Friday, November 17, 2017

The Hesperado Book Club: Simone Pétrement

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This is a series on my blog that has had installments few and far between.  My recent posting, The Education of Hesperado, neglected to mention the books I've been adverting to in this series (though I alluded to the fact that I've read more than I implied there).  For one thing, that previous posting mostly left out my college years -- six and a half total.  Six of those years I spent garnering two Bachelor of Arts degrees, during which only the last two years out of the six were spent actually getting into my studies, once I realized I wanted to be a History major and then a little later also a Comparative Religions major; followed by an ever so evanescent stint as an ephemeral grad student at the Harvard Divinity School (which for reasons I won't go into here I precipitously abandoned after six months).  During those years and after, I devoured all manner of books (the entire corpuses of Kurt Vonnegut and Donald Barthelme and Arthur Conan Doyle, for example; or pretty much every short story by H.E. Bates I could find; or countless books I would find adventitiously on the shelves of remote stacks in the university library), which I will not recount in detail today -- other than to add that the last habit noted parenthetically is relevant for today's notice.

Today's book from the shelf is one largely unknown except to scholars in the subspecialty of Intertestamental Studies with a focus on Gnosticism:  Le dualisme chez Platon, les gnostiques et les manichéens, ("Dualism in Plato, the Gnostics, and the Manicheans"), by an obscure French historian, Simone Pétrement, published in 1967.

Previous Hesperado Book Club postings featured the following:

From Enlightenment to Revolution (1975). by Eric Voegelin (1901-1985);

Catholics and unbelievers in 18th century France (1939), by historian R.R. Palmer;

Before Philosophy: The Intellectual Adventure of Ancient Man (1949), by Henri and Henriette Frankfort;

Geek Myths and Christian Mystery, by Catholic theologian Hugo Rahner (brother of the more famous Catholic theologian Karl Rahner), written in German in 1957 and translated into English in 1963;

Classics Revisited (followed up by More classics revisited), by the polyhistor Kenneth Rexroth in the late 1960s;

The Symbolism of Evil (1960), by Paul Ricoeur;

my essay on Dante's idea of the "dual ultimate" (duo ultima) from his treatise De monarchia;

and my extended analytical meditation on a short piece by Albert Camus, La mer au plus près ("The Sea Up Close"), published in 1954.

Discussion:

I was turned on to Simone Pétrement's book by a brief mention of it in a footnote in one of Eric Voegelin's books (I think it was his slender 1968 paperback, Science, Politics and Gnosticism) in which the old curmudgeon who always complained about nearly everyone noted her scholarship on the subject of Gnosticism with unalloyed approval.  Once I found it at the college library and began delving into it, I was entranced by her searingly apposite instincts to find in Plato the essential core -- the paradoxical mystery of existence.

This paradox at the heart of reality may be put many ways, for its tension has many poles, all perhaps variations on a single theme.  In Pétrement's studies (both the book I feature here and an article she wrote, La notion de gnosticisme ["The idea of Gnosticism"], published in Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale in 1960), perhaps the overarching poles are between what have been known in Christian history as "this world" and the "next world" (or "this life" and the "afterlife").

Pétrement often frames this as a "dualism" though she doesn't herself succumb to dualism in probing it, leaving the way open for the posture of a Bergsonian âme ouverte in its questions before the mystery.  She also unfolds a respect for Plato as someone who may have been tempted by the Gnostic Answer, but who did not allow himself to be bewitched by it -- a thesis articulated in greater depth by Eric Voegelin in his chapter comparing Plato and St. Paul, in the 4th volume of his series Order and History; and more broadly in his essay, "Wisdom and the Magic of the Extreme".

Overall, Pétrement demonstrates a remarkably intelligent, historically literate, and perceptive grasp of the phenomenon of Gnosticism and its relevance to the deeper, ultimate questions of philosophy.  If one has come to know Voegelin, one can see why he liked her:

We live under the magisterium of the philosophy of Hegel. The trinity -- thesis, antithesis, synthesis, still seems to guide, if not physics, at least the history of the human spirit. But what I wanted to show is that such an evolution is not necessarily progress, for in surmounting opposition, one loses something very precious. The view of opposition is lost, once one enters into reconciliation. (350-351)

This is another way of articulating what Voegelin called the Tension of Existence, which is also a "tension towards the Beyond".  Interestingly in this vein, the great pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus (535-574 B.C.) is part of that rare pantheon of thinkers about whom Voegelin seemed to have had no reservations, perhaps because he too saw reality as a tension (or put more robustly as "strife", Eris).  About Heraclitus, Pétrement points out a distinction between his seeming dualism of opposition of forces, and the dualism of the Gnostics:

Sometimes dualism is confused with this theory of contrarieties. In reality, dualism is something else. Nothing shows better the distinction than the fact that, for the dualists, it is the mixture which is evil and separation which is good; while for the theorists of contrarieties, it is the inverse. (206)

And in this context, she distinguishes the Jewish Neo-Platonist Philo, who was perhaps a bit too fascinated by Gnosticism:

There is in him [Philo] an obsession with division, with tension; he believed in the necessity of separating contraries, of removing them from each other. The Logos, for him, is the Divider… For Philo, evil supports the opinion of Heraclitus; it introduces “the unity of everything and the reciprocal exchange which produces everything”. (219)

Thus Philo saw in the Heraclitian tension an overarching monism, and recoiled from it. But this overarching monism, in a sense structured by dualism, would be the stance of Voegelin as well; for what is the alternative, but to succumb to the siren song of the Gnostic Answer and cut the cord of the Tension to free-float off to one's esoteric Salvation... ?  A false Salvation, that is, whose alluring magic lies precisely in its offer of the Answer to the pain, the Dukha or fundamental "Frustration" (as Buddha would have it), of the paradoxical Mystery.  Of all the analytical philosophers I've read -- other than Voegelin -- Pétrement comes the closest to recognizing that the Tension is itself a tension between Dualism and Monism, or perhaps the more crystalline Tension between Tension and Non-Tension.

“In the Parmenides and in the Sophist, there is admitted participation despite the logical objections which sublimate duality, and without destroying duality.(55-6; author’s italics)

From all this [hints in Plato of monism or dualism], we could well infer that there are strong appearances in favor of a dualist interpretation of Platonism. But above all, one can posit an impression of something unfinished, of a thought open and free, of constant oppositions, of a reality full of problems incompletely resolved. In this metaphysics, there is a certain something that would scandalize a metaphysician. And that, perhaps, is the dualism factor. (81)

… for if it is true that dualism resolves certain difficulties, it is well known that it no less arouses other difficulties; and nothing demonstrates better that the human spirit is not wholly capable of metaphysics. (2)

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There is so much more in Pétrement's book which would expand my blurb into a monograph (which someday I may do).  I'll end on insights she penned on the Founding Father of Philosophy; and in doing so, showing she carefully read the original Greek of Plato's Dialogues:

As the soul is a stranger to the world or to life, the philosopher is a stranger to the civilized world. He is “bizarre” and “useless”. (52; Rep. VI, 487d, 497b)

Socrates himself said that in the eyes of others, he appeared ἀτοπώτατος, “completely absurd” (52; Théétète, 149a)

The Philosopher is opposed to the wise man, to the sage, to the sophist. The Philosopher is one who loves science, or wisdom, but doesn’t have it. The type of the Philosopher is Socrates, who doesn’t know, who has nothing, who is poor in spirit, who ascribes his better inspirations to his ‘demon’, who says in [the Dialogue] Hippias Major: ἁπορῶ αεἰ [“I am always perplexed.”] (343)

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Double Virtue-Signalling

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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".

