Wednesday, November 15, 2017
In a recent essay (Virtue-Signalling at the Crossroads of the West), I discussed the curious but, alas, all too common tendency for Leadership in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream to virtue-signal in opposite directions, so to speak: to their constituency (the Civilians "in the Counter-Jihad"), they maintain their counter-jihad street cred by sounding oh-so tough about the problem of Islam; while to the broader Western Mainstream, they make sure (with subliminal hints of anxiety) to assure the PC MC consensus that rules our culture that they are not "bigoted" or "racist" and would never dream of "tarring all Muslims with the same brush".
Today in an "open letter to the Stanford community", Spencer, true to form, stands his ground firmly with one foot in both Mainstreams. His slavish devotees, of course would be as blind to the virtue-signalling he telegraphs to the broader Mainstream (unless some of them actually agree with it); as, ironically, are the PC-MC-besotted majority of students and faculty at Stanford. The former ignore it, to keep alive their sycophantic praise of their Fearless Leader; while the latter can't see it in their fanatical paranoia about anything even remotely hinting at being anti-Islam (let alone the modestly, and oh so carefully more robust "intellectual criticism" of Islam Spencer brings to the table).
Let us note a couple of the little facial tics or twitches, or burps or hiccups or farts, of this virtue-signalling, shall we?
Of the attacks against Spencer that have appeared in the Stanford Daily in the weeks ramping up to his invited lecture there yesterday, he quotes a student, one Siena Fay, who wrote:
“He [Spencer] believes Islam is ‘the only religion in the world that has a developed doctrine, theology and legal system that mandates violence against unbelievers and mandates that Muslims must wage war in order to establish the hegemony of the Islamic social order all over the world,’ as he stated in an interview on C-SPAN in 2006. Funny; I don’t recall Malala Yousafzai advocating for violence and world domination. Must have missed that headline.”
Then Spencer responded:
Unfortunately, Malala Yousafzai is not the touchstone of what Islam is and isn’t, or of whether or not it teaches violence.
Why “Unfortunately”...? Thanks to Spencer's own Jihad Watch, Malala has been outed as a practitioner of Jihad of the Pen (and Jihad of the Nobel Prize), as I documented in my essay from back in April of this year, A laboratory of the Counter-Jihad (Jihad Watch comments). (Indeed, the first two paragraphs of that essay of mine would be a useful introduction to my posting here.) Does Spencer really think the Stanford PC MCs among the student body and faculty (whom he recklessly tends to generalize as "Leftist fascists") will let up on their damnation of him because he throws them a bone? Or maybe Spencer actually believes Malala is not doing jihad? That she's one of the "secular Muslims" he envisions living in Kumbaya harmony with the rest of us non-Muslims? We'll never know unless his fans stop being so bloody sycophantic and just muster the balls to ask him. (Other older essays of mine are relevant here: Robert Spencer's Moderate Muslims and What's the difference between a "Muslim" and a "Jihadist"?)
Moving on, after Spencer boldly spends quite a few words virtue-signaling in one direction to his fan base by telling Stanford readers how bad Islamic jihad is (e.g., “In 2017 alone, there have been 1,805 Islamic jihad attacks in 58 countries, in which 12,752 people were killed and 12,852 injured”), he adds, anxiously virtue-signalling in the opposite direction:
Yes, not all Muslims, or even a majority, are terrorists. But to take the stance that there is no problem regarding jihad terrorists’ use of Islamic texts and teachings, and that the greater problem is “Islamophobia,” is to turn from reality to fantasy. And to do that is a betrayal of the academic mission in itself.
First of all, how does Spencer know that "not all Muslims, or even a majority, are terrorists"? He can't, of course; it's just an assumption, based upon applying the rule of "innocent before proven guilty" to Muslims (along with generous dashes of "they can't be all bad" and heaping spoonfuls of "most of them must be like us, just living normal lives trying to get through the day and have sandwiches" along with, for good measure, a half-cup of "I know some nice Muslims who smile at me and wear blue jeans").
Secondly, the problem of the global revival of expansionist Islam isn't merely one of the front-line practitioners of the Jihad of the Sword otherwise known as "terrorists". There are the multitudes of other Muslims practicing any one or more of the panoply platter of forms of Jihad. Indeed, as we must reasonably assume, all Muslims are doing some form (or forms) of Jihad; and if we don't clarify this reasonable assumption and wake up our fellow Westerners to it, Muslims will eventually succeed (probably by the end of this 21st century) in their perennial goal to finally bring down "Rome" (i.e., the West).
So when Spencer anxiously virtue-signals to the Stanford Mainstreamers, "Hey guys and gals, I don't think many (or even most!) Muslims are terrorists!" -- he's seemingly essentially agreeing with the TMOE Meme they hold dear to; namely, that only a Tiny Minority of Extremists are the problem; perhaps not "Tiny", probably larger than that, but certainly "not all Muslims, or even a majority..." The only -- and glaring -- problem here is that the PC MC Mainstream doesn't care how much we might try to appease them by letting them set the rules of the Conversation. Their non-negotiably axiomatic premise is that any criticism of Islam that goes beyond the most delicately gingerly, that fails to be based upon a general respect for it (hence only criticizing small or peripheral parts of it) is tantamount to "hatred" and "bigotry" if not also "racism".
And what the Counter-Jihad Mainstream can't get through its head is that the broader Western Mainstream, seeing life through its politically correct multi-culturalist framework, is drawing logical conclusions -- conclusions that the Counter-Jihad Mainstream stubbornly persists in refusing to face and discuss. I've articulated this every which way but loose in literally dozens of essays over the years. I'll put it in a nutshell for the purposes of this essay here today:
Since Islam is the most important thing to Muslims, culturally, psychologically and existentially -- contiguous with, if not the lodestar of, their meaning of life -- obviously any criticism of their Islam as profound and comprehensive as the criticism implied by Robert Spencer's years of Jihad Watch postings, his lectures, his books, and his various videos, cannot be so casually detached from a profound criticism of Muslims.
Or, if we are honest and have intellectual integrity, we'll stop futzing around with the semi-decaf of "profound criticism" and go all the way with the more robustly full-bodied "condemnation".