Islam and our Denial
There is widespread denial, across the political spectrum, of Islam’s threat to our civilization. The far left has become so consumed by its hatred of our culture that it has abandoned its traditional hostility towards religion in the face of the revival of one of the most barbaric and oppressive religious ideologies in history. Having assumed a policy of anti-anti-Islam, the left has made what Horowitz calls an Unholy Alliance with our enemy, defending it at every opportunity. The anti-rational nihilistic post-modern left is a heavy weight on the whole left side of the spectrum, drowning out any sane voice of moderation. Such fashionable academic nonsense has already corrupted popular politics.
The problem, however, isn’t confined to the left. The right is split, with some having great difficulty facing the fact that a long-standing religious tradition, such as Islam, can be fundamentally inimical to our civilization to such a degree that it rivals the dangers of the last century. The ecumenical right can be as relativistic, at times, as the left by treating any religious-based ideology as just another path to God.
Denial: comparisons to the past.
Our inability to face the current threat is similar to our past difficulties facing the threat of secular totalitarianism. The left, in particular, denied or downplayed the threat of communism during the Red Decade of the 1930s and again during the 1970s and 80s. Most people failed to see the full gravity of Hitler’s rise. Firsthand accounts describe how good people blinded themselves to Hitler’s evil ideology. Some have drawn parallels between then and now.
Not everything has changed.
Today there is an eerie complacency. Most people go about their lives as if the problem has disappeared. New York housing prices sore despite any real effort to secure the city against nuclear attack. Several planned attacks of a conventional nature have been prevented but the unreality of the danger continues. Like a surreal dream, New York editorialists make urgent appeals to hamstring our intelligence agencies as they were before 9/11. Los Angles film producers see the terrorists as sympathetic and America as over-reacting if not the real villain. Good books and documentaries explain the threat, of course. But the press is obsessively focused on slight or imagined problems in military management that makes the unreality even more bizarre.
Both political parties have adopted the policy of lying about Islam and Saudi Arabia, as a tactical maneuver to deal with then enemy; however, a sustained lie only destroys the liar’s confidence in his insight and weakens his resolve. It is that lie which underwrites the unreality of the threat. Speaking the truth is the first requirement of rallying the nation to the cause. Speaking in silent hushed tones betrays the intellectual and moral uncertainty of a cause headed for defeat. Our hesitancy is apparent as we return to the 9/10 mindset.
Islam, the enemy’s ideology, is the only taboo subject, today. Radio talk-show host Michael Graham was fired for being critical of Islam. Instead, America is vilified and put on the defensive. Just one week prior to 9/11, the U.N. sponsored a hate-fest directed at America and Israel and it continues to disparage America rather than the Islamic world for the irrational hate in the world today. The left joins this chorus and instead of its usual antipathy towards religion, it uses the Islamic threat as a springboard to vilify America.
Our intellectual surrender, in the face of a conceptual confusion, is the greatest threat to winning the war. Moral appeasement and the continual rationalizations, that have exempted Islamic savagery from unequivocal condemnation, have weaken our resolve and emboldened the enemy. Intellectual cowardice prevents us from considering the truth as we maintain a positive disposition to see Islam in a way that won’t offend.
A prerequisite to an appropriate response that is neither an under-reaction nor an over-reaction is an honest and open discussion. Laws that prohibit free speech, such as those against the “vilification of a religion,” only hinder a proper response and as a result may become a self-fulfilling prophesy. To surrender freedom of speech to avoid hurting the enemy’s feelings is a sign of the surreal state of affairs.
Conservatives who don’t get it.
There is a broad strain of conservatism that defined its posture against the secular ideology of communism; these conservatives have difficulty seeing a religious ideology as a serious threat. They have misidentified the problem in the past as the lack of God instead of the lack of reason; and are not able to deal with the current threat. Even staunch Cold Warriors are soft on the Islamic threat. National Review, founded during the Cold War, often gives Islam undue respect and is otherwise silent with a few exceptions.
But some conservatives do!