Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hesperado's Banning from Jihad Watch for Idiots Guide

In that
thread where I continue, by a fingernail now, to be an off topic, a sub-topic to that off topic has developed concerning my banning from Jihad Watch comments by Marisol proxy for Robert Spencer (I doubt she has the power to ban individuals without his consent, and doubt she ever bans people without him directing her to do so, though perhaps the latter has occurred in extremely rare cases). About that, once again, the long-time Jihad Watch reader and commenter "Kinana of Khaybar" retails more garbled disinformation:

One of the reasons cited for Hesperado's most recent banning was that he claimed that Muslims were not human. That comment, which he went on to defend at length, would be enough for me to ban him if it were my decision...

1) Had "Kinana of Khaybar" read carefully my two comments on that September thread in question, he would have seen that I specified that when I wrote "I have had the epiphany that they [Muslims] are not human", I did not mean "not human" in an "ontological" sense. Thus, I wasn't just ranting "Muslims are inhuman savages!" -- I was articulating a nuanced philosophical observation in a calm and intellectual manner. Marisol, however, chose to cherry-pick that one sentence and use its inflammatory appearance out of context to imply that I was advocating genocide or genocidal rationale.

2) "Kinana of Khaybar" then in the same breath compounds his obtuse misreading (or sloppy reading) by claiming that I "went on to defend at length" the simplex claim that "Muslims are not human" when in fact, what I went on at length to do was defend the distinction between an ontological humanity and a pragmatic inhumanity, with that defense couched in a discursive context of probing the philosophical issue these symbolisms raise.

At any rate, if "Kinana of Khaybar" is going to accuse me of things and be persuasive about his accusations, then he should address my argument, which I laid out in Banned again from Jihad Watch comments: O the humanity (of Muslims)!

And, if he is feeling particularly ambitious (and fair), he can also read my subsequent essays that explore and explain my position on Muslim humanity --

Wildersianism and the "inner Westerner" inside Muslims

Four phases of Western universalism, and the humanity of Muslims

Christian Wilsonianism at Jihad Watch

Correction: Christian Wildersianism at Jihad Watch

Would "Kinana of Khaybar" support the stifling of the free speech of someone without even bothering to read carefully their own articulation of their position? Does he support stifling their free speech on a sloppy reading of their own articulation of their position?

One wonders on what basis "Kinana of Khaybar" supports the stifling of free speech when that speech is calm, mature, intellectual and philosophically nuanced. Is it only because he is paranoid about "the Enemy" exploiting my words in order to defame Jihad Watch? Or does he have a deeper affinity with curbing free speech when he feels that speech disagrees with his ethics?

Had I, in that September thread, simply written "Muslims are inhuman savages!" or "Muslims are not human" full stop, I might tend to agree with him. But I didn't. It is outrageous when otherwise intelligent, educated Westerners like "Kinana of Khaybar" and Marisol (and Robert Spencer) countenance or even aggressively pursue the stifling of speech that is calm, mature, intellectual and philosophically nuanced.

Of course, even my "nuanced" articulation might not be ethical enough for many people and they may wish to safeguard the axiomatic conferral of humanity on Muslims and may feel my articulation threatens that, but to me that by itself (particularly factoring in the deportment of my articulation) is not a fair reason to stifle free speech: if both parties are being reasonable and mature about their manner, it should be discussed, and those with power shouldn't abuse it by stifling the speech of the person they don't agree with.

I have thought for years that the Jihad Watch sensitivity about comments is set a bit too high, based in large part in a paranoia about what "the Enemy" will do if we say things that sound too politically incorrect, or if we seem to foment dissension among our ranks which will somehow impair our unity. If the latter, it would be rather ironic, for the burning of one bridge after another by Spencer with other important individuals in the anti-Islam movement (Debbie Schlussel, Diana West, Baron Bodissey and Dymphna, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Bostom, perhaps also Hugh Fitzgerald) is hardly conducive to the movement's solidarity, irrespective of whether that bridge-burning is "all their fault" as Spencer would seem to have it, or a more or less mutual thing.


