Monday, June 25, 2007
Hugh’s “Esdrujula Elves”
For the current myopia that numbs the West in the face of the threat of Islam we must have recourse to an explanation subtler, more complex, more sociological and more systemic than the merely psychological and logical explanation put forth repeatedly by Hugh Fitzgerald—his precious “Esdrujula Elves”.
I refer here to a handy trope employed now and then by the remarkably erudite Vice-President and frequent essayist at Jihad Watch, Hugh Fitzgerald: the “Esdrujula Explanation” of Cupidity, Stupidity and Timidity (alluding to a term in Spanish grammar—actually it should be esdrújulo—for accenting words on the third syllable from the end). (Some time later, Hugh tacked on a fourth peccadillo, Rigidity; one wonders if he will see fit to include Lividity next).
This, alas, is an explanation too handy and facile, in my estimation, functioning sort of like the crude Modalist analogies certain theologians would superimpose upon the Trinity by which to finesse its scandalously wondrous paradox—as though the entire stupendously sprawling problem of the Western inability to recognize the problem of Islam were reducible to mere character flaws.
With astonishingly uncharacteristic simple-mindedness, thus, Mr. Fitzgerald writes:
“The three words that compose the Esdrujula Explanation—timidity, stupidity, cupidity—explain the folly. When it comes to the widespread inability to grasp the the promptings, the instruments, the full menace of Jihad—those three words usually do.”
It may well be, ultimately, that the “folly” is rooted in such mundane character flaws; but between the mess of history and the psychological roots of the personality of actors lies the rich and complicating pageant of society. This deserves a more suitable explanation, attentive to the sociopolitico-cultural complexities that paradoxically transcend, envelop and impinge upon individual morals, even as they ultimately arise from them.That more suitable explanation, I think, must account for the mainstream dominance of PC Multiculturalism, a dominance by which millions of ordinary Westerners are sincerely convinced of its truth, not merely lazy and stupid and greedy, nor merely sheepishly hoodwinked by some sinister cabal of “elites”.
While our ears may be charmed by the rhyming, rhythmic alliteration of Hugh’s Three or Four Hobbyhorses of the Apocalypse, our minds come away dissatisfied: for, it reduces the immense and complex problem of PC Multiculturalism to personality flaws, which might suffice to explain the folly of individuals here and there, but fails, by a long shot, the mark of addressing the sociological dimensions.
And the point I will keep hammering home until someone gets the nail on the head: Various individuals—no matter how influential and “elite” they may be—variously vulnerable to such personality flaws and character weaknesses would enjoy little or no traction for their agendas and enterprises, were there no dominant and mainstream atmosphere of PC Multiculturalism surrounding them that nourishes and enables their various idiotic “Idities”.