Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Napier Formulation
"There are countries in the world that allow wife beating, slavery and child abuse, but we don't allow people to practice those customs in this country. We don't let people have slavery a little bit because they're going to do it anyway, or beat their wives a little bit because they're going to do it anyway."
-- Georganne Chapin, executive director of Intact America (quoted in a Jihad Watch article by Pam Geller, with critical reference to the decision by the American Academy of Pediatrics to advocate a kind of FGM "Lite" in order to try to seduce "cultural" practitioners of FGM away from their more virulent forms of that practice)
In this regard, I am reminded of that classic formulation of Western superiority:
Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853), a British general and administrator of colonial India, wrote of his Western confrontation with the regressive cultural practice of Hindu widow-burning:
You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.
Napier's neat formulation, of course, applies to the super-culture of Islam in its entirety (and its resemblance to the oft-quoted aya of the Koran 109:6 -- "to you be your religion and to me be mine" -- is wickedly ironic).
But its brilliant pragmatism tends to be frustrated, if not nullified, in the context of the loss of a sense of Western superiority through the mainstream dominance of PC MC, under which we suffer today. The inferiority of non-Western cultures in general to the West is of relatively minor importance overall, with one crucial exception: the loss of its sense in the West is indirectly responsible for our current persistent irrationality in the face of Islam, for two reasons:
1) PC MC sees Islam as an Ethnic Culture, and Muslims as an Ethnic People (or a wonderfully diverse Rainbow of Ethnic Peoples)
2) and as such, immediately and axiomatically, Islam and Muslims are accorded irrationally excessive respect and deference, as that respect and deference subsists in an incoherent convolution of Western self-hatred and paradoxical condescension to the Ethnic Other by which we torture ourselves in more or less semi-conscious shame and guilt at being, in fact, superior.
This axiomatic respect and deference then, gets ratcheted up with regard to Muslims through the perverse mechanism of Auster's First Law of Majority-Minority Relations -- by which the worse any designated minority or alien group behaves in a liberal society, the bigger become the lies of Political Correctness in covering up for that group -- since Muslims misbehave astronomically worse than any other perceived Ethnic Group on the planet.
Here and there, we see in the West signs of the retention of the rationality of the Western sense of superiority, as with Georganne Chapin's sentiment I quoted above -- though I suspect her sentiment partakes of a curious mixture of excessive Western self-criticism paradoxically symbiotic with a condescension to the Ethnic Other by which the post-Colonial Liberal continues the practice of bringing Civilization to the Noble Savage and cannot allow him or herself to think the unthinkable thought that there might be Savages, such as Muslims, who will never be civilized in the Western sense in sufficient numbers to help us solve the problem of Islam (one suspects this of Pam Geller herself, too (if not also of Robert Spencer), as in her romantic idealism about the Iranian People, and in her excessive concern for Muslim women as Victims, and signs in her thought of a Glazovian Pipes Dream by which one fervently believes that the problem of Islam can only be solved when Moderate Muslims reform Islam).