Sunday, October 16, 2016
Is this this only choice? Either Stupidity or a Conspiracy Theory?
Over at Jihad Watch comments, the CJMers (the civilians of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream) are at it again. Over 100 comments have mushroomed there, occasioned by an article about how under the leadership of the Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orban, Hungary will pursue a policy of helping Christian refugees "before helping millions of Muslims coming into Europe" -- pretty much the opposite of what the rest of the West has been doing, with Obama and Merkel leading the way.
This story seems to have triggered a discussion in the comments section about why the rest of the West is doing this. This would be the Problem of the Problem (where the primary problem is, of course, Muslims following their Islam; and the secondary problem is why the West continues to ignore the primary problem). As I've noticed for years, the CJMers seem to operate with an Explanatory Vacuum with regard to this secondary problem. That is, they apparently haven't pondered the question of why the mainstream West continues to be deferential to Muslims and to Islam, even though by now the mountain of information damning Islam is out there and available to most everyone.
Since they have no explanation, the CJMers seem to reach impulsively for the easiest answer amenable to their own particular frame of mind -- which, apparently, seems to divide along the fault line of either overly simplistic, or overly cynical (lurching into conspiracy theory).
The overly simplistic camp I have explored in my analyses of Hugh Fitzgerald's trope, his "Esdrujula Explanation" -- namely that what explains why the mainstream West continues to defend Muslims and Islam may be resolved down into any one (or a combination) of ordinary peccadillos -- either Greed, Stupidity, or Timidity. And here in the comments section of this Jihad Watch article on Hungary's decision to help Christians over Muslims, we see this dynamic of the Explanatory Vacuum play itself out:
One commenter, "Mac-101", after a long rant about the ulterior designs of Obama, Wall Street, Hollywood, etc., plotting the destruction of the West by using Muslims as tools, ends with this rhetorical question:
I KNOW it is crazy Talk, But WHAT else explains current events? I will NOT buy that our leaders are Stupid. Evil yes, Stupid NO!
The ever-present long-time regular commenter (and member of the "Rabbit Pack"), "gravenimage" apparently had no choice but to choose between Door #1 or Door #2. To Mac-101's remark in the middle of his question -- I will NOT buy that our leaders are Stupid -- gravenimage responded:
Why not? Stupidity is far more common than actual evil in the civilized West.
Other commenters either sided with one or the other impulse, as though we are forced to choose only between these two -- either Stupidity or Evil.
A little thought (which apparently the CJMers haven't given to this) quickly dispatches the first choice, since many who are PC MC about Islam are relatively intelligent. So it can't simply be Stupidity.
As for the second choice, it reflects a strangely alienated perspective, so detached from one's own West that one could really believe that its mainstream is evil. The problem with this position is that it logically has to vacillate along a bipolarity of a paradox, whereby one does not want to impute this evil too broadly throughout the West, else one would be imputing evil even to Ordinary People (and also many of these conspiracy-theorish types deep down don't want to smear the bulk of the West with such a broadly sweeping brush of evil black paint); while on the other hand, if we narrow down the evil to a Tiny Minority of a Dastardly Cabal, we run into the problem of how they could be controlling so much, including the attitudes of tens of millions of non-Elites throughout the West who remain PC MC about Muslims (see my essays on "Elitistics" for further discussion of this). At that point, one lurches sideways to damn Ordinary People as so naive and dumb they have become sheep-like putty in the hands of this Tiny Minority of evil Cabalists. And so on. The twisting and turning of the conspiracy-theorish explanation founders and becomes tedious to have to refute.
So what's the answer, my readers may ask? I don't have a final explanation for why PC MC has become dominant throughout the West in the past century (increasing in prevalence with each passing decade, and reinforced in response to the escalation of Islam into our public consciousness post-911). As I wrote in an essay in 2014, Push the wake-up call-button:
I don’t have a full analytical answer, but at least, like Florence Nightingale—who, upon being sent to the Crimean War theater to manage the field hospital there took a look and said, “I don’t know how to manage a hospital, but I do know this is how NOT to manage a hospital”—I know where NOT to begin (much less where not to roll down the hill to a certain conclusion).
My readers should consult that 2014 essay for a fuller discussion of today's posting.