Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Searching for alternatives to "extremism"

Following on from my last post on the Islamic authenticity of so-called "extremism", I thought I would try and explore the subject a bit further in the light of material that has come to my attention over the past week and try and formulate a succinct and alternative way of referring to Islamic extremism/radicalism since it is this so-called extremism which is actually the real deal.

The fact that "extremism" and its counterpart the "countering violent extremism" (CVE) narrative are misleading and, for non-Muslims, self-defeating terms has been pointed out recently by Stephen Coughlin who was formerly an intelligence analyst for the Pentagon.

As he details in this video, the CVE narrative has been carefully crafted in line with Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and serves to lead counter-terror operatives off the trail and into a thicket of misunderstandings and dead-ends whilst simultaneously turning the spotlight of "counter extremism operations" on the so-called "far-right" which encompasses just about anyone concerned enough about the conquest of the world by Islam to stick their head above the parapet of political correctness.

In this interview with Jamie Glazov, we see the CVE narrative doing its nefarious work as pious leftist Tamara Holder scolds Bridget Gabriel and other freedom fighters as "the most dangerous people" because they "spew hate". You cannot oppose the most ruthless ideology on earth without earning the label "dangerous extremist". Further into the video Tamara Holder again fights in the way of Allah by vilifying Jamie Glazov as "disgusting". As Jamie reflects after the clip from Hannity, being deeply concerned about the victims of jihad and Islamic gender apartheid makes him disgusting in the eyes of this leftist harpy.

Then there is this question: how normal are the attitudes and behaviors in the Muslim world that are labelled extremism in the free world? When we say normal we mean occurring very frequently among a population.

Nonie Darwish answers that question in this article. In it she reveals that hostility to non-Muslims; the aspiration to so-called martyrdom (in its bastardized Islamic form); celebration of jihadists; rewarding of jihadist families are all common and no cause for shame or concern, quite the reverse.

So while people in the free world are scratching their heads about how people become radicalized, as they call it, the Muslim world is celebrating the behavior that non-Muslims innocently assume they deplore. The Muslim culture provides an environment where it is miraculous that anyone is not radicalized.

The observations made by Nonie Darwish are corroborated by the findings of many surveys undertaken by Pew Research. In the chart showing support among Muslims for making Sharia the law of the land, those countries in the Islamic heartlands show very high support for the proposal.

So, in the Islamic heartlands what western policymakers like to think of as extremism is simply normal. And, as Islamic populations in the free world grow we become more and more aware of how normal extremism is among them too.

This is entirely explicable as the result of the severity and ruthlessness of Islamic principles. Those most devoted and committed to Islam are the most dangerous; the notion that jihadists are in any way deviating from Islam is a howler of a fallacy. No Muslims embody the religion of Islam more fully, more completely than they do.

We have seen this reported time after time in the development of jihadists. This article by Paul Sperry looks at the frequency with which Muslims who end up killing non-Muslims in the cause of their faith progress along the exact same path of greater and greater religiosity until they are fully committed to Islam and ready to kill and die in the way of Allah. For this to happen by chance is absolutely impossible and anyone with a reasonable knowledge of Islamic doctrine, Islamic history and Islamic culture will be able to understand exactly why it is so predictable.

All this really must lead to a review of the word "extremism" in this context. It doesn't make sense and it is very misleading. But what are the alternatives?

The degree of Islamization of an individual can be modeled in the same way as the Islamization of a whole society - or the whole world.

At the individual level the preoccupation with and commitment to Islam becomes a larger and larger proportion of the self until the self and devotion to Islam are identical. This is the point of full submission and total obedience to Islam.

Similarly, at the societal level, the proportion of Muslims in the society grows as does the degree of observance of the individual Muslims in that proportion; the non-Muslim portion is displaced just as the remnants of unbelief are displaced within the Islamizing individual.

A simple model for this process is concentric circles where the outer ring is the Islamized self and the inner part is the yet-to-be-Islamized self. This outer ring spreads inwards until the totality and core of the self is engulfed. This represents the totally committed Muslim.

Stage 1 - the outer ring of Islamic belief surrounds the self:

Stage 2 - the ring of Islamic belief becomes a greater  part of the self:

Stage 3 - Islamic belief dominates the whole self:

The self is 100% Muslim. The individual self has been eclipsed by belief.

At the societal level it might be better represented in reverse as a minority becomes the majority:

Stage 1 - the Muslim population is a small proportion:

Stage 2 - the Muslim population is growing:

Stage 3 - the Muslim population dominates the whole society:

The society is 100% Muslim.

So my question is what word or phrase can describe this 100%-ness? I'm only interested in the individual level. The following are suggestions but I'm far from happy with any of them:
  • complete Muslim
  • fully Muslim
  • totally Muslim
  • fully committed
  • fully Islamized
  • slavish
  • totally obedient
  • thoroughgoing
  • fully-fledged
  • fully extinguished person
  • fully depersonalized Muslim
  • de-individuated
  • fully compliant
  • full-blown (nice pun!)
  • orthodox
    • I think this is a strong candidate but may lead to some sense of commonality with the orthodox Christians and orthodox Jews. 
  • authentic
  • true Muslim
  • mainstream
  • authentic Mohammedan
    • this focuses people's attention on the fundamental problem - Muhammad
    • it points to a person not an abstract theological concept
    • it uses the concept of authenticity which is a positive word
    • it points to the fact that the most ruthless Muslims are emulating Muhammad's own ruthlessness
    • it points us away from the thicket of abstractions to the behavior of people
    • jihadists are faithful copies of Muhammad - authentic Mohammedans
    • true Mohammedan might be crisper
Something crisp, perceptive and catchy is required.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Concept of Extremism and the Illusion of Deviance

Another day and another atrocity committed by Muslims. No-one suspected that he/she would do such a thing; he/she seemed to be getting along with us OK; he/she was quiet and hard-working; he/she fitted in well albeit in rather removed manner,  etc. Then of course there are the empty assertions that those committing violence in the name of Islam are not real Muslims. But how often have we also been told that jihadists became more devout and observant Muslims prior to their carnage?

These observations raise all sorts of questions about how representative the jihadists are. Western governments have chosen to frame the problem in terms of “violent extremism”. There are also signs of a willingness to examine “radicalisation”, understood as a passage from moderation to extremism.
I think that framing the discussion in these terms masks a fundamental reality and creates a misleading illusion.

Take the concept of “extremism”: what is meant by this? It is obviously related to the idea of an extreme but an extreme of what? Do extremists have extreme beliefs? Do they take their religion to extremes? Why should that be a problem if the religious beliefs are benign?

We can begin looking at this question in terms of a normal distribution curve.

In a population there is a typical pattern of an attribute such as intelligence which forms what is known as a normal distribution. Most people will be clustered around the mean since by far the majority have neither a very high nor a very low intelligence. Very high and very low IQ occurs much less frequently in the population and these are represented by the small tails at each side of the curve.

So we talk about a small percentage of people being extremely intelligent or extremely unintelligent.

When we talk about religious extremism we are thinking about something similar. In the case of Muslim extremism, we think of the majority of Muslims being clustered around the mean as a normal distribution would suggest. This majority represent “moderation” or averageness of some sort. This perception creates an illusion that the majority hold some form of moderate belief as opposed to the beliefs held by those at the extreme.

