Conspiracies

Prof. Terry wrote this on October 1st as a Comment to my posting of September 23 2013 titled: “A Religion of Peace and Silence.” Prof. Terry is a habitual liberal critic of this blog. His contributions are precious because they light up a little lamp into the fog that is the liberal thought process.

Oh great. In short order we’ll have Jacques ranting about the ‘conspiracy of silence’ by Buddhists. Why aren’t Buddhists around the world denouncing this violence?! Why hasn’t the Dalai Lama condemned this outrage?! (Follows a link about a Buddhist Leader calling for the expulsion of a certain Muslim minority from Myanmar. JD)

Those who read my blogs know that I rarely “rant.” I present reasoned arguments informed by facts. If my facts are wrong, that ‘s still not ranting. It’s error, it’s sloppiness, it’s laziness, it’s not ranting. I prize rationality. Of course, I have opinions. If I did not, I would not bother to keep a blog. My opinions seldom rise to the level of the kind of passion that seems to underlie “ranting.”

What causes my detractors to accuse me of ranting is that they rarely see or hear aloud the kind of argument I make frequently on my blog. They tend to live in a world frozen by political correctness. They react to my straightforward and plain statements as an old nun would who accidentally caught a glimpse of a naked man: the horror! I despise political correctness, this contemporary form of censorship. I do my best to ignore it dramatically. Think about it: Ignoring anything dramatically is a tough job. This candid way of acting is shocking to liberals; they run out of words to describe it; they sometime choke on their own spittle when they encounter political incorrectness. I am sorry about this; I don’t wish death upon them, only a severe, well-placed rash!

Prof. Terry uses the word “conspiracy ” to make me sound like a nut. The attempt is so silly it does not even make me angry. For possible new readers, including readers outside the US, and especially for Muslim readers, let me explain how others may use the concept of “conspiracy” to try and annihilate me intellectually. The concept appears in two ways in my discussions.

I do not believe that there are five or six guys in mask with guns in their back pockets deciding what will be said next in the US about violent jihadism, Islamist terrorism, or anything else. I do not believe that a bunch of guys with green eye shades, plus a token mannish woman, determine what the nature of the public discourse will be. Rather, there is a left culture in this country, the United States today that punishes those who say what they see in certain areas. For example, it punishes one for saying anything negative about most groups other than non-immigrant older white males: African-Americans, Hispanics, women, and since 9/11, Muslims. There are other “protected” categories. This left culture gos back to about 1965. The people who were my buddies (“comrades?”) when I was a leftist myself, now hold many levers of American power. They are in control of most universities, for example.* They also dominate powerfully the written press (but not radio). The written press is sinking fast in coverage and in heft but it’s still influential. In fact, its decline makes the printed press all the more mean. The universities and the printed press are the ones who impose political correctness day-to-day on the nation. It’s an above-board “conspiracy,” a visible conspiracy. It’s quite public. In that sense, it’s not much of a conspiracy. It’s a cultural movement with major self-reference. Thus it’s enough for Prof. Terry that I don’t sound like what he normally hears in the faculty club to try to make me pass for a nut. He has no other explanation for our many divergences except that I might just be ignorant or of low intelligence. He knows me enough to avoid using those explanations. I am toward the end of a long and fairly productive life in areas that he, himself, prizes. My record speaks for itself. Logically, either I am a nut or, I am right. Terrible thought!

Who is a nut? (Lexicographic note for readers whose first language is not English: “Nut” means crazy. In French: “cinglé” with an acute accent on the e.)

The first liberal “conspiracy” that I think exists relative to my discussion of violent jihadism consists in trying to eliminate certain concepts from public thinking. It’s been amazingly successful. Thus, when an Army major with a Muslim first name and a Muslim last name, who frequents a local mosque itself frequented by extremists, assassinates fellow soldiers while shouting “Allahu Akbar!” his superiors, Pentagon bureaucrats, describe the event as a workplace incident. The description remains even after an examination of the assassin’s computer shows a high level of preoccupation with jihad (the violent kind of jihad).

People like Prof Terry here would deny that the mass assassination to which I refer has anything to do with Islam. In this, he has candy-assed companions among libertarian unconditional pacifists, unfortunately.

