Hugh Fitzgerald, I believe, once wrote of fellow Westerners in their continuing myopia about the problem of Islam:
"...who did not, in the eight years that have followed 9/11/2009, taken even a month, even a week off, to try to learn about Islam."
Actually, there are innumerable individuals throughout the West going back to the 19th century (but increasing in number after 1950 as the deformation of PC MC became dominant and mainstream) who have spent not only a month, or even a week, but years, if not positively decades in the study of Islam -- many of them learned in the original languages of Arabic, Farsi, Urdi, etc. -- including most if not all of the relevant corpus of foundational and subsequent texts, who, for all that study, persist in defending Islam and Muslims when the subject comes up. These people cannot be accused of "not having studied" Islam. And even with all their familiarity with the relevant data, they maintained the myth of a tolerant, civilized Islam (where the exceptions to this could always be contextualized and therefore exculpated through the Ego Quoque argument as well as other complicated obfuscations) -- along with, of course, the related myth of the Vast Majority of Moderate (and "Diverse") Muslims in our time.
Nor is this a unique peculiarity of the Academic -- neither of that dastardly class of "Elites" of which the Academic would be a subtype. Rather, it reflects a more complex problem than one for which the mere supply of information will suffice to solve.
In addition to the simplex (if not simple-minded) framework implied by many (and by the writer of the quote above) --
Information about Islam --> Recipient --> Jihad Watch Epiphany
-- and complicating it usually irrevocably, there has developed a paradigm throughout Western societies over the past century (with roots going back much longer but only attaining mainstream dominance in the past 50-odd years) by which the information is deformed in a variety of complex ways.
This is not a single, monolithic paradigm, of course; but one does discern a unity amid the ragged edges and seemingly amorphous nature of it among the various models floating about the West. For example, the academic scholar who has studied Islam for 35 years and yet still thinks that Jihad Watch is a bigoted enterprise, shares more or less the same constellation of givens as the typical politician (local or national); and the newspaper publisher of the Duluth News Tribune; and the liberalish Protestant suburban housewife; and the Home Ec teacher at a high school in Phoenix, Arizona; and the union boss of a steel company in Pittsburgh or of a baker's union in Oregon; and the corner grocer and the librarian and the dental hygienist and the bus driver and the jazz musician and the owner of a profitable small business and the starry-eyed teenager who volunteered for the Obama campaign (or even the McCain campaign or the Mitt Romney campaign) -- and on and on, probably numbering throughout the West into the millions of people of all classes and walks of life who represent a population of diversity for which the labels "Elites" and "Leftists" (much less "Gramscians") break down.
The mere presentation of information about Islam to all these various people is not enough to persuade them of our cause, nor will the scales fall from their eyes once they read or heed a sufficient number of Koran passages and Hadith excerpts along with choice quotes from current Muslim representatives. While it may be possible that a sheer quantity of data presented to people in the thrall of quantum ignorance could, by the mere mass itself, provoke a quantum leap to budge them out of the Box of their QI, it seems very unlikely; for we are not fighting fire with fire: we would be, rather, fighting quality with quantity. For, that is the precise meaning of Quantum Ignorance: it has made the quantum leap from a quantitatively based ignorance into a higher, qualitative ignorance fortified by a paradigm that resists all attempts at a quantitative argument.
As anyone who has tried to reason with any number and type of them would know all too well -- and has experienced the frustration with their stubbornness that often infuriates when it doesn't clench you by the viscera with a devastating depression -- there is something more complex going on here than a mere ignorance of data. Nor ought we dismiss these people as being necessarily "liberals" or "Leftists". Of course, Leftists remain a significant piece of the puzzle of the problem, but the magnitude of the problem consists in the unfortunate fact that the majority of conservatives and centrists (as well as innumerable people who are more or less apolitical) are about as blithely addled with the warm and fuzzy disease of Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism (PC MC) as are those one could peg as "liberals".
