The Good, the Bad and the Wobbly

21/7/2017 | Postmuslim | Contraliberal | postmuslim

There is something to be said for moderatism, no question. But perhaps there is an even stronger thing to be said against it. As the holy ghost in the trinity that rules the world today — capitalism the father and democracy the son — moderatism can be judged in at least two ways.

The good side is easy to see. There are “moderate” as opposed to “radical” Youknowwhats, for example. There is also (1) drinking or smoking in moderation, (2) being a good moderator, whether as judge or umpire and (3) any number of utilitarian associations from tolerance to fair-mindedness. Even human rights emanate less from a universally accepted ethics than a European tradition of post-war moderateness.

The bad side is where I find myself standing, beleaguered and beguiled of all good sense. It’s the point where postmodern correctness begins to apologise for premodern abomination.

Too often, for example, I’ve watched in distress while some righteous native defended an immigrant’s right to wear the niqab. Never mind that the imperialists’ descendent in question might be a gender-fluid, anarchic nudist. They still feel the need to fight “Islamophobia”. Which they do by endorsing what is arguably the worst affront to Islam.

I don’t just mean Wahhabism. I mean a slavery-addled tradition of misogyny, among other horrors of times past. Such horrors are being re-revived by displaced as well as local fundamentalists who, if not outright jihadis, are jihadi-sympathisers for sure. Their obsessions benefit not only from oil-greased Wahhabi influence but also from the (dis)ingenuous open-mindedness of their Western hosts.

More and more they make fanatical excesses look like the only true interpretation of the faith. And, what is worse, the world’s overlords are ever so considerately letting them. Neither making the connection between them and ISIS nor recognising their thinking as the root of terrorism…

But here is an example of moderatism’s less obvious obverse — is my point. While the doctrine by definition cannot be extreme or unreasonable, it can provide a context and a justification for all kinds of immoderate behaviour. The Islam that left-wing Westerners support is ultimately a false orthodoxy. In many cases it has turned Muslims themselves into Islamophobes.

And yet, such is the civilised world’s need to be considerate. Such is its compulsion to assert its superiority that it must operate outside as well as in the twin arenas of bombs and banks. And to this end Westerners, especially good Westerners are prepared to use the branding iron handed to them by Islamists to identify all Muslims. Willy-nilly.

It’s the dominant civilisation’s anxious and unsteady effort to resume the white man’s burden of mapping, classifying and controlling the world. And it’s that civilisation’s economic urge to knead even morality into a consumerist mould. That’s what I’m talking about. Forget FGM and honour killings. Given the right combination of post-Marxist politics and oil-trade economics, moderatism can make female infanticide sound like a lifestyle choice…

But we needn’t worry too much, so long as we can continue to pride ourselves on our multiculturalism. After all such things will only be happening to other people.

Al-Ahram Weekly