Monday, November 13, 2017

The Western Muslim (or the Muslim Westerner)

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I count two times on Jihad Watch recently where this meme has popped up, and it's not unreasonable to assume it reflects a deeper problem; namely, the problem I used to call "asymptotic" -- i.e., the retention, to one degree or another, of PC MC values in the hearts and minds of Counter-Jihadists who otherwise affect to be oh-so free of such values.

The first instance is not that surprising, as it was penned by the egregiously soft-on-Islam colleague of Robert Spencer's, Christine Williams-Douglass, whose asymptotic tendencies I've noted a few times (see especially my two-part series on her recent book on Muslim "Reformers" as well as this Google page of the few essays I've written alluding to her nougaty softness on Muslims).  Without apparently even thinking about it (thus reflecting a given so deep in her psyche it's natural to blurt it out), Williams-Douglass recently referred to a Muslim who happens to be in the West as a "Westerner".  The title of her Jihad Watch report was:

Ex-wife of Islamic State chief: “I only had babies to raise them as killers”

As one reads further, one notes that this "ex-wife" (likely not much different than an Islamic sex slave) is named "Tania Choudhury" and, in the mainstream report Williams-Douglass cites from the Mirror, that Tania is "[o]ne of five children born in London to British-Bangladeshi couple Nural and Jahanara Choudhury..."

If we "in the Counter-Jihad" have learned anything these past 15 years since 911, it is that no Muslim is really a "Westerner" because the Islam they self-identify with is inimical to the West -- not merely on some abstract level, based on ideas, but literally, in terms of a war Islam is waging on the West now (and has been waging since at least the 8th century A.D.).  But, of course, this epitomizes the very crux of the problem of the problem of the problem (i.e., the problem of the Counter-Jihad)  -- namely, its ongoing inability to fully process the horrifying mountain of data about Islam it has otherwise been on the forefront of assimilating. 

Speaking of 911, the article's sentence describing Tania goes on to say:

"...she told how she became radicalised and sought revenge on the west after 9/11..." and then subsequently became the "wife of convert to Islam and jihadist John Georgelas..."

Naturally, Robert Spencer's stalwart colleague of the Counter-Jihad, Christine Williams-Douglass, made no mention of this ridiculous meme of a Muslim "becoming radicalized" in which the broader Western Mainstream indulges. 

And the jihadist Tania married to embark on her career on the front lines of the Jihad of the Sword, who was a convert to Islam (from his name, one reasonably assumes he was a British son of Greek extraction -- shades of Yusuf Islam!), by virtue of his choice to join our enemy, abdicated not only his citizenship but also his identity as a Westerner.

Of course, Christine Williams-Douglass points none of this out in her report -- even though she articulates the screaming reasoning for why she should be pointing these things out:

"This deeply disturbing account of a brainwashed Westerner, the wife of convert to Islam and jihadist John Georgelas, is similar to scores of others, yet most leaders refuse to acknowledge the Islamic theology of death, hatred and a false greatness that motivates jihad activity. Thus those leaders enable this jihad against Western interests, and likewise enable the abuse of women and children."

The second instance of this meme popping up is more disappointing, because more surprising, as it comes from a journalist I thought was more savvy than that -- Giulio Meotti.  It comes in a report published on Jihad Watch about the recent revelations of the Good Cop Tariq Ramadan ("Good Cop" because his affectations of being a "Moderate" "Reformer" are clever enough to fool the broader Western Mainstream, but not clever enough to fool the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, as the "Better Cops" like Maajid Nawaz, Zuhdi Jasser, Asra Nomani, Tarek Fatah, et al.(qaeda) are all too often able to do)In a breezily parenthetical description, Meotti glibly refers to a Muslim activist in England who, as a self-stylized feminist, more astute observers would deem a "Good Cop" Muslim, in the following way:

"An English militant for women’s rights, Aicha Ali-Khan, had gathered signatures to fire Ramadan from the prestigious university..."

Notice how Meotti honors her with the title of being an Englishwoman, even though she is named after the Mother of All Stockholm Syndrome Muslimas (Aisha) who grew up to be a fierce jihadist; the founder of Shia Islam, Ali ibn Abi Talib; and lastly, the lineage of one of the most brutal islamic dynasties in history (which is saying a lot!), the central Asiatic Khans.  Not to mention that Meotti also shows himself to be fooled by her "militant" activism "for women's rights". Whether that makes her a "Good Cop" Muslim or a "Better Cop" Muslim depends on whether she is capable of fooling not merely the Western Mainstream, but also the Counter-Jihad Mainstream.  While Meotti is one of those twilight participants "in the Counter-Jihad" who seems at best to straddle both Mainstreams, the fact that his piece was published at that bastion of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, Jihad Watch, indicates that this Aicha Ali-Khan has managed to fool them to some degree (not a difficult thing to do, alas); and so, as we strip her of the honor of the title of Englishwoman, we extend to her the backhanded compliment of the title of Better Cop.

But as I say, simply being a Muslim should disqualify Aicha Ali-Khan and Tania Choudhoury -- and any Muslim whatsoever -- from being honored with the designation of being "English" (or "American" or "Canadian" or "French" or "Belgian" or "German" or "Italian" or "Spanish" or... etc.).

Will the "Counter-Jihad" learn this in time to help wake up the West to its protracted, metastasizing peril at the hands of a veritable Mohammedan invasion in this, our 21st century?  I see few signs to be hopeful about the answer to that question.

