Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Answer to Derbyshire

John Derbyshire just wrote an answer to my "theory", at the NRO Corner: Separationism & Its Discontents. The following is an open letter from me to John Derbyshire answering his post.

Derbyshire starts with writing:

My assertion (last week) that the Jihadwatch website is "separationist" continues to generate 2,000-word exegeses from people who must be in dire need of something better to do.

Well, it made me get your attention :-)

I know I will look to the world as someone with nothing better to do, but nevertheless I will here take my time to answer you. What you have written is directed to me, and only me, since Lawrence Auster has declared that he does not share my view.

The purpose of my original text was to describe the political climate in the U.S., while comparing it with that in France (this is also where I put back the focus in my last answer to Lawrence, before I read your post). Something happened to Spencer and Fitzgerald which in their receiving end, in all effects, amounted to being hit by leftist shaming. You were in the transmitting end. The focal point of what I wrote was in describing the current political climate in the U.S. and the kind of dynamics leading to the reactions of Spencer/Fitzgerald. I realized, of course, when I wrote it, that it was a bit of a stretch to compare you to a leftist commissar. But I just had a bit of fun with it, quite as I'm sure you had when you linked "separationists" to Jihad Watch. No harm in that.

One more time, for the record: Hugh Fitzgerald, the second main blogger on Jihadwatch (i.e. with Robert Spencer) is a separationist, if the word means anything. Being highly hospitable to Hugh, Jihadwatch, if not a separationist website, sure is hospitable to separationism. So I'm at a loss to see where I've said anything much wrong. If you want to pick nits, perhaps instead of saying "separationist websites like Jihadwatch" I should have said "websites hospitable to separationism like Jihadwatch." But for heaven's sake.

But why do you spend all these words about your linking, without addressing the only interesting question: Why you linked "separationists" to Jihad Watch? The main purpose of a web link is to be informative. Every other link on the Internet from "separationism" links to Auster's ur-text. These are informative links. But this clearly wasn't the intention with your linking, since it's not informative at all. People who didn't know and were interested to learn more about separationism, and followed your link to the main page of Jihad Watch, didn't get anything out of it. It doesn't lead to any information about separationism, even if a web search among the Jihad Watch articles is performed. You are too good a writer not to understand the purpose of informative linking. So you had a different purpose. A common other purpose of linking is the wish to associate or juxtapose two things together, for one reason or the other. But since I now have your attention I will no more speculate about it, but ask you directly: What was your purpose?

I can't even see what these people are steamed about. If Islam is, as Spencer & Co. claim, the world's most intolerant religion, founded by a crazy pedophilic warmonger whom Muslims perversely persist in regarding as the model for humanity, separationism looks pretty sensible to me.

I can almost hear your yawning when I read this part. "Yeah, maybe Islam is this overwhelming fatal threat. But who's got the time to bother about it. Let's have another cup of tea instead..."

Why do the Jihadwatch guys so furiously disavow it?

The Jihad Watch guys have their hearts in the right place, but fear the wrath of political correctness. But aren't we all? You save your ass by being detached and disinterested about the issues. You are a cool guy, smart, and make many excellent comments. But you know well, saying the things that you do, that if you put your heart behind it, you'd be in big trouble. So that's why you make sure to stay detached and disinterested. Myself, I stay anonymous.

While I'm not a separationist myself, I don't mind it. I mean, I don't see anything immoral, deplorable or "racist" about it. (Islam is not a race.)

I appreciate this declaration on your side. I already like you more.

I just don't see how separationists can, constitutionally and in good conscience, "separate" native-born Muslims who don't want to renounce their U.S. citizenship, as most surely don't

It just takes the political will. In fact, much is done already by showing a firm political will: that the tide has turned, and that you won't back off. Muslims will leave voluntarily, for many different reasons. Look at Rebecca Bynum's excellent Separationist article (which I also suggest that you link to, next time you use the word "separationism"). Her first point is:
  1. Define Islam as the political ideology it is, so that it is no longer protected by “freedom of religion” and our laws against sedition come into effect.
Already this will take care of many of the native-born Muslims. In my program, all mosques advocating jihad and sharia should be closed. In practice this will force all mosques to close. With no mosques, Muslims will leave en masse. And these are all constitutional measures in good conscience. Only people in favour of tyrannical terror rule, would be able to honestly object.

And ultimately constitutions can be rewritten. If the social contract can be mischievously undermined and perverted, decade after decade, by handing out citizenship left and right to people who shouldn't have had it in the first place, it can also be rewritten. I know rewriting the constitution looks like an impossibility for Americans, but e.g. France does not have this hang-up.

But before we reach such an Hobbesian situation, the Separationist program as lined out by Auster, and now Bynum--all constitutional and in good conscience--should be followed. In order to avoid, or ease, a future Hobbesian situation.

Best Regards,
Conservative Swede

Update: I have found Derbyshire's e-mail address, and now sent this to him.

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