Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The problem: the problem of the problem, the problem of the problem of the problem—and the problem of the problem of the problem of the problem.







Introduction: The are four problems concerning Islam: the primary problem, the secondary problem, the tertiary problem, and the quaternary problem.
 

I. The problem:

The primary problem, of course, is the problem of Islam itself.

This problem, in a nutshell, is that:

1. Islam has a blueprint for world conquest.

2. In the pursuit of this objective of world conquest, Islam possesses and deploys unique degrees and qualities of fanaticism involving a tightly woven complex of: religious literalism, slavish devotion, totalitarian psychology, militant resolve, ultra-violence, criminal and anarchist behavior, supremacism, intolerance of others, rejection of indefinite compromise with alternative belief-systems, unlimited territorial expansionism, paranoia about enemies, and eschatological fervor.

3. Innumerable Muslims around the world are following the blueprint of #1 and the complex of #2 in various waysranging from passive enablement, to indirect support, to direct support, to propaganda including deceit, to various forms of violence and threats of violencein a current bout of global Islamic revival representing the latest phase in a long history of waxing and waning of Islamic revivals.

4. Since we cannot sufficiently distinguish those Muslims who might be harmless and not engaging in #1-3 from those who are in fact engaging in #1-3, we are rationally forced to assume that all Muslims are engaging in #1-3and this ratchets up the problem to the formidable dimensions of a global movement comprising over one billion people.

II. The problem of the problem:

The secondary problem is termed PC MC (politically correct multi-culturalism): it is the widespread inability, throughout most of the world, to recognize the primary problem, to analyze it rationally, and to begin to take appropriate actions accordingly.

The features of this secondary problem in a nutshell:

1. It is mainstream and dominant, affecting the hearts and minds of the majority of individuals on all social levels and on all points of the political spectrum.

2. It is the result of a sea change in public consciousness that has a long pre-history, but has manifested mainstream dominance for approximately the last 60 years, increasing in its influence as each decade approaches our present, and showing few signs of reversal.

3. It is predominantly a Western phenomenon, and has become a world phenomenon to the extent that the West has come to rule the world socio-politico-culturally.

4. It is centrally based on a twin axiom:

a) an irrationally excessive denigration of the white West

b) an irrationally excessive elevation of the non-white non-West.

5. The twin axiom of #4 takes many interlocking forms, has a complex historical and ideological derivation, and manifests itself in varying degrees: the principal mutation of this axiom for our purposes here is that it has resulted in this secondary problem as formulated above in the main definition of II: it tends to protect Islam from substantive criticism and furthermore deflects and projects all substantive criticism of Islam onto the West in one way or another. Thus, the secondary problem is problematic in that it tends to deny the primary problem, and in addition, in that it tends to penalize (if not demonize) in one way or another those who try to call attention to both problems.

III. The problem of the problem of the problem:

The tertiary problem is that most of those who belong to the still inchoate Anti-Islam Movement

a) continue to misapprehend the proper nature and dimensions of the secondary problem
,

and

b) to some extent also continue to misapprehend the full magnitude of the primary problem
.

In terms of (a), this tertiary problem manifests the following features:

1. It tends to think the secondary problem is mostly a liberal or Leftist problem, and thus tends to be myopic to its entrenchment among the vast majority of those on the Right, as well as those who inhabit various points along the Centrist spectrum.

2. Closely related to #1, though not always reducible to liberals or Leftists, it tends to limit the secondary problem to the dastardly (and strangely effective) work of a more or less loosely organized cabal of Elites.

3. And closely related to both #1 and #2 in turn, but more broadly sweeping, it tends to lend itself to conspiracy-theory explanations to explain the secondary problem, proferring Macchiavellian explanations for why the West is so massively ignoring the problem of Islam and even tending to defend Islam. This #3 feature is basically a more sophisticated attempt at coherently explaining what #1 and #2 only loosely attempt. Since the overall analysis characteristic of this tertiary problem contains an explanatory vacuum which is myopic to the nature and dimensions of PC MC as an explanation, that vacuum must be filled by something.

In response to this vacuum, the #3 feature tends to claim (as all conspiracy-theories do) a quasi-Gnostic key to the true reality supposedly hidden beneath the ostensible reality of a sociopolitical recalcitrance whose broad-based nature is not amenable to the dastardly cabal theory of causationa true reality ever elusive to proof, of course, since the requirements for proof itself, according to the conspiracy-theorist, are being actively and cleverly frustrated by the cabal du jour which, ipso facto, has the power to do so. The very lack of evidence becomes, in the warped logic of the conspiracy-theorist, evidence of the conspiracy!

While it would be safe to say that probably only a minority of those beholden to the tertiary problem subscribe to the conspiracy-theory mentality of #3, the majority do seem to be easily susceptible to the conspiracy-theory Lite types of thinking characterized by #1 and #2which basically means that they sacrifice the increased coherency (and therefore lunacy) of #3 for an increased incoherency that, while appreciably less fanatical and less impervious to new data, nevertheless tends to solidify certain blind spots to the proper analysis of the secondary problem.

