Sunday, July 10, 2016

Objective Caution vs. Subjective Caution

(In the following analysis, I use the term "conservative" to denote merely a person who proceeds in his analysis of the problem of Islam conservatively -- meaning he errs on the side of avoiding assuming the worst.  In this context, the word "conservative" is not meant in terms of partisan politics.)

Should we not err on the side of objective caution rather than subjective caution...?  Objective caution would be to assume the worst about a problem; subjective caution, on the other hand, is the conservative virtue of avoiding an "extreme" reaction to a problem, and thus patting oneself on the back for being so "prudent" and not as "alarmist" as the one who would lurch into assuming the worst about a situation.

The argument for exercising objective caution rather than subjective caution in this horrifyingly special case -- viz., the problem of the global revival of Islamic jihad -- revolves around the potential for the worst one can see in the data.  The conservative's subjective caution takes that potential into account, but gives undue weight to the fact that it is not yet a fact, but is only a potential; and since none of us know the future, let's not "get carried away" with our proactive reactions.  (Other motivations may well be operative in the conservative's mind, such as a lurking asymptotic anxiety not to be "bigoted" and "prejudiced".)

The concerned civilian, on the other hand, takes seriously this potential, and realizes that casuistry is not always a virtue -- that, in sum, the horror of the potential (which includes a diverse panoply of factors indicating the problem of Islam is unique and cannot be softened by comparison with other problems we would superimpose upon it) is a sufficient cause to motivate us to act as though the potential is real, even if its reality will be unfolding over a complex and protracted trajectory over many decades.

Indeed, the complexity and duration of that trajectory, incidentally, is one factor that lulls the conservative into his relative calmness about this civilizational train wreck we are suffering in this 21st century.  While I have many times chided the "Chicken Littles" of the Counter-Jihad (those who, when one tells them that one thinks the West may well fall to Islam in about 80 years, say at by the end of this century, respond with frantic hyperventilation, "But we don't have decades!  The sky is falling NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!"), one doesn't want to relax our alarm too much and treat this horrendous problem as though it's some kind of grand Bump in the Road we can over time assimilate in our civilizational digestive tract, eventually to pass out of our colon with finally a suitable bowel movement after a few decades of constipation and ominous gastrointestinal rumblings along the way.


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