In reality, the normal distribution does not form around the nature of the beliefs, it forms around the commitment to the beliefs. Commitment consists of two main factors: knowledge and fervour. The more committed believer has a good knowledge of the beliefs and a greater motivation to live them out.

Knowledge: In spite of attempts to portray jihadists as ignorant of their faith it is evident that they usually understand the tenets of their religion very well.

  1. There is ample justification for taking sex slaves in Islam since Muhammad himself did it, see here.
  2. Ayatollah says the destruction of churches and abducting women is real Islam, see here.
  3. The principal center of Sunni Islam cannot denounce ISIS since they are implementing what is taught at Al-Azhar, see here.
  4. Islamic intolerance is logical, see here.
Fervour: Fervour supplies the emotional passion to cross the boundary into self-transcendence. To put oneself totally at the service of one’s God as elucidated in the particular revelation to which one subscribes involves an emotional commitment of the whole self.

To illustrate nature of religious commitment, I’d like to relate the story of Antoinette Bourignon and I will quote at length from William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience. Though not a believer myself I have had periods of spiritual striving during my life and particularly love the story of Antoinette Bourignon because it illustrates so clearly the process of total self-surrender that is typical of religion at the extreme. [I’ve picked out some words which I think are crucial to our understanding in bold]

“…there is, in the desire of not having, something profounder still, something related to that fundamental mystery of religious experience, the satisfaction found in absolute surrender to the larger power. So long as any secular safeguard is retained, so long as any residual prudential guarantee is clung to, so long the surrender is incomplete, the vital crisis is not passed, fear still stands sentinel, and mistrust of the divine obtains: we hold by two anchors, looking to God, it is true, after a fashion, but also holding by our proper machinations. In certain medical experiences we have the same critical point to overcome. A drunkard, or a morphine or cocaine maniac, offers himself to be cured. He appeals to the doctor to wean him from his enemy, but he dares not face blank abstinence. The tyrannical drug is still an anchor to windward: he hides supplies of it among his clothing; arranges secretly to have it smuggled in in case of need. Even so an incompletely regenerate man still trusts in his own expedients. His money is like the sleeping potion which the chronically wakeful patient keeps beside his bed; he throws himself on God, but if he should need the other help, there it will be also. Everyone knows cases of this incomplete and ineffective desire for reform - drunkards whom, with all their self-reproaches and resolves, one perceives to be quite unwilling seriously to contemplate never being drunk again! Really to give up anything on which we have relied, to give it up definitely, “for good and all” and forever, signifies one of those radical alterations of character which came under our notice in the lectures on conversion. In it the inner man rolls over into an entirely different position of equilibrium, lives in a new centre of energy from this time on, and the turning-point and hinge of all such operations seems usually to involve the sincere acceptance of certain nakednesses and destitutions.

Accordingly, throughout the annals of the saintly life, we find this ever-recurring note: Fling yourself upon God’s providence without making any reserve whatever – take no thought for the morrow – sell all you have and give it to the poor – only when the sacrifice is ruthless and reckless will the higher safety really arrive [my italics].  As a concrete example let me read a page from the biography of Antoinette Bourignon, a good woman, much persecuted in her day by both Protestants and Catholics, because she would not take her religion at second hand. When a young girl, in her father’s house:

She spent whole nights in prayer, oft repeating: ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ And being one night in a most profound penitence, she said from the bottom of her heart: ‘O my Lord! What must I do to please thee? For I have nobody to teach me. Speak to my soul and it will hear thee.’ At that instant she heard, as if another had spoke within her: Forsake all earthly things. Separate thyself from the love of the creatures. Deny thyself. She was quite astonished, not understanding this language, and mused long on these three points, thinking how she could fulfil them. She thought she could not live without earthly things, nor without loving the creatures, nor without loving herself. Yet she said, ‘By thy Grace I will do it, Lord!’ But when she would perform her promise, she knew not where to begin. Having thought on the religious in monasteries, that they forsook all earthly things by being shut up in a cloister, and the love of themselves by subjecting of their wills, she asked leave of her father to enter into a cloister of the barefoot Carmelites, but he would not permit it, saying he would rather see her laid in her grave. This seemed to her a great cruelty, for she thought to find in the cloister the true Christians she had been seeking, but she found afterwards that he knew the cloisters better than she; for after he had forbidden her, and told her he would never permit her to be a religious, nor give her any money to enter there, yet she went to Father Laurens, the Director, and offered so serve in the monastery and work hard for her bread, and be content with little, if he would receive her. At which he smiled and said: That cannot be. We must have money to build; we take no maids without money; you must find the way to get it, else there is no entry here.
This astonished her greatly, and she was thereby undeceived as to the cloisters, resolving to forsake all company and live alone till it should please God to show her what she ought to do and whither to go. She asked always earnestly, ‘When shall I be perfectly thine, O my God?’ And she thought he still answered her, When thou shalt no longer possess anything and shalt die to thyself. ‘And where shall I do that, Lord?’ He answered her, In the desert. This made so strong an impression on her soul that she aspired after this; but being a maid of eighteen years only, she was afraid of unlucky chances, and was never used to travel, and knew no way. She laid aside all these doubts and said, ‘Lord, thou wilt guide me how and where it shall please thee. It is for thee that I do it. I will lay aside my habit of a maid, and will take that of a hermit that I may pass unknown.’ Having then secretly made ready this habit, while her parents thought to have married her, her father having promised her to a rich French merchant, she prevented the time, and on Easter evening, having cut her hair, put on the habit, and slept a little, she went out of her chamber about four in the morning, taking nothing but one penny to buy bread for that day. And it being said to her in going out, Where is thy faith? In a penny? She threw it away, begging pardon of God for her fault, and saying, ‘No, Lord, my faith is not in a penny, but in thee alone.’ Thus she went away wholly delivered from the heavy burden of the cares and good things of this world, and she found her soul so satisfied that she no longer wished for anything upon earth, resting entirely upon God, with this only fear lest she should be discovered and be obliged to return home; for she felt already more content in this poverty than she had done all her life in all the delights of the world.
 The penny was a small financial safeguard, but an effective spiritual obstacle. Not till it was thrown away could the character settle in to the new equilibrium completely.” (Varieties of Religious Experience - from the chapter called "Saintliness")

Antoinette Bourignon

This story of religious devotion and self-surrender takes us so beautifully to the crucial point where the true believer throws herself totally into the arms of God.

Antoinette was by all accounts an extremist. She took her religion to the extreme. She wanted to establish a community of what she saw as true Christians. It was her view that only “true Christians” would be saved and she was – according to her convictions – obliged by God to gather these true Christians. She succeeded in establishing a number of small communes and a girls’ orphanage. Her writings, containing an account of her life, her visions and opinions, were collected after her death and published in 21 volumes in Amsterdam. (Wikepedia gives some details of her life)

There are many aspects of her character which are not entirely attractive but in terms of knowledge of her religion, courage in her convictions, and religious fervour she scores highly. This is extremism in a Christian context.

The jihadist goes through a similar process of reaching total commitment, it's just that the creed he follows is a very different one to the Christian.