P.S.:  By contrast, we have a writer, Michael Walsh who, in his essay on the Counter-Jihad Mainstream site, Ruthfully Yours, writes about a Muslim family in Ireland with likely connections to the Muslim Brotherhood (not that mainstream Islam isn't already no better than the Muslim Brotherhood).  In his piece, Walsh appropriately questions their identity, so glibly assumed in mainstream media, as "Irish".  For many (if not most) in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, the mere fact that "Mr Halawa was born in Ireland and grew up in Firhouse, a suburb of Dublin" would make him an "Irish" "citizen" -- magically delicious and impervious to deportation as a member of a seditious organization (Islam) that is now at war with us.  Of course, I can't say for sure whether Michael Walsh wouldn't balk at the more robust position I advocate here -- namely that any and all Muslims are not, because according to their own Islam they cannot be, Westerners.  And it's difficult to say whether Walsh is "in the Counter-Jihad" per se, and whether he is part of the Leadership or is just a Civilian.  He seems to occupy that amorphous in-between area (roughly the same indistinct waters Giulio Meotti swims in), of which one indicator is being published on Ruthfully Yours, I suppose.  (Interestingly, I notice that Ruthfully Yours never seems to give any acknowledgements to Robert Spencer or to Jihad Watch -- almost as though he and it don't exist -- even though it occasionally publishes pieces by six-degrees-of-separation individuals like Daniel Greenfield (a regular on the site of Spencer's longtime friend and colleague, David Horowitz), Raymond Ibrahim (still occasionally published on Jihad Watch), and Giulio Meotti (who, as noted above, was recently published on Jihad Watch).)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Virtue-Signalling at the Crossroads of the West

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There's a kind of two-way virtue-signalling going on in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream.  This peculiar virtue-signaller will simultaneously

1) assure the broader Western Mainstream that he's not "racist", nor "bigoted", nor "Islamophobic".

2) assure his own colleagues & followers that his Counter-Jihadiness is tough and no-nonsense and politically incorrect.

Perhaps the most gracefully slippery practitioner of this double-purpose virtue-signalling is Robert Spencer, the émnence grise of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream.  He glides between these two poles with grinning aplomb like Fred Astaire tap-dancing on ice.  His new book, Confessions of an Islamophobe, is a clever attempt to juggle the balls of this contradiction, proudly affirming & owning that increasingly common epithet by which the broader Western Mainstream tries to vilify those who condemn Islam, while never disavowing his solemn stance that he is "not anti-Islam" and "not anti-Muslim" (see my previous essay, Confessions of an Oxymoron, for details).

Thus Spencer can say (winking at his audience of followers) that he is, proudly, an Islamophobe, whilst telegraphing to the broader audience of Mainstream Westerners that he is not really an Islamophobe at all -- nor (anxiously adding) a "racist" and a "bigot".  Spencer thus plays the double game of simultaneously affecting to thumb his nose at the Mainstream West while letting them set the rules of the Conversation.  And he's been doing this tight-rope act for years.  I've spent hours detailing arguments based on evidence for this over the years on this blog, and my former, now retired, blog "Jihad Watch Watch".  Four older essays are a good start for any reader interested in this facet:

...damned if you don't...

...damned if you do...

Still Incoherent After All These Years (cont.)...

Who speaks for us in the Anti-Islam Movement?

As I wrote in the first of the four essays listed above, referring to the various transcripts one can find of Spencer having arguments with readers in comments threads of Jihad Watch about why he refuses to condemn Islam (years ago, when there actually existed a few Jihad Watch readers who had enough balls to question Spencer's coherence):

...such as Transcripts Part 2: Jihad Watch readers politely yet firmly take Robert Spencer to task; and Robert Spencer's Two Hats: Keep Your Day Job... One can see there Spencer insisting doggedly why he is "not anti-Islam".  Yes, that's right, a man who has forged a career amassing mountains of data indicating that any sane, decent human on the planet should be anti-Islam, stubbornly insisting he is "not anti-Islam".

At any rate, Spencer recently posted a notice on Jihad Watch, complaining that another member of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (though far less well-known), John Derbyshire, called him names -- specifically an "Islamophobe" and as someone who "hates" Islam.

I.e., what we have here is one Counter-Jihadist (Derbyshire) anxiously trying to virtue-signal to the Western Mainstream that he's not as bad as a fellow Counter-Jihadist (Spencer); while Spencer, in turn, doubles down his ambiguity masquerading as oh-so-no-nonsense toughness by contrast.  In effect, Derbyshire is trying to out-virtue-signal Spencer -- and Spencer, instead of actually proving to his audience that he is more of an authentic Counter-Jihadist than Derbyshire, instead opts for sophistry (and/or incoherence) in order, apparently, to try to preserve his bi-valent paradox by which he can preserve his virtue in the eyes of both Mainstreams.

This isn't the first time this has happened to Spencer.  None other than Sam Harris, about a year ago, gave Spencer some of his own medicine he's given in the past to, for example, Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang -- i.e., treating Spencer as though he has bigoted cooties and has to be held at a distance of a 6-foot-pole.  For a fuller skinny on this, see my essay, Play It Again, Sam.  In this context, Sam's partner-in-counter-jihad-bromance, Maajid Nawaz, did the same thing to Spencer -- and Spencer made the unsurprising mistake of treating Nawaz's attack as an intra-Counter-Jihad problem, because, of course, Spencer won't boldly condemn Nawaz as a stealth jihadist (indeed, Spencer has referred to Nawaz preposterously as a "freedom fighter").

(Sam Harris, incidentally, resembles Spencer in his attempt to be unctuously smooth about playing to both sides; but because Harris is more solidly ensconced in the Western Mainstream, he sort of has the mirror-image opposite problem Spencer has -- playing the same double-game, but from the diametrical angle, so to say, since his audience, being mostly in the Western Mainstream, are about as anti-Islam -- at best -- as Daniel Pipes is.)

To sum up this surreal situation:  Luminaries who are "in the Counter-Jihad" (a phrase that continues to be on the verge of incoherence -- the fault of those very same Luminaries and their slavish devotees) have one foot in the Counter-Jihad, one foot in the broader Western Mainstream.  Since these two realms contradict each other on certain basic, important points -- like, oh say, the exigency of a full-blooded condemnation of Islam (all of Islam, not just "elements of Islam" as Spencer would have it) -- such a stance will perforce be incoherent and self-contradictory. 

Incoherent stances can and do flourish, when they have followings of slavish devotees.

Further Reading:

The key to the puzzle

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Confessions of an Oxymoron...

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Robert Spencer's new book is titled Confessions of an Islamophobe -- meaning he is proudly owning the term even though he realizes it's a silly neologism whose function is to shut down inquiry into the seamier side of Islam by labeling the critic as something radioactive in our Western culture dominated as it is by political correctness.

It would be safe to say that this book is, among other things (many of them useful),  Spencer's latest attempt to brand himself as a staunchly no-nonsense critic of Islam.  To his slavish acolytes, of course, he need not lift a littler finger in this regard to demonstrate his bona fides.

However, to my knowledge, he has never repudiated the solemn statements he made some ten years ago.  To wit:

I am not “anti-Islam”. (Robert Spencer, in a Jihad Watch article, June 27, 2007)

A few years later, he also for good measure added:

I am not “anti-Muslim,” as I have stated many times. It is not “anti-Muslim” to stand for human rights for all people, including Muslims… (Robert Spencer, in a Jihad Watch article, September 17, 2011)

Now, it's understandable, if you're a typical Counter-Jihad Civilian who has not yet undergone the paradigm shift from a focus merely on Islam to a focus on both Islam and Muslims, that you would find no fault at all in your Fearless Leader saying he's "not anti-Muslim".

