Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bill Warner: an unlikely asymptotic analyst










I have admired Bill Warners no-nonsense, seemingly comprehensive indictment of Islam for quite some time. Always lurking, however, in the back of my mind, was the sense that he had not quite gone all the way in his analysis to the logical conclusion of holistic analysis.

A recent article of his seems to confirm this suspicion. Near the beginning of it, he writes:

George Bush made a critical mistake after the attack on September 11th; a mistake that created the presidency of Barack Obama. Bush could not name the enemypolitical Islam.

Along with such asymptotic euphemisms as radical Islamism and extremist Islamism and even radical extremist Islamism, we can also add Warners political Islam. Such euphemisms have the effect of delimiting the problem, whittling it down from its proper natureall of Islamto some artificial truncation whose justification proves to be based upon abstract theory about what the problem must be according to some modelnot what it in fact is as that would be determined by actual data.

Of course, the holistic positionthat the problem is all of Islam and all Muslimsis also not a simplex fact by itself, since it would be impossible to possess complete data about all Muslims and all of Islam. The holistic position is a reasonable inference based upon necessarily incomplete data. The point is, the asymptotic analysts behave as though they have a firmer ground in data, which they dont. With respect to the extraordinary and unique danger we face from Islam, therefore, it would be prudent to err on the side of caution and assume the conclusion of holistic analysis.

Now, there is a sense in which the euphemism political Islam may only be apparently asymptotic, insofar as one could argue that it is only when Islam becomes political that it becomes a danger and therefore of concern to us. The major glaring problem with this argument is that it superimposes an artificial distinction upon Islam. Islam, from the beginning, through its 1400-year career, and in our present, has always been inherently and massively political (and, as Hugh Fitzgerald points out, geopolitical). You cannot take the political out of Islam.

Another way to get around this problem would be for the analyst to argue that he knows that all of Islam is the problem, but for practical purposes, we must proceed with a more manageable portion of that problem and concentrate only on the political manifestation of Islam. The problem with this argument is that it would formally encode into the analysis a neglector at best, a minimizationof the rich, complex, subtle and unique ways in which the ostensibly non-political dimension of Islamic culture is inextricably bound up with laws, politics and geopolitics. This type of reasoning for the analysis of the problem would be sort of liketo employ a metaphorical analogyfocusing only on the overt front lines of a problem of a mosquito infestation, and neglecting or unduly minimizing the sources of that infestation that by themselves may not seem, to a superficial appraisal, to be relevant to the infestation.

Conclusion:

Because of the potential scope and gravity of the danger emanating from Islam and its agents, Muslims; and because of the formidable and complex problem of our inability to determine where and when and which Muslims are carriers of that danger in all its myriad forms, we must err on the side of cautionnot a caution we direct against ourselves in order to restrain our potential for going down some imagined slippery slope toward actions we have deemed, in our political correctness, to be unacceptable (but which in an era not too long agoduring World War Twowe deemed to be rational responses to another eminent and grave threat)but a caution directed against all Muslims, since we cannot sufficiently determine which Muslims are dangerous and which are harmless.

Only a holistic analysis disposes our intellectual and practical options to err on the side of caution appropriately, while all versions of asymptotic analysis I have seen, including Bill Warners, are too likely to predispose us to hindering us from that caution we need to promote, even if that promotion includes erring.

Asymptotic analyses like Bill Warners end up complicating the issue too much, in their studied, axiomatic concern for avoiding dealing with the entire elephant in the room. Asymptotic analysts think they are simplifying the problem by trying to whittle it down to size, but the more they assimilate any semblance of good instincts and intelligence into their approach (as Warner does), the more, paradoxically, they generate undue complexity and thereby make the problem less practical, not more, in the end.

In the article linked above, Warner proposes that we work toward eliminating only
“one Muslimi.e., the founder of Islam, Mohammed. This is the kind of seemingly simplistic contortion to which asymptotic analysis conduces: Warners solution sounds simple and doable, but under its deceptively elegant and workable surface lies horrendous complexity and obstacles. Warner thinks, by proposing his solution, that he is avoiding the horrendous complexity and obstacle of tackling all of Islam and all of 1.5 billion Muslims. At the end of the day, he (like any other asymptotic analyst with their own flavor of solution) is only putting off the grim necessity we must gird ourselves for on all levels, beginning with the psychological and intellectual. And promoting the asymptotic view in any of its forms will only serve to undermine that grim necessity.

36 comments:

Kab-bin-Ashraf said...

Hesp,

Can you give me your brief answers to the following two questions:

Do you advocate the deportation of all Muslims from western countries?

If they are deported (presumably to Islamic countries), then do you advocate war against them?

Erich said...

Kab,

You ask: "Do you advocate the deportation of all Muslims from western countries?"

Yes. I realize that's not possible now, because of our own PC MC. But if we could, I would definitely advocate it.

"If they are deported (presumably to Islamic countries), then do you advocate war against them?"

Not necessarily. Only if war against them served the interest of defending ourselves from invasion/infiltration by them, insofar as such invasion/infiltration would pursue terrorism, which it would be reasonable to assume it would (or, to get more complicated, if they threatened global interests that are part of geopolitical existence now, such as economic interests, etc.). If it were possible to quarantine the Muslim world behind a kind of "Iron Curtain" and avoid war against them as much as possible, I'd support that, but of course even that might not be doable without at least the threat of war against them -- and as we know, a military threat has to be ready to really act to have effect.

awake said...

Methinks it is time to scrap the "holistic versus asymptotic" comparison, since it seems that you have nary an example of a holistic analyst on Islam left.

Or are you the only one?

Erich said...

awake,

There's nobody among the "famous". But there are a few "civilians" who agree with the holistic conclusion (the most recent example, "sebastian" and "zenster" in comments on GOV agreed without reservations to my articulation of the holistic position).

http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2008/11/mr-euro-islam-tariq-ramadan-capitulates.html#readfurther

Anyway, while the usefulness of a position is to an extent determined by numbers of people supporting it, its truth & cogency are not necessarily.

I'm not necessarily utterly opposed to asymptotic solutions, in much the same way as a starving man would not always reject pitiful crumbs if that's all he can get.

Old Atlantic Lighthouse said...

Thanks for the bluntness. When Iran took our hostages in 1979, we as a society didn't have any problem with labeling the problem, Islam and Muslims. It seems the other side learned more from that event than we did.

awake said...

"I'm not necessarily utterly opposed to asymptotic solutions, in much the same way as a starving man would not always reject pitiful crumbs if that's all he can get."

That is not how I would have put it since there is great value in some of those whom you label as asymptotic, but I appreciate your willingness to bend in light of the dearth of holistics.

Erich said...

Old Atlantic Lighthouse,

Are you sure about the 79 Revolution? I've not heard that people generally, or even most analysts at the time, did not shy away from applying the terms "Islam" and "Muslims" to that event. It would surprise me, since 1979 is a date solidly in the center of the overall arc of the dominance of PC MC throughout the West.

(I do recall that Pope John Paul II and Jimmy Carter, among many others, praised the Ayatollah Khomeini.)

Nobody said...

Awake

If you are talking about analysts, or just the famous, you are absolutely right. But if you are talking about the theory in principle - that selective subsets of Islam - be it political-islam, radical-islam, fundamentalist-islam, wahabi-islam, salafi-islam, et al - then I'd have to agree with Erich on this one.

I certainly think that Bill Warner, Murthy Muthuswamy, Walid Shoebat, Brigette Gabriel, et al are very useful in their analysis of this problem. I'd however put Daniel Pipes far lower in this hierarchy. Among the 'civilians', I'd think the vast majority of JW posters (including you) are holistic - you don't see any of them defending Islam as not being the problem, even though many may take sides with RS over Erich here. That doesn't make them wrong about Islam - it's just that they do prefer to rally behind someone with a higher profile for the greater good.

I'd say Ali Sina and Abul Kasem are the closest I can think of as holistic analyst. Funnily enough, it seems to come more readily from ex-Muslims.

Erich said...

nobody,

Even Abul Kasem hedges his bets with frequent usage of "isms" (extremist Islam, Islamism, etc.).

I don't know why people are so afraid of simply saying "Islam" and "all Muslims".

I believe in working tirelessly to promote the holistic analysis, and I will not let up. In fact, it's the supposed "hard-liners" that I feel I have to go after more, because their equivocation is being masked by their supposed hard line, and therefore it's getting in through the back door, and it is reinforcing the standard PC MC view.

I haven't read Ali Sina. But I would bet right now all my life's savings that he too softens the edges of his analysis. Why? Because every damn body who is not a "civilian" is either afraid, or they are deformed by PC MC. I can't think of another plausible explanation.

Anyway, I will soon read him to verify my suspicion, or not.

Nobody said...

Erich

Almost by definition, apostates are holistic. Otherwise, the Ali Sinas and Abul Kasems would have done the same thing as the Irshad Manjis and Tashbih Sayyid - remained Muslims while criticizing aspects of it from within. Reason they jettisoned Islam is that they came to the same conclusion as you.

You should read Abul Kasem's works in greater detail. Here is an online book he wrote on his site Islam Watch - A complete guide to Allah - a complete caricatural condemnation of Islam. You expect this from someone who thinks that only parts of Islam, but not Islam itself, is the problem?

awake said...

Nobody,

I fully understand that the holistic approach in theory exists, and I basically support that approach, even in light that no holistic critics of Islam exist, with the noted exception of apostates. My initial comment was in reference to Erich's depiction of Warner as an asymptotic analyst, when he previously used him as an example or near-example of a holistic one.

