On the Leftern Blogosphere, Self-Criticism, and Juan Cole

Sisu and Solomonia have an excellent combination of blog posts on the Juan Cole to Yale development. It raises all kinds of issues about the tone of blogging, the response to criticism, and the incredibly thin skin and readiness to abuse (to protect that thin skin) on the left. As Sissy points out, in a comment that links the Left with the French and the Arabs: they are waking up (barely) “on the wrong side of history.” Fascinating developments.

6 Responses to On the Leftern Blogosphere, Self-Criticism, and Juan Cole

  1. igout says:

    This is a carry over from the post about Dr Wiesel. And that’s a neat trick with the italic typeface, how do you do it?

    Anyway, I want to doublecheck whether I’m understanding you right.

    You wrote: “do you mean here that for some israelis, given the past experience of submission and reluctance to fight, they can conceive of dhimmitude as an option?”

    Yes. That’s exactly what I’m asking. Here’s why it matters: We’ve all assumed that the root of the left’s behavior is denial, denial of something too horrible to contemplate, namely, being ruled by Islam. But what if this assumption is false? What if it isn’t out of fear but out of indifference? Limiting this question for the moment to just the Jews, here you have a people with thousands of years of practice in surviving as a minority under domination by others. Maybe to these pre-and-post-zionists losing your country just ain’t that big a deal–certainly not worth going all Carthagenian on the Arabs. Moral perfectionism? or nonchalance?
    (What I’ve just written sounds totally insane to me, but then I’m an American, carrying a very different (pardon the expression) folk memory.)

    Now, broadening this notion to the pc left in general really makes my head hurt. We’d have to start from the point that these people are fully aware of what Islam is, what it wants, what life under it would mean, but,far from quaking in intellectual terror, simply don’t care. Nothing deep or psychological about it, it’s just they sheerly don’t care.
    Rather akin to: “The house is on fire, dear.” “That’s nice, now go back to sleep.”

    Finally, darned if I know what you can do with such people. Rescue the dog and the valuables, I guess, and let the damn fools burn if they want.

    On the other hand, all this may be 100% phooey. I hope is it.

  2. RL says:

    Answer to Igout:

    I must tell you I was laughing out loud at various points in this post. You write wonderfully.

    This is a carry over from the post about Dr Wiesel. And that’s a neat trick with the italic typeface, how do you do it?

    As for italics, if you type em surrounded by < and > (i can’t type it or it will just appear as code) in front of what you want italicized, and at the end do < / em > (with no spaces), it will show up italics. I imagine there’s a guide, but i don’t know it).

    Anyway, I want to doublecheck whether I’m understanding you right.

    You wrote: “do you mean here that for some israelis, given the past experience of submission and reluctance to fight, they can conceive of dhimmitude as an option?”

    Yes. That’s exactly what I’m asking. Here’s why it matters: We’ve all assumed that the root of the left’s behavior is denial, denial of something too horrible to contemplate, namely, being ruled by Islam. But what if this assumption is false? What if it isn’t out of fear but out of indifference? Limiting this question for the moment to just the Jews, here you have a people with thousands of years of practice in surviving as a minority under domination by others. Maybe to these pre-and-post-zionists losing your country just ain’t that big a deal–certainly not worth going all Carthagenian on the Arabs. Moral perfectionism? or nonchalance?

    here ‘s one place i lol’ed. beatifully put.

    but i don’t agree with your over-simplistic (but bitingly funny) conclusion. Certainly you are pointing to one aspect of the problem… a kind of “après nous le déluge” attitude that i ran into with three french journalists after watching Decryptage in Paris in 2003. No kids, no posterity… what? they should trouble the delightful present to start a terrifying confrontation with something one can safely ignore (they think) for another 20 years?

