Monday, August 18, 2008

The prevailing unicorn of the PC MC paradigm:

the "moderate Muslim"










Preface:


The moderate Muslim is a symbolism. Some symbolisms adequately reflect reality, others do not.

I. The PC MC reality.

The reality in question with the moderate Muslim symbolism in the minds of the politically correct multi-culturalists (PC MC) is basically three-fold:

1. That the vast majority of Muslims in the world are moderate.

2. That this vast majority of moderate Muslims potentially plays a key role in protecting us from Islamic terrorism.

3. That our treatment of this vast majority will either help or hurt our chances of being protected from Islamic terrorism, depending on whether we respect this vast majority, or whether we demonize it.

As for #1, there is no evidence for this. It is just an axiomatic assumption, apparently based upon the superimposition upon the Muslim world of Western sociocultural models. And for this reason, #2 will have little traction if #1 is not accurate. Meanwhile, #3 is basically incoherent, if not laughable.

II. The AIM reality.

There is another reality, however, that tends to undermine the PC MC version, also three-fold. This is the reality as seen by those in the anti-Islam movement (AIM):

1. The mountain of current data about Islamic violence, Islamic injustice, and the various cultural pathologies throughout Muslim societies around the world, as well as the seemingly nearly universal unwillingness of Muslims to admit their sociocultural faults regarding all of the above.

2. Another mountain of datafrom history, also about Islamic violence, Islamic injustice, and the various cultural pathologies throughout Muslim societies around the world. About this mountain too, the vast majority of Muslims seem to be in obstreperous denial.

3. Significant indications from the texts and traditions of Islam, as well as from current expressions from various Muslims (spokespersons, clerics, polls of ordinary Muslims), pointing to the probability that the moderate Muslim is in fact a myth, or at best a very small minority, while the vast majority either actively supports or passively enables (or more likely a mixture of both) the broad problems mentioned in II.1-2.

III. Conflicting realities.


Now, there is a problem of the problem: Those of us who tend to subscribe to the reality under the rubric of roman numeral II do not have sufficient evidence to easily persuade someone in doubt about the overall questionand certainly continue to fail to persuade those who have been deformed by PC MC. For the former class of peoplethose sincerely on the fencethe reality we in the anti-Islam movement (AIM) are trying to communicate is simply too vast, complex and amorphous to be amenable to a simplex level of evidentiary persuasion. For those in the latter class (evidently still the majority throughout the West), this problem is compounded by the complex mechanisms of PC MC realityor rather with the ways that the PC MC paradigm treats and interprets the data of reality. With the latter class, we are not merely trying to marshall and present evidence, for no amount of evidence is sufficient to overcome the PC MC mechanisms, which have the paradoxical effect of using more evidence of Islamic pathology as fuel for their interpretation that there is nothing wrong with Islam and most Muslims. We also need to assail and undermine their PC MC paradigm; for if we fail to do that, no amount of evidence we bring to their table will suffice to change their minds.

IV. The function of the moderate Muslim.

1. For the PC MC majority, the moderate Muslim symbolism serves the following functions:

a. As a point of constant reassurance, to assuage the semi-conscious dread of an Islam Redivivus that must exert itself on their minds.

b. Closely related to (a), it serves to maintain the PC MC paradigm, for the moderate Muslim symbolism, particularly since 911, has become the crux of the entire paradigm.

c. Finally, closely related to both (a) and (b), it serves the function of being the central pivot for the project of our salvation from the looming and metastasizing problem of Islamic terrorism.

Note: Indeed, terrorism and its agentsdenominated under various Ismological truncations such as Islamist or Wahabbist or Salafist”—serve the same function, as the opposite side of the coin: for just as true Islam is represented by this mythical vast majority of moderate Muslims, so too the danger emanating out of Islam is drastically reduced and denatured as a twisting or hijacking of Islam by a tiny minority of extremists. For the PC MC paradigm, there is no significant fungibility or influence flowing from Islam to Islamism and, for the most part, other causes are adduced to explain the apparently random and spontaneous generation of dangerous Islamism out of a wonderfully diverse Third World religion of peace whose vast majority of followers are assumed to be peaceful. One incoherent complication to this mechanism of the PC MC paradigm is the recognition that apparently peaceful Muslims can become radicalized at the drop of a fez; however, coherence (at least a pretense of it) is quickly restored by assigning all blame for that radicalization on our Western insensitivity, stupidity and disrespect for the precious wonderfulness of Muslims and their Islamic culture.

