For the ongoing myopia that numbs the West in the face of the threat of Islam we must have recourse to an explanation subtler, more complex, more sociological and more systemic than the merely psychological and logical explanation put forth repeatedly by the remarkably erudite Vice-President and frequent essayist at Jihad Watch, Hugh Fitzgerald, during his long tenure there that ended a while back—what I have referred to as his precious “Esdrujula Elves”.
What I'm talking about is the handy trope Fitzgerald employed now and then by which to explain why it is that the majority in the West continue to be blind to the full magnitude of the problem of Islam: the “Esdrujula Explanation” of Cupidity, Stupidity and Timidity (alluding to a term in Spanish grammar—actually it should be esdrújulo—for accenting words on the third syllable from the end). Some time later, Fitzgerald tacked on a fourth peccadillo, Rigidity; one wonders why he restrained himself from going on a roll with Lividity, Aridity and Morbidity...
This, alas, is an explanation too handy and facile, in my estimation, functioning sort of like the crude Modalist analogies certain Christian theologians would superimpose upon the Trinity by which to finesse its scandalously wondrous paradox—as though the entire stupendously sprawling problem of the Western inability to recognize the problem of Islam were reducible to mere character flaws.
With astonishingly uncharacteristic simple-mindedness, thus, Mr. Fitzgerald writes:
“The three words that compose the Esdrujula Explanation—timidity, stupidity, cupidity—explain the folly. When it comes to the widespread inability to grasp the the promptings, the instruments, the full menace of Jihad—those three words usually do.”
It may well be, ultimately, that the “folly” is rooted in such mundane character flaws; but between the mess of history and the psychological roots of the personality of actors lies the rich and complicating pageant of society. This deserves a more suitable explanation, attentive to the sociopolitico-cultural complexities that paradoxically transcend, envelop and impinge upon individual morals, even as they ultimately arise from them. That more suitable explanation, I think, must account for the mainstream dominance of PC Multiculturalism, a dominance by which millions of ordinary Westerners are sincerely convinced of its truth, not merely lazy and stupid and greedy, nor merely sheepishly hoodwinked by some sinister cabal of “elites” who somehow have already managed to transform the free West into a tyranny.
While our ears may be charmed by the rhyming, rhythmic alliteration of Hugh’s Three or Four Hobbyhorses of the Apocalypse, our minds come away dissatisfied: for, it reduces the immense and complex problem of PC Multiculturalism to personality flaws, which might suffice to explain the folly of individuals here and there, but fails, by a long shot, the mark of addressing the sociological dimension.
And the point I will keep hammering home until someone gets the nail on the head: Various individuals—no matter how influential and “elite” they may be—variously vulnerable to such personality flaws and character weaknesses would enjoy little or no traction for their agendas and enterprises, were there no dominant and mainstream atmosphere of PC Multiculturalism surrounding them that nourishes and enables their various idiotic “Idities”.
The "Esdrujula Explanation" seems to be the only alternative to that other explanation bandied about on the bandwidth of the Internet -- namely, the Evil Elites Explanation. Apparently, most in the Counter-Jihad can't think outside their binary box: the Problem of the Problem (i.e., the Western myopia to the problem of Islam) must in their limited minds either be caused by an extraordinary evil wielded by a tiny cabal of Elites -- or it must be caused by an extraordinary stupidity by a perhaps slightly less tiny cabal of Elites. Apparently, for these people, there cannot be a third explanation. Both explanations share an Elitistics. They only differ in the imputation of evil as the motivator -- and, by extension, in the dismal loss of faith in the West logically implied in the former, who deem the entire West to be already a mega-crypto-tyranny. While the Evil Elites Explanation throws the baby out with the bathwater in a grandly sweeping and outrageously reckless (not to mention remarkably illiterate) manner, the Esdrujula Explanation commits the error of underestimating the depth and breadth of the problem.
I.e., the former exaggerates the problem to a ridiculously lurid proportion; the latter trivializes the problem.
Both explanations, thus, suffer from a myopia of their own -- a myopia to the radical changes in sociopolitical and sociocultural mores all around them, and an illiteracy to the long history of these changes in the West as this paradigm shift has transmogrified from an amorphous constellation of opinions on the part of an intellectual minority, to a less amorphous (though still incoherent) worldview affecting the hearts and minds of millions of people ranging from Elites down to Ordinary People, among all political and cultural persuasions, and among all economic and class distinctions.
It's tempting to reach for the more simplistic explanation -- particularly when the problem is so dire and so aggravating. But sometimes we must try to resist the temptation to be simple.