    (What I’ve just written sounds totally insane to me, but then I’m an American, carrying a very different (pardon the expression) folk memory.)

    on one level (moral sanity), it is. but on another, we’ve got historical examples of this… the Roman Empire (which went with a whimper), and the French aristocracy (which kept coming back). i think the important thing to realize is that while some may be primarily given to such narcissism, and some degree of that narcissism plays in all of us, there’s more at work here than this kind of insane laziness.

    Now, broadening this notion to the pc left in general really makes my head hurt. We’d have to start from the point that these people are fully aware of what Islam is,

    no. but more aware than they pretend. remember that all humans live with cognitive dissonance and tell themselves stories they believe even as they know they’re not true (Enderlin thinks he’s innocent.)

    what it wants,

    here i’d say a primary motivation appears to be some kind of moral narcissism in which above all i want to feel good about myself… as embodied in the suicidal “moral europe” conceit.

    what life under it would mean,

    taboo topic for the imagination — to even pause to think would be to indulge in the worst racism.

    but, far from quaking in intellectual terror, simply don’t care. Nothing deep or psychological about it, it’s just they sheerly don’t care.
    Rather akin to: “The house is on fire, dear.” “That’s nice, now go back to sleep.”

    again, lol. you’re right. that is the attitude of a particular kind of person now inhabiting the MSM discussion. it’s the kind of person who, after seeing the material on pallywood and al durah, would say, “you’re right, this sure looks awful… but i don’t know how much appetite there is for that here [take your pick: CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, BBC, etc.] right now.” [Even Fox has treated it only a briefly.] “Look,” they’re saying, “this is a huge fight. We’re not going to take that on lightly.” It was the attitude of the American Media when it folded on Danoongate. And as long as you don’t think it’s too serious, then you can go on procrastinating on the inevitable, terrible confrontation.

    Finally, darned if I know what you can do with such people. Rescue the dog and the valuables, I guess, and let the damn fools burn if they want.

    that’s what i hear americans saying more and more. “if they are going to make the same disgusting mistakes again, get into another war that, by their own lack of vigilance (itself rooted in narcistic resentment — adds RL), they can’t handle, this time i say let them burn.” i most decidedly do not share that attitude, but i understand it, and if the europeans could get over their own delusions of grandeur long enuf to understand what they look like to some of the rest of us (if i understand your ref. to a different folk memory), maybe they could begin to pull themselves together.

    On the other hand, all this may be 100% phooey. I hope is it.

    Sorry, buddy, you are, if not “right on,” getting real good wood on the ball. If it’s any consolation, I suspect that moral laziness is a widespread phenomenon — it’s at the heart of the emperor’s new clothes catastrophe — and what you are asking for is moral courage. don’t be too impatient, but look for people with moral courage to swim against a current where all the fish are swimming in the same direction… the hope lies in that direction.

  3. Sissy Willis says:

    I love this post, and not just because you reference — and link! — what my sister and I call “Me and My Show.” ;)

    Re the estimable igout’s assertion that “We’ve all assumed that the root of the left’s behavior is denial, denial of something too horrible to contemplate, namely, being ruled by Islam,” I agree the left’s problem is “denial of something too horrible to contemplate,” but it isn’t necessarily “being ruled by Islam.” Far more likely, the thing too horrible to contemplate is the lie at the heart of their world view. Again, waking up to find themselves on the wrong side of history:

    Mugged by reality?

  4. RL says:

    okay, you’re pushing the narcissistic morality analysis to the limit:

    they are immune to / oblivious to the threat posed by islam because they are so wrapped up in “being right” — what i would call “thinking of themselves as the moral cutting edge of the universe” — that they cannot tolerate even contemplating the possibility that they might be wrong?

    as i think of it, it sure could explain the thin skin…

    it also reminds me of the way Charles Enderlin thinks.

  5. igout says:

    thanks, guys, for the lol’s and the ‘estimable’s’ but I’m just 1 of a zillion noisy orators in this cyper-taproom we’ve been handed. At least I hope so. On to Finklekraut.
    PS: What is it about this blog that makes people think further than they’re used to?

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