Spencer talks himself into silence and surrender

An odd and unintentionally revealing exchange took place today between John Derbyshire and Robert Spencer. Derbyshire writing at the Corner started it by noting in passing that Separationism, which he defined partially as “bribing foreign Muslims to leave the U.S.A, preventing further Muslim immigration,” would not solve the Islam problem when it comes to home-grown Muslims such as the Nation of Islam. He linked the word Separationism to the main page of Jihad Watch. Robert Spencer then replied at Jihad Watch that his site has nothing to do with Separationism and that the word has never appeared there, so why was Derbyshire associating Separationism with him? Derbyshire replied by quoting my article last December (which he describes as “the ur-text on ‘separationism’”) in which I laid out the separationist idea and quoted several writers I consider separationists. Among the writers was Hugh Fitzgerald, Spencer’s own featured writer at Jihad Watch, who has written that Muslim immigration needs to be not only stopped but reversed, and who has laid out radical ideas for containing Islam globally, ideas that are highly relevant to the separationist strategy of rollback, isolate, contain, and police.

Spencer in reply seemed or claimed to know nothing about Fitzgerald’s radical strategic ideas, or rather he simply ignored that aspect of Fitzgerald’s writings and suggested it was irrelevant. He also suggested that I, whom he only identified as a “secondary source,” was misrepresenting Fitzgerald. At the same time he claimed to find “eminently sensible” the notion of preventing further Muslim immigration, because, as he put it, “there is no reliable way to distinguish peaceful Muslims from actual and potential jihadists.” But he then immediately added the caveat that the idea of stopping Muslim immigration cannot “even be discussed intelligently in the public sphere” until there is a great increase of public awareness about the nature of Islam.

In other words, Spencer openly states that, until some indefinite point in the future, he will decline to discuss publicly a crucially important method of protecting America from Islam that he himself finds eminently sensible. Of course, what this really means is that he will never talk about it. As in the past, his claim to agree with immigration restriction is lip service to placate critics. Only when he is pushed does he say anything at all about immigration restriction. In the rest of his writings and speeches, he remains stone-cold silent on the subject, even as he keeps warning that Islam is threatening to destroy us.

Nevertheless, in stating his abstract agreement with the idea of stopping Muslim immigration, which is something he doesn’t really care about at all, Spencer has inadvertently refuted a position he does care very much about: his proposal that jihadist Muslims be identified and prevented from immigrating into the U.S. by means of a background check and a questionnaire—a questionnaire that has been designed and promoted by Spencer himself. If, as Spencer put it, “there is no reliable way to distinguish peaceful Muslims from actual and potential jihadists,” then his whole idea of identifying likely jihadists as distinct from regular Muslims, in order to keep out the jihadists while continuing to let in the regular Muslims, is finished, dead, kaput. By Spencer’s own logic, the only sure way to stop jihadists from entering our country is to stop all Muslims from entering our country, as I have been arguing for years

Where then does this leave Spencer? On one hand, he has made it clear that he will refuse even to discuss the “eminently sensible” idea of stopping Muslim immigration until he has determined that the country is sufficiently aware of the jihadist ideology, something that could take decades or forever. On the other hand, he has indicated the utter lack of sense and purpose in his questionnaire, which is his pet method—indeed his only proffered method—of protecting America and the West from jihadist Muslims. All that’s left for Spencer is to spend the rest of his life talking about how horrible, horrible, horrible Islam is, even as Islam grows steadily more numerous and powerful in the West, and Spencer offers not the slightest idea of how to stop it.

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LA writes:

Hugh Fitzgerald replies to Derbyshire. While his post is not easy to follow, he seems to be making two discernible points:

First, Derbyshire was wrong to speak in terms of Fitzgerald suggesting a “solution” to the Islam problem. (But exactly why, I’m not sure.)

And, second, Derbyshire is a defeatist because he dismisses the possibility to stopping further Islamic immigration.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 23, 2007 04:33 PM | Send

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