Friday, June 1, 2007

Missing: editorial remark


In yesterday’s Dhimmi Watch, Robert Spencer published an article under the rubric of “anti-dhimmitude”—which means it is about someone who gets the problem of Islam (though to register on the anti-dhimmitude radar screen, that someone has to be someone of sufficient power and influence). The someones in question are Baroness Caroline Cox, former deputy speaker of the House of Lords for 20 years, and author of The West, Islam, and Islamism, and Dr. John Marks, co-author of the book.


In the article from YNet News, it is reported that:

Cox quoted a senior British bishop as saying that “most of our educational institutions have been infiltrated,” and said university campuses were prime recruitment grounds for Islamist groups.

“They are using our institutions to recruit young people, and preventing any critical analysis of Islam. I recently visited a theology college in Wales. The first thing you see when you walk in is a giant plaque thanking a wealthy sheikh for his contribution. I thought, is there any way that a realistic assessment of Islam can take place at this college?” she said.

The problem with this warning from Baroness Cox and Dr. Marks is that it focuses unduly on the external threat and seems to ignore the depth and breadth of the internal predisposition not only to ignore this external threat, but to positively welcome and nourish it in terms of a paradigm—the PC Multi-Culturalist paradigm—that does not see it as a threat but as a logical flowering of its own axioms. Not only in England but throughout the West, this paradigm is dominant and mainstream, and as long as it remains so, then warnings such as these from Cox and Marks will be seen as “bigoted”, “Islamophobic” and even more or less “racist”. Indeed, under the regime of the current paradigm, it is more people like Cox and Marks who pose a threat, rather than purveyors of Islam.

And—to get to the point of today’s blog essay—the problem with Robert Spencer’s presentation of this article on Dhimmi Watch was that it lacked any editorial remarks, such as the one I provided in the paragraph above, that would properly frame the larger problem that makes the smaller one problematic and significant.

To reiterate three fundamental principles of this blog and of its sister blog The Hesperado:

1) Such problems, such threats, as those which Cox and Marks warn us about would have little or no traction, were there not firmly in place here in the West a dominant and mainstream paradigm of PC Multi-Culturalism. (Example: that wealthy sheikh’s generous endowment of that theology college in Wales which Cox decries would not be allowed to influence scholarship—or indeed might be summarily rejected in an extension of the principle by which Mayor Giuliani of New York City rejected Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s check for 10 million dollars—were the paradigm of PC Multi-Culturalism not firmly in place in that college and in the society at large surrounding that college.)

2) We, the West, will likely not be able to do anything significant about these problems, these threats, as long as PC Multi-Culturalism remains dominant and mainstream.

3) PC Multi-Culturalism will likely remain dominant and mainstream as long as too many among us few who are prone to oppose it continue to misunderstand its nature and dimensions.

Baroness Cox was quoted as adding:

“We need to wake up, draw a line in the sand, and say enough is enough.”

This of course is true, but it will likely not be realized as long as the actors in question—the “We” (both royal and common alike)—remain, for the most part, willing supporters and enablers of the dominant and mainstream PC Multi-Culturalist paradigm. The problem with this desideratum expressed by Cox is subtle, but it is important to note, since it reflects the same mindset that limits Spencer and Fitzgerald on this very same issue: the problem is that it seems to ignore the fact that there are two things we need to “wake up” to, not just one, as Cox’s plea implies. Or, to be more precise, her plea collapses the two things that need to be kept distinguished:

1) We need to wake up to the threat of Islam

2) We need to wake up to the fact that we are sleepwalking and thereby ignoring threat #1.

The Coxes and Markses and Spencers and Fitzgeralds of the world (and, it seems, most of the followers of Spencer and Hugh as evidenced by their comments at Jihad Watch which I have been reading over the past two years) persist in ignoring the facts that

a) #1 remains an unassailable problem as long as #2 is not addressed and solved;

and

b) #2 needs to be understood in its proper nature and dimensions before it can even begin to be solved.

12 comments:

Erich said...
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Erich said...
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Nobody said...
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Nobody said...
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Kab-bin-Ashraf said...

Hesp,

For some reason my post was deleted or cancelled in mid-post. Anyways, re your above article, you seem to imply that the presentations of the facts re the Islam (eg., observation that Islamic studies are heavily funded by foreign Muslim sources) problem must be accompanied by a lengthy discussion of PC. I disagree. Going on about PC would be misunderstood by most people and would be interpreted as author bias.

BTW, take a look at the "poll on the poll" article on JW yesterday. You will see some confirmation of my claim that the general public, at least in the US, is far less PC re Islam than the government (whose stance on Islam is well-known--religion of peace, etc).

