Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A spate of new Non-Islam Theories of Islamic Extremism about to be unleashed

Technically this new wave of a well established means of explaining away the Islamic cause of Islamic extremism has already been unleashed. But it will take us some time to quantify and delineate between the various (new) theories in written form. In the meantime, let's review the characteristics common to the existing and documented Non-Islam Theories of Islamic Extremism per Lawrence Auster:

LA writes:

Islam in its concrete particulars is too alien and threatening to liberal Westerners for them to acknowledge its existence as it really is. So they keep putting Islam into this or that Western-centric conceptual box in order to make Islam seem familiar and assimilable. But because these non-Islam theories of Islamic extremism are all false or inadequate, new theories, or new variations on old theories, must keep being invented. The never-ending compulsion of Western intellectuals to explain uniquely Islamic beliefs and institutions in non-Islamic terms expresses the very essence of liberalism, which is to deny the existence of human differences that really matter.

The prerequisites:

(1) Denial by liberal Westerners that Islam is what it is in its concrete particulars. Resulting in,

(2) a propensity amongst leading Western writers and thinkers to place Islam, or a particular instance of Islamic violence or terrorism (such as Hasan's recent jihad on Ft. Hood), inside a sort of walled-in Western-centric conceptual framework in an attempt to explain it in terms other than the unacceptable, disallowed framework of Islam being the cause of Islamic extremism.

(3) But since every single Western-centric theory of Islamic extremism, or any combination thereof has proved, thus far, to be inadequate or utterly false, and since admitting the actual truth about Islam as the source of Islamic extremism would at once destroy the leading and dominant principles of modern liberal society, which itself is unacceptable, therefore,

(4) such individuals engage themselves in a continual and frantic search for, and discovery of, new Western-centric conceptualizations of Islam by which to explain, in acceptable (i.e., liberal) terms, the propensity of its adherents towards acts of violence.

Hence we see with this latest Islamic attack on Ft. Hood -- an attack committed by an individual who doesn't fit the current Western-centric profile formerly established in the preceding Non-Islam explanations for Islamic extremism, i.e., he wasn't poor or marginalized, he wasn't uneducated, etc. -- the introduction of a spate of new Non-Islam Theories of Islamic Extremism unleashed in verbal form. Of which the preceding blog entry contains but one.


chiu_chunling said...

Islam isn't alien at all. It is frighteningly familiar, and the underlying precepts differ only in theological details from Secular Humanism.

A serious study of Islam reveals that Allah is utterly lacking in any sort of 'transcendent' qualities which are common to all other monotheistic religions. The paradise of 72 virgins waiting to welcome the martyr to unlimited sexual satisfaction isn't an aberration or revision, that is as far as the Islamic understanding of theology goes. Nothing exists beyond the carnal desires, for (bodily) survival, sex, security...I'm being more alliterative than strictly necessary, aren't I?

The attack on the soldiers at Ft. Hood was motivated by a terribly basic desire, the desire for unlimited sexual satisfaction. This guy really wanted 72 virgins. Not metaphorical angels there to help him advance on some spiritual hero-quest, but literal women with eternally let's just assume we all know the rest. He worked himself up to it by patronizing strippers and (probably) viewing porn to help him imagine his reward.

Think about that. What other religious belief would inspire a person to prepare for death in such a manner?

I guess that there's also a bit of irony in the fact that he was stopped by a woman named Kimberly, hopefully she shot him in the nuts.

Islam...or should I speak of persons? Radical Muslims don't hate you for your 'crimes' or your success. They don't hate you at all. They view you as ripe for conquest. Yes, the moral weakness and carnality of the West, along with the prosperity and wealth, both play their role in that. But in fundamentally different ways than humanists are willing to admit.

Because Islam is just an embarrassing past experiment in using instinctive human motivations as a basis for ordering society. That Muhammad tried his little experiment on people who were living in utterly carnal savagery rather than relatively Christian community is to his credit. His system is also more robust and sensible than anything the modern humanists have managed to invent. All that doesn't make modern humanists more eager to recognize Islam for what it really is.

