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 razors-edge proximity to holistic analysis occupied by, for example, Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch.

In an article on Frontpage.com today, Bostoms unalloyed and unreserved praise for what he himself interpretetively crystallizes as the Geert Wilders dictumIslam 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;

and


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 countrieseven relatively secular countries like Egyptdesire 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 Westnot 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 signalsby 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.

Further Reading:

Asymptotic psychology

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 Spencers Two Hats: Keep Your Day Job

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I quickly read through the interview of Geert Wilders referred to in Bostom's article, but couldn't find anything in it that would have given Bostom a reason to conclude that Wilders thinks that "Islam is the problem; radical reform [of Islam] is the solution". Also, Bostom himself seems to dismiss the related idea that "radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution", calling it a "hollow, if oft repeated trope" and a "tired mantra—reiterated constantly for the past decade without a scintilla of supportive evidence".

Perhaps I'm clutching at straws here, but is there a chance that the "radical reform" mentioned, which Wilders's views allegedly express and which Bostom seemingly supports, is not actually a reform of Islam?

Erich said...

Anonymous,

"Perhaps I'm clutching at straws here, but is there a chance that the "radical reform" mentioned, which Wilders's views allegedly express and which Bostom seemingly supports, is not actually a reform of Islam?"

If that's what Bostom meant, he was markedly unclear in expressing it. It seems more logical that he was contrasting not reform of Islam with reform, presumably, of the West (which of course is what most anti-Islam people want, since they recognize that the West as it is now is obstructing rationality in dealing with Islam), but rather he was contrasting moderate Islamic reform with radical Islamic reform. That contrast would be the only point of difference between his own "solution" and the Pipes solution he himself, as you point out, dismisses -- even though the differences are minor compared with the underlying similarity. Thus, Bostom's solution at least recognizes the radicality required from the Muslim world, while Pipes overestimates the sufficient viability of "moderateness" in the Muslim world. But both are fantasy-based in their expectation of any viable reform from Muslims, of any kind, whether "moderate" or "radical".

In the meantime, I'll keep an eye out for whether Bostom meant some other, non-Islamic, type of "reform", and if you find anything on this, I'd appreciate it if you could post it here. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Bostom says that it it Wilders's views that may be expressed in the formulation that "Islam is the problem; radical reform is the solution." Assuming the radical reform in question is a reform of Islam, this would make not only Bostom an asymptotic analyst, but Wilders as well.

However, I do not see Wilders advocating any reform of Islam, and from what he says in the interview (e.g. he dismisses the question of "[W]hy couldn't there be a movement within Islam that would say, "Yes, the Koran says X, Y, and Z, and it has been interpreted violently by violent people, but we give it a different interpretation" with the answer "Then they are not Muslims anymore.") he doesn't seem to think Islam has the potential for reform. If Bostom thinks that Wilders imagines a radical reform of Islam as the solution to the problem of Islam, on what basis does he conclude that these are the views of Wilders?

One possibility is of course that Bostom misrepresents Wilders, but I am open to another possibility (though I remain skeptical), which is that the radical reform in question is a radical reform of the West (though I agree that Bostom has been markedly unclear if this is what he meant). The phrase "Islam is the problem; radical reform is the solution" could have been written as an attempt (arguably an unsuccessful one) to express the proper solution by paraphrasing the ridiculous "radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution" mantra.

Blode0322 said...

[Wilders] dismisses the question of "[W]hy couldn't there be a movement within Islam that would say, "Yes, the Koran says X, Y, and Z, and it has been interpreted violently by violent people, but we give it a different interpretation" with the answer "Then they are not Muslims anymore."

I think this answer is right, but I caution myself that theology is rough terrain. My feeling is that if I were a Mecca-praying Allah-worshipper, say, as the result of some kind of epiphany which changed my theology but not my philosophy, it is at least conceivable that I would still have a problem with Islam - with submission or mental enslavement.

If Allah is all-powerful we are all his slaves whether no matter what we do, correct? Islam must logically refer to submission to a book written by fallible (not to mention venal, militaristic, domineering) humans.

If you keep Allah and throw out submission to Koranic dogma and to the imams, you don't really have Islam. Yet you can throw out Biblical literalism, keep Jesus and God (who may be the same as Allah - a matter of opinion), and keep being a Christian. Many, Erich not the least of them, have made that point that in that way Islam is not like other religions. There are a few Christian fundamentalists so attached to literalism that they never consider non-literalists to be Christian, but they are rare, and seem to prefer shunning to violence.

