Monday, June 14, 2010

The corner Robert Spencer paints himself into

In a recent notice on Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer wrote of the ideas derived from Sharia law:

"Either we allow the propagation of such ideas in the U.S. or we don't."

Surely, Spencer must know that the U.S.A. does not forbid the propagation of any ideas, including those of the Communist Party, the KKK, neo-Nazis, Satanists, etc. While three or four European countries have developed limited policies of making the propagation of certain ideas illegal -- usually incurring fines or even jail time -- such as the propagation of Holocaust denial, or more vaguely "hate speech" (e.g., the actress Brigitte Bardot, who has been fined by the French government more than once for "hate" against Muslims in one or more books she wrote), this tendency is by no means dominant in Europe and it has tended to operate amid much internal debate, tension and dissension from critics. Canada also has "hate speech" laws, and seems to be worse than the European countries that have them -- though, of course, the "hate speech" laws seem to be unilaterally applied according to the PC MC Dogma of Reverse Racism, and for that reason never seem to apply to the hate speech which Muslims endemically deploy through expressing the tenets of their Islam.

If Spencer's sentence was not just a sloppy slip, I think it's explained by the somewhat incoherent corner he paints himself into with one aspect of his theory of stealth jihad -- viz., the aspect that tends to disconnect violent jihad from stealth jihad and thus tends to see the latter as in and of itself dangerous. But society is not endangered by a group that propagates ideas about the merits of the subjugation of women and of other minority groups, and of the merits of draconian punishments for crimes, and of the merits of harsh penalties for religious blasphemy, and so forth -- if that group never intends to use violence to further their aims. If a modern democratic society voluntarily chooses the path of accepting and implementing such pernicious ideas, then it deserves them. But no modern democratic society will ever voluntarily accept and implement the pernicious ideas in Sharia Law, when the rubber meets the road. We will have to be forced to do so -- through violence.

For now, modern democratic societies of the West are playing an irresponsible game half-wittingly countenancing such pernicious ideas of Islam out of a confused sense of wishing to be "tolerant" and out of an anxiety that seeks to avoid being "bigoted" against a worldwide People and their central culture, perceived to be ethnic. Precisely because things have not come to a head, this clash of Western liberalism and Islamic Sharia remains in a state of limbo and so the PC MCs as yet have never had to face the responsibility of the actual concrete choice between the anti-liberal ideas of Islam, and a defense of their own Western liberal ideas of how to organize society. That confrontation can only occur through the medium of violence, when Muslims try to force their ways on us, which, because they will remain militarily weak, they will continue to pursue through the roundabout tactics of various forms of terrorism and threats of terrorism.

Spencer's somewhat incoherent stance on stealth jihad vis-a-vis violent jihad is also related to the incoherence he shares with Geert Wilders and Pam Geller, among many others in the still inchoate Anti-Islam Movement -- namely, the incoherence that tries simultaneously to condemn Islam while claiming they they are not against Muslims per se and may even aver that most Muslims are harmless. This incoherence seems to rest on a curious myopia to the fact that any given Muslim is Islam personified, is Islam activated, is Islam realized. The only way to attenuate this fact is to then come in out of left field with various theories about how "most Muslims don't know their Islam", or "most Muslims are really lax and don't follow their Islam", or "many Muslims practice an enlightened moderate form of Islam", or any number of other ways by which one tries to superimpose Western mores upon Muslims, as though the historical process that has massaged Western Jews and Christians into a state of predominant secular relaxation must necessarily also apply to the majority of Muslims.

One suspects that behind Spencer's incoherence on these matters lurks a liberal anxiety to avoid bigotry against Muslims. Since Spencer is more knowledgeable about the danger, injustice and evil of Islam than your garden-variety liberal, this sets up a paradoxical tension in his thought, and whenever the subject comes up (which is far less often now than it was in years past, as documented and analyzed in various essays I wrote for my now retired blog Jihad Watch Watch), Spencer's formulations tend to go into contortions, because he is trying to balance, and defend, two mutually contradictory theses:

1) Islam is dangerous, unjust and evil

2) Most Muslims are harmless, and maybe even good, people.

This paradox is inherent to the asymptotic analysis to which Spencer tends to subscribe -- for asymptotic analysis with regard to the problem of Islam derives from PC MC. Ironically, one consequence of these contortions caused by Spencer's inherent liberalism is that most illiberal proposal quoted at the head of my essay above.


mckinney said...


Sagunto said...

I understand your views and I agree in principal, but you raise two debatable points. First off on the JW-site, you say:

" are right, Islam is a disease. But Islam is no ordinary disease. With most diseases, the victims want to be cured, and they seek help to escape the disease. The vast majority of Muslims do not want to be cured of their disease."

How can you prove that claim to be true? The decisive factor for us "infidels" should be the proportion of muslims that want to implement sharia law in the West. Muslims who don't, are still not the ones who'll fight in our corner to defend our natural right to bee free, but those are the "law-abiding" muslims Wilders is talking about. Furthermore, there are immense pressures on people who grow up in a muslim community to keep them from overt apostasy, but that doesn't mean there aren't those who would leave islam as soon as they think it's safe for them to do so. This is one reason why islam in all its public manifestations should be banned as a political ideology that is a threat to our constitutions (like nazism was). You might be surprised how many muslims will then seek "self-treatment" to get rid of their horrid virus. I refer to the work of father Boutros in Egypt. I imagine it to be a lot easier for potential muslim apostates to cure themselves of the islamic virus when they feel that government is on their side.

This relates to your second debatable point. You mistakenly assume that Wilders' premises on islam and muslims ("There are moderate muslims, but there is no moderate islam"), only warrant one possible conclusion, i.e. that there is only one way to deal with islam.
You say:

"The only way to make Wilders' theory of Islam coherent is to assume that there is hope that we can reform or de-Islamicize a sufficient number of Muslims to defuse the danger of Islam."

Again, you are focussing on the patient and not on the disease, on the virus itself. Of course there is another, more incisive way to deal with islam and that is.. to deal with islam (and cure some muslims in the proces). Islam should be outlawed, banned and expelled from the public arena as an unconstitutional menace to our societies. As to how that should be done is a matter of tactics. The strategy however should be clear: if you want to cure society from this disease, you fight the virus.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,

Hesperado said...

Sagunto, thanks for your comment.

You wrote:

"The decisive factor for us "infidels" should be the proportion of muslims that want to implement sharia law in the West."

If I thought it were possible to galvanize the West into a program that forces this issue upon Muslims in the West -- and cocomitant with that restricts or forbids immigration of new Muslims -- now or in the next five years or so, I might be persuaded that this is a viable way to manage the problem of Islam. But I see no signs that the West is ready now, or in the foreseeable future, to force this issue in the massive way necessary. In fact, other than a lone Wilders in the wilderness, there are signs throughout the West of a continued, if not an increasing, PC MC defense of Muslims and Islam.

Thus, given the high probability that the Wilders solution will not be adopted any time soon, and that the West will only get around to being able to do it in about 50 years from now, the Wilders solution changes form. The West will not be the same in about 50 years with regard to its Muslims, with regard to Muslim demographics in the West, and with regard to the increasing belligerence of Muslims worldwide and within the West. By the time the West is ready to implement a Wilders policy, the nature of the beast will have changed under our noses. The Wilders policy will at that future date be too little, too late.

(I'll try to respond to other points you raised later)