One result of tertiary thinking is a tendency to over-estimate the numbers of ordinary folks who are supposedly waking up to the primary problem. The flip side of this is the tendency to over-estimate the power and influence of the cabal du jour who must perforce function as though the West is really a crypto-dictatorship with only a facade of democracy. These two results set up a false, and potentially dangerous, tension between the People and the Elites, whereby an exaggerated alienation of the former to extant sociopolitical structures is fostered, which the latter must, logically, controlin turn redirecting the pressure for sociopolitical and moral expression into more radical and revolutionary outlets. This alienated view tends to be myopic to the sociopolitico-cultural and institutional porousness between the two categories of the People and the Elites where in fact there is, in Western democracies most of all, a broad and finely gradational spectrum of interpenetration between them, and this tends to rigidify an exaggerated barrier between themwhich reflects, and in turn perpetuates, the exaggerated claim of the existence of a broad-based anti-Islamic consciousness among ordinary folks.In terms of (b), this tertiary problem manifests the following features:

1. It tends to recoil from the rational position that logically flows from holistic analysisnamely, that, because we cannot sufficiently distinguish harmless Muslims from dangerous Muslims, and because of certain unique features of the threat which Islam poses to us, we must therefore treat all Muslims under equal suspicion as enemies. The (b) form of the tertiary problem shies away from the rational position of holistic analysis by taking refuge in a rather labile, because incoherent, area of non-position between the PC MC position and the holistic position. On the low end of this area, individuals in the Anti-Islam Movement may tend to dip down into and partake of PC MC without often realizing it. At the high end, their refusal to go all the way to the logical conclusion of the holistic analysis paradoxically results in an acute exacerbation of their illogical incoherence of persisting in maintaining statements and implicit (if not sometimes explicit) positions that simultaneously support and controvert the holistic logical conclusion. An example of the former is Daniel Pipes; while an example of the latter is Robert Spencer (and Spencers continuing support of Pipes only tends to demonstrate the increased pressure of torque of his gymnastic non-positioning).
2. It tends also to indulge in somewhat subsidiary canards, such as:

a) insisting that Islam is not a religionas though the category of religion necessarily exempts a sociocultural movement from being dangerous and evil (and also ignoring the enormous roadblock obstructing such a major reversal of centuries of categorization of Islam by the West and others): the obsession with purity and eschatology which are central motivators of Islamic psychology become incomprehensible factors when the religious aspect of Islam are so cavalierly swept away in the name of a cynical reductionism;

b) perpetuating the Myth of the Moderate Persian Majority who must be on our side because they dont like the 1979 Revolution and subsequent regime in Iran;

c) disconnecting the intimate and necessary link between stealth jihad and violent jihad, thus botching the symbiosis between the twowhich disconnection ironically is one tactic of stealth jihad itself;

d) parroting the Islam is not a race mantra which ignores the massive fact of Islams demographic complexion which, in turn, facilitates the charge of racism whenever Muslims are targeted for criticism or defensive policies, since most of the time, by sheer statistical averages because of that demographic complexion, the Muslims involved will be non-white and non-Western;

e) over-estimating our short-term success against Islamic violence, while simultaneously under-estimating our long-term success against both stealth jihad and violent jihad.

This last point is based on some of the features we noted above in (a)3 and (b)1notably the exaggeration of the numbers of ordinary folks who are sufficiently awake to the primary problem (with some local nationalistic pride thrown in, particularly from Americansif those Muzzies try that here in Texas, theyll be in for a rude surprise, etc.); coupled with an apparently contradictory exaggeration of the expansionist capabilities of Muslims combined with a dismal lack of faith in the health of the West in its capability of eventually waking up and turning around its currently entrenched PC irrationality. (This particular paradox would be resolved, of course, by a revolution of the ordinary folks who, through a violent civil war, overthrow the governments controlled by the aforementioned “Elites”.) The more realistic scenario is one that reverses this curious paradox of short-term optimism with long-term pessimism: rather, we should be steeling ourselves for the likelihood of horrific casualties incurred in losses of life and damage to infrastructure in the near future (the coming few decades); while at the same time, looking ahead to the eventual victory of the West, light years ahead of Islam on all levels, as Muslims increasingly attempt to interpenetrate the Westthus ultimately over-ambitiously forcing the rubber to meet the road.

IV. The problem of the problem of the problem of the problem:

The quaternary problem is the evidentiary difficulty of marshalling sufficiently smoking gunevidence for demonstrating the cogency and urgency of the primary problem.

This quaternary problem is largely independent of the secondary and tertiary problems, though it does become complicated by the secondary problem most often. While the secondary problem represents a massive impediment to the persuasive education of the majority around us, the traction for this impedimentthe PC MC paradigmis to an important extent enabled by the evidentiary problems we in the Anti-Islam Movement have. For the most part, these evidentiary problems partake of the nature of the phenomenon, Islam.

The features of this quaternary problem:

1) A lack of sufficient evidence to demonstrate the transition from some Muslims are dangerous to too many Muslims are dangerouswhere too many would persuasively warrant policies of self-defense that treat Muslims collectively, such that the moral objections to collateral damage (whereby an indeterminate number of harmless, innocent Muslims would be of necessity included in the self-defense actions of those policies) no longer constitute a counter-argument to those policies. This deficiency, however, is subject to some degree of relativism and subjective perception, since the deficiency pertains to the realm of data; and thus is amenable to moving the project of persuasion up to the level of interpretations of data. Needless to say, this area of interpretations of data is susceptible to subjective perception, and here the mainstream dominance of PC MC presents an enormous force resisting the transition from some Muslims are dangerous to too many Muslims are dangerous. The point here is that were there sufficient evidence to demonstrate the transitionwhere sufficient, of course, means beyond the factors of relativism and subjective perception, then the ability for PC MC to exert this resistance would be significantly impaired, and the balance would have been tipped much more quickly than we have seen to date toward the West recovering its essential rationality with regard to the primary problem.

