Thursday, February 11, 2016

Post-Scrubtum

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In my follow-up piece the other day to my immediately preceding post on incipient signs of life & intelligence in Jihad Watch comments, I wrote:

...I could understand the Jihad Watch censor(s) deleting the first nakedly genocidal comment; but it was silly of Robert Spencer to ask Marc, his editor and tech guy, to drone the whole wedding party of innocents as collateral damage along with that one egregious comment.

Thinking on it further, I actually amend my opinion, slightly.  It would have been best to do either of two things:

1) Leave the nakedly genocidal statement (If I was king of this world, I’d exterminate every Muslim that walks the earth.”) -- for the reason that the ensuing comments generated in response to it clearly showed that the Jihad Watch community is opposed to such extremist sentiments -- with only one commenter (the new guy I like, “Gray”) seeming to demur from the community party line but clearly, to anyone with a modicum of sense & intelligence (i.e., hardly no one in Jihad Watch comments), in a nuanced way that arguably distances itself from the brute purport of that nakedly genocidal statement.

2) Delete the nakedly genocidal statement, but leave all the responses to it (none of which, as far as I could tell, agreed with it, and the vast majority of which, in fact, recoiled from it).  The Jihad Watch tech guy, Marc, surely could work his tech magic and insert a brief comment right at the top informing readers that "Jihad Watch has deleted a comment that was genocidal, because obviously that goes against our values, but we left the various responses to it, because in fact they show a healthy disavowal of such genocidal extremism."  Surely, in the time it took Marc to delete all the comments relating to the genocidal one, he would have had the time to do that.

I say “it would have been better” -- better for what or whom?  Better for culture, better for civilization.  If the public conversation in a context of one of the virtual battle spaces of this war of ideas we are all in -- a war of ideas mainly calculated to try to raise awareness throughout the free world to the problem of Islam -- cannot proceed without anxiously trigger-happy censorship at crucial turns, rather than allow the breathing process of heartfelt, intelligent conversation, then what exactly are we defending?  

The counter-argument that invariably pops up from the Counter-Jihad Mainstream at this juncture runs something like this:   that we in the Counter-Jihad, especially someone as eminently lofty as Robert Spencer, must be ultra-careful lest the Mainstream and the Islamopologists ostracize us as "racists" who "hate all Muslims" and want to "kill all Muslims" -- thus preventing us from getting our message out.

The first problem with this is that "ultra-careful" is to some extent relative and subjective.  Surely, we can all agree (though I doubt we will) that even in this exigently dicey context, one can be too careful, too paranoid, too deferential to the rules of our PC MC masters.  The question then becomes a matter of reasonable casuistry -- take the situations on a case-by-case basis, rather than apply a blanket ruling from on high to all situations, irrespective of their distinctions.  The knee-jerk response of the typical Counter-Jihadist, however -- whereby no matter what the situation is, Robert Spencer's censorship is always right, and that's that -- clearly indicates they operate on the basis of just such a blanket ruling (in addition to a slavish enabling of demagoguery), anxiously letting that ruling take the place of the careful deliberation that would adjudicate on a case-by-case basis.

The other problem with this response I have noticed over the years: it apparently doesn't matter much to the PC MC Mainstream how careful a Robert Spencer or a Daniel Pipes or a Geert Wilders is -- they can anxiously reassure their audience that they are "not anti-Islam", that they are "not anti-Muslim", that they "do not hate all Muslims", that they are "not racist", that they "only stand for human rights for all", etc. etc. -- they still get vilified (either blatantly or by clear implication) as racist right-wing Islamophobes!

The third problem I pointed out above: the various battle spaces of the war of ideas theater of the Counter-Jihad need to cultivate reason and intelligence in a spirit of the free speech of robust conversation & healthy disagreement.  The actual tendency we see -- to cultivate the lowest common denominator of group-think, reinforced by a trigger-happy anxiety about pleasing our Mainstream Masters -- bodes ill for keeping alive the flame that is the heart of the West we would be defending from destruction.