More importantly, throwing out dogma ("tearing out half the Koran", I think Wilders put it) might leave you with a personal connection to Allah and habit of praying to Mecca, but it won't keep you safe from the violence of Muslims. So if the "radical reform" means the ideological self-reform of the Muslim mind, it had darn well better take place in a large numbers, among people who have decent security forces backing them up.

Erich said...

Anonymous,

It is entirely possible that Wilders is basically posturing like Spencer in this regard -- putting forth the challenge that the only way this problem will be solved (short of world war) is if Muslims reform "radically", though not really meaning it if one adduces his other statements on matters closely related to it. Thus for Wilders it would be a rhetorical challenge, but he continually avoids, through adroit and slippery language, the logical conclusions that would vitiate that challenge.

And perhaps Bostom is doing the same thing.

It would be nice if our "leaders" in the anti-Islam movement would stop dancing around and just come out and say what they think. I believe that Daniel Pipes, by contrast, tends not to dance around but really sincerely believes in the viability of moderate Muslim.

Erich said...

Blode,

"There are a few Christian fundamentalists so attached to literalism that they never consider non-literalists to be Christian, but they are rare, and seem to prefer shunning to violence."

Not only that, there is a larger contextual issue here that people often overlook. In the West, such literalist Christians have become forced to subsist within a surrounding sociopolitico-cultural environment that has become profoundly secularized over the past 200 years (increasing exponentially in many ways with each passing generation to the present). This is their West, not some foreign occupation (though there might lurk among some more extremist Christians the quasi-Gnostic notion that all governments are "Satanic" and their true allegiance is to the eschatological Jesus who will come again, etc.). For the Muslim, their effects of modern secularization are almost entirely the result of foreign occupation -- through Western Colonialism for a good 300 years, and then more recently through a post-Colonial global hegemony led by America. Furthermore, the Muslim differs from the Christian in that the Muslim's religion has a blueprint for resisting any such occupation that hampers the true "Lebensraum" of Islam and replace it with a religion-state-fused type of governance, and Islam even makes such resistance a virtue and a goal -- both in their texts, in their liturgies, in their cultural atmosphere, and in their history. The modern Christian really has no such massive substance available for inspiring him to resist secularism, and to combine that with a goal of replacing secularism with a system that enjoined by God and his highest Prophet.

With modern Christians, that is why the extremist flakes have always been very small and rag-tag fringe elements who have to strain and reach in patching together some kind of theological justification for their little attempts at resistance or rebellion. The largest Christianoid group that has had a decidedly anti-system attitude, the Jehovah's Witnesses, has also been decidedly meek and pacifist -- and they are that way for the most part because they insist on following the Bible! In fact, the fact that they do come up with some strange rulings that go against orthodoxy shows that trying to extract a viable militarism out of the Bible, and especially the New Testament, is so difficult, even a cult like the Jehovah's Witnesses that extracts other strange doctrines from those texts has never thought to try to build up a militaristic theology.

Kinana said...

I see what you are saying and I agree. Often in discussions, people grasp at these 'isms' as a way of protecting themselves from facing the size of the problem! [I do not believe Andrew Bostom is doing this]

If the problem is Islam, per se, then it is huge. If the problem is just a few misguided Muslims then it is not only containable, but also not the responsibility of the non-Muslim to sort out or seriously respond to the problem.

But when I persist in identifying the problem as Islam itself, the discussion then turns to solutions. My response at the moment is to say 'first agree with my analysis then together let us find and discuss a solution, or at least the first steps toward a solution.'

People too easily and often, side-step really understanding the deep-seated nature of the problem and want to shot you down when it comes to solutions, which avoids the need to make their own efforts to really understand the problem.

It is a huge problem and requires as many people on board to craft the solution. You and I are not the enemy – Islam is. We should not be made to feel inadequate or called to account if any solution is not fool-proof down to the last detail!

It is like a trick that Muslims use when I discuss with them aspects of Islam. They keep asking questions until they find one that you have no answer for, or one that you have supplied an incorrect answer to, and then they say: ‘ha ha! You fool, therefore all that you have said is wrong!’

Thanks

Erich said...

Kinana,

"
People too easily and often, side-step really understanding the deep-seated nature of the problem and want to shot you down when it comes to solutions, which avoids the need to make their own efforts to really understand the problem."

