Saturday, March 29, 2014
Push the wake-up-call-button
About an all-too common Westerner—a Christian minister who believes in Kumbaya dialogues with Muslims—a Jihad Watch reader recently commented:
“Too bad the Ms. Reverend is such a Christian coward in refusing to admit the truth or to seek truth.”
Ah, yes: timidity—one of Hugh Fitzgerald’s Esdrujula Elves. Others he used to try to explain why so many Westerners persist in defending Islam (in one way or another) were Cupidity and Stupidity. But as I analyzed long ago, this explanation does not suffice, even when one combines one’s idiotic -Idities.
What’s missing when one insists on having recourse to the Elves and bracketing out any other explanation is a positive explanation of ideological sincerity. Many, of course, then may think they are solving this analytical problem by recourse to “those damned Lefty Elites”, but that explanation is strangely insufficient by now, when there are obviously so many non-Leftists who go out of their way to defend Muslims in one way or another .
I don’t have a full analytical answer, but at least, like Florence Nightingale—who, upon being sent to the Crimean War theater to manage the field hospital there took a look and said, “I don’t know how to manage a hospital, but I do know this is not how to manage a hospital”—I know where not to begin (much less where not to roll down the hill to a certain conclusion).
The analytical answer that seems most likely would begin by the observation that non-Leftists who go out of their way to defend Muslims abound throughout the West. It would then proceed by noticing that one cannot accuse them all—nor even most—of cowardice (Timidity), greed (Cupidity), or ignorance (Stupidity)—since, for one thing, they profess ideological sincerity, and we have no reason to suppose that profession is not genuine. Indeed, it certainly seems to be central to their motivation.
One then is left with the distinct possibility that some ideology is afoot. One does not, however, want to go careering down the road of reductively demonizing that ideology as some dastardly Leftism consanguineous (if not synonymous) with “Gramscian” and/or “cultural” Marxism.
And so, the final ingredient one must set out to consider is the noticeable fact that so many of these Westerners who persist in their myopia about Islam seem genuinely sincere in their concern to be doing the right thing, on the side of the moral angels of decency and civilization. This, in turn, as we continue to ponder the problem, we recognize as attitudes flowing out from virtues derived from the West's Judaeo-Christian and Graeco-Roman heritage -- which include concern and curiosity about the Other; self-criticism, the sanctity of the individual, and a progress out of tribalism into universalism. Somehow, these virtues as they have flourished in growth took a wrong turn sideways, and grew stronger as they waxed out of joint. How can they have gotten this so wrong, in joining this ethical sincerity at the hip to to one of the most hateful, intolerant and anti-liberal belief systems on the planet today? Again, we must like Sherlock Holmes rule out the impossible—that such modern Westerners (who, we recall, are dominant and mainstream throughout the West) are merely afraid, merely greedy, merely stupid—or are dastardly malignant Leftists. We rather must factor in at face value that ethical sincerity, as we begin to piece together and form a more coherent and plausible construct to help our healing analysis as we try to nurse our West back to health.
I have devoted countless hours of my time over the years writing and posting numerous lengthy and detailed attempts at such an analytical construction, here at The Hesperado. A long, but still incomplete, list of my essays in this regard may be had here.
One is now ready to begin to build a proper explanation for this most exigent and massive—if infuriating—problem, of the West stubbornly (if not at times cheerfully) maintaining its elaborate myopia about the problem of Islam. We must be patient, and keep pushing our call-button for the wake-up call of our fellow nurses heedless of the call, Physician, heal thyself. But it does no good, if that button is malfunctioning or flawed in its design.