On another blog, Erich referred to the asymptotic analyst as one who buys into the tiny minority of hijackers of a benign ideology theory, and we all know that Erich defines Spencer as an asymptotic analyst. I inquired of Erich if he believes that Spencer buys into that theory, one which I agree someone like Pipes tends to subscribe to, but the labels become blurred to the point that they lose value in my estimation.

If we both agree that prominent holistic critics of Islam do not exist, or that holistic principles are not explicitly expressed, why use them as an example to criticize asymptotic critics? Erich has referred to the malaise of PC, yet he acknowledges that not all elements of liberalism are inherently bad. Why can't the same approach be taken towards Islam? I expect that both you and Erich do not find fault in every aspect of Islamic doctrine, but that being said, does not excuse its central elements which are altogether dangerous and evil.

I believe that people are critical of the asymptotic approach out of misplaced philisophical purity even in view of the valid criticism of a lack of specifics by the analysts on what is to be done with Islam and its perpetual entanglement with the non-Islamic West.

If we all seek the same solution, what is the problem with supporting the asymptotic approach, especially due to the fact tnat the problem of Islam has no mainstream acknowledgement or acceptance and the asymptotic approach is more likely to open up the education about Islam to a much wider pool of people?

Nobody said...

Awake

I support the asymptotic approach in so far as it provides an alternative persuasion route for those who've not yet bought into the reality that Islam in its entirety is the problem. However, that's different from endorsing those who actually disagree with that conclusion, and maintain that Islam as a whole is good, but has its rough edges that need to be smoothened out.

As far as the analysts go, I do consider Bill Warner, Ali Sina, Abul Kasem, Muthuswamy and even Spencer as good as they get. I don't agree with Warner in delineating the problem to political Islam, but OTOH, he does point out that those who are trying to reform it, like Thomas Haidon or Masoud Khalili are de-facto heretics who have virtually zero chances of success. I don't fully agree with Erich here on Warner.

On the question of Spencer, point remains, as was discussed on WJW, that Spencer has explicitly stated that he is not anti-Islam, and that then opens up the question about whether he is asymptotic or not. With the apostates, such as Abuk Kasem or Walid Shoebat, we know that they aren't by their actions - namely that they are not (or else they'd have remained Muslims). That's something that's unknowable about non-Muslims like Spencer, since ones personal faith is personal, and how fervent he is or isn't would be irrelevant here, unlike in the case of the apostates. Therefore, one can either take Spencer's statement at face value, which Erich has done, or one can assume that he's making that statement for the larger non-anti-Islamic public consumption, which is understandable but doesn't reflect well on him. (Unlike Erich, I believe RS is indulging in the latter, but is not doing too many favors in contributing to this ambiguity.)

awake said...

"I support the asymptotic approach in so far as it provides an alternative persuasion route for those who've not yet bought into the reality that Islam in its entirety is the problem. However, that's different from endorsing those who actually disagree with that conclusion, and maintain that Islam as a whole is good, but has its rough edges that need to be smoothened out."

I agree 100% and in this see a noticeable difference in Pipes comparative to Spencer.

"Therefore, one can either take Spencer's statement at face value, which Erich has done, or one can assume that he's making that statement for the larger non-anti-Islamic public consumption, which is understandable but doesn't reflect well on him."

Two points of contention here. First, I don't believe that Erich thinks of Spencer as remotely close to Pipes, but is simply critical of Spencer for not being a holistic and condemning Islam in totality.

Second, Spencer does indeed say he is not anti-Islam, but that is a clever workaround to navigate the sea of dissent he faces every day. Spencer understands that to remove the imperative for jihad and the central tenet of Islamic supremacy, via peaceful or even violent avenues, would effectively render Islam an innocuous ideology. The devil is in the details, however. Spencer is well aware of the likelihood of that ever occurring, with Islam's built in safeguards which prevent any alteration, and I for one have never seen Spencer laud a single aspect of Islam in all of his writing.

If Spencer's primary purpose at this juncture, knowing the roadblock that PC currently throws in the path of identifying the Islamic imperative and the danger it poses to all things non-Islamic, is pedagogical, then shouldn't we be satisfied by him speaking the truth about Islam while avoiding being marginalized?

Bees, honey, vinegar?

Nobody said...

Awake:Second, Spencer does indeed say he is not anti-Islam, but that is a clever workaround to navigate the sea of dissent he faces every day. Spencer understands that to remove the imperative for jihad and the central tenet of Islamic supremacy, via peaceful or even violent avenues, would effectively render Islam an innocuous ideology. The devil is in the details, however. Spencer is well aware of the likelihood of that ever occurring, with Islam's built in safeguards which prevent any alteration, and I for one have never seen Spencer laud a single aspect of Islam in all of his writing.

The first statement of yours (bolded) is a different spin (for want of a better term) to what I said, when I suggested that he was doing it out of a necessity for public consumption. IMHO, reason it doesn't reflect well on him is that there is an implicit suggestion that Islam as a whole is not all evil, if certain problematic areas are ironed out. As you point out, he never says this and more likely than not doesn't believe it, which is why leaving a contrary impression to impress the doubting thomases doesn't do our message much favors, in as much as it's considered wrong to go all the way and condemn Islam as a whole. Aside from making those of us who do look like extremists.

