Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Andrew Bostom: Asymptotic Analyst?
I had heretofore assumed Bostom was one of the tiny handful of analysts in the still inchoate anti-Islam movement who is holistic, or at the very least, in that razor’s-edge proximity to holistic analysis occupied by, for example, Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch.
In an article on Frontpage.com today, Bostom’s unalloyed and unreserved praise for what he himself interpretetively crystallizes as the Geert Wilders dictum—“Islam is the problem; radical reform is the solution”—, however, reveals how solidly asymptotic he is. After all that Bostom has written about Muslims and Islam (including in the first nine-tenths of this article!), for him to proffer, in the climax of this article, reform as the solution to the problem of Islam is essentially to agree with the Pipes Dream: namely, that we should hope that Muslims will help us to solve the problem which their Islam is causing.
This Pipes Dream is conceptually contiguous with the PC MC paradigm. It is not qualitatively different from PC MC, only quantitatively distinct. Only two significant features distinguish it from the PC MC paradigm:
1) its openness to substantive criticism and, where it is deemed pertinent, condemnation of Islamic doctrine and culture;
2) its readiness to expand the “tiny minority of extremists” to a much larger number of Muslims.
Indeed, Bostom himself in this same article begins by citing polls that indicate that a sizeable majority of Muslims in Muslim countries—even relatively “secular” countries like Egypt—desire Sharia law and the revival of the Caliphate. On what basis, then, does Bostom expect us to place our hope in “radical reform” of Islam? Who is going to “radically reform” Islam and by doing so “solve the problem” of Islam, if the majority of Muslims around the world actually desire an unreformed Islam? This expectation of the Pipes Dream is not only unrealistic, not only does it rest on a fantasy belied by the very same facts and learned interpretations which Bostom has spent years marshalling, but it is positively counter-productive to the self-defense needs of the West, for it tends to reinforce the PC MC axiom that Muslims are “moderate” until proven “radical” and closely related to that, the notion that when Muslims proffer “reform” they are to be trusted. Thus, it will tend to help perpetuate policies which continue to permit Muslims to insinuate themselves deeper and deeper into the sociopolitical fabric of our Western societies, and from there innumerable numbers among them (whom we cannot reliably distinguish from the supposedly harmless Muslims among them) to have greater opportunity and advantage to continue to plot horrific attacks upon us in the coming decades and to continue their parallel project of stealth jihad which undermines its host society in ways other than through terrorism, yet symbiotic with terrorism.
The anti-Islam movement should be engaged in the concerted effort of slow pedagogical and rhetorical stillicide in the context of the ongoing War of Ideas which is first and foremost an intellectual civil war of uncompromising persuasion directed at our own fellow citizens. This War of Ideas should certainly not waste its time trying to persuade Muslims to “reform” their Islam. Through this concerted effort, then, of our War of Ideas, which realistically will take many decades to begin to exert its effects, the PC MC paradigm will best be undermined—both by the effects of stillicide over a long time, and by the slow but sure increase in numbers of Westerners fed up with Muslims. The holistic goal that is the rational guiding telos of the anti-Islam movement should not be “reform” of Islam, but rather the mass extrication of Muslims out of the West—not only through prevention of further immigration of new Muslims, but also through the mass deportation of Muslims already in the West. This, however, should not be expected to be a “solution” to the problem of Islam: it should realistically be seen to be the optimal way to manage that problem for the decades, probably centuries ahead. (If by some miracle it did serve to “solve” the problem, then that will be a pleasant surprise for us, but this unlikely miracle should not serve as an expectation that informs our policy behavior.)
Precisely because this holistic telos is such a tall order at present, due to the mainstream dominance of PC MC throughout the West, it behooves us in the anti-Islam movement to push in concerted fashion for this now, and to continue relentlessly pushing for it in our ongoing War of Ideas. This does not mean we have to stand on the rooftops and doomsay like fanatics. We can go about this in a mature and reasoned manner that does not, nevertheless, compromise the principles of holistic analysis nor the urgency of taking action against the problem of Islam. If any one of us in the anti-Islam movement seems incapable of controlling his or her asymptotic impulses, it would be best, in the interest of our overarching agenda, for that person to refrain from analysis altogether. Instead, we have such otherwise eminent luminaries including Bostom, Horowitz, Spencer and Pipes regularly sending mixed signals—by implying, or outright expecting, that pigs can fly and the problem of Islam will be solved, or even helped at all, by “reform”. In doing so, they are tending to reinforce, rather than undermine, the already entrenched paradigm that is continuing to permit Muslims to infiltrate deeper, and more broadly, into the West in the coming decades.
Refuting the holistic analysis of the problem of Islam
Bill Warner: an unlikely asymptotic analyst
Asymptote vs. Asymptote: The New York Times vs. Brigitte Gabriel
Asymptotic vs. Holistic Analysis: a clarification
Pot shots at the Pipes dream
The Pipes dream through a Glassman darkly
Robert Spencer’s Two Hats: Keep Your Day Job