P.S. I have responded to your other message from private mail. Please go to that location and be sure to sign in. Please do not mention the name of that location here.

Erich said...
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Erich said...

kab-bin-ashraf,

"re your above article, you seem to imply that the presentations of the facts re the Islam (eg., observation that Islamic studies are heavily funded by foreign Muslim sources) problem must be accompanied by a lengthy discussion of PC. I disagree."

I think you misread my article above. My article above specifically calls for merely a brief comment, for which I provide the example of a paragraph of 139 words (that paragraph could be reduced in size and still satisfy me). This hardly constitutes a "lengthy discussion of PC". Indeed, the title of my article is saying that what is needed is an "editorial remark". A remark is usually not a "lengthy discussion".

Erich said...

kab-bin-ashraf,

"For some reason my post was deleted or cancelled in mid-post."

A similar thing just happened to me too! I posted a response to your comment, then checked later, and it was simply not there at all.

"re your above article, you seem to imply that the presentations of the facts re the Islam (eg., observation that Islamic studies are heavily funded by foreign Muslim sources) problem must be accompanied by a lengthy discussion of PC. I disagree."

I think you misread my article. I am not calling for a "lengthy discussion of PC" -- I specifically stated that I would like to see an "editorial remark" (indeed, that's in the title of my article) that would be roughly like the example I provided -- a paragraph of 139 words. I would be satisfied with a shorter paragraph. This is just one area where I call for one certain type of editorial action -- the framing of articles with a remark (which Spencer usually does so well and wittily). It is one important part -- among many different types, styles and flavors -- of the overall presentation of ideas on Jihad Watch. And I'd like to see a reflection of my concern about PC on them. Of course, I agree with you that Spencer et al. are likely not going to heed my advice. But that doesn't mean that my advice is wrong, nor does it mean that when I articulate my advice -- stimulated as it is by my view that Jihad Watch is insufficiently cognizant of this particular problem of PC -- and publish it on a blog, this does not have intrinsic value as one source of constructive criticism, and constructive ideas, put out there into the arena of public debate on this issue.

Erich said...

Testing new comments.

Kab-bin-Ashraf said...

Hesp,

I said "lengthy discussion" because on previous occasions when Robert has mentioned PC you say it is not enough. Whatever they are doing now is clearly not enough for you. I say that, because there is no previous instance in which Robert has made a remark about PC that has led to you responding with an expression of basic approval of his remark. Spencer has written a book called The Politically-Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades). Having read it, I can tell you that he does tackle many PC myths about Islam head-on, and he does deal with PC multiculturalism in some parts. You say you want a detailed sociological analysis of the problem of PC, and Robert says that kind of thing is not the primary focus of his site. That's the crux of the disagreement between you and Spencer, as I understand it. I say let Spencer do his thing, and you do your thing on PC independently of Spencer and JW, with at most a brief comment here or there about JW and Spencer, amongst numerous other examples (against which I think he compares well).

I do question your basic focus on JW and Spencer and Hugh. This is a question of allocating attention strategically to where it is most needed. Spencer and Hugh do not need to hear lectures on PC. (Though, again, if you're intent on trying to appeal to them, you won't do it by titling articles "Dumb and Dumber" etc.; that kind of thing is not only not persuasive but actually turns away the very people you are trying to convince). In dealing with PC, I think you should be focussed on the politicians, the media, the academics, and to some extent the general public.

Erich said...

kab-bin-ashraf,

I might not have made myself clear, either in my introductory articles to this blog or in previous responses to you, but I don't see this site as primarily a literal appeal to Spencer and Hugh to modify their tactics.

This site is, as it were, "bouncing off" of Jihad Watch, using their lapses in judgment about PC as starting points for my essays which then highlight certain aspects of the problem of the myopia about PC (which is a problem distinct from the problem of PC itself -- a problem which unfortunately seems to have become a problem in its own right, as my Hesperado blog noted in a couple of its essays).

Just as Hugh does not literally intend his "Tributes" to various clowns in high places who misunderstand the problem of Islam to actually influence and change the minds of his targets, so I too am not seriously doing this to necessarily alter the tactics of Spencer and Hugh (though, of course, I would like it if my essays had such effect). Much like Hugh (in intent at least, though not necessarily with his eminently erudite style), I am bouncing off things that inspire me to then articulate points of analysis that I think will be helpful in the larger public debate on this issue.

Kab-bin-Ashraf said...

Hesp,

Alright, that does clarify it viz your intentions.