Sunday, October 10, 2010
Asymptotic tangles: Auster and Geller
In a recent essay on his blog, Lawrence Auster critiques Geller's incoherence on a particular aspect of the problem of Islam. I'm not much of a fan of Geller's articulations of most aspects of the problem of Islam (a comparison of her writings with merely one recent essay written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali for the Wall Street Journal reflects most unfavorably on Geller).
The only trouble is, Auster critiques her for possibly the one thing she gets right!
In reproducing text from a New York Times interview Geller gave, Auster quotes an answer where she encapsulates why she is anti-Islam -- or, perhaps more specifically, what being anti-Islam means (even though she, like Robert Spencer, never actually admit (or realize) that they are anti-Islam):
Honestly, I have no problem with hijab, I have no problem with burqa, I have no problem with purple hair. I don’t care. What I’m saying is the separation of mosque and state needs vigilance, that’s what I’m saying. And all you need to do is look at the current global map and the historical evidence to see what happens when you get these increased demands to Islam.
This is absurd. The Ground Zero mosque, for example, has nothing to do with some union of mosque and state, yet Geller opposes it. The adoption by the Campbell Soup Company of halal has nothing to do with some union of mosque and state, yet Geller opposes it. Rifqa Barry’s father’s threat against his daughter has nothing to do with a union of mosque and state, yet Geller opposes it. Existentially, Geller opposes, not just a union of Islam and state. She opposes Islam itself.
First, we may say that Auster has been correct about the fundamental incoherence of those in the still inchoate anti-Islam movement who oppose the Ground Zero Mosque not on general Islamic grounds but on murky casuistry that in effect tries to pin on its developers (Rauf, et al.) specific faults supposedly connected to what one is supposed to find pernicious in Islam (even though Auster to my knowledge hasn't articulated this particular point with the clarity of Debbie Schlussel who alone in the still inchoate anti-Islam movement, aside from myself, seems to get the simplex principle involved here).
There is a distinct point involved here, however, with Auster's critique of Geller. What Auster doesn't seem to realize is that in thrusting his wedge at that particular cleft in her argument (that Islam is to be opposed because it mandates the fusion of mosque and state), he is effectively separating Islam from Islam's non-separation from state. However, the problem with that is that there is no separation between Islam and Islam's fusion of Deen and State: Any and all facets of Islam should be opposed precisely because any and all facets of Islam contain the DNA for mosque-state fusion.
One cannot abstract the Muslim tentacles that reach as far as the Campbell's soup company in Canada from the blueprint in Islam for world domination under the aegis of a totalitarian fusion of Deen-and-State codified through Islamic Sharia law which in turn rests on the Hadiths which in turn rests on a fanatical reverence for Mohammed. Islam wherever it manifests itself anywhere in the world -- in institutions, in ideas, and in the masses of individuals -- is a single animal: Muslims are its cells, and world subjugation through the enforcement of Islamic law in preparation for the eschaton is its genetic coding.
At this late stage of the game, Auster shows himself to have fallen rather behind in his autodidactic pedagogy about Islam. Auster thus misses the fact that Sharia is the very heart of Islam. To be a good Muslim is to follow the laws supposed to have originated with Mohammed's tafsir of the Koran as articulated in the Hadiths. And Islamic Sharia law is not just a bunch of religious rituals: it is the totalitarian organization of all aspects of life -- obviously including, nay engulfing, the political realm.
Everything a Muslim thinks, feels and does reflects this desideratum in one way or another. Any given Muslim is a walking embodiment of the fusion of religion and state. And any given activity or enterprise which a Muslim is engaged in is therefore pursued in the interest of concretizing that fusion (whether by hook or by crook, whether through force or through deceptively un-theocratic taqiyya).
I don't know where this Islam separated from the fusion of Deen-and-State is that Auster sees: it doesn't exist. It is, in fact, a figment of the PC MC paradigm and, since asymptoticism reflects the retention to one degree or another of PC MC in the heart and mind of the otherwise anti-Islam analyst, this is one more indication that Auster is asymptotic.
Now, where Geller goes wrong is less subtle, and we can dispense with her in a single paragraph: she recognizes the intrinsic and inextricable fusion of mosque-state, but she persists in separating Islam from Muslims, and only opposing the former, not the latter (unless they are proven guilty of putting Islam into practice -- though that of course would entangle her in a preposterously impracticable formula, were she to think it through). Thus Geller too, as with Auster, is asymptotic, but the degree of the PC MC virus in her system far exceeds the trace amounts that only here and there occlude Auster's clarity on the issue -- if indeed, she has not succumbed to the deeper pull of the PC MC murk that lies below asymptotic speculation.
Asymptotic analysis is paradoxical: hence the term I used to coin the phenomenon which, loosely speaking, means "getting closer and closer to attainment, but never quite arriving". The paradox of asymptoticism is that the closer one gets to attaining the clarity of the holistic position --
Islam is the problem, the problem is endangering the West in uniquely lethal ways, and all Muslims are enablers of that problem
-- the more that some internal inhibition sets up a counter-tension to the movement toward the telos.
In the un-asymptotic person, the learning curve more or less proceeds unparadoxically: The more he learns about the horror and terror -- and uniquely totalitarian fanaticism -- of Islam and of Muslims, the more he sheds his inhibitions about naming the enemy as Islam and all Muslims. Most Westerners, I imagine, do not proceed perfectly unparadoxically along this learning process. Even I didn't. I can detect asymptotic hiccups along my own learning curve, as my emotions, tethered by a misguided conscience inculcated in me over my lifetime by a mainstream and dominant PC MC culture, at times tended to resist where the logic of the learning curve was going.
Auster remains uncomfortable with "totalistic thinking"; Geller remains sentimentally attached to the millions of Muslim "victims" she imagines exist as a mass to be saved by us (and who, in turn, will help save us from their own Islam). Both are continuing to hang on to the unverified assumption that Muslims are, in some way or other, "moms and pops like the rest of us" -- or in other words, have an "inner Westerner" that would in sufficient numbers among them militate against the pragmatic pertinence of in fact treating them totalistically for our #1 priority: the safety of our societies.
Just as modern physicists tangle themselves into knots of string theory in order to extricate themselves out of their attempt to explain transcendence while simultaneously denying transcendence, so asymptotics do the same, in varying degrees, when they intelligently absorb the mountain of data about Islam and Muslims that leads logically to treating them as a uniquely totalistic threat, but simultaneously recoil from the logic of that conclusion.
Auster's Insufficiency and Incoherence
The corner Robert Spencer paints himself into
Wildersianism and the "inner Westerner" in Muslims
Yet another asymptotic analyst: John Schindler