Minggu, 26 Januari 2014

"Know Thy Friend", and the Esdrujula Elves (in time for Christmas)

The comments attached to a recent Jihad Watch report on U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom and FBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Kaste -- announcing, as usual, that Islam had nothing to do with the recent barely deflected terror attack by a Muslim convert at the airport in Wichita, Kansas -- present an interesting tissue of understandable stabs at trying to make sense of this latest semantic and rhetorical atrocity from our Public Sevants. Ultimately, these stabs are riddled with complex fallacies and/or fallacious premises or assumptions. 

Those comments provide a good example of the State of the Union, so to speak, of the still inchoate Anti-Islam Movement (some day, hopefully before the 21st century is over and millions of us have been massacred by Muslims, to become the full-fledged AIM) as we approach 2014.

One commenter agreed with another when he: adroitly pointed out...if islam had nothing to with it...why bring it up, anyway? He [U.S. Attorney Grissom] doesn't get the irony there? Maybe I was wrong--maybe he IS and [sic] idiot!

The question, and then the conclusion that to the questioner seems inexorable, are both assuming that a person cannot be intelligent and still think and utter what we in the (still inchoate) Anti-Islam Movement know to be fallacious premises and conclusions about Islam. It would be glibly cynical -- though an understadable venting of our frustration -- to assume that this can be explained by a lack of intelligence in U.S. Attorney Grissom and FBI Special Agent in Charge Kaste. While it's tempting to think "all politicians are stupid", this simply is too unlikely, for a variety of reasons (not the least of which being that people of lesser education and seemingly less intelligence nevertheless grasp the problem of Islam).

In other words, we can rule out one of Hugh Fitzgerald's Esdrujula Elves (or Hobbyhorses of the Apocalypse) -- Stupidity -- by which he explained long ago why it is that our modern Western educated mainstream persists in its myopia about the problem of Islam. One may posit a stupidity, but only a paradoxical kind, which may be called "intelligent stupidity" or "foolish wisdom" or, as I termed it, "Quantum Ignorance"

Not only politicians are the problem in this regard; oftimes one finds scholars in Academe, even those whose field involves a study of materials related to the history of Islam, and who may even know Arabic, Syriac, Aramaic, Hebrew, etc., evince pretty much the same talking points of the PC MC template.  Obviously, scholars such as these cannot be simplistically "stupid". 

Thus, in another recent context on Jihad Watch -- a report on how the American Studies Association which (as the Jerusalem Post says) is a ..5,000-member American Studies Association (ASA), which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history”...), ruled to boycott all Israeli universities (and of course conspicuously failed to boycott any Muslim nation perpetrating and proposing, unlike Israel, horrible deeds and words) -- another commenter dashed off a glibly sweeping remark about Academe:

Having spent a career in academia, I can assert without reservation that there is no fool like an academic fool.

Mark Twain sapiently opined that there are lies, damn lies and then there are statistics. Well, with great deference and gratitude to this extremely shrewd man, I would proffer a variation on this "theme." Here it is: There are fools, damn fools and then there are academic fools.

It's common to hear (or read) from among those in the still inchoate Anti-Islam Movement the gripe that this or that public servant tends to behave in ways that support Islam because he has been, in effect, "bought out" (i.e., with money and/or power). This would be another of Hugh's "Esdrujula Elves" -- namely, Cupidity.

This, however, logically suffices for an ultimate explanation if any one (or combination) of three things pertain:

1) the public servant in question doesn't realize how evil and deadly Islam is to the West he has the honor and privilege to serve

2) the public servant in question is a scurrilous nihilist who doesn't care about anything but scurrilous opportunism for the sake of money and/or power

3) the public servant in question knows how evil and deadly Islam is, yet still wants to support it because either

a) he is an extremist Leftist (not the same as your garden-variety Leftist) who wants to actively destroy the West in order to let Islam take conquer it because, apparently, he thinks Islam will be better for Mankind (which practically puts him into the Revert gallery, if hadn't already taken the Shahada anyway and reverted)


b) he is an extremist Leftist of the Nihilist sub-flavor, who wants to see everything destroyed (especially, of course, the Evil White West) and believes in doing anything to hasten his Nihilist Armaggedon).

That's it. That's all the Cupidity Elf has to offer, for an ultimate explanation of motive. Missing from this is a positive ideological motive that does not verge on the ludicrously unlikely stretches of 2, and of 3a and 3b. And because the positive ideological motive is missing, one is tempted to lurch toward #1 -- the first Stupidity Elf -- which, however, is simply silly and impermissible if one thinks about it for longer than a picosecond (though an understandable outburst of our frustration).

