Sunday, October 17, 2010
Misunderstanding the Muslim Mind: Mark Durie: Asymptotic Analyst
Of Major Hasan's mindset -- as we can know it through 1) his act in November of 2009 of mass-murdering 13 non-Muslims and wounding 29 others (obviously reflecting his intent to mass-murder as many as possible); 2) his infamous Powerpoint presentation to his Infidel colleagues in the U.S. military in 2007; and 3) our own Islamoliteracy -- anti-Islam analyst Mark Durie observes:
All in all these powerpoint slides suggest a heart-felt plea, in which Major Hasan requests, with clarity and consistency, that a Muslim in the military not be asked to serve in a context where her or she will have to fight against 'fellow Muslims', particularly if the war is regarded by Muslims as an unjust one. To do this is to force them to choose between hell and mutiny.
This is not the voice of someone consumed by hatred or malice. It does however speak of someone who has become trapped by their worldview, and is, with terrifying conviction and clarity of mind, contemplating what it would mean to take the lives of his fellow soldiers, driven on by the inescapable logic of deeply held religious beliefs.
[The bolded phrases added by me for emphasis.]
Durie sees in Hasan's Powerpoint presentation a "heart-felt plea". A plea for what, exactly? Why, of course, a plea to communicate to non-Muslims the unbearable tension which the Muslim-American Hasan feels between his loyalty to Islam and his loyalty to America. This is Durie's first mistake.
From all that we know about the founding texts of Islam, the history of Islam, and the words and deeds of Muslims in our time, we must reasonably suppose that no Muslim feels loyalty to any non-Muslim polity. It is thus eminently reasonable to interpret that Powerpoint presentation not as a "heart-felt plea" indicative of a tension between loyalties -- but rather as an explication of the tension between Hasan's Muslim identity and the hostile and filthy environment, America, he was forced by circumstances to accept.
Durie's "plea" implies that Hasan's conscience was tortured. No: from all that we know (or should know) about Islam and about Muslims, we must assume that for any given Muslim (and certainly one who ended up mass-murdering innocents in the name Islam) there is no conscience to be tortured. There is only the Absolute Truth of Islam, and the surrounding Jahiliyya of Darkness filled with "enemies" and their dangers and seductions.
So Durie's "choice" between hell and mutiny he imputes to Hasan's mind (and to the mind of any Muslim following Islam) is not a choice that takes root within the Muslim mind -- it is a choice impinging upon the Muslim mind from outside, as long as he is in a situation surrounded by Infidels who have the power to force such a choice upon him.
We see already that Durie is beginning with the premise that any given Muslim (even including one who ended up mass-murdering innocents in the name Islam) is a human being with a moral conscience, and that his Islam is only one half of his mind, and therefore an inevitable tension is set up between the Muslim's Islam in his mind, and his innate humanity which, of course, must be good and even perhaps also secular and Western: there's an "inner Westerner" inside every Muslim, aching to get out, but constrained to one degree or another by Islamic influences. Usually, these Islamic influences are seen to be an elite of clerics and demagogues who somehow, through intimidation and brainwashing, force the masses of otherwise good, secular and naturally Westernizable Muslims into behaving Islamically. Thus, the masses of Muslims are saved from Islam -- through the feat of our own generous hypothesis about their underlying humanity!
And when we save those masses of Muslims, we are also saving ourselves -- from the horrible things we think we will have to do to all those Muslims, were we to regard them grimly, as they are and have been for 1400 years, without the benefit of our rosy-tinted theories about what they must really be.
Durie's psychoanalysis of Hasan goes on note that his "is not the voice of someone consumed by hatred or malice".
Here, Durie is making the elementary mistake of thinking that all hatred and malice must be passionately vociferous, or emotionally unhinged. While certainly demonstrative fury -- whether expressed in riots, or in brandishing hateful signs and grimacing fangs at rallies, or in various types of violent attacks, or in general mayhem -- is common among Muslims, it is not their only style. Osama bin Laden in his videos, for example, doesn't come across like a ranting Fuhrer spittling and frothing at the mouth: That's because his hatred and malice are so clear in his heart and mind, the truth that justifies them so certain to him, and the deeds that must be accomplished to avenge them so indisputable, he doesn't feel the need to get emotional.
Aside from the deceiving Muslim, then, we may say there are two types of honest Muslim: 1) the demonically angry; and 2) the psychopathically calm.
Major Hasan was the latter type.
Often, the two types coincide, as when a Muslim calmly decides he must stab an Infidel 100 times and gut and decapitate him like a slaughtered animal. According to an eyewitness to the assassination of Theo Van Gogh, his assassin, Mohamed Bouyeri, was attempting to behead him (before police came upon the scene) calmly, "as though slicing a loaf of bread".
So, after Durie erroneously rules out "hatred or malice", he fills the vacuum by conjecturing that Hasan's mind bespeaks "someone who has become trapped by their worldview". This again implies an inner tension -- here, articulated by Durie as a tension between moral conscience and "the inescapable logic of deeply held religious beliefs".
Once again, we have a psychological model of the Muslim as a binary being -- one half inner Westerner, one half submitter to Islam -- and these two halves are at odds, creating a tension. I submit (pun intended) that from all we know about Muslims and Islam, we must adjust our paradigm of how we conceive of their psychology. There is no "inner Westerner" in the Muslim. There is no moral conscience in the Muslim that would be in tension with the remorseless evil of Islam, because moral conscience is a Western invention -- or rather, a Western discovery.
At best, we can say that in any given Muslim there is a potential for a moral conscience to take root; but such roots will more often than not (and certainly not often enough for it to matter pragmatically for the safety of our societies) find hostile soil and toxins that will choke the life out of it before anything substantial can take hold.
Given the various lethal dangers posed to our societies by innumerable Muslims we cannot sufficiently distinguish from the globally motile demographic mass from which they pullulate, we have neither the time nor the luxury to experiment with saving Muslims from Islam -- much less with making it a project as part of our official policy.
And it would be reckless for us to presume that our wishful thinking about what we think is in the hearts and minds of masses of Muslims is somehow going to help us fend off the dangerously lethal effects their Islam, through the agency of innumerable fellow Muslims, is causing us.
Whatever explains the Muslim mind, it is eminently reasonable to suppose that modern sociology and psychology are woefully inadequate to illuminate it, and that we would have more profitable recourse to older theories along the lines of demonic possession.