Indeed, when recently Spencer was selling his book in a Jihad Watch posting, he made the following visionary declaration:

I want a society in which women, Jews, Christians, gays, secular liberals, and secular Muslims can live freely and without fear of being brutalized, victimized, or denied basic rights. [bold emphasis added]

And, needless to say, of the commenters on that thread, the only readers even mentioning the egregious quote were 3 -- and all 3 approved of the sentiment.

But come on now -- a Counter-Jihad luminary seriously insisting he's "not anti-Islam"...!!??

That's more befitting of the Twilight Zone than our increasingly grim reality as our West continues to placate and facilitate Muslims in their expansion into our world.  And it should be a hard pill to swallow from even the softest Counter-Jihadists (never mind the less soft, including all those who vehemently assert they are oh-so tough on Islam) who haven't yet quite melted into a liquefied pool of Daniel-Pipesian nougat.

And, naturally, none of the Civilians in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream have even noticed this, or even know about it (and even if they found out, most of them wouldn't care).

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Paradigm Shiftless

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In promoting his new book, Confessions of an Islamophobe, Robert Spencer has put up various brief postings over the past weeks approaching it from different angles.

In one report of how, when certain "Republican" students invited him to speak at Stanford, "Leftists" were "in an uproar", Spencer goes on to quote from the campus newspaper article about it based on their interview with Spencer, which he describes as "unusually even-handed for a campus paper".

Buried in the middle of it is perhaps the most important point in the entire issue of the whole damned mess of Islam, the West's myopia to Islam, and the Counter-Jihad Mainstream's myopia to the aforementioned:

When I asked him [Spencer] why he thought students were oblivious to the nature of the threat that Spencer will talk about, he called out the media. “The mainstream media conflates reasonable, intellectual critiques of Islam with attacks on Muslims as people,” he said. He hopes that the event, billed as an “honest conversation,” will help to clear up some of those misconceptions…. [bold emphasis added]

After all these years, Spencer apparently hasn't taken the trouble to figure out, and examine carefully, why it is that the mainstream media conflates these two things; and whether they don't have a logical reason to do so.

And of course no one "in the Counter-Jihad" (much less outside it) will notice, and ponder.

In the sleepwalking wake of the latest terror attack this week in New York City, we see, for the thousandth time, the broader Mainstream repeat their anxiety about the prospect & potential for just such a conflation.  Just take a look at the Jihad Watch stories this week.  And as sure as rain follows more rain, the "Counter-Jihad" (such as it is) stands its irrational ground, refusing to face the fact that its assertive condemnation (Spencer's gingerly "intellectual critiques" notwithstanding) of Islam inextricably involves a condemnation of all Muslims, since being a Muslim at the very least obviously implies a support for and solidarity with the Islam being condemned (or "intellectually critiqued" in Spencer's namby-pamby formulation) by us.

As long as Spencer, and the rest of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream Leadership along with its more or less fawning Civilians, ignore this, it will not undergo the crucial paradigm shift that has perhaps the only chance of saving the West from eventual destruction by Muslims by the time this 21st century comes to its close (give or take a few decades).

That chance will require social expansion (which eventually becomes sociopolitical influence); but social expansion will be unlikely to ever occur as long as the two Mainstreams are talking past each other.

Monday, October 30, 2017

"Religiously Incorrect"

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Bat Ye'or (center); David Littman (right); and Filip Dewinter (left)*

An astute phrase by the great David Littman, at a presentation he gave in Ottawa in 2010.  Be sure to see all four parts (which should be there at the same YouTube page).  Featured in one of the later parts is his wife, Bat Ye'or, author of studies on Islamic dhimmitude.  And, unlike most in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream, he doesn't think it automatically excludes "politically incorrect" but that, rather, both pertain when dealing with Islam.  If I had a riyad for every time I've heard some Counter-Jihad Mainstream Civilian say: "Islam is not a religion -- it's a political ideology!" -- as though he or she had just had an epiphany, I'd be richer than George Clooney's Dominican gardener.  Apparently the concept of it being both is too complex for their simply binary brains.

________________________________________________
* (standing warmly closer than a Robert-Spencerian 6-foot pole next to Counter-Jihadists unafraid to catch his allegedly "neo-Nazi" cooties)


Sunday, October 29, 2017

A little conversation about the whole damned mess...


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A Jihad Watch commenter once asked me:

How would JW folks be able to accomplish what they are trying to do better by taking on board what you are saying?

Well (I said), I see that as a two-part or two-fold question. The still inchoate anti-Islam movement remains embryonic and not entirely coherent because there seems to be no concerted platform: I.e., what exactly are JW folks (reflecting all who are “in” the still-inchoate anti-Islam movement) trying to do?

So your question also includes that internal question. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better to have a vaguely amorphous anti-Islam antipathy more or less galvanizing a growing embryo of a movement than not to have that; but surely more definition is needed.

Unfortunately, I often see, when some JW folks are prodded with probing questions about the problem of Muslims, discomfitting signs of a soft, squishy, nougaty center corrupted by asymptotic caramel, such that what I thought were no-nonsense stalwart Counter-Jihadists turn out to be barely distinguishable from George “Muslims-are-decent-moms-and-pops-like-the-rest-of-us” Bush’s war on terror.

Secondly, your question points to an important dimension of our overall movement: namely, that we are in, as Frank Gaffney aptly puts it, “the battle space of the war of ideas”. As such, this important dimension is about E-C-P: Education, Communication, Persuasion. And this war is not a civil war so much as a war that should remain civil — a struggle to persuade the majority of our fellow Westerners who persist in their myopia which, sociopolitically and psychologically, is a giant mass of tissue combining pleasantly passive laziness with starry-eyed politically correct sincerity. As such, it will take years, if not decades, to wake them up to the problem of Muslims. To recognize my previous point is to recognize that our internal dilemma is not as neatly polarized as most JW folks are irresponsibly implying all day long.

And this penchant for most JW folks to indulge in this polarization (between “Us Ordinary folks who get it” and “Them Damned Leftists over there”) is highly ironic, given how soft and naively gullible so many of these JW folks are about Muslims. If they could only adjust these two parameters to try to reverse them into their mirror image (tougher on all Muslims, more understanding of “liberals”), the movement’s “battle space” would become much more efficient, in tactics and substance. I think part of what’s going on here is “TPS” — the “Tea Party Syndrome”: These JW folks I am describing are really fixated on the “real problem” — Liberalism, with the problem of Islam only a peripheral sub-problem currently occupying their attention.

Postscript:

It is our grim luck that Muslims will help this overall situation, by being unable to control themselves in the coming decades as they continue to spiral and metastasize in murder and mayhem, seemingly haphazard, but more likely than not part of an overall goal of Jihad conquest over "Rome" (i.e., the West), facilitated by the Useful Idiocy (paradoxically a "morosophy") of that same West.