You are also right that the devil is in the details. However, when this is being discussed in the public arena, people don't delve into the details (which may be as subtle as Muslimahs not being allowed to marry Infidel men) of how Islam is problematic, and how it can be reformed. It's the headlines, the bottom lines, the sound-bites, if you will, that ultimately carry the day. The population at large isn't interested in whether Quran 18:80 allows honor killings or not, but when they read about a young Muslimah having herself stabbed several times for having, say, a Jewish boyfriend, they assume one of 2 things depending on where they are coming from:

A. It's genuine Islam, and an indication of why Islam doesn't belong in the West;

B. It's a distortion of Islam.

Now, Spencer has no work to do when it comes to group A above, and his statement, read by them, can only serve to soften, rather than harden their stance against Islam, which would be an undesirable outcome from our standpiont.

However, when it comes to group B, let's say Spencer demonstrated that honor killings are Islamic by demonstrating the link between 18:80 and honor killings (among those willing to listen: a lot wouldn't, if they were married to the notion of Islam being a good religion just like any other)

So once he has gotten that far with some people in category B, how does he help by then stating that he isn't anti-Islam, or that Islam isn't evil, since the cat B peeps would then be enlightened about Islam endorsing the murder of people by their parents/grandparents?

Note also that the population at large isn't going to dwell on these details: they'll form their conclusions from simple observations, be it honor killings, strikes at meat packing plants, footwash basins in public places, et al. All these trends are alien to the West at large, and do serve to alienate local Infidels from Mohammedans. If that's what's going on, how does it serve the purpose to, after doing so much work demonstrating the contrary, turn around and state that he isn't anti-Islam or that Islam isn't evil?

Awake:If Spencer's primary purpose at this juncture, knowing the roadblock that PC currently throws in the path of identifying the Islamic imperative and the danger it poses to all things non-Islamic, is pedagogical, then shouldn't we be satisfied by him speaking the truth about Islam while avoiding being marginalized?

On this one, I agree with you. On the whole, I do support him, but the above public stance he's always maintained is more than just a basic difference on which people can disagree. I disagree with Hugh about global warming, I disagree with some on our side about all religions being bad, I disagree with some who think that Russia is solely responsible for the problems it has with the West, among other things. But a difference on whether Islam is or isn't evil is more fundamental than whether we serve our cause better by bedding with environmental wackos or cranking up nuclear plants in our backyard.

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

nobody,

Just one brief point for now: I think you make an elementary error when you posit:

"With the apostates, such as Abuk Kasem or Walid Shoebat, we know that they aren't [are not asymptotic] by their actions - namely that they are not (or else they'd have remained Muslims)."

This is a flawed premise/conclusion, because a Muslim who leaves Islam can just as easily leave it because he finds intolerable the giant chunk of Islam that is bad, while still believing there is another big part that is ok.

Secondly, we need to agree on terms. My definition of "holistic analysis" must include both of these positions:

1) Islam is the main source of all bad things Islamic

2) All Muslims must be considered to be enablers of Islam, and therefore all of them must be considered to be dangerous. (Whether harmless Muslims exist is not the point: the point is, can we sufficiently determine their existence to make a difference for our ongoing safety: #2 here says No, we cannot. Therefore, for practical purposes, harmless Muslims do not exist.)

So you see, an apostate could leave Islam but still believe in the viable existence of a useful segment (even a majority) of harmless Muslims.

Erich said...

awake and nobody,

"My initial comment was in reference to Erich's depiction of Warner as an asymptotic analyst, when he previously used him as an example or near-example of a holistic one."

That's called changing your mind after becoming aware of new data. I highly recommend it to people like Spencer.

"On another blog, Erich referred to the asymptotic analyst as one who buys into the tiny minority of hijackers of a benign ideology theory, and we all know that Erich defines Spencer as an asymptotic analyst. I inquired of Erich if he believes that Spencer buys into that theory, one which I agree someone like Pipes tends to subscribe to, but the labels become blurred to the point that they lose value in my estimation."

I think awake's difficulty here is that he is considering asymptotic to refer to a single, static position, whereas I have been using it as denoting a spectrum of gradations -- some asymptotic analysts are closer to the holistic conclusion, others are farther from it. Spencer is closer than Pipes. Fitzgerald seems to be closer than Spencer. Etc. One could take all the analysts out there who have a problem with various aspects of the problem of Islam, and plot them on an asymptotic graph, so to speak. At the "low end", we find people who are so far from the holistic conclusion, their position blurs into the non-asymptotic position that is generally the Bush view (if not even more generous than Bush). And farther down the line we begin to merge into positively pro-Islam territory where the darkness of anti-Western revolution, and then Islamic "reversion", loom on the horizon.