2. For the majority in AIM, on the other hand, the moderate Muslim symbolism serves the following functions:

a. Stealth Jihad: by propagating and institutionalizing throughout the West the moderate Muslim symbolism and all that it entails (cf. I.1-3), this gives untold numbers of Muslims within the West nearly carte blanche to pursue their agenda of stealth jihadi.e., the clever insinuation of thousands of roots and tendrils of crypto-Sharia law. This may not yet actually be the imposition, or installation, of full-blown Sharia law anywhere in the West, but it does seem to involve the slow and gradual phasing in of more and more of it. Not only is crypto-Sharia inimical to Western values in and of itself, but it also incorporates various means of inhibiting Western intelligence and analysis of the connections between Islam and terrorism, by working symbiotically with PC MC psychology and structures to strengthen the concept of a legally punishable “blasphemy” against Islam and Muslims, cloaked as an alleged “bigotry” and “Islamophobia”.

b. Undercover Terrorism: another effect is giving untold numbers of false moderatesvirtually indistinguishable from actual moderatesenormous access to deep enclaves within the West in which to set up cells and plan various types of terrorism.

c. Conceptual Confusion: closely related to the two effects described above is that of inculcating and reinforcing in Western societies the unproven axiom that a majorityeven a vast majorityof Muslims are moderates, when this is precisely one of the major points that needs to be proven before becoming assumed. Following on the heels of this is the problem of defining exactly what moderation consists in: is a Muslim moderate if he claims to support democracy, socializes with his non-Muslims friends at college or at work, drives an SUV, wears Western clothes, has a wife who does not wear the hijab, but at the same time one finds out that this Muslim supports Sharia as a viable concept of justice (even if he refrains from the faux pas that he wants to see the West ruled under it), thinks the Caliphate was a good thing, finds little or not fault in Islamic history, thinks Mohammed was a good and just ruler, thinks various Islamic organizations connected to terrorism are okay; and so forth. Or there is the slightly more observant Muslim, whose wife does wear a hijab (perhaps just a mild form of a head-covering, brightly colored and fashionable), and he is even a little more forthright about the oppressionof his brothers and sisters and what needs to be done; but, given the climate of PC MC in the West, even he may fall outside of the definition of a radical, if only because he falls short of actually saying I'm going to kill you. A further wrinkle to this conceptual incoherence was mentioned above in the Note under IV.1namely, the idea that even moderates are not safe from “radicalization” insofar as they may be driven to it by too much “insensitivity” and lack of “respect” on our part. This preposterous idea would seem to put the entire concept of “moderation” on shaky ground, for if a previously solidly moderate Muslim can become transformed into a “radical” ready to support sedition, terrorism and military supremacism after merely getting his precious religious feelings hurt, how “moderate” was he in the first place? The PC MC people, needless to say, never seem to ask themselves this question. Upshot: If we cannot define with precision what moderation is, and if we cannot ensure that our definition excludes not only overt violence and sedition but also ideological and psychological predispositions for same, then the symbolism becomes worthless. Alas, the current uselessness of the symbolism has not stopped thousands of influential analysts and think tanks in various governments and news media organizations throughout the West, including in the U.S.A., from employing it in a central way as the pivot in their anti-terrorist paradigm.

Conclusion:

Perhaps a glimmer of hope lies buried in IV.1.b above. Since the moderate Muslim symbolism has become the crux of the PC MC paradigm, and since symbiotically the symbolisms influential function depends upon the PC MC paradigm, then if certain things happen in the near future to sufficiently undermine the confidence in the symbolism, this may well exert a destructive effect on all the interconnections that keep the paradigm together. Put simply: if faith in the moderate Muslim is sufficiently shaken, it could trigger a concatenation of effects that could cause the entire PC MC paradigm to come crashing down, perhaps as rapidlyif not quite as peacefullyas the fall of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.

9 comments:

Nobody said...

Erich: Now, there is a problem of the problem: Those of us who tend to subscribe to the reality under the rubric of roman numeral II do not have sufficient evidence to easily persuade someone in doubt about the overall question—and certainly continue to fail to persuade those who have been deformed by PC MC. For the former class of people—those sincerely on the fence—the reality we in the anti-Islam movement (AIM) are trying to communicate is simply too vast, complex and amorphous to be amenable to a simplex level of evidentiary persuasion.

