Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Our #1 Problem

Our #1 problem has been an ongoing problem that besets and severely hinders our communication effort in the War of Ideas with respect to the ongoing Problem of Islam.

In a nutshell, the problem is this:

A prevailing paradigm in the West that axiomatically and persistently separates Islam into two parts:

1) a vast majority of Muslims, who are harmless and peaceful, and who are following a harmless and peaceful Islam;


2) a small minority of extremists, who happen to be Muslims but whose extremism has little if anything to do with Islam itself, or with the vast majority of Muslims.

There continues to be too much mental and emotional resistance in the West to the opposite idea: that it is Islam itself, as well as the vast majority of Muslims, that in fact constitutes a pernicious threat to the modern world.

According to this common way of looking at our threat, the small minority of extremists may be using Islamic language and may be quoting the Koran and pointing to Mohammed as an inspiration, but they are “misinterpreting” their own Islam, they are “taking those verses out of context”, they are “twisting” the Koran to suit their own extremism and also their own political grievances that have little to do with religion, they are, in short, “hijacking” Islam—while the vast majority of Muslims, apparently, are not, but are instead following that great, harmless and peaceful religion.

How can we few who understand the nature and dimensions of the threat convince our more numerous fellows in the West that this threat pertains not merely to a “small minority of extremists”, but also extends more deeply—into the normative foundations of Islam—and more broadly—into a sufficiently high number of Muslims spread out around the globe—to cause us grave concern?

This is our #1 problem, and it continues to be problematic both for reasons of our deficiencies in our communication efforts, as well as for reasons rooted in the pervasive and dominant political correctness of the West today.

Unfortunately, while we few who understand the issue may feel it is self-evident that the threat of Islam reflects a far deeper and far broader reality than a mere “small minority of extremists”, the data that would connect enough dots to show this suffers from three main problems:

1) undue complexity, both in quantity and quality;

2) insufficient organization of this complex jungle of data into a definitively authorative presentation that is both comprehensive yet also efficiently pithy;

3) insufficient organization of the counter-arguments against the prevailing paradigm that axiomatically and stubbornly detaches a “small minority of extremists” from a harmless and blameless Islam/Majority of Muslims.

As can be discerned, all three points reflect deficiencies in our efforts in the War of Ideas, while #3 also reflects the major source of obstruction to our efforts as coming from the prevailing sociopolitical culture of political correctness in the West.

Thus, for example, even if, by some sociological miracle in the West, people in general would begin to seriously entertain the idea that what everyone agrees is dangerously “extremist” actually pertains to traditional Islam in its mainstream texts and sociopolitico-legal theory—the next hurdle would remain: how can we show that a sufficient number of Muslims, sufficiently spread out around the globe, adhere to that normative extremism, such that our measures of self-defense against them must be augmented and intensified accordingly?

Subsequent posts will unpack this issue of our #1 problem by explaining the following:

2) Why is this a problem?

3) What is the source of this problem?

4) What can we do to begin to solve this problem?

The explanations in subsequent posts will revisit quite a lot of material from my earlier posts on this blog, but it bears repeating, and perhaps these latter posts will articulate it more clearly and succinctly.

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