Monday, February 23, 2009
Neither Left nor Right, but Ambidextrous
While Leftism is certainly a major problem with regard to the problem of Islam and the danger that poses to the West, it does not explain why so many people throughout the West who are Centrist in various degrees, and who are on the Right, also refuse to condemn Islam.
Thus, a new term is needed to explain the West's suicidal irrationality in the face of the global revival of Islam: PC MC (Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism).
PC MC is sort of a "Leftism Lite" -- it is Leftism with cream and sugar to make it palatable to Centrists and Conservatives.
But even that analogy fails to convey what has happened sociopolitico-culturally throughout the West in the past 60-odd years: there has been a sea change in Western consciousness over that time, whereby certain feelings and certain axioms derived from Leftism have seeped into the hearts and minds of millions of people who are otherwise non-Leftist.
Among those feelings and axioms, the most important is what I call the "double axiom", functioning like two sides of the same coin:
1) an irrationally excessive self-criticism of the West by Westerners
2) an irrationally excessive free pass given to non-Western peoples and cultures.
#1, for example, manifests itself in the fact that the majority of Westerners today would agree that Western Colonialism was bad, a "shameful chapter" in history. Obviously, millions among this majority are not Leftists. Another example of #1 would be the fact that the majority of Westerners (Americans among them) would regard the internment of Japanese during WW2 to have been wrong and again, a "shameful chapter" in history. Both of these sentiments, of course, are irrational.
#2 manifests itself in an irrationally swung pendulum away from racism. Racism is indeed wrong and unethical, but when a society in order to try to rectify racism swings too far in the opposite direction, that too results in wrong thinking, perverse attitudes, and often disastrous policies. This has indeed happened over the past 60-odd years throughout the West.
This double axiom directly impacts the problem of Islam, because most Muslims are non-white and non-Western: therefore, we must "respect" them and their culture, and we must avoid our evil white Western inclination toward xenophobia and racism against them -- which translates into avoiding criticizing Islam and Muslims too much. Anything bad or dangerous that we notice emanating from the Islamic orbit must be processed and filtered through the PC MC paradigm, in order to avoid "tarring all Muslims" with the same brush, and thus in order to avoid expanding the problem of a "tiny minority of extremists" into a condemnation of all Muslims.
The PC MC paradigm has been working like a finely tuned, well-oiled machine -- and perversely it becomes more efficient the more that Muslims do outrageous atrocities and say outrageously intolerant things. Its main function is to prevent the criticism of a few Muslims from expanding into the condemnation of all Muslims -- and the threshhold for detecting this propensity is set irrationally and hypersensitively low. In the pursuit of this function, it will effectively continue to deny mountains of data that indicate that Islam is dangerously diseased and that all Muslims who follow it are, in a variety of ways ranging from passive-aggressive co-dependent enablement to more active support of Islam, deadly to us.
And the PC MC machine would not be able to be mainstream and dominant throughout the West, as it is, were it merely the province of Leftists. No: over the past 60-odd years, it has won the hearts and minds of millions of non-Leftist Westerners too -- Centrists, Conservatives, Elites and ordinary people of all walks of life, of all economic levels, of all social classes.
It has not won the hearts and minds of millions throughout the West because it is essentially pernicious. Nor has this emotional and intellectual conquest, this paradigm shift in worldview, occurred as the result of some dastardly cabal of evil elites machinating Macchiavellianly on the masses. Nor is this paradigm shift an intrusion of some alien ideology. It has evolved organically out of the goodness of Western heritage that has its roots in the four pillars of Judaeo-Christian Graeco-Roman wisdom. For all that, however, it is obviously not good in any simplistic sense: it is paradoxically a process of excess health -- "too much of a good thing".
Some of the more important goods which have been taken to excess, which illuminate the irrationality of the West in the face of the danger of Islam, and which unpack the double axiom mentioned above:
1) a development away from tribalism toward the respect for the dignity and freedom of the individual;
2) a development away from xenophobia toward a respect for and curiosity about the Other;
3) a development away from jingoism toward the virtue of self-criticism and constructive humility.
Other developments have also partaken of this evolution, though they are not directly pertinent to the problem of the West's denial of the danger of Islam -- though they certainly underscore the irrational excess of #1-3: as, for example,
4) a development away from theocracy toward secularism
5) a development away from theocratic legalism and censorship toward secular freedom of expression and thought.
The irrational excess of #1-3 are highlighted by a consideration of #4 and 5 because even when the West is faced with a massive global culture that is violently hostile toward the virtues reflected in #4 and 5, it persists in denial about the obvious inferiority and danger this presents.
While a relatively more purist Leftism is of course always a problem, it is no longer relevant when we consider the problem of Islam: For, since both Left and Right (and that amorphous middle area between them called Centrism) follow roughly the same set of axioms with regard to their denial of the problem of Islam, we may say that the West has, in this regard, become ambidextrous.
Without PC MC broadly suffusing Western societies, Leftism would not enjoy the sociopolitical traction it does, nor would Muslims continue to be getting away with the outrageous things they have been getting away with in the West and throughout the world.