"If we both agree that prominent holistic critics of Islam do not exist, or that holistic principles are not explicitly expressed, why use them as an example to criticize asymptotic critics?"

I think it's useful insofar as the holistic position is the logical vector that is attracting, like a magnet, the asymptotic dynamic. All individuals who think & feel in terms of the asymptotic dynamic, in my opinion, experience an inner intellectual and psychological tension that pulls them toward the holistic conclusion. For various reasons, they persist in resisting that conclusion. I was one of them. I know this from the inside. I grew, I changed my mind over a long period of time, by the slow accumulation of assimilating new data about Islam.

"Erich has referred to the malaise of PC, yet he acknowledges that not all elements of liberalism are inherently bad. Why can't the same approach be taken towards Islam?"

I have already dealt with this particular question at length on Jihad Watch Watch, as documented in a few essays about Spencer and his reader-critics (all "civilians") vis-a-vis his resistance to opposing Islam qua Islam. In a nutshell, my position is not that Islam is utterly devoid of any good elements: rather, my position is that any good elements one can locate in Islam are irrelevant to the systemic evil, injustice and danger of Islam. One could find some good elements in German Nazism. Does that mean we should actually integrate those good elements into our analysis of German Nazism that would have some concrete effect on how we treat German Nazism? How would the good elements one could locate in German Nazism possibly moderate the only appropriate response to German Nazism -- the one we in fact took: bombing the shit out of Germans until they surrendered, bombings that tragically but necessarily entailed killing hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children, both Germans and their ally, the Japanese? Not only is this analogy apt, I see Islam as more formidable and dangerous than Nazism ever was or is.

"If we all seek the same solution, what is the problem with supporting the asymptotic approach, especially due to the fact tnat the problem of Islam has no mainstream acknowledgement or acceptance and the asymptotic approach is more likely to open up the education about Islam to a much wider pool of people?"

In the short term, this logic makes sense. In the long term, however, I think the asymptotic approach tends to reinforce the PC MC paradigm. An asymptotic approach could end up becoming a "token" measure to appease the growing sense among ordinary people in the West that not enough is being done, but in the end it would solidify a dangerously incomplete paradigm that is not much different from the PC MC paradigm, with a few token crumbs thrown to a growingly restless population. Meanwhile, innumerable Muslims will continue to be accepted deep into the fabric of Western societies, and among those innumerable Muslims an unidentifiable number of them to plot horrific attacks on us that take years to plan, and that require exactly the kind of penetration deep into the fabric of our societies that the wimpy asymptotic approach will enable.

awake said...

Nobody,

I understand your point and I believe we agree far more than not. I also believe that I understand Erich's position, but derived from his last comment and explicit definition of holistical analysis of Islam, it is plain to see why he stands in opposition to nearly every other critic of Islam.

I believe that Spencer has sufficiently identified central, mainstream accepted tenets of Islam that are problematic to say the least and I also estimate that he has stated that there really is no verifiable way to discern peaceful, nominal Muslims from potential jihadists, but that being said, he is not considered holistic to Erich for his unwillingness to embrace the mass deportation of Muslims.

I don't think it would be feasible or wise for someone like Spencer to adopt that extreme a position publicly at this point regardless of whether he truly believes it or not. From where I stand, we should be encouraging apostates, not vilifying them as ever distrustful.

awake said...

"That's called changing your mind after becoming aware of new data. I highly recommend it to people like Spencer."

Fair enough, and I believe Spencer has done likewise. His comments about upon further review he has not been sold on VB as being fascists or villifying all those associated to them validates that.

Erich said...

awake,

"[Spencer] is not considered holistic to Erich for his unwillingness to embrace the mass deportation of Muslims."

Not just that, but his non-holistic stance would serve to codify policies that cannot treat Muslims collectively -- except by logical extension (such as the criminalization of sharia law).

"I don't think it would be feasible or wise for someone like Spencer to adopt that extreme a position publicly at this point regardless of whether he truly believes it or not."

As I have noted before, it doesn't seem to make a difference to those who are beholden to PC MC whether Spencer pulls his punches or not -- they still vilify hiim (whether explicitly, or implicitly) as a holist (as they do any other asymptotic analyst who crosses the line into being too critical of Islam and of Muslims for being in any way too Islamic. No asymptotic deed goes unpunished.

"From where I stand, we should be encouraging apostates, not vilifying them as ever distrustful."

I wouldn't put apostates under extraordinary suspicion -- for one thing, they are so rare it wouldn't make that much of a difference, safety-wise. If we saw more than one apostate participate in terrorism, then of course I'd change that and put them under equal suspicion.

"That's called changing your mind after becoming aware of new data. I highly recommend it to people like Spencer."

Fair enough, and I believe Spencer has done likewise. His comments about upon further review he has not been sold on VB as being fascists or villifying all those associated to them validates that.

I don't see Spencer as having changed his position on VB: he continues to maintain his (by analogy) "I don't know if Joe is a pedophile or not, I'm still looking into the matter" stance which has the effect of harming the reputation of VB, even if it is less egregiously destructive than CJ's bulldozer position.