Hesperado said...

Both "Kinana of Khaybar" and "awake" (readers and commenters at Jihad Watch) have implied that I spend too much time on my blog criticizing Robert Spencer. I just did a cursory survey of my blog going back the last three years and found that at most, 20% of my essays deal critically with Robert Spencer (and some of those not necessarily frontally). The impression one gets from "Kinana of Khaybar" and "awake" is that I spend at least 80% of my time here on Spencer. Yet another example of their skewed and irrationally hypersensitive perspective.

In addition, this is not counting the fact that there should be no problem with someone who wants to write a blog exclusively about Robert Spencer, as long as that someone is not a deranged nut like "Rev." Jim Sutter or the radical Leftists at "Loonwatch". Surely there is room for a division of labor in the anti-Islam movement and we do not all have to be in lockstep agreement as "awake" would desire; and surely, self-criticism within the movement is a healthy virtue when conducted in a mature and intelligent mannter.

For "Kinana of Khaybar" and "awake" (and others at Jihad Watch) to imply that anyone who wishes to critique Spencer must ipso facto be a nut like those aforementioned actual nuts is, at best, a scurrilously juvenile position, and at worst, a recipe for demagogic or corrupt abuse of influence in a vitally important and still evolving sociopolitical movement.

Ghostrider said...

I too have noticed the presence of a certain strain of the PC-MC pathogen infecting some of the people commenting on JW. I'm now in the middle of reading Hesperado's archive articles about that. Offhand, one main thing about PC-MC is that it's always an effort to find some excuse to bend the rules, make an exception, abrogate customary standards of behavior, in order to favor and retain the loyalty of certain precious types of persons -- and it probably began way back in the 1930s as an internal policy and practice within the memberships of Communist/Socialist Parties to hold on to members recruited from racial minorities and oppressed peoples. In the 1960s it was spread intensively in academia, in the 1970s in the Democratic Party U.S. Now I have go read what Hesperado has written.

Hesperado said...


I appreciate your resolve to read through some of my essays.

I would only suggest two things for now:

1) One of my themes of the analysis of PC MC is that it is a mistake to conceive of it as a "Leftist" pathology. The reasons for that and the ramifications of that are enormously complex.

2) Which leads me to my second point: to get a full appreciation for the complexity of the subject, you'd have to read an awful lot of my essays. If you can, that would be great, though I understand if you don't have the time.

P.S.: I have been working on developing a comprehensive catalogue by category of all my essays here, but it has been slow going due to the innate technical limitations of this blog system.

Hesperado said...


Just one example of #1 above:

Consider that (if one finds my analysis of the subject cogent) the 16th century philosopher and statesman Montaigne demonstrated many thoughts and opinions that sound thoroughly PC MC. If PC MC is just a "Socialist" or "Communist" or "Gramscian" phenomenon, how could Montaigne have been PC MC centuries before those sociopolitical ideologies?

Hesperado said...

P.S.: My Montaigne essay:

Montaigne: Godfather of PC MC?

Ghostrider said...

Re. Origins of PC-MC - Yes the Noble Savage idea is part of it, and the glorification of the primitive in Matters of culture, eg. A fascination with primitive art and artifacts. These are parallel mental tendencies.
Again the Communist/Socialist Party member as an individual has personally undergone a stripping, a denuding, of his own family connections, his native values and customs, his middle-class culture and easily enough replaced it with Marxian revolutionary consciousness. So the Communist/Socialist thinks it should be easy enough for anyone to do the same, to renounce and extirpate his religious heritage and replace it with something very new. Why not? If I can do it, why can't millions of Muslims do it? All it takes is some indoctrination or reindoctrination.

Ghostrider said...

I'm happy to discover you know that the history of the modern world does not begin in the 1930s. In regard to that, you and I are kindred spirits. My outlook on most things in modern life is that it began in the Renaissance and Reformation period. Apparently you have a similar perspective. Great!
I'm not a professional historian, but I've done a good amount of reading the histories and writings of the 1500s and 1600s. Unfortunately most educated people nowadays think everything began during the 1930s. (Some think even Islam began then). No wonder you made some enemies at JW Comments!