2) Closely related to #1, a lack of sufficient evidence to demonstrate the link between

a) textual/historical evidence of the primary problem

and

b) fanatical belief in, and support of, what is contained in the textual/historical evidence, on a sufficiently widespread basis among Muslims worldwide.

3) Closely related to #2 are the complex difficulties in even establishing 2ai.e., the textual/historical evidence of the primary problemin the first place. It is by no means impossible to establish many facets of the primary problem from the textual/historical evidence, but on the other hand, it is usually not a simplex matter of presenting facts to which anybody and everybody will immediately assent: rather, there exist complexities sufficient to allow wiggle room and fudge factors for sophists to exploitwhich exploitation gains more traction, the more that PC MC affects the person who is the object of persuasion.

This quartenary problem needs to be ameliorated by the production of an Anti-Islam Manual, which would address and refute all the relevant defenses used
in pro-Islam apologetics both by Muslims, and by their useful idiots the politically correct multi-culturalists. While most of the refutations in even the best Manual possible would never be able to contain simplex facts to which most everyone would immediately assent by their sheer presentation, it would still be of utmost and urgent value to the ongoing Anti-Islam Movement to have in one reference, simply yet comprehensively articulated, a compendium of all the necessary responses to pro-Islam apologetics which currently form the formidable bulwark of the propaganda war which Muslims, with the help of PC MC, are winning. Unfortunately, virtually nobody in the Anti-Islam Movement seems to have even noticed this urgency, much less seems to care to do anything about it.

Conclusion:

1. The primary problem of Islam is complicated by three further problems:

2. the secondary problem of politically correct multi-culturalism which obstructs rational management of the problem of Islam;

3. the tertiary problem of asymptotic myopia within the Anti-Islam Movement which tends to impede a productive assessment of the problem of politically correct multi-culturalism and also tends to undermine the reasonably ruthless orientation we need to cultivate in the face of the problem of Islam; and

4. the quaternary
problem of the inherent limitations that pertain to the evidentiary pedagogy by which we are trying to remedy the secondary and tertiary problems so that we can optimize our ability to solve the primary problem.

12 comments:

Nobody said...

Having discussed the first 3 previously, I'll focus on the 4th - my main object of interest. I agree that declaring 1 billion Mohammedans as the enemy, while easy to do with the evidence alone, is more daunting when we realize that there aren't 1 billion anti-Mohammedans across the planet. Not yet anyway.

Erich: 1) A lack of sufficient evidence to demonstrate the transition from “some Muslims are dangerous” to “too many Muslims are dangerous”—where “too many” would persuasively warrant policies of self-defense that treat Muslims collectively, such that the moral objections to collateral damage (whereby an indeterminate number of harmless, innocent Muslims would be of necessity included in the self-defense actions of those policies) no longer constitute a counter-argument to those policies.

The best way to demonstrate that is to show the profile across the Islamic empire from Algeria to Philippines: wherever there are Muslims and an Infidel group, frictions occur, and since this is common across Islamic countries, it's harder to (w/o PCMC objections) ascribe them to non-Islamic reasons, such as cultural (FGM is not Islamic, but restricted to Africa, that type!) or other non-Islamic reasons. Overlay that with trends in Western countries of Mohammedans behaving badly - an easier exercise now with all those Neo-Nazi toned demonstrations throughout the West, and that connection becomes easier.

If it was just a few, like the usual tactics of invoking the LRA in Uganda, then such trends would be geographically restricted, rather than ummah-wide. Of course, if one is infested with PCMC, then one would be less able to recognize this reality.

Erich: 2) Closely related to #1, a lack of sufficient evidence to demonstrate the link between

a) textual/historical evidence of the primary problem

and

b) fanatical belief in, and support of, what is contained in the textual/historical evidence, on a sufficiently widespread basis among Muslims worldwide.

Easy! Where's the problem? Pull out any random surah in 'Qur'an Blog' and one will get that evidence. Historical citations of the Jihadi claims - from Caliph Umar II to Tamerlane to Osama - easily establish this fact. This is a separate from the problem of removing blinders of those blinded by PCMC.

Erich: 3) Closely related to #2 are the complex difficulties in even establishing 2a—i.e., the textual/historical evidence of the primary problem—in the first place. It is by no means impossible to establish many facets of the primary problem from the textual/historical evidence, but on the other hand, it is usually not a simplex matter of presenting facts to which anybody and everybody will immediately assent: rather, there exist complexities sufficient to allow wiggle room and fudge factors for sophists to exploit—which exploitation gains more traction, the more that PC MC affects the person who is the object of persuasion.

It depends on which parts of the texts are cited, and who is on the defensive. If 2:256 is under discussion, it would be difficult for someone on our side to argue against the idea about it being a good verse. The refutation against that is that while Islam itself is not to be forced down people's throats (although that too had and has happened), Islamic law is to be implemented worldwide. Of course, this is an argument tangential to the verse in question itself, although very relevant to the Islam problem at large.

However, if what's under discussion is something like 4:3 (4 wives), 4:34 (wife beating), 8:39 (Islamic supremacy) or 47:4 (beheading), simply citing the verses would usually be enough: when a Mohammedan apologist twists and turns trying to defend it, an audience would be more incredulous about their efforts than that of the critic. For the critic, arguing this would be a downhill battle, and the only resistance he'd meet would be the PCMC crowd.