There is another kind of conspiracy that matters to any discussion of violent jihadism. It’s the worldwide “conspiracy” of the violent jihadists themselves. One of their ambitions is to kill Americans and to undermine American life. They have succeeded to a large extent in the latter. The society in which I live is perceptibly different than that of 2,000 in ways that can easily be traced to 9/11. Mostly, violent jihadists have slaughtered large numbers of Muslims under atrocious circumstances such as exploding bombs in funeral crowds including children and widows already grieving for a loved one. (As I have said, no one else does that, only violent jihadists, people who claim to be Muslims.)

The violent jihadist “conspiracy” is successful as a violent movement but it’s not much of a conspiracy in the usual meaning of the term. The word “conspiracy” implies a high degree of organization. In spite of claims to the contrary, Islamist terrorists do not seem to be well organized. “Al Quaida,” “The base,” is not much of an operational center; it was not even before the regretted loss at sea of its founder, Osama. Rather, it seems to me, a high level of frustration in several mainly Muslim societies gave rise to terrorist movements. Those terrorist movements have no constructive programs. They lash out like rabid dogs at infidels, at non-Muslims and even more, at Muslims who are not exactly the kind of Muslims they approve of. I know I am repeating myself but they are more successful at ruining the quality of life among Muslims than among non-Muslims. Their own claim to constitute a conspiracy is only a marketing device. It’s a way (partly successful, I think) to appear bigger, more dangerous, more threatening, than they actually are. Violent jihadists are a “conspiracy” the way the old Ku Klux Klan used to be a conspiracy in the US: We are everywhere, they say; we can get at you and hurt you wherever you are. There is no place for you to hide! And this kind of noise serves to amplify the fear generated by small numbers of successful acts of terror mostly against the defenseless such as marathon runners. Reliance on this marketing device to amplify the paralyzing effect of a few acts of violence also explains the movement’s many pathetic failures. (Just think of the panty bomber who could not get his underwear on fire.)

The various branches of this non-existent tree of violent jihad do look a little bit alike whether they are in the Philippines, in Yemen, or in the US. Two reasons for this superficial similarity. First, much criminality in general is of the copy-cat kind: Each bank robber does not take it to heart to invent another, original way to to banks. If blowing up car bombs in one place achieves the desired results, it ‘s well worth trying it in another place. There is a similarity of techniques that comes from simple imitation.

Secondly, there is a similarity of inspiration between violent jihadist acts. It has two main sub- features. The first feature is the belief that an inability to persuade others of the legitimacy of one’s viewpoint justifies the massive slaughter of the same others and of by-standers. This is enough to explain why the victims of violent jihadists are predominantly Muslim. This accounts also for the fact that attempted violence against non-Muslims (in America, for example) does not subside as the same non-Muslims vacate traditionally Muslim lands such as Afghanistan, following Iraq. Violence perpetrated against others does not depend on what those others do but on who they are. (There is a public declaration of the head of Hamas in Gaza saying clearly that Hamas will fight Israel irrespective of the hardness or comparative humanity of Israeli policies.)

The second inspirational feature of violent jihad is the practice of suicide bombing. I am told by people I trust that suicide is forbidden by Islam, just forbidden, period. Yet, contemporary violent jihadists have invented a new form of martyrdom that appears to inspire the demented fringe of Muslims, including some who live in modern, developed societies. I don’t know to what extent the practice of suicide bombing results from or is associated with a conspiracy. I can imagine that some Muslim clerics have come together to justify the practice. I don’t know this to be true. I would welcome serious information about this.

Every time I write about violent jihadism, I have to to state the same facts that run contrary to Prof. Terry’s statement that I “rant.” I have no emotional investment in this analysis. I just call them I as I see them. I do it largely because those who should be doing it don’t because they are frozen by political correctness. A big part of me hopes I will be shown to be wrong. There are people dear to me, Muslims, this analysis implicitly condemns for their complacency, for their silent complicity, possibly for their cowardice. If I were shown to be wrong, they would instantly become innocent of these implicit charges. I would be happier.

This, then is the feeble extent to which I rely on the idea of conspiracy when I discuss violent jihad.