Now, if there were indeed no positive ideological factor plausible or possible, one may well be forced to stretch in this manner for an explanation. But there are indications that there is such a thing as a worldview that is not reducible to an extremist Leftism, that in fact reaches out and touches the hearts and minds of innumerable others who cannot reasonably be caricatured as extremist Leftists.

The fallacy or misstep here, in sum, may be put thusly: Just as it is important, in the "battle space of the war of ideas" (as Frank Gaffney has so aptly put it), to "Know thine enemy" -- so too is it important to "Know thy friends". Indeed, one of the serious fallouts from the Explanatory Vacuum is that explanations rush in to fill this vacuum which tend, in quasi-conspiracy-theory fashion, to transmogrify, if not demonize, many of our Western friends into tantamount Enemies. And this verges on the next fallacy, which may be a new Elf Hugh didn't think of -- another "-idity" besides his Stupidity, Cupidity, and Timidity: what for now could be signified by "Those damned Leftists".  This last Idity turns out to be rather idiotic and quickly dissolves under the unremarkable light of thinking about it for a few seconds: It fails to explain all the multitudes of non-Leftists who continue to do their part to purvey PC MC throughout the modern West: Conservatives, Centrists, and that sociopolitical demographic too often unnoticed -- the Comfortably Apolitical (a post-modern permutation of the "Bourgeoisie" who abound in our time).

Now, the aforementioned Explanatory Vacuum leads to the natural question: if we rule out the Three Elves of Stupidity, Cupidity and Timidity -- as well as the Leftist Explanation -- we must intelligently ask: 

Why would an intelligent public servant not realize, after all the facts that have been amassing around us in our highly informed cultured, how evil and deadly Islam is? 

 If, in addition to Cupidity and Stupidity, we also rule out Timidity and "Those Damn Leftists" as explanations, then, there would seem to be no other explanations -- that is, if one has an impoverished appreciation for the depth and breadth of the sociocultural phenomenon of PC MC.  For this paradigm, this fashionable worldview that has become dominant and mainstream throughout the entire West, supplies a complex "filtration system" so to speak, between incoming data to the brain, and that brain's processing of that data into thoughts, feelings, interpretations and judgements. I've analyzed this at great length in numerous essays here over the years. I may not have fully plumbed all the features of this hypothetical explanation; but I'm persuaded that it's eminently plausible, in great part because of a mountain of dots that require only a "mental pencil" to connect, as Hugh Fitzgerald used to say.

Sabtu, 25 Januari 2014

The Hesperado Book Club

My latest installment, featuring a book published in 1939 -- Catholics and unbelievers in 18th century France, by historian R.R. Palmer.

This was recommended to me (or rather, to the class of history students I was in) many years ago as an example of a rather comparatively small number of academic studies attempting a challenge to the reigning assumption that the 18th century Enlightenment was, of course, rational and free-thinking, whereas the Christians they disdained were, of course, "dogmatic" and therefore closed-minded and irrational.

In his revisionist challenge to this axiomatic assumption (part and parcel with a then budding PC MC), Palmer simply examined the writings of a representative number of Enlightenment Philosophes and compared them with the writings of their bêtes noires, Catholic theologians and philosophers.  His analytical finding: The latter tended markedly toward demonstrating far more rationality in their arguments than did the former.

This book was one of the many in my formative years that helped disabuse me of the Axioms of the Age which form the worldview of PC MC.  Being favorably disposed to the historically incorrect likes of an R.R. Palmer is not, however, a guarantee that one becomes immune to the PC MC virus with regard to the problem of Islam since, for example, most of the otherwise erudite and astute academics who admire the great 20th century philosopher, Eric Voegelin, and who therefore count Palmer's study among their library's pantheon of good books, seem to become blithering idiots when that one problem comes on their radar.

Hesperado slowing down... 3.5 readers may have noticed I've not been posting as much lately.  There have been times in the past, since I started this blog some seven years ago, when I've had slumps.  The current one is due not only to time constraints, but also to a feeling that there's not much left to say about the horrors and terrors of the Religion of Peace that isn't repetitious.

My next post will be a reprise of an older post, while I scratch my head and think of something new to say about our old and perennial enemy and about our doddering West pleasantly oblivious to that enemy...

More thoughts on the deck of the Titanic...

Why should it be any more than any other religion or person??? This is so out of hand, and I really don't know why people stand for this??? I just don't get it.

An exasperated Jihad Watch reader asks, rhetorically.  (And we know what religion his "it" refers to...) This is not a lone exasperation; many seem to be similarly afflicted.

There actually is an understandable reason, though the reason is fraught with irrationality and is rather complex. Were one to simplify it by only stating what could be its most important ingredient, that would invite misunderstandings.

I'm not going to spend time right now constructing a refined explanation, but will just spell out the ingredients that cause most of the West to persist in its myopia about the problem of Islam.

The main ingredient is reverse racism. PC MC (Politically Correct Multi-Culturalism) is a worldview or paradigm that has become dominant throughout the entire West. According to those who follow PC MC, when they look at Muslims, they see an ethnic people (or a wonderful diversity, or mosaic, or tapestry of ethnic peoples from all over the non-white non-Western world).

Then we must remember (how can we forget?) that, according to PC MC, a perceived ethnic people is to be accorded extra deference and respect, even if they may not deserve it.

Then, according to "Auster's Law of Majority/Minority Relations" which PC MC also follows, the more that a perceived ethnic minority misbehaves, the more respect -- not less -- they are accorded. Since Muslims misbehave astronomically worse than any other perceived ethnic minority on the planet, they are accorded an irrationally high degree of respect -- an irrationality reaching grotesquely ridiculous proportions by now, since their "misbehavior" is off the charts in quantity and quality.

Then, another ingredient here is that semi-consciously and subliminally, the PC MCs are afraid of Muslim violence, but they cannot rationally process this, so they must suppress it, and only allow it to exert psychological pressure to result in our increasing our respect for Muslims and their Islam.

In addition, and closely related to the above, PC MCs cultivate what may be called "Autophobia" -- a fear of themselves: specifically, a fear that as white Westerners who are the main (if not sole) cause of all ills of the world and of history (we alone were the worst perpetrators of slavery, colonialism, racism, blah blah blah), we must be vigilant in controlling our own propensity to engage in the thought crimes of racism and bigotry, and from there we must be on guard against ourselves, lest we go down the slippery slope toward racist crimes against Muslims (never mind that Islam is not a race -- for irrational PC MCs, that train left the station long ago) and start lynching them, rounding them up, putting them in camps, ethnically cleansing them, etc. It is the irrational fear of this ridiculous scenario for which there is not a shred of evidence that looms far more importantly to haunt the heart & mind of the PC MC and which helps keep his semi-conscious mind distracted from noticing the actual atrocities and hatred and intoleance and racism which Muslims spew and perpetrate daily around the globe.

And so forth.

As detailed and lengthy as my description turned out to be, it only touches on the tip of the iceberg of the problem toward which our collective Western Titanic chugs -- though it does, I hope, sound and tap into some veins of ice-cracks that run deep into it.

Jihad, and Voegelin's “Tension of Existence”
Consider the paradox of Jihad itself and its lexicological perversity: On the face of it, the idea of Jihad appears to be an equivalent symbolism for the tension of existence, which is, in the Western Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian traditions, the life of faith, hope and love borne in patience and humility reasonably balanced with the acceptance of the mystery of imperfection. It is, in other words, an existence lived in tension between this life and the next life, where the next life is a symbolism for the final fulfillment of the mystery of meaning in salvation: the eschaton when love and the good finally overcome all evil.  The idea is not only that this is our ultimate destiny, but also that we are not there yet.  And this state or condition of “not being there yet is precisely the tension of existence.

The specific phrase tension of existence may be a relatively recent coinage by Austrian (later American) philosopher Eric Voegelin (1901-1985), but he coined it to express a constant in the history of Western thought, which he found in the pre-Socratics, in the Platonists and Aristotelians, in Israelite theology, and in Christian philosophy.  Voegelin went further and conjectured that this existential tension is also found in Eastern thought, in Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.  Voegelin also varied his formulation with the phrase tension towards (German, Spannung zu), to refer to the orientation of the tension, whereby its two poles, so to speak, are not equipoised, but possess an inherent bias toward what he termed the Beyond of the tensioni.e., toward what is symbolized variously in terms of symbolisms of the divine and of some kind of divine transformation (or salvation) of the human.  

One of those thinkers from the great magisterium of the philosophoumena and theologoumena of Western civilization was the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, who imaged this tension in terms of the Greek mythological concept of Eris, literally meaning strife, but in the philosophically supple hands of Heraclitus rendered mythopoetically.

In Islam, however, this apparently equivalent symbolism, Jihadwhile certainly tensional in its sense of a struggleis not merely figuratively strife, but is actually translated into and seems to reach its apogee in military combat and paramilitary terror perpetrated for an eschatological obsession in terms of a fanatical devotion to its foundational religious texts.  The grimly cheeky rendering of Hitler's seminal manifesto Mein Kampf (“My Struggle) as Mein Jihad is apt, so long as we realize both that Hitler himself was, as Muslims are, also diseased by a gnostic obsession with
purity” that would motivate him to struggle against all Mankind that had not submitted to his Reich—and that Islam is, and has been throughout its 1,400-year career, far worse even than Nazism.

More pertinently and acutely, the Islamic tension of existence is actually the demonic resistance against the tension of existence. 

This demonic resistance is, in Islam, extrapolated in a grand and supreme belief-system that, in its totalitarian systematization, simultaneously deforms both the individual, and the Individual Writ Large: Society. In the former, the psyche of each individual Muslim is deformed in its perversion of tension into an intolerantly anti-tensional struggle against human imperfection. This in Islam is further, and more deeply translated into a fanatically obsessive struggle against one's own humanity, where humanity questions, doubts, and trusts in love.  While in the Western conception there may have often been the temptation to demonize imperfection and imagine a procedure that would deliver perfectionthis would be the Pharisaic obsessionthe more common and mainstream ideal was to abide in patience and humility ever cognizant of one's imperfection, and to accept that as part of the mystery of meaning which in turn is the ongoing drama in which God has put us.  Only the divine may divine the full meaning and the ending of the story we are caught up in, even as we have been given glimmers of truth by which we may orient ourselves in tension towards what is good, true and beautiful, and try to turn away from their opposites.  This Western posture was in turn conducive to an ever-evolving culture of inquiry and humility that not only helped foster technological and scientific progress, but also contributed to the cultivation of the Golden Rule in ethics and in that sempiternal work-in-progress, universalism.  Islam, by contrast, has no Golden Rule—only an Iron Rule of terror and totalitarianism—and as a result has always stagnated in arrested development in terms of developing a healthy sociopolitical infrastructure, and in terms of facilitating technological and scientific progress.

In terms of the Individual Writ LargeSocietythere unfolds in Islam a deformation of a diseased political science, through a fundamental repudiation of the tension of the progress of sociopolitical compromise among competing meanings of lifea progress that has been the ongoing legacy of the Western genius, evolving in a context of the painful wisdom learned through the blood, sweat and tears of centuries of argument, debate, dissension, conflict, violence and wars.

In the Islamic perversion of this tensional progress in its apparent equivalence, Jihad, there is a struggle positively disposed against any earnest development of compromise in a system of a balance of powers
a compromise which in Western history has cultivated the rejection of the supremacism of any one power over others in favor of a kind of international democracy of ideologies and religions. In the Western system as it has evolved, this democracy of ideologies and religions has developed into a kind of neutral super-system that rejects, as much as possible, the role of embodying and enforcing the meaning of lifeas was the role of all previous political systems with their theocratic tendencies, including Christendomleaving that role up to subsets within society reasonably expected to be multifarious and often mutually exclusive, and therefore accorded the rights of protection but not the right of trying to impose their meanings of life on others.

It is this overarching neutral umbrella of secularism, with its official and institutionalized accomodation of multiple meanings of life within its agnostic embrace, that Islamic Jihad cannot tolerate, and must struggle against forever, with the aim of overthrowing it, in favor of a successful conquest and concretization of Islamic supremacism over the world.  Of course, prior to the hegemonic aegis of the modern neutral umbrella of secularism, a kind of grandly beneficent cultural imperialism by which the West rules the globalist world, Islamic Jihad struggled against other sociopolitical cosmions that were not at all secularistthe Judaeo-Christian, the Persian, and the Hindu—and which did envision and institutionalize meanings of life for society.  However, these ancient and medieval cosmions were far more flexibly syncretistic than Islam allows and far more conducive to a patient acceptance of imperfection, leading to evolving insights into a universalist transcendence of tribalism and toward increasing multiculturalist cooperation and understanding.  By stark contrast, according to Jihad as defined in its interlocking terms above, and understood in its anti-tensional sense, Muslims cannot tolerate the indefinite compromise of Islam within a loosely affiliated, horizontally arrayed international family of competing, yet cooperating, systems of geopolitical organization and existential meaning: Muslims must have, they long for, desire, thirst and hunger after a world where everyone submits to their meaning of life.  In short, Muslims are culturally encoded by their traditional blueprint to struggle perennially against any intercultural cooperation, in order to realize a vertically arrayed global organization where Islam rules, and wherein all non-Muslims are subjugated under Islam, and all who resist this are killed.