Okay, just talkinag about the people who are genuinely on the fence about Islam, unaffected by PCMC:

Just because there is vast, complex and amorphos data does not mean that all of it has to be used to convince such people, making such a task gargantuan. After all, if you have a toolbox, and find that an Allen Jack is all you need to screw in those special hex screws into your furniture, the fact that you also have a hammer, several sizes of flat and cross screw-drivers and drill-bits would be irrelevant. You use the tools you need, and ignore the rest.

For instance, if I was trying to persuade a group of Hindus - who don't care one way or another about the West - about Islam being evil, I wouldn't use 9/11, or the Munich Olympics as the central points of my argument. I'd instead start with Indian history and the various sultanates, point out the slaughter of 100m+ Hindus over 800 years, and then when I have their attention, I'd explain how that derives from the Quran and Sunnah. If OTOH, I was trying to convince a group of Indians unsympathetic to Hindu sufferings at the hands of Islam, then I'd instead use other examples - be it 9/11, Beslan, status of women in Islam, whatever I thought would work for them.

Sure, there have been Mohammedan brutalities from Spain to Mindanao. Depending on what I know about the target audience (you don't always want to make that case on the first meeting itself until you know where the sympathies of the group lies), I pick the appropriate examples of Islamic heniousness. So with Hindus, it would be their holocaust. With women or gays on the fence, it would be Quranic injunctions about how they are to be treated. With Blacks, it would be the history of how Arabs/Mohammedans engaged in the slave trade, and how slavery today is still legal in the ummah. And so on.

And that tools that we use need not always be derived from all 3 categories of contemporary events, history and texts. If I was talking to a Serb who I thought could be aroused by a narration of the battle of Kosovo, I'd focus on that, and not invoke the Mohammedan rioting in France or activities in UK.

Once such a point has been made about Islam, the ramifications of that do need to be indicated - such as the Islamic ban on their women marrying out of Islam, but not their men, or their demographic conquests, and so on. It wouldn't be enough for them to just have negative opinions about Islam/Mohammedans, but to see clearly how seemingly mundane issues, such as Infidel-Mohammedan marriages, conversions, accomodations, et al could have disastrous results.

Another thing about fence sitters - it might be useful at some point to categorize them. When I first heard of Robert Spencer and first visited JW, I knew that Mohammedans were evil, and historically were vicious towards all the people they conquered, but I had no idea that Islam itself was. Would I be what you consider a fence-sitter? On Islam itself, I think I was - I didn't consider Islam itself either good or evil, but did consider most Mohammedans bad people. But listening to Robert a few times on radio talk about what is in the Quran, then reading some of his books and then reading faithfreedom.org and then parts of the Quran itself, I very quickly came to that conclusion. If one considers me a fence-sitter, it didn't take much to convince me that Islam was evil, although you could argue that my previous opinions about Mohammedans themselves helped me arrive at that conclusion more easily than I would have had I not been so negatively pre-disposed.

However, I think that despite where one stands initially, if one is genuinely on the fence about Islam, a selective (and appropriate quantity - you don't want to overwhelm them with data leaving them with the impression that you are a virulent Islamophobe before you make sure of it that they too are) collection of any combination of the 3 sets of data about Islam should be enough to drive that person to the right place. Be that 9/11, Beslan, Munich Olympics, the destruction of the Alexandria Library or Hindu temples, et al. One doesn't need to use everything.

Erich said...

nobody,

Thanks for your lengthy comment. I probably will be posting a few responses to various points you made. For now, just one little thing:

"point out the slaughter of 100m+ Hindus over 800 years"

You know, the numbers of total slaughters of Hindus by Muslims seems to be going up every couple of years (reminiscent of how Muslims keep beefing up the numbers of their own population stats). About four years ago, I remember reading 60 million, then a couple of years ago, people were saying 80 million; now you're saying 100 million. I'd like to see this nailed down historiographically once and for all, rather than having rather wildly floating figures. When I say "nailed down" I don't mean we have to settle on an exact figure and be forced to say that

1) we could never leave the door open to finding new info that would increase (or decrease) the total

or that

2) we are prevented from reasonably assuming our settled figure is probably lower than the reality beyond our historiographic ascertainment.

Nevertheless, the floating numbers and seeming exaggeration does not reflect well on the veracity of our toolbox.

Nobody said...

The original figures cited by Konrad Elst/ KS Lal was 70m by one and 80m by the other. The time frame covered by this was 1000 to 1526.

