After a somewhat tiresome discussion where I was emphasizing that it is not done to claim a position of solidarity in the face of religious fanaticism while running scared at the Dreyfuss affair of our generation, while smearing those who actually stepped up to the plate. This was followed by the line that it was only horrid xenophobes and nasty people who bothered to reprint the Danish cartoons and therefore there was no obligation to do so.
These ones, in case you have forgotten:
Now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to leave aside the smear for the moment, and focus on the logic. Now it is absolutely true that there are people who just don’t like Muslims because they are foreigners, immigrants, or first generation immigrants. To go from this plain fact to saying that we should duck out of such confrontations is to get things backwards. It is precisely because we do not want to see movements of the extreme right take power that we have to prove that secular, liberal (in the classical sense) voices are willing to step up to the fight.
And so we are clear what “extreme right” means, I’m not, contra some conversations I’ve had, talking about this man:
I’m talking about this one:
A fastitidious, not to say finicky, unwillingness to touch the subject of Islamic reaction is seen for exactly what it is, namely weakness, out there in the wild-lands of politics. It does not matter how many disclaimers are added that, of course, in principle, you might not be completely opposed to perhaps making a few denunciations if the climate was just the way you wanted it, and everyone else has a spotless record.
To cite from an interesting essay by Nick Land on the emergence of neoreactionary thought in modern times:
As liberal decency has severed itself from intellectual integrity, and exiled harsh truths, these truths have found new allies, and become considerably harsher. The outcome is mechanically, and monotonously, predictable. Every liberal democratic ‘cause war’ strengthens and feralizes what it fights. The war on poverty creates a chronically dysfunctional underclass. The war on drugs creates crystallized super-drugs and mega-mafias. Guess what? The war on political incorrectness creates data-empowered, web-coordinated, paranoid and poly-conspiratorial werewolves, superbly positioned to take advantage of liberal democracy’s impending rendezvous with ruinous reality, and to then play their part in the unleashing of unpleasantnesses that are scarcely imaginable (except by disturbing historical analogy). When a sane, pragmatic, and fact-based negotiation of human differences is forbidden by ideological fiat, the alternative is not a reign of perpetual peace, but a festering of increasingly self-conscious and militantantly defiant thoughtcrime, nourished by publicly unavowable realities, and energized by powerful, atavistic, and palpably dissident mythologies. That’s obvious, on the ‘Net.
In effect, what mainstream liberal (American sense) society has proclaimed is: if you wander off the reservation even slightly, we’ll denounce you, slam you, get you fired and ostracised, and cast you out. On the other hand if any of these outcasts decide to go the distance, decide that they don’t give a damn about the society anymore, decide to start raising militias and paramilitary groups – why in that case there’s nothing to be done. Does anyone else see the slight problem with this?
That’s only the start of it. In Europe, long decades of isolation has allowed fascist strains to mutate, cross-polinate and evolve, resulting in a new breed of uniquely attractive and viable super-fascism that is making inroads across the continent – and beyond. As I wrote at the time:
Fifteen years ago there was a basic safeguard in place against anti-immigrant windbags. The direct experience of just about eveyone was that immigrants and their descendants were just trying to muddle along as best they can, same as the rest of us. You could always say, “Where, exactly, is this thread you’re on about?” Unfortunately that now has an answer. When you have mobs calling for the next holocaust, Arabic versions of Mein Kampf being sold with rave reviews, and mainstream mosques calling for the deaths of Jews and Hindus, that question starts sounding a little silly.
People looking for a neutralist position in this are at best deluded.