Friday, July 15, 2011
The TMOEWATHI is an acronym that should resound trippingly off all our lips: it represents the second most important reason* why the vast majority of Westerners persist in refusing to condemn Muslims for following, enabling and supporting Islam.
TMOEWATHI: The acronym stands for the "Tiny Minority Of Extremists Who Are Trying to Hijack Islam".
The qualifier "tiny" may be adjusted and enlarged to allow for a larger number -- many are bold enough to go so far as to say "a Small Minority of Extremists" (e.g., Daniel Pipes, who, because he allows himself to be worried about a few million, has become part of the Anti-Islam Movement by default) -- but the principle remains the same: It's a way to truncate the problem, isolate a diseased branch (or twig), and thereby spare, and save, the main trunk or tree of Islam. Perhaps more importantly, it is calculated to salvage an undefined majority of Muslims from the horrors of our "bigotry" and "racism" (or, rather, to salvage the ethical narcissism of our egos).
The main source of the extremism, Islam, is thus spared our scrutiny: it cannot possibly have anything substantive to do with the problem. Therefore, we must look elsewhere -- preferably to ourselves (we meddling post-Colonial Westerners, always bothering and exploiting poor Third Worlders) -- to explain the increasing pullulation of Muslim violence all over the world.
The function of the TMOEWATHI is ingenious. Every time a Muslim explodes somewhere; every time a Muslim stabs someone 100 times in a religious frenzy; every time a Muslim beheads someone somewhere; every time a group of Muslims does any of the above and more; every time we see large crowds of Muslims fervently, even joyfully sometimes, praising hatred and violence in the name of Islamic fanaticism -- the TMOEWATHI is automatically and immediately trotted out: those bad Muslims only represent a Tiny Minority. Most Muslims aren't like that. And Islam itself, of course, has nothing to do with that nasty behavior. End of story. Move along. Back to non-Islamic issues, the next news story du jour that has nothing to do with Muslims.
Unfortunately, the TMOEWATHI is not as easy to refute as many over-enthusiastic Counter-Jihadists like to think. The fact is, ostensibly, the vast majority of Muslims are not doing or saying anything bad. We therefore have to perform reasonable dot-connection in order to arrive at a generalized condemnation of Muslims as enablers of the Jihad that is increasingly endangering our societies; and such dot-connection is always vulnerable to the gaps between the connections -- however reasonable we might think the patterns connected may be.
Personally, I think the quantity and quality of dots about Muslim malice and mendacity from around the world is quite sufficient for such a generalization; but it's a matter of persuasion by argument, not a slam-dunk demonstration of a smoking gun. The PC MCs, thus, continue to enjoy and exploit a fudge factor, even if the metastasizing mountain of Muslim misdeeds globally increasingly reveals that fudge factor to be strained and silly (let alone irresponsible and reckless).
When a PC MC's TMOEWATHI is assailed by a marshalling of a mountain of data of Muslims doing and saying hateful and violent things, the PC MC may either stand his ground obtusely, or may see fit to respond spasmodically by recourse to various other ploys by which to buttress the TMOEWATHI -- including the Tu Quoque (or Ego Quoque); the Che-Guevarization of the Muslim as "Guerrilla Freedom Fighter"; the shifting of blame onto Western Colonialism and Post-Colonial "meddling" in the Muslim world; and other fallacies. Even so, these ploys are specious attempts at sophistical obfuscation, and the bottom line they can always rest in is the ostensible fact that all these bad Islamic data do indeed directly emanate from only a minority of Muslims -- and that alone is enough for PC MCs to avoid connecting the thousands of dots that only keep materializing around the world, and to demonize those who do as "bigots" or worse. And, of course, PC MCs don't apply this rigorous fidelity to the logic of minority data when it comes to, for example, pedophilia among Catholic priests, or evangelical right-wing Christians bombing abortion clinics: when it comes to vilifying such evil amongst their own white Westerners, they suddenly abandon all their concern for sufficient data by which to make a generalized condemnation.
Dot-connection is an art; not a science. There is no way to prove that a worldwide group of over one billion people is responsible for the dangerous and evil actions of a subset of that group. Dot-connection works precisely in the absence of irrefutably sufficient data.
One sees a group; one notices that among that group, many members seem to be behaving in dysfunctional ways, more than any other group; one over time comes to the reasonable conclusion that this is not merely a problem of "a few bad apples" which may beset any group -- but that it goes beyond this, to a systemic problem with the group itself.
The dots of data indicating something systemically dangerous about Islam -- by virtue of their quantity, their global dispersion, their long-standing occurrence throughout history, their apparent increase in our time (particularly post-911), their amorphous generalization through expressions and activities among a more general population of Muslims indicative of enabling their "tiny minority" of extremist brethren, and their source in the group's mainstream tenets -- all are persuasive. But, alas, they are not apodictic proof.
The protection of our Western societies in the coming decades will depend upon the capacity among more and more Westerners for the open-minded and imaginative art of dot-connection (see my essay, Dots, and the mental pencil required to connect them).
And increasingly, it really doesn't take that much imagination to connect the thousands of dots which Muslims, around the world, are so generously providing us. The problem really lies in the PC MC paradigm, which specifically, and elaborately, short-circuits an open mind when it is presented with the dots of data about Muslims. The PC MC paradigm's inculcation of obstruction of the open mind is not a dastardly, conscious, willful mendacity, evidence of some wicked conspiracy. It is the unfortunately paradoxical result of a complex historical process of a shift in worldview that has occurred throughout the entire West over the past half century or so (with roots going further back in history), itself grounded in many of the sincere and beneficent virtues which constitute the greatness of the West.
That, however, is another subject, about which I have written many times before.
* (The first and most important reason for the persistence of Western Islamomyopia is the PC MC dogma of Anti-Racism.)