Unlike Christianity, Islam stoops to some gross material inducements to get the believer to make the final commitment:

  • The promise of unconditional entry to paradise
  • The pardoning of all sins
  • The promise of endless sexual gratification
  • Wine and endless physical pleasure in various forms
Although there are parallels between the martyrdom of the jihadist and the self-surrender of the Christian saint the act of self-surrender is undertaken on very different terms; terms which subvert any pretence to spirituality. Where the Christian is urged to leap into the abyss with no guarantee of anything, the Muslim is lured by the attractions of carnal pleasures. 

The extreme religious commitment demonstrated by the Christian saint takes place in a Christian context. Ultimately the saint becomes a living witness and example of divine love.

But the jihadist, acting in an Islamic context, demonstrates his willingness to be hoodwinked by means of promised inducements in the afterlife, to sacrifice himself in the vicious cause of worldly conquest.

His act lacks the poignant courage and sincerity so evident in the experience of Antoinette Bourignon and he falls prey to fanatical self-destruction for other-worldly personal gain.

In each of these cases we see extremism, the willingness to take matters to the extreme; the willingness to surrender oneself totally to the call of God, as understood differently in each context. But the teachings in each case are very different.

In each case, the “extremists” are outliers on the top side of the normal distribution of religious fervour. When politicians and members of the media talk of extremism they talk in terms of a measure with no context.

It’s as if they are saying, “that person scores extremely high on the scale” but they don’t say what the scale is or what it means. They talk emptily of “extremism”.

What they should be saying is that extremists show a high level of commitment to their belief system and that because the Islamic belief system teaches unending warfare against unbelievers and unbelief (kufr), they engage in violence, intimidation, and coercion to bring about world conformity to their concept of divine law (Sharia).

Without this clarification people are likely to see the behaviour of the extremists as unrepresentative of the religion whereas the opposite is true. The most committed Muslims are the most contemptuous toward non-Muslims; the most violent towards them; and the most willing to die whilst fighting and killing them. This is summed up well in the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood:
Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.

This is why the term “extremist” can so easily create the illusion of deviance. Those most committed and in conformity with the beliefs are treated as if they are deviating from them because they are not the majority.

Instead, the majority at the centre of the normal distribution are taken to be more representative of the belief system than the outliers; in turn, those non-believers who oppose the belief system are seen as opposing the majority of Muslims which has the ironic effect of bringing the “extremist” label upon themselves. This creates a second illusion of deviance.

A better way of framing this debate would be to talk of commitment and conformity to belief. For anyone willing to look facts in the face (not a high number these days I appreciate) there is a clear set of Islamic beliefs and doctrines. Individual Muslims’ willingness to conform to these vary along a scale.

Scale of commitment to Islamic beliefs among those identifying as Muslim

Under a normal distribution of commitment to belief we would expect to see this pattern where the majority of the observed population have scores in the middle range. There are of course other scenarios where the population is skewed towards higher or lower commitment.

I am aware the there are many questions I could raise about the nature of moderation or moderates with regard to a religion based on the example and teachings of a mass murderer such as Muhammad but I wanted to avoid creating too many diversionary lines of thought. My main aim here has been to show how misleading the term "extremism" can be.

The term "extremist" is being used to describe those most in favor of worldwide Sharia and those most opposed to it. This nonsense can only end when people realize that the so-called extremists are those who know the truth about Islam; the one being fully in favor, the other being wholly against.

In summary, "extremism" is an empty term devoid of context. It is often has the effect of equating people who are extremely good with people who are extremely bad; of conflating those acting according to a benign creed with those acting according to a malefic one. The jihadist is an extremist but someone on the extreme end of a scale of religious commitment; one who is fully committed to the creed of Islam, a complete Muslim. The description of "extremist" has the effect of suggesting that the jihadist is deviating from the creed of Islam whereas he represents its fullest realization. Not only that but those most committed to opposing the malevolence of Islam become demonized as extremists themselves.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Stupid Hans in Action

As the Germans lead the way in welcoming thousands of Muslims into Europe, bringing their religious disease with them, I thought it an appropriate occasion to resurrect a post I wrote a couple of years ago entitled "Liberal Hans".

It's based on the Grimm Fairy Tale called "Stupid Hans" which is a clever illustration of how one doesn't get to do the right thing by simply doing what you should have done the last time you made a mistake. Having made such a colossal mess during the Nazi era by killing millions and creating a refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale the Germans have apparently decided that this time they should be nice to the refugees instead of creating them in the first place.

This folly is blind to nature of the "refugees" and the beliefs they bring with them. What would have made moral sense during the Nazi era does not make sense with respect to thousands (and soon to be millions) of Muslims who hold beliefs that put them perpetually at loggerheads with their hosts.

Germany is playing Stupid Hans, literally. Here is the original post.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Failure To Discriminate

How the Left came to fight for the most reactionary force on earth

During the last 80 years in Western societies a huge amount of effort has gone into reducing discrimination on the basis of class, sex, race, disability, etc. Huge swathes of legislation now cover the offence of discrimination. If you find yourself facing an accusation of discrimination you know you are in big trouble. Not only may you end up in jail or with the prospect of a large fine but you’ll find it hard to find a job and face social ostracism.

Opinion regarding discrimination more generally has become highly sensitized. What has become known as ‘political correctness’ includes a policing of language and attitudes in line with the objectives of reducing discrimination. Concern with discrimination is ubiquitous. It is the primary focus of political correctness. We are all familiar with people making themselves ridiculous as they tip-toe around certain topics in an elaborate dance of euphemisms and self-correction.

During the last thirty years the employees of public and private bodies have been subjected to “diversity training” in order to bring them closer into line with anti-discrimination policies. Opinion on these matters has ceased to be a matter of private concern; if you have the wrong attitudes you are deemed to be in need of correction. Even if you keep your opinions to yourself, that is still not good enough. Diversity, the parameters of which are never clearly defined, is presented as an unalloyed good and couched in terms such as “vibrant”, “colorful”, and “cosmopolitan”.

This whole collective effort defines the progressive agenda: keep expanding the sphere of anti-discrimination and thereby achieve equality and justice. And one of the important commandments is “Thou shalt not discriminate”. Non-discrimination in our relations with each other is a powerful, pervasive and over-arching theme. Those who have escaped its influence are seen as boorish and uneducated – as yet “unreached”.

I don’t want to go into the merits of this but I do want to have a look at how it may have affected our ability to think coherently.

I have been trying to understand for a few years now just how it is that Western societies have been able to remain so blind to the threat that confronts them. This blog is an on-going effort to unravel this mystery: what are the typical thought processes in the Western mind which render it so needlessly stupid?

During my conversation with a Socialist Workers Party activist recently I experienced something of an epiphany. I saw how reluctant he was to discriminate but this reluctance even extended to the point of not wishing to make purely cognitive distinctions – the very foundation of sound judgement. My initial post on this encounter is here but since then I have seen even more implications of what he was saying.

I put the point to him that in order to assess whether or not a religious group represented more of a threat than another we needed to look at the characteristics of each religious group, their religious beliefs and the record of behavior consistent with those beliefs. His reply was very revealing: he said that to do that would be discriminating and discrimination leads to events like the Holocaust.

This set me thinking about the different forms of discrimination and what the consequences might be of not discriminating in any sense of the word as this activist appeared to suggest. I think it may help us understand the peculiar paralysis of judgement that many people experience in relation to Islam.

