The Herr Schultz Syndrome


by Richard Butrick (February 2015)

Berlin, 1931. Despite:

Jack-booted Hitler Youth marching through the streets of Berlin smashing in Jewish stores.

Huge  Nazi rallies claiming Aryan supremacy.

Attacks on Synagogues.

Threats to exterminate Jews.

Herr Schultz, an aging Jewish fruit vendor, is convinced that the Brown Shirts and Hitler Youth are just extremist aberrations and that all will return to normal soon. He understands the German people. After all, he himself is German. Nobody, especially the Germans of Goethe and Mozart, could possibly believe Nazi propaganda. Hitler and Goebbels do not represent the good German people. Their propaganda will not resonate with the good German people, who are home cooking Wiener Schnitzel and practicing their yodeling. (Herr Schultz from the musical Cabaret — with apologies to Christopher Isherwood.)

The Herr Schultz Syndrome: The inability to give up long held ideologically based beliefs in spite of overwhelming and dangerous evidence to the contrary.

Washington DC, 2014. Despite:

Persecution of Christian communities all over the Maghreb and Middle East in the name of Islam. (Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Sudan, Tanzania, and Tunisia).

Public executions and public floggings of 1000 lashes dragged out over a 20 week period for exercise of free speech and choice interpreted as insulting Islam.

Huge crowds cheering Muslim leadership when they damn Israel and the USA and proclaim Islam uber alles.

Demonstrations in the U.K., Brussels, and other European Muslim enclaves with signs proclaiming that Islam will “dominate the world,” “Death to Israel,” and other charming threats to antiquarian values, such as “Freedom go to hell.”

John Kerry, an aging PC-vendor and Secretary of State, is convinced that Islam is the Religion of Peace and tolerance with freedom of religion for all.

The real face of Islam is a peaceful religion based on the dignity of all human beings. It’s one where Muslim communities are leading the fight against poverty. It’s one where Muslim communities are providing basic healthcare and emergency assistance on the front lines of some of our most devastating humanitarian crises. And it is one where Muslim communities are advocating for universal human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the most basic freedom to practice one’s faith openly and freely. [link]

He understands Muslims. Nobody, especially the Muslims of Golden age of Islam of Avicenna and Averroes could possibly believe extremist, so-called “Islamist” propaganda. ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram and the like do not represent the good Muslim people. Their propaganda will not resonate with the good Muslim people, who are home cooking Halal food and studying the Koran. They are going about their daily business and want the same things non-Muslims do – peace, prosperity and freedom of expression and religion. Mr. Kerry, like Herr Schultz with regard to Nazi ideology, is convinced that radical Islam (Islamo-fascism, Islamism) will not resonate with the vast majority of Muslims.

But the Kerry-Obama version of the Herr Schultz Syndrome is a particularly virulent form of the delusion. Whereas Herr Schultz cannot but cling to the belief that the cultured, refined Germans he has known all his life could not possibly buy into Nazi ideology, the Kerry-Obama strain goes further in denying not only that Muslims would ever buy into a violent, genocidal ideology of supremacism, they deny that Islam even has a remote connection to such an ideology. It is as if Herr Schultz maintained that, properly understood, Nazism is not the violent, ideology of hate and supremacism that it appears to be.

Even criticism of Islamo-fascism as opposed to Islam per se is verboten, as the Obama team fears that such criticism may be seen as Muslim-bashing and belittling of Islam in general and will just succeed in angering Muslims and driving them toward rather than away from radical Islam.

As Roger Simon of PJMedia recently observed, the Obama administration can’t even put the words ‘Islamic” and “terrorism” together. An essential element of PC-think is that Islam is a religion of peace. The grip of PC-think, drilled into students throughout K12 and graduate school, is quite amazing. It is almost as if they have been immunized against certain realities. The word magic is worthy of Voodoo incantations. By not using certain words the reality to which they refer becomes unreality. After the Paris Hebdo assassinations, Kerry’s boss, the master of PC-think, President Obama, referred to the Islamic terrorists shouting “Allahu Akbar” just as terrorists. If one never links ‘Islamic’ with ‘terrorists’ there are no Islamic terrorists?

Even some Muslim reformists who believe (erroneously?) that Islamism can be pealed away from Islam believe that the ideology of Islamism is driving jihadist movements and must be discredited as the evil, hate-inspiring ideology it is:

Painful scenes have transfixed us as we watch in dismay our tongue-tied administration unable to name our nemesis. Owning the narrative is key in any ideological battle, and as President Barack Obama’s administration struggles to name our enemy — oscillating between “radicals,” “extremists” and “terrorists” — Islamism in its variegated forms shows neither fear nor hesitation in declaring war. [link]

Admittedly it is hard to give up the narrative that has shaped one’s life and attitudes. That Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance is one of the pillars of PC-think. And, after all, with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, the Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry, is the very model of a modern PC gentleman.

But at a certain point not admitting the obvious becomes delusional. Kerry prattles on about real Islam but his real Islam is nowhere to be found in reality. He protects his delusion by the magic wall of Islamophobia. Evidence, textual or material, that supports the counter thesis that Islamism is rooted in Islam is dismissed as a psychological disorder. The consequences of his locked mind-set are ominous. The West is in danger of being crucified on the cross of Islamophobia by delusional PC ideologues.

As Salim Mansur wrote in the Toronto Sun back in 2009:

When the West concedes to Islamists in the mistaken belief that subjecting Islam and Muslim history to intensive criticism amounts to “hate speech” and must not be allowed, then freedom is undermined and totalitarianism in the Arab-Muslim world gets further entrenched.

It is in-your-face obvious. Islam(ism) in practice is following Islam(ism) in doctrine and the Pied Piper of the-real-face-of-Islam is delusional on both counts.

But even if Islamism is considered an aberrant form of Islam, it is still an ideology based on Islam. It is still the rallying point and justification for horrific jihadist actions. It must be confronted as such – an ideology. Whatever the motivation – shielding Islam from the spillover from anti-Islamist sentiment or whatever – failure to link the ideology with the terrorist actions of jihadist is a sure way to lose the ideological war. Fine. Even if it is held that Islamism is not real Islam, until Islamism – the ideological, motivational base – is discredited the Islamist meme will breed and multiply regardless of the destruction of any given cell.

The reason why there are Islamists is because there is Islamism. The reason why there are Islamo-fascists is because there is Islamo-fascism. There would have been no Marxists without Marxism. There would have been no Nazis without Nazism. How hard is that?

*The title phrase was first introduced by the author in a 2012 article. The current article advances the theme and particulars of the first article.



Dr. Richard Butrick is an American writer who has published in Mind, Philosophy of Science, Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, International Journal of Computer Mathematics among others.


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