An AIM manual, like the one we've kicked to death, would more often then not be unable to provide crisp responses, particularly to the 'good sounding' taquiyya of the Mohammedans. In most public debates, one would still not have the time to deliver them, while in most private conversations and arguments, people usually don't get to monopolize the conversation the way Hugh can post huge essays @ JW.

I think the main goal of #4 should be to arm the more prominent anti-Mohammedans worldwide - whether it's Kahane in Israel, Serb militias in Serbia, Abhinav Bharat in India, or any other such overtly anti-Islamic groups with arguments as to why they are right. Currently, they may be merely Islamophobic, but they need to be brought to the levels of a Hugh, a Raymond, an Ali Sina or even you, so that they can use the platform that they usually get with the media to make the points people in the West like Spencer either don't get the chance to, or don't get in the first place. The added advantage to this is that such people, armed with such arguments, are magically transformed from Islamophobic to Holistic activists.

In the end, I think that the PCMC problem can only be overcome when the primary targets of Mohammedans are no longer just Jews, Christians, Hindus, women, but change to gays, atheists, Leftists (this alliance, like Ribbentrop-Molotov won't last, and like in WWII, it'll be the Mohammedans who will break this alliance, not the Leftists. And like the Soviets did in all their propaganda about the 'Great Patriotic War', the Leftists will then be the ones to claim credit for fighting Islam, when it finally fights them!) In other words, we have to accept that millions of Infidels - PCMC and clear-headed Infidels - will have to die before Islam is wiped out.

Erich said...

Nobody,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

"I agree that declaring 1 billion Mohammedans as the enemy, while easy to do with the evidence alone..."

Well, only "easy" to us who "get it". My point is that it's not easy when directed outward to the PC MC audience.

"The best way to demonstrate that is to show the profile across the Islamic empire from Algeria to Philippines...Overlay that with trends in Western countries of Mohammedans behaving badly - an easier exercise now with all those Neo-Nazi toned demonstrations throughout the West, and that connection becomes easier."

Sure, there are plenty of things to show to persuade people of our interpretation: but we should not confuse the level of interpretation -- which depends upon a web of data but not necessarily on all threads being sufficiently dot-connected (where every dot is a datum) -- with the level of sheer data, where persuasion becomes more or less immediate (and "easy"). With such massive and complex and amorphous phenomena such as the two you cite (Islam's "bloody borders" around the world, and the behavior of Muslims in the West), we simply do not have a solid block of sheer data: we have a field that has many holes of absence of dot-connection. Example, take the second one: the behavior of Muslims in the West. That phenomenon is liable to at least one problem, the problem of statistics. Arguably, most Muslims in the West are not overtly doing anything wrong. We are thus, on that basis alone, forced to move to the level where we do not have sufficient dots to make the connection, and we must infer things about the Muslims who are not behaving badly, and that gets us into more complicated territory of evidence, interpretation, and persuasion. Or we can take the tack of those "low end" asymptotic analysts, who insist on focusing only on the Muslims behaving badly, and assuming in good faith that the rest are "moderates" on whom we can rely to help us with the problem of the "extremists" among them if we can appeal to their alleged "moderation". I have said all along that holistic analysis is not strictly factual, in that it does not depend upon sheer data -- for the simple reason that sheer data is not possible to support the holistic position. (It is arguable that most of the things -- or at least an important amount of things -- we believe are on that level of interpretation, where sheer data is not available. To take the position, however, that only things about which we have sheer data are things we should believe and support through actions, would be a strange and rare form of skepticism which most people pragmatically do not follow -- and probably would be unworkable in the real world anyway.)

"If it was just a few, like the usual tactics of invoking the LRA in Uganda, then such trends would be geographically restricted, rather than ummah-wide."

I agree it is more persuasive than the examples of less global movements; but still it is not persuasive enough to avoid providing PC MC with the traction it feeds on.

"Erich: 2) Closely related to #1, a lack of sufficient evidence to demonstrate the link between

a) textual/historical evidence of the primary problem

and

b) fanatical belief in, and support of, what is contained in the textual/historical evidence, on a sufficiently widespread basis among Muslims worldwide.

"Nobody: Easy! Where's the problem? Pull out any random surah in 'Qur'an Blog' and one will get that evidence."

I disagree. The "easy" you derive does not seem to have accounted for
the specific difficulty articulated in my (b) quoted above -- to wit: "on a sufficiently widespread basis among Muslims worldwide". Your response moved seamlessly and effortlessly from the level of data (the Koran) to the level of interpretation (that a sufficient number of Muslims worldwide subscribe sufficiently dangerously to those dangerous data in the Koran). While it is easier (I still wouldn't say "easy") to simply point out the dangerous passages in the Koran, it becomes difficult to damn a sufficient number of Muslims worldwide with a connection to those dangerous passages such that we the West become persuaded to treat Muslims collectively through policies aimed at inhibiting/prohibiting Muslims.

"Historical citations of the Jihadi claims - from Caliph Umar II to Tamerlane to Osama - easily establish this fact."

They only establish that certain Muslims historically supported those dangerous passages: we are still left with the problem of connecting a sufficient number of Muslims today worldwide such that the sufficiency warrants treating all Muslims collectively (or even the more modest goal -- which we remain far short of implementing -- of raising our levels of suspicion with regard to so-called "extremist" Muslims as distinguished from so-called "moderates" who are on that basis not under suspicion).

"This is a separate from the problem of removing blinders of those blinded by PCMC."

