Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Robert Spencer: From Wilsonianism to Glazovianism
In a recent Jihad Watch notice, Robert Spencer wrote:
I don't subscribe to Wilsonian pipe dreams of bringing democracy to the benighted masses, and in reality there is little one can or should do for the oppressed if they do indeed love their oppression and wish to remain under its boot...
...but the fact remains that I am not "anti-Muslim."
In unpacking what it means to be "not anti-Muslim", Spencer went on:
Some years ago here at Jihad Watch I had an exchange with an English convert to Islam. I said: "I would like nothing better than a flowering, a renaissance, in the Muslim world, including full equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies: freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, equal employment opportunities, etc." Is all that "anti-Muslim"?
Now, Spencer added that his Muslim correspondent considered that all these, well, neo-Wilsonian ideals, were in effect anti-Muslim; for he reported that his correspondent answered:
"So, you would like to see us ditch much of our religion and, thereby, become non-Muslims."
And Spencer observed:
In other words, he saw a call for equality of rights for women and non-Muslims in Islamic societies, including freedom of conscience, equality in laws regarding legal testimony, and equal employment opportunities, as a challenge to his religion.
But from that astute observation, Spencer then lurched in the wrong direction:
To the extent that they [i.e., these neo-Wilsonian ideals] are [a challenge to his correspondent's Islam], these facts have to be confronted by both Muslims and non-Muslims.
No, they don't "have to be". Only things that reasonably could be, are things about which we can demand, or expect, that they "have to be". There are some things in life that will reasonably never happen -- you know, the usual litany of Miss Universe Ideals: an end to war, an end to all hunger, an end to disease, an end to all animal abuse, an end to old age; etc. To which we can add, an end to Islamic Muslims.
And Spencer in the same quote continued to elaborate and defend his Wilsonianism which at the beginning he had declared to be a pipe dream:
But it is not "anti-Muslim" to wish freedom of conscience and equality of rights on the Islamic world -- quite the contrary.
My title is not meant to be literal, but ironic: In fact, there is no real evolution or change from Wilsonianism to Glazovianism. The latter is a term I developed to describe that particular type of unreasonable hopefulness about the expectation of a reformation of Islam among Muslims that would be of a sufficient magnitude to solve our problem which their Islam, through themselves as carriers and agents, is causing us. That unreasonable hopefulness may manifest shadings in degree which can be plotted along a spectrum, from the most extreme (the Pipes Dream), to the slightly less extreme musings of our eponymous Jamie Glazov, to the more boldly vague recommendations of Geert Wilders, to the somewhat more realistic -- but therefore that much less coherent -- non-positional position of Spencer.
While I have noted Spencer's Glazovianism before (cf. my now retired blog Jihad Watch Watch), I still found it rather breathtaking that in the same breath, Spencer rejects Wilsonianism and then immediately launches into a defense of... Wilsonianism.