Will the "Counter-Jihad" get its shit together in time over the coming decades to avert the catastrophe by waking up (a sufficient number of) its fellow Westerners?  I used to be a "pessimist for now, but ultimately an optimist" on this question. Now, alack, I tilt decidedly worseward. And I can thank the "Counter-Jihad" in large part for my gloominess.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

the ISISberg

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A recent headline on Jihad Watch, building on a Breitbart report:

“With collapse of the Islamic State, Europe and U.S. flooded with thousands of jihadis”

Has anyone in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (never mind the broader Western Mainstream, blind as a bat to the problem of Islam) considered that this was the strategy of ISIS all along?

What everybody thinks, apparently, is that the main motive of ISIS has been to found a return to the Caliphate and try to initiate world conquest one piece at a time -- while having Satanic fun massacring, beheading, raping, torturing and terrorizing.

Has anyone in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream (never mind the broader Western Mainstream, blind as a bat to the problem of Islam) considered that this was not in fact the intended present goal, since Muslims know they can't topple the West (as it stands) by military/paramilitary means?

It is more reasonable to work from the premise that the only hope Muslims have for bringing down this vast, complex, sophisticated, seemingly impregnable Fortress-Civilization called the West -- light years ahead of the Muslim world in technology, science & social infrastructure -- is to engage a two-pronged process:

1) interpenetrate the West with millions of Muslims and continue to do so for decades to come; and

2) continue to provoke, encourage & manipulate our Western PC MC reflexes to whitewash Islam so much as to virtually enable its deepening infiltration.

#1 will ensure that in the future, there will be enough Muslims throughout the West, infiltrated into every social nook and cranny, to be able to implement military/paramilitary actions that, unlike the terror attacks they've done to date, will have a chance to successfully destroy our civilization.

#2, meanwhile, will help to ensure that #1 continues to proceed without any obstacles other than the false obstacle based on the specious premise of a division between "Extremist Islamism" and a supposedly benign "Islam" (or the Counter-Jihad Mainstream version of this, the division between "Jihadists" and "Reformist" or "Secular" Muslims) -- a premise that actually facilitates the ongoing infiltration of Muslims (#2).

#1 represents quantity -- sheer numbers of Muslims.  Meanwhile, #2 reflects the quality of their presence in the West -- i.e., sufficiently deep infiltration in the future to gain access to areas they still, in our time, might have trouble penetrating, in order to pull off horrific terror attacks far worse than 911, and far more numerous than what we've seen to date.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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

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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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A conversation about the "problem of the problem" over at Gates of Vienna

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It's rare for any Gates of Vienna article to have more than 10 or 20 comments; so when we see 152 comments (on an essay by the owner of the blog, Baron Bodissey, titled "The Core Problem, Again"), it's significant. It shows that what I have called the "Gates of Vienna Circle" is quite interested in this topic -- for the wrong reasons.

The way Bodissey frames the issue, it sounds hearteningly similar to what I've been hammering home for years here (and there and everywhere):

The core problem is not the invaders and the violent Third World masses. The core problem is not even the white traitors who deliberately, proactively import them. 

The core problem is the fact that a large proportion of the productive white native English-speaking population assents via the ballot box to what is happening, over and over again. Willingly, even eagerly. With pride in their own virtue for putting these corrupt criminal traitors in charge. 

THAT is the core problem. Until it is addressed and dealt with, nothing will change significantly. The bus will continue its trajectory over the cliff.

While his first sentence leaves a little to be desired (no mention of Muslims, and an expansion to an amorphous "Third World masses" as though non-Muslim Third Worlders even come close to presenting as comparable a threat to the West as Muslims do), and while the rhetoric implies that our "white traitors" are a worse problem than Muslims (which I strongly disagree with), it can be another way to put the fact that the problem of the problem, by perpetually obstructing any way to manage the primary problem of which it is the secondary problem, is on a certain pragmatic level, worse.

What completes the apparent similarity between Bodissey's stance and mine is that he's not fixating on the Dastardly Elites (as the Civilians, and quite a few of the Leadership, of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream tend to do), and he rather shines a spotlight on The Ordinary People for continually renewing (and doing nothing to hinder) the sociopolitical power of their elites.  Part and parcel with this salutary refocus, Bodissey isn't (at least not here) falling for the deeper Real Problemer claim that, in effect, all aspects of democracy are a sham and illusion because the Dastardly Elites hold all the power in their greedy, evil hands as they cackle with sinister glee in the smoky back rooms of their Elite Underground Lairs.

I commended Bodissey when he did this the first time around he wrote "The Core Problem" (hence the "Again" of this most recent installment, a part 2), in an essay I published here back in July, A sunbreak of sense "in the counter-jihad".

I had a couple of subsequent misgivings about Bodissey, as I noticed him revert back into his perhaps baseline reflex, the Real Problemer framework that conceives of the problem of the problem as one of a Dastardly Cabal of Elites who, due to their pernicious power over all of us, are the "real problem", of which the problem of Islam is, or -- for the Soft Conspiracy Theorists -- might as well be, a "false flag" (or at the very least, an ultimately harmless distraction).  These misgivings were most clearly articulated in my essay a month later, Forecast for the foreseeable future: Overcast.

I don't know what to make of Bodissey's apparent flip-flopping on this. Either he's being incoherent, or there is some "safety valve" in his framework that allows him to seem to diverge from the Real Problemer viewpoint when he's really not.

At any rate, the comments field to this latest installment provides us a glimpse into how some of the Civilians of the Counter-Jihad (either Mainstream or the free-floating debris around it) weigh in on this most important issue.  And as with his previous installment, Bodissey interjects some responses here and there to some of the commenters.

My prediction, before I read through them, is that, like the last time, at least 98% of them will be Real Problemer.

See part 2.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pride and Prejudice

http://redcarpetcrash.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/victoria.png

No, my photo does not introduce a review of this atrocity of Islamophiliac propaganda.  I thought it would be a curiously apt emblem of the apposition of the title of an older essay of mine (from 2014), as a corrective to that tragic-comic pairing of Queen Victoria and her tall, dark, handsome Mohammedan. 

There is a point where a mountain of data and an ocean of dots screaming to be connected motivates the rational man to draw a reasonable inference—and to commit to the judgement of that inference. Here, in the Counter-Jihad (someday hopefully to become an actual Anti-Islam Movement), “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” and sisters know (or should know, by now) that mountain and that ocean—the mountain daily looming larger like a volcano, the ocean daily burgeoning beyond its bourn with tidal waves; and it behooves us to move rationally to the next step and commit to the judgement that is, precisely, a pre-judgement. I.e., to treat the inference, because reasonable (cf. the aforementioned mountain and ocean), as a judgement.