Yes, I have noticed this is a common response or tactic, both from PC MC people and Muslims. After we have danced for a while and I have taken the time and trouble to show them that their dancing is not working with the facts, they move to the tack of "Well, what's your solution?" -- which I now recognize as a ploy to distract from recognizing the problem. Usually, I have found that they don't ask this question sincerely, because they now recognize the gravity of the problem; they ask it in order to deflect attention from their inability to defend their case that there is no problem of sufficient gravity and magnitude. And they are hoping you will say "KILL THEM ALL!" so they can accuse you of genocide. Indeed, often they simply assume that is what you want to do, even when you never say it.

Emerson Twain said...

I hope this is not out of place in your thread, but Bostom's studies deal largely with the Caliphate era. I will turn this around, for the sake of argument. Bring on the caliphate, I say.

Firstly, nothing will put Islam into as much a state of internecine squabbling and warfare than this. It buys us time.

Secondly, only a caliph can enforce any reforms. This takes their ancient institution into direct and negotiable confrontation with the modern world.

And thirdly, the geographic imperative of Islam is given a foothold. This may attract a reverse migration out of the west while exposing more of Islam's intrinsic systemic inadequacies of governance. The lack of geographic contiguousness of Islamic lands will be an intractable problem and the subject of endless bitter internal fights or even open warfare with intervening infidel states, but the stakes and the issues will be clearer.

Fourthly, it gives jihad an official home under sharia law, at once undercutting the internet instigators and freelance imams, while becoming for the west a fatter and more publicly imageable target, should action need to be taken.

Kinana said...

'This may attract a reverse migration out of the west'

A very optimistic view, though i hope you are right! Against this view I will say that my obervation is that most Muslims come to the West because they are after a better way of life. They are, after all, first a human being before they are a Muslim.

The radicals who control most of the Muslim organisations would have a hard time dragging their flock back to the 7th century! And for the radicals themselves, in their
heart of hearts, they too would be hesitant.

Secondly, the missionary/infiltration activity would continue and probably given a boost and blessing by such a caliphate.

But in general you make an interesting proposition.

How such an event would come to pass i have no idea. What would be the process whereby Muslims agree that so-and-so is the Caliphate and the Islamic state actually exists in such-and-such a location?

But does that not exist now with Shia Muslims re Iran? I do not see many Shia Muslims returning to that paradise!

Anonymous said...

But when I persist in identifying the problem as Islam itself, the discussion then turns to solutions.

I have had the same experience. The line of reasoning, if one can call it that, seems to be that if the proposed solution is deemed not politically feasible, too far-reaching, too horrible to contemplate (e.g. it would allegedly lead to genocide or, as Baron Bodissey once put it, "an apocalyptic war of extermination"), or in other ways unacceptable, then this somehow demonstrates that the problem cannot have been identified correctly.

Also, there seems to be a tendency among these people to conclude that we cannot identify Islam as the problem, because this would leave us with no policy options (or alternatively, with no acceptable policy options), the implication being that we must dismiss reality as it is and subscribe to a view of reality that conforms with what we would like it to be, so that we may have the outcome we desire.

And they are hoping you will say "KILL THEM ALL!" so they can accuse you of genocide. Indeed, often they simply assume that is what you want to do, even when you never say it.

Indeed. Case in point, consider the unhinged response I received to a somewhat sarcastic post I made to "Sanity [sic!] Squad" blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, in which I am portrayed as a blood-thirsty Nazi even though the only thing I have done is to imply that he is an Islam apologist.

Blode0322 said...

Anonymous, I like your writing, though I project that your chosen pseudonym may be a source of confusion. :)

Way off-topic: I have registered for the Loyalist Party forum.
http://loyalist.proboards101.com/
It is kind of lonely there. If anyone reading this is interested, come on over and we can liven up the party.

Nobody said...

And they are hoping you will say "KILL THEM ALL!" so they can accuse you of genocide. Indeed, often they simply assume that is what you want to do, even when you never say it.

I agree with Kinana and Erich, but I think there's something more to it than just an intellectual laziness in thinking this problem thru. While one group of people may certainly fall under the above category, there is another group of people who wish to triangulate themselves from such controversial positions by being 'solution oriented', so that they can work (or at least look like working) on solutions on the table. So aside from being tagged as a genocidal maniac, the other thing one risks being labelled is 'divisive, with no proposed, or workable solutions'.

