Friday, September 03, 2010

Self-Criticism and the Mother of all Others

Ironically, white Westerners have made self-searching hand-wringing self-condemnation an art and a positive industry. We white Westerners find ways to be ashamed of our civilization in myriad ways: in our school system, our school curricula, our colleges; our popular books, movies, TV shows, art exhibits; our political rhetoric; our news media. For at least the past 60 years, it has come to saturate our cultural airwaves.

But more importantly, this is not a phenomenon impinging upon The People from some dastardly Elite outside us: its insidious emotional and intellectual tendrils have insinuated themselves into our very hearts and minds: most white Western people really feel ashamed of their past. They can't rid themselves of a gnawing feeling that they stand on, and benefit from, lands and people they have "raped" and "genocided" and enslaved.

And these people I am talking about are not merely "Leftists": if it were only Leftists who feel this way, we would not have the great problem that we have today: it is precisely because these feelings permeate most Westerners on all points of the political and social spectrum, that we now stand blind to the dangers of Muslims.

One can see the residues, in varying quantities from person to person, of the deformation of PC MC, in many individuals who are otherwise anti-Islam. When in these individuals it affects their perspective on the problem of Islam, it tends to exert itself in varying ways such as to produce the curious phenomenon of what I have called asymptoticism -- which is precisely defined, in this context, as the retention to one degree or another of PC MC in an otherwise anti-Islam mind.  

For an interesting, if somewhat disquieting indication of this, see my discussion with an otherwise staunchly anti-Islam commenter on Jihad Watch, "dumbledoresarmy".  This discussion was not about the problem of Islam, but about the PC MC paradigm, focusing on how the Western propensity for excessive self-criticism tends to breed and connect with our current irrational deference to all things Islamic.  In that discussion, I began with a general salvo directed at no one in particular describing the problem using the specific example of white Australian shame at its treatment of its natives; she then responded with a copious rebuttal; I then noted some problems with one of her sources in that he seems to be decidedly PC MC while his detractor, an academic whom dumbledoresarmy dismisses completely, I found persuasive; she then pooh-poohed my impression as so much poppycock; I, in turn, in my response delivered a neatly apposite refusal to take her increasing nonsense on the matter, noting that the edifice of evidence she had in her initial riposte to me driven in on a lift-truck on closer inspection seemed to be a "tissue of anecdotes"; while she, in her turn, pretty much rhetorically implied that all history is a tissue of anecdotes; I then dispatched that roundly (and thought the matter was settled, until I saw later she had deposited a rather verbose concoction of fallacious basket-weaving that would exasperate were one to try to pick apart into some sense).  Overall, she seems to manifest a seemingly oblivious defense of one major meme of PC MC in her Australian context -- viz., the white Western shame at its supposed enormity in its treatment of the autochthonous aborigines -- and doubles up on this by registering no awareness of it as integral to the PC MC mythmaking-cum-revisionist history; nor of its connection with our ongoing Western myopia to the problem of Islam.  While dumbledoresarmy is, as I say, one of the staunchest anti-Islam critics I've seen in Jihad Watch comments, I have over the years noted a subtle tendency on her part to have reflexes to defend this or that type of Muslim (the ex-Muslim, the Muslims who may be on their way to jumping ship, the Muslim women "victims" of Islam, Muslim children who cannot possibly be deadly, and so on); and given my exchange with her described above, I am more inclined to see this as symptomatic of an asymptotic tendency.

Asymptoticism has many different manifestations, which I have touched on in a previous essay, Asymptotic psychology. Among them with regard to the problem of Islam is the tendency to hypothesize the viable existence of innumerable harmless Muslims: the precise numbers, of course, are never pinned down, but the number is supposed to be sufficiently large to make some kind of a difference in the asymptotic mind. And that difference is mainly calculated, semi-consciously, to relieve the nagging anxiety, deep down, that by being anti-Islam, they logically can't avoid being anti-Muslim -- and since Muslims present a sufficiently united front (notwithstanding the wonderful "diversity" that compromises the "monolithic" nature of Islam), and since the dangers which that united front poses to our societies is so great, the logic of being not merely anti-Islam, but also anti-Muslim arouses in the modern Western conscience the gnawing fear that if we push our anti-Islam campaign too far, we might "become like them" and start going down the "slippery slope" toward rounding Muslims up, putting them in camps, ethnically cleansing them, etc. These are the effects of the modern Western propensity toward excessive self-criticism.

The reason I began by saying this propensity was ironic was because the white West, alone among all civilizations now and throughout all history suffers from a unique paradox:

1) it is by far the best, most beneficent, most decent, most advanced culture now and throughout all history

and yet

2) it is the only culture now and in all history that examines itself so minutely for faults and feels so ashamed of itself.

Now, this is not entirely a paradox: There is a logical symbiosis between #2 and #1: The better, more decent and more advanced a society or an individual is, the more he will be able and willing to admit faults.

But the modern West has, in its paradigm shift into the mainstream dominance of PC MC which began approximately 60 years ago, crossed the line from the constructive self-criticism that characterized classical liberalism, into a deranged pathology of self-condemnation that integrates a fear of criticizing all Others -- much less of condemning the Others when they deserve it.

The supreme irony in this all is that now the West is faced with a systemic danger from one particular Other -- the Mother of all Others, Islam -- whose culture is probably the least self-critical, most xenophobic and misoxenist of all cultures today, and throughout history.

It's time for the West to stop fearing the lion inside it that it always was, and to be proud of it -- otherwise the lion of Islam (in Arabic, Osama) will devour the pussycat the modern West has become.

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