They're still struggling to reinvent Ashtoreth and Moloch for the modern age of totalitarianism, and here comes this paleo-medieval system that's a quantum leap ahead of them on every point. Of course they can't admit its true nature.

And Christians can't make heads or tails of it because it's so damn prurient.

Terry Morris said...

When Auster speaks of "liberal Westerners" he's not speaking of hard-core leftist ideologues in particular, he's speaking of the ideology which ultimately governs the thinking of the majority of modern Westerners. In America that ideology is probably slightly right-leaning. But it's still liberalism at its core.

So, when he says that Islam is too alien in its concrete particulars for liberal Westerners to acknowledge, he's simply saying that Islam, as it really exists, is foreign to the average Westerner and the way he views the world, who is liberal, who buys into the ruling principles of liberalism -- absolute equality and non-discriminationism -- and virtually everything else that liberalism teaches its adherents and which derive from these central premises.

chiu_chunling said...

Hmmm...I don't really buy it.

I mean, the self-narrative of 'liberalism' or 'progressives' or whatever. Auster is certainly correct in assessing "absolute equality and non-discrimination" as being logically impossible for a functional society. The only way to make everyone 'absolutely equal' is to make them functionally the same in abilities and character. Because there is no plausible way to do this by increasing anyone's abilities without strict discrimination, everyone must be cut down to the same level...zeroes in every respect.

Once everyone is blind and brain-dead, the non-discrimination part is easy, of course. But this is all too obvious for most people to miss. The selling point of humanist political philosophy is that cheating the system isn't wrong, because obviously the system doesn't work unless someone cheats. I turn again to the wisdom of a Demotivator, "I want either less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it."

The terrible burden of a system that has proven it is possible for anyone with the talent and drive to succeed without cheating is that lack of success implies a lack of talent and drive. It is comforting for most people, perhaps particularly those who really have sub-par abilities and character, to believe themselves better than they really are. There is also the destructive effect of crass (rather than philosophical) materialism, judging 'success' by the universal standard of how much power over others one amasses rather than the achievement of self-chosen goals.

Of course, those with little personal initiative are likely to 'choose' the most popularly celebrated goal anyway. And that will probably always be social influence, unless the most socially influential generally value another distinct good much higher.

I digress. I can well believe that sincere believers in transcendental values have difficulty understanding the insincerity of those who do not truly believe in anything higher than carnal self-satisfaction. After all, almost everything the non-transcendentalists have to say about values is intended entirely to deceive the transcendentalists.

But I don't believe that the non-transcendentalists are really fooling themselves so completely. They are very plain about their belief that transcendent ideals are so much bunk. But that is the limit of their self-deception, they know their own ideals for bunk as well. And they know the stated ideals of other non-transcendent paths to be bunk as well.

By the way, I speak of transcendence in the sense of going beyond strictly human experience, the physical senses and instinctive drives of the body. Perhaps I should formulate an example.

chiu_chunling said...

Let us contrast the human and transcendent ideas of 'freedom'.

At the most primitive animal level, 'freedom' is nothing but the absence of some tangible restraints on bodily actions. You know you are in a cage because the bars impede your field of view and range of motion. If the cage is made invisible and intangible, you have a physical sensation of liberty, even if somehow you always end up back in the center of your cell. Now an 'intangible' cage can become effectively tangible again if it is preventing you from satisfying some instinctual desire, such as for food which is within sight but somehow perpetually out of reach. In other words, just because a cage is not perceptible by any given sense, that does not make it truly intangible if the interaction of senses and instincts reveals it.

But consider the case of a cage which takes advantage of an powerful instinctive drive to ensure that the animal never 'wants' to leave the cage. For example, within the area of the cage there is an electrical field which stimulates the sexual pleasure centers of the animal's brain at short intervals. This is not 'intangible' in the ordinary sense, but the animal will never experience any feeling of physical restraint from it. Neither will it be capable of leaving the cage, however.

