Academics or Agitprop Artists?

In late 2012, the academics Øystein Sørensen, Bernt Hagtvet and Bjørn Arne Steine, among others, published a work in Norway called Høyreekstremisme. Ideer og bevegelser i Europa (“Right-wing extremism. Ideas and Movements in Europe”) I figure prominently in this book, which in my view symbolizes the decay and intellectual dishonesty in modern academia.

Co-editors Bernt Hagtvet and Øystein Sørensen, both of them professors at the University of Oslo, suggest that my ideology is anti-democratic and dangerous and will lead to oppressive and authoritarian societies. It is unclear how this could be the case, since I want to move power away from unelected supranational organizations such as the EU, and back to the people, and reduce state interference in the lives of individual citizens. I must be the first alleged “Fascist” in history who wants less state power over the lives of individual citizens.

The chapter written by Vidar Enebakk on “Fjordman’s radicalization” is particularly incompetent and ridiculously politicized. For example, he refers totally uncritically to the report “Fear, Inc. The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America” from 2011, which was published by the left-wing organization The Center for American Progress, with several Muslim collaborators.

This report was clearly intended to smear people in North America and other Western countries who oppose Islamization and sharia law in any significant way. It also tied Breivik’s terror attacks directly to the emergence of so-called “organized Islamophobia.”

Yet Enebakk claims without a single critical remark on page 63 that the authors of this report mapped and identified “a small network of experts on disinformation, who have largely defined the anti-Muslim hate rhetoric in the USA in the wake of September 11th 2001.”

Knowledgeable individuals such as the Harvard-educated Daniel Pipes are dismissed without further evidence or explanation as “experts on disinformation,” while the words of those who warn against the dangers of Islamic global expansionism and Jihadist aggression are smeared unfairly with the label “hate rhetoric.” If anything, they are warning against hate.

Mr. Enebakk and too many others like him in this manner take the partisan ideological statements of decidedly left-wing organizations at face value and treat them as the Gospel Truth. At the same time, they casually dismiss conservative viewpoints simply as unfounded and irrational “hate.” Enebakk has done virtually nothing to check if some of the statements made by these “Islamophobes” are actually correct, a behavior that violates the most fundamental principles of genuine research and critical investigation.

What we see here is classic agitprop, or agitation propaganda directed against ideological opponents. This kind of aggressive character assassination unfortunately has long traditions among left-wing activists, dating back at least to the Bolsheviks and the Soviet Union.

Science is a method, not a title. Vidar Enebakk likes to wrap himself in the mantle of “science” and pretends to be a scientist, but he does not behave like one, and is therefore unworthy of the title.

Among those allegedly engaged in “systematically spreading Islamophobia in the USA,” Enebakk names Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney, Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz. He claims that not only do they spread propaganda and disinformation in the darkest corners of the Internet, they also operate a “well-organized and interconnected network that has systematically financed, produced and disseminated rhetoric of hate and Islamophobia in the United States.”

Notice how hopelessly unscientific this is statement is, written by a person who is supposed to have had scientific training. This is politics, not science. Enebakk describes “rhetoric of hate” (hatretorikk) and “Islamophobia” as being virtually the same thing. He has repeatedly accused me falsely, but very aggressively, of encouraging violence. I have written that I support both the First and the Second Amendment to the US Constitution; that is, freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. I stand by this statement and see nothing wrong with it.

Enebakk does not explicitly blame me for Breivik’s terror attacks, but he goes very far towards blaming me personally for shaping the killer’s mindset, thereby portraying me as a de facto indirect accomplice in the worst mass murder in recent Scandinavian history. This claim that I have a moral, if not legal, co-responsibility for the murder of 77 people has been suggested by a number of writers in Norway, among them the left-wing activist Eivind Trædal.

The defense lawyer Geir Lippestad has stated that Breivik had become radicalized already at the age of 21, around the year 2000, although his actual terror plans developed later. The exact date remains disputed, but Breivik apparently had already written comments online in June 2003 warning about the possibility of future civil wars due to Muslim immigration.

At this time I was working in the Middle East, in Israel and the Palestinian territories in a (not terribly effective) observer mission called TIPH in the city of Hebron. At that point I had not published a single essay about Islam under any name, although I was extensively reading critical websites and books about Islam, by Ali Sina, Ibn Warraq and other ex-Muslims.

It is thus well documented, and admitted by Breivik himself, that he had become “radicalized” and had started on his so-called manifesto before he had read a single word I had ever written.

Enebakk further notes – correctly this time – that I have argued that the current immigration policies could lead to serious ethnic conflicts in some Western countries. I still fear that this could indeed be the tragic outcome at some point if the current policies are not changed, but I warn against this. I certainly don’t “recommend” civil war, as some of my critics have perversely accused me of doing. Who in their right mind would do such a thing, anyway?

It is striking to notice how aggressive many left-wing self-proclaimed intellectuals can be in demonizing those who question their beliefs. Apparently, if conservative writers point out the negative consequences of policies supported by left-wing ideologues, then conservative writers are to blame for the existence of these problems. As such, those who point out real problems related to Muslim mass immigration to Europe and the Western world are accused of spreading “hate,” whereas many groups who have supported and promoted this mass immigration while suppressing any real discussion of its consequences largely go free.

By following this logic, Vidar Enebakk devotes very little space to discussing real problems caused by mass immigration, yet enthusiastically smears anyone who disagrees with his views. In my case, he is engaged in what can only be labeled a systematic attempt at character assassination.