* Political correctness reigns unchallenged in North American universities. The mechanisms of this supremacy are not mysterious. At any one time, in any university, most of the faculty is subjected to the threat of job loss. The very large and growing number of adjunct faculty have no job security, of course. (That’s what “adjunct” means, “fireable at will.”) They tend to be hired quarter-to-quarter or semester-to-semester. In the university business school where I taught last, half the classes are delivered by adjuncts. I don’t know what percentage of actual faculty that it but it must be of the same order of magnitude: Depart aloud from the party line and lose your livelihood. Regular faculty bucking for tenure can be stopped by a liberal minority at any one of four levels of selection: department, school committee, university committee, President’s Office. In a business school or in an Economics Department, brave dissenting candidates have a fighting chance. In an English department, for example, the price of non-submission is exclusion. Those who fail to earn tenure have to find another job, sometimes at the other end of the country, sometimes abroad. Some liberal arts associations are veritable houses of “Progressive” madness. One of my last academic acts was to present a paper at a meeting of the American Modern Languages Association. There,a female presenter told me loudly the following: The cultural pressures on young American girls to dress in a sexually provocative manner constitutes exactly (“exactly,” she said) as much oppression as the imposition of the chador on women in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I asked the woman if American girls who wore knee-length dresses and blouses closed at the neck risked jail. I was booed by the surrounding crowd for my lack of sophistication. You learn a lot from this sort of incident!

About Jacques Delacroix

I write short stories, current events comments, and sociopolitical essays, mostly in English, some in French. There are other people with the same first name and same last name on the Internet. I am the one who put up on Amazon in 2014: "I Used to Be French: an Immature Autobiography" and also: "Les pumas de grande-banlieue." To my knowledge, I am the only Jacques Delacroix with American and English scholarly publications. In a previous life, I was a teacher and a scholar in Organizational Theory and in the Sociology of Economic Development. (Go ahead, Google me!) I live in the People’s Green Socialist Republic of Santa Cruz, California.
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24 Responses to Conspiracies

  1. In general I agree with your assessment, especially about Political Correctness. In fact, the power of PC in the universities is one of the reasons I am hesitant about entering graduate programs. I’ve seen what these programs have done to my relatives (all were religious and political non-conformists when they entered their doctoral programs), and I don’t like it. There is a fascinating article about Political Correctness that I came across written by a software engineer working in the Silicon Valley (“Technology, communism and the Brown Scare“) that reminded of your own musings about the Leftist stranglehold on many levers of power throughout the West.

    However, Islam is not to blame. It’s a religion. It’s worthless.

    Let me see if I can illustrate this. You, Dr J, wrote:

    Rather, it seems to me, a high level of frustration in several mainly Muslim societies gave rise to terrorist movements. Those terrorist movements have no constructive programs. They lash out like rabid dogs at infidels, at non-Muslims and even more, at Muslims who are not exactly the kind of Muslims they approve of.

    Where do you think this frustration has come from? While you ponder my simple question, I’ll give you my own thoughts. Be careful though! With my sweet candy ass, you might get addicted to the sugah!

    The frustration is a reaction to the brutal dictatorships that can be found all over the Middle East. Behind these dictatorships you will find Western money. Not private money, mind you, but state money extracted from populaces via taxation.

    Ghaddafi had Soviet money and then Western money (he helped the US torture Islamists). Saddam Hussein had Western money before he invaded Kuwait. The Shah of Iran received Western money. Mubarak and Sadat were backed by Western money. The Gulf “monarchies” are supported by Western money. And so on and so forth.

    You are right to admit that the Islamist movements are reactions to the modern world, but you are very wrong in attributing these reactions to something as worthless as religion. Think of your KKK analogy. I think it’s a good one. How relevant is the KKK today? It’s not because once the power structures that the KKK fed off of were removed from our society the relevance of that organization, indeed that ideology, became obsolete.

    Political Correctness is powerful and needs to be combated, but choosing obstinate ignorance as your weapon is no way to go about doing so.

    • Brandon: The frustration in Muslim societies is as severe where no brutal dictatorship prevails as where it does. Having nearly all your children reared by illiterate and semi-literate women is not a good preparation for the Enlightenment or for the Industrial Revolution. Muslim societies are poor and blocked as European ones used to be except much less so. They look over the fence or take a shortvacation and they see Kafirs who are not either bright nor well educated enjoying all that they, Muslims want, including casual sex (for some of us). That would be frustrating.

      I assure you I was not thinking of you when I referred to “candy-assed” libertarians, or not much, or not completely.

      • Oh that’s too bad. Somehow I get a fuzzy, tingly sensation whenever I picture you thinking about my butt.

        Speaking of sex-starved, I think your argument paints with too broad a brush, thus making it ambiguous.

