Todd Kincannon is a Bad Example of a Conservative Fundamentalist

Todd Kincannon gives the Conservative politicians and activists a bad name. He’s not even a good fundamentalist. His twitter feed is occupied with meme’s of President Obama, profanity, and nothing else. In short, there is no substance there. He simply argues against the wind to hear his own voice. Occasionally, he will make remarks dripping in what can only be easily categorized as naïve ill-informed bigotry.

Fundamentalism is characterized by a dangerous infatuation with words. It is essentially monolithic and reductionist. Like hearing from the lips of notorious religious fundamentalist, Pat Robertson, that the Hurricane in New Orleans was due to God’s wrath. Or anyone from Fox News that all the problems today lie in who is president.

Take his most recent tweet in response to someone else:

Jews are God’s chosen people. Muslims are Satan’s chosen people. Therein lies the difference.

His fundamentalism is so steeped in the ancient mundaneity of dualism. One is evil. The other is not. And lo’ and behold, he is always the good guy. Those he disagrees with are the bad ones’. Its just like history, only the heroes write who win, and it’s only the heroes who define the opponents. The main issue is not taking into account nuances or other historical discrepancies like: Christians vs the Moors in the Crusades. The Christians versus the Jews in the Early Church era. Or the so-called post-regal freedom fighters who ended up killing First Nations. Which Kincannon writes previously that is what we should do to the Muslims.

This Islamophobic xenophobia is indicative of the time in which we live. That religion must be reformed, sure, we all know this. But not just one religion, all of them, especially the one including that Todd aligns himself too – Christianity. Christianity has had a terribly hand in ostracizing people due to their personal lifestyle. Treating them as outsiders only to justify their xenophobic hatred and fear of anything that looks, feels, talks different.

Another issue is that of foundationalism. The idea that there is a systematic way to explain how, what, why one believes what they believe. There is no serendipity. There is no outside. There is only the desire to control the direction of knowledge and experience. Think of the movie, The Village, by M. Night Shymalan where the plot is controlled, directed, and predetermined by those in power. There is an unknown fear element that confines all of the villagers inside the walls, so they will not venture out. There is only fear, no desire, in reality, for desires are controlled by the fear of the unknown. Isn’t this the case with Kincannon, simply a conservative automaton who tries to rely on fear to control what he either doesn’t know, or he himself fears?

He goes on to make racist, anti-Islamic statements that he seems all too comfortable claiming. The ideological hubris limits itself by having no substance or actual arguments, they are just ad hominem attacks. They set up things that either don’t exist, or are conflationary exaggerations. He doesn’t want to know the truth, he wants to make it up, so he can then be the arbiter of it.

Take the following for example:

I consider Arabs to be white. I know plenty of Christian Arabs and some atheist ones too. Nice people. Muslim Arabs are scum.

Okay, so within the first sentence he already shows his inability to tell melanin apart. He might be color-blind, come on now, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. He might have some ocular stigmatism. But, last time I was around the ‘Arab’ people, I don’t remember seeing many white ones?! And then he does this postmodern trick of trying to separate them out into different religious categories as if to seem rational, but his first sentence already shows the inherent weakness, his inability to see the person as a person, they must somehow not have a certain religion. He gets to choose. Wow. How is this not an example f fascism on a subjective level?

He should actually spend time with a Muslim. Or go visit people in Ferguson. Or spend some time with the First Nations. Many of which I have done. I can tell you from experience, I have never met some of the nicest people on the planet. We can no longer allow bigotry to go on. We, as the human family, must fight for a better informed reality. Kincannon should spend some time living out experiences, rather than trying to creating false one’s through his myopic dogmatic use of language.

Make sure you read a recent interview I had with Zudhi Jasser, the President and Founder from the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, you can read that here.

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Is Russel Brand A Savior, A Messiah? OR A Manifesto For Change a

Is Russel Brand the next Jesus Christ Superstar? Is going to be the Savior of the universe? Is he the next Avenger? If you have listened to the comedian/actor/turned revolutionary, you will know that this is the wrong question to be asking. Mediation is what he is against. However, its his nuanced flair for choosing such a title for his recent tour, The Messiah Complex. What is a complex? Something indicative of deeper issues. So, I read his title as a parody of just this very thing. That we don’t need more systems, or even more mediation (i.e., presidents, world leaders, powers that be) telling us what we need, what we don’t need, or how we need it. We need each other.

