Spirit possession is the only explanation. My old acquaintance Selim Al-Mawardi’s academic work on exorcism has caught up with him. And his body is now inhabited by an alien entity. Otherwise why would he profess such idealism-touting, Islamist-sympathetic twaddle? And why respond with such how-dare-you haughtiness every time he’s challenged?
Selim’s sensibility has changed, I fear. And it’s no friendly ghost that has usurped his soul. It is the spirit of a white liberal.
Take Jeremy Corbyn, for one among countless examples. I tend to share Martin Amis’s early assessment: “the humourless man is a joke - and a joke he will never get”! And I would’ve expected Selim to agree. Surely Corbyn does embody “the encysted dogmas” of the old left? Surely, from the point of view of a secularist Egyptian at this point in history, he embodies them in especially dangerous ways!
I might’ve understood a London-dwelling Muslim’s pro-Corbyn stance as an antidote to post-Brexit xenophobia. But to go so far as to criticise Labour politicians who did not support him? To link to his Labour Manifesto launch with a “FORWARD EVER” and a celebratory Bang emoji? To identify with a world leader who openly supports Hamas?
Clearly I was losing a political ally. Like the trolling hordes on my timeline, Selim had succumbed to the relativist doctrine. It was only a matter of time before he started praying at such altars of consumer leftism as Al Jazeera, the 9/11 Truth movement and Slavoj Žižek.
Normally I wouldn’t dream of maligning a personal connection. But, as I discovered while scanning my webs, his haunting by the white liberal is something Selim himself is ready to come out about. He tried to disguise it as a casual tweet, adding a Face with Rolling Eyes emoji for good measure. But I could tell he was making a momentous confession: “Could I reasonably be called a ‘libtard’?”
Liberal retard, yes. At least he is aware of the problem.
Because, frankly, I am concerned that Selim’s case is not a fluke. With each of us focusing on one aspect of the multi-messianic mess at the expense of all other aspects, we might be all turning into variations on a libtardian theme. Activists, academics, journalists, observers, self-styled moral agents — all of us on this side of the North-South divide, in body or in spirit… It needn’t even matter that we hold conflicting apoplexies.
By logging the kind of prepackaged hysteria that makes social-media sense — accepting impossible choices, campaigning for the lesser evil, taking preposterous sides — we might be allowing alien entities to usurp our souls. They feed our illusion that we’re expressing opinions when all we’re doing is advancing their inhuman agenda.
Silently howling, we change the virtual world so often that the real world becomes irrelevant to us. And, no matter who we vote for or how hard we protest, we can never have a say in the way it’s run.