Sunday, February 15, 2015

"SUBMISSION"? HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

Yesterday, in between reading reports on the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, I was also reading Adam Gopnik's recent New Yorker essay on Michel Houellebecq, the French provocateur whose latest novel, Soumission (Submission), put him on the cover of Charlie Hebdo the week it was attacked. Houellebecq's novel imagines a future France that elects a Muslim president and yields to sharia law. This, of course, is a common nightmare scenario on the Islamophobic right. Gopnik writes that Houellebecq has his own reasons for imagining this future, having less to do with a fear of Islam than with contempt for contemporary France:
In France in the very near future, the respectable republican parties fragment the vote in a multiparty election, and the two top vote-getters are Marine Le Pen, of the extreme right, and one Mohammed Ben Abbes, the fictive leader of a French Muslim Brotherhood. In the runoff, the French left backs the Muslim, preferring the devil it doesn’t know to the one it does. Ben Abbes’s government soon imposes a kind of relaxed Sharia law throughout France and -- this is the book’s central joke and point -- the French √©lite are cravenly eager to collaborate with the new regime, delighted not only to convert but to submit to a bracing and self-assured authoritarianism.

... it turns out that the principal target of the satire is not French Islam -- which is really a bystander that gets, at most, winged -- but the spinelessness of the French intellectual class.... The jokes are all about how quickly the professors find excuses to do what’s asked of them by the Islamic regime.... The new Islamic administration at the University of Paris allows a professor of Rimbaud studies to carry on, but on the condition that he teach Rimbaud’s conjectured conversion to Islam as an established fact. The professor is happy to do it....

The charge that Houellebecq is Islamophobic seems misplaced. He’s not Islamophobic. He’s Francophobic. The portrait of the Islamic regime is quite fond; he likes the fundamentalists’ suavity and sureness....
Im' not sure how different this is from the imagined futures -- "Eurabia" and the like -- that trouble the sleep of right-wingers. The prophets of doom don't even think the coming sharia will be "relaxed," yet they think we're so spineless and indifferent to our own values that we'll happily forgo our free speech, our Western dress, our sexual freedom, our bacon, and welcome our new headscarf-wielding, beard-measuring overlords.

I've always thought this was a ridiculous notion. But even if it were plausible, the current crop of jihadists seems determined to stoke our outrage, not lull us into, well, submission.

George Packer noted earlier this month that ISIS clearly wants us all angry and ready to fight. Here, for instance, is what Packer writes about Japan:
Why did ISIS execute a second Japanese hostage? Before the beheading of the journalist Kenji Goto, Japan didn’t think that it was even in a fight with the Islamic State. All Japan had done was contribute a couple of hundred million dollars in humanitarian aid to countries fighting ISIS. Then the man who has come to be known as Jihadi John, the executioner with the London accent seen in several of the group’s videos, threatened death to every Japanese person on the planet as he prepared to slaughter Goto. As a result, a political scientist at the University of Tokyo told the Times, “The cruelty of the Islamic State has made Japan see a harsh new reality.... We now realize we face the same dangers as other countries do.” People in Japan are now calling Kenji Goto’s murder their 9/11.
And as Packer notes, the same is true of Jordan -- why did ISIS refuse a prisoner exchange for the captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, and, of course, why did ISIS burn him alive on video, if not to stoke Jordanian outrage?

Juan Cole, responding to the events in Copenhagen, explains the strategy:
This kind of violence is extremely useful to al-Qaeda offshoots and affiliates, since it produces a Western backlash against ordinary everyday European Muslims, which can then drive the latter into the arms of the radicals. Denmark has a couple hundred thousand Muslims, and about 2700 Danish converts to Islam.... Because Danish Muslims are relatively wealthy and from a relatively wealthy country, and because they are Europeans, al-Qaeda would like to recruit them. But they would for the most part only embrace it out of desperation. It is therefore necessary to produce desperation by putting them in trouble with the government and with white supremacists.
We don't want to "submit," and they don't want us to "submit." So really, righties, it's not going to happen.

18 comments:

Victor said...

And what, exactly, is the difference between "Sharia Law," and the law that our "Christians would want to impose of the rest of us.

Outside of Muslimy sauce, it's exactly the same - imo.

If we embraced "The other," instead of shunned him/her, we'd be in a better place....

But, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

duffandnonsense said...

