Tuesday, December 16, 2008
There are different reasons—usually a complex of psychological and logical reasons—why individuals remain asymptotic and do not graduate along the learning curve to the holistic position.
To clarify the relevant categories for this discursus, we can extrapolate all the various extant dispositions with regard to the problem of Islam in vertical fashion, where the upper vector represents the more radically intolerant position, and the lower vector the more radically tolerant position:
1) The asymptotic area of this extrapolation seems to have the widest amplitude of any of the positions, whereby some individuals are closer to the holistic position on the high end, and closer to the PC MC position on the low end, with a wide array of locations along a spectrum in between.
2) The positions are not hermetically sealed off from the positions above and below them: each position shades off into the position above it, and in turn has roots in, and/or affinities with, the position below it.
3) We should add one final position at the top: “Islamophobic”—though it is rarely linked necessarily to the holistic position below it, and more often than not simply resembles its logical conclusion. This position will become instructive as we explore the asymptotic psychology.
4) More than any other position on the list, the asymptotic position manifests a curious paradox whereby there is operative an impulse to progress to the logical conclusion of the holistic position, simultaneously with a vector inhibiting this progress from the opposite end. This paradox, in fact, is the reason why I have termed this position “asymptotic”. There is thus an inherent dynamism to the asymptotic position, a dynamism that either conduces to movement (of either regression towards PC MC or progression towards the holistic position), or creates a static tension insofar as the asymptotic individual shows signs of irrationally digging his heels in to a stubborn rigidity. More rarely, we will see an example of the quintessential asymptote (Hugh Fitzgerald, par excellence), whereby an asymptotic individual shows signs of increasingly approximating the holistic position over time, such that he seems to have come perilously close to within a razor’s edge of its threshhold; but strangely never quite arrives there.
5) Closely related to #4 above is a tendency for asymptotics to couch their objections to the holistic alternative in terms of a perfectionism. This is a curious tendency, for it quickly crumbles, since no holistic with half a brain would suggest that the policy measures which the West should take against Muslims are going to be perfect or will result in a definitive “solution” to the problem of Islam. And yet, more often than not, the asymptotics persist in this tendency to criticize the holistic alternative as untenable simply because it cannot be perfect, when the holistic policy recommendations, like any other rational and sane policy recommendations, are not meant to be based upon the fantasy that they will be flawless, but are rather based on the eminently and unremarkably reasonable premise that they will be simply a better way, ultimately, to deal with the problem of Islam.
The subsets of the asymptotic spectrum often can be explained through psychology. Some of the psychological predispositions include the following—though note that they are all intimately convolved with each other:
1) A phobia of the West succumbing to the “slippery slope” toward genocide against Muslims, and/or any number of less extreme collective measures (e.g., mass deportation, internment, etc.) deemed equally unacceptable. When this phobia is linked in the mind of the asymptotic individual with the paradigm of anti-Nazism and anti-Fascism (as it invariably is), this complex can become the main reason why the asymptotic individual is asymptotic, and more importantly, why they are seemingly stubbornly entrenched there: That is to say, for this type of asymptotic individual, the main reason why they refuse to graduate to the double epiphany of the holistic position—that Islam is itself the threat we face, and that all Muslims are to be deemed agents of Islam—is because of the aforementioned phobia linked to our collective memory of World War Two and the Holocaust.
2) More broadly, a more or less amorphous hangover of one or more axioms of the PC MC paradigm in the heart and mind of the asymptotic individual in question. Sometimes this is reflected in a misperception of the holistic position as tantamount to “Islamophobia”.
3) An innacurate, ahistorical and often irrational fetishization of “democracy”—in the heart and mind of these particular asymptotic individuals representing a bundle of values including what they believe to be legal and constitutional impediments to the revocation of certain Western rights from Muslims in the West (and of certain international rights from Muslims outside the purview of the West) as a precondition for treating them as the collectively seditious threat they are.
4) Perhaps less prevalent in the still inchoate anti-Islam movement, a Christian humanism exerts itself—by which a combination of charitable concern for the “victims” of Islam (usually women and children) and an evangelical hope that enough Muslims will eventually convert to Christianity to make a difference—translates into becoming a psychological counter-pull to the logical conclusion of the inherently unstable asymptotic dynamic (which, of course, would cause the entire asymptotic paradigm to collapse).
The stubborn rigidity mentioned above in III.4 psychologically reflects an internal tension in the asymptotic individual, whereby he simultaneously deems himself more moral than the holistic position (as well as more realistic of pragmatic concerns than the holistic position), while at the same time deems himself more conscientious of the Islamic threat than the PC MC position. This internal tension comes to feed on itself, as it simultaneously resists the seduction of both positions and increasingly fosters the self-perception of superiority to both, reinforced by its sense of a valiant centrism.
Because, however, of the inherent logical problems of the asymptotic position, illuminated by its inability to offer refutations of the holistic position, it tends to result in an incoherent, non-positional limbo in between the two positions it is resisting. This limbo, in turn, feeds off of the prevailing PC MC climate, insofar as the pragmatic realization of the logical conclusion of holistic analysis that exerts itself as a vector within the asymptotic position is continually and massively frustrated by various concrete as well as more amorphous factors in our Western societies—reinforcing in the mind of the asymptotic individual simultaneously his superior sense of realism (against the holistic position) and his superior sense of conscientiousness (against the prevailing PC MC position).
On April 16, 2009, I very belatedly got around to excizing a passage in which I had confused the anti-Islam analyst Bill Warner with his namesake, some cranky private eye from Florida who is not only not asymptotic, he seems to be even beyond PC MC—positively Leftist in orientation.