Now consider the cyber-sentient concept of freedom. Freedom is not a simple matter of lack of physical restraint, but of positive decisive mechanisms to affect meaningful outcomes in a predictable manner. This requires that there be multiple possible outcomes which are meaningfully different to the sentient entity. Further the entity must be able to affect which outcomes occur by its willful actions. And the entity must be able to predict which actions will bring about any chosen result (it is not necessary for the entity to know which actions will bring about results which do not interest it), including avoidance of some undesirable results.

Now, a human is both an animal and a somewhat sentient entity. Placed in a cage of instinctive satisfactions, an intelligent human will face a choice between the instinctive satisfactions and whatever lies outside the cage...for example, an actual mate. Based on physical perceptions and instincts, the cage is (for the purposes of this argument) more satisfying than an actual mate. But the predictive component of sentient consciousness informs the human that an actual mate will produce posterity (assumed to be a good for this argument) while the cage of satisfaction will not.

The human in this situation faces a low order transcendence choice. Complete satisfaction of instinctual desire, or the purposive object of that desire. To choose the latter implies acceptance of the idea that the purpose of the desire is more important than the perceivable satisfaction of the desire itself. It essentially places something outside of the human's own possible experience as being more important than what the human can perceive directly. The desire for posterity rather than sexual satisfaction is thus a transcendent value (for a typical human who likes having sex more than the labor of raising children).

Now, it is not necessarily the case that any person inclined to transcendent values will accept any given transcendent option. But it not impossible to identify certain choices as characteristic of non-transcendent inclination. While there are many celibate religious orders, virtually all of them see avoiding sexual satisfaction as the entire point of the exercise. A monk or nun unwilling to leave the cage of instinctive satisfaction (or at all willing to stay in it for any length of time) would seem rather insincere in their transcendentalism.

chiu_chunling said...

I should note, whether any choice reflects a transcendent value can vary depending on the perceptual and instinctive composition of any given individual. The instinct of a mother to protect her children at any cost, however admirable, is still an instinct. When what we see is simply the result of one instinctive behavior over-riding another instinctive behavior, no transcendent value has been demonstrated.

Going back to the cage of satisfaction, and a bit further back to the intangible cage, imagine that a human is trapped in the cage of satisfaction without food or water, which is inconveniently located at some distance from the cage. At some point, the physical thirst or hunger will overwhelm pleasure, and the human will leave the cage long enough to obtain satisfaction of those instinctive desires.

Then let us modify the cage to induce sensations of being well-fed and refreshed. But the natural intelligence of most humans will suffice to produce an awareness of the possibility of death should they stay in the cage too long. Fear of death itself, rather than specific stimuli commonly associated with danger, is almost always mediated through some degrees of reason in human experience (there are exceptions, like some infrasonic noises or the sensation of free-fall, as well as sudden trauma to vital organs).

That the instinctive terror of death can be activated by a degree of reason not found in most other animals does not make it transcendent. It is common to most intelligent humans, and experienced directly by the individual human in question. Humans have no instinctive fear of cardboard boxes, but if your reason convinced you that a given cardboard box contained a bomb you would still experience instinctive fear for your life as a result.

Thus mediation of instinctive desire by reason generally is insufficient to produce transcendence. If a clever human figures out how the cage works (or simply where the field generator is located) and modifies the cage of satisfaction to be portable, thus being freed to move about without restriction, this is still not even leaving the cage, nor does it demonstrate any transcendent value in operation.

The same applies to using the cage on other humans (or animals), if the activity is pursuant to some directly experienced satisfaction of the individual's desires, rather than an object that exists outside of direct perception, it is non-transcendent.

Call Me Mom said...

