Friday, March 04, 2016
...damned if you do...
My previous posting-- ...damned if you don't... -- established the general point & principle of Robert Spencer's wrong instinct (it's a doozy, and it's not the only one); viz., of failing to be anti-Islam and anti-Muslim. Not only failing in this regard, but going one further to insist he is "not anti-Islam" and "not anti-Muslim".
And as I have reiterated many times, I'm not expecting a member of the Counter-Jihad leadership to stand on a rooftop with a bullhorn screaming at the top of his lungs that he HATES ALL MUSLIMS!!! There are plenty of subtle ways to express the meme that is the most rational conclusion we can draw from the mountains of data about Islam & Muslims out there (mountains which Robert Spencer himself has been amassing and reporting for years). If the West doesn't come to this conclusion, it is doomed.
The least that the Counter-Jihad can do -- as it pursues its primary function in the war-of-ideas theater of trying to wake up its West to the broader war Mohammedans are waging against us by a combination of violence and stealth -- is to push the meme of the truth of the matter before it's too late. Seeing how incoherent and laggard the Counter-Jihad remains, riddled with the wrong instinct in many ways, I have dim hopes of a happy ending in this regard.
At any rate, my last posting applied the broad brush strokes to the problem of Robert Spencer. The specific example of it came to light in a recent article he posted at Jihad Watch. In that article, Spencer relays an exchange he had with a budding journalist from England, Marita Moloney, who solicited an interview with him by email. In her introductory email, Moloney expresses in a roundabout way an interest in ascertaining Spencer's perspective to help her and her colleagues at City London University learn more about what she called "anti-Muslim rhetoric". In her sly and passive-aggressive way, she was implying that Spencer indulged in such rhetoric. Rather than play cat-and-mouse, Spencer from his long experience with PC MC types like Moloney responded to her with a salvo bristling with defensive pique:
I’m not interested in being demonized. If you have any interest in presenting opposition to jihad activity in a fair light, I would speak with you, but from your remarks here it is clear that you do not. I do not in reality engage in “anti-Muslim rhetoric” of any kind. Nor am I “right-wing.” I’m not interested in abetting the spread of these libels.
Naturally, Spencer's loyalists in their comments expressed zero cognitive dissonance at the fact that Spencer was explicitly and utterly distancing himself from anti-Muslim rhetoric. Either they think he really is anti-Muslim but is pragmatically pretending to disavow it, or they have no problem with a Counter-Jihad leader rejecting anti-Muslim rhetoric. How is either position defensible, I'd like to know? As I've pointed out many times, pretending to disavow anti-Islam and anti-Muslim rhetoric does us no good, because we're damned if we do, damned if we don't.
Indeed, as Spencer himself writes in his introduction to the article about the budding journalist Marita Moloney:
So many times I have spoken at events where other speakers have spent all their time explaining that they’re not actually racist hatemongering bigots. The impulse to do this is understandable, and I’ve done it myself, since the mainstream media so relentlessly defames those who speak honestly about the real root causes of jihad terror.
Secondly, there is not a shred of direct evidence that Spencer is sincerely anti-Muslim and/or anti-Islam, and plenty of direct evidence that he's not. There is, of course, that giant Mt. Jihad Watch looming over his left shoulder out the window, rumbling and spewing volcanic lava for years, a mountain of data that would lead any sane, rational person to be anti-Islam and anti-Muslim -- a mountain of data Spencer himself has made a career out of amassing over the years. But as I analyzed in dozens of essays at my now retired sister blog, Jihad Watch Watch, Spencer is strangely inconsistent, if not incoherent, in terms of this paradox.
Thus, Spencer, in that same introduction to his email exchange with budding journalist Marita Moloney deftly arrays himself against the PC MC Mainstream -- by agreeing with them about Islam and Muslims! Note:
At the same time, it is important not to be defensive, and never to accept the mainstream media paradigm. We are standing for human rights, for the freedom of speech, and for the equality of rights of all people before the law.
And, according to Spencer, we are not standing against Islam or Muslims.
As he himself wrote many moons ago when he was rolling up his shirtsleeves and pants cuffs to wade into the pool of Jihad Watch comments in order to argue with readers (when he used to do that, back in the first decade of our century; he doesn't seem to do it any longer) -- and my readers should follow the link and scroll down to see intelligent Jihad Watchers (in the good old days when they existed) take him to task:
Islam is more multifaceted than Nazism, and involves many beliefs, some good, some bad. You are comparing a huge 1400-year-old tradition over many nations with 12 years of Germany. If you met a Nazi in 1938, you would know what he thinks. But the fact is that when you meet a Muslim today you can have no certainty about what he thinks or knows.
This does not mean that I think there is some sect of Islam that teaches indefinite peaceful coexistence as equals with non-Muslims; there isn't. But Islam has meant many things to many people at different times. There are Muslims that know nothing of what I am saying here. This is a fact that must be reckoned with.
To condemn it outright as such would also be too easily misunderstood in many ways. It would drive away people who would otherwise be our allies -- and I am not in the business of doing that. In this fight we need all the help we can get. It would also be seen as genocidal, and would thus be counterproductive to the anti-jihad effort.
Where is that bravely bold principle he expressed in the context of his exchange with budding journalist Marita Moloney? What was it...? Oh yes:
...it is important not to be defensive, and never to accept the mainstream media paradigm.
Unless, that is, you implicitly accept a giant part of that paradigm -- that we ought not to be anti-Islam (much less anti-Muslim).