Posted by: clholoman | February 18, 2015

On the other hand

The article I wrote about yesterday has generated a lot of buzz. In the interest of dialogue, here’s an article that takes issue with the Atlantic piece. My initial reaction is that this response, while serving as a valuable counterweight, kind of misses the point. I don’t think the original author, Graeme Wolf, is claiming that ISIS is an “inevitable product of Islam.” And I certainly hope that Wood doesn’t get lumped in with some of the narrow minded bigots cited in the article (I have a particular problem with Franklin Graham, but we’ll leave it at that for now.)

What I think Wolf is suggesting is that ISIS’s theology or worldview or whatever, is so fully self contained and self reinforcing that it is difficult to argue against–it exists on a different plane, in some sense, from “normal” thinking. E.P. Thompson coined (as far as I know) the phrase “orrery of errors.”  (An orrery is a mechanical model of the solar system, usually mechanical. Once set in motion, it continues to operate in a self-contained manner in a way that is difficult to disrupt.) That seems to apply here.


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