Monday, September 26, 2016

Robert Spencer on the problem of Muslims

Back in 2008, in the context of editorializing on a report of openly jihadist sentiments expressed by some Indonesian Muslim students, Robert Spencer opined:

There are indeed peaceful Muslims, and there are indeed some among those who aren't interested in waging any kind of jihad.

How does he know this? He cannot know this with the sufficient certainty we need to make such a factoid useful for our general safety.

So why even express it? To placate the PC MC monster? He should know that monster is irrationally ravenous, and its voracity for placation is endless. It will never be satisfied until the person trying to appease it stops criticizing Islam and any Muslims altogether. As long as Spencer criticizes any element of Islam and as long as Spencer criticizes any Muslims as Muslimseven if only some and not all Muslimsit doesnt matter to the PC MC monster that he also professes to believe in the existence of peaceful Muslims and continues to imply that there is a potential for a viably peaceful reformation of Islam. The PC MC monster will devour those attempts at appeasing it, but its irrational voracity will not be sated: It will continue to brand him as a bigot, and Islamophobe, and a hater”—if not also a racist and a fascist.

Spencer continues:

They [these "peaceful Muslims" who apparently exist in numbers sufficient to make their mention worthwhile in this important context] either don't know or don't care about the imperative to struggle against unbelievers. They may have what they consider to be better things to do.

This is just airy extrapolation built on the initial airy speculation devoid of sufficient pragmatic evidence supporting it. Even if these numbers of peaceful Muslims exist, our general inability to identify them sufficiently for our safety makes these numbers useless to us. Thus, they should not be mentioned as though they have a use to us. So why is Spencer mentioning them?

Spencer goes on to note appositely:

The group of Muslims who feign indignation when non-Muslims discuss the jihad ideology, and who claim never to have heard of such a thing or that it is a heretical version of Islam cooked up by a Tiny Minority of Extremists™ -- they are much more numerous. They are dangerous, also, because they fool so very many people. 

The problem here is that Spencer does not apparently notice that the axiom of the Existence of Peaceful Muslims is also dangerous, because it also fools so very many people. The difference, of course, between Spencer and the PC MC minions is that he believes there also do exist, along with the numbers of peaceful Muslims, dangerous Muslims qua Muslims. But his persistence in repeating the aforementioned axiom (and of implying it on innumerable other occasions) only reinforces it.

At other times (though rather rarely), we have Spencer fine-tune that axiom, such that he moves asymptotically toward the holistic end of the learning curve:

That not all Muslims are on board with the Islamic supremacist program is simply a fact, but it does not follow from that fact that there is any significant body of Muslims who are actively or seriously opposing the jihadists and Islamic supremacists. There are a few courageous individuals here and there, but as I have pointed out many times using Ibn Warraq's phrase, while there are moderate Muslims, there is no moderate Islam. And while some people are cultural and nominal Muslims who are ignorant of and/or indifferent to the jihad imperative, it cannot be assumed (as many Western government and law enforcement officials assume) that any given peaceful Muslim opposes the jihad simply by virtue of the fact that he is not actively engaged in violence or participating in plotting in a violent jihad group.

In this quote, we can almost feel the pressure exerted by the holistic vector on Spencer's thought, prompting the reasonable question: if one is so close, if the arc of one's learning curve is almost touching the logical conclusion, why not just cross over and become holistic? The same question applies to all critics of Islam who are at least above the threshold of the PC MC paradigm. For, once a person has cut the umbilical cord that binds him to the PC MC paradigm, he begins to free-float with an open mind that is able to actually assimilate new data and speculate about what that data means through actually thinking, rather than relying on pre-fab axioms. And, on this issue, the problem of Islam, once a person begins free-floating, he embarks upon a course, a trajectory, where the vector of the holistic logical conclusion pulls on him. Different individuals respond differently to that pull. Some persistently resist it, and even set up a kind of second version of the PC MC paradigm that justifies their inability to move toward the logical holistic conclusion. Others do show signs of moving ever closer, but never seem to quite get there.

Yet another quote from Spencer arouses the same misgivings in us:

"There is a muddle in these comments that needs sorting out. Fallaci said that there was no moderate Islam; she did not say that there were no moderate Muslims. This is a crucial distinction. As Ibn Warraq has said, “There may be moderate Muslims, but Islam itself is not moderate.” In other words, there are manifestly peaceful people who have no intention of working by violent or subversive means to impose Sharia on the West, and who identify themselves as Muslims. This simple fact does not mitigate the other fact, that some high-profile moderates, such as Cleveland Imam Fawaz Damra, who signed the recent Fiqh Council of North America’s fatwa against terrorism, turned out to be deceivers. No one can claim that all peaceful Muslims are deceivers without being able to look into the soul of each one — although I know that some ignorant and intemperate writers on Islam have made just such a claim. And to say that the Qur’an is the Mein Kampf of the jihad movement is not to deny the reality that many, if not most, people who identify themselves as Muslims are primarily interested in living ordinary lives, making a living, providing for their families, etc."

Notice that Spencer says:

"No one can claim that all peaceful Muslims are deceivers without being able to look into the soul of each one — although I know that some ignorant and intemperate writers on Islam have made just such a claim."

By the same token, however, Spencer cannot know what elsewhere he claimed (which I quoted at the start):

"There are indeed peaceful Muslims, and there are indeed some among those who aren't interested in waging any kind of jihad."