Unfortunately, I don't think so: it is part of that problem, because that difficulty I just articulated provides traction to the general PC MC paradigm when it regards the problem of Islam.

Re my "complex difficulties in even establishing 2a—i.e., the textual/historical evidence of the primary problem—in the first place", you wrote:

"It depends on which parts of the texts are cited...if what's under discussion is something like ...4:34 (wife beating)...simply citing the verses would usually be enough..."

Even this one rests on a thin shelf beneath which is a potential chasm of difficulties. Here's how a debate might go, assuming we have a nimbly clever Islamic apologist:

Critic: What about 4:34? Let me read the passage.

Apologist:

a) Translation problems; you don't know Arabic

b) The word "daraba" doesn't always mean "to beat"

c) Most commentaries and tafsirs added "lightly" to show that it did not mean a real beating, but only a symbolic show of authority, etc.

d) Even if a-b-c are granted, you can't show that Muslim men are beating their wives all over the place. What about wifebeating in the West? Etc.

My point is not that these tap-dancing maneuvers of the Apologist hold water, but that they would provide the spectacle -- before an audience even among whom are people relatively un-infected by PC MC -- of sudden complexity to the simplex claim presented by the Critic. The debate thus immediately gets complicated, and immediately is forced to move from that simplex level of sheer data (the datum of 4:34) to making that particular datum relevant to the practical point of criticizing Muslims. If, for example, "daraba" is not amenable to the "different meanings" tactic, then that considerably strengthens the initial position of the Critic: but this cannot be persuasively established to the audience by simply claiming it is so: it has to be proven with evidence: and the evidence for that is not in the Koran itself, but must be drawn from a rather complex field of sociology and theology of Islam.

[I will get to the rest of your comments later...]

Anonymous said...

Critic: What about 4:34? Let me read the passage.

Apologist:

One might also add the typical, evasive apologist answer:

"e) Islam is whatever Muslims say it is, so 4:34 only justifies wife-beating when Muslims themselves choose to interpret the surah so that it justifies their wife-beating. Since (many/most) Muslims do not beat their wives, this clearly demonstrates that Muslims do not consider wife beating to be mandated in Islam or in the surah 4:34."

To say that Islam is, or can be, whatever its adherents say it is or want it to be is the typical tactic used by the apologist to detach any problematic aspect from Islam itself and place the responsibility for its occurrence on those Muslims who include it in their practice of (their versions of) Islam. Islam is thus given an unlimited potential to evolve (subject only to the will of Muslims), and is simultaneously deprived of any definite and lasting characteristics (making any criticism of aspects of Islam criticism of the aspects as separate from Islam).

Erich said...

Anonymous,

"To say that Islam is, or can be, whatever its adherents say it is or want it to be is the typical tactic used by the apologist to detach any problematic aspect from Islam itself and place the responsibility for its occurrence on those Muslims who include it in their practice of (their versions of) Islam. Islam is thus given an unlimited potential to evolve (subject only to the will of Muslims)..."

This tactic you are referring to I think derives most of its substance from one particular tendency of PC MC -- the tendency to superimpose Western models of religious progress onto Islam. Like most of the tendencies of PC MC, this one is fundamentally incoherent, since it subsists alongside a simultaneous hyper-criticism of Western religiosity (though this incoherence can be dissolved through the logic that all progress in religion consists in a "withering away" of religion over time, and thus according to this model Islam will "wither away" or become decaffeinated at least, over time, just as Western Christianity has become weakened and supplanted sociopolitically by Western secularism -- notwithstanding that proponents of this view seem rather perpetually jittery about the supposedly constant threat of a "Christendom Redivivus" around every corner).

"... and is simultaneously deprived of any definite and lasting characteristics (making any criticism of aspects of Islam criticism of the aspects as separate from Islam)."

This is a distinct aspect of the PC MC treatment of Islam, in large part due to the uncritical swallowing whole of the idea that "Islam is not monolithic" and it's just a wonderful tapestry of variety you can't pin down, etc. One immediate problem with this is that it seems suspicious that every time something good is posited about Islam, it is accepted as appropriately "Islamic", but when something bad is posited, it is detached from Islam and imputed to other, non-Islamic, factors. This indicates a prejudicial axiom at work, of course. This is complex and has been influenced by a number of factors, I think, such as the inherent complexity of Islamic culture and religion, including its jungle of texts that have been poorly organized and codified (only a handful of Western Orientalists have had the knowledge, and most of that knowledge is locked up in their ability to read Arabic, etc., and most of the texts remain untranslated, let alone unorganized); as well as the Western attitude about the "exotic" Orient over the period of time the West was encountering the non-Western "Other" on a massive scale during Colonialism, from the 17th to the late 19th centuries most especially -- a kind of pre-PC predisposition toward fascination and even admiration mingled with attraction/repulsion almost as though regarding alien beings or strange animals: a predisposition that contributed to the PC irrationality.

Erich said...

Nobody,

Continuing my responses to your original comment:

"An AIM manual, like the one we've kicked to death, would more often then not be unable to provide crisp responses, particularly to the 'good sounding' taquiyya of the Mohammedans."