        Are you arguing that Muslims are sex-starved? That they are unable to walk away from their religion if they want more sex (if, indeed, Islam is to blame for their lack of sex)?

        If not, what are you suggesting?

      • @ Brandon:

        I am suggesting this: 1 The frustration inherent in a puritanical society that prevents women from making their full contribution is familiar to Westerners who know a little history. It was us before the Enlightenment.

        2 The repression of women and sexual puritanism are related: If women are free to do whatever they want ( to contribute), some may and will stray sexually. Control women and you keep their societal contribution below what it could be. Since women by and large rear small children, a policy of constraining women has far-flung consequences on a society’s ability to change. Again, illiterate mothers don’t rear scholars.

        3 Western restrictions on women and puritanism were fairly sustainable because there was no comparison. The same traits in today’s Muslim societies are unsustainable because their young members can turn on a computer and see very well focused images of naked lesbian acts with a literate and elegant commentary. Hence, the rage, hence the corresponding desire to shut all doors and all windows and to go back to the eighth century.

        We went through the same kind of trip in the seventies with so-called Communist societies.

  2. Terry Amburgey says:

    As is often the case, Jacques’ wall-of-text is far too long and wandering for me to comment on in a single post. My tastes differ; I prefer short and fact-based to long and ficticious.

    “What causes my detractors to accuse me of ranting is that they rarely see or hear aloud the kind of argument I make frequently on my blog.”

    As usual the world that Jacques lives in bears no relationship to the world the rest of us live in. The kind of argument Jacques makes is common as dirt. On the tv screen you have Fox. On the radio you have Rush Limbaugh. On the internet: http://www.teapartynation.com/profiles/blog/list

    The price we pay for free speech is that speech is free for the hateful, the loving, the bigoted, the inclusive, the unbalanced, the sane…..for everyone.

    Jacques is a man of many delusions. One of his most precious is that he is the heroic lone voice in the wilderness, battling against Political Correctness. Who among us will tell him that he is merely a reverberation in the teapublican echo chamber? Not I. His other delusions are much more pernicious, let’s focus upon them.

    • @ Prof. Terry

      “Teapublican” ?

      Boy, that hurts! I almost rest my case!

      I am pleased that you are aware of the existence of Fox News and of Limbaugh. It does not change anything: Your crew never looks at or listen to either.

      I don’t think I am the voice in the wilderness but I certainly think I am one voice. Our public discourse is clearly dominated by the dying print press and by totalitarian leftist universities. It’s only “dominated. ” Rational people are fighting back every day.

      I am sorry but not surprised that it’s difficult for you to read my postings. You are more used to slogans. Go back to them four of five times; go for small installments. Also, try not to move your lips as you read; it will go faster.

  3. Nick says:

    Prudence is a dish best served cold.

  4. Terry Amburgey says:

    I find this very encouraging.
    “The right-wing leader who defected from the English Defense League this week, expressed regret over his Islamophobic rants for the first time, in an interview with The Daily Beast’s Nico Hines.”
    If an English bigot can come to his senses and regret his Islamophobic rants perhaps a French bigot I know will someday regret his Islamophobic rants as well.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/11/exclusive-tommy-robinson-a-prominent-british-voice-of-hate-apologizes.html

    • Blah, blah. No one knows who the English defense League is. Never heard of it. Your attempts to bait me are touching, innocent, childlike.

      • Bruce says:

        The religion of peace will reward professor Terry for his tolerance. They will say he’s retry fly for an infidel guy!

      • I was disappointed that a Pakistani girl did not receive the Nobel Prize. (It’s a meaningless prize but her cause could use the publicity.)

        I am talking about the girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban. (I know because the Pakistani Taliban claimed the act.) She was shot as a way to discourage girls from going to school. After she recovered, she went right back to promoting girl schooling.

        Politically correct liberals such as Prof. Terry will maintain with a straight face that the shooting of a school girl in the head could just as easily have been done by Lutherans, or by Buddhists, that it has nothing to do with Muslim culture.

        Could I ever invent a better foil? Do I have the talent?

  5. Terry Amburgey says:

    @Bruce
    Thanks, you made my day🙂

  6. Terry Amburgey says:

    I was disappointed as well. For once Jacques is right; it has nothing to do with ‘Muslim Culture’. There is no such thing, any more than there is a ‘Christian Culture’. My undergrad students in International Business have only been at it a month and they have 10 times the grasp of culture than our beloved-but-muddled host.