Nobody said...

Erich: I don't see Spencer as having changed his position on VB: he continues to maintain his (by analogy) "I don't know if Joe is a pedophile or not, I'm still looking into the matter" stance which has the effect of harming the reputation of VB, even if it is less egregiously destructive than CJ's bulldozer position.

Statically, you'd be right, if this was all there was to it. However, when coupled with his past opposition to VB, it isn't. Any VB supporter who wants to convince a fence-sitter on VB for whom Spencer's endorsement would mean a lot could say, "look, previously RS unequivocally opposed us, and now, he has an open mind on us. And so should you."

Nobody said...

Debbie Schlussel is the #1 holistic analyst, having thought of it further. Like I pointed out earlier in my deleted comment, Srdja Trifkovic is another

Erich said...

nobody,

A quick look through Debbie Schlussel's archives yielded no essay that seemed to touch on the asymptotic/holistic issue. All the essays I saw seemed to be peripherally related, and the few I read through were so tangential they could easily have been written by a person on either side. I just emailed her and asked her point-blank. I'll report back on what she answered.

Erich said...

nobody,

"Any VB supporter who wants to convince a fence-sitter on VB for whom Spencer's endorsement would mean a lot could say, "look, previously RS unequivocally opposed us, and now, he has an open mind on us. And so should you."

Spencer's change has been almost imperceptible. He never vilified VB before, he only implied they were an unsavory political group because they seemed to have neo-Nazi leanings. Recently, because of CJ's violent ostracization of Spencer, Spencer has been forced against a corner where he would have to take a stand. Spencer's latest "change" is not so much a change as a reiteration -- in deftly slippery lawyer-like language -- of his original suspicion of VB, trying to straddle the almost non-existent point between succumbing to the dementedly uncouth position of CJ on the one hand, and simply coming out and saying CJ is wrong and in fact VB is a worthy ally in the anti-jihad movement.

Your "fence-sitter" would find in Spencer... another fence-sitter!

Again, the analogy is this:

1) Joe has been accused of being a pedophile.

2) People of good records, intelligence and good will have studied the matter and they, along with others, have come to the conclusion that Joe is not and never has been a pedophile.

3) A friend (F) of many of the people in #2 remains unconvinced.

4) Along the way, certain associations between F and some of his friends are noticed.

5) Along comes one major figure (M) of the same movement to which the people of #2 and F belong: M finds out about #4 and makes a violent splash about how F is just as evil as Joe the pedophile because F's associations are enabling that pedophile and pedophilia in general.

6) F responds by saying: "I don't know if Joe is a pedophile or not. I am still looking into the matter. Many of my friends think he is not a pedophile, but I can't be sure. I'll let you know when I have finished looking into the matter."

How would Joe's reputation and life be affected by such a refusal to take a stand? To the degree that F's public opinion has any effect, it would be harmed. Simply saying "I don't know if Joe is a pedophile" automatically generates a black cloud of suspicion and slander over Joe. To pretend like this stance is not injurious to the reputation of Joe is preposterous and disingenuous. (For VB, Filip Dewinter, Strache, pro-Cologne, et al., substitute "racist/fascist" for "pedophile".)

Erich said...

nobody,

Trifkovic is not an analyst I have read much of. I just read an interview with him. In this interview, he is fully holistic with regard to Islam. However, there's no clear indication on what his stand is with regard to the other half of the holistic position -- Muslims.

In the interview, he advocates "an absolute moratorium on the immigration of Muslims into both Western Europe and North America, coupled with the denial of citizenship to all practicing Muslims, the denial of security clearances, and the policy of systematic deportation of all jihadists activists".

These prescriptions imply that he does not fully hold the holistic position on Muslims; or, if he does, he does not believe in advocating policy that reflects it; or if he does, he does not believe in expressing it in the interest of the "let's-get-what-we-can-realistically-given-the-dominance-of-PC" school of thought.

Nobody said...

Erich

On Debbie's site, if you have a search site facility on your browser, do a search of 'Religion of' in the search box, and just see what you come up with. She has had numerous stories over the years - Religion of hijackers, religion of food stamp/bridge card fraud, religion of filing false police reports and making up phony attacks, et al. One thing you could ask her is whether she agrees with the position that Muslims don't belong here and should be deported.

I've read 'The Sword of the Prophet' and highly recommend it. Trifkovic also appears in the video 'Islam - What the West needs to know - available at Google video at the link I gave. You can see it and determine for yourself.

P.S. Can you change the color of your text from blue to anything else? I have RSS'ed your site, but when I read the comments, it's hard to make out any links that are provided. Since links automatically assume the blue color, any other color for plain text would be more helpful, particularly since blogger doesn't support having URL's without badly mangling them, particularly the long ones.

Anonymous said...