Transcendence aside,
I can't help but think the inability of "liberal westerners" to grasp the truth if Islamic Etremism has much to do with the notion that "if you are nice to them, they will be nice to you". Or "If you don't bother them, they won't bother you."

Maybe I find these statements, which I heard almost daily from parents and teachers as a child, less believable because I suffered the daily torment of being hit by a boy to whom I had done nothing until my older brother had a "talk" with him. Or perhaps it was being stung by the bee my brother had been teasing just as my mom was repeating the second one.

In any case, liberal westerners tend to believe those statements without any application of critical thought.

Terry Morris said...

Chiu wrote:

I guess that there's also a bit of irony in the fact that he was stopped by a woman named Kimberly, hopefully she shot him in the nuts.

Well, ahem, as it turns out she probably didn't shoot him at all. Much less "stop" him. ...

But I hope someone shot him in the nuts nonetheless. She, he, whatever.

... And that's really, largely, part of the point here about liberalism and how it dominates in Western society, particularly in or amongst information-gathering/emitting outlets. Even people like us (in my particular case completely and utterly distrustful -by way of experience- of virtually all initial information let loose on the MSM) tend to be influenced by it. Why? I don't rightly know, except to say that it is very often probably what we want to hear, see, read. As opposed to the actual truth of the matter, which isn't usually, or usually isn't, quite so desirable.

chiu_chunling said...

Well, if one of the various bullets paralyzed him, it's basically as good as his nuts being shot off. Better actually...but that's not the main point.

As for the role of Kimberly, all accounts agree that she did aggressively engage Hasan, and that definitely was critical to allowing Todd to down and secure him in a timely manner. I think that it's unlikely that she didn't fire at all. Though charging in might not have been the smartest tactic.

It is understandable that media attention would focus on her since, by virtue of her injuries, she was immediately positively identified as having engaged Hasan. It's certainly far less...oblivious than the massive attempt to suggest there was any more significant factor in Hasan's motivation than a desire for hot houri action. that's a term the media doesn't seem eager to pick up on. Wonder why that is.

Terry Morris said...

Well, I don't fault her for charging in on him.

Once upon a time when I was in the AF (and while in uniform, no less) I attacked a would-be tire-tool weilding assailant -- someone who by all outward appearances was bigger, stronger, more aggressive and crazy-eyed than me; a civilian, off base -- in an attempt to save three or four fellows he was swinging on, one in particular. In that particular case I walked away unscathed. But that was only because fear and adrenaline took over, and I apparently had a greater instinct for basic survival than he did. I could have easily killed him, and I have to admit that the thought did momentarily cross my mind once I had him ... neutralized. Or at least to do a better job of it. Thank God I ultimately thought better of it.

The point is, though, that in that particular case it wasn't the wisest action I could have taken to exit my vehicle and challenge him head on. I mean, he was the one with the tire-tool, after all.

chiu_chunling said...

Ah, adrenaline.

I had a shot of epinephrine at a dentist's office once. I was running around the place for a couple of minutes. Given how surprised everyone was, I surmise that the dose was supposed to be far less than what is commonly released in life-or-death situations.

For various reasons, I don't experience adrenaline rushes. The epinephrine was fun but I hate to think of having to carry out some survival critical task while amped. Like engaging in a gunfight. Still, there are benefits in terms of physical trauma resistance and recovery, which ended up being good for Officer Munley.

John said...

The real problem is the rise of the Wahhabis. This small group of fanatics has been wielding the huge wealth of Saudi Arabia in the cause of global terrorism. See The roots of Islamic Terrorism

Call Me Mom said...

Mr. Morris has been on hiatus for a bit. Were he not, I'm sure he would thank you for joining the discussion and point out that while the rise of wahabism has certainly contributed to the problem, the problem is the call to world domination by Islam. Jihad can be waged through peaceful or violent means and and who is to say which method is more favored, except, of course that promise of heaven for dying as the result of the violent one.
If I am mistaken, I am sure Mr. Morris will speak for himself when he returns.