The Meaning of Discrimination

Oxford Dictionary definition for discriminate:

1. intransitive verb. (often followed by between) make or see a distinction; differentiate (cannot discriminate between right and wrong).  2. intransitive verb. Make a distinction, esp. unjustly and on the basis of race, color, or  sex. 3. intransitive verb. (followed by against) select for unfavorable treatment. 4. transitive verb. (usually followed by from) make or see or constitute a difference in or between (many things discriminate one person from another). 5. intransitive verb. Observe distinctions carefully; have good judgement. 6. transitive verb. Mark as distinctive; be a distinguishing feature of.

Oxford Dictionary definition for discrimination:

1. unfavorable treatment based on prejudice, esp. regarding race, color, or sex. 2. good taste or judgement in artistic matters etc. 3.  the power of discriminating or observing differences. 4. a distinction made with the mind or in action.

There are then two key senses of the word: (1) to make necessary or informed distinctions, and (2) to treat unequally on the basis of (1).

Could it be that the cultural effort to combat discrimination in sense (2) has compromised the ability to discriminate in sense (1)?

Is this SWP activist and others like him failing (refusing even) to discriminate between the two senses?

Are many of us now in a position where we fear to make a distinction, observe a difference, or even focus on one group to the (temporary) exclusion of others in case it is a precursor to discrimination in sense (2)?

My central concern is the West’s relationship with Islam. I think there are definite failures of discrimination in relation to Islam in sense (1) which are sometimes motivated by the desire to avoid discrimination in sense (2). 

Failure to discriminate between race and religion

There is a common tendency for the lazy-minded of all political persuasions to accuse (or suspect) those opposed to Islam of racism. This is a category error since Islam is not a race and opposition to it cannot therefore be racism. This error arises from a failure to discriminate between the two categories of race and religion.

This error is internalized by the Left; they actually believe it. This means that as far as they are concerned for them to be opposed to Islam is for them to be guilty of racism. They are trapped inside their own fatuous error.

This may possibly be linked to the false assumption that all Muslims are colored and any opposition to them is actually about their color. Opposition to Islam is seen as a mask for racism. The Left loves to talk in terms of hidden agendas such as this. They also have a holier-than-thou attitude and the accusation of racism is a common method of attempting to demonize those they disagree with.

There is often a correlation between Islam and race in local circumstances. In non-Muslim countries such as the UK, Muslims are usually (but not always) Pakistani/Bangladeshi. To say that non-Muslims are usually white is also true, but much less so since there are significant numbers of non-Muslims who are not white (e.g. Sikhs, Hindus, and many other faith groups as well as non-religious people).

So, Muslims and Asian racial characteristics are concomitants to a very great extent in many places. In particular localities these may well serve as an indicator of likely beliefs. However, it is the beliefs which are opposed rather than the race of the individuals who hold them. In any case, the beliefs held are far more clearly indicated by dress codes, behavior and speech patterns than by racial characteristics. People are generally far more alarmed by noxious customs than by racial features.

Failure to discriminate between Muslims and their beliefs

It is their Islamic beliefs which define people as Muslims but first and foremost they are people. They can be distinguished from their beliefs. They could live without them. In fact there is every sign that they would lead far better lives (both morally and materially) if they did.

People have rights; beliefs don’t. Do people have a right to believe what they want? -  - not an unlimited right. This right is limited by the need to hear what other people think of your beliefs. People don’t have a right to have their beliefs insulated from questioning, criticism or ridicule.

To attack a person’s beliefs is not the same as attacking the person (however closely they identify with their beliefs). If their beliefs are harmful to them and potentially harmful to us, attacking their beliefs is a duty. In the case of Islam, if we make no attempt to attack the beliefs now, those same beliefs will cause us to be attacked in the future as well as leading to many gross injustices against both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Failure to discriminate between a true minority and a purely local one

An example of a true religious minority would be the Sabeans (followers of John the Baptist) of the Middle East. They are very limited in number globally and are small minorities in their home countries (e.g. Syria).

Muslims are never a minority in this sense because they have such a large international presence and considerable power through such bodies as the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. They may look like a small David within the national context but there is always the international Goliath standing just behind them. Just look at the billions spent on mosques, academic chairs, and lobby groups in Europe over the last 10 years alone.

Failure to discriminate between the characteristics of one ethnic group and another

There are obviously differences between Jews and Muslims. They have different religious beliefs for a start. This means they have different perspectives on the world. Upon these different perspectives different habits of mind have developed. As the poet John Dryden said, “First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” Repeated patterns of behavior mould our characters along well-worn paths. These patterns differ to some extent across different cultures because of their different worldviews and the expectations of behavior grounded in them.

I work amongst Pakistani Muslims and I see definite dominance/submission patterns of behavior in them. Islam is a dominance/submission religion and the culture born of it is oriented around this theme – Islam means “submission” and you have to submit to something or someone which is by definition “dominant”. It could not be otherwise. This is the kind of thing I mean by culturally influenced patterns of behavior.

From what I have seen, Jews are more culturally differentiated. Many notable figures of all political, artistic, and literary perspectives are Jewish. Many key innovators are and have been Jewish and the creative arts are awash with Jewish high achievers. I get the sense of a remarkable people and culture. Even in the teeth of centuries of persecution their genius has been irrepressible.

I appreciate this is highly subjective but there are patterns of behavior which are distinctive to a culture. They highlight cultural differences. Jewish culture is organised around historical/spiritual/communal themes as opposed to dominance/submission. There is more room for the individual.

Some clearer differences between Jewish and Islamic culture:

  • Jews have been persecuted by Muslims ever since the days of Muhammad
  • Muhammad made a virtue of persecuting Jews
  • Jewish culture has no concept of jihad; Islam is defined by it
  • Judaism has never conquered and enslaved huge swathes of the world; Islam has
  • Judaism has no doctrine of world domination; Islam has

There are important differences between religions and the cultures born of them. Refusal to discriminate means blinding oneself to them.

Failure to discriminate between the group and the individuals in the group

The ardent non-discriminators treat Muslims and the Muslim Community as a single entity. There is an assumption that Muslims belong in this community and that it’s spokesmen can (and should) speak for them.

For the Left, Equality is a core value and equality of treatment is the main way of realizing it.

However, equality of treatment is applied inappropriately at the group level. The Muslim Community is taken to be a unified entity which can be treated as a whole. Due to the insistence on treating all aspects of the issue indiscriminately, the Left ends up taking a “hands off” attitude to all things Islamic. The Muslim Community is taken to be united in their aspirations and to afford the group equality of treatment is seen to be giving equality of treatment to all members of the group.

There are a number of problems with this. Firstly, within the group there are norms of institutionalized inequality. One example is the unequal testimony of men and women under Sharia law, with a woman’s testimony counting for only half that of a man. Even worse is the position of non-Muslims under Sharia, with the testimony of a non-Muslim counting for nothing against a Muslim.

Sharia is integral to Islam and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights spells out very clearly that universal human rights are not compatible with it.

Protecting the group as a whole protects these inequalities. Equality of treatment should only be applied to individuals and where group norms conflict with equality of treatment they should be challenged. Thus by affording all cultures the mantle of equal protection, the Left actually increases the sum total of inequality for individuals.

Secondly, this approach leaves questions about the Muslim Community’s attitude towards outsiders totally unexamined and off-limits. To investigate is to discriminate. But what if they do have an agenda which is hostile to the goals of equality (e.g. the Dhimma Pact) – how are we to know? Given that institutionalized inequality is integral to Islamic culture and that non-Muslims are considered inferior people it is a matter of some urgency to assess the extent and intensity of these beliefs.

