Monday, September 05, 2016
The two Mainstreams talking past each other (cont.)
The two Mainstreams to which my title refers are the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (CJM), and the broader Western Mainstream (WM).
The CJM is "mainstream" in the bad sense -- they tend to be compromised by residues of the same Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism (PC MC) that dominates the WM, even though they usually would strenuously deny this is the case, and pretend to distinguish themselves starkly from the WM; when, actually, they have a degree of PC MC in common.
It's this curious combination of similarity and difference -- coupled with emotional denial -- that produces the ongoing effect of talking past each other about the problem of Islam.
Interestingly, there is denial in both Mainstreams: In the CJM, they deny how much they share with the WM -- both are concerned to protect innumerable Muslims (the numbers and location of said Muslims are never specified); the difference is only in degree, not in kind. I.e., the CJM may be more suspicious of more Muslims than is the WM, but nevertheless they can't let go of their concern to protect an uncertain number of Muslims. In the WM, meanwhile, there is a denial of their fear of Muslim violence escalating and spiraling out of control.
The key aspect of this problem around which this miscommunication revolves is that the problem of Islam is really, or masks, the problem of Muslims.
Ironically enough, the WM may be less incoherent than the CJM about this, insofar as the WM consistently frames the issue in terms of protecting Muslims from broad-brush policies that might ensue were our societies to take seriously the problem of Islam. This is obviously based on the notion that there exist innumerable Muslims out there who are innocent of any of the bad aspects emanating out of Islam. But it is also based on the suppressed fear that maybe the bad aspects of Islam are far more systemic throughout Muslim demographics than we might think -- especially if we think in terms of the WM, which uses as its major guideline the principles of PC MC. In this regard, the WM's strategy (if a semi-conscious, emotional reaction may be deemed a "strategy") is to cut the problem off at the pass: claim that mainstream Islam is made of sugar & spice and everything nice, so that the innumerable ordinary Muslims who exist may be deemed to be Islamic without being worrisome to us. This is the locus of the WM's incoherence. Their attempt to split Islam into two (a wonderfully nice mainstream Islam, and a smaller truncation of an "extremist Islamism" that has nothing substantive to do with the former) flounders on so many levels, and requires regular feats of denial of mountains of facts to maintain -- though it helps to do the seemingly impossible when your entire mainstream culture around you (viz., PC MC) buoyantly supports you in this effort.
What also helps this "strategy" of the WM is, again, their regularly implied concern for the innumerable innocent Muslims who must exist out there -- the "moms and pops like the rest of us", all the Muslims who "just wanna have a sandwich", the Muslims who are just getting through the day like us, etc. Now, this wouldn't be a communication problem for the CJM, if the CJM roundly disagreed with this concern. The CJM could confront this head-on. But isn't it interesting how the CJM routinely avoids confrontation on this key point? That's because they too share the concern. But they share it incoherently. The CJM already knows (or should know), through the time and effort it has taken to educate itself about Islam, that there is no way to defend a single Muslim, let alone any demographics of Muslims, from our suspicion, let alone our condemnation. But they can't face this conclusion from the data. They are afraid to "go there" to Zero Tolerance of All Muslims. So instead, they deflect all their analytical and emotional energies onto the Problem of Islam, and just avoid the uncomfortable implications this has for a Problem of Muslims. They pursue this through an incoherent hope that if they expose the alarming danger & evil of Islam long enough, it will wake up the West. But wake up the West to do what, exactly? Apparently, to enact measures that follow the same paradigm as the WM, but merely tighten the screws and bolts more on the same old machine -- all basically versions of "monitor radical extremist Islamists more than we're doing currently". Thus effectively ignoring the vast ocean of non-"radical", non-"extremist", non-"Islamist" Muslims whence the whole bloody problem pullulates, and proceeds -- with a trajectory aiming at the destruction of our societies.
A good example of this failure to communicate between the two Mainstreams could not have been on more glaring display than in a recent Jihad Watch report where Robert Spencer, the éminence grise of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream par excellence, confronted the Western Mainstream head-on -- but in a diametrically wrong-headed way illustrating my argument here with exquisite (albeit, on Spencer's part, unwitting) precision.
The report in question was how a Muslim organization in New York objected to a 911 monument referring to the 19 hijackers as "Islamic terrorists". Their complaint centered on how such a designation would be "painting all Muslims with the same brush". While strictly speaking this involves a Muslim organization, and thus is not itself Western Mainstream, this anxious concern not to paint all Muslims with the same brush has been the guiding light of the entire Western Mainstream since at least September 11, 2001 (if not also years prior). And this Muslim organization knows very well and slyly how their voiced concern fits like a doeskin glove the concern of the wider Western Mainstream that comforts and supports them throughout our culture.
So how did that prominent member of the leadership of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (CJM), Robert Spencer, handle this concern? Ineptly, naturally; because he's solidly CJM, and thus his template & paradigm are outdated and ill-suited to confront such key aspects of the problem as this.
First, Spencer denied that calling attention to the Islamic identity of the 911 terrorists paints all Muslims with the same brush:
This is an oft-used and tired talking point. How does identifying the motivating ideology of the 9/11 attackers paint all Muslims with the same brush?
Um, cough cough, because that same "motivating ideology" is the fervent worldview of all Muslims, by the fact that they are Muslims. Duh. Unless Spencer can point out which Muslims are not Islamic, explain how they are not Islamic, and tell us how many there are and which ones they are so that we can feel safe around them and let them stay in our societies. But Spencer can't do that, and neither can anyone else in the CJM, or the WM, or the whole wide world. Or would Spencer take the other tack, and claim that being Islamic is not necessarily a bad thing? I wouldn't put it past him (though usually he adroitly avoids this nodus of the problem, and hasn't revisited it in years).
That was his first mistake: defensive, rather than boldly taking the offensive. From there, Spencer only dug a deeper hole, with a specious analogy:
Does referring to the Italian mafia amount to calling all Italians mafiosi? Does referring to German Nazis mean that one is calling all Germans National Socialists?
His analogy implies that generic Muslims are to be considered as innocent as "Germans" compared with "Nazis" (and "Italians" compared with "the Mafia"). This analogy fails, because the two parts of the analogy don't survive the mountain of data we have about Islam and Muslims -- a mountain of data which screamingly indicates a problem qualitatively different from the problem of Nazis and the Mafia. A mountain of data, incidentally, which Robert Spencer himself has done great work in amassing over the years for the education of his fellow Westerners. A good deal of this mountain involves taqiyya in all its wondrous forms, including the False Moderate in hundreds of instances over the years, where a given Muslim everyone thought was moderate turned out to be a supporter of the jihad against us.
Unsurprisingly, the Civilians in the comments section ignored this lapse in Spencer's editorial remarks; though a few of them left comments strongly implying that they don't buy Spencer's specious analogy and defense of Muslims from the accursed "same brush".
A commenter named "pfwag" for example, wrote: