Wednesday, December 25, 2013
"Know Thy Friend", and the Esdrujula Elves (in time for Christmas)
The comments attached to a recent Jihad Watch report on U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and FBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Kaste -- announcing, as usual, that Islam had nothing to do with the recent barely deflected terror attack by a Muslim convert at the airport in Wichita, Kansas -- present an interesting tissue of understandable stabs at trying to make sense of this latest semantic and rhetorical atrocity from our Public Servants. Ultimately, these stabs are riddled with complex fallacies and/or fallacious premises or assumptions.
Those comments provide a good example of the State of the Union, so to speak, of the still inchoate Anti-Islam Movement (some day, hopefully before the 21st century is over and millions of us have been massacred by Muslims, to become the full-fledged AIM) as we approach 2014.
One commenter agreed with another when he:
...so adroitly pointed out...if islam had nothing to with it...why bring it up, anyway? He [U.S. Attorney Grissom] doesn't get the irony there? Maybe I was wrong--maybe he IS and [sic] idiot!
The question, and then the conclusion that to the questioner seems inexorable, are both assuming that a person cannot be intelligent and still think and utter what we in the (still inchoate) Anti-Islam Movement know to be fallacious premises and conclusions about Islam. It would be glibly cynical -- though an understandable venting of our frustration -- to assume that this can be explained by a lack of intelligence in U.S. Attorney Grissom and FBI Special Agent in Charge Kaste. While it's tempting to think "all politicians are stupid", this simply is too unlikely, for a variety of reasons (not the least of which being that people of lesser education and seemingly less intelligence nevertheless grasp the problem of Islam).
In other words, we can rule out one of Hugh Fitzgerald's Esdrujula Elves (or Hobbyhorses of the Apocalypse) -- Stupidity -- by which he explained long ago why it is that our modern Western educated mainstream persists in its myopia about the problem of Islam. One may posit a stupidity, but only a paradoxical kind, which may be called "intelligent stupidity" or "foolish wisdom" or, as I termed it, "Quantum Ignorance".
Not only politicians are the problem in this regard; oftimes one finds scholars in Academe, even those whose field involves a study of materials related to the history of Islam, and who may even know Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew, etc., evince pretty much the same talking points of the PC MC template. Obviously, scholars such as these cannot be simplistically "stupid".
Thus, in another recent context on Jihad Watch -- a report on how the American Studies Association which (as the Jerusalem Post says) is a ..5,000-member American Studies Association (ASA), which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history”...), ruled to boycott all Israeli universities (and of course conspicuously failed to boycott any Muslim nation perpetrating and proposing, unlike Israel, horrible deeds and words) -- another commenter dashed off a glibly sweeping remark about Academe:
It's common to hear (or read) from among those in the still inchoate Anti-Islam Movement the gripe that this or that public servant tends to behave in ways that support Islam because he has been, in effect, "bought out" (i.e., with money and/or power). This would be another of Hugh's "Esdrujula Elves" -- namely, Cupidity.
This, however, logically suffices for an ultimate explanation if any one (or combination) of three things pertain:
1) the public servant in question doesn't realize how evil and deadly Islam is to the West he has the honor and privilege to serve
2) the public servant in question is a scurrilous nihilist who doesn't care about anything but scurrilous opportunism for the sake of money and/or power
3) the public servant in question knows how evil and deadly Islam is, yet still wants to support it because either
a) he is an extremist Leftist (not the same as your garden-variety Leftist) who wants to actively destroy the West in order to let Islam take conquer it because, apparently, he thinks Islam will be better for Mankind (which practically puts him into the Revert gallery, if hadn't already taken the Shahada anyway and reverted)
b) he is an extremist Leftist of the Nihilist sub-flavor, who wants to see everything destroyed (especially, of course, the Evil White West) and believes in doing anything to hasten his Nihilist Armageddon).
That's it. That's all the Cupidity Elf has to offer, for an ultimate explanation of motive. Missing from this is a positive ideological motive that does not verge on the ludicrously unlikely stretches of 2, and of 3a and 3b. And because the positive ideological motive is missing, one is tempted to lurch toward #1 -- the first Stupidity Elf -- which, however, is simply silly and impermissible if one thinks about it for longer than a picosecond (though an understandable outburst of our frustration).
Now, if there were indeed no positive ideological factor plausible or possible, one may well be forced to stretch in this manner for an explanation. But there are indications that there is such a thing as a worldview that is not reducible to an extremist Leftism, that in fact reaches out and touches the hearts and minds of innumerable others who cannot reasonably be caricatured as extremist Leftists.
The fallacy or misstep here, in sum, may be put thusly: Just as it is important, in the "battle space of the war of ideas" (as Frank Gaffney has so aptly put it), to "Know thine enemy" -- so too is it important to "Know thy friends". Indeed, one of the serious fallouts from the Explanatory Vacuum is that explanations rush in to fill this vacuum which tend, in quasi-conspiracy-theory fashion, to transmogrify, if not demonize, many of our Western friends into tantamount Enemies. And this verges on the next fallacy, which may be a new Elf Hugh didn't think of -- another "-idity" besides his Stupidity, Cupidity, and Timidity: what for now could be signified by "Those damned Leftists". This last Idity turns out to be rather idiotic and quickly dissolves under the unremarkable light of thinking about it for a few seconds: It fails to explain all the multitudes of non-Leftists who continue to do their part to purvey PC MC throughout the modern West: Conservatives, Centrists, and that sociopolitical demographic too often unnoticed -- the Comfortably Apolitical (a post-modern permutation of the "Bourgeoisie" who abound in our time).