If the AIM (Anti-Islam Manual) is produced in a slap-dash manner, poorly funded and poorly supported, I agree. But if it got the full support of the entire anti-Islam movement -- if all the luminaries (Spencer, Pam Geller, Bat Ye'or, Bostom, etc.) made it their #1 priority -- then I think it could be a tool more effective than our current ill-organized tactics are in the War of Ideas. Even with full support and a trillion dollars funding, it will never be perfect nor 100% effective. But it would improve our performance and results, and how can that be a bad thing? Example: with Koran 4:34, with sufficient funding to pay for an Institute gathering together actual scholars (perhaps many grad students + ex-Muslims and Christians from the Middle East -- all overseen for scholarly accuracy and presentation), the requisite information that "daraba" means to physically beat among Muslims in widespread representation and that x number of Islamic clerics (scrupulously documented) have called for it in that interpretation, etc., could be gathered together in a couple of pages on the AIM.

Currently, there is a welter of disorganization of information and references concerning many key aspects of a criticism of Islam. The aim of the AIM would be to control that situation.

But again, it won't happen unless the Movement decides to do it -- and it probably won't decide to do it as long as the Movement itself lacks institutional organization.

"In most public debates, one would still not have the time to deliver them, while in most private conversations and arguments, people usually don't get to monopolize the conversation the way Hugh can post huge essays @ JW."

The main function of the AIM as I see it would not be as a hard-copy manual that individuals carry around with them to use in public debates or in personal encounters with people. These functions could certainly be included, but to me they would not be the primary function -- which would be as a definitive reference. It thus would have to become established as such over time. Over time, after the AIM has been published, people in the Movement would refer to it as the #1 source for all questions and debate points. It would be free and accessible on the Internet, and published in hard copy as well, making it readily available to any who claim to dispute any points that we claim are represented there. This too would not be a perfect situation, and many sophistical tap-dances would continue, as always. But I believe it would establish a much needed control that would be an improvement on the situation of confusion we have now. To take my example of 4:34 again -- once it is established that the famous AIM has definitively addressed the "daraba" aspect of the 4:34 problem (among other related but distinct problems revolving around 4:34), the burden is on critics to read the "daraba" section in the easily accessible AIM and try to refute it. Instead of having a situation of a decentralized proliferation of "experts" and "scholars" and others whose expertise and scholarship are maligned or demeaned (such as Masters-degree Spencer), the Movement would have one source to which all complaints are referred: the AIM.

"I think the main goal of #4 should be to arm the more prominent anti-Mohammedans worldwide - whether it's Kahane in Israel, Serb militias in Serbia, Abhinav Bharat in India, or any other such overtly anti-Islamic groups with arguments as to why they are right."

That's a good idea.

"Currently, they may be merely Islamophobic..." -- or sometimes incoherent and/or ignorant about Islam themselves.

"The added advantage to this is that such people, armed with such arguments, are magically transformed from Islamophobic to Holistic activists."

Well, some of them may turn out to be asymptotic. And the other problem is that holistic activists would be immediately labelled as Islamophobic, even if they have cogent and informed talking points, since those talking points have to go through the jaws of the PC MC filter.

"In other words, we have to accept that millions of Infidels - PCMC and clear-headed Infidels - will have to die before Islam is wiped out."

I tend to agree, which is what I meant by short-term pessimism, but long-term optimism.

Nobody said...

Erich: If the AIM (Anti-Islam Manual) is produced in a slap-dash manner, poorly funded and poorly supported, I agree. But if it got the full support of the entire anti-Islam movement -- if all the luminaries (Spencer, Pam Geller, Bat Ye'or, Bostom, etc.) made it their #1 priority -- then I think it could be a tool more effective than our current ill-organized tactics are in the War of Ideas. Even with full support and a trillion dollars funding, it will never be perfect nor 100% effective. But it would improve our performance and results, and how can that be a bad thing? Example: with Koran 4:34, with sufficient funding to pay for an Institute gathering together actual scholars (perhaps many grad students + ex-Muslims and Christians from the Middle East -- all overseen for scholarly accuracy and presentation), the requisite information that "daraba" means to physically beat among Muslims in widespread representation and that x number of Islamic clerics (scrupulously documented) have called for it in that interpretation, etc., could be gathered together in a couple of pages on the AIM.

Erich

The examples you are giving are there today. Like with 4:34 and daruba, there was an online FPM debate of Robert Spencer & Ali Sina vs 2 Muslim apologists, and Sina made the same point about how 'daruba' simply means 'beat' - nothing more, nothing less. The people you are referring to are there now, and their take on these issues are not accepted, simply on the grounds of PCMC. Even if they all put their heads together and came up with something, they would still have the same problems they have now:

1. Muslim spokespeople would instantaneously dismiss any citations from the AIM booklet as a product of Islamophobes - just as easily as they may dismiss books today by Spencer, Trifkovic, Ibrahim, Sina, et al

2. To the rest of the PCMC crowd, they will say - who knows more about Islam - people who practice it, or non-Muslims who simply wish to undermine it?

All the scholarly oversight will be disputed from the word go, since the way it would be defined would be concensus i.e. Muslim representatives would need to be not only included, but actually buy into the conclusions of such scholars. You know how that would work. Any work that would conclude anything unfavorable to the Islamic POV would instantly be in dispute, and would never pass muster - just like today in such colleges.

So having all the info organized neatly into a pocketbook (we've actually seen how difficult it really is, since we've tried it) would make no difference, since it would still be necessarily produced by people whose reputations have been impugned by Mohammedans and their willing accomplices in the West. And there is no way one could get neutral observers to produce anything similar, and even if there were, they'd instantly be subject to the same dismissal that Spencer, Ibrahim, Sina, et al are faced with today.

