Monday, December 29, 2008
A “Frontpage Watch” and the still rudderless ship of the Anti-Islam Movement
As I have suggested before (here, here, and here), the intellectual form of the Anti-Islam Movement is still inchoate, and therefore all the boundaries that would demarcate which positions speak for it, and which do not, are not yet sufficiently clear.
The main reason for this are the continuing disagreements within what would be the Anti-Islam Movement. A closely related cause is what I have termed the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” among many of its members who, in the interest of supporting certain “leaders” (i.e., those in the Anti-Islam Movement who have markedly more influence and fame) and, for fear of undercutting the influence of those “leaders”, make a point of glossing over, if not entirely avoiding, important problems of position manifested by those “leaders”. This “Gentlemen’s Agreement” only tends to forestall the day of decision when we must formulate precisely what it is we stand for—and that will inevitably involve the tough choice of excluding certain positions and certain members.
As it is, the Anti-Islam Movement resembles more a motley crew whose number is not known because no efforts have been made to organize it, all crammed aboard a ship not knowing exactly where this ship is going, not knowing who on board has exactly what duties, many crowded on the decks talking at the same time (while an indeterminate number are not visible, passively huddled below deck wishing they could contribute somehow), with some of the groups among the visible ones rallying around this leader, some around that leader—all with no coherent overall direction evident, and with no apparent efforts to change this disorganized situation.
While of course I would probably like it if the ship of the Anti-Islam Movement all came together as the H.M.S. Hesperado under the positions I have articulated, I possess the minimal rationality to know this is highly unlikely, and that compromise is inevitable. At the other end of the spectrum, however, an environment for compromise degenerates into the unorganized incoherence that characterizes the Anti-Islam Movement currently. Many who partake of the turmoil on board rather perpetuate the chaos out of a more or less unspoken fear that forcing more coherence will result in fractures and dissensions, and so will jeopardize unity. Thereby such members tend to sacrifice coherence and the increased effectiveness that coherence will yield, for a “unity” that encompasses not much more than the still rather rudderless, undisciplined and uncaptained ship described above, many of them looking up to the informally designated Captain Spencer who himself has not with sufficient clarity and coherence shown us where he wants the ship to go, though he is doing an admirable job pointing out the Islamic sea monsters pullulating in the ocean all around us, along with the other ships heedless of them due to the beguiling siren-call of PC MC.
In the interest of inspiring more coherence to the intellectual position of the Anti-Islam Movement, critics and analysts from within it arise, as part of an incremental process of formation (if it would not be too premature to speak of reformation). One type of analytical criticism in the Blogosphere is the “Watch” modality. There are roughly two types of this modality which, for purposes of simplification, may be termed constructive criticism, and destructive criticism. My now retired blog, Jihad Watch Watch (136 essays spanning one year from May of 2007 to May of 2008), was conceived and executed as the former. A suggested “Frontpage Watch” (at which I may or may not take a stab in the near future) is shaping up to take on, unfortunately, the agenda of the latter.
Case in point: On its regular feature, “Discover The Networks”—which, as the title implies, discovers the networks mostly of radical Leftism (and only infrequently of pro-Islamism) among various individuals and institutions—we find on Frontpage today an exposé of the famous British playwright, Harold Pinter. After describing numerous positions and affiliations of Pinter that should cause concern, such as his activist support of various Latin American dictators (Noriega and Castro among them), as well as his Chomskyite anti-Americanism, this Frontpage feature goes on to note, without skipping a beat, yet another apparent nail in the coffin of Pinter’s reputation:
Still another dictator who enjoyed Pinter's favor was the late Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia. Even as Pinter voiced his support for “international justice,” he stated his confidence that the arrest of Milosevic "by the international criminal tribunal is unconstitutional, and goes against Yugoslav and international law. They have no right to try him." In Pinter's estimation, Milosevic was wholly blameless for the violence that tore apart the Balkans during the 1990s. As for the ethnic cleansing campaigns carried out by Serbian paramilitaries, they were, in Pinter's rendition, ordered by errant subordinates. To publicize this dubious defense of the deposed dictator, Pinter teamed up with a disparate coalition of radical leftists and Serbian sympathizers known as the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic.
The proposal here, rendered explicit in response to this one example approved by Frontpage, is that any individual or organization who happens to be within the inchoate embrace currently of the Anti-Islam Movement who espouses the implied position above—that it was, and is, wrong to support Milosevic and the Serbian resistance to the Bosnian Jihad—should be formally expelled from the Anti-Islam Movement.
Another cause for concern at Frontpage has been noted and analyzed in my previous essay—namely, its penchant for succumbing to the PC MC “undertow” below asymptotic analysis in its irrational and reckless hope for a sufficient groundswell of reform among Muslims to help save us from the horrific problem of Islamic revival.
Other lines in the sand (such as, for example, support for Vlaams Belang and Filip Dewinter) can and must be drawn in the years ahead (if not sooner), if we are to form an actual Movement and transform that Movement into an Organization that has greater influence and effects in the real world.
To read part 3, click here.