Why do you sound slightly shocked at the thought that university professors would willingly give up their principles and freedoms and go along with the 'powers that be'. Just take a look at what has happened in the academy over the last 25 years where *real liberty* has been tossed aside in favour of fake liberty in which self-appointed 'language commissars' lay down what may or may not be spoken or written, and PC commissars enforce rules of behavior.

Load of weak-kneed tossers, the lot of 'em!

Victor said...

duff,
That's even more nonsense than we usually get from you.

oc democrat said...

The world is getting smaller; instant news, fast travel, and KAKA is going to happen by unhappy things, mostly, but not ALL being
Muslim Extremeists!

This is the future folks, whether we destroy ISIS, and all it's reincarnations, or NOT. There are going to be lone wolfs, if not the whole sick bunch, trying to kill they hate.


We are lucky in America that there have not been More terrorist stunts on our Country.
Even if you are a peaceful nation, the terrorists will always find an excuse to use their hatred for killing.

As Charlie said this week: "These are fkng Mole People"!

Ten Bears said...

How much, duffus, were you paid to copy and paste that? Thirty-five, forty cents? It was too much. And your only valid point is off by about thity-five years and several thousand miles. It's the Brits who've given up their liberties to the Fascist powers that be, as they have since Hadrian.

duffandnonsense said...

Thank you, Victor, and now it's your bedtime, I think.

10 Bears, am I to suppose from your comment that it is possible to enter any American campus and propose, say, that men are more important than women, or that homosexuality should be made illegal, or Christianity is the only true religion?

As to your somewhat obscure (even by your usual standards) final sentence, am I to assume that Magna Carta whose 700th anniversary we are celebrating this year and, say, the Enlightenment which infused the American founders, was all part of us surrendering our liberties? However, if you are suggesting that our academy is as feeble in protecting *real* liberty as yours then I agree with you - 'quelle horreure!'

Dark Avenger said...

Duff, that you think "homosexuality should be made illegal" is a serious proposition tells me that you're just regurgitating RW points instead of trying to establish a serious dialog.

But, yes, let's invited a Salafist to a college campus to discuss that proposition, here or in the U.K.

Is that what you had in mind?

Ten Bears said...

The Magna Carta conveyed rights upon the nobility, not the people.

Steve M. said...

Trolls thrive when they're fed.

Ten Bears said...

I believe the word you're lookin' for is academia.

Joey_Blau said...

Bacon? What? They are not getting our bacon from our fat greasy fingers... ever...

duffandnonsense said...

DA, no, I am not proposing that, I am merely asking if such a discussion could take place on an American campus. The answer, as you well know but will not admit, is 'NO'! So much for liberty of expression.

Our distinguished host also seems to suffer from nerves when someone has the temerity to come on his site and start a conversation from a differing point of view - quick, pass the smelling salts! Of course, life is so much easier if we can all sit in a circle and nod our heads in unison, er, like students at a university!

Philo Vaihinger said...

@ Juan Cole. Bollocks.

Dark Avenger said...

Duff, why should bigotry, which the question of making homosexuality illegal is about, have a place on an American campus? Why not go whole hog and have Neo-Nazis and members of the KKK in campus "debate" the question of white supremacy, and why interracial marriages should be outlawed in America?

It would be like having a debate about phlogiston at the physics department. Why not teach that controversy as well?

Thanks once again for proving John Stuart Mill correct yet again about most stupid people being conservative.

gocart mozart said...

"Am I to suppose from your comment that it is possible to enter any American campus and propose, say, that men are more important than women, or that homosexuality should be made illegal, or Christianity is the only true religion?"

Who is stopping you? What do you think will happen if you propose any of those things? Will the campus gestapo come and take you away? Perhaps someone will strongly disagree with you or worse, roll their eyes and mock you (THE HORROR) Perhaps the ladies will turn await you advances even. Is that what you fear the most? The world is not obligated to respect you. Man up and grow a pair.

gocart mozart said...

"turn away your advances" obviously.

bgn said...

10 Bears, am I to suppose from your comment that it is possible to enter any American campus and propose, say,[...] that homosexuality should be made illegal,...?

Robert P. George has had a very successful career at Princeton University arguing just that.

Ten Bears said...

Actually, I kind of like to see duffus ask those questions where I went to university (Montana), or where I taught (Oregon). I'd probably hurt myself laughing as he got his ass kicked by a lesbian.