I have briefly engaged him in direct discussions online, but soon found these efforts to be fruitless due to his chronic lack of honesty. For instance, I noted that while he loves to wear the mantle of a scientist, he does not always follow the most basic scientific principles, such as basing his statements on demonstrable facts. He has earlier made public claims that “Fjordman” is really a name used by an entire group of people, and that I have not actually written all of the essays I claim to have written. This conspiracy theory is, of course, totally without basis in reality.

Yet when I pointed this out to him, Enebakk did not apologize for having made baseless accusations against my person but instead immediately made another false accusation against me, namely “plagiarism”. He has a background in studies of the history of science and has previously been a Visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge in England. He earlier evaluated some of my quite extensive writings on the history of science and found them to be “scarily good.” Yet later on, he suggested that they were not as impressive after all, since I had simply engaged in “plagiarism”.

In the common understanding of the term, Plagiarism implies that one outright steals the work of other people without giving proper credit, and pretends it is his own work. This practice is not just immoral, but can in some cases be illegal. Enebakk thus publicly and falsely accused me of engaging in potentially illegal activities, without providing the tiniest shred of evidence to support it — since none exists.

As a matter of fact, one of my essays that is reproduced in full in Breivik’s so-called manifesto or compendium deals with medieval science in Europe vs. the Islamic world. In this 2008 essay I praised the work of scholars David C. Lindberg, Toby E. Huff and Edward Grant, leading authorities on science during the Middle Ages. I have never had any contact with Mr. Grant and bought his book Science and Religion with my own money. I thereafter publicly praised his work in very positive terms and recommended that other buy his book, giving full credit to the author and providing page references to the quotes from it that I used in my essay.

I have openly cited leading international authorities in this particular field, praised them by name and recommended that others buy their books. I did all of this entirely for free, simply because I respect their work.

Yet instead of applauding me for doing this, Enebakk responded by accusing me of engaging in shady and possibly illegal activities. Clearly, this is a person who is not interested in honest debate.

Vidar Enebakk is engaged in systematic character assassination, not research. His obsessive preoccupation with me gives Mr. Enebakk a profile resembling that of a cyber-stalker — a bit like Anders Behring Breivik once was.

He is a living symbol of the decline of modern academia.

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  • Toni_Pereira

    Intellectual dishonesty: The way to climb in academic circles.

  • AdinaK

    I have been battling leftist smear tactics, ever since I started developing a thesis: yes, leftists (chiefly academics and media/popular culture surrogates) act as Islamic white washers, as they tar anyone who deigns to reveal the true face of Islam/Sharia Law. Their political henchmen are right there, cheering them on.

    The amount of vitriol is relentless, but no matter. As is said, the proof is in the pudding, or the academic/media collusion. Hence, their nexus –

    Moreover, they have NO answer to the following policy paper, which reveals Sharia Law & its inextricable link to blood lust –

    Thus, we must shred their cat calls and then ignore them, just as long as the truth comes out!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

    • ReadingFjordman

      I'm worried about this criticism of academia as a whole.

      Academia is the protector of the scientific method. I fully support pointing out how parts of academia do not follow the scientific method, but most parts of academia do.

      It is a category mistake to take one or even a few, or even many dishonest men and create a stereotype of a dishonest academia.

      Both you and the author should give references that give proof to the claim of a dishonest adacemia. Individual cases cannot prove this, you need to provide surveys that give a statistical measure that indicates dishonesty.

      It is important to not fall into the trap of being anti-scientific just because the opposition is anti-scientific.

  • Jossi

    Very well explained and right to the point. In any case, if, and only if, there will be a "civil war" in Europe (or else in the West) the first who will suffer (and probably more than that…) will be these academics and the general recognizable lefties. If this point arrives sometimes in the future, they'll be thrown out of Europe if not outright (due to the situation) killed as enemies, together with the mohammedan population. I fear a point of no return will be reached, because this very problematic situation persists, is nearly unbearable and waits to explode due to exasperation and much more. Anyway, nice to read you here again at FP, Fjordman.

    • Infovoyeur

      You echo nicely (if depressingly!) an apparent Truth about Human History. Explosive civil wars when tipping-point is reached. Oh well, anyhow "positive" in the sense of something will be done other than simple submission to pre-civilization regression…

  • Western Canadian

    Academics or Agitprop Artists?

    Neither… Just the average, run of the mill boot-lickers so commonly found in 'elite' or 'intellectual' pursuits… Just like so many, world wide, aiding and abetting fascists throughout history.

  • RUI

    Even "elite" and "academia" are terms they wear, instead of something they are. When all they have are baseless accusations, they already lost the debate. No wonder then that they do everything to suppress it.
    If the first rule of Fight Club was not to talk about it, then the Left's only rule is not to talk about things, but to stampede directly into smearing, shouting, screaming hysterically and threatening their adversaries.

  • Duncan Millar

    It is disappointing to read yet more evidence that our universities,once a battleground for knowledge, are now a battleground for politics, where many students leave with a double-first in the unconscionable new science of political correctness.

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  • john

    Started in on reading your stuff '' by fjordman '' a few years back at gates of vienna – I've always come away feeling like there's not any great need to double check what you produce , mostly because i read alot and because of that it gets easier an easier to spot the pretenders – Your not one of them , those who believe other wise are , not only as readers but thinkers . Keep it up .

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