I know this will insidiously itch and rankle those in the Counter-Jihad who still suffer from signs and symptoms of the PC MC virus (even if only in the form of a scratchy throat, a few sniffles, a dry cough, a slight fever), but we need to have, and to hold, prejudice against all Muslims.

Not because we know enough to condemn them all equally as being a deadly and pernicious sociopolitical & ideological demographic—but rather because that aforementioned mountain and ocean indicate preponderantly that to do otherwise, and to give Muslims the benefit of the doubt which we reasonably give to any other people on Earth, would endanger our society in lethal ways—mass murders, destruction of property and social dislocations—now and increasingly as the decades unfold in this 21st century: our children’s, grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s lives and beyond.  We know (or should infer by now) that the logic of Jihad, already undergoing a global revival in our time, will not stop until it has ruined all of civilization.

Postscript:

When I wrote the above as a comment at Jihad Watch, a no-nonsense Jihad Watcher responded:

I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to Nazis or KKK members, why should I give the benefit of the doubt to anyone of an equally disgusting and vile ideology, that of pisslam?

A sallutary response, although one that seems oblivious to that other mountain and other ocean out there that continues to interfere with our perception of the first mountain and ocean—namely, PC MC, which remains dominant and mainstream throughout the entire West; and according to which such a comparison as being made between Muslims, and Nazis or KKK is forever stymied by various factors.

Nazis and KKK number very few as a tiny minority, are concentrated in only a few countries, and are by now marginal and not doing any damage nor threatening much for the future. In addition, the vast majority in the West agrees that they are pernicious.

Muslims number hundreds of millions all over the world in nearly every country on the planet. In addition, the majority throughout the West continues to indulge the mush of thought-and-feeling that tends to want to defend Muslims in the name of protecting “diversity” and defending against “bigotry”. The principle I outlined in my previous comment—the need for the West to adopt prejudice against all Muslims, is extremely vulnerable to charges of “bigotry” and most even in the Counter-Jihad would shrink back from it like shrinking violets, timid and anxious lest they anger the PC MCs who dominate in their culture all around them (or who even lurk more insidiously, psychologically within their hearts and minds as internal censors against thought crimes). Indeed, my principle would be seen by most in the mainstream—and by a few even within the Counter-Jihad—as ominously indicative of the evils of precisely the Nazis and KKK.

Meanwhile, some of the precious few in the Counter-Jihad who would embrace my principle may do it a bit too juicily and wholeheartedly, revealing glimpses of a slipped mask of Breivikian jingoism.

In her book and her speeches, the great Oriana Fallaci urged the West to recover their "Rage and Pride".  I wholeheartedly agree with her; and go further to recommend that we inform that Pride with reason leading us to Prejudice.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Education of Hesperado...

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I've read many books in my time; but, of course, far more remain unread.  And -- forgive me father for I have sinned -- I am continually remiss in rectifying that habit of sloth and divertissement...

At various times in my life, I've tried to turn the tide on this.  I recall fondly in my early 20s, resolving one summer to "read the classics" -- which at the time turned out to be three books: Madame Bovary, by Gustav Flaubert; Crime and Punishment, by Dostoevsky; and The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Over the years since then, my autodidactic life has been fitful; at times investing enormous energy (as when I hired native French speakers to tutor me in French to prepare me for reading Salammbô, by the aforementioned Flaubert, which I proceeded to do, three times; or when I climbed that daunting mountain of reading the entire corpus of Shakespeare -- all his plays, the Histories, the Comedies, and the Tragedies -- and did so, again, thrice; or when one romantic collegiate day, I simply stayed up all night, and did not sleep, getting drunk on the poetry of Dante's Divine Comedy); at times letting months, even years go by unread.

The last 20 years or so has been a rather fallow period, in terms of reading the works of others (spending most of my time writing my own fiction as well as this blog, when I haven't been binge-watching Netflix shows or chatting on Paltalk...).  About two years ago, I finally resolved to plow through Flaubert's Sentimental Education (using the English translation as my guide, periodically dipping into the French for reference & interest).  More episodes of perpendicular learning I leave uncounted (such as, for example, the delightful diversion of discovering Stephen Crane's slender, and unappreciated, novel, The Third Violet, which was recommended to me by a parenthetical allusion made by one of my top five favorite authors, H.E. Bates; not to mention my devoration over the decades of the oeuvres of two of the remaining four -- Donald Barthelme and Kurt Vonnegut -- leaving the aforementioned Shakespeare and Flaubert reverently aside).

At any rate, on a sublime whim, I have lately embarked upon a reading of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.

Right near the very beginning, in Canto 1, my ever-attuned Modar picked up a possible reference to the perennial enemy of the West, as the narrator begins to describe a mysterious, fair maiden riding on a "lowly ass" alongside the main character (a knight), and her august lineage of a royalty of apparently former glory:

And by descent from royal lineage came
Of ancient kings and queens, that had of yore
Their scepters stretched from east to western shore,
And all the world in their subjection held;
Till that infernal fiend with foul uproar
Forwasted all their land and them expelled;
Whom to avenge she had this knight from far compelled.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Repeating myself, again...

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In light of my recent essay on the pointed usage of the unusual word postjudice by Gavin McInnes in his rave review of Robert Spencer's new book, I direct my readers to a fine essay (if I don't say so myself) I wrote expatiating on the issue of a necessary expansion of postjudice to include what I call rational prejudice.

That essay I wrote over two years ago:

Dis-crim-i-nay-tion.

Roll back Debbie

I've announced new additions to my blogroll many times.  This time I'm announcing a deletion: Debbie Schlussel.  Her blog is top-heavy with ads and cookies that assault the visitor; every time I try to comment on there it never appears -- then when I emailed her to complain about that she said she would fix it, but it was not fixed.  Still recently, my comments on her blogs don't appear.  What's up with that?  Does she want people to see her ads she gets paid for or not?  Then at least allow commenters to comment for G_d's sake.

In addition, I'm increasingly put off by her crotchety, curmudgeonly, prickly attitude about Everyone Under the Sun.  I suspect that she probably would call Diana West a "bitch" who did something wrong for some reason in the past.

Enough already, as the Jews say.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Postjudice?



No, it doesn't refer to the judge who replaced Judge Judy.

In perhaps the briefest blurb ever published on Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer featured a two-sentence encomium from the Canadian cultural commentator, Gavin McInnes:

“This book proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Islamophobia is not based on an irrational fear of Islam, but a rational concern. Robert Spencer eloquently and definitively proves that concern about Islam is based on postjudice, not prejudice.”

I hadn't encountered that word before, and thought it might have been a neologism on the fly by McInnes.  A quick consultation of the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) reveals that it is a word.  Its coinage occurred over a century ago, in 1903, by the British writer, journalist and social observer, G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936).  After that, the OED lists only three more instances of the word, in 1966, 1984, and 2002 (though a cursory search through Google Books yields a few more).  No doubt this paucity of usage is due to its angular awkwardness in rolling off the tongue (whether orally or mentally as one reads it).