I think the way around this in discussions is to actually propose solutions, instead of trying to deflect the focus back on their inability to think out the problem - something that can temporarily put on the backburner. The way to do this would be to claim that the proposed solutions would be to end all Muslim immigration, instantly deport all Muslim criminals back to their countries of origin, roll back all shariah friendly societal trends (footbasins and all that) and comb mosques and other Islamic institutions in the West for all evidence of Jihadi activity. In reality, we'd want much more, but in a discussion, suggest only this. Then it would be easy to batter any claims that what's being contemplated is genocide.

The problem can be re-emphasized while discussing the solution in question. E.g. 'Why do we want to deport all Muslim criminals?' "B'cos we don't want other criminals in our jails being Islamized, and now going out with a fresh motivation - and justification - for future criminal activity. That way, it also helps abort future jihad planning activities." Discussing the solutions therefore provides opportunities to explore the problems in greater detail, rather than just spelling them out in quick exchanges.

Kinana said...

Nobody,
I like this approach too. I see where it could work in a context of a friendly, as opposed to a conflictual, discussion. I will try it.

Any tiny proposed solution will be seen as a defensive measure against the Islamisation of society. Basins are a good place to start. Also the loud 'call to prayer' that is being requested in local communities is another. If my friends hesitate at any tiny solution then it is back to helping them to see the problem, even though they might agree there is a problem. The conundrum of having a problem without a solution would make for a good chat over a few beers!

i see one issue that could stymie the whole process. i.e. An unthinking shallow support for the principle of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. My response has been that it is irrational for a society to self-destruct, so there must be a way forward towards a solution.

Another round for everyone!
thanks

Erich said...

Emerson Twain,

I've heard that argument about the Caliphate before. To me the only real cogent advantage of a Caliphate is that it would tend to make Islam physically concrete as a potential target. One of the ways that, for example, the Nazi-Islam analogy fails is that our enemy in WW2 was a specifically locatable enemy which we could bomb; whereas with Islam, the problem comes up, whom do we bomb when we want to punish and/or cow Muslims? They are spread out too far and wide in a complex diaspora from the Philippines in the Pacific to Morocco on the Atlantic, with millions more within the West itself from Canada to the USA to Europe to Australia. The Bush solution -- to bomb Afghanistan -- worked in a severely delimited sense, insofar as one limits the problem and danger to the Taliban and al Qaeda. But even with the already unduly limited al Qaeda, we have the problem of innumerable and difficult-to-pinpoint agents infiltrating all around the world, including within the West, many of which are not officially al Qaeda but simply inspired to do similar things.

Iraq was certainly bombable, but mostly only because of the evil of Saddam, and less to do with Islam per se. Iraq and Afghanistan are certainly not "reformable" but should, as Hugh Fitzgerald argues, be exploited for their capacity to generate chaos and internal internecine violence amongst Muslims.

Anyway, if the Caliphate were revived and if most Muslims supported it as authentic, then we have a concrete entity to attack when we want to proactively defend ourselves, or short of that, a concrete entity to threaten to keep in line.

I do not agree with a Caliphate as providing a vehicle for "reform" of Islam in the sense of anything that would sufficiently solve the problem of Islam. The main reason that the previous Caliphate began to institute reforms in the 19th century was because the West at the time was so overwhelmingly globally powerful and was far less inclined to behave in PC ways about their power. Islam at the time had no choice, given the frank strength of the West. Today, the West is even stronger in many ways, and yet we are like a lion who refuses to use its claws, out of PC stupidity; and so Muslim have become increasingly emboldened to renew their ancient imperative to conquer the world by sowing terror in a long slow process which they are historically very capable of doing with eminent patience: as I explained in one of my previous essays on Constantinople, Muslims patiently waited some 600 years to finally conquer that greatest jewel of medieval times, Constantinople and with it the entire Byzantium Empire. By "patiently" I don't mean they didn't try during those centuries to attack -- but given that those attacks were only piecemeal, sometimes losses, sometimes small gains of this or that town or chunk of territory, the Muslims never lost their dream and their hope, for centuries, but kept on delivering and listening to Friday sermons dreaming of conquering Byzantium, kept on writing about it, kept on incorporating that wish in their daily prayers: their entire societies were suffused with that dream: for after all, despite what Kinana says above, Muslims are first and foremost Muslims, and only secondarily are human beings: not by my conception or choice, but by theirs. What does one do with an enemy who refuses to be human beings? One takes them at their word and does not accord them what they themselves do not desire.