And in the face of this inveterately hostile struggle against us, we must collectively learn that our modern secular system of competitive cooperationitself heir to and building upon the Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian pillars of our civilization, designed to absorb and accomodate as much diversity of meanings and organization as possible, has its limits and cannot tolerate a counter-system so intolerantly antithetical that it threatens to destroy our system and kill as many of us as it takes to do so. Against Islams struggle against us, we must therefore struggleif not to win, at least to manage it in our favor indefinitely.

Selasa, 14 Januari 2014


Farolito, que allumbras apenas

mi calle desierta...

Cuantas noches me visto llorando

llamar a su puerta...

Sin llevarle mas que una canción,

un pedazo de mi corazón:

Sin llevarle mas nada que un beso;

friolento, travieso, amargo,

y dulzón.

A salvo, and a skirmish

-- in the "battle space of the war of ideas".

About Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood mujaheed, I wrote in a recent Jihad Watch comments thread:

He's an enemy combatant apprehended in the midst of murderously fighting a hot war against us on our soil. He should never have been accorded a trial, but only -- after a forensic investigation (not a trial) determined his guilt -- creatively interrogated for any useful intel he might have, then summarily executed.

And predictably, the Jihad Watch Softies weighed in with their lightweight demurrers; which I fended off as best I could, as the reader will see by following the above-mentioned comments thread to its denouement.

Eeny, Meeny, MINO Mo...
An addition to the Mutation of the "Moderate Muslim"...

Sabtu, 11 Januari 2014

Coffee & Counter-Jihad

Sometimes I announce on my blog that I'm starting a new series of something, but then I don't follow through.  This may be one of those times.  Anyway, I thought I'd post occasional "thoughts" on the Counter-Jihad, framed in a cozy way as though over a cup of coffee at a café. 

My output over in various comments threads at Jihad Watch tends to be rather prodigious, but other than a link under my blogroll over there to the left, I hardly ever include them in any essay here.  This would be a way to do so, for those that seem to fit and seem pithier than the norm.

I thought of alternative titles to this piece -- Cuppa Joe & Mo; Cup of Coffee and Whoopass; "I'll Have a Triple Jihadaccino, Please"; Wake Up and Smell the Napalm -- but the reader may well thank me that I thought otherwise...

So, with only the slightest possible further ado, I introduce my first coffee thought:

I don't think it's too late for the West (either piecemeal, country by country, or ideally in tandem in an international alliance) to develop the idea, the resolve and the policy to deport Muslims. When I say it's "not too late" I am, of course, not referring to right now; nor to this year; nor to even this decade. I find a curious dynamic afoot in the Counter-Jihad community, whereby I find myself on the whole to be the most "extremist" in my pessimism about Muslims, and simultaneously the most optimistic about the West recovering its former rationality capable of dealing with the Muslim danger. Yet it is the others in the Counter-Jihad community who are, in my opinion, being excessive in their implied (and sometimes outright) alarmist pessimism about the problem -- based upon a curious lack of faith in their own West coupled with an exaggerated fear of Islam (but never of Muslims qua Muslims!) -- as when I aver, for example, that this problem will likely unfold over this entire 21st century, and that as it does so, because Muslims will continue to escalate exponentially in their metastasizing mischief, the West will naturally respond by finally waking up and recovering its former rationality.

At which point, it will be able to deal with the problem. But even at that point, say 50 to 75 years in the future, it will still be possible to deport Muslims. Sure, it will be that much costlier, messier, and bloodier than if we had had the brains and balls to do it decades earlier; but it will still be manageable.

To frame this problem as one in which some kind of genocidal war against Muslims is inevitable is not only reckless and betrays a curious lack of faith in one's own West's strength of heart and of sinew; it may sometimes be a saboteur's way of tossing a Molotov cocktail into the "battle space of the war of ideas" (as Frank Gaffney so aptly put our ongoing predicament and promise) -- by sowing the seed of the implication that the Counter-Jihad has crypto-genocidal designs and thus has to be stopped.