The just-completed, second ever blue scarf meeting in Vancouver saw a doubling of our numbers, not counting the absence of the body guard that Dag brought to our first meeting. (Dag's nodhimmitude blog has recently taken a break from its usual serious essaying of the west's intellectual and cultural ill health, to play provocateur in the world-wide campaign for "Mo'toons". His blog is now getting many hundreds of daily visitors, up from its previous committed few. This raised the possibility that we would attract some opponents to our meeting, but the blue scarves were able to repel all offended parties at McDonald's tonight. Once the loud youngsters had departed, we were able to engage in some serious, open-ended talk.)
Joining us was Flares reader, Charles H., an educator whose passion to renew the North American culture was in evidence. We did not construct any plan to save the world, except to continue to build conservative but liberal ways of seeing as alternatives to all the dystopian and utopian nonsense that is out there in anti-globalization, anti-American, anti-Israel, victimary circles.
We gave much attention to the horrors faced by women, children, and men in the Islamic world and by Muslim immigrants in Canada. Dag who has spent much time in the Middle East has a great collection of depressing stories that cannot but motivate his listeners to face up to the probability that the quest for a moderate Islam, of the kind pursued by Canada's Muslim refusenik, Irshad Manji, might require such an impossible change in Islamic culture that we will not be facing a future in which Manjis are central to Mosque life, but are rather the vanguard of a movement of apostasy and conversion. In any case, we decided to coin the verb "to Manji" as a sign of our support for radical moderating change, however it must come, in preference to the only alternatives we can presently conceive: war with or isolation (and hence starvation) of the Islamic world. Dag is committed to the idea that we must provoke some conflict and change now, or inevitably face more horrific conflicts in future. While sobering, there was no other path proposed.
We initiated a number of ideas for future projects, from a Theo Van Gogh film night, to public readings of the Koran, and provocation of our local public feminists to engage more seriously the plight of women in the Islamic world. While we have many problems with the world's most famous shame culture, we might not be beyond a little shaming of our own. All things in good measure.
More generally, we resolved less to limit our blue scarf movement to specific projects as to support each other in developing the intellectual resouces to begin transforming western public culture in all arenas where we find ourselves. Our major target is the west's current political dependency on nihilistic and dogmatically imperialistic formulations of multiculturalism and victimary thinking, political formulations exemplified by outgoing Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's statements in the recent election campaign that Canada is but a nation of minorities, without a dominant culture of its own.
We are opposed to a politics that give no one a sense of sharing in and building up a shared and transcendent cultural form, and wish to see a greater acknowledgment of our common presence in a historical national culture to which all can belong as part of an open-ended exploration of the rational (time-tested) democratic political and social forms that have been given us by our forebears. We wish active explorations and professions of love for our shared culture. Only if we reclaim our sense of ownership of an ever unfinished national journey, in opposition to tranzi Gnosticism, can we be more confident in judging and condemning the presence among us of women more or less enslaved, and rendered socially and unproductively isolated by certain oppressive religious and familial beliefs, most notably represented by the more extreme forms of head and body covering some are compelled to wear.
Our faith in human progress seems to be inescapably attached to a need to engage in critical discussion of all of humanity's understandings of our relationship to the sacred, and thus to an ability and will to judge, choose, and promote only those relationships that seem conducive to an expansion of human freedom.
We resolved to meet again next Thursday. All are welcome to attend: see you at the McDonald's at Main and Terminal, 7pm.