Sunday, October 30, 2011

When did PC MC begin? More info on that question...

In 1909, J.M. Rodwell published his translation of the Koran into English. In the introduction to that
translation (either in the first edition, or in some later edition, I am unsure), George Margoliouth wrote the following, in part alluding to a work by Thomas Carlyle in the previous century, published in 1849, titled On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History, in which Carlyle praised Muhammad among other great figures of history:

The eulogy pronounced by Carlyle on Muhammed in Heroes and Hero Worship will probably be endorsed by not a few at the present day. The extreme contrary opinion, which in a fresh form has recently been revived by an able writer, is hardly likely to find much lasting support. The correct view very probably lies between the two extremes. The relative value of any given system of religious thought must depend on the amount of truth which it embodies as well as on the ethical standard which its adherents are bidden to follow.

By the "extreme contrary opinion", of course, Margoliouth refers to condemnation of Mohammed -- which, apparently, some writer in his day had published, though he doesn't name him. The footnote he provides only leads to a title -- Mahommed and the Rise of Islam, in "Heroes of Nations" series -- which I can't find by Googling; only finding, in the typical echo-chamber manner of the Internet on matters like this, endless repetitions of this one Margoliouth source.

Apparently, Margoliouth is under the impression that "not a few" in his time would agree with Carlyle's praise of Mohammed. By the phrase "not a few", we can reasonably assume a small minority, probably mostly of intellectuals and artists. And we can reasonably assume that Margoliouth is more or less correct about the relatively sparse prevalence of such proto-PC MC in his time.

The crucial point I wish to illuminate in my essay today is Margoliouth's assumption of a reasonable middle way:

The correct view very probably lies between the two extremes.

The two extremes being Carlyle's praise of Mohammed, on the one hand, and the unnamed more recent author's condemnation of Mohammed, on the other hand.
On what basis does Margoliouth presume that his middle way is correct? Does he provide actual evidence to support that position? Does he provide counter-evidence to show how, and why, the condemnation of Mohammed is an "extreme" position that should not be held in polite company? No. He simply assumes this must be the case.

This, I believe, represents one powerful factor in the mindset of PC MC when it comes to defending Islam, and it transcends political Left and Right. It's simply part of the congenially open-minded Reason which over the centuries the West has cultivated. A major religion, and the founder of that major religion, cannot possibly be thoroughly pernicious, rightfully to be thoroughly condemned: it can't be that bad; there must be some good in it. The "correct" truth of the matter must lie somewhere between uncritical praise, and wholesale condemnation. It simply must be this way. All reasonable gentlemen would agree. Another brandy if you please, Jeeves.

While this factor is one important ingredient in PC MC, unfortunately it is not the only factor. All told, the conglomeration of factors that exert their influence on the hearts and minds of those in the West (the vast majority) beholden to PC MC distort and magnify the influence of the relatively simple principle articulated above, which Margoliouth exemplifies. What was, in Margoliouth, "very probably" the correct view, in his rather laid back consideration of what is reasonably plausible, has morphed in the decades since that time, as PC MC has acquired mainstream dominance in all spheres of life, into a fiercely defended proposition of propaganda presumed to be the normative Truth, with which one would dare to disagree to one's risk of being called a "bigot" or a "racist" (if not also simply strangely deluded), not to mention the probability of being ostracized in one way or another and even compromise or lose, one's career.

Further Reading:

When Did Politically Correct Multiculturalism Begin?

When Did PC MC Begin? Second Case Study

When Did PC MC Begin? Third Case Study

When Did PC MC Begin? Fourth Case Study

Montaigne: Godfather of PC MC?


Sagunto said...

Hi Hesperdo -

Dropping by to see how you're doing and read this interesting piece on PC/MC genesis.

I just read this real life observation from a British fellow today, on GoV:

"If multiculturalism were so popular amongst Britain's people then wouldn't the most multicultural areas of the country be the most desirable to live in? Shouldn't we be witnessing a mass migration of people from more "monocultural" (i.e. traditionally British) areas to more multicultural areas? Shouldn't monocultural areas be emptying as their jealous residents flock to multicultural areas? Therefore shouldn't property prices be plummeting in monocultural areas as demand drops?

None of the above is happening. Property prices in traditional British areas are holding up well. People are not abandoning such areas. Multicultural areas are home to fewer and fewer indigenous Britons.

I wonder if Tony Blair can explain the paradox?"

I doubt whether Mr Blair has any background knowledge, let alone backbone, to address this question, but I'm sure you'd like to comment. How does this square with your assertion that multiculturalism enjoys so much popularity among the general public in European nations?

Take care,

Hesperado said...