A couple words that comes up in a lot of his television interviews are the words, love and compassion. What is love? Okay, don’t start singing the 80’s song (Baby, don’t hurt me, no more). But honestly, we all know there is something lacking if we approach love as some narcotic we can’t get enough of, or if we over-intellectualize it, make it into a 12-step program. Many people like to think of it as a Christmas gift, something you give away. But what if its not any of those things? But, rather lets use the Greek word, agape. Which, simplified, is self-sacrifice. I would like to take it a step further, an end to the ego. Let’s contextualize that in the West.

The end of corporate consciousness; or even reduced to a more simple maxim, love is the end of being thought for, and the beginning of thinking for yourself. But to do so, you have to ‘die’ to your current sense of self. You have to die to the ideas you have been given. To the notion that inequality is just a natural part of existence. That fundamentalism is the only way to experience a religion or an idea. That governments and, dare I even say, democracy are the only options of how to successfully experience politics. There are better ways. This is what I hear Russell saying. But also love is the loss of self at the benefit of another. Not co-dependency. Inter-dependency. But at the end of ourselves, is the resurrection of ourselves found in the other.

Recently Russel Brand was in a conversation with Guardian columnist, Owen Jones, which is pretty good, find out more information here. But its a different article I want to bring light to, it’s the one where Owen is basically saying he doesn’t have time for Brand’s detractors. That there is substance in what he is saying. If you follow some of the comments on Brand’s Youtube channel, Trew News, people are inanely attacking him, without argument. How is what he is actually saying against what most people want? By people, I am inferring Leftists and progressives. We know the system is broken, We know it needs changing.

We know that is can’t go on. So, why these attacks? I am not saying agree with everything he is saying, he wouldn’t want that. I am a Marxist Communist, he is trying to reform democracy, which I personally think is a multivaried form of fascism. Look, to the content of what he is saying. If you follow me on twitter (@travelersnote) , you will see, as someone who is moving into acting, that it can’t just be what happens on stage, that one must use any and all of their available platforms to change, alter, destroy (sometimes) systems in place that mediate, control, and overly-define human progress and take that process out of everyday people. We have to realized all of these issues did not preexist us, we all have a hand in our past, present and creating a new future. So, no, don’t look to Russel as a saviour, that’s the most disrespectable thing you can do, look at the content of what he is saying, and apply it to your own revolution and begin that now. Today. This moment. Don’t let people represent you to the point you’re immobile. This is our time, a better world can be made.

PS. I will be explaining in detail the “in’s and outs” of what makes a revolution, an investigation on historical ones, and why they won’t work. Quite literally, it will be the mechanics and science of revolution in everyday language. Why we need something new. I am currently working on this book, it’s entitled: “A Tourist Guide to Starting A Revolution”

Interview Zudhi Jasser, President of The American Islamic Forum For Democracy

Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what your role is at the American Islamic Forum for Democracy?

I am the founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, a think-tank founded in 2003 to promote the founding principles of the U.S. Constitution, including individual liberty and freedom of conscience, through the separation of mosque and state. We see radical Islam and terrorism as a symptom of a deeper condition- Islamism (political Islam) or the Islamic state which has violent and non-violent forms all of which are incompatible with modernity and liberty. In my role at AIFD, I lead a team of dedicated activists and thinkers in mentoring youth, organizing liberty and reform-minded Muslim leaders, and advancing our message through the media. I am also a physician, author (my book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam, was released in 2012), and most importantly, a very blessed husband and father.

Can you explain the state of Islam today? I know this is a loaded question. But let’s start in the West, and then move to the East.

