1. Left vs. Right
In locating the problem of the West’s inability to respond rationally to the Problem of Islam, Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers execute either of the following two polar errors:
a. The Left is the only problem, or (less commonly) the Right is the only problem;
b. There is no Left/Right problem at all.
The reality, however, is messier and more complicated than either (a) or (b): Leftism spawned PC Multiculturalism, which, in the past 50-odd years, has become sociopolitically dominant in the West and now holds in its thrall both Left and Right. While some issues of PC Multiculturalism unrelated to the Problem of Islam could be arguably defensible, one of the tenets of PC Multiculturalism is currently hastening our inability to rationally defend ourselves from an Islam Redivivus: the PC Multiculturalist axiom by which Islam, and the vast majority of Muslims, cannot possibly be criticized or blamed for anything seriously bad that happens, while the metastatic problem of global terrorist attacks is automatically and axiomatically imputed to a “small minority of extremists” whose motivations and inspirations must have nothing to do with Islam itself or with the vast majority of Muslims.
2. It’s Those Dastardly Elites!
Closely related to the binary myopia evident in #1 (a and b), there is among most Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers a persistent myopia to, and denial of, the mainstream prevalence of PC Multiculturalism: when PC Multiculturalism is acknowledged by them as a major problem, it is inevitably located in some dastardly ‘elites’ (academics, media, politicians, CEOs) who represent a tiny but overwhelmingly powerful subpopulation thwarting the will of the vast majority of ordinary Americans and Europeans who, of course, must think just like the Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers. This myopia is not only silly and ignorant; it is positively dangerous to our efforts at dismantling the complex edifice of PC Multiculturalism—for, how can you dismantle something when you fall abysmally short of recognizing its accurate dimensions?
Closely related to #1 and #2, there is the rather common sentiment (particularly among American Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers) that, “if any Muslims try that here, they’ll be sorry!” The “that” in question is usually some outrageous Muslim behavior (riots, lynchings, honor killings, terrorist attacks) reported in some Third World country, or some threats of same in the West (usually Europe, since these could not happen in America, right!?). This is just embarrassing and, frankly, pathetic chest-puffing, ignoring not only the maintsream prevalence of PC Multiculturalism, but also the powerfully institutionalized limitations in the West on the vigilantism their chest-puffing boasts implicitly threaten, or promise, to demonstrate. Not to mention the fact that nothing happened to Muslims in America after 9/11, nor after the many smaller incidences of S.J.S. (Sudden Jihad Syndrome) that have popped up in various places in the U.S.A. (including the South, on the campus of the University of North Carolina: where were the good ol’ boys then when that Muslim tried to vehicularly murder Americans with his S.U.V.?)
One particular Paltalker—who claimed to have been a Los Angeles policewoman for years—actually told me, in response to my questions, that police personnel during the recent L.A. riots, if they saw a person shoot at rioters, would not arrest that person because that person would be obviously acting in self-defense! What’s worse, when I tried to impress upon this Paltalker the unremarkable fact that police in any state in the U.S.A. are not allowed to make a judgement about whether a shooter has shot a person in self-defense, but are obligated to arrest any and all persons who shoot at anybody else—since the determination of whether the shooter was acting in self-defense, in our society, can only be made by a judge and jury—this Paltalker continued to persist in her egregiously eccentric notion! If this Paltalker really was a veteran police officer (and one can never be sure in chat rooms that people are what they say they are), this bodes ill for the sociopolitical literacy of the average American. Even if not, she was a Paltalker as I have defined it: a person ostensibly on the right side in this war against Islam; and therefore her crotchety notion about vigilantism remains worrisome, to the degree that she is typical.
At any rate, these types of Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers will likely be in for some rude shocks in the future, when they will see just how tiny a minority they really are, and will find themselves rounded up in a New York minute by their local police and/or the National Guard when they try their vigilantism—however understandable their motivations are.
4. Exaggerating the Power of Islam / Minimizing the Complex Superiority of the West
Closely related to the barmy vigilantism of #3, there is the thought (again, usually of Americans) that any time soon there will be house-to-house and street fighting between invading Muslims and the ordinary Infidel. This is absurd. To have this thought, one must eliminate so many complex steps that intervene in between the present state of affairs—with a stupendous disparity between the sophistication of the West and the backwardness of Muslim societies—and that future scenario, that one truly wonders about the sanity (let alone the intelligence level) of these particular Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers. Of course, exposing the exaggeration of the power of Islam is not to minimize the horrific dangers that even a backward culture can inflict, if sufficient numbers of its members are fanatically insane enough to want to pursue a xenophobic, supremacist and nihilistic destruction of all who are not members and who, by sheer virtue of being powerful non-members, threaten that backward culture’s perceived right to dominate the world and destroy its purported enemies.