And then on top of this daily, seemingly implacable problem of PC MC, one has to deal with a simple-minded myopia to that same problem among one's own fellows who have crossed over to the epiphany. As they keep running up for years and years against the wall of the PC MC paradigm as manifested in a wondrously exasperating rainbow of variety, they themselves keep holding fast in a strangely childish way to their simplistic view of that impediment. One would think that over time the more intelligent among them would begin to surmise that the wall is held together by a more complex concatenation than mere ignorance of information augmented by a smattering of universal venial sins (Stupidity, Cupidity and Timidity, as Hugh Fitzgerald's Esdrujula Explanation would have it) -- or worse, a conspiracy theory involving some evil cabal of "Liberal Elites" pulling the strings of "real" power behind the scenes.
And, just as this is not the mere matter of some dastardly cabal of sinister Elites, so too it is not mere ignorance we are up against that explains the irrationality of the West in the face of the problem of Islam: it is quantum ignorance.
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Quantum ignorance is a queerly paradoxical phenomenon, which we could paraphrase as "learned ignorance" or, in more starkly contradictory terms, "intelligent stupidity" -- or, as I have analyzed elsewhere, morosophy. For such a sociopolitical phenomenon, education has to move onto a whole new level: it's not merely about supplying information. As I noted above, many in the Counter-Jihad seem to think that all we need to do is report data about Islam, and our Western fellows will magically wake up. Something like this:
Information about Islam --> Recipient --> Jihad Watch Epiphany
It's more complicated than that, because the ignorance is more complicated than merely an absence of information.
Certainly, an absence of information about Islam invariably is a problem; but almost more importantly, there is a presence of an interpretative framework by which incoming information about Islam is received, filtered, re-routed and reconfigured. When we see a fellow Westerner before us with whom we would wish to strike up a conversation about Islam, we must remind ourselves we do not merely see an individual there, abstracted from his sociocultural environment. Sure, it would be nice if only the individual were there, free of his surrounding culture. But most people are not like that. While the modern West has produced people relatively freer of sociocultural constraints than any other culture in history, it doesn't mean we have produced Perfectly Free and Open-Minded Individuals (indeed, it is often those who tout themselves as being "open-minded" who, ironically, demonstrate the most slavish indoctrination in the current fashionable worldview of PC MC). It's a matter of degree. Nevertheless, there is good reason to hope (at least among the minions of those who are PC MC but not die-hard Leftists).
Thus, the individual we see before us is not a mere individual attentive to the present ready to look at the data about Islam with an open mind. He or she carries with him a complex psychocultural apparatus that filters such data. We who have woken up to the pernicious dangers of Islam may think any given datum we present is a sure-fire eye-opener; but that's not necessarily how it will be received. That datum will enter the recipient's ear (or eye if they read it) and will be immediately intercepted by the PC MC Mechanism that has taken up residence in the individual's heart-and-mind. This mechanism will move the datum to a contextual complex of associations, axioms and givens that tend to have the effect of nullifying or at least diluting the anti-Islamic -- and perhaps more importantly, the anti-Muslim -- purport of the datum.
Many of us have experienced this in a variety of ways. Consider the simplex datum that the Islamic prophet Mohammed married a girl when she was age 6 (and he was age 54) then had sex with her when she was age 9 (and he 57). We are about to present this simplex datum to a fellow Westerner, to show him how sick Islamic culture is. Closely relevant to that datum is the more complicated datum of the importance of Mohammed to Muslims. One tends to expect that a given fellow Westerner would at least make the unremarkably reasonable assumption that Muslims revere their prophet, even if that fellow Westerner doesn't know the details -- both from founding texts of Islam as well as from historical and current writings, and behaviors of Muslims -- that would augment the fact of that reverence considerably.
Now, what happens is that within seconds after that datum is presented to our fellow Westerner, his PC MC mechanism intercepts it and attaches to it a constellation of assumptions, axioms, factoids and opinions, as well as a mush of feelings.
1) "Well, Arabic society was different back then."
2) "We had underage marriage in our past too."