My understanding and practice of Islam is pluralistic, recognizes and respects women’s equality and universal human rights. My family and close-knit community share this interpretation of the faith, which we believe to be theologically sound and in synergy with our identity as Americans as well. Part of our belief system is the understanding that we have a responsibility to address those aspects of our faith used by radicals to harm others and infringe on the rights of women, minorities and dissidents. Unfortunately, not all Muslims share this understanding of our faith – and worst of all, too many Muslims in positions of power (from heads of state internationally to many self-appointed leaders in the American Muslim community) actually enable if not outright support Islamism, a theo-political ideology wherein the establishment of an “Islamic state” is maintained as a goal, and the rights of minorities, especially women, are seriously harmed. While it is true that most Muslims don’t support radicalism (violence), it is also true that the majority of us are either in denial about the problem of Islamism and how widespread it really is, or are intimidated out of addressing it head-on. Thus, for Islam to go through a reformation which allows it to lift up the universal principles of liberty, human rights, modernity, and reason, we Muslims must have the courage of our convictions to carry it out. We cannot do this without the support of non-Muslim allies, who need to both recognize the problem and the need for Muslims like those of us at AIFD to be empowered. For Muslims to reject both tyrannies of ethnic fascism (ie Arabism) and Islamism, this will need a third path of liberty.

How has the media had a hand in creating unfair caricatures of Islam?

While the media hasn’t always handled issues related to Islam and Muslims perfectly, the problem is less about the media being “unfair” to Islam itself and more about the media giving significant airtime to Islamists and their enablers as the voice of Islam and Muslims while not offering equal or even nominal platforms to liberty-and reform-minded Muslims. By continuing this approach, the media does in fact help to foster hostility toward Islam and Muslims, because if non-Muslims continually see Muslims as dismissing and making excuses for the worst within our community, they cannot rationally conclude that a pluralistic, human-rights valuing interpretation of our faith exists. In other words, to combat negative sentiments about Islam and Muslims, dissident voices must be given a chance in the public arena.

Recently the actor/activist Ben Affleck was on the Bill Maher show and they got into a disagreement over the characterization of Islam, you would later refer to Ben as an Imam, can you explain your position in relationship to the discussion, as well as who and what an Imam is and why you think Ben Affleck deserves the title?

It was beyond frustrating, as a Muslim who is so dedicated to the tough love of reform, to see two popular non-Muslims one a comedian who often denigrates all religions and another a Hollywood actor who blindly defended all of Islam and Muslims talk past all of the real issues. While there may often be very little I actually agree with Bill Maher about, when it comes to the condition of the religion of Islam today and my co-religionists, left to those two positions, Maher’s side demanding an “intervention” within the House of Islam makes more sense. My obvious sarcasm about Ben Affleck’s position was intended to point out how his position sadly mimicked that of most Imams speaking out today. “Imams” are teachers of the Islamic faith who as a community today sadly represent the central obstacles to reform due to their pathological denials, their continued advocacy for Islamist supremacy, and their blind apologetics for the autocrats of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and their fossilized Islamic institutions that stifle all critical modern thinking.

The most over quoted verse from the Quran is the one that refers to killing infidels, is this a wrong interpretation to just take this out of context? Or is there merit in it? Is Islam one whole movement of religious believers or are there different strands? Could you explain this more?

Muslims believe the Quran was revealed between 610 and 632 C.E. There are certainly passages which refer to ‘just war’ at that time which God permitted as last resort in a few specific conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims. But, these were some of the last verses to be revealed, only after verses that preached peace and compassion first set priorities for peaceful resolution of all conflict.

There was no context anywhere in the world at that time for a comparison of the allegiance of Muslims to secular nation states versus the old religious tribal identity. But, Islamists (revivalists) want to look backward and profile those verses from the 7th century for all times. Reformers, however, want to look forward and advocate for the modern era of the liberal democratic republic which obligates an end to the incompatible Islamic state, political ummah, and its jihad. I’ve written before as a Naval officer that loyalty to our nation’s military mission is ground zero in the battle between Islamism and Americanism.

We maintain at AIFD, that any verses that cannot be easily interpreted as irrelevant must be re-evaluated, re-interpreted and re-understood in order to bring the entirety of our faith community to a place of genuine coexistence with the rest of the world.

This interview will not allow the space for a full explanation of the diversity of the Muslim community, but despite the claim of both Islamists and anti-Muslim activists that all Muslims are one unit, thinking the same thoughts, believing things in exactly the same way and sharing exactly the same goals, we are truly a diverse community. We are diverse not just in our tongues and colors, but also in our practice of Islam and our understanding of what faith and national identity mean, and what peace and tolerance mean. That is why it is so important, not just for understanding between communities, but also for our national and global security, that the voices of liberty and reform-minded Muslims be brought to the forefront. A forum simply must be created by which Islamists and reformers can engage in this urgently needed battle of ideas and bring about essential change to benefit us all.

