Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Morosophy and the Mother of all Others
Reading through the comments to a recent Jihad Watch notice on a news story about yet another Western news media reporter demonstrating typical denial about the problem of Islam -- specifically, one of the Talking Airheads of MS NBC, Contessa Brewer, who said that she was almost disappointed to learn that the Times Square terrorist was a Muslim, because this will only arouse "bigotry" among white Americans -- I detected in most of the responses a sense that Contessa Brewer is somehow singular, or uncommon, in her views.
The real problem is not the Contessas of the West; she's just a symptom. The real problem is the West itself.
More precisely, the problem is the West itself for having developed over the past 60-odd years a circumambient sociopolitical culture that fully enculturates and encourages this learned ignorance which otherwise we could term morosophy (according to Webster's unabridged dictionary: "learned folly"). Morosophy would be yet another synonym we could use for the more commonly used term which I (and others) have been employing in this regard: PC MC (Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism) -- or, in another context, Quantum Ignorance.
What most in the still inchoate anti-Islam movement still don't seem to get is that --
1) This morosophy is dominant and mainstream throughout the West.
2) Per #1, it is not the province merely of Leftists, but has long ago infected the hearts and minds of most Centrists and Conservatives (including most Christians), as well as that often overlooked demographic, the Comfortably Apolitical.
3) This morosophy would not have become dominant and mainstream in a civilization as otherwise intellectually and socially healthy, democratic, sophisticated, and advanced as the modern West, were this morosophy not in complex and subtle ways intimately partaking, if not a natural outgrowth, of the health of that civilization: that's why its believers and practitioners are "morosophs" and not merely "morons" -- i.e., most of them are not unintelligent. The problem is not one of a lack of intelligence, but of intelligence misused and re-routed, so to speak.
4) Per #3, this morosophy is natural to the West, and is part of its goodness, as a hectic fever may be said to be due to a natural organic excess in the health of a body (in terms, let us hope less quacky, of naturopathic vs. allopathic medicine.)
5) Per #3 and #4 then, this morosophy has been able to become dominant and mainstream throughout the West because it has been able to take root in the hearts and minds of millions of people -- Elites and Ordinary Folks alike -- and it has been able to take root in their hearts and minds because it is felt to be a natural consequence and unfolding of the progress of values & virtues deemed to be good in the Western heritage -- chief among them being:
Eschewal of Bigotry and Racism
an Interest in the Other and a Respect for the Other's ways
a robust and honest Self-Criticism of One's Own Civilization both now and in its history
an effort to transcend Tribalism and cultivate Universal Brotherhood.
6) Finally, what makes this development of these values & virtues "morosophy" is, in a nutshell, the process of taking good things too far -- taking them to irrational excess.
Recalling our metaphorical analogy above of a healthy body becoming disordered by becoming, so to speak, "too healthy" in terms of naturopathic vs. allopathic theories of disease, it may not be explainable why this has happened, other than to say it is always a potential in any healthy organism. The how of it, and the what of it, however, can be analyzed and illuminated, and perhaps through that a restoration to sanity and health can be achieved -- though not, perhaps, and tragically if not infuriatingly, without some external promptings in the form of much more violence from Muslims against us in the coming decades.
The Mother of All Others:
This irrational excess has been evident in myriad ways heretofore in the last half century with regard to issues involving Third World immigration, as well as reverse racism in the West. It all hinges on the common theme of the values & virtues listed above: the Other (i.e., the non-Westerner).
With the advent of our millennial foe, the Muslim -- the Mother of all Others -- reappearing on our Western radar after a long absence (cf. my essay Western Amnesia), this irrational excess of morosophy is becoming more assertive and pronounced, even as its believers find themselves having to go into pretzelly contortions of bending over backwards to placate this Muslim Other while genuflecting forward in proto-dhimmitudinous salaaming* -- all the while acrobatically flexing from side to side in order to deflect or to deny the inundation of data that would bring their whole paradigm crashing down around them, axiom by interlocking axiom.
The Contessas of the West -- and their counter-Cassandra counterparts hyper-vigilantly warning of the dangers of "Islamophobia" -- are hardly singular and uncommon. They are, in fact, routine throughout the West, because the West enables them. In Pauline terms, and symbolizing the West as a "good olive tree", this morosophy would not be so dominant and mainstream had it been "cut out of the olive tree wild by nature, and, contrary to nature... grafted into the good olive tree" -- rather than having been according to nature grafted into its own olive tree. (cf. Romans 11:24). Keep in mind Paul's typical and deft employment of paradoxical senses: for in this metaphor, he writes of "grafting according to nature" (non-Jews who become the true Jews -- i.e., Christians), which is a seeming contradiction, since "grafting" strictly speaking is precisely the introduction of something that did not naturally pertain to the original stock.
Thus the aptness of Paul's metaphor to help us understand the paradoxical sense of a healthy body becoming unhealthy through its own health -- which describes the process of the West becoming PC MC -- having lost the balanced measure of its wisdom (sophia); not to become merely moronic, but still retaining massive amounts of its cultural treasury of intellectual sophistication, a civilization now, in many respects -- certainly with respect to the allopathy of Islam -- guided by a morosophy.
Or, we could say the West has become, or is on the way of becoming, a civilization that itself is other than itself -- losing itself -- because of its irrational extension of a respect for the Other into a denial of the possibility of an Other who could be inimical to the West. A civilization needs a healthy sense of Self in order to discern whether a particular Other on the horizon has earned our respect, and should therefore be allowed in to participate in our benefits and to join us in ongoing conversation & dialogue. In the case of the Mother of all Others, Islam, this new morosophy cultivates an excessively irrational and reckless respect, one that logically anticipates our submission to it.
* (My 1913 Webster's has an entry for "salaam convulsion" -- a medical condition in children where they uncontrollably bend the head and upper body forward: We may expect to see an epidemic of this among Western politicians, news media reporters & pundits, and academics in the near future. Indeed, already now we have seen signs & symptoms of it in Obama's deep and respectful bows to various evil heads of state, beginning with the King of Saudi Arabia. And needless to say, in our morosophistical era now, no Western dictionary would allow itself to publish such an entry, for fear of "offending" Muslims.)