Tuesday, May 21, 2013

No one has a Monopoly on Conspiracy Theory

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The philosopher Eric Voegelin noted, in his magisterial essay Wisdom and the Magic of the Extreme, that what differentiates the Gnostic from the healthy mature man whose heart is open to the disturbing mystery of life is not that the latter doesn't feel the disturbing anguish of the problem of evil and doesn't therefore want to escape it somehow by finding some kind of salvation or redemption or transformation: the difference lies in the fact that the latter loves wisdom just enough to see through the false promises of Gnosticism and the false diagnosis of the problem of existence upon which its promises are based.  And so, the lover of wisdom is tempted, but he does not succumb, either to the fabulously seductive escapism of ancient Gnosticism, nor to the more politically zealous revolutions (or short of that, the Leftist escapism) of modern Gnosticism.

A subcategory, so to speak, of Gnosticism in our time (with roots going back centuries, no doubt) is the Conspiracy Theory -- the theory that holds a magic key to explain all the ills (particularly the sociopolitical and geopolitical ills) that beset our world.

I've long held that when we confront the problem of Islam, then almost immediately after that notice the massive denial and myopia throughout our West to that problem, the best of us (let alone the intellectually laggard or illiterately confused among us) may be tempted to lurch into a conspiracy theory to explain why it is that the West continues to bend over backward in a mirror image of the Oriental salaam in order to placate and defend, if not often downright extol, Islam and its Muslims.

There are many flavors of Conspiracy Theory that abound.  I am here of course not discussing those flavors that run counter to the Counter-Jihad (viz., the 911 conspiracy theories) -- but rather those that seem to derive from, and thrive within, the Counter-Jihad, or at least in pockets, nooks and crannies of it here and there.  Today's essay is not a catalogue of all the flavors.  Perhaps some day I'll explore that.  Today I briefly look at two mirror images of each other.

One of these flavors I've noticed especially among certain commenters at the Gates of Vienna blog, and less obviously and more subtly, among some of its guest writers: it is the luridly antisemitic flavor, that believes that Jews are, and have been for millennia, demonically controlling the world in order to ruin it, and in that respect are aiding and abetting (if they are not actually manipulating) Muslims to revive and attack the West.  Absent any positive evidence, I reasonably conclude that this flavor is relatively minor in scope and membership.

Another flavor is its curious mirror-image:  the notion that the entire West is hopelessly riddled with antisemitism, substantively the same as that which galvanized Nazi Germany, and that this is why the West has become anti-Israel and pro-"Palestine" (let alone effectively pro-Islam).  I recently came across a massive example of this latter flavor in a comments thread on Jihad Watch.  All one has to do is read through the voluminous posts of one Daniel Bielak there to get a taste of that flavor.

It turns out that Bielak has a blog.  On his blog, the vast majority of essays are solidly useful information and analyses about the problem Israel and Jews face in the form of the Muslim menace.  One essay there, however, Why, and How, the West is Vilifying Israel, unfortunately exemplifies the lurch off the rails of reason.  That essay examines a mountain of circumstantial evidence and its author feels bound by the straitjacket of his Box to draw only one conclusion: that the West's increasing favoritism to the "Palestinians" (and quickly on their sandaled heels, Muslims in general), and concomitantly its increasing vilification of Israel represents evidence that essentially the same antisemitism that inspired Nazi Germany (and that inspired all Christianity from when to when?) is now inspiring this geopolitical and economic and cultural disposition to Israel and its enemies.

This exemplifies vividly one of my points I keep hammering, about the "Explanatory Vacuum", a flaw in perspective that seems to have taken on the proportions of a myopia in its own right -- a myopia to the nature and dimensions of PC MC which one can see even within the Counter-Jihad. When for various reasons one remains oblivious to the massively sociopolitical phenomenon of the paradigm shift that brought PC MC to the fore as the mainstream and dominant fashion of our era -- and when one is oblivious to the nature of that worldview of PC MC, and when one sees major problems unfolding (as with Israel and its enemies, and as with the Islamic revival of global jihad), and when lastly one sees our own West behaving like a myopic retarded fool in response to these problems -- one will pass Go and go straight to Conspiracy Theory.

Let's just hope that most in the Counter-Jihad, as it slowly, achingly grows in numbers and influence over the decades ahead, will keep a level head about this and neither lurch one way or another, but stay on track, keep its eye on the ball, and not gamble with the dice in a game of Muslim Roulette, nor settle for a pittance with a measly house on Baltic Avenue; rather go all the way as a tin top hat past Go to replace the mosques on Marvin Gardens, Boardwalk and Park Place with rows of hotels.  You'll never win, though, if you've convinced yourself the game is rigged by a cabal of "Globalists", "Jews" and "Masons".

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Viva la conspiracy theorists!

One of my passwords to add a comment now is 'existing'!

Egghead

Anathematic Action said...

"Another flavor is its curious mirror-image: the notion that the entire West is hopelessly riddled with antisemitism, substantively the same as that which galvanized Nazi Germany, and that this is why the West has become anti-Israel and pro-"Palestine" (let alone effectively pro-Islam)."

I have to agree that this is a far-fetched generalization that doesn't hold true in my own mind. Alas, it gets much worse, still. As of late, there is a bit of a discussion going on certain blogs that refer to Daniel Pipes' ridiculous notion that he can quantify the alleged TMOE portion within Islam at 10 to 15%, setting it off against an uncertain minority of so-called moderates.

Now, I decided to have a look at Daniel Pipes' ideas in general, and what I found was rather disparaging, for it seems that some of his thoughts seem reflect alleged Western European Anti-Semitism by juxtaposing it with alleged Western European Generalized Racism:

”Western European societies are unprepared for the massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene…All immigrants bring exotic customs and attitudes, but Muslim customs are more troublesome than most.”

When drew criticism for this statement, he wasn't particularly relenting on this specific issue, saying:

“my goal in it was to characterize the thinking of Western Europeans, not give my own views. In retrospect, I should either have put the words ‘brown-skinned peoples’ and ‘strange foods’ in quotation marks or made it clearer that I was explaining European attitudes rather than my own.”

As if this was supposed to make it any better, or what ??? This is not an issue of general racism. In fact, the opposite is true. Suggesting that Western European societies are probably inherently racist, is presumptuous and highly disdainful on his part. The opposite would be true, even if the issue of “cooking strange foods and maintaining different standards of hygiene” would have some substance to it !

Anathematic Action said...

And troublesome would be a euphemism, totally inaccurate to describe the detrimental effects on our societies with regards to Islam in particular !

Daniel Pipes can generalize as much as he wants, he cannot truly explain European attitudes collectively, as if he had surveyed them all at some point, much like his TMOE in Islam ! In his mind, all Europeans are more or less the same. Which puts him, ironically, on par with all those PC MC wankers who denounce both the general public in Europe, getting wary of Islam, plus all outspoken Islamorealists as racists. Probably because he wants to safeguard those imaginary moderates he has been describing from generalized racist bigotry in Europe? How noble of him (!)

Who needs counter-jihadists like that ? I'd rather read Daniel Greenfield's essays on Islam, blunt and to the point every single time !

Anathematic Action said...

So there's another mirror image, this time around de facto originating in PC MC doctrine and infecting some wishy-washy, half-witted counter-jihadists ! How stupid can anyone get ?

Anathematic Action said...

I’ve never trusted Daniel Pipes. He’s typical of self-proclaimed analysts like Robert Fisk or Bernard Lewis: amassing decades of knowledge on the ME and still coming up with extraordinarily mealymouthed and baffling shortsightedness with regards to the subjects they claim to have expert knowledge of ?! I don’t trust so-called experts on the ME when they are inherently reluctant to call a spade a spade. Simple as that. If Pipes wants to be a conspiracy theorist first and foremost, he loses face and has no authority in my opinion !

Anonymous said...

Both Jewish and Christian religious leadership here and in Europe do seem to be allying themselves with the Muzzies over their own people.

This I suspect is what is driving the claims of the Jews supporting the destruction of the West.

Most don't see that a good percentage of Jewish and Christian religious leaders are quite liberal and follow pretty much in lockstep what the major Leftist parties do.

IOW they are just as suicidal and stupid as your typical secular Leftist.

Hesperado said...

Anathematic, Thanks for your comments. Every time I read your comments, I find myself agreeing with everything. That's an odd experience for me! :)

As you may or may not know, I've written reams about Pipes. And in one of my essays, I also link to Lawrence Auster, whom I also take to task for his own eccentric twist on things in this regard -- but nevertheless, Auster has written a few fairly brief analyses of Pipes that are right on the money as far as putting Pipes' incoherent paradox in a nutshell.

This Google page shows pretty much all my essays related to Pipes, if you're interested.

As for Bernard Lewis, I agree with you there as well. Andrew Bostom's extended video discussion with Robert Spencer recently, which I wrote about in an essay, Not quite a Beatles reunion, but cool nonetheless, is well worth watching: Bostom takes Bernard Lewis apart to see how he ticks like an experienced clockmaker taking apart a clock that's only right twice a day...).

Note: the links I provided here may not be visible to the eye depending on how you read these comments, I've noticed; but they will still be in the text.

Hesperado said...

Anonymous/Egghead,

Yes, you're quite right about Jews and Christians -- probably the majority of them are PC MC at best. The same goes for the majority of atheists, agnostics, conservatives, and generally speaking carbon-based life forms with opposable thumbs... Which is why I don't see this as, among other things, a "Jewish problem".

Anathematic Action said...

I was quite flabbergasted indeed to find that RS would seem so eager to steal AB's thunder at one point, which seems to have found (I hope)a definite resolution.

I remember about a year or so ago, I preliminarily put a few books on a wishlist of items I wanted to read on a site that sells books and multimedia,...etc. Among them "The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years" by Lewis, "The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East" by Robert Fisk and "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order" by Samuel P. Huntington.

I did the necessary research afterwards to the point where I found myself absorbing the essential criticism of these books on Wikipedia first, and then linking from the references sections to critics who had something useful to say. Which made me decide to discard the notion that these so-called experts carry any clout, really. And I decided not to read them.

Anathematic Action said...

The big problem, I believe, is that most people are not going to bother with going that far in researching these matters. It seems to me that most people I know tend to take things at face value, by way of reading glossy literary magazines or browsing some bonus trendy pages, issued with their saturday papers, over here.

I have often found that most books on these subjects ,mentioned in there, are exactly those I would reject for the reasons I have outlined. Plus, like the 3 examples mentioned above, they are also translated regularly in my native language (I am not a native English speaker) and you can find most of them re-issued at the local bookstores at the same time they're getting re-hyped that way.

Quite seriously, translations of Karen Armstrong's books are crawling out of the woodwork here, not to mention the bullshit dispersed by the likes of Tariq Ramadan. Luckily I can find my way around the internet to buy books with some real substance to them. But like I say, most people are not going to bother with getting real.