I left a shorter comment on this subject on Sultan Knish’s May 13th column, “Schrödinger's Jihad.” I decided to expand my remarks on the issue, after having quoted Daniel Greenfield from an email on Schrödinger’s Cats in my May 9th column, “Islam: An Ideology of Lethal Absurdities” on Rule of Reason and Capitalism Magazine.
“The media is howling that a bunch of cartoonists in Texas were irresponsible for sketching Islam’s dead warlord,” wrote Daniel Greenfield in Schrödinger’s Jihad. This is not surprising. The news media has been virtually taken over by the left. Academia is now basically a leftist indoctrination program. Even science has been appropriated by the left (e.g., the attacks on global-warming “deniers”). The news media howls, college teachers perform lobotomies on the young, and scientists toe the line in order to get government “research” grants, or are silent in order to keep their jobs.
What keeps the lie alive is another paradox. Call it Schrödinger's Jihad. The more famous Schrödinger's Cat is a paradox in which a cat in a sealed box with poison that has a 50 percent chance of being released is in an indeterminate state. It is neither dead nor alive until someone opens the box.
In Schrödinger's Jihad, the Muslim terrorist is in an indeterminate state until some Western observer opens the box, collapses his wave function and radicalizes him. The two Muslim Jihadists were in an indeterminate state until Pamela Geller and Bosch Fawstin and the other “provocateurs” suddenly turned them into terrorists in a matter of days or weeks. It didn’t matter that Elton Simpson, one of the Garland terrorists, had already been dragged into court for trying to link up with Jihadists in Africa.
Every Muslim is and isn’t a terrorist. He is both a peaceful spiritual person who is eager to embrace our way of life and a violent killer who can be set off by the slightest offense. Like the cat in the box that is neither dead nor alive, he is both violent and peaceful, moderate and extremist, a solid citizen and a terrorist. He does not choose which of these to be or to become; we decide what he will be.
The Jihadist paradox is that the Muslim terrorist is always defined by what we do, not by what he does. (Emphasis mine)
And what lie is Greenfield referring to? That the violence of jihad is committed only by a tiny number of Muslims, also known as “extremists” or “radicals,” that their deplorable actions have nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with its fundamental doctrines, nothing to do with the numerous exhortations in the Koran and Hadith to commit violence on non-believers and members of the opposite Islamic sect, and that the “extremists” and “radicals” have “misinterpreted” those exhortations to mean something they don’t.
And to top that off, many current Islamic spokesmen have “condemned” such violence, echoing the blandishments of the Western news media, practicing a taqiyya so subtle that you could call it a taco, that is, speaking from both corners of one’s mouth in practiced ventriloquism (but don’t call it verisimilitude, that would be a negative, unconstructive judgment).
ISIS? The Taliban? Al-Qaeda? Boko Haram? They’re as good-intentioned as the Salvation Army and Doctors Without Borders.
Reality is what they all want it to be thanks to the grips Immanuel Kant and Georg F. Hegel have had on Western culture for about two centuries. The grip was tentative in the 19th century; reality was being enjoyed by most men during the Industrial Revolution. The works of Kant and Hegel were just playthings of philosophers; it kept them occupied with ideas that could never in a thousand years seep into Western culture and poison its ideational water table.
Now the grips are around our throats and their thumbs are firmly fixed over our laryngeal prominences. Kant said that we can't know reality because our senses warp and distort the “real” reality and so we can't “know” its nature and causes. So, it is permitted to fantasize about reality. Hegel said that reality is always in a flux in its progress or evolution towards a “perfect” reality that transcends reality and the evidence of our senses, and that includes man and his social institutions. So, it is permitted to see what isn’t there.
The principle of cause and effect therefore can be stood on its head; at least it sits strangely and awkwardly in the heads of the news media, academia, and scientists; effects lead to causes. There are no prime movers, there is only a kaleidoscope of effects interacting with each other, and if we turn the tube long enough and with the tactile sensitivity of a lock-picking thief, the maelstrom of numberless pieces will someday, somehow fall into a pattern we approve or are comfortable with. In this topsy-turvy universe, freedom of speech is an “effect” that will compel Muslims to become ineffable “causes.” Ergo, it is necessary to blame the speakers for any violence, and not the killers who resort to violence to punish that “effect.”
Greenfield observed in his signature sardonic style:
The real threat is not from the terrorists, it’s from the truth.
When we tell the truth, people die. The truth turns Muslims into terrorists while the lies soothe them back into non-existence. Underneath all the academic terminology is the dream logic of wishful thinking. If we believe that Islam is a religion of peace, it will be a peaceful religion, and if we accept the reality that it’s violent, then it will become violent. Islam does not define itself. We define it however we want. Our entire counterterrorism policy is based around the perverse ostrich belief that Islamic terrorism is a problem that we create by recognizing its existence. If we ignore it, it will go away.
Those poor, victimized killers; they’re only killers because of our distorted perceptions of them. If we didn’t pin “Kick Me, I’m a Killer” signs on their backs, they wouldn’t be killers; that is, if we didn’t apply the Law of Identity to them, they wouldn’t be what they are, but something harmless and benign. If they rape your daughters, behead your sons, turn automatic weapons on your neighbors, and torture your pets, that’s only because you’ve called them nihilists and homicidal maniacs who ought to be extinguished before they extinguish you. You’ve hurt their feelings, offended their belief system, mocked their most precious symbols, and provoked them into retaliatory action. Now, if you didn’t provoke them, they wouldn’t resort to violence. People like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer and Geert Wilders must be gagged for their own good, because they just don’t realize that an Islamic terrorist is merely the powerless pawn of his belief system, bereft of volition and malice.
And, about that violence: How do you know your daughters have been raped, your sons beheaded, your neighbors mowed down by AK-47’s, and your dogs tortured and maimed? Those are just negative, judgmental labels arbitrarily and maliciously appended to actions that may very well be humanitarian, missionary work by distraught, Muslims struggling to keep to their faith. Jihadism, after all, means “struggling.”
Ergo, the tautology goes, a terrorist is not a terrorist, but a warrior for peace, who just wants to be left alone to practice his creed. And the best guarantee of being left alone to practice his creed is to shut people up, with either violence or lawsuits. Just don’t tick him off, or “provoke” him, or open his Pandora’s box.
The New York Times on May 6th, three days after the aborted attack on Pamela Geller’s Draw Mohammad art exhibit on May 3rd in Garland, Texas, opined in an editorial, “Free Speech vs. Hate Speech”:
There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers….
Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event. These can serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.
Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.
Pamela Geller, says the New York Times, is just grandstanding her Islamophobia in an exercise of “hate speech.” Pretending that she’s expressing her right to criticize Islam is just “hogwash.” However, criticizing murdering terrorists for practicing the core tenets of their faith in order to silence criticism in the name of freedom of speech, well, that’s not hogwash, but just regrettable confusion, and our name is Schrödinger. Where are my rose-tinted glasses? I hear mewing in that box. Let’s open it – responsibly, and not rush to hasty conclusions should we pull a Bullwinkle and yank a terrorist out of the box!
Well, if we keep saying that the predatory lion we yank out of the box is actually a Peruvian llama, it sooner or later will be the “truth.”
That is the tautology of Bedlam governing the news media, academia, and science. And the arts. And politics. So, is it any wonder that suicidal madness seems to be governing the course of the West?