The incurious Left tends to believe the comforting falsehood that non-Muslims are given special protection under Sharia. It is all made to sound as if they are cherished and cared for but nothing could be further from the truth. In actual fact they are only protected from the predations of Islam itself as long as they observe the conditions of their subjugation. Once any of these conditions is broken by anyone the whole non-Muslim community is fair game for attack.

People with real concern for others want to prevent this but the Left is too busy demonizing them as bigots to realize that.

Failure to discriminate between the different meanings of discrimination

As the dictionary makes clear, ‘discriminate’ can mean to make a distinction, to see a difference. This forms the basis of sound judgement.

Anti-discriminators like the SWP activist appear to see this type of discrimination blurring into the other form. As far as they can see, the first meaning has exactly the same consequences as the second. This, together with the other failures to discriminate discussed above, leads to the fear of the Slippery Slope. 

At FallacyFiles.org the Slippery Slope argument is described this way:

This type [of argument] is based upon the claim that a controversial type of action will lead inevitably to some admittedly bad type of action. It is the slide from A to Z via the intermediate steps B through Y that is the "slope", and the smallness of each step that makes it "slippery".

This type of argument is by no means invariably fallacious, but the strength of the argument is inversely proportional to the number of steps between A and Z, and directly proportional to the causal strength of the connections between adjacent steps. If there are many intervening steps, and the causal connections between them are weak, or even unknown, then the resulting argument will be very weak, if not downright fallacious.

For the anti-discriminators, trying to make any assessment of the characteristics or threat presented by Islam is to discriminate and that is step A on the the slippery slope towards persecution. As they see it, it constitutes a form of discrimination in sense (2), to treat unfairly. But there is no inevitable connection between such an assessment and the awful consequences they fear. In fact, if we don’t make this assessment and plan accordingly we could well be the victims of persecution ourselves, just as thousands of non-Muslims in Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Syria, Iraq etc are suffering persecution at the hands of Muslims today – all in accordance with Sharia. Do we not have a right and a duty to prevent this outcome ?

In the last analysis, we can't treat everything equally because differences of character require differences of treatment. You cannot treat a lion the same way that you treat a lamb.

The other failures of discrimination described above compound the fear of the Slippery Slope:

  • Because they fail to discriminate between race and religion they see racist bigotry at work.

  • Because they fail to discriminate between the beliefs and the people and the individual and the group and religion and race, they lump them altogether so that criticism or examination of the beliefs is viewed as a direct attack on the people because of their race.

  • Because they fail to discriminate between a real minority and a purely local one, they see Muslims as far more vulnerable than they are.

  • Because they fail to discriminate between the characteristics of one religious group and another , they draw false parallels between the plight of Muslims today and the plight of Jews in Nazi Germany.

These failures cluster together to form a very misleading view of reality and a failure of judgement results. People are easily panicked into making these errors by the threat of accusations like “Islamophobia”.

By far the biggest cost to the anti-discriminators is that paid in the coin of ignorance. They deny themselves the possibility of knowing by refusing to look. I explore this in a different light in Refusing Galileo's Telescope. This leads them to accuse those who know far more about Islam than they do of being ignorant.

One highly visible result of their ignorance and confusion is that we find them standing on the front lines fighting on behalf of Islam – the most reactionary force on earth. I really do think that this anti-discriminatory attitude is one of the most important features of the cultural malaise that I have called Malsi-Tung. It is a by-product of the anti-discrimination agenda described above.

Perhaps the question to ask these anti-discriminators is this: given that you refuse to look at the distinct characteristics of Islam because you see this as discrimination, how are you ever to know if it is in fact a threat?

“A threat to what?”, I hear them saying.

“A threat to universal human rights and  equality of treatment for all people, things which you claim to support and which Islam is demonstrably against. Islam sanctifies discrimination on a grand scale, but you're only likely to know that if you are discriminating.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Perhaps a Question is the Answer?

Have you ever been faced with the situation where you want to engage someone in conversation about the real nature of Islam and its inherent totalitarianism but felt that as soon as you said one thing on the subject that sounded at all critical of Islam you would be immediately classed as a bigot and therefore viewed as not worthy of further attention?

For many "progressives", to hold certain viewpoints does not signify that one has a set of opinions that can be contested on their merits; they simply invalidate one as a person. This creates enormous barriers to communication with this type of person because, having invalidated oneself with an opening statement, they simply stop listening.

I have felt this a lot - maybe I'm too sensitive. The fact is that the way the minds of many progressives work does lead to this outcome. It's really the effect of logical fallacies at work at an unconscious level.

The cycle goes like this:
  1. I say something accurate about Islam which shows it in a bad light.
  2. The listener sees it as a criticism of Islam on my part, although I have only stated a fact. The criticism is therefore only implied and actually is the product of the listener's mind.
  3. The listener has been conditioned to believe that criticism of Islam is something that bigots do. I must therefore be one of those bigots. Other illogical associations such as "racist" are also blended together in the listener's mind.
  4. The listener then falls for a "Poisoning the Well" fallacy. Having fallen into the trap of viewing me as a bigot, he/she then believes that anything I say is likely to be incorrect and merely designed to "stir up hatred". If the listener has had negative feelings aroused by my initial statement of fact, this will serve as confirmation that I am a bigot trying to stir up hatred. (Surely, if telling the truth about a subject stirs up hatred, isn't that all the more reason to be asking pertinent questions about the subject?)
  5. Anything that I say from here onwards will arouse a defensive response in the listener - that is, he/she will effectively no longer be listening. In all likelihood, the person will now be marshalling all those arguments with which we have become so familiar: "the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful therefore Islam must be OK"; "you're saying that all Muslims are terrorists"; "the Bible has lots of violent verses too", etc
  6. The listener is also defending him/herself against the possible truth of what I am saying because, having become convinced that only bigots make statements which put Islam in a bad light, he/she does not want to agree with me and thus become one of those bigots.
I had been thinking that some forms of mental ju jitsu needed to be developed to address this problem. The principle of ju-jitsu was developed for overcoming opponents using their own weight and momentum, a principle which allows combatants to overcome opponents of superior strength. The principles of ju-jitsu use the action of no-action to bring an opponent off balance and use his/her own weight and momentum to bring him/her to the floor (preferably with a bang). In this case, the bang of awakening.

Something that might well serve this purpose is a question. A brilliant illustration of this was provided by Dennis Prager. As a radio host who often discusses controversial topics and in particular the topic of Israel, Dennis is often confronted by listeners who are hostile to Israel and question its legitimacy. Dennis has a perfect answer to this and it is a question: Do you ever question the legitimacy of Pakistan?

As Dennis shows in this article at Frontpagemag there are a lot of similarities in the formation of Israel and Pakistan and yet who ever questions the legitimacy of the latter? Pakistan, left out of the spotlight for many years to quietly get on with crushing its religious minorities whilst Israel has been called upon to defend itself for the very act of defending itself against hostile neighbours.

By means of disarming questions like the one that Dennis Prager asks we have avoided making any statements that start the cycle of perceptions and fallacies outlined above. We have not asserted anything that can elicit a counter-statement of any sort. We are simply asking a question.