I have not read anything by Debbie Schlussel (in fact, I had only heard about her on one previous occasion before I saw Nobody's comment, in this entry on Lawrence Auster's site), but I noticed the frequent use of the term "radical Islam" in the "bio" section of her site, and a Google search revealed more of the same. Hence I doubt she is anywhere near being what Erich calls a holistic analyst.

Nobody said...

Anonymous

See this. I did the search for Islam or Muslim on her site, excluding words like radical or political, so that radical islam or political islam won't come up. I got quite a collection. I didn't exclude words like fundamentalist or extremist, since most people on the asymptotic side stick to one terminology.

I don't say what I do about Trifkovic or Schlussel without having extensively read/heard them. The only Muslims Debbie has ever advocated being friendly to was Tasbih Sayyid (late member of JW board) and another Muslim who was pro-Israel and turned against Hizbullah. Other than that, she has been unrelenting in her criticism of Islam enough times without using any qualifiers. Just because she sometimes uses the term 'radical' doesn't make her non-holistic.

In recent months, understandably, her site has been all about Obama, but if you read it a year ago, you'd every see headlines like the ones I mentioned above - Religion of ______ where ______ was some criminal activity engaged by Mohammedans. Also, when her key photos of Muslims are hijabs, photos of a Muslim taking photographs of hijabed women, crescent/star logo accompanied by another major vile brand, it leaves nothing to doubt that this is someone who rightly scorns both Islam and Mohammedans.

She has also been unrelenting in her attack on Islamo-Christians - even Republicans - like Darryl Issa, Spence Abraham, John Sununu, et al. It's important to read what she's written to date rather than just biographies of her, or even worse, an altercation she had with several people ostensibly on her side on intellectual property theft.

After all, actions speak louder than words.

Anonymous said...

Other than that, [Debbie Schlussel] has been unrelenting in her criticism of Islam enough times without using any qualifiers. Just because she sometimes uses the term 'radical' doesn't make her non-holistic.

My first impression of Schlussel (based, admittedly, on a very quick look at her site, which motivated me to write my comment above) may very well have been wrong. To Schlussel's defense I did just find the following statement on this page:

Of course, the EU official was sure to point out that this is "radical Islam," not "Islam," itself. And the distinction between the two is . . . ?

Get a clue. It's Islam. Period.

I suspect that she at one point may have abandoned the use of the term "radical Islam", since the term seemed to occur more frequently in older articles or in the comment section (though obviously I'm only speculating). I'll have to look more closely at her site during the weekend.

As for the statement that "[j]ust because [Schlussel] sometimes uses the term 'radical' doesn't make her non-holistic" - does this mean that Nobody as a general rule thinks that maintaining a distinction between "Islam" and "radical Islam" is consistent with being a holistic analyst? If so, I would have to disagree.

awake said...

"...does this mean that Nobody as a general rule thinks that maintaining a distinction between "Islam" and "radical Islam" is consistent with being a holistic analyst?"

I highly doubt it.

Erich said...

anonymous wrote:

does this mean that Nobody as a general rule thinks that maintaining a distinction between "Islam" and "radical Islam" is consistent with being a holistic analyst?

There are two levels of use of terminology:

1) casual and/or imprecise

2) technical.

A holistic analyst could use qualifiers/euphemisms like "radical Islam" in the sense of adding spice with an adjective. The problem with this usage -- particularly in a wider context where the anti-Islam movement is still in a state of flux about its methodology and consensus -- is that it lends itself to reinforcing the asymptotic view, which a holistic analyst would of course not want to do.

We also have the interesting problem of analysts who themselves don't seem to know what they are, because they haven't really thought about it precisely, and so they will periodically let slip asymptotic language, even if their instincts are holistic.

My essays reflect my hope that the anti-Islam movement can tighten up its methodology -- which doesn't necessarily mean I am, as awake likes to call it, wanting to impose a "lock-step" agreement on the movement. It just means that the movement would benefit from an explicit position of clarity, whereby all the options are clearly laid out. After such an explicit declaration, then, people in the movement would think twice before using terms like "radical Islam". Each person within the movement would say to himself: Am I asymptotic or holistic? Do I want to use the term "radical Islam" here? And if the movement had officially come to clarity and consensus on the options, these questions would be answered. It would cut down considerably on the ambiguities which themselves tend to serve to reinforce the PC MC vector.

awake said...

"Each person within the movement would say to himself: Am I asymptotic or holistic? Do I want to use the term "radical Islam" here?"

I fuly understand your position as well as the alternative approach. Spencer, when inserting "radical" in the title of Stealth Jihad explains the reason why and answers the question posed by "anonymous" directly in the comments section of the thread provided below.


http://jihadwatch.org/archives/023318.php

Nobody said...

Anon: As for the statement that "[j]ust because [Schlussel] sometimes uses the term 'radical' doesn't make her non-holistic" - does this mean that Nobody as a general rule thinks that maintaining a distinction between "Islam" and "radical Islam" is consistent with being a holistic analyst?

