Thursday, October 16, 2008
No asymptotic deed goes unpunished.
Time and time again, asymptotic analysts such as Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, or David Horowitz are accused of purveying the agenda of holistic analysis, no matter how persistently and clearly they reiterate their asymptotic position.
Spencer recently recounted an encounter with college students on his tour of colleges around the U.S. as part of “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”. Among the usual hostility and misunderstanding he encountered, Spencer notes this editorial by a student named James Sonneman published in the school paper at the University of Madison-Wisconsin:
With the smug assurance of the semi-educated, Sonneman asserted in his piece that I confuse “the term Islam with radical-Islamism,” and that I claim that “moderate Muslims simply do not understand what their Holy Book means, even to themselves, so we should not draw a distinction between their religion and radical-Islamism.” He goes on to say that “the claim is as preposterous as the conclusion,” and it's true: to say such a thing would be preposterous, but what is actually preposterous is this young man's claim that this is my position.
The accusation of Sonneman is typical. And Spencer is correct: it is preposterous, since Spencer is precisely not condemning Islam, nor is he condemning the majority of Muslims. Whether Sonneman is just obtuse or thinks Spencer is cleverly lying about his real position, it matters little. No matter how diligently Spencer tries to clarify his asymptotic position on the matter, he is misunderstood or more often defamed with accusations that his position is, in fact, holistic. No asymptotic deed goes unpunished, it seems.
This type of accusation emanates as much from Muslim apologists as they do from the non-Muslim politically correct multi-culturalists (including not only students and student newspapers, but also journalists of the mainstream media) who enable the Muslim apologists.
One wonders, then, what good it does to maintain the asymptotic position, when virtually always it is misconstrued or simply not accepted as the true position (implying that Pipes, Spencer and Horowitz are lying).
Of course, despite this disconcerting sociopolitical situation, the asymptotic analysis could be the most correct assessment of the problem of Islam. However, in the end, it is a theory, not a simple fact. To summarize for the reader, asymptotic analysis of the problem of Islam, while it comes in a few different flavors, basically boils down to this position:
The problem of Islam is located within some part or parts of Islam and does not involve the whole of Islam, and by extension the problem is manifested only among some Muslims—very likely a relatively small minority—while the majority of Muslims are not problematic.
The more cogent theory is the position derived from holistic analysis, whose crucial fulcrum is this conclusion:
Because we cannot know which Muslims are harmless and which Muslims are dangerous, we must rationally assume all Muslims to be dangerous.
Needless to say, this conclusion by itself is not sufficient, and requires other important ancillary features of Islam to fill in the apparent gaps in its sufficiency:
1) The inclination of Muslims to lie and deceive in order to further the goals of jihad—an inclination that is richly rooted in the mainstream culture and atmospherics of Islam, substantively founded in Islamic holy texts, and reinforced through the religious-political pedagogy of Islamic schools, associations and mosques.
2) The mainstream and massive inculcation in Islamic culture of an “Us vs. Them” mentality, involving a higher allegiance to the trans-national Umma than to particular nations or groups, as well as an attitude of supremacism bolstered by hatred, intolerance and paranoid suspicion of non-Muslims—all of this nourishing a more or less constant sense of being surrounded by evil enemies who need to be fought (and deceived, since, as Mohammed said, “War is deceit”) in order for Islam to survive and flourish according to its divine birthright.
3) Closely related to #2: the seemingly unique and organic social cohesion of Muslims, transcending national borders, and facilitated by various sociological features probably unfamiliar to most Westerners which, to a Western outsider such as myself (supplementing my education of the matter by, among other things, having read numerous travelogues of highly perpspicacious individuals— e.g., Gustave Flaubert, Théophile Gautier, Pierre Loti—who travelled and spent years living among Muslims in various regions of the Muslim world), resemble the social dynamics of ant colonies. For example, there probably exists among Muslims a remarkably efficient grapevine mechanism, by which messages, instructions and rumors—if not also packages or even larger materiel—can travel hundreds if not thousands of miles, can disseminate in complex network-trees among various strata of society, and can maintain sufficient secrecy to elude authorities or agents who are, or are perceived to be, inimical to these communications. This is not to say, however, that this cohesion is monolithic, like the Borg of Star Trek fantasy: in Islamic societies, it is likely shot through and riddled with seemingly opposing factors, including internal hostility, suspicions, paranoia—all of which can be boiled down to the various ways in which Muslims may have the tendency to turn their own pathological mentality of “Us vs. Them” against each other.
4) The global diaspora of Islam, disseminated in nearly ever country of the world and increasingly penetrating into the West, combined with the high numbers of Muslims worldwide which seem to be rising due to their tendency to have high birth rates which, most importantly, is perceived and used by them as one way to advance jihad—the “demographic jihad”.
5) The historical character of Islam and of Muslims, from the beginning in the 7th century A.D. clear through to the present—which has been more often than not consistently belligerent against the West, directly related to the expansionist supremacism of Islam which has always been and remains a perennial feature of its ideological fusion of religion and politics.
6) And last but not least, the metastasizing revival among Muslims worldwide of militant jihad and the Islamic supremacism that is its raison d’être—a revival that has been directly motivating innumerable Muslims around the world to plot and plan horrific terror attacks in places and times we cannot often predict. This trend is only getting worse, not better—notwithstanding the fact that many such plots have been uncovered and stopped in time by various Western intelligence agencies.
I therefore invite the reader to read features #1-6 above, digest them slowly and thoughtfully, and see how they lead more reasonably to the conclusion of holistic analysis, rather than to the conclusion of asymptotic analysis.
And anyway, what good is the asymptotic analysis doing, when the mainstream alliance of politically correct multi-culturalists and their Muslim friends persist in vilifying the asymptotic analysts as holistic hate-mongers? Since no asymptotic deed seems to go unpunished, let us more coherently and candidly admit the charge—not the “hate-mongering” part, of course, but the reasonable theory of holistic analysis. To admit this, of course, would change the dynamics of the “dialogue”. I.e., there would be no point in “dialogue” and discussion and debates with Muslims anymore, and Muslims would see this clearly.
Once this is clarity is on the table, we can stop wasting our time in endless tap-dancing with Muslim apologists and their fellow travellers, and spend our time more efficiently and wisely in the only things that matter:
1) Education of non-Muslims in the danger of Islam.
2) Working toward the articulation, and then implementation, of various concrete policies which we must adopt with respect to that danger.