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Falwell's Latest Flap Lets the Postmodernists Pay Tribute to Virtue
by Jeff Racho
2 November 2002
I do not care for Jerry Falwell and hope that he never becomes President.
The Left has always despised Falwell, and their latest calumny against the man has attempted to label him as a Hindu Al Sharpton, blaming him for a riot in India in which a number of people were killed. Aside from the complete stupidity of blaming a man located several thousand miles away for inciting a riot, the Left's treatment of Falwell's latest gaffe has shown that the postmodern Left cannot even practice what it preaches.
A few weeks ago Falwell appeared on "60 Minutes" and stated that Islam's prophet Muhammad "was a terrorist," whereupon the Left immediately branded the man a bigot and after which the Indian riot commenced. Falwell then made obeisance to the cult of tolerance/ diversity by retracting his statement.
Of course, all in polite society agree that one should not make statements
that would offend others. Falwell certainly could have chosen better language
in discussing the topic at hand. But was Falwell intending to demean a
group of people? His exact statement that "Muhammad was a terrorist"
was not a prima facie racist/ xenophobic comment. Indeed, the statement
makes no theological claims regarding the content of Islam.
If the PoMo Left truly had followed their own modus operandi, and looked at the life of the prophet through modern sensibilities, they might have noticed that Muhammad butchered a tribe of Jews living in Medina in 627 A.D./5 A.H. both as recompense for their earlier rejection of his theological claims and in order to conquer the city. Perhaps if the "progressives" had decided to read Bernard Lewis instead of trashing him they would not have missed this incident.
Could one rationally conclude that this act could be classified a terrorist action, and therefore committed by a terrorist? If one were to define terrorism as the intentional killing of civilians or prisoners in the pursuit of political ends then this act could be interpreted as a terrorist action, and the perpetrator thereof concluded to be a terrorist. So, adopting the 20/20 hindsight methodology of the Posties, one could conclude that Muhammad could be defined as a terrorist (presuming one has not yet abandoned rationality because of its status as a "power structure" of Western Civ).
So where, then, is the error in Falwell's deduction? Has he not properly engaged in the intellectual exercises prescribed by Foucault, Fish, Derrida, Feyerabend et al.? He certainly has, and the hypocrisy of the postmodern Left in criticizing the man for adopting their techniques is yet another incident of the payment of tribute by vice to virtue inherent in hypocrisy.
The Left has been paying talent-sized tributes to virtue since last September. For decades they cried against religious fundamentalists, railed against sexism and homophobia, and warned us not to divide the world into "us" and the "Other." Yet now they are uncomfortable in the current war against a group of fanatics bent on killing homosexuals, keeping women in the kitchen, and demarcating the world into the believer and the infidel. Just this past week those who publicly proclaimed that the Maryland sniper was an angry white loner of the McVeigh mold watched as their cherished notions built on forty years of critical theory crumbled. You would think that they would have learned something after watching nostrums such as "poverty breeds terrorism" fall apart after it was revealed that Atta and his pals were educated middle class jerks from the more prosperous parts of the Middle East.
These levies are causing the Left to lose one of its truly brilliant writers, the socialist Christopher Hitchens, who has announced that he shall no longer write for The Nation magazine. He has been excoriated by the Left since last September for daring to identify bin Laden and his vermin for the detritus that they are. Hitchens - who has never wavered in his dislike of both Ariel Sharon and the Islamists - was guilty only of the crime of retaining his integrity by identifying and speaking against what he perceived as evil.
But the Left's behavior runs deeper than mere hypocrisy. A central tenet of postmodernism is that all beliefs, all epistemologies, all philosophies - indeed, all models of thought - are inherently equal, with none better than the other or able to make a claim to the "truth" with not a one of them immune from the probes of critical theory. By attacking Falwell for his comments, the Left is inherently placing Muhammad outside of their analytical and deconstructive methods, making him immune from the postmodern critique - and therefore placing him in one of those privileged positions that the Posties have tried so very hard to abolish. It is truly ironic that Hitchens' latest tome covers the subject of George Orwell, who would have cracked a wry smile at the postmodernists' assertion that "all alleged purveyors of truth are equal" while they simultaneously admit that some are more equal than others.
One wonders what it will take for the postmodern Left to realize what is truly at stake in the War against Islamofascism. Are they under the delusion that an Islamist dictatorship a la Iran would allow them the freedom to practice their deconstructionist nonsense afforded to them under secular free-market democracy? If the Islamists win, those Leftists who still retain religious belief may be accorded dhimmitude and will live out their collective guilt as second-class citizens under a radical interpretation of the shari'a. As for those who have adopted atheism or paganism . . . well, perhaps they should check the prescribed treatment of the unbeliever under the Islamist version of the shari'a before they next howl over the "inequities" of the West.
Jeff Racho is a former engineer and gives props to the Sufis.