Hesperado said...

"So the Communist/Socialist thinks it should be easy enough for anyone to do the same, to renounce and extirpate his religious heritage and replace it with something very new. Why not? If I can do it, why can't millions of Muslims do it? All it takes is some indoctrination or reindoctrination."

Yes -- but millions of Westerners who are not Socialists or Communists believe more or less the same. Indeed, I'd say the majority of "conservatives" throughout the West believe roughly the same thing: that in fact is the Wilsonianism behind the billions Bush and Blair spent on trying to democratize Muslims.

Socialism and Communism are important ideological factors in the problem, but I would hesitate to assign them pivotal functions.

Part of my analytical rationale is to avoid conspiracy theories; and all this "Gramscian" business strikes me as being just another flavor of that. This is not to say that Communists were not assiduously busy in trying to undermine the West and were not a major threat. But now the threat is Muslims -- not Communists, not Nazis, not Jews, not "globalists". And the problem of the myopia to this central threat seems to me to be a general problem of the West, neither a specific problem of one ideology, nor the machinations of some diabolical cabal who are "really" in control.

Ghostrider said...

Paraphrasing Montaigne : We are worse because we are better. Truly the kind of paradox that's the guiding principle of today's PC-MC crowd. Was the French Court nobility as perversely artificial and phoney as their reputation has it? Probably so. You're right, though, the main idea of PC-MC is right there in Montaigne's Essays.
It's late in the evening, here in NYC.
See ya next time.

Hesperado said...


You hit the nail on the head about Montaigne; or I should say, you located the nail-head with excellent focus.

As my essay Four phases of Western universalism, and the humanity of Muslims intimates, the disease of PC MC is not an extraneous anomaly, but has roots in the health of the West. It is thus a paradoxical phenomenon, a "hectic fever" of excess health, so to speak.

That to me is the only way to describe it, without falling into the twin errors of

1) the conspiracy theory of a diabolical cabal who are "really" controlling the West

2) the nihilistic pessimism (if not the crypto-immanentized eschaton in a quasi-Basilidean sense) of a Spenglerian doom.

By avoiding the latter, I hope I do not pretend to forestall the ancient wisdom of, for example, Hesiod and Plato, who knew that "all empires have an end". I only seek a way to recover our health before our time is up. No need to die before one's time, eh?

Ghostrider said...

Hello. - I think you mean that PC-MC is an expression of a feeling of excess health among many persons in the West, so excessively healthy and strong they feel that they have the luxury to bestow largesse in various ways (not merely economically) upon the less fortunate. It's a consciousnes of basking in luxury, doling out favors, exemptions, most mercifully. All the while intoning "we are worse than everyone (because we are really better than everyone)".
I'm also wary of determinisms, supposed inevitabilities which presume persons in positions of power and influence merely go with the flow, having no free will or no desire to exercise free will. I'm a believer in voluntarism, and I think it applies to everyone, even those in high places. History, past, present, and future, is made by individual human beings making decisions and doing things mostly deliberately.
Ideas and mentalities, ideologies, do have their own histories which predispose and predetermine us, however. The influence of a man like Montaigne might still be alive among many.
What does Basilidean mean? (Not that it matters).
Happy New Year. I spent part of the morning reading the comments at JW about improving our vocabulary essay by Roland Shirk. It's mostly a matter of practicality in conversing with people who know little about Islam. But part of it is about clarifying in our own minds what Islam really is. I chose not to add a comment. "Islamo-realist" is good. And I just call them Muslims -- but "activist Muslims" is good. It depends on who you're talking with.

Ghostrider said...