Erich said...

Kinana,

"my obervation is that most Muslims come to the West because they are after a better way of life."

There are three problems with this:

1) It is a personal opinion that needs to be better supported with more evidence, because the dangers are too high to rely merely on personal opinions in this matter

2) We Infidels face the problem of deception as a widespread tactic among infiltrating Muslims -- and deception puts us in a quandary, for because of it, we cannot ever be sure which Muslims are sincerely "less Islamic" and "just seeking a better way of life" and which ones are infiltrating deceptively, or which ones will become "more Islamic" after living in the West for a while -- and again, the stakes of our safety are too high for us to gamble with our lives that way

3) Even with the Muslims who are sincerely "just seeking a better way of life" are, if we treat them as generally okay without solving our #2 problem above, by their immigration tending to enable the dangerous Muslims who will be let into the West along with them, by virtue of our attitude of more or less open immigration if we agree with Kinana, that is.

"How such an event would come to pass i have no idea. What would be the process whereby Muslims agree that so-and-so is the Caliphate and the Islamic state actually exists in such-and-such a location?"

Muslims have an old and time-honored tradition and blueprint for building a Caliphate; and polls show that the majority of Muslims around the world desire a Caliphate. If the West gave them the green light to do so, it is highly likely they would do so. Being Muslims, they will likely not do it without lots of violence -- but that's how Muslims roll. That doesn't mean they wouldn't be able to actuall realize a Caliphate. Practically ever successful thing Muslims have done throughout their history has involved lots of corruption, chaos and violence. That's not an argument for the impracticability of such an endeavor on their part.

"But does that not exist now with Shia Muslims re Iran?"

The Caliphate was largely Sunni throughout history. And Sunnis constitute the vast majority of Muslims around the world. And anyway, we have seen Shias and Sunnis cooperate when they see the common goal against a common enemy.

Erich said...

Nobody,

Your strategy might well be effective, at least here and there; however, I have a personal block about doing that kind of thing, for two reasons: I'd have to blatantly lie about what my positions are; and secondly, it annoys me to walk on eggshells in discussions on important sociopolitical problems in what is supposed to be a free and open society. Acquiescing in walking on eggshells to me is sort of close to giving up hope on the West. To me, hope in the West means that frank and honest discussions about sociopolitical problems are viable, even when they get heated and even when they go against the grain of current fashions and givens.

Nobody said...

Erich

Don't lie about any of your positions, nor walk on eggshells. State them as is. You're not for killing all Muslims, so you don't have to lie about it. Sure, you could say that you're for expelling all, but rather than that, start by stating that you're for deporting all criminals and ending Muslim immigration. That does not imply that you are for allowing the other Muslims to stay.

In fact, try a conversation like this:

Flora: "Okay, Mr Smarty Pants, let's here your solution to what you say is the problem of Islam."

Erich: "End Jihad by ending the presence of Jihadis in the West. For one thing, stop allowing in people out of places like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bangladesh and all these fucked up Islamic hellholes - that's where those Jihadis come from. And as for the ones here, deport all foreign Muslim criminals back to their home countries, and send our own Muslim criminals on a haj. You do know, don't you, that they are supposed to make at least one trip to Mecca in a lifetime? This would be it, but one way. Let the Imams there tell them whether they've been following true Islam or not. And let them practice their true Islam - whatever it is - there."

Flora: "Truth is you hate all Muslims, don't you? You'd actually like to see all Muslims thrown out, don't you?"

Erich: "Absolutely, since we have no way of telling which Muslims plan to kill us, which ones don't, and among those who don't, which ones would cheer those who would, and which ones would actually boldly stand up and be counted. In fact, if there were Muslims who were genuinely appalled at this activity, they'd not only be railing against all this (since they'd be in a majority when added to the rest of us Infidels), but actively be working to prevent more of such people from coming to the West. As it is, the only ones who do are those who have jettisoned Islam, and have been trying to alert the West to the real evils of Islam, and the number of such people can be counted on my left hand.

There is also the practice of taquiyya among Muslims, so even among those who state that there are with us, there is an indeterminable number of them who are lying. There is also Muslims who (like members of all other religions) may be agnostic today, and devout tomorrow. And it's from the ranks of these devout Muslims that Jihadis emerge.