There's a little snag, however, in the service McInnes enlists for it, at least as far as Chesterton was concerned:

Prejudice is not so much the great intellectual sin as a thing which, we may call, to coin a word, ‘postjudice’, not the bias before the fair trial, but the bias that remains after.

The second source, British novelist and activist Brigid Brophy (1929-1995), is an amusingly ambiguous if not backhanded complement to Chesterton's coinage: She calls postjudice “prejudice through hindsight”.  All the other employers of the term are as cheerlessly prosaic as McInness.

There's a more important problem with hailing postjudice as a virtue for the Counter-Jihad.  It implies a bondage to facts and dots with an acquiescence to an unreasonable inhibition about interpretations we can draw from the facts and connections we can infer from the dots.  Do there not exist contexts or situations where important decisions about our public safety cannot wait for mass-murders after the fact, or for explicit professions of extremist sedition, before some preventive measures are in order?  (One could go further and redefine our entire West-- seen by Muslims as the Dar-al-Harb -- as just such a context.)

In the spirit of that question, and factoring in a literacy about the problem of Islam (including the devastating problem of taqiyya), we note further that if we (the West) limit ourselves to postjudice, we will be limiting ourselves to noticing, ferreting out, and taking various actions against Muslims only after they show signs of "extremism" and "radicalization" -- thus implying a policy based upon the supposition that when Muslims don't show those signs (or when they may claim to be opposed to those signs), they must be harmless.

This would doom us to a Whack-a-Mo response to the problem of Islam -- no doubt one somewhat better than heretofore pursued by the Mainstream West, but still guided by the same failed paradigm out of touch with the actual nature and dimensions of that problem.

Rather than limit ourselves to postjudice (perhaps as an anxious way to virtue-signal to our PC MC cultural masters who dominate the Conversation, assuring them that we are "not prejudiced"), we need to amplify it with what I call rational prejudice.

Rational prejudice would be the reasonable extrapolation from facts and connected dots, such that we assume that even "moderate" mosques, madrassas and Islamic institutions are suspect, and that even "moderate" Muslims -- including the ultra-moderate "Better Cop" Muslims who tend to fool most in the Counter-Jihad Mainstream -- are suspect.

We can see that adopting rational prejudice as a principle would discomfit the likes of Robert Spencer and Gavin McInnes (and virtually the entire motley Leadership of the Counter-Jihad Mainstream), for then they'd have go through the painful process of a paradigm shift, from an exclusive focus on the problem of Islam, to a problem of Islam that includes the problem of all Muslims.

Speaking of the great Judge Judy (PBUHer): To anyone -- including anyone in the Counter-Jihad (which, sadly, seems to include the majority) -- who says there's no problem of Islam and all Muslims, I invoke the words of one of her tangiest quotes (and title of her book):

“Don't pee on my head and tell me it's raining.”

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Repeating myself...

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I've written so many essays on this blog over the years (the first one was published on July 11, 2006), with a total thus far, eleven years later, of 1,374, that I've lost track of how often I've reiterated a limited set of critical talking points.

So many essays are piled up on this mountain heap, I more often than not forget what I've written, or forget that I've already argued long ago -- sometimes better -- a point I'm laboring with in the present.  It also hits me nearly every time I comb (or go on a leisurely stroll) through my archives that I've been hitting my head against, not so much a wall, as the starboard port door on board this Titanic of a West we're all on.

Id est, I could easily hang up my hat now, confident in the knowledge that I've pretty much analyzed the Three Problems every which way but loose, and several times over to boot.

One summation I wrote a year ago, as good as any I've written (and no doubt one of nearly a hundred over the years):

Is this the only choice?  Either Stupidity or a Conspiracy Theory?

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

What's wrong with this picture...? Part Two.

https://dornob.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/diy-wacky-upside-down-shelf.jpg

In Part One, I laid out the overall structure of the problem.  In Part Two, I just want to look at the rhetoric of the Muslim reporter, Hannah Allam, zeroing in on the portions I bolded in my extended quote in Part One.

...the scandal surrounding Muslim preacher Nouman Ali Khan...

Calling him a "preacher" subtly massages in the impression of him being equivalent to an Elmer Gantry type of Christian evangelist.  This in turn hopefully arouses memories in the white Western (especially American) reader of so many Christian evangelists in the past who have been hypocrites and/or fanatics of one flavor or another.

...how difficult it can be for Muslim communities to deal with claims of misconduct by leaders, especially when women are involved.

Implying that "Muslim communities" (by extended implication the majority of Muslims in America) are decent, in contrast to the few bad apples (hypocritical "preachers" like Khan) whom they have to contend with.

Khan is a conservative, Texas-based teacher whose lively Qur’an lectures draw hundreds of thousands of fans to his stories blending modern-day scenarios with strict interpretations of scripture.

Calling a Muslim cleric (and/or rabble-rouser slash demagogue) "a conservative" is to imply that normative mainstream Islam is not itself "conservative" and that only outliers like this Khan fellow are notably so.  This is not to mention, in addition, that "conservative" is way too mild to describe the extremist fanaticism of normative, mainstream Islam (which, as a Muslim, the reporter herself at the very least enables if not countenances).  The same sentence climaxes with Khan's "strict interpretations of scripture" (why not "of the Koran?") -- again, implying that the "strictness" Khan is getting from the Koran are his "interpretations" rather than what's there on the page (and what has been, in fact, interpreted in all the mainstream tafsirs; all quite "strict" and none remotely liberal or modern or secular).

...the accusations ... portrayed him as an undercover ladies’ man who violated the rigid moral code he advocates.

Again, the Muslim reporter Hannah Allam by qualifying this "rigid moral code" as something Khan "advocates", is implying that this "rigid moral code" is not already in the Koran and Hadith and tafsirs, and therefore not already in mainstream, normative Islam.

Conclusion:

The real question is, why didn't any of the Jihad Watch Leadership (notably Robert Spencer who introduced the report) nor any of the Jihad Watch Civilians pick up on this implicit Good Cop stealth jihad being retailed by Muslim reporter Hannah Allam?

Sunday, October 01, 2017

What's wrong with this picture...? Part One.


https://i.pinimg.com/736x/a2/8c/76/a28c7620ae1f694bc51e183e91a64844--illusions-tea-party.jpg 

"Texas: Women harassed for speaking out on Muslim preacher’s misconduct allegations" -- so a recent Jihad Watch report informs us.

Robert Spencer begins this posting with an apparently key quote from one of the female victims of this Muslim "preacher":

Said Laila Alawa, one of Khan’s accusers: “The reality is, speaking out as a woman can cost you your reputation, your job opportunities. It’s an insanely deep fear that we’ve taught our young women time and again with all the rhetoric around modesty and hijab. If you’re being told over and over that it’s the woman’s responsibility to be chaste, women are going to internalize it as their fault if they get harassed.”
[Note: "Said" is the Muslim woman's first name, not the English verb "Said"]

After this quote, Spencer inserts a pregnant pause in the form of a paragraph space, with the succinct impact of one word indicating his agreement & affirmation.