Planting a question in someone's mind can be rather like leaving a window open in their house; they'll have to deal with it eventually.

Maybe you can think of some disarming questions that would be useful for us to ask our friends and acquaintances. If so, put them in a comment and I'll add them to a list at the bottom of this post.

  1. Have you heard of the Banu Qurayzah?
  2. Do you consider yourself to be inferior to every Muslim?
  3. With regards to Islam: Are you going to submit or resist?
  4. Do you think all cultures are equal? Followed by: do you think cultures that condone slavery are equal to cultures that condemn it?
  5. Are you afraid to criticize Islam? Are you afraid to even talk about it in case you accidentally say something "offensive"?
  6. If you believe that people of the Third World have a right to resist colonization by us; do you also believe that we have a right to resist colonization by them?
  7. Do you think we'll surrender to religious terror during the next century?
  8. Do you ever feel embarrassed by the behaviour of your prophet?
  9. Do you think any beliefs or ideas should be beyond criticism?
  10. Are you familiar with the law of abrogation as it applies to the Koran?
  11. Do you ever wonder what is the effect on Muslims wanting to leave Islam of the Leftist urge to shield Islam from criticism in order to "protect" Muslims from hurt feelings?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Leftists continue their blind crusade against "Islamophobia"

As the general election heats up in the UK, the Labour Party, which commands over 30% of the vote, has made a pledge that if elected they will outlaw "Islamophobia". The Green Party, which according to them has the most active young membership of all the parties, has also made a commitment to combat "Islamophobia".

The Left loves to see itself as the defender of the vulnerable and according to the leftist mind Muslims are a "vulnerable minority". I was reading an article in the New York Times today about the row caused by the PEN awards for Courage in Freedom of Expression going to Charlie Hebdo and the withdrawal in protest of six notable writers from the gala event.

In defence of his position, the novelist Peter Carey said, “All this is complicated by PEN’s seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French nation, which does not recognize its moral obligation to a large and disempowered segment of their population.” What evidence is there that French Muslims are a "disempowered segment of the population"? Surely, this observation is the product of perceptual filtering and not empirical fact?

Further down the page the author of the article says, "The withdrawals reflect the debate over Charlie Hebdo that erupted immediately after the attack, with some questioning whether casting the victims as free-speech heroes ignored what some saw as the magazine’s particular glee in beating up on France’s vulnerable Muslim minority." Again, the assumption is made in a completely unquestioning way that France's Muslims are vulnerable. Where is the evidence for this?

Finally, the article also refers to Gary Trudeau's recent speech in which he said, "by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech.”

Are Muslims anywhere a powerless, disenfranchised minority? It's as if the leftist mind has to impose this construct onto the social world. It simply cannot exist without framing the world in these terms. Its whole explanatory system of how and why things are as they are is based on maintaining these constructs. They cannot be questioned.

This may explain the Left's inability to assimilate facts which contradict their assumption that Muslims are a vulnerable minority and yet these facts are everywhere:
  • vociferous demands for mainstream society to accommodate to Islamic norms
  • endless attacks on our freedoms
  • regular attempts to kill us in large numbers
  • the spread of ugly, domineering mosques
  • increasing evidence of intention to subvert our democracies and replace it with a theocracy
  • in-your-face clothing that segregates Muslims from everyone else and alienates the host society
  • preachers who publicly incite against democracy and democratic freedoms
  • growing insistence for ever more conformity to halal
  • thousands of non-Muslim under-age girls trafficked in horrific Muslim sex gangs involving abusive encounters with older men
"Islamophobia", so-called, is a perfectly reasonable concern about the nature of Islam that is aroused by the vicious teachings of Muhammad and those who implement them.

Muslims now promote the narrative, with the blind connivance of the Left, that they are suffering from this perfectly reasonable concern about the nature of Islam as if it was a serious form of persecution.

This purely fictional persecution is then touted as just cause for implementing the vicious teachings of Muhammad.

In truth, the vicious teachings of Muhammad which raise the banner of Islam in the pursuit of conquest are always the prime mover; all else is propaganda in furtherance of that cause.

The Left are blinded by perceptual constructs such as "victims", "powerlessness", "disenfranchised", "vulnerable", which they impose on the social world and thereby misunderstand it to a catastrophic degree.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Equality and Sharia

"While you are the stronger I ask of you my freedom since that is your principle; but when I am the stronger I will remove your freedom since that is my principle.” Louis Veuillot

The principle of equality is very important in western civilisation:
  • Equality of all in the sight of God (which comes from Christianity)
  • Equality of all before the law (which comes from Roman law)
  • The aim of removing barriers due to sex, class, race, ethnicity etc has been important in reducing discrimination and allowing greater social mobility, equality of opportunity etc
  • The concept of universal human rights (which comes from liberalism and rationalism)

Most people in western democracies would subscribe to these forms of equality.

The Left in particular has made the principle of equality its guiding idea. It provides them with a very simple moral compass. The judgement that equality is good and inequality is bad is easy to understand. It accords with childhood notions of fairness. The principle of equality dominates left-wing thinking.

The Left has defined justice in terms of equality. The more equality, the more fairness; “social justice” serves as a label for a social order where justice is achieved through equality. Inequality of wealth or power is always wrong. The more unequal a society is, the more wrong it is. That which leads to increasing equality is right and good. That which creates increasing inequality is bad.

The party on the weaker side of a relationship is the victim, the exploited or oppressed; the party on the stronger side is the oppressor. Righting this wrong involves taking from the stronger and giving to the weaker. This will always create more justice.

At the far end of the scale, on the far Left, the stronger party can do no right whilst the weaker party can do no wrong. Any action can be justified which produces a more equal relationship. Any amount of logical distortion and defacing of reality is justified when arguing for the cause of equality.

The principle of equality has now been pushed into realms where it does not belong and where it is meaningless. For example, many people like to think that all opinions are equally valid: “I’m entitled to my opinion”, “You have your opinion and I have mine.” This is simply subjectivism gone mad and takes no account of the amount of learning or experience behind different opinions. It takes no account of the cogency of an argument or the strength of evidence supporting it.

An area where the principle of equality has caused enormous mischief is when it has been applied to different cultures. The doctrine of multiculturalism has promoted the idea that all cultures are worthy of equal respect, equal treatment, and equal acceptance (except the culture of liberal democracy itself which makes any of this remotely possible).

This equality of respect has even started to lead to the idea that all cultures should be treated on the terms in which they define themselves. Where a culture such as Islam defines itself as the supreme worldview, then Muslims should be allowed to see themselves and behave as if Islam holds this position in the world. If Islam refuses to allow criticism, then it should not be criticised. This is tantamount to according Islam the respect that it accords itself. We see some of this when we hear western leaders referring to "the Prophet Muhammad" and when criticism of Islam is criminalised.

The concept of multiculturalism sounds plausible and tolerant in the abstract but as soon as we start to drill down into specifics it comes unstuck. Consider for example the aim of each cultural sub-group respecting the beliefs of every other sub-group: Do you as a non-Muslim respect the Islamic belief that you are inferior? Do you respect the Islamic belief that if you criticise Islamic beliefs such as this you are insulting Islam and should be punished, possibly killed?

