Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A conversation about the "problem of the problem" at Gates of Vienna -- Part 2

Pursuant to my previous essay, A conversation about the "problem of the problem" at Gates of Vienna, I got around to reading through the 134 comments there.

Many, if not most, of the posts are off-topic (somehow people got off on an unrelated tangent of the tiresome atheist/theist arguments one bumps into a lot on the Internet).  Of the ones on topic, many (if not most) were either Real Problemerist (yes, an awkward coinage, but befitting an incoherent phenomenon) or were off on a related tandem, which I suppose while I'm on a coinage bent, I could dub "Sheeplist".  I.e., they accept Bodissey's premise, that the problem is not merely the Dastardly Elites, but also The People -- and so they turn their paranoid lenses on their own fellow citizens and proceed to explain how it is that Ordinary People allow themselves to be duped & manipulated by the Evil Elites; with, of course, a darkly pessimistic view of their fellow man.

When one commenter did so,  Bodissey shot back with a good question. In effect, how is it that we "get it", but all these other people more or less like us, don't?

Another commenter tried to redeem the first one, but Bodissey wasn't buying (read on from the previous link above).  

Other commenters tried to address Bodissey's objections (including the original commenter "ext"), and thus a full-blown discussion ensued on the "Sheeple Hypothesis", at times addressing the most relevant aspect of it -- why are we, in the Counter-Jihad, so free of "brainwashing"? Why are we not "Sheeples"?

No real light was shed, of course.

Then Bodissey dropped an H-bomb: His view of the Real Problemer Apocalypse:

I don’t think anything short of a major social collapse can change the trajectory we’re on anywhere in the West. California, Sweden, and Germany will just be the ones to go first. I’ve basically given up hope that the current system can be preserved more or less as-is. It has to collapse — and millions of people have to feel the resulting intense pain — for change to occur.

However, I reason that the more of us who understand the dynamics involved, the better. Someone will be pulling together a new, truncated civilization After Things Fall Apart (as the title of Ron Goulart’s novel had it). Warlords, demagogues, and ruthless predators will almost certainly part of the mix. But the more people who at least partially understand the deep reasons behind the process preceding the collapse, the more likely that there will be pockets of humane civilization emerging from the chaos.

-- with no mention of Islam or Muslims, and a clear implication that the cataclysmic Fitna he envisions will be caused/prosecuted as much by non-Muslim ne'er-do-wells as by Muslims.

Then Bodissey refocuses on Islam:

I’ve arrived at a similar conclusion about the atrocities committed by the Islamic State and other jihad outfits. You can bounce around all the sociological and psychological explanations you want, but in the end there is no accounting for it by ordinary causation. I can’t describe what is happening in any meaningful way without using the word “satanic”.

One doesn't know how it figures in his grander Apocalypse, other than as one important symptom of a broader disease. It's probably significant that his focus here isn't on Islam and all Muslims, but rather on ISIS and "other jihad outfits" (the Counter-Jihad Mainstream version of the Tiny Minority of Extremists). 

More outright Real Problemerism follows for a few comments (the main culprit, one "Nemesis"), followed by another digression onto the Atheist/Christian argument, then back to the Real Problemerism (for example, this one).

Otherwise, digressions onto generalities so amorphous -- genetics, general psychology, sociology, the Christian Fall -- as to be virtually useless to the main question

Then Bodissey returns to the main point of the whole topic when he again contemplates the distinction between Those Who Get It and Those Who Don't.  An essay I wrote nearly ten years ago is relevant to this problem:

"Islamophobia" and the "Chill Factor"  

In that essay, I dissect a fascinating old made-for-TV movie about two scientists who are sent to an arctic station where the previous crew had all mysterious disappeared.  The two scientists, played by Robert Culp and Eli Wallach, represent two types of rational thinking. One of them pursues the mystery to its logical conclusion, which is unthinkable, following the Sherlock Holmes dictum: "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." The other scientist proceeds by erecting the unthinkable into a dogma that must never be thought -- even when it means their doom.

Of course, it matters what the "it" is (in Those Who "Get It"); a by no means settled matter -- that being, in fact, the very nodus of the problem of the problem of the problem.  I.e., not so much the primary problem (Islam), and not so much the secondary problem (of the West persistently  myopic to the primary problem) -- but the tertiary problem of the Counter-Jihad (such as it is), as a symptom of its ongoing incoherence continuing to grapple ineffectively with the previous two problems.

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