Spencer can't know this, without being able to look into the soul of each one of these Muslims he's making this claim about.
Spencer seems to have an innate ability to dance on the head of a pin in abeyance of the logical conclusion -- which would be that:  Since we can't tell the difference, sufficiently for the purposes of our society's safety, between the harmless Muslims and the dangerous Muslims, we must err on the side of caution and presume (not claim to know) that all Muslims are suspect.

A few souls in the Counter-Jihad actually do arrive at the logical conclusion.

Most of the West will arrive, eventually, when the chopping-blocks of Riyadh are in our home town.

Or a critical mass of us could arrive at that awareness sooner.  This will not happen in sufficient numbers among us in the West, however, unless the PC MC paradigm, which is dominant and mainstream throughout the Westaffecting not only our elites”, and not merely our “liberals”, but also the vast majority of ordinary people—becomes dismantled.  How to do that, other than through the patient stillicide of more and more people trying to educate their fellow Westerners, and the slow dissolution of the PC MC paradigm, I do not know. I am convinced, however, that by watering down the problem, by mincing words about the threat that faces us, by anxiously comporting ourselves to the PC MC monster in order to appease its wrath, we are not doing ourselves and our civilization any favors, and we are only thus enabling the retardation of the learning curve whose logical conclusion is our only hope against the menace of an Islam Redivivus.

Further Reading:

A shift from Islam to Muslims

The mainstream concern is Muslims, not Islam

Robert Spencer's Moderate Muslims

Which Muslims are not Islamic?

Oh, I thought of another relevant essay (which in turn contains two other important essays in this regard):

Damned if you don't, continued (again... and again...)


Richard James said...

Since we can't tell the difference, sufficiently for the purposes of our society's safety, between the harmless Muslims and the dangerous Muslims, we must err on the side of caution and presume (not claim to know) that all Muslims are suspect.

The whole problem of Muslims can be reduced to this and the the question that should follow it: "what are we going to do about them?".

Hesperado said...

Richard James,

I see the Counter-Jihad as primarily an instrument of prodding, informing, and waking up the West around it. It's neither the Counter-Jihad's job to implement policy, nor are they capable of doing so. Once a person (or a people, or a nation, or a collection of nations) wakes up to the full dimensions of the problem of Islam, what to do about it becomes relatively simple. It's not rocket science. The options are limited. I can discern only five:

1) Do nothing substantive against Muslims, and allow the West to to devolve into a welter of civil unrest, killing zones, escalating terrorism, and breakdown of normative society.

2) Do next to nothing -- policies of slaps on the wrist and only going after the Tiny Minority of Extremists (shutting down "extremist" mosques, jailing or deporting "extremist" Muslims, etc.). The problem with #2 is that it's simultaneously too little and will serve to further provoke & inflame the resident Muslims in the West, leading likely to the #1 scenario anyway.

3) Submit to Islam.

4) Kill (or try to kill) all Muslims.

5) Deport all Muslims to any spot in the Muslim world (or try, knowing it won't be absolutely perfect, and a few may remain in hiding), and quarantine the Muslim world in terms of a total stop to all political economic relations, and in terms of shooting to kill any Muslims who would try to return to the West. (Of course, a watered-down version of deportation could be advocated, but it founders on the problem of being our unable to tell the difference between harmless and dangerous Muslims.)

I favor #4, and I think #4 would be the most natural course the West would take, if it woke up to the actual nature and dimensions of the problem. The only questios is when it will wake up, and whether it will be so late, we will have lost the chance to avoid the #1 scenario.

Richard James said...

Hesp, when I used "we" I was including the whole of the West rather than the CJM such as it is; please forgive my imprecision.

Regarding your favouring option 4, brave of you to say so.

I favour an option intermediate to #4 and #5 - expulsion of all Muslims regardless of ancestry, place of birth, supposed level of extremism, supposed conversion from or abandonment of Islam etc followed by an open and clear policy that any aggression from any Muslim state or para-state will be met with an annihilatory response to all, there being only one Ummah.

All vague of course - we are so very far from such policies being formulated, never mind applied.

Egghead said...

Hi Richard James,

Your option fails to account for apocalyptic Islam.

Richard James said...

Your option fails to account for apocalyptic Islam.

The Muslim world is surrounded by non-Muslim states or ocean - three of those non-muslim states are still effectively Super-Powers, and other other largely non-Muslim states such as India have nuclear weapons and other WMDs.

Any attempt by a Muslim state or para-state to initiate their bogus Apocalypse by use of WMDs would almost certainly provoke an annihilatory response by one or more of the non-Muslim powers and bring forward the day when we can eliminate the Muslim threat.

Egghead said...

Hi Richard James,

I consider all input, but it appears that the new and improved plan is to detonate various WMDs without claiming credit.

Who knows who inflicted the most recent bouts of Ebola and Zika on the world? Maybe someone, but not everyone and not us.

Alternatively, it appears that various groups are using surrogates to inflict mayhem. We hear of Soros funding rioters and the CIA funding ISIS.

Hesperado said...

Richard James,

Robert Spencer's new book on Iran presents the thesis (backed up by evidence) that Iran would want to deploy nuclear missiles precisely in order to be counter-attacked -- this attack/counter-attack being the initiation of the Shia eschaton.

During the decades of the Cold War, the "M.A.D." (Mutually Assured Destruction) more or less worked to inhibit the Communists out of rational self-preservation -- because as deranged as Communists are, they are more rational than Muslims.

Egghead said...

Ah Pakistan: