Thursday, July 17, 2008

THE LAST REFUGE OF A WINGNUT. Rod Dreher points to a French academic's book which contradicts long-accepted ideas about the Islamic role in spreading Greek thought in the West. Edward Said et alia said it was big; the new guy says it barely existed. As usual when someone says something bad about Islam and not everyone in the universe applauds, Dreher yells thought police:
...many in the academic establishment have set out to ruin its author, Sylvain Gouguenheim, by tarring his as a racist and a tool of the right wing. Some medievalists have come to his aid, saying that it's a perfectly legitimate question and area of inquiry. But the politically correct academic police de la pensee are out for his head.
First, I checked Dreher's link, which is to Le Figaro and unhelpfully in French. Babelfish gave me a suspect but hilarious translation ("D' other researchers choose Libération to express their 'stupor' in a signed letter... The guards of the doxa leave their hinges"), which nonetheless shows the article to be highly prejudiced against the unhinged doxa guards -- that is, the petitioners against Gouguenheim.

But not everyone in Dreherland sides with the chief. One commenter points out another story about the controversy from the International Herald Tribune, which is in English and makes clear (as Dreher does not) that Gouguenheim has plenty of mainstream support. And several commenters point out that it's not thought-policing to point out that the guy's theory is full of shit.

Dreher updates:
Just to clarify, it's beside the point whether or not the historian Gouguenheim is correct in his theory. The point is, he should be able to raise the question, and to be able to be wrong in his theory, without being professionally ruined by the academic thought police.
Ruined? I notice his book is still selling. And, with the support of Le Figaro, Le Monde, and every Muslim-hater in the Western World, we expect Gouguenheim will become an international "contrarian" superstar, like Oriana Falacci or Camille Paglia. For people like that, the outcry from colleagues is the best possible advertising.

Dreher is a professional schismatic who owes his entire Crunchy Con following to the massive persecution complexes of like-minded vegetarian Jesus freaks who consider themselves the one true church of conservatism, as proven by the contempt in which all other conservatives hold them. That such a person would fail to recognize the selling power of apostasy is nearly unbelievable.

So unless he's faking -- never a longshot with this bunch -- the best explanation for Dreher's thickness is this: conservatives, even the fringier conservatives like him, have reached a point in their degeneracy where they must believe other people are trying to silence them. It doesn't matter that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, they are not being silenced at all, but merely called out on their bullshit -- to their fragile psyches, it's the same thing: an intolerable assault on their egos that, if not repelled, will result into the obliteration of their carefully-constructed personalities. So of course any opposition loud enough to reach their ears is Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini all rolled into one.

A pity that Dreher and Jonah Goldberg fell out; they have so much in common.


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