Metal detectors and mental dhimmitude

It often happens that I’ll read about an idea that is familiar to me, even one I’ve written about myself, but now described in such a way that I feel I understand it for the first time. In Islamikaze (a serious book with an unfortunately sensationalist title and cover illustration), Raphael Israeli sums up the phenomenon of mental dhimmitude as discovered by Bat Ye’or. He then relates it to the West’s passive approach to terrorism, in which we subject ourselves to massively burdensome security measures and other restraints, rather than going after and eliminating the threat at its source:

This state of mind, which dictated caution, surreptitious manoeuvering in order to survive, and a self-humiliating sycophancy toward the Muslim ruler in the hope of gaining his favour, amounted in the final analysis, after many centuries of oppression and contempt by the rule of Islam, to a self-diminution of the dhimmis, a loss of their confidence in themselves, self-flagellation that they did not stand up to the standards set for them by their rulers, and a total distortion of their self-image and the image of their oppressors. So much so, that many Christians and Jews, years after being liberated from dhimmitude, continued to think and act as dhimmis, namely to hold themselves grateful to their Muslim masters, who beat, humiliated, and mistreated them.

What is more, the spirit of dhimmitude has been adopted, or taken over, by many Western societies today which, for reasons hard to understand or explain, pretend not to hear or comprehend Muslim threats, smile, and evince “understanding” in the face of those threats, and seem to be marching foolishly toward spiritual and cultural capitulation and enslavement. Take, for example, the regime of self-defense and of intruding into the privacy of the air-passengers, which has been imposed in airports all over the world in the past two decades due to Arab and Muslim terrorism. Instead of persecuting it and eliminating it at its roots, the West surrendered to it and adopted, at considerable financial, human and moral cost, measures to live with it, not to fight it, in what has amounted to submission to a mammoth collective punishment of innocents. [Islamikaze, p. 47]

I have sometimes described Americans’ self-submission to humiliating and demoralizing random airport security measures as the sheep-like behavior of the Eloi in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. That’s an accurate and useful picture. But to describe this same behavior as dhimmitude places it in a historically concrete and specific context. We are not, after all, deferring to Wells’ fictional Morlocks; we are deferring to actual Muslims. And the fact is that we would rather go on existing as a nation of spiritual sheep or mental dhimmis for the rest of our lives than take steps to remove from our nation the jihad-supporting population in the absence of whom the domestic security regime would not be necessary. Just today the New York Sun reported that threats of suicide attacks on the New York City subway system come from terrorists whom the authorities believe are currently residing in New York City. I’m not saying that we have the right or the ability instantly to deport all Muslims from the U.S. and thus clear out the terrorists along with them; but our refusal even to discuss or imagine the possibility of doing so, or at least of moving in that direction, combined with our willingness to undergo an unending security crackdown on ourselves, seems a quintessential mark of the mental dhimmitude that Bat Ye’or has explicated.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 04, 2005 09:55 PM | Send

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