Sunday, September 14, 2014
The News: A Fractured Fairy Tale
Recently, Prime Minister of England David Cameron pronounced more harshly no-nonsense condemnations on ISIS (e.g., “We will do everything in our power to hunt down these murderers and ensure they face justice, however long it takes” and, in a manly Tweet subsequently, adding that the latest beheading, of David Haines, is an “act of pure evil.”). Similarly, Obama and Kerry have these past weeks pulled out the stops of outraged rhetoric at these atrocities.
What’s going on here is what could be called Misplaced Bluster & Bravado.
It’s a rather common phenomenon, unfortunately: The pressure of avoiding the Camel in the Room—Islam and all the human rights atrocities that have been roiling throughout Africa, the Middle East and Western Asia (not to mention increasingly in the West) flowing out from mainstream Islam like rivers, torrents of grisly blood—builds up enormously, particularly when you are an otherwise sincere, intelligent, conscientious public leader with a responsibility you take seriously to protect the public good. But if you are also beholden to PC MC and your sense of ethics is joined at the hip with PC MC, you simply cannot think the unthinkable—you cannot think that there is a systemic and obviously metastasizing problem with Muslims in general and with their support of Islam. Nevertheless, your conscience nags at you and your intelligence is telling you there is a horrid problem of frightful proportions that is, indeed, metastasizing out of control. What do you do then? You magnify your rhetoric against this problem, but then you minimize the actual problem and whittle it down to more manageable (and thinkable) proportions, and you focus all your alarm & ire exclusively on the "radicalized extremists", the "Islamists-who-have-nothing-to-do-with-Islam"—and fashionably, on the jihadists du jour, ISIS (or, more recently from Tony Blair, the "Salafists" who used to be called "Wahhabists").
“Selective conscience” was a phrase from the 60s. It’s time to revive it as a diagnostic term of the political rhetoric of no-nonsense nonsense spouted & spewed daily by our leaders and representatives in our time.
What we have here more broadly in this curious Clash of Civilizations (or, rather, “Clash of Epochs”, as George Will shrewdly put it) is a most surreal asymmetrical mirror-image that in its carnivalesque fun-house reflection distorts the problem into a Pseudo-Clash between a grandiosely hapless neo-Wilsonianism and a "Radicalism" that has nothing to do with Islam. Thus, while the West would be truculently thrusting its chest out in misplaced bluster and bravado—punctuated by rhetoric of sincere moral superiority couched exclusively in terms of the suicidal drivel of a neo-Wilsonian idealism, tilting its Quixotic spear at the imaginary windmills of “Islamism-that-has-nothing-to-do-with-Islam” while tragicomically blind as a bat to the actual Islam under its post-Colonially meddling nose—in its preposterous game of Whack-a-Mo figuratively cutting off one head after another of the Hydra monster it refuses to see (and whose heads, naturally, regrow all the more with these decapitations), the unseen Mohammedan monster, meanwhile, is busy in its gruesomely industrious way, all too literally cutting off the heads of its hapless Harbi who have already lost their heads long ago (when its minions in various forms of taqiyya are not lying about the killing and pretending to be disconnected from it).
This would be a story worthy of a Jorge Luis Borges channeling Cervantes and the Brothers Grimm, as depicted by Salvador Dali and televised in the adroitly cheeky terms of the Fractured Fairy Tales. If only it were only a story, and not rather our grim reality.