Reason I have always maintained that that figure was low was that 1526 was the start of the Moghul empire, and the beginning of a new chapter in their massacres, and went on until 1761: neither Elst nor Lal seem to quantitatively factor that period in. Hindutva organizations in India claim the total number to be ~200m over the entire period. My numbers are estimates, assuming Elst / Lal to be correct, and then estimating a conservative figure for the Moghul period of 20-30m.

100m+ is not an exaggeration, but given your allowance for leaving the door open and allowing for the assumption that 60/80m is the low side, I don't have a problem with settling for that number.

However, you are incorrect about the number constantly going up: from the beginning, I've disputed the 60m/80m numbers on the grounds that they don't cover the entire period that the Mohammedans ran things. As someone else once pointed out on JW, killing 80m people instead of 100m is not less evil, so it isn't my idea to pump up those numbers, but rather, capture, even if on a conservative basis, the entire period under consideration.

Erich said...

Thanks nobody, your argument makes sense -- at least to me.

If we are talking about the "fence-sitters", however, they would probably need to see some hard evidence or at least all the relevant evidence on the matter presented as a summary (does not have to be exhaustive, but it would still be a lot of stuff). I would agree with someone who would object that it's not fair for someone to take at face value that Muslims slaughtered 60 or 80 or 100 (or more) millions, absent some substantial presentation of evidence.

Thus, even with that one little sliver of the vast evil of Islam, we are not merely talking about a simple "screwdriver" as your analogy depicted, but a presentation that would require quite a marshalling of various writings + argumentation to connect dots that are not there -- we obviously do not have a simple tally or videos of all those slaughters: the history of those slaughters is pieced together from an enormous pageant of centuries of rich history and documents. Also, of course, the presentation would require quite a bit of deep reading on the part of the fence-sitter.

Not all fence-sitters require fairness, of course. Some are open to just believing a grandiose claim without sufficiently being persuaded by the evidence. But many are not. And the more influenced they are by prevailing PC MC, the more resistant will they be to any attempt at persuation that is not rigorous and scrupulous.

Erich said...

nobody,

"It wouldn't be enough for them to just have negative opinions about Islam/Mohammedans, but to see clearly how seemingly mundane issues, such as Infidel-Mohammedan marriages, conversions, accomodations, et al could have disastrous results."

That's where it gets complicated.

And that's related to a second point, which you hint at:

"Another thing about fence sitters - it might be useful at some point to categorize them."

When I mentioned in my article two types of people -- those deformed by PC MC, and fence-sitters -- I did not intend the implication here, that there is not a broad spectrum of gradations in between. In fact, there does seem to be a broad spectrum. All fence-sitters are not equally easy to persuade. Some are more tainted by PC MC, some less, and for various complex reasons probably relating to sociology, psychology, etc.

Your personal experience suggest a type of fence-sitter who was already sufficiently untainted by PC MC to move along at a fairly rational "velocity" toward the logical conclusions. But your case is not necessarily emblematic of all fence-sitters. I would guess that the majority of fence-sitters are more tainted than you were (and also than I was) by PC MC. So, one moral of my point here is that even with many of the fence-sitters, PC MC still stands in the way, though to different degrees.

In fact, my symbolism of "fence-sitters" really is meant to denote not a second category of people separate from the PC MC majority, but rather the weak, ragged edges of the PC MC population itself -- for no sociopolitico-cultural movement (even the most totalitarian) is monolithic, and even less so PC MC, since its sociopolitical matrix is largely democratic.

"However, I think that despite where one stands initially, if one is genuinely on the fence about Islam..."

Per my preceding comments, I don't think there is a position of "fence-sitter" per se, but a complex grey area on the edges of PC MC.

"...a selective (and appropriate quantity - you don't want to overwhelm them with data leaving them with the impression that you are a virulent Islamophobe before you make sure of it that they too are) collection of any combination of the 3 sets of data about Islam should be enough to drive that person to the right place."

I think that would only work for your (and my) subtype of fence-sitter. I think the majority elicit that problem where quantity is for the most part not sufficient, but quality becomes the critical pivot. And quality is much more difficult to deploy than quantity.

"Be that 9/11, Beslan, Munich Olympics, the destruction of the Alexandria Library or Hindu temples, et al. One doesn't need to use everything."

I think one does eventually need the wider picture (as you yourself noted earlier in your comment -- cf. the first quote of yours I quoted at the very top of this comment), since any delimited evil of Islam is easily fit into an explanatory slot that renders Islam itself still unproblematic -- the "well, nobody's perfect, every society has committed an atrocity or two" counterpoint being only the most naively, though all too commonly, elementary.