I'm in the middle of your Four Phases of Western Universalism, -- but for now I want you to know that your saying, in the comments part of JW, that you are thinking that Muslims aren't truly human is something I didn't see at the time, but if I had I would have understood, generally, what you were saying. Knowing that the commenter Hesperado is a well-educated intellectual (as I am myself) I would instantly know what that comment was alluding to, generally, and what it was meant to say. But then there's the possibility our uneducated fellow anti-jihadists might not know what was meant by that, so a brief explanation of it (by you or some other commenter) would have sufficed. For some reason that didn't happen. (Speaking for myself, even if a similar comment had been made, calmly and soberly, by a less highly educated commenter, it wouldn't have alarmed me. We treat murderers as non-human in a certain sense, so it's not wrong on any level to speak of a murderer as less than human. Muhammed was a murderer).

Ghostrider said...

It makes a difference whether one's personal view of Islam is based on lengthy investigation ( including of their sacred scripure), or based on not much investigation. My view is based on much investigation and thinking about it. Putting it bluntly, and briefly, Islam is a big gang of murderers, thieves, and rapists who, when they're not acting as such, are resting up and preparing for the next foray. The essence of it is total war against the human species and against anything even remotely human about human beings.
But until the governments of the non-muslim nation-states begin their counterattack and actively start contending with the big gang of murderers, anyone publicly characterizing Islam as such will be exposed (perhaps rightfully) to reprimands of fomenting mob violence and vigilanteism.
I am confident the governments eventually will open the attack, maybe sooner than we expect.

Ghostrider said...

During pase four of the universalizing of the West, the phase of Reformation and Enlightenment, there was a splitting of the Hellenic-Hebraic Synthesis into two parts -- one part believing that a man is a "sinner" in his whole being as a person, the other part believing a man is a sinner only insofar as he commits specific sins while remaining in his person basically innocent and intrinsically "good". The first part (Protestants) believe the evil in man's nature is intrinsic, while the second part of Christendom think the evil in man is merely accidental. And, I think, this divergence within Christian doctrines bears upon whatever understanding or definition of the quality of "being human" which we have nowadays, along with other aspects of current understandings of "being human", and it's also relevant to what's called PC-MC thinking. We're supposed to disapprove of Muslim wrongdoing but love the Muslim himself.
Islam masquerading in some way as though it's modern Western civilization is a tactic of war, a strategy of jihad.

Ghostrider said...

From a psychological point of view, this is how I imagine gnosticism to operate in today's world : Some people actually have a craving to be mystified. In fact it has been one of the historic functions of some religions and philosophies to gratify that. Along with this desire for mystification there's often a love of the experience of being initiated into a select special group of savants and sharing in their secret knowledge. People typically delight in being ushered past the guarded portal, and finding themselves in dim and eerie precincts of thoughts unknown to the natural man, and experiencing the hushed moment of revelation while gazing upon strange symbols and esoteric pictographs. They discover that to conceive of a thing esoterically is to vibrate sympathetically or to palpitate in the depths of one's very self. Because it is, indeed, easier and more exciting to apprehend a series of vivid pictures than it is to follow a highly articulated train of inferences. The flash of insight suggested by pictures supposedly gives the deeper and more essential insight. On a lower plane there is the spoken and written word for the vulgar crowd, the uninitiates who have yet to graduate to the higher levels, the inner concentric circles.

Ghostrider said...

What does the Hesperado mean by "ontologically human"? I sort of know what ontological means as pertaining to the existence or nonexistence of something, but in the connection with Muslims as human, I don't know what that means.
I'm a Christian but I will only love my enemy for purposes of guarding my own mental and spiritual health. Too much hatred is not good for a person to have. It's better FOR ME to have a minimal amount of feelings of hate in my heart. It's not for the benefit of my enemy. My enemy can go to hell. (Especially when my enemy is the devil himself. I'm not going to love the devil. But hating the devil is damaging to me spiritually, psychologically. So even the devil I don't want to hate any more than I have to, while I'm putting him back into hell where he belongs, via Retro-Hijra).

Hesperado said...


You raise many points and questions. I will try to get to most of them later, but for now three, briefly:

1) I agree with all the descriptions of the paradoxical "health" of PC MC you cite; however, I would add that a crucial factor of PC MC health is good. The secret of the mainstream dominance of PC MC is not to be found in its ill effects, but in its salutary benefits it includes among the disease -- true goods, like respect for others, transcendence from tribalism, open-mindedness, etc. These are true goods -- but taken to excess.

2) Just a note on "Basilidean" -- it refers to an ancient Gnostic Basilideus, whose eschaton was nihilistic oblivion.

3) Re: your last comment: it's not about "hate" with regard to Muslims: it's about being appropriately horrified by them, and taking rational action to protect our societies from their ghoulish evil. "Hate" need not enter into the calculation. The only "hate" I feel, frankly, is for my fellow Westerners who remain blind to the evil danger of Muslims.

Ghostrider said...

When I use the term PC-MC I mean only those parts of currently established liberalism which are distortions and exagerations of what is known as the classic liberalism which developed in tandem with the modern nation-state. I'm able to keep the classic version and the distortions separate in my mind easily enough.
I agree with you that the inner spirit of PC-MC can be traced back to pre-Revolutionary France, ie. Montaigne, and then others like Rousseau. But that only attaches itself to liberalism fairly recently. And other aspects of PC-MC are more simply exagerations and perversions of liberalism. I'm old enough to remember, and know, that back in the 1950s and early 60s in America liberalism in its classic form had only been slightly exagerated by Marxism but was still mostly of the classic kind. So I always see in my mind the difference between what's called PC-MC and its "host organism" pre-1970s American liberalism.
I've read some philosophies but I've never been a disciple of some particular philosopher. My view of past history is that of the standard mainstream mostly American historians. Philosophically I'm more or less an American Pragmatist in a loose sort of way. My religion is Protestant.
My concerns boil down to two things: Understanding, analysing Islam and defeating it, and secondly analysing PC-MC and defeating it.
During the past two or three years I have occasionally gone to Lawrence Auster's website and I mostly share his viewpoint. I also regularly frequent websites such as worldnetdaily, frontpagemag, americanthinker, newenglishreview and mostly agree with what's usually there. Of course, Jihadwatch -- which makes me depressed and annoyed if I spend too much time there (even though the subject matter is most important).

Ghostrider said...

Re. PC-MC: Affirmative Action, in the U.S., is premised on a belief people are only what they look to be on the surface. So the only problem to solve re. the American Black population is to decide whether or not you like the way they look. Underneath the surface they are supposed to be no different than any population group, therefore no changes or improvements need be made. But this also applies to white Americans. They are presumed to consist of mere surface phenomena, underneath which there is nothing of any importance or just nothing at all. Hence the denial of and suppression of the American literary tradition and intellectual heritage in academia and most elsewhere, replaced by ... nothing. And now apply this also to Muslim immigrants. They have merely surface characteristics -- underneath that: nothing. For us to do is to simply decide whether or not we like the way they look.

Hesperado said...


"When I use the term PC-MC I mean only those parts of currently established liberalism which are distortions and exagerations of what is known as the classic liberalism which developed in tandem with the modern nation-state. I'm able to keep the classic version and the distortions separate in my mind easily enough."

They may be separate in your mind, as they are in my mind (even if we might differ in some of the details), but they have become confounded sociopolitically and psychologically throughout the West. Indeed, PC MC is not really a separate entity: it is simply the relative deformation of classical liberalism (which itself is Western universalism as articulated in that essay of mine you read -- a relative synthesis of the four pillars of the West from its Judaeo-Christian and Graeco-Roman heritage).

As I put it in another essay (I'm not sure which one at the moment), there have been three phases of deformation of Western universalism:

1) Gnosticism

2) Leftism

3) PC MC

While these phases are ostensibly chronologically consecutive -- we see that Gnosticism pre-dates Leftism, and Leftism pre-dates PC MC -- that doesn't mean there are not ideological overlaps.

One crucial point to derive from this, I think, is that PC MC reflects a dilution or "decaffeination" of Leftism -- a sweetening, as it were: "Leftism Lite" -- making it palatable to millions who otherwise would not feel comfortable with the stronger degree of civilizational self-loathing on a slippery slope toward Revolution that Leftism tends to cultivate. For this reason, PC MC is more incoherent than Leftism, for PC MC tends to cultivate more of a contradiction between self-loathing and dependence upon the same System it loathes (partially by watering down the "loathing" through various forms of denial and incoherent mush in rhetoric).