What can we all do to celebrate the diversity that Islam brings to the world? How can we help develop better ways to tackle Islamophobia? Do we need more censorship in the media? What else needs to be done?

These issues are for the most part addressed above.

I must add one item here: while I acknowledge that bigotry against Muslims exists and is un-American and inhumane when it does, I entirely reject the term Islamophobia. Islam is not an immutable race nor ethnicity. It is an ideology. The term is an attempt by Islamists to impart blasphemy laws in free societies. I love my faith of Islam, and I fear Islamism. Contrary to the propaganda of the OIC, I can be an Islamophile and yet fear Islamism. Islamist groups in the west as lobbyists of the OIC try to stifle free speech by equating criticism of Islamism with bigotry towards Muslims. There is nothing further from the truth. To the extent that bigotry against Muslims exists, the best way to combat it is for the world to realize that Muslims are in fact the greatest asset for reforms within Islam against Islamism and its theo-political ideologies. We must no longer fear in the West the challenges of honest discourse on Islam, Islamism, Muslims, and religion. Western revolutionaries rejected theocracy in the west in order to create free societies. Why can’t Muslims do the same?

Anything else? Thank you.

Why Ben Affleck Is Right & Bill Maher is Wrong

“Islam, at the moment, is the motherlode of bad ideas.” – Sam Harris

Montesquieu argued further, “…The laws have a lot to do with the manner in which
different people procure their subsistence”

Race is defined, particularly in its US and Nazi versions, by the genetic composition of the
individual. – Shein

You’ve probably been following conversation that erupted between actor Ben Affleck and TV comedic pundit Bill Maher (and sidekick Sam Harris) that made waves on social media and still are. In the video, seen below, Ben Affleck chastises the words of Bill Maher and Harris who make generalizations about Islam, making such comments as the above from Harris. Like Reza Aslan says, it is not that religion is violent, but that violent people are violent. That religion becomes a screen upon which violent people project to justify their violence. Also, to make such a blanket statement about all of Islam is to dismiss those who don’t fit in this category.

What are generalizations if not predetermined caricatures that are socially assumed to be agreed upon and given authority as truth-statements. Most generalizations are subjectively made. If you walk down the street and randomly get into a fight, you might then make the claim or assumption that that street is dangerous to walk down. This is itself the limitations of generalizations, it doesn’t account for anything outside of a closed system/experience. There is no serendipity. Also, when race and religion are treated hierarchically, as if one is better than the other, then we have to address the power involved in displacing one religion over another. Hierarchy is simply a system designed to enforce order and homogenize everyone involved into normalizing the individual. The idea of making violence intrinsic to a religion or a race or a group is the attempt to dismiss any value of people groups, religion, race and difference.

Western Multiculturalism has come to mean: Respect me in the way I am comfortable or I will take you to court. We have come to legislate comfort. But, what is so discomforting about people being too close, about people having opinions about us? why is it so horrific? A french Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan once called this moment where words lost all meaning and usage, the Real, its like sitting and watching a horror and all you can do is jump, or gasp but that moment  is so scary all we can do is try to distant ourselves from it. this is a hint into why in the West, people are so protective of their identities, because its too close to the truth that we have no identity at all.