3) "What about all those pedophile Catholic priests?"
4) "Most Muslims don't know this anyway."
5) "Most Muslims don't really care about this, even if they know it."
6) "Most Muslims don't really follow their Islam to the letter, anyway, just like most Christians and Jews."
And these six responses, as exasperating as they are, don't even count other more aggressively defensive ones, such as:
1) "How do you know that source is accurate?"
2) "Do you know Arabic?"
3) "You're not an Islamic scholar."
4) "How many Muslims do you know?"
5) "Have you ever lived in a Muslim country?"
6) "I know lots of nice Muslims."
7) "Why do you hate Muslims?"
8) "Why do you want to kill all Muslims?"
Etc., ad nauseam.
After a few minutes of this with a typical PC MC Westerner -- the vast majority of whom are not fire-breathing "Leftists" nor are they sinister "Elites" but could look and act like an ordinary suburban housewife or all-American construction worker -- it becomes clear that the mere presentation of data is not enough. Merely to get across the purport and implications of the one datum we used as an example -- the pedophiliac rape of a little girl sanctified as Islamic "marriage" and perpetrated by Islam's founder, Mohammed, himself revered by Muslims as the greatest model of moral conduct for all Mankind -- we readily begin to see that we need to marshall enormous amounts of subsidiary data in a complex context of argumentation and presentation.
For every piece of information we have in our arsenal that we think automatically damns Islam, when it is presented to the person who is more or less deformed by PC MC, it enters a complex mental machine that is assaulted on all sides by a complex interlocking jigsaw mechanism of assumptions, givens, prejudices, logical fallacies, emotionally powerful incoherencies, and among the more intelligent of them, a dizzying array of factoids that can keep popping up through the debate like gophers one after another -- after you think you've whacked one, another pops up, seemingly forever. What I have described in this paragraph here is only an impressionistic stab at the phenomenon and reflects only a small portion of the magnitude and complexities of the problem.
And what aggrieves even more acutely is when one encounters some forms of this PC MC resistance even among those within the ragged boundaries of the Counter-Jihad itself.
If the reader takes anything away from my essay here, I would hope they take this: These fellow Westerners -- whom we may find so frustrating and exasperating in their glibly sincere and starry-eyed defense of Muslim monsters and their grotesquely evil and dangerous culture Islam -- are not themselves evil or even stupid people: Most of them are decent and reasonably intelligent people. That's part of the problem. And so, the reason they continue defending Islam is not because of evil or stupidity. It's because of a complex paradigm they have over time grown to accept, a paradigm that has reflected a sea change in consciousness throughout the West over the past half century, spanning the era of the end of World War 2 to the present (and, sadly, showing few signs of reversing itself).
Furthermore, the reason this paradigm has acquired such broad influence throughout the West is not because it's bad, but precisely because it reflects many good virtues and principles developed by Western tradition. I discuss this at length in another essay, PC MC: Neither Left nor Right, but Ambidextrous.
Once we recognize that mere ignorance is not the problem -- but rather a quantum ignorance -- we can then more capably and appropriately find ways to dismantle it through rhetoric and persuasion in the crucial aspect of the war we are in now, the War of Ideas. One absolutely necessary tool we need for this is a manual of argumentation, a digitalized Anti-Islam Booklet (about which I've written at length elsewhere).
This is not a War of Ideas against Muslims: with few exceptions not significant enough to make a difference, the vast majority of Muslims will remain Muslims, and thus our implacable (and often stealthy) enemy. This is a War of Ideas against our own fellows citizens: a Civil War of Ideas, so to speak -- a war that, indeed, should be kept civil; for our fellow citizens (whose number includes most "elites"), as myopic as they remain in their quantum ignorance, are not our enemies. They are pleasantly earnest, intelligently complicated fools. And they will be grateful to us for having awakened them from the ridiculous Rip Van Winkle nap they've been indulging all these years -- most maddeningly post-911 as they persist in hitting the snooze-button on the alarm we sound.