Nobody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nobody said...

[Previous comment deleted due to incomplete proof-reading and editing]

Erich

Thanks for combing my views on this. I largely agree with your spectral snapshot of the problem, as well as the expectation that a good percentage of fence sitters would need more explanations than we needed to come to the required conclusions. Although that does beg the question - how did so many JW poster arrive at where they are today? Did the bulk of them read the Quran and Sunnah the way Khaybar Oasis did, or were there other tripping points? Maybe other JW posters who happen to read this might fill in what it took, so that one knows what works.

You also noted

I think the majority elicit that problem where quantity is for the most part not sufficient, but quality becomes the critical pivot. And quality is much more difficult to deploy than quantity.

I think that beyond a certain threshold (say 5 regions of the world), if somebody isn't weighed down by the Islamic similarities of Mohammedan misbehavior, we aren't talking fence sitters, but rather PC MC adherents, which is outside what I wanted to touch on, since they aren't persuadable without the Mohammedans themselves doing something major.

But the point you make about quality is worth noting. Some events, such as Beslan, do have the power to convince genuine fence sitters that something is wrong with Islam. With people closer to where you or I am on the viewer of Islam spectrum, a lot less than Beslan - like Hamas rocket attacks on Sderot or Serbian Mohammedans causing the shutdown of the RH book on Aisha in Serbia - would be enough. For others, it may be beheading of Thai fruit vendors in Yala or Christian schoolgirls in Sulawesi that's required.

One function of quality is the 'why should I care' factor - where the negative impact on someone's favored group would be key to influencing him against Islam. Like a Gay person or feminist may not care much about persecution of Christians in Islamic countries, but may be turned around by Iranians stoning gays, or Yemenis forcing child marriages. Or someone from Russia or Greece may be unsympathetic to US efforts in the Mid East, but may turn anti-Islamic in response to Kosovo or Chechnya (and conversely for some Western 'anti-Jihadis' who oppose Jihad against US or Israel, but support Kosovo, Bosnia and Chechnya). I think that 'localization' (both geocultural as well as on the political spectrum) would be a major factor in determining the what is effective in turning opinion around.

Somewhat related: Re the elections, due to my disgust @ McCain and thorough disagreement with the Dems, I have on JW been plugging the Loyalist Party. Aside from the fact that they have zero chances of success, can you go through their website, and in a future essay, comment on where you think they stand in the AIM - whether they are holistic or not, to what extent are they PCMC, et al. Reason I ask is that while we know that they are an astesisk, I'd like to see how comprehensive they are about the Islam problem. This might be along the lines of your million man march proposal, where here, you look at a segment of the AIM and analyze them for any shortcomings.

But more than that, I'm also curious as to whether you'd agree that the Loyalist Party is the template of what an ideal anti-Islamic party in the US should be.

Erich said...

nobody, just a couple of thoughts for right now:

"Although that does beg the question - how did so many JW poster arrive at where they are today? Did the bulk of them read the Quran and Sunnah the way Khaybar Oasis did, or were there other tripping points?"

The difference between people who "get it" and people who persist in "not getting it" fascinates me, because to me it's a kind of sociological/psychological mystery. The people who "get it" don't seem to fit a single stereotype. Conversely, many of those who persist in "not getting it" seem to be otherwise pretty much the same type of normal people. So I tentatively conclude that, perhaps for the most part, it is not the Objective component that is causing the transition from "not getting it" to "getting it", but the Subjective component: i.e., there must be something about the people who have "gotten it" that explains why they were able to make the transition and break free of PC MC -- some psychological/sociological je ne sais quoi that has yet to be isolated and identified.

It's not so much the presentation of facts themselves that was the tipping point.

Again, I don't offer this as a total description, just as a significant description that might be at least dominant.

Erich said...

As a side note and personal anecdote:

Throughout the 1990s, I was busy writing a novel about the Middle Ages (never published). When I got to a section in my story involving Spain, I remember consciously inserting the observation by one of the characters (a sympathetic Jewish character) about how well the Muslims treated the Jews contrasted with how horribly the Christians treated Jews. It was just a normal, reflexive thing for me to put into the story. I never studied Andalus; I had only taken a couple of classes in college about medieval history in general and read a few books on the period over the years, and probably just absorbed by unthinking osmosis the Myth of the Golden Age of Andalus, without even knowing it.