Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Counter-Jihad 2.0: Outdated Software
In a posting on Jihad Watch, where outmoded Counter-Jihad software often compromises its fine reportage with dubious analysis, Raymond Ibrahim within his first three paragraphs slipped on a banana peel. Of course, no one at Jihad Watch noticed, nor will notice.
First paragraph: Raymond quotes himself from another recent article:
When it comes to the connection between Islam and violence against non-Muslims, one fact must be embraced: the majority of those in positions of leadership and authority in the West are either liars or fools, or both. No other alternative exists.
Then he notes that various readers took issue with his overly "simple" approach.
Both in the comments section on my site as well as those of other websites that carried the article, and through emails, many begged to differ. They argued that there are other alternatives and my distinction—fool, liar, or both—is too simple.
The problem with Raymond's formulation is not that it is too simple, but that its simple parts are not developed, and more importantly, Raymond is not fully digesting the implications of the simple formula he sets forth. Raymond went on to note one type of objection he rejects:
Some argue that those Western leaders who refuse to connect Islam to violence and terrorism are simply being “politically correct”...
So the first problem that leaps to our eye is that Raymond for some strange reason thinks that being politically correct is not to be a fool. That's Raymond's first mistake.
It goes downhill from there.
On the contrary, and massaging the tissue of the issue with a bit more subtlety, we may stipulate that politically correct multi-culturalism (PC MC) is a species of folly, but it is not simple folly -- it is what has long ago been termed that paradoxical subspecies: learned folly. Over six years ago, I examined this issue in detail with an essay titled Morosophy and the Mother of all Others -- where the archaic word "morosophy" means precisely "learned folly".
The main reason the analysis moves to a point where we must tweak the folly into a paradoxical form is two-fold:
1) many of the Westerners who continue to defend Islam & Muslims are themselves intelligent and therefore not stupid or foolish in the simplistic sense; and
2) if on the other hand, we impute mendacity to them rather than any kind of folly, we are suddenly moving into conspiracy-theory territory and charging a few million Westerners with knowing evil and functioning as a Dastardly Cabal of "Elites" who are either knowingly manipulating Muslims into destroying the West or who are knowingly playing along with Muslims in order to destroy the West.
For many reasons I have articulated over the years, I reject Door Number Two.
(That third option Raymond proffers, by the way, is incoherent: you can't have a mixture of folly and mendacity, since the folly is precisely based in unwitting enablement, whereas the mendacity is based in knowing collusion.)
If it could be demonstrated persuasively that it is impossible to defend Islam & Muslims and not be in knowingly evil collusion with Muslims, I might begin to perk up and entertain the egregious "Real Problemer" thesis (see here and here -- the latter link leading the reader on to a two-part essay -- for my previous discussions of this problem). As it is, the fact that PC MC may be found in centuries past -- even as far back as the 16th century philosopher and statesman Michel de Montaigne -- indicates it is not some new and recent cabal. To then acknowledge that millennial provenance, and yet still argue for a dastardly conspiracy theory, leads the analysis into the feverish level of a Manichean gnosis where the evil is cosmic; which not only is untenable, but also impossible to verify or falsify.
At any rate, I have to my satisfaction over the years explained PC MC by examining its component parts using an Occam's razor that brackets out any conspiracy theory elements, and it seems plausible to me that those component parts are sufficient to explain the whole, and that the whole is not a mystery demanding a more radical explanation. In speculating on this process -- specifically, the rise of PC MC in the West in the 20th century to sociopolitical dominance as a reigning fashion of worldview -- I do not reject the role of Marxists (and their less caffeinated cousins, Leftists) in enhancing the problem. But there is always the nagging problem, whenever someone pushes this further and nudges forward the implication that Communists (and/or any other nefarious cabal) are actively manipulating our collective mass neurosis about Islam as though that is the main reason for Western myopia about the problem of Islam. Such an implication has the strange rider of imputing a sheeplike docility to untold tens if not hundreds of millions of Westerners who would have to be the unwitting dupes, including many who are otherwise intelligent -- unless the conspiracy theorist is going out on a drastic limb to claim that the majority of Westerners -- hundreds of millions -- are also knowingly evil. And these are not the only problems of the conspiracy theory that would somehow take the spotlight off of Islam and put it back on the West itself as the locus of the "real problem".
So, the Problem of the Problem needs to hold in tandem and in balance many competing facts, respecting them individually, and then assessing whether they can be held together plausibly.
I note that the Rabbit Pack (a high-school clique of long-time regular Jihad Watch commenters) weighed in on this issue, when two of its members (gravenimage and Mirren) saw fit to help school a newbie (one "ktulu") who was inordinately baffled by the prevalence of PC MC in the West.
Quoting ktulu --
The first two paragraphs are just claiming that the Dastardly Elites are out of touch with the Common Man and because they are so lofty in their gated communities (literally and figuratively), they are not bothered by the problem of Islam. This begs the question of whether they know how dangerous Islam is, but because they are comfortably and safely ensconced in their palaces, they don't care. This creates a cartoonish caricature of Dastardly Elites who simultaneously are callously devoid of civic duty on a Dickensian level on steroids, and who are witless fools to underestimate the danger of Islam which if left unchecked will also destroy their means of comfort. Mirren's third paragraph only goes downhill from there, implying that the Dastardly Elites also are motivated by greed to defend Islam -- which again begs the question: are they doing this knowing that Islam is evil and if left unchecked will destroy the West? Or are they that stupid to think it won't happen?
Nowhere in the explanations proferred by gravenimage and Mirren is any sense of understanding what must be positively motivating those in our society who are PC MC -- what virtues, values & principles are being confused with a defense of Muslims, such that in fact it is the honorable motives of these so-called "Elites" which are moving them to so distastrously put Muslims on the side of the angels (and those who are reasonably alarmed at Muslims on the side of the "bigots" and "racists" and other outcasts of modern polite society). This is not even factoring in that the explanations proferred by gravenimage and Mirren don't allude to the vast swaths of Ordinary People who are also beholden to PC MC in the modern West -- a massive fact that can be verified by just stepping outside of one's home and engaging in a discussion any random carbon-based entity with opposable thumbs and walking upright on the problem of Muslims.