Saturday, 27 February 2016

Decline of the West Revisited

Dear sir:
I feel discriminated against by your demonizing of all leftists. I’m even thinking about seeking help from the ACLU (just kidding).
At the age of 17 I was a communist sympathizer living in a Fascist dictatorship. That’s when I started hating religion, because the reactionary Roman Catholic church was backing up the régime to the hilt -- although i must admit there were a few progressive Catholics who fought for freedom and democracy. But the hierarchy was deeply reactionary. So when i visited the GangstaSpace I felt  instinctively apprehensive about the Mohammedan religion.  But at the same time I started learning Arabic. In Spain Arabs are part of the country’s background, and Arab culture is very prestigious, since they left impressive monuments behind when they were driven out, and the names of Moorish rulers resound through Spanish history.
So I wasn’t the least bit anti-Arab and I still am not.
Then I studied Arabic and Islamic studies at college and became quite familiar with Mohammedans and various Mohammedan countries and their denizens.
So by the time Islamic terrorism became all the rage around the 1990s (being preceded by a long run of Palestinian terrorism), i was sufficiently familiar with the subject to be able to  think objectively  about  Arabs and Moslems and  terrorism. Of course i was aware of great violence in the Middle East long before Islamism became trendy. 
Sandstorm Sept 2015

Anyway Karl Marx was no slobbering dimwit who instinctively sympathised with exotic mumbo-jumbo, the cruder the better.
That whole mind-set has nothing to do with traditional socialism. Marx criticized the Western imperialists who were exploiting China and getting the Chinks hooked on narcotics. Mark Twain was no Marxist, but he did a good job of raking US imperialism over the coals when  the US snatched the Philippines from the dying Spanish empire and proceeded to wage a devastating war against the independence-loving natives. But Marx would have scoffed at traditional Chinese notions of politics and religion. Marx was European to the core.  
The whole exotic mumbo-jumbo fad is not rooted in Marxist class-based theories of society at all. Nor could it be, because Marx never wrote about alien cultures. He simply followed the then prevailing convention of ignoring the subject. He was a Eurocentric thinker. The men who started all this cannibal-hugging were not the least bit influenced by socialist thought.
The man who started it all was not Karl Marx, but a different German Jew altogether called Franz Boas, a founder of the subject of cultural anthropology. He and his colleagues and successors like Radcliffe-Brown, Bronislaw  Malinowski, Marcel Mauss, etc. invented the intellectual fashion of regarding primitive cultures on an equal footing as their own (and our own). Doing so is a methodological requirement in order to think rationally about alien cultures.
Malinowski stole a march on Sigmund Freud and began studying the sexual practices of primitive islanders instead of those of repressed Viennese bourgeois as Freud was doing. Malinowski spoke very highly of British colonialism.  He knew what he was talking about, because he did most of his sex research in British colonies in SE Asia and the Pacific. At the same time Pablo Picasso was discovering African sculpture. European culture was becoming more humble. And a good thing too.
But it has now become an obsession, a nervous tic, a mannerism, a bias and a crashing bore.
It has no intellectual basis at all. It’s a fad, like skateboards and body-piercing. The traditional Marxist solidarity with all peoples against imperialist oppression is a noble tradition, but it has nothing to do with automatically siding with traditional pre-industrial cultures against the West. Alien culture must be examined and criticized with exactly the same clinical objectivity that we devote to analyzing out own cultures. Just because they talk funny doesn’t mean they’re right, or even that they know what the hell they’re talking about. As a matter of fact what always astonishes me about Moslems is their utter ignorance of history and their low esteem for facts.  They usually just repeat village gossip and the platitudes their daddies told them.
European civilization invented the habit of criticizing European civilization. Those who carp at European civilization are blindly following in its footsteps.
Our admiration for alien cultures should be tempered by loyalty toward our own glorious intellectual traditions, which we vouchsafed to humanity and are becoming the backbone of a planet-wide human civilization.
Being anti-Western long ago ceased being identical with being anti-imperialist. When the Japanese fleet knocked the socks off the imperial Russian navy at the battle of Tsushima in 1905, the white man (or the pink man, as I prefer to call him) had to acknowledge that non-European civilizations were starting to catch up with the West.  The trend has progressed ever since and shows no signs of abating.
So hating Western Civ long ago ceased being original and revolutionary. It is now simply a cliché, a cult, a stereotyped attitude popular with resentful adolescents and Mohammedan fanatics. 
There is an indefinable sort of covergence between these reflections and those manifested by Phil Burton-Cartledge with his deep hisorical perspective in The anti-imperialism of fools, Left Futures, Dec 13th, 2015

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Eliminate islamophobia in 3 easy steps!