5. Muslims Can Take Over Without Violence
This view has been expressed explicitly mostly at Jihad Watch, and mostly officially, by Hugh Fitzgerald, the Vice-President there. Mr. Fitzgerald never articulates the actual concrete mechanics of such a non-violent take-over. He only asserts its threatening potential. However, the foreboding of Mr. Fitzgerald flies in the face of the actual history of Muslim take-overs. The history of Muslim take-overs shows that they conquered only by waging comprehensive war with horrific large-scale military attacks.
The only exceptions to this modus operandi were the Insulindian archipelagos (Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines)—but in those areas, the societies were so primitive, backward and simple, it was a piece of cake to infiltrate (and at any rate, one can be sure there was plenty of underhanded violence that occurred to facilitate their takeovers—). The West in the 21st century is not only light years ahead—in terms of technology, science, and sociopolitical sophistication—of 10th-century Indonesia, it is light years ahead of medieval Spain, Byzantium, Persia and India—all of which had to be ferociously and massively attacked by military assaults before Muslims were able to conquer them.
Once the West sheds its PC Multiculturalism, we will be able to defeat Islam like a Brontosaurus swats an annoying fruit-fly. But shedding PC Multiculturalism will be infinitely more difficult than defeating Islam—to a great extent because PC Multiculturalism has mainstream prevalence in our Western societies, and is not merely a crotchet of some dastardly cabal of “elites”.
6. Reflexive Defense of Bush
No matter what he does, Bush must be right. Even when one reasonably criticizes his repetition, ad nauseam, of the nauseating mantra that “Islam is a religion of peace”, one hears—without a lick of evidence—from these diehard Bush defenders that “Oh, he doesn’t really mean it, he’s just being clever.” The only real dissension from this party line (other than from the rare anti-neo-con Leftist who also happens to be anti-Islam) comes from the Vice-President of Jihad Watch, Hugh Fitzgerald. Mr. Fitzgerald’s points seem eminently reasonable and well-argued, but when one tries to present even a fraction of them in a typical anti-Islam Paltalk room, one is usually accused of “Bush-bashing” and, if one does not cease, one will usually be silenced or kicked out of the room. At Jihad Watch, a minority of commenters on these Fitzgerald threads that rake Bush over the coals agree forthrightly with Mr. Fitzgerald, another (smaller) minority disagrees, while the majority seems never to indicate any stance one way or the other, choosing to vent on peripheral or tangential matters. The relative lack of representation of anti-Bush-bashing on Jihad Watch also seems to have a lot to do with Mr. Fitzgerald’s unwillingness to tolerate commenters who repeatedly disagree with his views. (Mr. Fitzgerald’s position on Bush is also almost wholly absent from a website affiliated with Jihad Watch devoted to matters mostly anti-Islamic, Front Page.com, where essays tend to be pro-Bush at all cost.)
7. “Islam is not a race.”
While this truism is patently factual on one level—since Islam is a belief system that comprehends people of all races—, it is regularly used by Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers as an obtuse hammer for hitting over the head those who accuse them—either implicitly or explicitly—of “racism”. If this truism embraced a simplex truth unmarred by complexity, its simple-minded use as a hammer might be not only effective but also cogent. Unfortunately, the truism ignores certain facts that serve to undermine its utility (I have analyzed this at length with respect to the problem of Muslim profiling here):
a. The vast majority of Muslims in the world are non-white non-Westerners (mostly Pacific Islanders, Southeast Asians, central Asians, Arabs, black Africans, as well as some smaller peoples such as Kurds and Berbers). This racial complexion of Islam is not a sheer accident: it is a product of
i) its history, originating in the Arabian peninsula among Arabs, then spreading in conquest to the east into Asia and to the west across north Africa, with its relentless intention to conquer white Europe repeatedly thwarted over the centuries; and
ii) its ideology of belligerent and supremacist misoxeny, whereby its long-standing proximity to other cultures on its borders rarely if ever facilitated cross-cultural syncretism leading to miscegenation—as such proximity tends to do with most other cultures (even when cultures are in conflict).
