Sunday, February 07, 2010

Pashkavils and Social Control
Theodore Dalrymple on Political Correctness;
"In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control."
I see a not-too-unfair correlary to pashkavilim as seen in Haredi towns and neighborhoods in Israel (sporadically elsewhere), many communities with roots planted before Mandate Palestine under the yoke of Islam, melding imposed Dhimmitude with their native halachic interpretations of self-in-exile. I wouldn't call members of these communities "emasculated liars" - self-deceiving maybe, but they have their many, thoroughly-chronicled sociological reasons. Pashkavils are very occasionally informative, but are designed largely to maintain social control by fostering deep guilt in the quiet recesses of the soul created in such settings, by impugning individuals, ideas or institutions that may be ignored or insufficiently-opposed by many within the community, or quietly tolerated or even supported on the opposite fringe. They are often abstractions of reality, a window into how people "should" see the world outside the confines of the community ; propaganda. Similar to communist regimes and secret police, the effect is of an "all seeing" human force that is Granted by "Daas Torah", access to your inner stirrings and will privately shame you by making shamefully public the content of your private thoughts or tolerances (or apathies). The people who produce and distribute them are few and on the fringe of the fringe (and inflict their works often on the other fringe of that fringe), yet the acquiesence on the part of the larger community they are within gives such personalities direct influence where they have no actual power to enforce. They are freelance KGB.
With more of these complacent, tolerant [of the RW extremists] communities merging into the "working Charedi" realm, the personality type that is now the fringe of a fringe will then become only a fringe - their methods will likely be "digitized" (as they move into the technically-feasible and mandatory for Charedi communities walled-in Jewish virtual ghettos), and viral pashkivils will likely follow, tolerated by many "modern Charedim" due to the presence among them of the Dhimmitude-perpetuating community members. Dhimmitude was a factor in an early and long battle in the Chiloni/Daati war for the State of Israel, a war that began even before the state, with the Zionist picture of the "Galut Jew" vs. the "New Jew", etc.
The memories on both sides of this battle will taint how people see this Dhimmitude, and even raising a comparison between these communities and Jews under Islam will be dismissed as an anti-religious connard. I think the diffused Dhimmitude of these communities, which Sephardi Jews thought they'd escaped by escaping Islam, will be brought closer to the range of accepted dispositions within Judaism by the modernization of these Ashkenazi sects. A Dhimmitude having flowered and grown more complicated in these communities so often "suffering" under the presence of the Jewish State of Israel. These are the same communities having made overtures for years towards the Islamic authorities in and about Israel, openly discussing a "shared" future in the region once Medinat Israel is out of the picture (even Chardal rabbis in Israel have participated in these meetings). links to coverage of these meetings added later.


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