Filipino Christian youth group protests “Lady Gaga”; and more on Robert Spencer’s liberalism
The other day, in response to the barring of “Lady Gaga” from performing in Indonesia, Robert Spencer wrote:
Modern, moderate Indonesia is not moderate enough to tolerate this “envoy of the devil’s child.”Meaning that a truly modern and moderate Muslim country, the kind of which Spencer himself would approve, would allow “Lady Gaga” to perform there. I said that Spencer’s implied preference for the freedom of “Lady Gaga” to perform in Indonesia over the moral good of the Indonesian society that seeks to exclude such filth from its culture shows that he remains at bottom a liberal.
But now, reports the AP,
Christian young people in the Philippines protested Saturday against upcoming concerts by Lady Gaga despite organizers’ assurances that her performances would not threaten morality.So it’s not just Far Eastern Muslims who don’t like “Lady Gaga,” but Far Eastern Christians as well. And of course Spencer himself is a Christian (though he never seems to introduce a Christian perspective into his writings, and the secular society is his oft-stated ideal). So where does Spencer come down on this? Does he consider the Filipino Christians who would prevent “Lady Gaga” from putting on concerts in their country insufficiently modern and moderate for his tastes? Are they as bad as the anti-“Gaga” Muslims?
Bottom line: Is Spencer’s guiding principle freedom (including the freedom of “Lady Gaga” to spread her degeneracy to every country in the world), or is it the good? If the former, he’s a liberal; if the latter, he’s a conservative in the true sense.
And I would add this: it is only a conservative Western country, a country that makes the good its highest principle (by which I mean, of course, its understanding of the good), that can bar from its shores the evil of Islam. A country that makes freedom its highest principle must remain open to everyone and everything, including Islam. And an Islam-critical intellectual who makes freedom his highest principle can never do anything about the Islam threat except to watch it; he is incapable of making or embracing any serious proposals to stop and reverse the fatal spread of Islam amongst us.
Matthew H. writes:
According to Robert Spencer’s Wikipedia entry, he was born in 1962. (One also learns he formerly worked in a Communist bookstore). In the early ’60s a number of obscenity trials were held in the United States. Among them were those concerning William S. Burroughs’s putrid and illiterate Naked Lunch, Henry Miller’s soft-porn Tropic of Cancer, as well as Lenny Bruce’s prosecutions in various municipalities for his (by then-prevailing standards) grossly vulgar comedy performances.LA replies:
Matthew’s excellent comment underscores the point that (a) Spencer supports the modern liberal order, including its destruction of traditional and local restraints on obscenity via the Incorporation Doctrine and the revolutionary expansion of the power of federal courts over states and localities, and (b) Spencer thinks that to support the modern liberal order is a conservative thing to do.Paul K. writes:
What strikes me about Lady Gaga, Madonna, and other like performers is not only their wanton sexuality, but their fervent support of homosexuality as the holiest of holies. In some ways this a shrewd career move, as both established their fan base first with homosexuals, but it also associates them with a cause highly admired in liberal society.LA replies:
Right. And many self-described conservatives would mock you and say that there’s something wrong with you for having this position. They are completely a part of the liberal culture—including its enforcement mechanism of mockery and intimidation of dissenters— and have no grasp of that fact.May 20
Jim Kalb writes:
I think a big reason for this sort of thing is polemical opportunism. Spencer doesn’t like Islam, and he wants to win the battle, so he uses every weapon that comes to hand. If there are lots of libertine feminist gay marriage supporters he’ll denounce Islam for its opposition to feminism, gay marriage, and (many forms of) libertinism. He may or may not have strong personal views on the matter. (I have to admit though that I haven’t read much of his stuff.)Daniel S. writes:
This exactly why I have long since been disillusioned by Robert Spencer and his followers. Spencer, Geller, and company are essentially liberals that have accepted a critical view of Islam in the abstract. They are not traditionalists seeking to defend a particular place and particular people, but rather liberal globalists who believe that the rest of the world, especially the Muslim world, must accept the principles of liberalism. Look at it this way: which does Spencer spend more time on, calling for an end of Muslim immigration to the West, or criticizing Muslim countries for failing to embrace feminism, democracy, and degenerate entertainment?LA replies:
That is powerful. The truth, of course, is that Spencer spends zero or virtually zero time calling for an end of Muslim immigration to the West, and a great deal of time criticizing Muslim countries for their treatment of women. I don’t know that he’s called on them to embrace feminism per se, or democracy per se, but your underlying point remains valid: a major thrust of his writing is taking Muslim countries to task for their illiberalism; a minor or non-existent thrust of his writing is calling for the end of Muslim immigration to the West.Jeanette V. writes:
What is especially disturbing about Spencer’s suggestion that a “free society” would allow Lady Gaga’s pornography is the fact that he is a Melkite Greek Catholic.LA replies:
Spencer did not actually say that a “free society” would allow her to perform. That was my interpretation of what he said. What he said was:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 19, 2012 09:53 PM | Send