October 10, 2006

"Good Cop, Bad Cop"

I'm glad to see some support for Jack Straw across the pond in the face of this latest round of Muslim extortion. Me, I've never cared much for extortion.

We see this extortion racket played out over and over again. Something happens to rile up the "Muslim community." The local Muslim leader, Imam X, may be a bad actor, but he's our guy. He pays lip service to "interfaith dialogue" and whatnot, but he's not really on our side, and he doesn't have our best interests at heart. He's in it for himself, and we all know it. On the other hand, he needs our support to have legitimacy, and his need for our support gives us a certain (though limited) level of influence on his behavior.

We're not particularly thrilled with Imam X, but Imam X assures us that he's the best option we can reasonably expect to get. Imam X has a maniac on a leash, and if anything happens to Imam X, we'll be left to deal with the maniac. Our options are between Imam X and a maniac. Any other leader would be unapologetically acting against our interests. Imam X at least pays lip service to our concerns, and throws us a bone now and then. (Something like the House Republican leadership, but even worse.)

At every turn, Imam X gives us just enough to keep us from completely bailing out on him, but he realizes that the price of our support isn't that high, owing to the fact that we know the alternatives to Imam X are so much worse. We're expected to be grateful for his token efforts, and to happily accept the table scraps he drops to us now and then. In sum, Imam X has us by the "short hairs," and he knows it. He can count on our unwavering support so long as he knows that we're unwilling to plunge his little neighborhood into chaos. Imam X can count on the fact that we're rational actors and his conviction that we'll always accept half a loaf from him in lieu of none. In the short term, capitulation is almost always the rational decision on our part. Accordingly, whatever concerns Imam X may have, the loss of our support isn't high on the list of things that keep him up at night.

Of course, this situation isn't limited to a few Imams in London. From where I sit, the whole lot of self-proclaimed "moderate" Muslim activists, along with our "friends" in the House of Saud and our "friends" running Pakistan, are other examples of "Imam X's" in their respective spheres of influence.

It's just a form of extortion, a variation on the classic "Good Cop, Bad Cop" game and the "protection racket." It's a popular racket, mostly because it works so effectively.

The "moderate" Muslim activists in the West are the most distasteful of the lot, IMHO. At each stage, the game is: "accept this accomodation, or else we'll be replaced by crazies." At each round, the "this" is a little larger piece of flesh than last round. "Censor the Mohammed cartoons, or else." "Get rid of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or else." "Make the Pope apologize, or else." "Institute Shari'a law, or else." At each step, accomodation is the short-term rational choice.

I wonder: is there a point at which we (the West) are no longer willing to play along with the "Good Cop, Bad Cop" game anymore? Is there a point at which we're willing, in the short term, to be irrational? In other words, is there a point at which we're no longer willing to negotiate over our fundamental principles, even if there is a significant price to pay? Is there a point at which we make our own demands? Is there a point at which we're no longer willing to accept half measures and lukewarm gestures from our supposed "allies?" Is there a point at which we will draw a line beyond which we are unwilling to go, to throw down the gauntlet and invite them to join us as we all descend together into the Hell and chaos that supposedly awaits us?

If there is such a point, where does it lie?

If we can never figure out when we've crossed that point, isn't our subjugation just a question of "when" rather than "if?"

By Ragnar Danneskjold, Typical Bitter Gun-Clinger at 11:59 AM | Comments |