    “Could I ever invent a better foil? Do I have the talent?”

    No, and no.

  7. Prof. Terry: You might have passed my own Intro to International Business but you would have received a mediocre grade. The fact that there is a Muslim culture in no way implies that there has to be a “Christian” culture. There used to be a Christian culture. It disappeared several centuries ago. Muslim culture remained. That’s why Muslim societies tend to be backward. And Muslim culture survived because they are back ward.

    What remains in the West (WEST). is a secular culture born mostly of Christianity. I mean that Japanese secular culture, for example, is different from secular culture in Euro-America.

    Of course, you can always insist that “Santa Claus” is a proof of Christianity. After all, he is named after a saint.

    Separation of church (religion) and state.

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      If you believe that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia and Iran have the same culture you’d never make it through my class

  8. Terry; I am sorry but you are arguing like an advanced undergraduate and maybe not even that. The statement above lacks elementary logic. In addition, I think you know nothing about Islam. I suspect you argue from primitive social science faith: Everybody is different, lah, lah, lah. It’s a little surprising because your occupation demands that you be able to generalize.

    • Terry Amburgey says:

      @Other readers
      This is for you; it’s well known that Jacques would rather make stuff up out of whole cloth than check on actual facts. As a consequence it never does any good to point him towards the facts at hand.

      For those of you willing to use Google [or some other search engine] search for Ronen and Shenkar’s cultural clusters or the GLOBE cultural clusters [we won’t get into Hofstede’s work on cultural dimensions]. You’ll note that the 3 countries above don’t even fall into the same CLUSTER of cultures let alone belong to some common ‘Muslim Culture’.

      Sometimes it’s good to know the difference between your ass and a hole in the ground.

      • McHenry says:

        I hate to be a jerk but can’t those 3 countries be culturally different but still be subject to the same Muslim issues that Jacques points out?
        I was willing to use google:

        There’s jihadis on islands too.

        http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/09/us_adds_2_indonesian.php

      • McHenry: Religion is obviously culture; law is obviously culture. Religion mixed with law is obviously culture.

        The three countries differ greatly in the spices they use in pilaf.

        Don’t let anyone cause you to abandon your common sense. After all, it got you across country on foot which is more than most of us can say. (I don’t remember: Did you use maps or not?)

      • One more time, I have the weakness to respond to jejune attacks on my seriousness. Prof Terry challenges:

        “If you believe that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia and Iran have the same culture you’d never make it….”

        Of course, I don’t believe that three objects are ever exactly alike (My, I can’t believe I have to specify this!) Of course, I believe that the three predominantly Muslim countries share very important cultural traits. All three, for example, make room in their judicial system for the stoning to death of adulterous women.

        It’s on the book in both Saudi and Iran. There is a large vociferous group in Indonesia that clamors for it. (Look up “Aceh.”)

        Of course, one can always claim that legal dispositions to kill with rocks adulterers is a small detail of culture.

        Or one could try to argue that Buddhists and Lutherans, for example, are equally likely as Muslims to favor that kind of law.

        If ridicule killed….

      • Terry Amburgey says:

        @McHenry
        “I hate to be a jerk but can’t those 3 countries be culturally different but still be subject to the same Muslim issues that Jacques points out?”

        Of course. But Jacques is not interested in a serious discussion of terrorism in the 21st century. He has a simple-minded answer that he is determined to make fit. Regardless. Religious bigotry will brook no ifs, ands or buts. All Muslim countries must have the same culture; the same religion. All Muslims are complicit in the crimes committed by any Muslim. In Jacques mind it’s the 1.6 billion musketeers: all for one and one for all!

  9. Terry Amburgey says:

    “Of course, I don’t believe that three objects are ever exactly alike…”

    “Everybody is different, lah, lah, lah.”

  10. Terry Amburgey says:

    @McHenry
    “The three countries differ greatly in the spices they use in pilaf.”

    Jacques insists on displaying his ignorance. There is a substantial literature on cultures; their similarities and differences. Go to the sources I gave above. One line of research in international business involves developing clusters of cultures that display important similarities. You will find that the 3 countries above AREN’T EVEN IN THE SAME CLUSTERS. It’s bad enough to be ignorant. To be willfully ignorant is unconscionable.

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