As we sleepwalk into soft multicultural totalitarianism such problems are becoming all too real. Police in Bradford, UK, are searching for a man who made derogatory remarks about Islam on a bus whilst sitting behind an "Asian" man. Thus the authorities are already deciding who is allowed to say what to whom.

We can argue about the merits of different approaches to equality: Few would accept the far left idea of equality of outcomes but for the principle of equality before the law most of us would fight to the death.

Why then do we allow Islam to erode equality? Why do the Left, of all people, do the most to further this endeavour? Why do they offer their blind support to a religious and political system that sanctifies inequality? Simply because there is a temporary appearance of redressing inequality with a dominant western world? Out of protectiveness toward the perceived underdog?

And, of course, there is the intractable problem of people growing up in liberal democratic cultures who cannot believe that a social order in the modern world could actively promote - and sanctify - inequality and enshrine it in law.

Islam cannot be separated from Sharia; they have grown together like Siamese twins. Muhammad was a law giver and executioner as much as he was a self-appointed prophet. Sharia law is based on his example as a person and upon his “revelations” as recorded in the Koran. Obedience to the words of Muhammad and emulation of him is obedience to Allah; this is true in the political sphere as much as the personal. In Islam the two are one and the same. This makes it radically monotheistic and totalitarian.

The principles of Sharia are derived from the Koran and the traditional accounts of Muhammad’s life and behaviour. The principles of Sharia are well-established and non-negotiable, having been established many centuries ago.

The following are examples of where Sharia is in direct conflict with the principle of equality:

  • Inequality of women
    • In a court of law a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s
    • A woman is only entitled to half the inheritance of her male siblings
    • A man can have four wives and divorce them easily, whereas a woman must give specific reasons to a Sharia court, some of which are extremely difficult to prove
  • Inequality of non-Muslims
    • Testimony of a non-Muslim is not acceptable against a Muslim in court
    • Polytheists and pagans are below People of the Book (principally Jews and Christians) and People of the Book are below Muslims. Under conquest, polytheists and pagans have two choices: convert to Islam or be killed; People of the Book have a third choice: live as second class citizens in the Islamic State and suffer various permanent humiliations and penalties in order to buy “protection” from Muslim persecution. This is an elaborate protection racket.
    • One of the conditions which People of the Book have to agree to is the payment of an annual poll tax known as jizya. This often has to be paid by means of a humiliating ritual and involves onerous sums of money.
    • Non-Muslims should never have authority over Muslims
    • The life of a non-Muslim is worth less than a Muslim’s. For this reason a Muslim should not be executed for killing a non-Muslim but should be executed for killing another Muslim.
  • Inequality of homosexuals
    • Homosexuals have no right to live.
    • The punishment for homosexuality is unanimously agreed to be execution. Only the manner of execution is disputed.
    • Recent videos from Islamic State show homosexuals thrown from tall buildings. This is a common method of executing homosexuals in accordance with Sharia law.
  • Slavery
    • Slavery is one of the most unequal relationships
    • Muhammad bought, sold, captured, and owned slaves. Slavery is therefore Sunna (in accordance with his example). Due to this fact, slavery cannot be deemed impermissible and is still legal under Sharia today (as it will always be).
    • Muhammad also had sex slaves. He gave women as sex slaves to his companions. This means that sexual slavery is also Sunna.
    • Sharia law includes a lot of rules about the keeping of slaves and their treatment. All of these rules take as their presupposition that there is nothing wrong with slavery as such.
    • There is no limit to the number of sex slaves a Muslim can own. A man can have sex with his wife/wives and any number of sex slaves.
This list is by means exhaustive but it should serve to illustrate that Islam and the legal system integral to it do a great deal to not only enforce inequality but to sanctify it. We may dislike many aspects of inequality in liberal democratic societies and rail against the amount paid to certain bankers etc but we can at least protest these forms of inequality.

Under Sharia, to protest the inequalities enshrined in it would be blasphemous and thus a capital offence.

Why then are the Left of all people so keen to defend Islam from criticism?

One of the reasons for this capitulation to Sharia is the doctrine of multiculturalism. Having established the principle that all cultures are equally valid, they have provided an anti-egalitarian and absolutist culture with a protective shield behind which it can advance ever deeper into our societies. There is no ultimate standard by which to judge another culture.

If all cultures are equal how can you judge that cultures that endorse slavery are worse than cultures that don’t; that belligerent and destructive cultures are worse than peaceful and creative ones; that cultures where inequalities are extreme are worse than egalitarian cultures?

What remains so extraordinary (and exasperating) is the defence offered to Islam by those committed to fighting inequality when Islam is so inimical to equality. As a good friend pointed out the other day, it is such people who really are "Islamophobes" because they are too scared to actually study Islam and find out what it really means. They engage in the typical avoidance behaviour of the phobic person.

By acting as the dupes of every Islamic apologist; by refusing to investigate the actual doctrines of Islam (and their unchangeable nature); by adding to the smokescreen of confusion about Islam instead of seeking to clarify it; by attacking as malicious bigots those people who have done an Islamic reality check; by refusing to read the Koran and find out how it is interpreted (including the pivotal rule of abrogation); by all these means they are binding us to pillars of inequality from which we may never escape.

By allowing the principle of equality (which is often viewed as a panacea) to be pushed into areas where it does not belong, such as in matters of truth and cultural values; we have put in jeopardy the principle of equality where it does belong: Equality before the law and equality of rights.

Sunday, 18 January 2015


The article below was posted on PJMedia by Dr Victor Davis Hanson and is a brilliant analysis of many aspects of the cultural pathology that I explore in this blog - the cultural malaise that I call Malsi-tung. I thought it worth reproducing in full.