The Executive Commissioner: We have a simple plan to eliminate islamophobia in three easy steps.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: Tell me more.
The Executive Commissioner: Well, you see, often people become uneasy in the presence of Mohammedans whom they don’t know, because Mohammedans are often suspected of terrorism.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: Yes, this galloping islamophobia is most infuriating.
The Executive Commissioner: But islamophobia is easy to eliminate, if you take the right steps.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: And what might those steps be?
The Executive Commissioner: Well, you probly noticed that whenever terrorist crimes are committed by Mohammedans, it turns out that most of the Islamo-perps were already known to the police as Mohammedan fanatics.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: Uh, yeah.
The Executive Commissioner: So the police know that the greatest danger emanates from a group of people they have already identified and are, or should be, monitoring.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: So?
The Executive Commissioner: Since deterrence of people willing to sacrifice their own lives is by definition impossible, the solution is to imprison or otherwise deactivate people on mere suspicion alone, before they ever get a chance to commit terrorist outrages.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: But that’s illegal!
The Executive Commissioner: Our approach is to extend the definition of criminal offences to include many routine acts performed by fundamentalist Mohammedans, on the grounds that such acts are either in themselves crimes, or constitute preparation of a criminal offense, or else reveal a general propensity for criminal behavior.
These steps would be flanked by strict monitoring of the Mohammedan population to nip in the bud any jihadi discourse by outlawing a number of key phrases and expressions. For example we plan to outlaw the utterance of terrorist war cries in public places. Principally "Allahu akbar”, which many Mohammedan terrorists yell when they perp their outrages. On the other hand many Mohammedans also utter that phrase in more mundane circumstances, say when beheading chickens in accordance with halal ritual. Or as a cry of anguish.
The Situational Analyst pro tem:  What does the phrase "Allahu akbar” ["الله أكبر"] originally mean?
The Executive Commissioner:  It’s an unverifiable assertion concerning the size, or dimensions if you will, of a supernatural being.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: You mean like unicorns and stuff?
The Executive Commissioner:  No, much more sinister than unicorns. This entity, although allegedly completely invisible, is said to wield awesome power over the lives of men. However instead of resorting to His special powers, He just tells Mohammedans what to do, and they do it for Him. I call “Allahu akbar!” an unverifiable assertion, since in order to validly assert that an object possesses certain specified dimensions, prior formulation of a measurement procedure is unavoidable. But nobody has yet figured out how to measure invisible objects, especially if their exact location is a matter of conjecture. 
The Situational Analyst pro tem: How does this unique Being -- or Beings -- transmit Its or their commands to the faithful [the Bummah]?
The Executive Commissioner: Generally Mohammedan religious bigwigs infer Allah's will from ancient writings or from omens.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: That certainly sounds like a very convoluted chain of command. There would appear to be much margin for error when interpreting the Divine Will by such procedures.  Why doesn’t Allah just write them a Celestial Memorandum? Or a Divine Directive?
The Executive Commissioner: Allah is illiterate.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: I see. So how would the police determine whether the meaning intended for a certain word is unlawful or not?
The Executive Commissioner: No need for fine distinctions. In case of doubt, a phrase is construed as having the most sinister meaning that can be reasonably attributed to it according to the official glossary compiled by expert Arabists who are furthermore skilled in cryptography and counterterrorism operations.
Certain key terms that discreetly allude to acts of religious violence would also be outlawed, especially when discussing religious matters. For example, any ostensibly allegorical use of the term “sword” in a sermon would be severely punished. Other important Mohammedan code terms for referring to violence against non-Mohammedans are “strike them above the neck”, which means beheading, or “what your right hand possesses”, which means captives misused as sex slaves. Any stock phrase like that, that many Mohammedans routinely employ to veil their desire or propensity to breach the human rights of others, would be assessed for criminal intent only AFTER it has been decoded into regular English.  We are compiling an official glossary of the plain English meanings of key Mohammedan euphemisms intended to mask their primitive ideology rooted in ancestral desert banditry.
These phrases are the jihadi equivalent of thieves’ cant, a secret jargon where certain ostensibly innocent words convey sinister meanings to the initiated.
Two of the most prominent terms of this sort, whose meanings are nowadays systematically falsified by the Mohammedan and Islamophiliac media establishment and the academics that justify these distortions in order to make them appear unobjectionable, are “jihad” and “madrassa”.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: But wait a moment. You say you want to eliminate islamophobia. But isn’t what you propose itself a form of islamophobia?
The Executive Commissioner: As Mick Jagger once remarked, you don’t always get what you want. It would be a superior sort of islamophobia, meta-Islamophobia, so to speak, an islamophobia to end all Islamophobias.
Because actually, islamophobia is often a rational calculus driven by primeval instinct for self-preservation in the face of uncertainty regarding the intentions of strangers.  It’s the same instinct that makes you dodge a speeding car. In other words, islamophobia often merely reflects uncertainty. If we remove from circulation all potential jihadis, any Mohammedan who is still at large would be deemed harmless and consequently would be spared the humiliation of discriminatory treatment motivated by fear of the unknown.
Islamophobia is an information problem. It must be solved by removing doubts from the public’s mind regarding the intentions of certain individuals. And that is most effectively accomplished by using a broad definition of criminal offenses consisting in outlawing the standard preliminary steps on the road to jihadism.
The Situational Analyst pro tem: Well, but you still haven’t explained why we need huge graveyards to accommodate the mortal remains of our Muslim fellow-citizens once their respective souls have departed for Paradise.

The Executive Commissioner: Since we haven’t yet completed our strategic planning, we must create extra capacity to accommodate any unexpected situation that might arise, such as a Mohammedan uprising.

Report from the Palestinian-Occupied Territories (POTs) – See page M6