Nearly two years ago, on December 31 of 2006, I published an essay here titled The Learning Curve: How's Your IQ?
The “IQ” in question was an “Islamic Quotient”, and the learning curve under discussion was meant to symbolize the progress a person goes through to reach the “epiphany” that Islam is the problem.
As I look back on my own position in that old essay, I see that at the time, I myself had not quite graduated to the full epiphany. Though I spoke in that essay of a “double epiphany”, its two aspects failed to mention a crucial factor. The two aspects I mentioned were that 1) Islam is the source of terrorism, and 2) that Islam throughout its historical career and into our present is evil, unjust and dangerous.
The crucial component I failed to mention was the proposition that all Muslims are also evil, unjust and dangerous—or, more subtly put: That, in the overriding interest of our safety, and considering our limitations in knowledge about which Muslims are harmless and which are dangerous, and considering the unique features of the threat which dangerous Muslims pose, we must consider all Muslims to be equally dangerous, and we must act accordingly.
Thus, I see that I myself have progressed along the learning curve. I wasn’t always sitting at the logical conclusion. I too had asymptotic tendencies, but I have outgrown them.
I believe it’s called changing your mind when new data presents itself.
Or sometimes it’s a case of requiring time to let extant data sufficiently penetrate the defenses of certain axioms that have lodged themselves in your mind and prevent you from actually thinking about a problem, axioms that more often than not are strengthened by irrational emotion—in this case, the emotional reflex of recoiling from considering a whole people to be one’s enemy.
I have noticed a similar maturation process among commenters in various Internet discussion forums and blogs—among them, those of Jihad Watch, frontpage.com, and Gates of Vienna. There has been an increasing prevalence of comments that express appropriate impatience with, among other things, terms and phrases denoting, or hinting at, the asymptotic model—such as “radical Muslims” or “radical extremism” or their obverse corollary, “moderate Muslims”. These negative indications of this impatience have their positive side in an increasingly clarified attitude evident among these commenters, based on the position that all Muslims are dangerous and deceptive.
These commenters have not, however, taken their attitude to its logical conclusion by boldly rejecting the persistent asymotic model as expressed by anti-Islamic movement leaders such as Robert Spencer. Thus, while we see among the majority of commenters to a recent article on Jihad Watch express an attitude and a position contrary to the position implied (if not clearly stated) by Spencer’s editorial comments to that article, we do not see any of them telling Spencer—with all due respect and civility, of course—that they think he is plain wrong on this one.
For example, Spencer writes:
There are indeed peaceful Muslims, and there are indeed some among those who aren't interested in waging any kind of jihad.
How does he know this? He cannot know this with the sufficient certainty we need to make such a factoid useful for our general safety. So why even express it? To placate the PC MC cookie monster? He should know that monster is irrationally ravenous, and its voracity for placation is endless. It will never be satisfied until the person trying to appease it stops criticizing Islam and any Muslims altogether. As long as Spencer criticizes any “element” of Islam and as long as Spencer criticizes any Muslims as Muslims—even if only “some” and not all Muslims—it doesn’t matter to the PC MC cookie monster that he also professes to believe in the existence of “peaceful Muslims” and continues to imply that there is a potential for a viably peaceful reformation of Islam. The PC MC cookie monster will devour those attempts at appeasing it, but its irrational voracity will not be sated: It will continue to brand him as a “bigot”, and “Islamophobe”, and a “hater”—if not also a “racist” and a “fascist”.
They [these "peaceful Muslims" who apparently exist in numbers sufficient to make their mention worthwhile in this important context] either don't know or don't care about the imperative to struggle against unbelievers. They may have what they consider to be better things to do.
This is just airy extrapolation built on the initial airy speculation devoid of sufficient pragmatic evidence supporting it. Even if these “numbers” of peaceful Muslims exist, our general inability to identify them sufficiently for our safety makes these “numbers” useless to us. Thus, they should not be mentioned as though they have a use to us. So why is Spencer mentioning them?
Spencer goes on to note appositely:
The group of Muslims who feign indignation when non-Muslims discuss the jihad ideology, and who claim never to have heard of such a thing or that it is a heretical version of Islam cooked up by a Tiny Minority of Extremists™ -- they are much more numerous. They are dangerous, also, because they fool so very many people.
The problem here is that Spencer does not apparently notice that the axiom of the Existence of Peaceful Muslims is also dangerous, because it also fools so very many people. The difference, of course, between Spencer and the PC MC minions is that he believes there also do exist , along with the “numbers” of peaceful Muslims, dangerous Muslims qua Muslims. But his persistence in repeating the aforementioned axiom (and of implying it on innumerable other occasions) only reinforces it.
At other times (though rather rarely), we have Spencer fine-tune that axiom, such that he moves asymptotically toward the holistic end of the learning curve:
That not all Muslims are on board with the Islamic supremacist program is simply a fact, but it does not follow from that fact that there is any significant body of Muslims who are actively or seriously opposing the jihadists and Islamic supremacists. There are a few courageous individuals here and there, but as I have pointed out many times using Ibn Warraq's phrase, while there are moderate Muslims, there is no moderate Islam. And while some people are cultural and nominal Muslims who are ignorant of and/or indifferent to the jihad imperative, it cannot be assumed (as many Western government and law enforcement officials assume) that any given peaceful Muslim opposes the jihad simply by virtue of the fact that he is not actively engaged in violence or participating in plotting in a violent jihad group.
In this quote, we can almost feel the pressure exerted by the holistic vector on Spencer’s thought, prompting the reasonable question: if one is so close, if the arc of one’s learning curve is almost touching the logical conclusion, why not just cross over and become holistic? The same question applies to all critics of Islam who are at least above the threshhold of the PC MC paradigm.
For, once a person has cut the umbilical cord that binds him to the PC MC paradigm, he begins to free-float with an open mind that is actually able to assimilate new data and speculate about what that data means through actually thinking, rather than relying on pre-fab axioms. And, on this issue—the problem of Islam—once a person begins free-floating, he embarks upon a course, a trajectory, where the vector of the holistic logical conclusion pulls on him. Different individuals respond differently to that pull. Some persistently resist it, and even set up a kind of second version of the PC MC paradigm that justifies their inability to move toward the logical holistic conclusion. Others do show signs of moving ever closer, but never seem to quite get there.
And others do actually arrive.
Most of us will arrive, sooner or later.
If later, it will be tragically only after millions of us are mass-murdered and maimed by horrific Muslim attacks as the future unfolds—attacks that will make 911 and Mumbai look like child’s play.
If sooner, then we will have to act pro-actively to prevent those horrific casualties -- as, for example, the West could have acted just a few years before the outbreak of WW2, by invading Germany, assassinating Hitler, and toppling the Nazi regime -- and thereby spared millions of lives needlessly, tragically, horribly destroyed, with millions more devastated and ruined by the dislocations of war.
We will not be able to act pro-actively, however, unless the PC MC paradigm, which is dominant and mainstream throughout the West—affecting not only our “elites”, and not merely our “liberals”, but also the vast majority of ordinary people—becomes dismantled. And if it does not become dismantled through the external pressure of those horrific casualties, it must be dismantled from within. How to do that, other than through the patient stillicide of more and more people trying to educate their fellow Westerners over a long, infuriatingly patient amount of time, I do not know.
I am convinced, however, that by watering down the problem, by mincing words about the threat that faces us, by anxiously comporting ourselves to the PC MC cookie monster in order to appease its pleasantly mainstream wrath, we are not doing ourselves and our civilization any favors, and we are only thus enabling the retardation of the learning curve whose logical conclusion is our only hope against the menace of an Islam Redivivus.