Thursday, July 5, 2007

“Clowns to the Left of me...”

It appears that Robert Spencer has forgotten the rest of the lyrics to this classic 70s hit:

“Jokers to the Right,
Here I am—stuck in the middle with you.”

In another permutation of his delimitation of focus concerning the problem of PC, Spencer today effectively blames Leftism for the curious recent phenomenon of several major businesses, government agencies, and banking institutions around the country selectively banning Jihad Watch from their employees’ Internet access because it is supposedly a “hate” site—even though such actual hate sites as the official C.A.I.R. site apparently remain accessible.

About this, Spencer writes:

“This is a tried and true tactic of the Left: intellectually bankrupt as it is, it silences its critics rather than dealing with them on the level of ideas. They can't answer us, so they try to shut us up and discredit us. Leftists, as well as apologists for Islamic jihad terrorism, label their opponents “hatemongers” and “bigots,” hoping thereby to make people of good will turn away from their message. And the politicized nature of this Internet censorship will come as a surprise to no one.”

This is a curious delimitation of such a widespread phenomenon occurring in major businesses, government agencies, and banking institutions throughout the U.S.A. I wonder what the label-phobic Hugh Fitzgerald would say of his Captain, so baldly blaming the “Left” for an obviously wider problem than one of a mere position on a political spectrum—Fitzgerald who several times long ago mocked me in the comments sections of various threads for my “hobbyhorse” at the time of similarly blaming the Left, and who probably had a hand in banning me (the first time of four times I was banned) for that particular “hobbyhorse” ?

Unlike some, I have an open mind capable of change, and since that time (about 18 months ago), when I was overly fixated on the Left as the locus of the problem, I have come to realize that the problem of PC is far deeper and broader than merely a problem emanating from the Left. In fact, as I noted in one essay on my other blog, The Hesperado, the dominance of PC in the West over the past 50-odd years represents a kind of sociological atomization and dispersion of Leftism across the entire political spectrum: in order for Leftism to achieve this sociopolitico-cultural victory, it had to become watered down to a great extent; but nevertheless, it did achieve victory.

The Leftists who remain, trying to maintain their significant self-definition amid the generalized Lefticization of sociopolitical culture throughout the West (which has tended to entail a chagrinning result of the “Yuppification”—i.e., the “selling out”—of the formerly radical spirit of Leftism), have had to become increasingly strident, often posturing in ridiculous ways—manifest most egregiously in the obsession with Bushbashing, the apocalypticization of Environmentalist disasters, and a generalized and ominous anti-Americanism which may be termed, for the convenience of instant recognition, “Michael Moore-ism” (extending much wider, of course, than the already very wide Michael Moore himself). And beyond these manifestations of Leftist extremism lurks an even darker and deadlier Leftism—the neo-Trotskyitism of a Noam Chomsky that sees America as evil now, evil throughout its history, and evil from its beginning, and for this evil posits, more or less nebulously and more or less incoherently, a neo-Gnostic world revolution whose swirling, ever-modifying center can accomodate Communism as well as Fascism as well as Islam. Soberer still are the grim indications that this darker Leftism is not cut off from the more popular thrashings and spectacles of Leftist extremism noted above, but remains connected to it on some deeper level, informing it with its foul, Stygian currents of sewage through some subterranean channels.

And further upwards toward the open air of mainstream sociopolitical culture, we have had, as we noted earlier, a kind of dissemination of Leftism into all political spectrums, through the phenomenon of PC, which could be termed “Leftism Lite” for general consumption. The most vivid example of the sociopolitical paradox caused by PC is the fact that, while Bush is irrationally demonized by the Left, he actually shares their general PC Multiculturalist axioms when it comes to the problem of Islam.

