Secular Right | Reality & Reason

Jun/11

18

“Liberal Orientalism”

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The “farewell apology post” the “Gay Girl in Damascus” stated:

This experience has sadly only confirmed my feelings regarding the often superficial coverage of the Middle East and the pervasiveness of new forms of liberal Orientalism.

“Orientalism” is a term whose meaning I suspect most of its wielders do not “interrogate.” In any case, I think Mark Steyn hit upon something important in regards to this whole farce, Why liberals fell for ‘Muslim lesbian blogger’ hoax:

Yet Tom MacMaster topped even that. He took an actual, live, mass popular uprising and made an entirely unrepresentative and, indeed, nonexistent person its poster-“girl.” From CNN to The Guardian to Bianca Jagger to legions of Tweeters, Western liberalism fell for a ludicrous hoax. Why?

Because they wanted to. It would be nice if “Amina Arraf” existed. As niche constituencies go, we could use more hijab-wearing Muslim lesbian militants and fewer fortysomething male Western deadbeat college students. But the latter is a real and pathetically numerous demographic, and the former is a fiction – a fantasy for Western liberals, who think that in the multicultural society the nice gay couple at 27 Rainbow Avenue can live next door to the big bearded imam with four child brides at No. 29 and gambol and frolic in admiration of each other’s diversity. They will proffer cheery greetings over the picket fence, the one admiring the other’s attractive buttock-hugging leather shorts for that day’s Gay Pride parade as he prepares to take his daughter to the clitoridectomy clinic.

Liberal multiculturalism as it is presently constituted is epiphenomenal. It will end with a monoculture, a de facto hegemonic culture atop others, or a Millet system.

5 comments

  • Dwight E. Howell · June 18, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I think you just said that liberals are anything but liberal. They insist that everybody be in lock step and agree with their world view and are completely out of touch with reality. If that is it I agree with you.

  • Wade Nichols · June 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    I thought this column in WSJ by Joe Queenan was pretty good at making the same point:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303848104576383861153713734.html

    It is the same mentality as the Starbucks campaign for “The Kite Runner”—the idea that by purchasing a book about unfortunate denizens of the Third World, along with your double Frappuccino, you not only relieve their misery but somehow, vicariously, participate in their fight against the forces of darkness. It’s what inspires people to put “Darfur: Not on Our Watch” signs on their lawns, as if that’s going to make any difference. We are here for you, people of Libya! Oh, Bosnia, we stand on guard for thee!

    This is rubbish, like sporting a Che Guevara T-shirt at a Beverly-Hills fund raiser. There’s no such thing as waging a vicarious war against the forces of evil. Either you are out in the streets risking your own life or you are not. Heroism is not a spectator sport. Reading a blog is not firing a gun.

  • JackC · June 22, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Furthermore, Millet systems are extremely unstable, to say the least. There being a reason there’s no longer any Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires.

  • Deckin · June 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    With all due respect, either you don’t understand what the word ‘epiphenomenal’ means, and are intending to mean ‘ephemeral’, or you do understand what it means and you’ve marshaled absolutely no evidence for its being so.

    Something is epiphenomenal (a term of art in philosophy) if it is the sort of thing as to have a cause but itself to have no effects. In the philosophy of mind, where this term finds a home, it’s highly controversial that there are any epiphenomena at all. Things like qualia and afterimages don’t seem to fit the definition, if one takes it seriously.

    So if you do understand the term correctly, you would have to argue that multiculturalism has no effects, or, perhaps, no interesting effects. That’s a tough one to maintain, and, more importantly, you’ve offered no evidence for it–or even a hint.

    What you do offer is a prediction about how it will end, which leads me to conclude that you really mean ‘ephemeral’–something fleeting.

  • Author comment by David Hume · June 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    see parapundit comments.

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