Robert Spencer’s recent article about a recent Newsweek poll (also the subject of another recent Jihad Watch article) that measured American attitudes about Muslim Americans (and partially about related issues) implies a spin of encouragement that seems unwarranted.
Of course, one’s sense of encouragement about the rate of increasing knowledge in the West about the problem of Islam is to some degree subjective, depending on one’s personal barometer for how fast that increasing Islamoliteracy should be proceeding, compared with how fast it seems to be actually going. My sense is that the rate of Islamoliteracy in the West at large, and in America in particular, is egregiously, unacceptably slow. Spencer’s recent article cited above reveals not a shred of impatience or discouragement, while it conveys, as I said, an implicit optimism. The only misgiving Spencer has about the findings is whether the percentages of mistrust of Muslims among those polled will arouse charges of “Islamophobia”—a rational misgiving in and of itself, regardless of whether the poll is cause for optimism or pessimism overall.
According to that Newsweek poll, 40% of those surveyed believe Muslims in the United States are as loyal to the U.S.A. as they are to Islam. Keep in mind that the U.S.A. has upwards of 200 million adults (a rough calculation based on the figures from The World Factbook, which for some strange reason divides the population between children and adults at age 15, while the Newsweek poll, of course, sensibly sampled Americans aged 18 and up).
That means that roughly 80 million Americans believe that Muslims in the United States are as loyal to the U.S.A. as they are to Islam. This is an unacceptable number of recklessly ignorant Americans—particularly when the same poll indicates that there is not a remaining majority of 60% who believe intelligently otherwise, but only 32% (the remnant apparently answering something equivalent to “no comment” or “unsure”, etc.—which, needless to say, are responses just as unacceptable). While some may feel encouraged that 32% of adult Americans—approximately 64 million—harbor a relatively intelligent skepticism about the loyalty of Muslim Americans, this is, as I said above, a matter of one’s subjective expectations of the pace of the Islamoliteracy learning curve in our Western societies. In 2007, almost six years after 9/11 and after all the Islamic terror attacks we have seen since (including Islamic terrorist plots foiled), as well as all the statements and behaviors indicative of Islamic pathology (both disturbing and dangerous), I expect more literacy about this danger from my fellow Americans, let alone from my fellow Westerners at large.
Another disquieting finding is that 63% of Americans (126 million) believe most Muslims in this country do not condone violence. Yet another is that 40% (80 million) tend to believe the Qur'an itself does not condone violence (I’m not sure why Newsweek saw fit to include that verbal auxiliary “tend to”), while far fewer—28% (56 million)—feel it does. The Newsweek poll does not indicate what types of Americans they polled, other than this statement:
The margin of error for questions asked only of Democrats and Democratic leaners is plus or minus 6 percentage points; for Republicans and GOP leaners, 7 percentage points.
I do not know enough about statistics methodology and polling science to know to what extent, or how, this colors the results they give. At any rate, it doesn’t seem to have resulted in any bifurcation of results Newsweek deemed significant enough to report.
At the same time, however, the impatient expectation upon which my foregoing comments have been predicated relate to what should be the case: I do not make the mistake of confusing should with is. That is to say, my disappointment with the sluggard retardation of my fellow Americans does not translate into dismay: for dismay, proper, would begin to verge on the kind of expectation that perceives no stumbling blocks, no hindrance, no obstruction—at least none in the “American people” who are safely distinguished from the dastardly “elites” in whom most or all the blame can be located for the West’s persisting myopia about the problem of Islam. But, alas, there does seem to be an obstruction—a massive, dominant, mainstream obstruction called PC Multiculturalism—that explains these intolerably low numbers.
Nor am I terribly comforted by the finding that 52% of Americans (104 million) favor “some support” for FBI wiretapping of mosques; or, as Newsweek puts it in similarly slippery fashion, this percentage favors “this kind of surveillance”. (One is left wondering why Newsweek cannot simply report the finding using the exact same language used on the poll.) At any rate, as I say, while some may feel heartened that so many Americans favor some sort or another of mosque surveillance, I see the glass still half empty: for, it is as if Americans were polled as to whether they favored a murderous Satanist running for President. Would it be comforting to know that 52% were opposed to this?
The rate of America’s learning curve, as reflected in this poll and others I have seen, continues to proceed at a glacial pace, in surreal detachment from the volcanic rate of Islamic revival. It is possible that Spencer (and his readership, at least those reflected in the two threads devoted to this poll) finds these figures relatively comforting because he and they are, as I have argued, generally myopic to the larger mainstream, ordinary, and sociologically systemic dominance of PC Multiculturalism, and when they do feel impatience and frustration, it is usually not directed at their fellow millions of ordinary Americans and Westerners, but at those nefarious “elites”. Spencer and his readership either do not see these millions, or when they do see them (after someone has nudged them forcefully enough with an elbow), they ascribe the political correctness of those millions to the strangely effective sinister machinations of the aforementioned “elites”.
How much longer will we have to wait, how many more years must pass, how many thousands will have to die in various places, before the societies of the West reflect with a rational degree of unanimity the sober and accurate appraisal of Islam that used to be dominant in the West, over 60-odd years ago?