The Counter-Currents 2014 Summer Fundraiser
Žižek is at It Again
Since last week’s update on our Summer Fundraiser, we have received donations totaling $3,288.94 in amounts ranging from $10.94 to $1,700. That amount will be matched by our Swedish benefactor, for a total of $6,577.88. Our total is now $28,593.94. We are $11,406.06 from our goal of $40,000 with just under 2 months to go. $1,711.06 remains on our matching grant, so if you want to make your donation go twice as far, now is the time to do it.
I want to thank all of our donors for their generosity, with special thanks to our matching grant benefactor.
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Slovenly Slovene Slavoj Žižek is at it again. He’s been caught plagiarizing in an article for the New York Times, “ISIS is a Disgrace to True Fundamentalism.” But this time, he was only plagiarizing himself, copy-pasting from one of his books.
The real crime, though, is Žižek’s argument, which attributes the violence and intolerance of ISIS not to belief in Islamic doctrine, including its superiority to other religions, which are false and must be destroyed, but rather to lack of belief and an implicit inferiority complex.
But are the terrorist fundamentalists really fundamentalists in the authentic sense of the term? Do they really believe? What they lack is a feature that is easy to discern in all authentic fundamentalists, from Tibetan Buddhists to the Amish in the United States — the absence of resentment and envy, the deep indifference towards the nonbelievers’ way of life.
Žižek ludicrously suggests that true Islamic fundamentalists would be as benign and nonviolent as Buddhists and Amish. What Žižek leaves out is any analysis of Islamic doctrine, how it might differ from Buddhist or Amish doctrines, and how those differences might affect their neighbors.
Islam is a universalistic religion that commands both ultraviolence and fraud as spiritual weapons against unbelievers. Islam is an inherently political religion, a law code, that requires the overthrow of other regimes and the institution of Sharia law. These are products of Muslim conviction, not lack of Muslim conviction. The stronger the belief in Islam, the greater the will to religious totalitarianism and intolerance.
Žižek, however, sidesteps the doctrinal roots of the Muslim love affair with the sword and stone in favor of tired Western Marxist psychologizing:
If today’s so-called fundamentalists really believe they have found their way to Truth, why should they feel threatened by nonbelievers. Why should they envy them? When a Buddhist encounters a Western hedonist, he hardly condemns. He just benevolently notes that the hedonist’s search for happiness is self-defeating. In contrast to true fundamentalists, the terrorist pseudo-fundamentalists are deeply bothered, intrigued and fascinated by the sinful life of the nonbelievers. One can feel that, in fighting the sinful other, they are fighting their own temptation. This is why the so-called fundamentalists of ISIS are a disgrace to true fundamentalism.
. . . Deep in themselves, terrorist fundamentalists also lack true conviction — their violent outbursts are a proof of it. How fragile the belief of a Muslim must be if he feels threatened by a stupid caricature in a low-circulation Danish newspaper. The fundamentalist Islamic terror is not grounded in the terrorists’ conviction of their superiority and in their desire to safeguard their cultural-religious identity from the onslaught of global consumerist civilization.
The problem with terrorist fundamentalists is not that we consider them inferior to us, but, rather, that they themselves secretly consider themselves inferior.
Žižek posits that Muslim violence against non-believers is a manifestation of psychological inferiority: they feel “threatened” by us — perhaps “just because we’re different.” Muslims are also motivated by “envy” of Westerners and a sense of inferiority — a flattering notion that is all too easy for Westerners to accept.
Žižek’s analysis is just another version of the liberal dogma that intolerance is always based on the irrational fears (“x-phobia”) and psychological inadequacies of the offending party, never on the objective behavior of the objects of intolerance or on the intellectual principles of the intolerant. (It is a little “edgy,” of course, for Žižek to apply this analysis to non-Europeans, but never fear, our people get the short end of the stick when the dialectical dance is done.)
The truth is, though, that Islamic violence and intolerance are not mere products of psychological inadequacies — although surely they are involved in some cases — but of sincerity and intensity of belief. Because intolerance is what Islam commands.
Žižek’s analysis has insidious political implications that he does not spell out. Who can object to the presence of Buddhists and Amish in Western societies? Western liberals dream of engineering an equally benign — moderate, tolerant, assimilated — Islam in our midst. Žižek goes one further than that, for his position clearly implies that even fundamentalist Muslims among would be no threat at all, if they just worked through their psychological “issues,” their irrational fears and inferiority complexes.
Žižek does not, of course, speculate how many thousands of European girls will have to be gang-raped and how many old widows will be beheaded in the meantime. That would be racist, and he has standards, after all.
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