Fuelling the Western paralysis in dealing with radical Islam is the late 20th century doctrine of multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism is one of those buzzwords that does not mean what it should. The ancient and generic Western study of many cultures is not multiculturalism. Rather, the trendy term promotes non-Western cultures to a status equal with or superior to Western culture largely to fulfill contemporary political agendas.
On college campuses, multiculturalism not so much manifests itself in the worthy interest in Chinese literature, Persian history, or hieroglyphics, but rather has become more a therapeutic exercise of exaggerating Western sins while ignoring non-Western pathologies to attract those who see themselves in some way as not part of the dominant culture.
It is a deductive ideology that starts with a premise of Western fault and then makes evidence fit the paradigm. It is ironic that only Western culture is self-critical and since antiquity far more interested than other civilizations in empirically investigating the culture of the other.  It is no accident that Europeans and Americans take on their own racism, sexism, and tribalism in a way that is not true of China, Nigeria or Mexico. Parody, satire, and caricature are not Chinese, African, or Arab words.
A multicultural approach to the conquest of Mexico usually does not investigate the tragedy of the collision between 16th-century imperial Spain and the Aztec Empire. More often it renders the conquest as melodrama between a mostly noble indigenous people slaughtered by a mostly toxic European Christian culture, acting true to its imperialistic and colonialist traditions and values.
In other words, there is little attention given to Aztec imperialism, colonialism, slavery, human sacrifice, and cannibalism, but rather a great deal of emphasis on Aztec sophisticated time-reckoning, monumental building skills, and social stratification. To explain the miraculous defeat of the huge Mexican empire by a few rag-tag, greedy conquistadors, discussion would not entail the innate savagery of the Aztecs that drove neighboring indigenous tribes to ally themselves with Cort├ęs. Much less would multiculturalism dare ask why the Aztecs did not deploy an expeditionary force to Barcelona, or outfit their soldiers with metal breastplates, harquebuses, and steel swords, or at least equip their defenders with artillery, crossbows, and mines.
For the multiculturalist, the sins of the non-West are mostly ignored or attributed to Western influence, while those of the West are peculiar to Western civilization. In terms of the challenge of radical Islam, multiculturalism manifests itself in the abstract with the notion that Islamists are simply the fundamentalist counterparts to any other religion. Islamic extremists are no different from Christian extremists, as the isolated examples of David Koresh or the Rev. Jim Jones are cited ad nauseam as the morally and numerically equivalent bookends to thousands of radical Islamic terrorist acts that plague the world each month. We are not to assess other religions by any absolute standard, given that such judgmentalism would inevitably be prejudiced by endemic Western privilege. There is nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that differs much from what is found in the Koran. And on and on and on.
In the concrete, multiculturalism seeks to use language and politics to mask reality. The slaughter at Ford Hood becomes “workplace violence,” not a case of a radical Islamist, Major Nidal Hasan, screaming “Allahu Akbar” as he butchered the innocent. After the Paris violence, the administration envisions a “Summit on Countering Violent Extremism,”apparently in reaction to Buddhists who are filming beheadings, skinheads storming Paris media offices, and lone-wolf anti-abortionists who slaughtered the innocent in Australia, Canada, and France.
The likes of James Clapper and John Brennan assure us of absurdities such as the Muslim Brotherhood being a largely secular organization or jihad as little more than a personal religious journey. Terrorism is reduced to man-caused violence and the effort to combat it is little more than an “overseas contingency operation.” The head of NASA in surreal fashion boasts that one of his primary missions for the hallowed agency is to promote appreciation of Muslim science and accomplishments through outreach to Islam. The president blames an obscure film-maker for causing the deaths of Americans in Benghazi (when in reality, it was a preplanned Al-Qaeda affiliate hit) — and then Obama makes it a two-fer: he can both ignore the politically incorrect task of faulting radical Islam and score politically correct points by chastising a supposedly right-wing bigot for a crime he did not foster.
What is the ultimate political purpose of multiculturalism? It certainly has contemporary utility, in bolstering the spirits of minority groups at home and the aggrieved abroad by stating that their own unhappiness, or failure to achieve what they think they deservedly should have, was due to some deep-seated Western racism, class bias, homophobia, or sexism otherwise not found in their own particular superior cultural pedigree that was unduly smothered by the West.
For the useful idiot, multiculturalism is supposedly aimed at ecumenicalism and hopes to diminish difference by inclusiveness and non-judgmentalism. But mostly it is a narcissistic fit, in which the multiculturalist offers a cheap rationalization of non-Western pathologies, and thereby anoints himself both the moral superior to his own less critical Western peers and, in condescending fashion, the self-appointed advocate of the mostly incapable non-Westerner.
Multiculturalism is contrary to human nature. Supposedly if Muslims understand that Westerners do not associate an epidemic of global terrorism and suicide bombing with Islam, then perhaps Muslims — seeing concession as magnanimity to be reciprocated —  will appreciate such outreach and help to mitigate the violence, all the more so if they also sense that they share with the more radical among them at least some legitimate gripes against the West.
So multiculturalism is the twin of appeasement. Once Americans and Europeans declare all cultures as equal, those hostile to the West should logically desist from their aggression, in gratitude to the good will and introspection of liberal Westerners. Apologizing for the Bush war on terror, promising to close down Guantanamo, deriding the war in Iraq, reminding the world of the president’s Islamic family roots — all that is supposed to persuade the Hasans, Tsarnaevs, and Kouachis in the West that we see no differences between their cultural pedigrees and the Western paradigm they have chosen to emigrate to and at least superficially embrace. Thus the violence should cease.
At its worst, multiculturalism becomes a cheap tool in careerist fashion to both bash the West and simultaneously offer oneself as a necessary intermediary to rectify Western sins, whether as a -studies professor in the university, an activist journalist or politician, or some sort of community or social organizer.
It is always helpful to turn to Al Sharpton for an illustration of the bastardized form of almost any contemporary fad, and thus here is what he once formulated as the multicultural critique of the West: “White folks was in the caves while we [blacks] was building empires. … We built pyramids before Donald Trump ever knew what architecture was … we taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.”  Note that Sharpton was not calling for new mathematics academies in the inner city to reclaim lost African arts of superior computation. Note also that Sharpton himself did not dream up  these supposed non-Western superior African achievements.
In the psychological sense, multiculturalism also serves as a way of dealing with affluent Western guilt: one does not have to put his kids in an inner-city school, visit the barrio to shop, or invite undocumented aliens over for dinner, when one can both enjoy a largely affluent and apartheid existence in the concrete, while praising the noble Other in the abstract.  In the European context, the liberal French or British elite welcomes in the Muslim Other for low-wage jobs and to feed his multicultural sensitivities — only to outsource the immigrants to outlander suburbs that devolve into no-go zones even for the police. In the Clinton context, when Hilary lectures us that we must understand and even empathize with the minds of our enemies, we assume that Chelsea is not on the barricades trying to fathom what drives the violent Other.
Ultimately multiculturalism is incoherent, claiming that all cultures are equal, but then (privately) disturbed that Iranians behead gays or Saudi women cannot drive a car — or radical Muslims prefer to live in Europe than among the believers in Yemen.  Yet even multiculturalism cannot quite equate honor killings with the glass ceiling.
Radical Muslims both emigrate to the West and yet, once there, seek through Sharia law to destroy the very foundations of what made the West attractive to them in the first place. Clean water, advanced medicine, entitlement support and free speech ultimately cannot exist in a society that routinely assassinates the outspoken satirist. In a less dramatic sense, the entire open-border, La Raza movement is based on the anomaly that the United States is such an inhospitable and racist place, while Mexico is such a benevolent homeland, that 11 million risk their lives to reach the former and abandon the latter.
In the end what is multiculturalism? A global neurosis. For its elite architects, it is a psychological tic, whose loud professions square the circle of enjoying guilt-free the material comfort that only the West can provide. For the rest, multiculturalism is a sort of fraud, a mechanism to blame something that one secretly desires in lieu of addressing the causes of personal or collective self-induced misery.
For Muslims of the Middle East, there is a clear pathway to economic prosperity and a secure lifestyle; countries as diverse as South Korea, Japan, and Chile are proof of it. Within wide parameters, success only asks adherence to a mostly free market, some sort of freedom of expression, religious tolerance, a separation of science from orthodoxy, the rule of law, and consensual constitutional government — along with a cultural ethos of rough parity between the sexes, merit-based evaluation instead of tribal favors, and tolerance for ethnic and religious minorities.
Fail that, and human misery follows of the now familiar Middle East sort, in turn followed by the tired blame that the Jews, the Americans, the Europeans, or the West caused these self-generated pathologies.
If the Western establishment were truly moral, it would reject multiculturalism as a deductive, anti-empirical, and illiberal creed. It would demand that critics abroad first put their own house in order before blaming others for their own failures, and remind Western elites that their multicultural fantasies are cheap nostrums designed to deal with their own neuroses.
Finally, it would also not welcome in newcomers who seek to destroy the very institutions that make the West so unlike the homelands they have voted with their feet to utterly abandon.