Both of these factors, (i) and (ii), were not merely features of Islam’s ancient or medieval past, but perdured into the 20th century, with the “Muslim World” continuing to reflect its relatively frozen position of geographical containment ever since the West skyrocketed to global superiority beginning in the 17th century, and with perhaps the largest number of white converts in Islam’s history occurring only in the latter part of the 20th century and into the years since September 11, 2001.
b) The vast majority of the world’s whites are non-Muslims—again reflecting the history of Western European resistance to Islamic invasion (as well as the truculent misoxeny of limitrophe Muslims and/or potentially mercantile Muslims).
c) The vast majority of Muslims belong geographically and politico-culturally under the umbrella term “the Third World”. Even when Muslims seem to become acculturated as second or third generation immigrants in the West, the vast majority of them, due to the strongly ostentatious and rigid ritualism of their Islamic culture, retain a non-Western aura that tends to distinguish them from their surrounding culture more than any other non-Western immigrants. The tiers-mondialisme of Islam—notwithstanding the irony of Islam’s imperialistic and singularly brutal colonialism of the very same Third World of which it is a part—unavoidably endows it with a powerful privilege in the terms of the now dominant and mainstream Western ideology of PC Multiculturalism, under one of its unshakeable axioms:
All non-Western cultures and peoples are innocent and blameless victims—even when they do bad things—of the Big Bad White West, both historically under Western Colonialism, and currently under the regime of the Post-Colonialist Crypto-Neo-Imperialism of American global hegemony.
And, needless to say, the vast majority of peoples subsumed under “the Third World” are non-whites.
Therefore, in summation of Point #6, even if Islam is “not a race”, because of its concrete racial complexion as adumbrated in Sub-Points (a) and (b), any attempts at focusing critically upon Islam and Muslims will inevitably take on the appearance of racism—since the vast majority of those Muslims caught in the net of any negative scrutiny will be non-whites. Also, such attempts, because of Sub-Point (c), will take on the smell of neo-Imperialism—since the vast majority of Muslims are also non-Western. And not only will our scrutiny of Muslims take on the appearance of racism, but also our practical actions we have to take to protect ourselves from terrorism must rationally reflect, at least on certain levels (particularly in profiling), the actual racial complexion of Islam. To obstinately deny this, just so we can look good to the majority of PC Multiculturalists who run the show, will tend to affect the tactics we try pursue in the interest of our self-defense and, as a consequence, will likely leave us more vulnerable to horrific casualties resulting from attacks by Muslims who successfully infiltrated profiling nets that were designed according to a hyperscrupulous avoidance of any appearance of racism.
While the truism’s utility can work in the short-term, it can only do so while its intended audience remains relatively stupid and doesn’t think through the obvious problems inherent to its claim. We must ask ourselves, is this the kind of ideological tool or weapon we want to employ in our War of Ideas—one that will work only as long as people don’t think about it too much?
8. “Islam is not a religion.”
Time and time again I have read and heard this newly minted bromide from Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers. Not only does it go staggeringly against the grain of centuries of unremarkably accepted convention in the West as well as in the world at large with respect to their intellectual assimilation of the facticity of Islam; and not only does it go monumentally against the obvious facts of Islam’s copious conformation to any standard dictionary’s definition of religion (let alone the more sophisticated descriptions and analyses of religion among religious and academic scholars in the fields of theology, anthropology, archeology, sociology, general history, and history of religions); but it also stands obtusely based upon a grievously simple-minded assumption that anything that is called a “religion” must be good and—on the corollary side of the coin—any cultural system that is bad cannot be a “religion”. This bromide is just plain silly and has no legs; yet Jihad Watchers and Paltalkers repeat it as though it were an epiphany from on high. With this kind of mentality as prevalent as it is among our ranks in our War of Ideas, we have some serious flaws in our tegument and arsenal.
9. “Islam is not the fastest growing religion!”
Whether or not this is true—and such a claim would be extremely difficult to verify, because statistics are hard to come by among such a population residing in closed dictatorships (or, in the West, largely closed and suspicious communities) as well as impoverished and rural areas furthermore plagued by chaotic violence—it also implies a lowering to the level of the chest-puffing frog tactics of the Muslims themselves, whereby anything bigger must be better. This counter-tactic of chest-puffing not only tends to obscure the criticism of bad types of growth, it also appears contradictory to the concern about the spread of Islam: if Islam is in fact diminishing, then what’s the worry? A preposterous corollary to this sentiment is the oft-repeated factoid that "thousands" (or sometimes even "millions") of Muslims in Africa are "converting to Christianity every day". If this were the case, all of Africa would cease to be Muslim within a decade! This factoid is based upon the opinion of one Muslim cleric as he opined on an Al Jazeera interview. That's it. Needless to say, it reflects a disturbing tendency among certain people in the anti-Islam movement to burden our search for a solution to the problem of Islam with unrealistic expectations of mass conversion -- an evangelistic variant on the unwarranted comparison of Islam with the U.S.S.R. thus entailing the hope (if not the assurance) that Islam will soon enough collapse like a house of cards as did Soviet Communism in the 1980s.
