Friday, April 24, 2009
The Five Pillars and the Fifth Column—and the Monolith they support
In an essay on Jihad Watch today, Hugh Fitzgerald writes:
When Muslim apologists and propagandists insist that “Islam is not a monolith,” what they are really attempting to do is to make sure that Infidels do not discuss "Islam" in the sense of an ideology that consists of immutable texts, and tenets, and attitudes and atmospherics that emerge within societies suffused with Islam.
About this business of a “monolithic” Islam and the propagandistic use of its ostensible denial, some points are in order:
1) “Muslim apologists”, of course, includes thousands of non-Muslim Westerners who engage actively in whitewashing, “respecting” and even protecting Islam-and-Muslims (not counting the probable millions who more or less passively do their part in this regard). One important part of this endeavor involves the perpetuation of the myth of an un-“monolithic Islam”. A better term, then, would be “Islam apologists”, since this propagandistic army includes thousands of non-Muslim Westerners actively enabling the Muslim apologists, along with millions of non-Muslim Westerners more or less passively enabling them. Essentially what we have here is millions of non-Muslim Westerners who function in various ways—mostly as unwitting dupes whose politically correct sensitivity and multi-culturalist sincerity is being exploited—to support the Camp of Islam with respect to the War of Ideas arena of the larger War between Islam and the West. This war, of course, remains unilaterally waged for now: it is Muslims vs. the West, but not the West vs. Muslims. And even the ones waging it continue to do so mostly in the deceptive camouflage of an insistence of peaceful co-existence based on “respect” (which, on closer examination, invariably means a one-way deference by the West toward Islam without any expectation of reciprocation by Muslims). The War between Islam and the West, thus, continues to be a Stealth War—involving a symbiosis of violent attacks and the pretense of detachment from complicity with those violent attacks.
Enabling this Stealth War, again, are millions of Westerners: Without this massive and widespread Fifth Column, the Five Pillars of Islam wouldn’t stand a chance.
2) Secondly, the term “monolithic” is purposefully extreme and so, in setting it up to knock it down, it functions in the propagandistic rhetoric of these apologists essentially as a “straw man” logical fallacy (or a “straw Muslim” fallacy). Of course, it goes without saying that no complex sociological system—whether it be a culture, a religion, or a civilization—is “monolithic”. The questions which this term is obfuscating, then, are these:
a) Is Islam sufficiently unified so that we can speak of one “Islam” and not multiple “Islams”?
b) If the answer to (a) is “Yes”, then how, and to what extent, are the problems and pathologies we see in the nebula of Islam—in its texts and in the behaviors and expressions of Muslims in history and in the news—attributable to this one Islam? Or, conversely, on what bases will this attribution both in nature and extent be denied—i.e., on what bases will it be cogently argued that most of the problems and pathologies we see in the nebula of Islam have nothing to do with Islam and are attributable to non-Islamic factors?
3) Now we can get to the rhetorical paradox of this myth of an un-“monolithic” Islam. The paradox turns out to be a superficial optical illusion or mirage: when one digs deeper under the obfuscating sand, one sees what is going on here, reflecting the apparent paradox of the “cultural relativism” of PC MC by which—
a) All cultures are equal
b) The West is the worst culture in history.
The apparent relativism of (a) masks a perversely self-denigrating absolutism underneath, whereby out of a pathologically excessive deference, admiration and “respect” for “the Other”, non-white and/or non-Western cultures are elevated above white and/or Western civilization. Meanwhile, on the flip side of this twin axiom, the white West is—out of a pathologically excessive cultivation of self-criticism—abased below all other cultures.
When applied to Islam, and specifically in terms of this “monolithic” business, this paradox becomes:
a) Islam is not “monolithic” if you want to criticize or condemn anything Islamic;
b) Islam in fact is unified if you want to praise, admire and “respect” Islam.
(By carefully moving the obfuscatory sand out of the way to excavate and reveal the monolith beneath, the above analysis renders explicit the implicit deployment by Islam apologists of the cleverly exploited ambiguity between the straw man monolithic and its effective synonym unified.)
The same paradox applies, of course, to the wonderfully diverse multi-cultural rainbow of Muslims around the world. If you want to criticize or condemn Muslims, then they are too “diverse” to pin down qua Muslims. If, however, you want to praise, admire and “respect” Muslims qua Muslims suddenly they become a unified datum—to represent concretely the merit and accuracy of the praise, admiration, and “respect” in question.
I’m not sure what species of a logical fallacy this apparent paradox represents. Perhaps “logical fallacy” is too generous a term for what is going on here: this is simply irrational incoherence, at best, or a rather crass attempt at chicanery, at worst.
Either way, millions of Westerners—both “Elites” and ordinary people as well as various flavors of hybrid in the sociological spectrum between these two poles—continue to think this way: By enabling Muslim apologists, they continue to help prop up the holographic monolith of the Good Islam while at the same time they continue to help conceal the real monolith of the Evil Islam. Once the West pulls down its Fifth Column, the Five Pillars will buckle and crumble, for they cannot by themselves support the real monolith of Islam once that monolith becomes visible from behind the Fifth Column that currently continues to obscure it, and by doing so, continues to protect it from the rational wrath of the West.
A note on the accompanying photograph to my essay: I found it through Google Images. It is labelled by the website whence it originates as a "cubist Samson" -- it is some sculptor's representation of the Biblical story of Samson pulling down the pillars of a religious temple (cf. Judges 16:23) of the wicked Philistines in order to bring down the entire temple. (I have been unable to track down the name of the sculptor.)
In the Biblical story, Samson takes hold of two pillars, one with his right hand, the other with his left hand (cf. Judges 16:29). The photograph I used presents, obviously, considerable artistic license by showing Samson using both arms and all his might to bearhug one pillar. While ostensibly inaccurate, I find this presentation felicitous for my purposes.
First, I like the apparent ambiguity, even ambivalence, immediately impressed upon the viewer -- an ambivalence between a Samson gripping a pillar in order to bring it down, and a Samson almost seeming to embrace and protect that pillar thus preventing it from being brought down.
This ambiguity in Samson reflects the ambiguity throughout the West with regard to its own PC MC by which it continues to embrace its Fifth Column that in turn tends to support the "temple" or Monolith of a mythically Good Islam -- yet within that same Body Public of the West reside others who are trying their best to bring down that Fifth Column. The oneness of the Samson figure serves to symbolize the unity of the West despite this monumental divide between those who continue to be in thrall to PC MC, and those who have woken themselves out of it: for I have hope that the West can and will wake up and that it will not devolve into a civil war -- though it will likely necessarily entail horrific attacks against us by Muslims in various locations in the coming decades to wake up our "inner Samson", who in the photograph also could be said to seem to be leaning asleep against that pillar.
In addition, the single pillar motif of the sculpture also symbolizes the one thing that is enabling Islam to continue its horrific mischief against us -- namely, the Fifth Column of PC MC in the West. Without this one thing, this single column, supporting Islam, Islam would crumble like a house of cards -- for a West without a Fifth Column is a West whose "inner Samson" has woken up: a Lion who in a New York Minute will make up for all the time lost from our collective Rip Van Winkle nap since 9/11.
The Other Islam—a Holographic Reduplication
The Anti-Western Westerner