Friday, January 07, 2011
No Nonsense, Asymptotic Style
I wrote Jonah Goldberg the following email today, with regard to his recent, ostensibly tough and no-nonsense essay on Islam:
Lawrence Auster has an acutely apt corrective to one implicit assumption you seem to make: When you wrote:
"The religion has long since been hijacked, and it's now moving on to even bigger things"
"In fact, if "extremists" and "jihadists" have hijacked the religion from moderates, as so-called conservatives are always telling us, then the hijacking was done by Muhammad back in the 7th century, and Islam has been in a continual state of "having-been-hijacked-by-extremists" for the last 1,400 years."
Am I correct in perceiving that you assume Islam in its essence and origins is not extremist? That Islam by nature is not extremist? That NORMATIVE Islam -- as defined by its founding texts, its mainstream religious laws throughout history, copious writings by great and small Muslim scholars and clerics in history and in our present, the behaviors of Muslims all over the world -- is not extremist?
If so, I am continually baffled why certain analysts (usually in the mainstream) have to continue propping up this hypothesis, and sealing their Box from a growing mountain of data that indicates they need to think outside it.
I.e., Auster has detected the asymptote in Goldberg's otherwise tough no-nonsense stance. Sure, Goldberg seems to be saying that the norm in Islam seems to be extremist; but then in that little phrase Auster detected (albeit giving him too much credit overall), Goldberg implicitly assumes this norm is not all that... normative -- certainly not essential enough to simply condemn Islam roundly and wholesale.
Islam is the problem: Islam, the whole Islam, and nothing but Islam. The whole kit and kaboodle -- including the miswak that made medieval Muslim teeth whiter and brighter than those mangy, regressive European barbarians of the Dark Ages.
I'll report Goldberg's response as soon as I receive it. I am too jaded by now to expect in his response anything better than an incoherent mush of asymptotic assumptions, premises and axioms, a paradox wrapped in a contradiction, a neo-Scholastic distinction, defended forever it seems, between the essence of Islam (benign) and the accidents of Islam (dangerous).