21 August 2009

Eurabia-Mongering Part 1: Textbook Stupidity

I suppose you’ve all been thinking “Isn’t Alex clever for thinking up a term like ‘Eurabia-monger’. Well the first thing you need to do is read this article. Once again I’ve found most of the things I wanted to say written in one lengthy article before I got round to saying them. Things like:
Restrictive immigration laws passed since 1973 have generally upheld the conservative idea that, as the German philosopher Carl Schmitt put it, "a democracy demonstrates its political power by knowing how to refuse or keep at bay something foreign and unequal that threatens its homogeneity".
In The Politics of the Veil, the distinguished scholar of gender studies Joan Wallach Scott explains how the banning of a small piece of cloth that covers the head and neck affirmed an "imagined France", one that was "secular, individualist and culturally homogenous" and "whose reality was secured by excluding dangerous others from the nation".
[Young Muslims’] choices in turn depend on how quickly and readily their "hosts" will make them feel at home. Strident invocations of the Enlightenment or some other historically and eternally fixed essence of Europe seem increasingly symptoms of intellectual lag and cultural defensiveness. Multi-ethnic Europe is an immutable fact, and needs, appropriately, a more inclusive, open-ended identity, one derived more from its pluralistic and relatively peaceful present, and supranational future, than its brutishly nationalist and imperialist past.
The second thing you need to look at is this self-important arse, because, apart from the statistics, he manages to cram most of what’s stupid and hypocritical about the Eurabia myth into one small article.

Delingpole’s main beef with Muslims is that he can’t go swimming at certain times without having to cover up his navel and knees, saying:
If parts of that community feel unable to use those facilities for religious or cultural reasons, well that should be their problem and no one else’s

Which is all well and good, except I imagine that one way they might tackle that problem is to club together and book the pool one night a week. Does Delingpole also smell a global conspiracy when his local is closed for a private party, or when he sees an empty taxi with the light off? And no, it shouldn’t be anyone else’s problem, but in areas with large numbers of sexually conservative religious folk with money to take elsewhere, it does rather become the swimming pool’s problem too. Now the Telegraph might go out of its way to alienate Muslims, but I imagine most businesses consider waiving good money for the sake of of political incorrectness a bad idea. Delingpole is either immensely stupid, or is objecting to the very existence of the Green Pound as a market force.

There is some good Eurabia-monger sleight of hand in here as well. Opening with the classic faux-Feminist argument, Delingpole begins his justification for demanding women strip off. You see, the purpose of the burkini is
to enable women in thrall to extreme Saudi-style dress codes to go swimming on beaches and in public baths without incurring a beating or instant divorce from their characteristically tolerant and cosmopolitan menfolk.
Naturally any Islamic taboos about nudity are only felt by the men. The women themselves are simply mindless, powerless, blank slates onto which the savage Muslim male will forcibly project his cultural ideals unless a magnanimous Western government beats him to it. Neatly sidestepping any kind of female agency, Delingpole hoists the weighty burden of telling women what to do onto his rippling white shoulders and, with his heroic pisstaking, original pop-culture references and throbbing boner for Brigitte Bardot, he strikes a mighty blow for Feminism across the faces of long-suffering Muslim women everywhere.

But I digress. Delingpole isn’t particularly interested in the rights of the Burkini-wearer. He simply uses her, with a token nod to something vaguely progressive, as a weapon against her husband, father and brothers. Hoisting her in the air, he swings her about his head like a morning star, before bringing her crashing down on the turban of the invading Turk:
So the Burkini is part of the honey campaign: all those parts of the Islamist war on the West that have nothing to do with killing people. This campaign includes everything from schoolgirls fighting legal battles (with the help of one Cherie Blair) to fight for their inalienable right to go to school dressed like a sack, to Muslim supermarket workers trying to dictate the terms of their employment (refusing to sell alcohol), to the ongoing campaign (apparently endorsed by our own Archbishop of Canterbury) for certain civil decisions in the Muslim “community” to be made under Sharia law.

Firstly, he actually admits, straight-faced, that this part of the “war on the West” doesn’t even involve killing people. Just picture it: instead of using military means to spread civil democracy, using civic and democratic means for military goals. There clearly must be something in all that “religion of peace” stuff after all, if Islamists can even fight wars without killing. Put alongside bloodless genocide it almost sounds like a line from ‘Imagine’.

And note his three examples: wanting to choose what you wear to school and using the civil courts, adding conditions to your employment contract, and using a system of civil arbitration for which the legal framework has long existed. Now these are all fairly reasonable things to do. More to the point, these are reasonable things to do that middle-class white Judeo-Christian/atheist types do do, quite reasonably, every day. Of course, Delingpole probably has no general objection to legal challenges to school uniform, or to individual contract negotiations, and was probably entirely oblivious to arbitration laws allowing for religious courts when it was mostly Orthodox Jews using them. Delingpole is actually offended, terrified even, of Muslims going about their daily business, in case they do it Islamically. His next post will probably detail how Muslims buying bog-roll, yawning or polishing their glasses on the hem of their veil is all part of the honey-trap.

And what is this “West” of which he speaks? Women’s lib, freedom of speech, free enterprise, the rule of law, democracy and human rights, all of these things are worth defending from a backward religious ideology. But the Eurabia-monger doesn’t really believe in any of them. Not for other people, anyway. Ok, feminism’s fine as long it means bare thighs and midriffs for us to look at and not the right to sexual privacy, and as long as you’re not picketing the troops, free speech is very important. Free enterprise is also ok when it makes us rich, but it can be abused by Muslims to hire pools and dictate the terms of their contracts, as can the law courts to make demands on the government. More insidiously, by increasing their numbers at literally impossible rates, Muslims can skew democracy in their favour, while human rights laws only serve to tie our hands. The superior ideals of the West are not there to be applied, they are there to exist in theory and demonstrate our ideological superiority in the big game of identity politics. And the threat comes from Muslims using them. Protecting “universal values” from Orientals basically leaves you with “Western values”, and protecting them from the exercise of those values basically leaves you with “the West”. So what are we protecting at the end of the day? A vague direction that seems to lead largely to white people, under threat from Muslims standing around doing nothing. Excuse me if I don’t fetch my rifle just yet.

Part 2

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous24/3/10 10:38

    "Delingpole is actually offended, terrified even, of Muslims going about their daily business, in case they do it Islamically. His next post will probably detail how Muslims buying bog-roll, yawning or polishing their glasses on the hem of their veil is all part of the honey-trap."

    - I think that's quite brilliant. the whole piece is an excellent analysis of the original article.