Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Play it again, Sam
In the past few months, two giants of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream have been increasingly noticing each other. I speak of Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, and Sam Harris. Sam is more mainstream than Robert is, but they seem to converge on more points than they diverge.
A significant part of the reason they have been keeping at arm's length from each other and avoiding the Counter-Jihad parties the other attends (and vice versa) is because of Sam's ethical narcissism, and Robert's ego. Of the former, we have Sam worrying about catching Robert's supposedly Islamophobic cooties; and of the latter, we have Robert petulantly nursing a grudge about how Sam had slighted him in the past.
Now as they cautiously eye each other across the ballroom floor to gauge whether they should have this Counter-Jihad dance, they begin approaching each other warily, Robert maintaining his balance whilst juggling Counter-Jihad cred with one hand and "I'm not a bigot" with his other hand; and Sam wanting to work together in this war of ideas as long as we anxiously demonstrate we are "not bigots".
And, true to form, as they slowly converge, on the most important point of divergence -- pseudo-reformer Maajid Nawaz -- Robert muddies the waters with ambiguous locutions. He has called Nawaz (albeit in passing) a "reformer" (implying a genuine reformer) and a "freedom fighter". One almost gets the impression that the only reason Robert objects to Nawaz is because he, Nawaz, slighted Robert once. "I would have been happy to give Nawaz my support, but he attacked me first," says Robert in the latest missive concerning Sam.
Sam Harris, of course, is worse in his fawning admiration and legitimization of Nawaz.
Many things could be said about Sam and his partner in bromance, and I've covered some of that ground before. I only point out one thing for now; a very interesting remark Sam wrote in response to Robert as the two of them have been conducting a civilized wrestling match or tap-dancing contest (the former affecting to be oh so rational, the latter pretending to be tougher than Sam on Islam):
We each have a unique role to play in this war of ideas, Robert. And it would be only decent of you to recognize that Maajid has a harder job than either of us. In fact, the task he has set himself—to inspire a true commitment to secularism and liberal values throughout the Muslim world—may prove impossible. But the alternative is grim. I recommend that you stop questioning Maajid’s motives and give him your support...
"But the alternative is grim." We see a glimpse here into the psychology of Sam, as he has been educating himself over the years more and more on Islam. In a word, just at the moment in his life where the full catastrophe and horror of Islam began to dawn on him, his path crossed with Maajid Nawaz and, after an initial hurdle, Nawaz won him over, and Sam eventually bought the used car Maajid Nawaz was selling -- a new, and improved vehicle of Islamic "reform". Of course, on the closer inspection Sam for some baffling reason has not bothered to conduct, Nawaz's gleaming, pimped-out Cadillac Seville turns out to be a flaming lemon. Nawaz is a stealth jihadist in deeper cover than the usual ones we see who try to sell us cheap mantras like "Islam is a religion of peace". or "Islam has nothing to do with terrorism", etc. etc., ad Islamonauseam. His deeper cover -- and its logical motive -- is precisely demonstrated by the fact that he has fooled Sam into believing, and supporting, him.
Nawaz's motive, of course, is to infiltrate the Counter-Jihad, and the soft point of entry is Sam Harris, who is so deathly afraid of the "grim alternative" he would rather seek solace in palpable sophistry and evident horseshit than in the truth. This lemon of reform sold by Nawaz in his spiffier plaid suit and white-toothed smile offers Sam wishful thinking -- because he is so alarmed at the "alternative". Sam apparently doesn't reject this "grim" alternative because it's false, it seems, but because it's just too horrible to contemplate. That, and his phobia about being "bigoted" (a phobia shared by most Leftists). And along came Nawaz to whisper sweet taqiyya in his ear and, like a junior high school girl flattered by a clever rake who will tell her anything, even the sugarcoated memes of Valentine's Day candy hearts, just to get in her pants, Sam fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. Nawaz's lemon offered Sam two things: A chance to redeem his Islamocriticism from Islamophobic "racism" by joining forces with a Brown Person (Maajid), and a chance to avoid the "grim alternative", at the price of suspending his critical faculties.
We won't always have Paris, as long as we think we can bring the mountain to Mohammed when it's just a hill of beans. Play it again, Sam -- this time, something less sentimental, and more patriotic.