Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Close but no cigar

Sometimes, the signs that show that a person doesn’t quite get it are subtle. With Robert Spencer, the “it” in question is the problem of PC Multiculturalism. And the reason why the signs of his misapprehension are subtle is because he does regularly—albeit usually only fleetingly and parenthetically—allude to the problem in seemingly appropriate fashion. Invariably, Spencer’s misapprehension of the problem is folded into these allusions, wrapped in his apparent cognizance of the problem.

Case in point: today’s Jihad Watch article concerning the ongoing revelations about Northwest Airlines Flight 327 in 2004 and the lady on that flight, Annie Jacobsen, who was smart and brave enough to report suspicious behaviors of Muslims.

Spencer asks: “...why has DHS covered up all these probes and dry runs? Are they more concerned about a fictional ‘backlash’ against Muslims than about preventing another jihad terror attack? Do they think that keeping the public ignorant, fat, and happy will help prevent another jihad terror attack? This goes hand-in-hand with the polite fictions about Islam and jihad that dominate the public discourse—it’s as if in both cases [Flight 327 and the ‘Flying Imams’ incident on a US Airways Minneapolis to Phoenix flight in 2006] that the truth is just too terrifying to contemplate, and so we'd rather play pretend.”

If we wish to find Waldo, it is in that last sentence. Notice the apparent grasp of the problem of PC Multiculturalism in the first part of the sentence: “...the polite fictions about Islam and jihad that dominate the public discourse...” Then notice the conclusion of that sentence which, to the careful and perspicacious reader, reveals the fundamental misapprehension: “’s as if in both cases that the truth is just too terrifying to contemplate, and so we'd rather play pretend.”

Yes, of course, a more or less subliminal dread of the lurking logical conclusion that Islam itself is at the root of terrorism is one factor in the domination in Western public discourse of the “polite fictions”. But this subliminal dread is not the most important facet of the problem of the West’s crippling myopia about the problem of Islam. The most important facet is the mainstream dominance of PC Multiculturalism—a jigsaw paradigm of unquestioned axioms, among them the paramount axiom that Islam itself must remain beyond criticism. This paramount axiom that protects Islam itself from criticism is not based on fear: it is (to over-simplify a complex construct) based on the dogma of respecting the “Other”—most especially the Third World Other.

Thus, Spencer’s remark—the only remark he saw fit by which to frame his article—latches onto, and highlights, a facet of the problem that is secondary, peripheral and derivative, while ignoring the most glaringly crucial facet: the mainstream dominance of PC Multiculturalism. Without this mainstream dominance, such subliminal dread as Spencer adverts to would have little or no traction.

But Spencer just doesn’t get this. Over and over again, he dashes off these remarks that frame his various articles, and they all suffer from this curious inability to see the crucial aspect of the problem, instead opting to focus on the secondary, peripheral and derivative aspects.

And—to get really subtle here—Spencer’s “it’s as if” really takes the cake: this little locution of his evokes a casual head-scratching fumbling around for some explanation, indicative of not having thought much about the systemic and sociological nature and dimensions of this massive sociopolitical sea change that has occurred in the West over the past 50-odd years, a sea change that has slowly but surely solidified in place a jigsaw paradigm of axioms held by most everyone in Western societies—millions of ordinary people as well as those dastardly ‘Elites’: axioms that protect Islam and the vast majority of Muslims from all substantive criticism, and subject all critics who attempt to go against the grain to vilification and accusations of ‘bigotry’ or ‘Islamophobia’ or ‘racism’ or a tendency to ride the slippery slope of ‘genocide’.

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