Robert Spencer remains, at bottom, an ameliorative liberal, not an Islam realist
In an item about a Muslim honor killing in Australia, Robert Spencer writes:
Yet another inconvenient incident for those who wish to deny any Islamic connection to honor killing. That denial can only result in more girls being murdered, because no one is calling upon Muslim communities anywhere to do anything to combat the attitudes and beliefs that give rise to this phenomenon.Got it? Spencer thinks that the reason more Muslim honor killings are going to occur is that Westerners are failing to try to persuade Muslims to stop believing in honor killings. He says that it’s up to us to make Muslims, uh, stop being Muslims, or at least stop being serious Muslims.
So, after writing, with one hand, a hundred thousand blog entries saying that he is still waiting, waiting, waiting for evidence of an authoritative moderate Islam (meaning that he thinks that an authoritative moderate Islam doesn’t exist, because the only authoritative Islam is extremist Islam), with the other hand he writes entries saying that Islam can be rendered moderate, by well-meaning Westerners “calling on” Muslims to reform their religion!
Spencer’s deep-seated liberal belief in amelioration prevents him from forming a clear, consistent, stable picture of the nature of Islam, and from forming any realistic concept of what needs to be done about the threat of Islam. When it comes to waging a cold war against Islam, he is half Scoop Jackson, half Adlai Stevenson. Too often, the second half cancels out the first.
Stevenson was hit by an anti-United Nations protester in Dallas, Texas, on October 24, 1963, one month before the assassination of Kennedy in that same city. A woman carrying an anti-United Nations sign hit Stevenson in the head with the sign. A man spat on him and on a policeman. Amid the furor, Stevenson said of his assailants: “I don’t want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school.”By that instinctive reaction, Stevenson showed that didn’t want to remove malefactors from society, he wanted to reform them.
Similarly, Robert Spencer does not want to protect America from Islam by stopping Muslim immigrants from entering America or removing the ones that are here; he wants us to keeping “calling on” them to moderate their religion, even as their numbers and power in our society keep increasing.
It should be noted that while in past years Spencer repeatedly called me a liar and a crazy person for pointing out that his occasional, passing, and often parenthetical remarks against Muslim immigration did not add up to a serious position, when he formed his own activist organization, the Freedom Defense Initiative, in February 2010, it had, among its 23 planks, not a single reference to stopping or even slightly reducing Muslim immigration, thus proving that my criticisms of him had been correct all along.
Kevin H. writes:
As a relative newcomer to blogs such as those of Spencer, Geller and others, I see clearly the point you are making. There seems to be a collection of “whiner sites” that complain about Islam and never really encourage a deeper discussion of the issues and their implications. The hosts of such sites become frequent guests on talk shows and get invited to comment in news articles but no-one knows where they are trying to go.LA replies:
Well, I wouldn’t call Spencer a “whiner.” He writes serious things about Islam. Yes, the commenters at his site are mostly unreadable because they compulsively keep repeating, “Yes, Robert, you’re right! Islam is terrible, terrible, terrible!”LA continues:
I was about to say that Spencer’s excuse is that he sees his function as that of a scholar telling us about Islam, not as an activist trying to do something about it, and that he thinks it’s up to others to propose policies based on the information about Islam that Spencer brings forth. But that theory is disproved by the fact that Spencer founded an activist organization in 2010, an activist organization that did not mention the word immigration.February 26
Kevin H. replies:
You’re right, I should not have called Mr. Spencer a whiner. But I liken his work to that of Dalrymple and to an extent Mark Steyn, as noted in the VFR entry entitled “On the Empty Conservatism of Theodore Dalrymple,” in which Rick Darby comments on Dalrymple: “His writing is lazy; he can’t be bothered to think beyond clever pathology reports.” I see Spencer in the same way. [LA replies: Again, I have to defend Spencer. His writings on Islam are not limited to clever pathology reports. He identifies the formative principles, doctrines, and traditions of Islam, or at least of the jihadist aspect of Islam, that make Islam, or at least jihadism, what it is. At the same time, if by pathology you mean describing an illness but not prescribing any cure, then there is justice in what you are saying about Spencer.]
Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 23, 2012 09:45 PM | Send