No, it isn't. However, mere mention of 'radical' in conjugation with Islam doesn't imply that a distinction is being maintained, as pointed out by you in the page you discovered. As you saw, below your quotes, there was a (crescent/star) = (swastika) sign, obviously implying that Islam (not any part of it, but the whole enchilada) equals Nazism. This article, as one can see, came out in February this year, and I do know for a fact that she hasn't softened on Islam one iota between then and now.

When somebody equates Islam with Nazism, like Debbie did in the cited article and like Erich did above while describing why the good in Islam is irrelevant, I don't think anybody can be any clearer on what she thinks about Islam: like I've remarked in the past, she'd make Hugh Fitzgerald look like a Jihadi at times.

Erich: There are two levels of use of terminology:

1) casual and/or imprecise

2) technical.

A holistic analyst could use qualifiers/euphemisms like "radical Islam" in the sense of adding spice with an adjective.

Casual is how it looks whenever she brings up radical Islam - what she does is point out that certain US bigshots are in bed with Radical Islam. If she were to say that those peeps were in bed with Islam, the response would be BFD. So when she talks about Abu Moskovitz or Darryl Issa or other such figures being in bed with Hizbullah, she uses 'Radical Islam' there not because she thinks Hizbullah is unIslamic, but rather, to underpin the case that the crime that US officials are guilty of isn't a mere conversion to Islam (bad enough even in her book) but because of their links to Jihadi activity. In those sort of contexts, to append 'radical' or other such qualifiers to highlight criminal or trecherous behavior is certainly appropriate, and does not serve to maintain that there is a chasm within Islam itself.

That would also seem to be the case with some of the earlier articles that Anon dug up, although, as he points out, a lot of them either appeared in comments, or in articles cited by Debbie, but not by Debbie herself in her main commentary. But nonetheless, once one does all the reading, one will find that she is completely holistic in her view of this issue.

I've read her for a while, and looking for anti-Islamic articles on her site would be like looking for haystack in a haystack, with a whole bunch of needles relating to Obama, ESPN, Brangelina, et al thrown in. I do admire Anon's willingness to look at her site in greater detail, as well as discovering that she is more or less on the same page as us on this very issue.

Erich said...

nobody,

I don't see my comments as being blue -- they look to be in black font like everybody else's.

"what she does is point out that certain US bigshots are in bed with Radical Islam. If she were to say that those peeps were in bed with Islam, the response would be BFD. So when she talks about Abu Moskovitz or Darryl Issa or other such figures being in bed with Hizbullah, she uses 'Radical Islam' there not because she thinks Hizbullah is unIslamic, but rather, to underpin the case that the crime that US officials are guilty of isn't a mere conversion to Islam (bad enough even in her book) but because of their links to Jihadi activity. In those sort of contexts, to append 'radical' or other such qualifiers to highlight criminal or trecherous behavior is certainly appropriate, and does not serve to maintain that there is a chasm within Islam itself."

I have to disagree. Any time an analyst uses terms that could be used by asymptotic analysts, then those terms in fact can potentialy serve to reinfornce the asymptotic view. This is particularly the case with Schlussel, who never seems to have a definitively and completely expressed stance on the overall issue of asymptotic vs. holistic (not in those terms of course, but in terms of their meaning), but rather whose stance on Islam would have to be pieced together from thousands of different sprinkles throughout her corpus. I'm not saying you're incorrect about your assessment of her; I'm saying your assesssment of her doesn't matter enough for the role she plays as a communicator to untold numbers, in which the communicator often can't control the changes and receptions that the message undergoes in its transition from her computer to the readers. For those people she is communicating to -- most of whom are not going to be scholars of the Schlussel Corpus -- that potential for reinforcing the asymptotic function is more or less always there.

In an imprecise, fuzzy Gestalt sort of way, one can say it doesn't matter: Schlussel whenever she does mention Islam and Muslims generates enough critical and hostile static energy to help get a generally negative message about Islam through, overall, so why quibble with precision? On the level of where we're at now, having to operate in a sociopolitical culture hostile to criticism of Islam and that remains dominant and mainstream, one can suppose that something -- even if flawed -- is better than nothing.

But on the level of the goal to maximize quality -- the quality of clarity, cohesion, effectiveness -- I believe in the ongoing importance of fine-tuning our methodology, rather than continuing to thrash around as an ill-organized movement with a hundred different voices and flavors and compass points.

Nobody said...

Talking about how Debbie views Islam, here is a post today that illustrates my point above:

Religion of Food Stamp Fraud, Episode #58,948

No mention of any 'radical' or 'fundamentalist' or any of those delimiters.

Erich said...

nobody, her last paragraph has "these Islamist defrauders".

Re: my previous distinction between being thankful for the generally anti-Islam tenor of Schlussel, given the slim pickings we have around us, vs. the goal of optimizing the quality of our message overall, I would on one level not quibble with her use of "Islamist", but on the second level I believe in continuing my fight to tighten up our terminology.