So, yes, you are right, if I had things my way, all of them would be gone. But short of that, the least we can agree on is to expel all Jihadis whenever they are busted, and close the doors from the countries I mentioned, all of which are hotbeds of Jihadi activity. That should end at least half of all Jihadi activity.

And if you're going to be opposed to even that, then you have no business telling me that you oppose Jihadi activity.

Actions! Louder! Words!"

Erich said...

Nobody,

Well your scenario seems to work but I would argue only because you emphasize my "honest" position so much. However, the honesty in your scenario I dare say would tend to raise alarms in "Flora" to solidify in her mind that I might as well be a genocider anyway.

At any rate, if that scenario is what you're talking about, I have no problems with it, beacause as I say, it very quickly and massively becomes transparent for my more extreme position anyway. But that brings up the question, what's the point in injecting into such an exchange the slightly less extreme position, when one is prepared to divulge the more extreme anyway?

Also, one point where you left out a detail -- "But short of that, the least we can agree on is to expel all Jihadis whenever they are busted." Even the less extreme position, I would argue, would expect to do more than merely wait until after Jihadis are busted, and would want to implement one degree or another of surveillance in order to pre-emptively stop them whenever we can.

Nobody said...

Erich: But that brings up the question, what's the point in injecting into such an exchange the slightly less extreme position, when one is prepared to divulge the more extreme anyway?

Point is that the less extreme position is what would have to be actually proposed, since it's more likely to have traction in terms of public support. Preparing to divulge one's more extreme position is only to emphasize the fact that in reality, one thinks that even these measures are potentially inadequate, but are for the short term all that is politically sustainable.

The added advantage in spelling out that we are more extreme is that people on the other side are more likely to agree to these watered down measures if they perceive that that is the middle ground, as opposed to if they perceive that that is our initial position. It's almost like bargaining over fruit prices in a bazaar.

Erich: Also, one point where you left out a detail -- "But short of that, the least we can agree on is to expel all Jihadis whenever they are busted." Even the less extreme position, I would argue, would expect to do more than merely wait until after Jihadis are busted, and would want to implement one degree or another of surveillance in order to pre-emptively stop them whenever we can.

By 'busted', I didn't necessarily mean after a jihad operation has been successfully carried out, but rather, after undercover pre-emptive action has nabbed them while they are plotting, and prevented such activities, while at the same time catching them red-handed. Such activity wouldn't simply be waiting for bad things to happen.

Nobody said...

One more point - the way to refute the genocide argument is to state: "I want them gone, not necessarily dead! They just need to go back wherever they came from - Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, et al. In fact, some of them are already doing it - we have Minneapolis Muslims suddenly headed towards Somalia for Jihad? You know what, Flora - that's great! - I want all our Jihadis to head there. Or Pakistan, or Afghanistan, or whichever place between Casablanca and Brunei suits them. There they can refuse to scan pork, close down whiskey shops near mosques, take prayer breaks during office hours, marry their cousins, thigh their nieces, beat their wives, honor-kill their daughters, ensure their tombstones face Mecca while their commodes don't, do jihad, drink camel unine, ensure that they fart away from Mecca, whatever. I just don't want them doing any of that here!

It's not genocidal. They have half the world entirely to themselves. They can live there and do what they like with each other. Some genocide!!!"

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

One more point - the way to refute the genocide argument is to state: "I want them gone, not necessarily dead!"

I suspect that saying that one does not necessarily want Muslims dead might be portrayed as a concession of sorts, since it does not explicitly rule out the idea that one wants them dead. Keep in mind that we're not dealing with reasonable opponents.

However, perhaps one should not pursue the genocide discussion (or the discussion of what solution might be appropriate for the problem of Islam) at all in those cases when it is obvious that one's opponent has raised the issue as a distraction, and rather stick to Erich's recent proposal:

"The anti-Islam debater should only debate one point at a time, and should not move on to another point nor let the Islam apologist try in sophistical obfuscation to move on to another point, until such time as the Islam apologist concedes his error on that one point."

Nobody said...

Anonymous

I know that we aren't dealing with reasonable adversaries. Nonetheless, my point about the qualifier 'necessarily' implied that if they go away, they needn't be dead, but if they insist in staying and remaining a potential threat to our societies, and can't be expelled for any reason, then death is the option.

Yeah, I know that with them, one won't convince them that we're not genocidal. I was thinking more about other people following such an argument, rather than the opponents in the argument itself.