Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Jihad is a Many-Splendored Thing

Forget the candy-coated whitewashed airbrushed #MyJihad campaign orchestrated by CAIR (the Council of American-Islamic Rape -- er, I mean Relations), which is trying to sell the preposterous notion that jihad is merely a banal and benign "struggle" epitomized by "staying fit despite my busy schedule" and "making time to pick up the kids from school" -- a propaganda campaign facilitated by the mainstream media who have suddenly forgotten their Woodward-&-Bernstein ethos of investigative journalism.  The holes in this campaign -- big enough to fly two passenger jets through on a clear sunny September day at the beginning of a new century -- have been capably and copiously exposed by the pages of Jihad Watch these past few weeks.

My essay today rather concerns the various flavors of mainstream traditional jihad all jampacked into one concoction, with a chewy nougaty center of pure demonic hatred.

A couple of years ago, in the midst of several vibrant discussions in one of the Jihad Watch threads (back in the good old days when there were vibrant discussions going on), Hugh Fitzgerald (back in the good old days when he added the considerble ballast of his intellectual weight to those halcyon discussions) happened to mention two early 20th century Muslim intellectuals -- Majid Khadduri and Bassam Tibi (entirely mainstream and respected Muslim intellectuals, by the way) -- and proceeded to quote their words of blatantly blood-dripping jihad.  In response, I wrote:

Hugh quotes Khadduri and Tibi as modern Muslims who advocate violent supremacist jihad.

You'd think this was an unremarkable point, and that attention would be paid to the more interesting and substantive content I proceeded to write in my comment (concerning another 20th century Muslim also obsessed with violent supremacist jihad -- one al-Mashriqi).  But, of course, Hugh bristled at my adjectives:

"Hugh quotes Khadduri and Tibi as modern Muslims who advocate violent supremacist jihad."

No, I do not.

I quote Khadduri and Tibi as authorities on the doctrine of Jihad in Islam, not as "modern Muslims who advocate violent supremacist Jihad."

And I would never use the phrase "violent supremacist Jihad" -- the piling on of adjectives, including the unnecessary "supremacist," is not something I would ever do. 

When I got wind of Hugh's typically prickly riposte, I penned my rejoinder:

It may seem redundant to you, but pedagogically a little redundancy never hurts -- particularly in a sociopolitical climate illterate about jihad.

And I would never use the phrase "violent supremacist Jihad" -- the piling on of adjectives, including the unnecessary "supremacist," is not something I would ever do.

Actually, I would pile on another adjective: expansionist.

Each of the three adjectives performs a distinct function:

Violent refers to the necessary element of violence in the doctrine of jihad, symbiotically and inextricably linked with the other ostensibly non-violent ways in which Muslims pursue it, and making those other non-violent ways a problem where no problem would exist were the violence forever non-existent.

Supremacist refers to the premise that guides Muslims to their conclusion: The premise being that they are the best of all peoples, because the true God has made them custodians of the absolute truth and of the way to avoid eternal damnation and win eternal paradise.

Expansionist, consequently, refers to the conclusion: that Muslims must make Islam dominant throughout the world -- by hook (violence) or by crook (stealth).

Any one of these without the other two would not pose a great problem for the world:

For example, a group that was violent, but not supremacist or expansionist, would pose only criminal problems, not a problem of warfare.

A group that is supremacist, but not violent or expansionist, may express pernicious ideas, but if they never harm anyone in the furtherance of their ideas, and if the surrounding society is relatively healthy, they will be largely ignored when not roundly refuted and will certainly not persuade anyone but a tiny minority of unhealthy souls.

Finally, a group that is expansionist, but not violent or supremacist, may or may not be bad for society. If, for example, the 4-H Club were expansionist, there would be little to object about. Or if an expansionist group did propose pernicious ideas, they would be impotent to persuade the body politic in any healthy society -- unless they used violence.

Which brings me to another important adjective to pile on:  anti-liberal -- or, for those who recoil at the L word: unjust -- or, for those who require more beef in their diet: sociopathic.


So we can see how many-splendored is jihad; and I think it is important in our war of ideas to keep these distinctions in mind and to articulate them.

Now about that nougaty center of Satanic hate I referred to in my introduction, let's get down to brass tacks. The "struggle" to which the Arabic/Islamic word jihad refers is this:

It is the internal struggle -- very internal, located deep in what modern psychology rather quaintly persists in calling the "subconscious" but which ancient philosophers and medieval theologians knew to be a level of human nature deeper than daily awareness, a level at which matter and spirit, and evil and good, commingle -- of the human spirit to wrestle not against his inner demons (as normal civilized humans would have it), but against his inner angels, so that Satan may fully dominate him.

For, contrary to the popular caricatures of Satanism, it is not that easy for one of God's human creatures to succumb to Satan's wiles; in fact, that event is a protracted welter of confusion, doubt, passions and temptations that may go on years. And, for non-Muslims, it is indeed a struggle (or "tension" as the great 20th century philosopher Eric Voegelin put it); but a struggle posed and contested from a decidedly different -- nay, diametrically opposite -- angle from the one the Muslim engages in. The Muslim disposes and arrays his soul against God, against the Good, against Creation -- indeed, against his own soul, and does battle -- struggle -- from there.

The jihad, for the Muslim, is a struggle against his own better nature. A perverted, psychotic struggle, to be sure. And one about which I wouldn't give a shit, really, except that in its train is necessarily drawn -- and marshalled in a thousand different ways (including deceitful pretense that it's not going on) -- seditious violence against me, my loved ones, my fellow citizens, my very society and civilization.

And against that, I damned well do have to struggle.


Anonymous said...

Hi Hesp: Keep up the good work! Egghead

Hesperado said...

Thanks Egghead!