Yes.

After that, and a picture of the Muslim "preacher" (are there any Muslim "preachers" per se? Or are they not more accurately termed "clerics"?) sporting a ridiculously Amish or Abrahamic-Lincoln beard-with-no-moustache, Spencer launches immediately into reproducing the story as reported by a venue called "BuzzFeed" (which Wikipedia tells us is "an American internet media company based in New York City... a social news and entertainment company with a focus on digital media and feminism"):

“Women Are Being Harassed For Speaking Out About A Muslim Preacher’s Misconduct Allegations,” by Hannah Allam, BuzzFeed, September 29, 2017 

Once you get past the shirtless selfies and the “sugar daddy” boast, the scandal surrounding Muslim preacher Nouman Ali Khan is a rare window into how difficult it can be for Muslim communities to deal with claims of misconduct by leaders, especially when women are involved. 

Khan is a conservative, Texas-based teacher whose lively Qur’an lectures draw hundreds of thousands of fans to his stories blending modern-day scenarios with strict interpretations of scripture. He disapproves of men and women shaking hands, promotes marrying young, and chides Muslims who wear “skintight” clothes. Shocking claims that he abused his power to pursue relationships with women set off a nasty battle over how to handle allegations of religious leaders behaving badly. 

Last week, the accusations — along with screenshots of text messages and photos allegedly sent to women by Khan — portrayed him as an undercover ladies’ man who violated the rigid moral code he advocates.

What's Wrong With This Picture?

1. It's a story not about a Muslim victimizing non-Muslims (which is what the Counter-Jihad should be focused on), but rather a Muslim victimizing other Muslims (in this case, the female Muslims who attend his "sermons") -- and the story is clearly siding with the women and portraying them as sympathetic victims of this Muslim cleric's hypocritical violation of his own "conservative" values and "rigid moral code".  Such internecine Muslim-on-Muslim attacks, however, are only useful for us "in the Counter-Jihad" as specimens of the pathology of Muslim society which we can include in our arsenal of facts by which to wake up the majority of Westerners around us.

2.  Then we have the reporter's language throughout, here and there subtly massaging in the normalcy of the Muslim "community" in America.  This scandal, she says, is a rare window into how difficult it can be for Muslim communities to deal with claims of misconduct by leaders, especially when women are involved.  

3.  Not only is it implied that Muslims are a "community" woven into the fabric of American societies, but also that many (most? the vast majority?) Muslims are normal decent people who oppose this "conservative" extremism and the hypocrisy attendant upon it.

4.  Notwithstanding the implication in the article of a broad base of moral decency amongst Muslims, the reporter also implies, paradoxically, that it is extraordinarily difficult for all those decent Muslims to do the right thing -- though the reporter never explains how this intimidation by a tiny minority could exert so much successful influence on the vast majority.

5.  Let's back up here to note yet another thing wrong with this picture -- the name of the reporter: Hannah Allam.  Clearly it's an Arabic last name, juxtaposed to a Western-sounding name (although "Hannah" is a Hebrew name originally from the Old Testament, it has since become an unremarkably normative name for Western, mostly white, females).  Thus Robert Spencer, and by extension the Counter-Jihad, is relying upon a Muslim reporter for a spin which, as we see from the first four flaws listed above, subtly slips in between the lines the Good Cop/Bad Cop split -- thus reinforcing our already difficult-to-exorcize reflex to want to help the decent Muslims whom we assume exist in large numbers (many? most? the vast majority?).

This reflex, if it is not reversed, will be the primary reason for the doom of the West as we know it, and its reduction by the end of this 21st century into vast zones of killing fields, rampant violence, and a general breakdown in social order throughout the West -- all made possible by four factors:

1) The fanatical desire and blueprint in Islamic culture motivating the destruction of all societies that do not submit to Allah and His Prophet.

2) The ability of Muslims -- chiefly through having been allowed by us to infiltrate  & insinuate deep into the fabric of our society -- to implement a sufficient quantity & quality of violence in the West in order to finally bring us down, after about a century of planning.

3) The sufficient quantity & quality of this violence will be primarily through a concatenation of terror attacks of varying degrees of magnitude, ranging from small-scale "lone wolves" to small commando units roaming around, to medium-sized attacks, to spectacular attacks using chemical, biological, or suitcase nuke WMDs -- attacks as bad as or worse than 911.

And, last but not least:

4) Western Islamophobophobia.

Monday, September 25, 2017

The uniquely offensive nature of Islamic jihad

http://introduccionalahistoriajvg.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/muqaddimah-english2-copia.jpg
In a notice on Jihad Watch some four years ago, Spencer alerts the reader to the normative extremism of Ibn-Khaldun, the great 14th century Muslim version of a Thomas Aquinas whose name is titular for the sumptuously accredited university "Chair" (at American University in Washington, D.C.) on which a certain Muslim academic, Prof. Akbar Ahmed, seats his prodigously moderate behind and from which, when he's not doing supposedly scholarly work, he propagandizes ex cathedra about how Islam is peachy keen and critics of Islam are "Islamophobic". 

Spencer quotes from Ibn-Khaldun's great work the Muqaddimah --

“in the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.”

Another telling quote from the Muqaddimah which Spencer did not quote:

“The other [i.e., non-Muslim] religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense.

This (in conjunction with the quote Spencer provided) is as direct an avowal of the fundamentally offensive nature of Islamic war as any -- and a surprising admission of the uniqueness of Islam in that regard.  

This is something no Islamopologist in our time -- including, no doubt and with supreme irony, Prof. Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington, D.C, himself -- would ever dare avow, lest the much stronger Infidel Enemy in whose midst the good professor plies his trade wise up to the ultimate goal of his Islam before the time is ripe.

The full quote (from this scholarly translation available as a pdf, pp. 408-409):

In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the (Muslim) mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force. Therefore, caliphate and royal authority are united in (Islam), so that the person in charge can devote the available strength to both of them at the same time. 


The other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defense. It has thus come about that the person in charge of religious affairs in (other religious groups) is not concerned with power politics at all. (Among them,) royal authority comes to those who have it, by accident and in some way that has nothing to do with religion. It comes to them as the necessary result of group feeling, which by its very nature seeks to obtain royal authority, as we have mentioned before,and not because they are under obligation to gain power over other nations, as is the case with Islam. They are merely required to establish their religion among their own (people). This is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned 

(Note: the above-linked pdf seems to have no page numbers; so the reader may simply search for a phrase in the quoted paragraph, such as "universal mission" or "religious duty".)

For more on Muslims like Akbar Ahmed and the gullible Christians who fawn all over them, see my essay Liberal Christians and Islam. (And here is a key link which did not work in that older article.)