"I agree with you that the inner spirit of PC-MC can be traced back to pre-Revolutionary France, ie. Montaigne, and then others like Rousseau. But that only attaches itself to liberalism fairly recently."

Another important distinction here is between

1) PC MC as an ideology and socioculture

2) the historical process and event of PC MC becoming mainstream and dominant.

I date #2 approximately from the post-War (WW2) era to the present.

"I've read some philosophies but I've never been a disciple of some particular philosopher."

Have you ever read Eric Voegelin? He can be very abstruse, and it's difficult to extract his thought from sound bites or a single essay by him, but if you have time, start with The New Science of Politics. At least browse through this "limited preview" of the free Google book (particularly the analytical table of contents):

The New Science of Politics

Lawrence Auster to his credit is a Voegelin fan (though I'm unsure of his knowledge and grasp of Voegelin), and I like Auster's often incisive and scathing diagnoses of the many permutations of the false conservative; however, I also find his analysis has at times serious flaws.

Hesperado said...

Re: Affirmative Action. This is just one modality of various forms of PC MC/Leftist measures to -- ostensibly -- "equal the playing field" in a situation where putatively whites had been, through their undeserved (and often stated downright criminal if not evil) hegemony, forcing the playing field to favor whites and disfavor non-whites.

Thus, on the surface, these PC MC/Leftist measures sound rational and fair.

However, when one digs down beneath the surface, one finds that it is not a casuistic concern to "level the playing field" back to equity, but a cosmic project to install a forced inequity against whites and for non-whites, against the West and for the Third World. Of course, what's ironic about this is that so many of these PC MCs advocating this are themselves white Westerners.

I.e., PC MC/Leftism is not about equality at all, but about inequality: Reverse Racism, against whites, for non-whites. This is not a temporary situation in order to arrive at equity. It reflects a permanent worldview that sees the white West as intrinsically evil for humanity. Again, though, PC MC is "Leftism Lite", so the stark Manicheanism of the formula will not be as pronounced among PC MCs (and for the most part, they won't even realize it themselves as they sustain its premises anyway through a medium of incoherent intellectual/psychological mush in their brains).

Part of this crypto-supremacism of PC MC/Leftism may derive from a semi-conscious apprehension that white Westerners will tend to be/become dominant by nature (by the nature of the superiority of their culture), and so the only way to suppress that natural tendency is through political force, beginning with ideological change. I caution, however, that not all PC MCs are consciously trying to foment a "stealth revolution". In fact most I would say are not, at least not consciously. They are however enabling it effectively through their collective inculcation -- and continual sustaining -- of the paradigm shift the West has undergone in the past approximate half century.

Ghostrider said...

Herr Professor - I think I will look into Voegelin a bit. I've seen his name around a few times.
Affirmative action, if it is really intended to achieve equality, is doing so by lowering whites and raising blacks (or any minority). Actually it's not raising blacks much at all, but it is lowering whites. As an (intended) consequence it degrades general standards of competence in various areas of endeavor. We can expect the same process re. Muslims and Islam, causing general further degrading of morals and values, and public peace. (I like your phrase leftism-lite).

I guess your phases of universalism schema is basically a version of the idea that there has been a progress of civilization and that it should continue. And increasing universality is a major feature of it. I have no reason to contend against that. I wholeheartedly believe in and support the idea of Progress, as I understand it. Of course, I'm not one of those leftists calling themselves progressives these days. The leftist policies cause regress, in fact.
I am aware of the meaning of "coherence" you mention -- a rigorously held together group of concepts, internally consistent. And incoherence the lack of connectivity between the ideas of an ideology. A political conservative can sometimes simplify a view of leftist-libarals by simply, and truthfully, saying they're just stupid.

Thanks for responding to my comments. More can be said, but I'm tired. Remember, Herr Professor, it's now 2011. Have a good year.