Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Errata et corrigenda...
A couple of recent entries at Jihad Watch are noteworthy for the opportunities they offer to deepen the analysis of the Problem of the Problem, and for the failure to do so by Robert Spencer.
The first regards CNN’s Irene Papas-like journalist with the funny lower lip -- sort of a Mediterranean (by way of the Persian Gulf) Baba Wawa -- Christiane Amanpour. As usual, Spencer's reportage of the What is fine and on point, so we can rely on him to flesh out the broad strokes. It's in the glimpses of the underlying Why where he fails the Counter-Jihad.
Amanpour, Spencer writes --
...believes “we can all afford to be human” regarding the Syrian refugees. Recently, she condemned the U.S. and other countries for not letting them enter the homeland, despite FBI Director James Comey’s testimony explaining that vetting this population is literally impossible.
Apparently, “discerning” does not qualify as a human trait to Amanpour...
What Spencer at this juncture misses is why "discerning" does not qualify as a human trait to Amanpour. It's because when the activity of "discerning" is directed at Muslims, it automatically transmutes, in Amanpour's PC-MC-deformed heart & mind, into discriminating. Not "discriminating" in the sense of the multi-million-dollar aesthetic taste of George Clooney's interior decorator at his villa on Lake Como in Switzerland she may have complimented him on at the last soirée she was invited to there following his wedding to the pro-Palestinian Lebanese Druzina, Alma Alamuddin. No; we are dealing here with a different sense of the word, its politically correct pejorative sense -- discriminating in the sense of ethnic or racial discrimination.
This reflects one of the most glaring (if not gaping) lacunae the Counter-Jihad continues to indulge -- the unwillingness to recognize that perhaps the most important dynamic going on to explain why & how the PC MC paradigm structurally fosters its general myopia to the problem of Islam lies in the racialization of the problem at the heart of that paradigm.
I have speculated before on this odd lacuna in the Counter-Jihad analysis -- where the best they can do is simply put up the mantra "Islam is not a race!" as a sort of magical amulet that is supposed to cause the Politically Correct Multi-Culturalist to shrivel up into a furry, defeated ball -- and have tentatively concluded that what is going on here is that the Counter-Jihadist in question apparently still retains a bit of PC MC in his own heart & mind. The Counter-Jihadist himself deep down is anxious to avoid being "bigoted" and "racist" and this leads him to the drastically erroneous conclusion that most Muslims don't look ethnic (non-white, non-Western), and that because they don't look ethnic, this does not color (pun intended) the analysis which the PC MCs bring to the issue. This almost neurotic disinclination on the part of certain Counter-Jihadists to face the racial component of Muslim physiognomy, and to see how important that has become to the PC MC perspective, ironically resembles the kind of thinking PC MCs and Leftists indulge in -- simply assert that a fact isn't so because the consequences of the fact may make you uncomfortable and may threaten your ethical narcissism. (For more in-depth analysis, see my many essays touching on this issue.)
In the second example I'd like to call attention to, Spencer again ably skirts the edge of the deeper problem, but fails to peer down into it in order to cast much needed light on it.
It concerns an article Spencer recommends highly by writer Maureen Mullarky published at IP5 (short for "1 Peter chapter 5" -- a website, incidentally, that looks quite promising, as this search result of articles on Islam there indicates), about a Catholic bishop, Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who has adopted and promoted a posture of appeasing pusillanimity to the problem of Islamic jihad in general as one reasonably exptrapolates his delimitation of that global problem to the only problem in that regard in the small world of PC MCs -- ISIS. Thus Spencer writes:
This brilliant article sums up not only the myopia of Bishop Robert Barron’s approach to the Islamic State (and to the global jihad in general), but the weakness and wrongheadedness of the entire contemporary Catholic Church when confronted with jihadist savagery. There is today a wholesale confusion of weakness and submission with compassion and mercy, such that many Church leaders, including but by no means limited to Bishop Barron, believe that Christian charity mandates acquiescence to evil and submission to it. [bold emphasis added]
To plumb the reason for that confusion, one must probe to the psychological undercurrent motivating it. It is, as I argued at length in an older essay, because of an ethical narcissism that itself is tied to an anxiety about White Western Guilt -- where the remedy that is supposed to cure that anxiety, that White Man's Burden, expresses itself in an idealistic Wilsonianism of one sort or another. And, of course, this wouldn't be relevant to the problem of Islam, were Muslims not perceived to be a non-Western Ethnic People (or a wonderful diversity, tapestry, mosaic, quilt, stir-fry of non-Western Ethnic Peoples).
In another context, yet directly related to this crucial node of the Problem of the Problem, I wrote about an observation Debbie Schlussel made about the various Western beheading victims of ISIS -- those starry-eyed Leftist do-gooders who find themselves in that horrible predicament mainly because their ethical narcissism has driven them to plunge into those hellholes in order to save Muslims. I first quoted Schlussel discussing one of them in particular -- Kayla Mueller:
"...few people can really handle it, as they’d rather be infantilized and told that every American In Name Only put out of his/her misery by ISIS is really a hero fighting the good fight against Islamic terrorists (when in almost all the cases, the newly beheaded are really America-haters and Muslim apologists who were lucky enough to be born here)."
And I wrote:
Schlussel is correct; and it's a curious phenomenon, until you think about it more. Part of what's going on, I think, is that there exist a large number of these starry-eyed cosmopolitan Do-Gooders-Without-Borders (and Without Brains) who have realized that even more glamorously humanitarian than the Third World Classic of yesteryear -- e.g., various Indian tribes of central and South America oppressed by cruel right-wing (never left-wing, of course) dictators; various generic black African people suffering from their perennially Biblical afflictions of drought, famine, pestilence and wars, etc. -- are the Suffering Victims of the Muslim World. Not the non-Muslims whom the Muslims are oppressing and massacring, of course, but the Muslims themselves who, when they keep getting embroiled in their Bloody Borders (not to mention internecine fitna), need the help of all the bleeding hearts of the West who can pitch in to try to do their part to alleviate the suffering of those Poor Muslim Victims.
I will soon read the article by Maureen Mullarkey (The Incredible Shrinking Bishop Barron) and see if she handles this deeper, broader issue any better than Spencer does.
I just read it. I'm quite impressed. Though she didn't advert to the deeper issue I articulated above, her essay displayed a virtuosity and literacy about Islam invigorating enough to forgive her lapse.
She came close at one point, when she wrote about Bishop Barron: "...he confused Paris in 2015 with Selma, Alabama in 1965." I.e., PC MCs such as Bishop Barron make this kind of confusion because they see Muslims as the New Black and the New Jew -- i.e., as the #1 Ethnic Minority whose grievances need to be respected. The vast majority of these New Blacks/New Jews, numbering over a billion all around the world, cannot, must not, be "tarred with the broad brush" of ISIS. This primary anxiety to avoid "bigotry" and "racism" against so many hundreds of millions of Brown People is what motivates PC MCs like Bishop Barron to lurch into postures & positions that end up grotesquely minimizing if not appeasing the danger of Islam, precisely because semi-consciously they are becoming increasingly aware that this danger pertains to a far broader demographic among Muslims in general than is comfortable to suppose. Because their semi-conscious exerts this pressure (the pressures of the love of truth and the fear of death), their ethical narcissism feels a counter-pressure to try to suppress that growing awareness, for it might lead them to think bad thoughts about Muslims -- and that, in turn, would make them feel bad about themselves (which is what really concerns them).