 I wonder if the current state of some sects in Islam is not do to just some misintepretative readings in the Quran, but also some is due to the western media being a placeholder for Islam to fall into a self-fulfilled prophecy….you know when the person who says, they’re going to fail actually fails, they fall into the trap of believing what they have set themselves up for. I am not saying we need to be cavalier in how we address, Islam, or racism but we need to be more careful in how we understand each of these terms. Like theorist Naomi Zack concludes, the only way to end racism, is to end the idea of race. Race and who we are are two very different things. To equate race to the physical appearance, doesn’t take into account the universal race called: humanity.  The way we understand identity today has been controlled by capitalism and the American Dream. Which feed off of us needing to hold tightly to our ideas. Globalization has a hand in circumnavigating this kind of ideology. Sufi’s, the mystical arm of Islam is rife with poets and mystics who understood the need to absolve ourselves of identity. Dont get me wrong, capitalism isn’t the only issue here.  When we speak of race, I am not saying we somehow deny our bio-geographical heritages, but that we disavow the social conditioning of how we have come to understand it.
Ben Affleck’s disgust is exactly how we all should be responding. But his response that Islamophobic statements are gross and offensive are also indicative of something much larger. The problem with the Left today, which is that we depend upon caricatures to defend our stance.That Maher represents the lazy side of Leftist thought. Also, Affleck represents another side of false multi-culturalism, the part where we somehow need to prohibit the way we critique one another. There is something to be said about choosing one’s words wisely, but not at the expense of the value of the critique itself. Multiculturalism doesn’t mean walking on egg shells, it means the ability to critique- without generalizations. Onto Religion….
If there is any true religion, it’s the religion of our conditioning, of our upbringing, environment and education. This tells us what we believe. This is the term we should use when we speak of religion. One’s experience of some metaphysical being, or the metaphysicality of language should not be reduced to a system of conditioning. Religion is all around us, metaphysical or materialist. It is simply how we are conditioned and the beliefs we hold so dear. To minimise it down to an interpretation of the Quran and spirituality creates an unnecessary tension between the two. When we speak of religion In an abstract sense, we do violence to the context that has emerged. To say things like all Islam is bad because of the way the media represents Islam is to cheapen those who are attempting to reform it from within, (ie Irshad Manji and etc.).
Philosopher Slavoj Zizek once made the point that true multiculturalism is the ability to criticize one on their beliefs and practices without absolute recoil. Today that kind if multiculturalism exists nowhere. Critique is necessary to develop a healthy view of ones self. Let’s not be too lazy here and just dismiss this as ideological. Sure, ideas play a large part in how we develop ourselves, ethics and identities, but we can’t minimize the reality that culture has a hand in developing those ideas. The fact that we live in a Western country gives this argument a geographic dimension. Where in this country, the right to personal speech is a neglected luxury, meaning, we take it for granted. Some countries, as we know, don’t have this luxury.
This was referred to in the Maher/Affleck discussion. But what has free speech really come to mean? The privatization of words to the point that one takes ownership of those words, and that the words chosen can also be legislated to the point that if the words become public and can be considered offensive then the person might be incarcerated. So, really, it’s not free speech afterall, there are limits. There are limits to what we are allowed to say. Which brings this discussion back around to the pseudo-multiculturalism. The idea that to respect someone we must somehow not speak critically of what someone believes or how they believe or how they treat others because of it and etc. is quite a shortsighted definition. We need to be critical of ourselves and one another. No one is untouchable.

This is the problem in our current state of anemic democracy, we’ve turned the roles into god-like roles, where it’s become taboo to say certain thing about people and their actions. This is the deepest form of disrespect, because it refuses to engage with the person and attempt to sustain the role that the person is filling as some sort of divine role, which isn’t that far from our paleolithic beginnings. When Affleck brings up the fact that Maher is generalizing, this right here, as Leftists is where we need to listen. It’s this critique that exposes the very problem with a lot of leftist thought today, namely that it has come to mirror that of Conservative discourse and has learned to try to scare people into agreement.

By abstracting Islam, faith and religion, it then turns the humans involved in that religion into victims of their belief system. There is no responsibility to choice, and human agency. It just lazily turns them into monsters and automatons. Leftist fundamentalism is no different than fundamentalism on the right, mainly due to the fact that t defines itself against conservative ideology which gives leftist thought its very coordinates for disagreement.

. This is irresponsible….

 

Violence begets violence, not Islam begets violence…..

Philosopher Slavoj Zizek once made the point that true multiculturalism is the ability to criticise one on their beliefs and practices without absolute recoil. Today that kind of multiculturalism exists nowhere. Critique is necessary to develop a healthy view of ones self and reality. In this interview, Ben Affleck and Bill Maher were both right and both wrong. But both become a critique on the plight of leftism today. That race, religion, geography, history are not easy caricatures. That the politics of the Left need to step up their game. That if anything is going to change on how we address issues like violence, religion, Islam and identity we have to move beyond the gaze of the media. The media cannot have the last word on how we believe.
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