At any rate, Robert Spencer needs to broaden his peripheral vision when it comes to this prevalent, dominant and mainstream culture out there that is marginalizing and vilifying his efforts and his person. When he does notice the problem on the Right, he chalks it up to character flaws, or venial & mortal sins—i.e., Conservatives are aiding the deadliest enemy we have had in over 50 years because they want to get rich, or because they are lazy, or bored: yeah, right. That is outrageously preposterous, and imputes a horrible evil on the part of most people on the Right. No, the reason they do this is more or less the same reason most everybody else is doing this: they do not know better: they think they are doing the right thing: their minds are stuck in the PC Multiculturalist paradigm and its interlocking jigsaw axioms by which all thought about the West’s relationship to non-Western cultures, including the current Poster Child of the Third World, Islam, is governed. And this is why Jihad Watch has become banned from so many servers across the nation; or, we can say that even if this generalized banning is the result of some type of concerted agenda by some influential minority of interests, this agenda would have little or no traction, and would not survive for long, were there not an overwhelmingly dominant PC all around it enabling and nourishing it.

And Spencer too is stuck—but not in the middle with me.


The Lady Logician said...

Erich - While I fully agree that both sides have had their fingers in the PC pie, AT THIS MOMENT the Left is wallowing in political correctness. Take a look at the global warming debate. If anyone dares to come up with science to disprove Man made global warming, they are accused of being on the payroll of "big oil". Free speech is welcome on campus as long as it is not "conservative" speech as "conservative" groups are "hate groups".

The pendulum will probably swing back the other way in a decade or two....

Love the blog - thanks to Lady Predator for the link.


Erich said...

Thanks lady logician.

I agree for the most part about what you say about Leftists. However, my overarching point is that Leftists would not enjoy the dominant degree of sociopolitico-cultural traction they in fact do enjoy, were there not a larger sociological phenomenon that enables and nourishes it. And that larger phenomenon is the complex historical sea change in consciousness I have, in various essays, tried to tackle from various angles. Part of the problem is that this sea change has been both good (lots of Progress) and bad (the generalization of Leftism into a "Leftism Lite" -- i.e., PC, often held, depending on the issues of course, by most people on all places on the political spectrum, and on all places on the social ladder).

Were there not this larger sociological phenomenon of PC, Leftism would be a minority view, struggling for its agendas and policies.

And I recognize the historical complexity here -- a complexity that would have to account for the Reagan years. But this complexity should not, in my opinion, be simplistically boiled down to a Left vs. Right paradigm. Such a paradigm would not be able to explain how so many people on the Right, including Bush, his Cabinet, and many influential people on the Right outside the Administration, are so blind to the problem of Islam and reflexively tend to whitewash Islam.

Lady Predator said...

The reason that "so many people on the Right, including Bush, his Cabinet, and many influential people on the Right outside the Administration, are so blind to the problem of Islam and reflexively tend to whitewash Islam." it because the persuasive of the liberal outlook. People who claim they are "conservative" have liberal outlooks as well.

The Cult of Tolerance and the belief we are all the same is an evil virus that is infecting Western Civilization. It will be the death of Western Culture as we know it.

That is why you don’t hear anyone calling for the obvious, the banning of all Muslim immigration because their ideology is a threat to our culture.

Erich said...

Lady Predator,

"The reason that "so many people on the Right... are so blind to the problem of because the persuasive of the liberal outlook. People who claim they are "conservative" have liberal outlooks as well."

That's what I have meant when I keep writing that PC has infected both Left and Right (and most places in between). It's semantics, I guess: by "PC" I mean pretty much what you mean by "liberal outlook".

However, the question still persists: why do most people on the Right have this liberal outlook? Why was this type of outlook, with specific regard to the inferiority of Islamic culture, less prevalent in times past? Why has it become dominant throughout the West now? Well, I have attempted stabs at answering these questions in various essays here and on my other blog, The Hesperado.

It's a very complex problem, and hard to put in a nutshell, but basically -- not to explain it but merely to describe it -- it is symptomatic of a sea change in Western consciousness that has been going on for the past 50-odd years, and that sea change is not all bad, nor is it reducible solely to "liberal" or "Leftist" or "Communist". It is far broader and deeper than that.

Lady Predator said...

I've also given this problem a great deal of though. I think that the source of modern PC/ tolerance thinking is two pronged. The world was traumatized buy WWII and the death camps (a rather graphic example of hatred and bigotry) and the rise of communism. In some bizarre way Marxism was seen as the solution to prevent what happened Germany from ever happening again.

Of course the people who think this way are now in charged of teaching our kids and whst is produced by TV and film.