Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Voegelinians and Islam


In my back-burner project of continuing my series on how Voegelinians disappoint on the problem of Islam, I've been avoiding the unpleasant task of reading Barry Cooper's summation on the Voegelinian website Voegelin View (Genealogy of Islamic Terrorism) of his book on Islam that's not really about Islam for quite a while now -- for the same reason any sane human (or any animal, for that matter) avoids pain.

I decided to dip my toe into that well this morning.

Well, I see unsurprisingly why I was avoiding it.

"...although Islam broadly considered does not provide a threat to Western liberal democracy," says Cooper with a blandly sweeping statement characteristic of all PC MCs and their asymptotic cousins, "militant jihadist Islam, what we have been calling Islamism, most certainly does."

Sigh.  Do I really have to read this idiocy?  It breaks my heart that Voegelinians are purveying this nonsense about a pneumopathology that our great forebears knew, all too well, for a good millennium and a half, was its mortal existential enemy -- an enemy not only of Judaeo-Christianity, not only of Christendom, but of the genius of civilization it inherited, crystallized and differentiated from Israel and the Graeco-Roman cultures.

Do we think that Gregory Palamas, or Thomas Aquinas, or John Wesley, or Czeslaw Milosz, or John Adams, or Thomas Jefferson, or Alexis de Tocqueville, or Ernest Renan, or Theodore Roosevelt, or Carl Jung, or Karl Barth, or Andre Servier, or Winston Churchill -- just to name a fraction of great Western thinkers over the ages -- would have let Islam (not that artificial creation "Islamism" anxiously cobbled together by recent analysts) off the hook so glibly? 

We know they wouldn't -- and didn't.  The question is, why is a respected academic Voegelinian following the fashion of his age, and not rather schooling himself on what less deformed thinkers of the past thought about Islam?

(Incidentally, the fact that Voegelinians -- an academic subculture of mostly conservative WASPs with a heavy concentration of Catholics and Orthodox, all heir, following their great mentor, to a profound antipathy to Marxism -- have succumbed to the "Great Inhibition", as Hugh Fitzgerald terms it, concerning the problem of Islam, should put paid to the notion that this Problem of the Problem is itself a Marxist concoction.)

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