In today’s Jihad Watch, Spencer dashes off an observation about a recent article in Salon, the online magazine, concerning how the pop anthropologist Carlos Castaneda managed to hoodwink significant portions of Academe for decades beginning in the 70s, in great part through their winking and willing collusion with his singularly unscholarly hoax:
“A hoax that supported theories held by academics, such that it fell to people outside the academic establishment to debunk the hoax. Sounds to me a lot like the whole ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ enterprise.”
Again, as with Hugh’s many perspicacious observations, this one of Spencer’s is not incorrect, nor is it trivial: the problem with it is that its purview is grievously restricted.
One finds, however, on reading down the Comments section, a far more pertinent observation by one of the minions who frequent Spencer’s site—minions who, by their participation in his Comments fields, for the most part enrich his site with considerable intelligence, useful information, and not a little wit sprinkled here and there; an enrichment for which Spencer, and especially Hugh, have never shown sufficient and appropriate gratitude.
At any rate, here is the more pertinent observation, which helpfully massages Spencer’s restricted focus on this issue—though, as we shall see, its conclusion tends to undercut the incisiveness of its main point:
It is obvious that a remarkable and revolutionary change in every area of our culture—our perceptions, our standards, our morality and beliefs and what we see as acceptable and true—has taken place since the end of WWII. The U.S. public’s world view has been transformed through a Culture War in which such Post-modern concepts as Political Correctness, Multiculturalism, Moral Equivalence and Diversity have slowly infiltrated and transformed our culture and as a result of the success of this attack, we are left with fewer and fewer tools we can now use to name, evaluate, debate and fight Islam.
The academy’s cloak of silence which was extended over Castaneda’s ideas—which were one small weapon in the Culture War—was extended to cover many other ideas and people as well. Margaret Mead and Alfred Kinsey—two extraordinarily influential figures—big guns in the Culture War—had ideas and work that are just as flawed or as fraudulent as Castaneda’s. The silence about those deficiencies and the almost universal acceptance of their ideas, which form the foundation for much work since in the areas of human sexuality, culture, the issue of nature vs. nurture as determining behavior, may well hamper attempts by us to correctly perceive, understand and then attack a major fault line in Islam—sexuality and the treatment of women.
Posted by: GaryK at May 25, 2007 11:38 AM.
This comment by “Gary K” somewhat loses its stride in the second paragraph—lapsing back into the narrower focus on Academe and, by implication, those bogeymen, the “Elites”. This loss of momentum could be deftly rectified had the author simply summarized the connection between the two paragraphs—to wit, by reminding the reader that the tendencies of Academe find considerable traction and support in a surrounding sea of political correctness, and also by resisting the temptation to ascribe to Academe (and to public education in general) a nefarious and unduly powerful role in creating that political correctness, not to mention in somehow molding the public world view along politically correct grooves.
Nevertheless, the first paragraph helpfully adverts to the wider issue of the sea change in the public conscious that not only America, but also the entire West, has undergone in the past 50-odd years. And it is this sea change—systemic and sociological in nature and extending far beyond “Elites” in its scope—that accounts for the curious and aggravating irrationality that currently cripples our collective ability to rationally analyze, and then to take rational actions against, the problem of Islam.
It would be nice if once in a blue moon Spencer (or even, God forbid, Hugh) would advert to this wider vista of the problem—let alone actually take the time and trouble to pen major articles about it on a regular basis.