Note that all this assumes that the target customers of this are those firmly ensconsed in the AIM camp. Sure, it'd be useful, but when it comes to presenting its contents to the unconverted, it would instantly face the hurdles I mentioned above.

Erich said...

Nobody,

I appreciate your response, and at first you almost sold me on your counter-argument. But there are a couple of things I think you are missing:

"The examples you are giving are there today."

I didn't say the examples are not there already. The problem is how they are there. They exist in a confusion of multiple venues, multiple voices. You have to think of the people who don't know as much as you do, foraging through the complexity of this discussion that is spread out and disorganized into a thousand voices on the web. They don't have the ability to precision their search like you or I do.

Again, the AIM would help with this situation of proliferation and confusion of sources and "authorities".

"Like with 4:34 and daruba, there was an online FPM debate of Robert Spencer & Ali Sina vs 2 Muslim apologists, and Sina made the same point about how 'daruba' simply means 'beat' - nothing more, nothing less."

Sina is just one voice out there among thousands. Only a small number of people "in the know" know enough to credit Sina with the authority to rise above many of the others. Otherwise, he tends to dissipate into the general chaos of too much information.

"The people you are referring to are there now, and their take on these issues are not accepted, simply on the grounds of PCMC."

Other than my counter-argument based on reducing the proliferative chaos, I'm not so much arguing from the pragmatic position that I think with an AIM suddenly the PC MC people will stop behaving irrationally. The point is, with all our arguments restricted to one source, one authority, it will be easier to have the ongoing debate. It takes time to chip away at a social paradigm like PC MC. It is only working against us to continue to foster this state of disorganization we are in now. Over time, the PC MC people will come to focus all their energies on that dastardly "Anti-Islam Manual" -- which in the short term will seem to be business as usual and the same old frustrations etc.; but in the long term will help to hone down the debate, centralize it, focus it, and over time make it harder for apologists to dance.

Your other points of dispute are also relevant to this:

"1. Muslim spokespeople would instantaneously dismiss any citations from the AIM booklet as a product of Islamophobes - just as easily as they may dismiss books today by Spencer, Trifkovic, Ibrahim, Sina, et al"

Yes they would, but over time, the irritant of one single authority would begin to annoy them, and it would also serve to simplify the ongoing state of debates and discussions. Sure, they would demonize us like they are now, and this would continue to go on long after the AIM was established: but over time, the contours of the debate would become clarified as a spectacle for everyone outside the dispute (even if many of them are infected with PC MC, they don't get involved with the discussions). It would be only a good thing for such a clarification of the lines in the sand to happen -- as long, that is, if the AIM were well done.

"All the scholarly oversight will be disputed from the word go, since the way it would be defined would be concensus i.e. Muslim representatives would need to be not only included, but actually buy into the conclusions of such scholars. You know how that would work. Any work that would conclude anything unfavorable to the Islamic POV would instantly be in dispute, and would never pass muster - just like today in such colleges."

I'm not saying it would be perfect. Again, the main advantage is having a single source, rather than a confusing welter as we have now. In fact, it would be predictable that if a high-quality AIM were produced and became well known, the Apologist and PC MC forces would increase their attacks and obfuscatory propaganda -- on the principle that they sense a more dangerous threat to them. So I'm not saying everything would become copacetic soon after the AIM is produced.

"(we've actually seen how difficult it really is, since we've tried it) "

We tried it without funding and backing from the "luminaries" of the anti-Islam movement. That makes a difference.

Anonymous said...

Another issue is whether potential authors of the AIM manual would themselves be inhibited by some degree of (conscious or subconscious) commitment to PC MC thought or asymptotic analysis. An AIM manual written from an asymptotic or PC MC perspective would not be of much use for our purposes, so what ought to be done to avoid such an outcome?

Nobody said...

Erich

I get your points now.

Anonymous

The first stab at such a booklet was done I think 2 years ago by Kab bin Ashraf (who sometimes posts here), Erich, me and one more person, and nothing much materialized. None of us were asymptotic in our approach - every debate topic centered on vanilla islam and vanilla muslims, and i even did a topic refuting the apologist line 'The problem is Islamo-Fascism, not Islam', and did a refutation of another apologist line 'I have friends who are Muslims'. Unfortunately, the site where we had hosted it has since folded due to re-architecting their forum (it was on islam-watch), and none of us had the time nor resources to work on it anyway.

One way to avoid an asymptotic approach might be to have such a work done by a no-name from the Holistic camp, but backed by luminaries in the anti-Islam movement.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the site where we had hosted it has since folded due to re-architecting their forum (it was on islam-watch) [...]

Just a tip, if the already written material has disappeared due to the re-architecting of their forum, there's a slight chance it would be possible to recover it using The Wayback Machine, which makes it possible to visit archived versions of websites from years gone by. It is somewhat incomplete, though, and doesn't seem to deal too well with images and dynamically generated pages (ie. the pages whose URLs include a question mark followed by some kind of article ID, topic ID or similar), and posts in discussion forums usually are dynamic pages. It might still be worth a shot, though. Click here to see the listings for http://www.islam-watch.org/, which I presume is the site in question.

One way to avoid an asymptotic approach might be to have such a work done by a no-name from the Holistic camp, but backed by luminaries in the anti-Islam movement.

Maybe, what I fear is that the compromises necessary to receive the desired backing would involve taking a more asymptotic approach, or there would not be any significant backing at all, especially if one expected that people like Spencer, Pipes et al would be involved.

Erich said...