10. “We’re not scared of you Muslims!”
This other example of silly frog chest-puffing most often occurs among Paltalkers, and not so much among Jihad Watchers (which could have something to do with the aura of decorum and intelligence that tends to hover around Jihad Watch—though not so much so that quite a few ejaculations of silly braggadocio and stupid truculence do not show up in the Comments section there now and again).
If one is not scared of random explosions in public places, or of the prospect of random chemical, biological or dirty radiation attacks—which could kill and maim countless innocent people, including not only the chest-puffing frog himself, but also his loved ones, friends, family, neighbors, and fellow citizens—, then I suppose the assertion would be true. I’m not sure, however, that I would feel comfortable having such temerarious sociopaths on my side in this War of Ideas, much less in the bloodier battles that might unfold in the future; nor would the rhetorical hyperbole of such chest-puffing frogs, once exposed to have been exaggerating, serve to similarly comfort me.
1. Leftism continues to be more of a problem than the Right; however, this problem should not eclipse or distract from the larger problem which subsumes both Left and Right—PC Multiculturalism.
2. Elites are certainly an important part of the problem, due to the fact that they tend to have more power and influence; but in free democracies, elites are the fruits of the people, and derive most of their power and influence from the people and the sociopolitical institutions that reflect the will of the people. And currently, the vast majority of the people in the West are also part of the problem, infected as they are with PC Multiculturalism.
3. Vigilantism may have worked in the Wild West, but it cannot work amid the sophisticated sociopolitical structures of the 21st century West, and will in fact be suppressed by the law and its representatives.
4. The only conditions and context by which vigilantism would be necessary, let alone by which it would have a chance of working, would be fantastically apocalyptic Mad Max-type scenarios—scenarios which perforce wax in the minds of those blind to the staggeringly sophisticated and complex and powerful superiority of the modern West in contrast with the equally staggering inferiority and backwardness of Islamic culture and the minions it informs.
5. There is no way that Muslims will be able to take over the West without violence—and not merely violence, but large-scale military assaults. And not only that: they will not be able to prevail unless we persist in our suicidal PC Multiculturalism, which—however irrationally pathological it has shown itself to be to date, will not persist in the face of large-scale overt assaults. I am flabbergasted that someone as intelligent as Hugh Fitzgerald would be purveying this notion.
6. Bush (and his Cabinet)—when official statements and actions are made to communicate that Islam and the vast majority of Muslims are not the problem because Islam is a “great and noble religion of peace” and the vast majority of Muslims are decent “moms and pops just like us” who desire Western human rights and democracy—is an example of the soberingly dismaying fact of the mainstream dominance of PC Multiculturalism, whose mantras and givens and axioms have infected and insinuated themselves into the very brain cells, nervous system and marrow even of Republican Conservatives like Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and O’Reilly, just to mention a few.
7. While Islam is a belief system that encompasses many races and is itself not a race, its sociocultural complexion nevertheless reflects a vast preponderance of non-whites which, coupled with the corollary fact that the vast majority of whites in the world are non-Muslim, makes racialism and racism (two distinct though often promiscuously fused terms) unavoidable factors in any agenda undertaken that is critical of Islam.
8. Islam is obviously a religion—an evil and dangerous religion. There! That was easy, now, wasn’t it!?
9. Islam might be the fastest growing religion, and/or the fastest growing ideology, and/or the fastest growing culture. So what? Would it be better to deny this with axiomatically stubborn bluster, or adapt to its possibility, the better to defend ourselves from Islam?
10. I sure as hell am scared of Muslims. For Christ’s sake, who in their right minds isn’t scared of random explosions and random outbreaks of smallpox pandemics, perpetrated by fanatics who can blend in sociologically among their supposedly vast majority of fellow “moderates” protected by our own dominant PC Multiculturalists—fanatics whose global trans-national belief system inculcates in them an intense hatred for everyone who is not one of them!?