Hi Sagunto,

I'd explain that by the unfortunate likelihood that most Westerners who are PC MC are not coherently so, but feel, and do, many things that may seem, or be, illogical with respect to the PC MC complex.

Part of this incoherency is a semi-conscious hypocrisy -- such as, for example, when white liberals who deny that blacks are more violent nevertheless feel more nervous late at night in a parking lot when they see a group of black youths approaching, than when they see a group of white youths approaching. Such white liberals semi-consciously feel and think rationally, and make the rational discrimination that would be "racist" in that circumstance, while simultaneously being able to continue to believe in their liberal idea that blacks are no more violent than whites.

Then, of course, when pressed on the matter with unavoidable statistics, they have recourse to their back-up explanation: "Oh, okay, blacks are ostensibly more violent -- but the cause of that is somehow us evil whites and our evil racist white policies over the years."

The bottom line is starker, however. The problem of Muslims is worse than the problem of "multi-culturalism" in general. Muslims do not merely present problems of property values or low-level social degradation and crime in neighborhoods. They present the horrific, and escalating, potential of deadly terrorism.

The question then more pertinently should be turned around to those who disagree with my assessment: if the majority of Westerners are anti-PC MC with regard to Muslims, why aren't they doing anything about it? Why haven't we seen one mass demonstration of hundreds of thousands, anywhere? Such demonstrations by now would be eminently expectable, if the claim is true -- that hundreds of millions (combine the majority of the populations of the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia) are anti-Muslim.

Why are all these supposedly anti-Muslim Western majorities allowing this deadly potential to get worse within their societies?

When those who would disagree with my thesis are pressed to answer that question, they then invariably reach for explanations of conspiracy-theory and/or mass stupidity (e.g., some Gramscian Elite Cabal is controlling the masses; and/or the masses are stupid sheep -- simultaneously stupid sheep, mind you, and intelligently aware of the problem of Muslims), then the whole paradigm shows its cracks.

No, the more reasonable conclusion is that most Westerners are PC MC with regard to Muslims -- which, again, does not necessarily entail a 100% awareness, coherency and unhypocritical consistency on the part of those Westerners. Indeed, given the sheer mass and grotesque quality of the data of Muslims, the maintenance of PC MC in the mind of any reasonably decent and intelligent person would perforce require considerable and artful denial mechanisms; but I don't think such mechanisms are as, let alone more, implausible than the alternate explanations of either conspiracy-theory, or mass stupidity (or some strange combination of both). The PC MC has extraordinary capacity for self-sustaining logic in the face of opposing data: indeed, ingeniously, it uses opposing data to maintain its position: the more violent Muslims are, the more we must worry about our propensity to be "racist" and "genocide them". Etc.

Sagunto said...

Would the observation that people are still voting for PC/MC political parties also be part of your general point pertaining to this question?

[I'd like to say upfront that my next question in this vein would be about taxes, say, the income tax].

Thnx and take care,

Academic said...

check your e-mail!


Hesperado said...


Sure, people voting for PC MC candidates reflects PC MC values.

Just keep in mind that many people can be NON-PC MC about many issues, but strangely enough when it comes to Islam, their PC MC suddenly exerts itself.

I.e., the PC MC respect for Islam is probably the PC MC positions most prevalent, most powerful, and most resistant to reason, out of all PC MC positions. It's not a mystery why this is so: it's sort of like a "perfect storm" of axioms:

1) brown people
2) brown people who are violent in ways that far outweigh the violence of other ethnic peoples, both in quantity and in quality
3) an ethnic culture (or a wonderfully diverse rainbow of ethnic cultures as part of a worldwide "family")
4) psychological triggers about Western history (the Crusades, Christian "crimes"; etc.)
5) a stubbornly (and in many ways logically) putative Religion

All these factors resonate with, and revolve around, perhaps the single most important ingredient in PC itself (PC being the super-category under which PC MC resides): the white Western horror of being, and succumbing to, its intrinsic "racism".

This underpinning ingredient, and its tightly connected satellites of factors, have come to affect the hearts and minds of most Westerners far more effectively and profoundly (but in some ways similarly) than the way the majority of North Americans have amazingly transformed from being a furiously cigarette-smoking culture to being a fanatically anti-cigarette-smoking culture in the span of some 40 years.

Sagunto said...

Hesperado -

I sure will keep in mind what you say about people being non-PC/MC, except when Islam comes to the table. Correct observation i.m.o.

It's the voting argument that might be on shaky ground.

"Sure, people voting for PC MC candidates reflects PC MC values."

In the same vein one could argue that the income tax is quite popular among the public at large, since all of the political parties voted for openly support it.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,