Anonymous & Nobody,

To be fair, it was Nobody and the other two who did most of the heavy lifting on that project of the AIM, while I never even finished my one article for it (due to problems of complexity in the subject matter that arose which, to me, required far more time to work out in an accurate way than I was able to devote).

The problem of whether asymptotic analysts would dominate the project if it had backing is a big problem, but I think in some respects it can be circumvented -- depending to a large extent on the particular point presented in the AIM.

For example:

The wife-beating verse 4:34.

The holistic position is that we must assume that all Muslims support this verse, and so the Muslims who are not actually beating their wives are nevertheless enabling the practice either implicitly or explicitly (the latter out of Infidel earshot) -- and this includes Muslim women as Stockholm syndrome enablers.

The asymptotic position is that there are innumerable Muslims who do not support that verse, and/or would not support it if confronted by competing value systems, and if they had the chance (i.e., the saving grace of Western protection) they would be "moderate" about 4:34 and reject it at least in de facto terms, even if they might not be able to psychologically/culturally repudiate it in de jure terms.

However, the aim of the AIM with regard to the one point 4:34 would be:

1) Lay out the facts about how it means what it says (viz., physical beating) in the Koran (part of which is the dispute over the meaning of "daraba", which involves linguistic-cultural issues outside the purview of the Koran itself).

2) Lay out the facts about how it means physical beating in the tafsirs and hadiths (i.e., the Sunna -- plus equivalent texts in the Shia traditions).

(A necessary sub-topic for both 1 and 2 would be the "lightly" euphemism.)

I don't think there would be much concern that "low-end" asymptotics will dominate the AIM such that the backers and the consensus behind the AIM would be on the wrong side, re: 1 and 2. So far so good.

3) Next, the AIM would lay out present-day evidence of clerics, scholars, and lay Muslims whose expressions show that they support 4:34 in terms of physical beating. This by itself, of course, does not vitiate the asymptotic view, since all the Muslims we could document who support 4:34 in terms of physical beating would still be a minuscule number compared to the total population of Muslims worldwide. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be persuasive, particularly when it is found among high-ranking clerics; clerics previously deemed "moderate"; and otherwise spread out around the world.

(Also, to the extent that #1 and 2 are persuasive, we can add the strong suggestion that Muslims who persist in denying the physical beating meaning of "daraba" might be practicing deception.)

4) Then AIM would lay out statistics on domestic abuse in the Muslim world and among Muslims in the West.

5) Then AIM would show persuasive indications to link #1-4 to other women-related abuses (honor killings, FGM, abuse of women's rights, etc.).

We can see that even with #3-5, we still needn't worry about the domination of at least "high-end" asymptotics in the AIM.

With this point (of 4:34), since there is no evidence to prove the holistic position anyway, it becomes moot. The holistic position becomes a rational suggestion in between the lines, as it were.

Many other points of the AIM would function similarly.

The one point that most directly addresses the holistic/asymptotic dispute would be the topic of the Islamic culture of deception. I think many asymptotics would not object to simply including a concisely worded statement in the AIM to the effect of my nutshell definition -- Because of the Islamic culture of deception and because of the unique nature of the dangers we face from Muslims, we cannot sufficiently tell the difference between harmless Muslims and dangerous Muslims, and therefore we must treat all Muslims with equal suspicion as dangerous -- even if only as one "alternative" viewpoint by "some members of AIM".

Other AIM points that touch on it were mentioned by Nobody above, the "I have nice Muslim friends" canard, etc. Again, I think

1) most of the substance of the presentation does not require holistic conclusions

and

2) when those holistic conclusion intrude logically on the presentation, the asymptotics would probably agree on presenting them as "alternative" viewpoints. I, as a holistic, would not object to this arrangement in pragmatic terms (even if it doesn't match my full druthers).

P.S.: I've been using the acronym "AIM" to denote "Anti-Islam Manual" -- whereas I think you two think of it as denoting "Anti-Islam Movement". I'm only doing it for brevity's sake, and I think I agree the "M" should be for "Movement" (thus, "the AIM manual" is more accurate).

Anonymous said...

You posted a comment related to this at GoV; for some reason comments in that thread closed thereafter, but I'd like to add my input so here goes.

I do not see the layers of the problems of the problems you see, because I refuse to see them. I chose the Oriental handle -- I believe you complained about it spomewhere -- for a reason. The reason is that though I am European by birth and American by schooling and allegiance, I look at the world, and at myself, through a prism I acquired through the practice of various Zen-related disciplines.

Looking at the whole Islam thing through that prism, the problem beomes simple and does not require all the levels of differentiation you make. Namely, a people, any people, has the right to dwell undisturbed, un-invaded, un-population-replaced, on the land that its ancestors have bequeathed. There would be no room among us for Muslims even if they did not have their conquest-and-subjugatin idea. This requires no explanation, no justification, no apologies: it's a natural right, conferred by God. For that reason, among others, I treat Islam within the general category of Third World immigration. We don't need it, we don't want it, and that's the end of that story.

But there is the other problem, and it's a lethal one. We have no say in the management of our own countries. Therefore, what we want, what we need, what belongs to us by divine and earthly right -- all that doesn't count. And that is a terminal problem. However, its analysis, its remedies etc. also have little to do with Islam.

The solutions are between us and the ruling oligarchy. Once that is solved, Islam, Muslims cease to be a problem, just as they had not been between 1715 and 1975. So the discussion of all that is not the beating around the bush you seem to imply it is, but rather the very core of the matter.
Takuan Seiyo