I expect to publish a few postings on this general topic over time.
"Voegelinians" are students and admirers of the philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901-1985), a philosopher generally deemed to be "conservative" -- earning that label probably mostly because he tended to write favorably about Christianity, and because he considered Communism to be a pneumopathology (a term he coined for "a disease of the spirit"). Most Voegelinians are academic -- either grad students, alumni, or professors -- and form a rather quaintly modest and unassuming collection of devotees. Most of them, in my experience, would be labeled by the Western public at large as "conservative" if not "right wing".
Eric Voegelin, by the way, is my favorite philosopher, and has been for some 25 years (a good sampling of his writings may be perused at this collection of essays of his, available online for free at Google books). I discovered him, and devoured his writings, during those halcyon years before the hideous danger of Islam came on my radar. Ah, to be blessed with the general amnesia about the problem of Islam which most of my fellow Westerners continue to enjoy!
At any rate, back to present reality.
I joined the official discussion forum (since retired) dedicated to the thought and writings of Voegelin in about 2000, and remained there for about two years -- until I was unceremoniously expelled by its owner for disrespecting guess whom. You got it: a Muslim member of the group.
It was not long after 911 (perhaps as late as the middle of 2002) when I was given the boot, during which the topic of Islam got heated on the front burner. A few months after that, I cheated: I re-joined under another pseudonym and studiously tried to skirt writing comments too frontally critical of Islam -- though I did manage to wedge in apposite observations (as the reader will see from the example I provide at the end of today's essay). I managed to stick around for quite some time, until 2004 or 2005, which wasn't long before the forum was retired by its owner anyway.
Anywho, as I said up top, I hope to post several bits and pieces from my time there that reflect on the broader, deeper problem of PC MC -- namely, in this case, how it is that mostly "conservative" philosophers and academics can be so bloody stupid about the problem of Islam, as I found the Voegelinians to be during my time on that forum.
I also hope, more ambitiously, to read and review two recent books crucially pertinent to the nexus between Voegelinianism and the problem of Islam written by two Voegelinian luminaries -- Barry Cooper, and Eugene Webb (the former's book being New Political Religions, Or an Analysis of Modern Terrorism; the latter's being Worldview and mind: religious thought and psychological development). Both books I dare say will not surprise me by being imbued with, and structured by, the givens and axioms and spastic reflexes of the PC MC paradigm with regard to the problem of Islam. (Indeed, I just this moment had to swallow a reflux of a dry heave of nausea after spotting this phrase from Cooper's book, on page 74, which I breezed over: "...although Islam broadly considered does not provide a threat to Western liberal democracy, militant jihadist Islam, what we have been calling Islamism, most certainly does." But, as I said, more about that at some future date.)
At any rate, today's entry is a comment I posted on that forum in 2004, which concerned a thread titled "visceral hatred of the West & the divine Nous". The "Prof. Wagner" to whom I am responding, by the by, was the owner of the forum, a student and personal friend of Voegelin, a conservative on most issues -- and the one who took such wounded offense at my disrespect of his Muslim colleague that he expelled me from the forum.
Anyway, here's my comment (note the passage I bolded, toward the end):
Prof. Wagner wrote:
"Surely the Muslim visceral hatred of the West and especially the
US is based in some large part on a perception of the threat to
their culture from our western reductionism of human sexuality to
the level of smarmy selfishness—all to the detriment of women,
children, elders and future generations."
This visceral hatred was shown to be about more than reductionism of
sexuality in Holland recently, when the Muslim who murdered the Dutch
film-maker Theo Van Gogh, after shooting him a few times and then
slitting his throat in broad daylight on the street, pinned a long
pneumopathological letter up under his ribs with a knife. A Dutch
friend has translated the letter for me, which was recently published
by the Minister of Justice. The letter was addressed not to the
slain Van Gogh, nor to the Dutch people or government (at least not
directly), but to a woman named Ayaan Hirsi Ali. [I must amend that last statement: I believe the assassin's infamous letter did address not only Ms. Ali, but also the Mayor of Amsterdam, among others.]
Ms. Ali is a black African from Somalia who immigrated to Holland many years ago. She is a professed "ex-Muslim" who has worked for years helping Muslim women she claims are being abused, physically and otherwise, by their Muslim husbands, brothers and fathers. She has taken her cause into the political arena, first by joining the more left-leaning Labour Party, then -- when they seemed more concerned to protect the virtue of multi-culturalism than the more concrete human rights of Muslim women -- switching to the more conservative Conservative VD Party. More recently, she collaborated with the slain Van Gogh by writing the text to his latest film in which Muslim women talk about their abuse.
The bloody letter to Ms. Ali lists, at great rambling length, her various sins (including her supposedly unwitting allegiance to a political system controlled by "Jews"), along with various threats not only to Ms. Ali herself but specifically to the "Netherlands", to "Europe" and to "America" (including apocalyptic language resembling the Apocalypse of John and other classical apocalyptic literature, here with Arabic flavors, scil.,
"On that momentous day
FEAR will fill the atmosphere:
When the sun is closed down
And when the stars fall down
And when the mountains are moved
And when the pregnant camels are left behind."... etc.).
Among the sins of Ms. Ali listed by the letter was one that caught my eye: "Thus you had the cowardice to ask Islamic children at school to make a choice between their Creator and the constitution."
This aroused a question in me: Which pneumopathology is more unhealthy and dangerous for civilization,
a) the pneumopathology that would marginalize or even exclude
discussion of the divine Nous in the public spheres of education,
information and politics;
b) the pneumopathology that is so anxious for the divine Nous to be
dominant in the public spheres that it slaughters an innocent person
like a pig in broad daylight on the street?
The fact that I feel compelled to ask this question at all generally of the more "conservative" Voegelinians here tinges me with frustration; the fact that I can guess the convoluted answer from the more anti-American Voegelinians here fills me with annoyance, rancour and sadness.
(Nota bene: while Van Gogh's film that so outraged the Muslim community in Holland not only included Muslim women talking about the abuse they experience in their culture but also depicted their naked breasts artfully overlaid with verses from the Koran, this degree of sexual libertinism which has, at least since the 1960s if not further back, become so much a part of modern Western art and culture as to have become unremarkably banal to most Western Christians, is not once mentioned in the terrorist letter, though doubtlessly it was one contributing factor to the 'visceral hatred' of the seven Muslims arrested for this twisted abomination.)
For Part 2, see:
Voegelinians and Islam, Part 2