Thursday, August 18, 2016
The Fruit Salad of Equivalencism
“If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.”
This was a recent Papal spasm by Pope Francis I (as reported at Jihad Watch by Christine Williams). It is a quintessential crystallization of what I call Equivalencism -- the false equivalency between Islam and any other religion (usually it's Christianity dragged into the specious comparison).
The larger context of an argument the Pope made in which his nervous tic of politically correct multi-culturalism twitched only makes matters worse, because it illuminates the desperate logic at work here:
"I don’t like to speak of Islamic violence, because every day, when I browse the newspapers, I see violence, here in Italy … this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law … and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics! If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence ... and no, not all Muslims are violent, not all Catholics are violent. It is like a fruit salad; there’s everything. There are violent persons of this religion … this is true: I believe that in pretty much every religion there is always a small group of fundamentalists. Fundamentalists. We have them. When fundamentalism comes to kill, it can kill with the language — the Apostle James says this, not me -- and even with a knife, no? I do not believe it is right to identify Islam with violence. This is not right or true. I had a long conversation with the imam, the Grand Imam of the Al-Azhar University, and I know how they think ... They seek peace, encounter ... The nuncio to an African country told me that the capital where he is there is a trail of people, always full, at the Jubilee Holy Door. And some approach the confessionals — Catholics — others to the benches to pray, but the majority go forward, to pray at the altar of Our Lady ... these are Muslims, who want to make the Jubilee. They are brothers, they live … When I was in Central Africa, I went to them, and even the imam came up on the Popemobile … We can coexist well … But there are fundamentalist groups, and even I ask … there is a question … How many young people, how many young people of our Europe, whom we have left empty of ideals, who do not have work … they take drugs, alcohol, or go there to enlist in fundamentalist groups. One can say that the so-called ISIS, but it is an Islamic State which presents itself as violent ... because when they show us their identity cards, they show us how on the Libyan coast how they slit the Egyptians’ throats or other things … But this is a fundamentalist group which is called ISIS … but you cannot say, I do not believe, that it is true or right that Islam is terrorist."
The Pope is right: It is like fruit salad -- not the actual situation, but his tortured thinking process. There are so many bits of erroneous fruit tossed into this word salad, one doesn't know where to start.
Let's start with the fact that one fruit in the salad (Islam) is monstrously different from all the other fruits -- when we rationally account for both the quantity and the quality of the violence it cultivates, foments, and deploys.
The quantity of Islamic violence and the astronomic contrast of this quantity when compared with that of any other religion on the planet is a matter of such screamingly evident record, it is not only surreal even to be called upon to adduce it -- it is an insult to our intelligence and common decency to have to do so. The Pope only deepens the manure of his error by flailing around to cite instances of Catholic violence -- " I see violence, here in Italy … this one who has murdered his girlfriend, another who has murdered the mother-in-law … and these are baptized Catholics! There are violent Catholics!" -- as though this is supposed to offset the grotesquely copious quantity of Islamic violence the world has seen in the past 15 years.
One could pick just one incident of Mohammedan violence -- oh, say, the commando unit of Muslims who terrorized the shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya three years ago, massacring and torturing men, women and children for hours -- and any reasonable, sane person would agree that the practitioners of no other religion on the planet comes anywhere close to matching even that one horrifying datum -- on a merely quantitative level. But we know there have been hundreds of incidents more like that, all over the world.
The error here of the strangely inept arithmetic employed by PC MCs like the Pope involves the strange maneuver of counting as a reasonable comparison violence done by any Catholic for any reason, and lumping that in with a category "Catholic violence" that is supposed to counter-balance, on the Kumbaya Scales, the "Islamic violence" on the other side. (And of course one can modify this, and the PC/MC-besotted majority in the West do routinely whenever anyone dares to point out Islamic violence, by using "Christian violence" or "right wing violence" or "Israeli violence" or even "Western violence", etc.)
Which brings us to the qualitative consideration...
The indiscriminate lumping (fruit salad, indeed) discussed in the last paragraph above most often takes the form, in PC MC argumentation ever anxious to salvage Muslims from the condemnation they so richly deserve, of mushing the generic categories of criminal and political violence in with the fanatical Islamic motivation unique to Mohammedan violence which is an inseparable fusion of religious, political, military, and para-military. One could write a book about the qualitative distinction of Islamic violence -- all of which could be summarized with the key factors of fanaticism, supremacism, expansionism, militarism, totalitarianism, and a style of ultra-violence so qrotesque one would be forgiven, in our oh so sophisticated, modern era, for describing it as Satanic.
The other problem with Equivalencism is its fallacious logic, which can be exposed by thinking clearly about the implications of the statement, so wonderfully typical (for which we can thank the Pope):
“If I speak of Islamic violence, I must speak of Catholic violence.”
The question immediately comes to mind: So why not speak of both, then? Even if one is equating the two, that doesn't let Islam off the hook. However, the Pope -- and everybody else I've ever heard use this logic -- imply they don't want to talk about either one. They are using the equivalence in order to shut down scrutiny of the problem of Islam. However, what usually happens is they eventually can't help themselves and violate their own implicit rule -- but only one half of it: They will start picking critically at Christians and Christianity (or right wingers, or Israel), while leaving Islam virtually untouched.
Thus is exposed, beneath the seemingly "equal" cubes and slices and pleasing melon balls of fruit in the Equivalencism Kumbaya Fruit Salad, the real ulterior agenda: to undermine the West in confused, incoherent self-hatred -- and, in confused, incoherent xenophilia, to genuflect at the Altar of the Other (in our time, the Mother of All Others, Islam).
The Case of Sally Kohn
After I wrote the above, I came across another example (one could bump into dozens, maybe hundreds, every day, if one surfed the Mainstream on this topic even just casually): Far afield from Pope Francis I (though still in Left field), we have Exhibit B in a secular Jewish lesbian Leftist, Sally Kohn, who came to the attention of Jihad Watch by blurting out that:
Hey @realDonaldTrump, many *progressive Muslims* — the ones we should support in ideological fight against extremism — believe in Sharia!!
Sally is right about this, but not in the way she thinks (nor in the way many in the Counter-Jihad think, who continue obstinately to imply support for what they think are, or may be, what is tantamount to the "progressive Muslim" or the "moderate Muslim" -- though of course they avoid those labels and think that merely by avoiding the label, they can get away with their way of compromising what should be a primary principle of the Anti-Islam Movement: Zero tolerance for all Muslims).
But that's the subject of another essay, another day. What caught my eye was another tweet of Sally's manifesting (in the context of the Orlando jihad massacre of gays) the Equivalencist spasm:
Islamic extremists kill LGBT people.
Christian and Jewish extremists just drive us to commit suicide.
Either way, #HateIsHate.
Fallacious logic often depends upon being correct in part: Thus it is superficially true that "hate is hate" and that one could find the same hatred of gays in the Orlando mujaheed as one could find in a Fundie Christian preacher -- just as one could say "heat is heat" and find the same essential heat in a toaster oven as one finds in the core of the Sun. But to leave it at that and ignore the monumental differences would be a strange species of irrationality. And yet that is what one finds throughout the Western Mainstream in our time, with regard to their inability to see the uniquely monstrous contrast between Islam and all other religions.
Leftists are not Relativists