apodictically dismissive disdain for any attempts at even proposing the fact of a coherent Islam at all that could be the proper object for criticism: for, you see, Islam is a “cultural mosaic” much too wonderfully varied and many-splendored to be “reduced” to a “monolithic” entity that has systemic, comprehensive, intrinsic, inherent problems which are, in turn, causing grave and deadly problems for non-Muslims. (On the other hand, PC MC can turn around on a dime and endow Islam with the monolithic blessing of being a harmless “religion of peace”—thus revealing the hypocritical, albeit complex, incoherence at the heart of its paradigm.)
b) The news: When PC MC accepts the mountain of disturbing data coming out of the Muslim world, it automatically and axiomatically detaches that data from Islam itself, chiefly by dissolving that data into a welter of political, economic, and “cultural” explanations. Conversely, PC MC may sometimes choose to ignore the prodigiousness of the data. Or PC MC will try to engage in the Ego Quoque argument to defuse it (“We have wife-beating, rape, violence too; we have been invading countries and killing people too; the CIA funded bin Laden and Saddam; in fact, in most cases, our reckless, or even evil at times, geopolitical behaviors have been causing the grievances of Muslims around the world. . .”; etc., etc., ad Islamonauseam).
c) Personal testimonies of those who have lived with Islam, whether of ex-Muslims or Christian or Jewish victims: These are usually simply ignored by PC MC, or when they are noticed, are denigrated as “anecdotal” or as “Islamophobic” or as simply illuminating aforementioned political, economic and “cultural” factors unrelated to Islam itself.
d) History: Here, PC MC may take three tacks:
i) Andalusian Revisionism: basically saying that Islamic history was, on the whole, actually good and in many ways better than the “Dark Ages” of the West at the time.
ii) Ego Quoque: to the extent that PC MC concedes to notice offensive aspects of Islamic history, they then whip out the Ego Quoque argument: “Well, the West had the Crusades, the Inquisition, Witch-Burnings, Oppression of Galileo, Religious Wars, Black Slavery, Genocide of American Indians, Evil Colonialism, Vietnam, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc., so who are we to cast blame? Anyway, that’s just the way everybody acted back then—and when the West did bad things, the West was, of course worse than when those lovely brown cool ethnic sexy exotic oriental Third World Muslims did the same bad things, you see. . .”
iii) “Islam Needs a Reformation”: To the extent that PC MC (or some minority factions of it) actually does concede that Islam was irredeemably bad in history, or at least in certain periods of its history, it will then have recourse to the fact that Islam has to develop and reform, Islam never had a Reformation, give Islam time, it will evolve just like we did. And when we try to point out our #1 point (the News) to demonstrate that Islam doesn’t seem to be progressing now but rather regressing, PC MC will simply fend that off with the political, economic and “cultural” factors that are forever extraneous to Islam itself.
e) The Central Texts: Here, PC MC has recourse to the following tacks:
i) Ego Quoque: “Our Bible is just as bad” and/or “all religions have problems”
ii) Context: “You are taking those passages out of context”
iii) Scriptural Interpretation: “The vast majority of Muslims don’t interpret those passages like you are doing—only a minority of “extremists” are doing that, and you sound just like bin Laden when you insist that the Koran and Hadiths must be interpreted so dangerously and violently.”
iv) “You don’t know Arabic, so how can you correctly read those texts?”
v) “Islam is wonderfully complex and variegated, and you are reducing such a many-splendored panoply of different cultures from Morocco to Indonesia to a couple of books...”
The main tactic of our dominant and mainstream PC MC by which to defuse any legitimacy to Islamonausea is to simply say that there is no “there there”: the Islam which arouses our nausea is either off-limits (and the nausea—if even conceded to be legitimate at all—explained by factors other than Islam itself), or doesn’t exist at all as a coherent unified object that can be subjected to analysis and criticism, nor which could be a major source for the problems surrounding the behaviors of certain Muslims.
Subtext to the Bottom Line:
As we noted above, PC MC usually manifests an incoherent contradiction about the entity of Islam:
1) Negatively, proponents of PC MC tend to deny Islam coherent status as an entity, in order to protect it from criticism.
2) Positively, they tend to grant Islam coherent status as an entity, in order to praise its admirable cultural qualities and also in order to ensure that its lovely moderate and well-mannered millions of followers (and what could they be following if “Islam” doesn’t really exist in any coherent way?) remain protected from “Islamophobic” prejudice and “hate crimes”.
Proponents of PC MC thus simultaneously deny Islam as a coherent entity, and affirm Islam as a coherent entity. They can maintain this contradiction effortlessly and indefinitely, by simply refusing to sit still for the rational thinking (and learning) that is necessary for any serious debate on the issue, opting instead to dance and distract. And oftentimes, their refusal to sit still is not necessarily sinister, but just the result of the centrifugal dizziness of the idiotically evasive dancing itself: a post-modern secular version of the whirling dervishes.