Victor Davis Hanson has some interesting comments today:
“First, before 9/11 the Western hard right-wing allowed radical Islam a pass — and then afterwards the Left did worse.”
Actually, it wasn’t just “hard right” conservatives, like Grover Norquist; moderates also believed Islam was benign. Despite the vast support for bin Laden in the Islamic world, most conservatives believed devout Muslims were kindred spirits. Mind-mannered Danesh D’Souza is a case in point. Indeed, two years ago, I wrote an article called, “The Conservative Response to the Islamic Threat,” in which I outlined my explanation for the conservative’s blind-spot for Islam. Hanson sees it also:
“In the 1980s some conservatives saw the jihadists in Afghanistan or the Wahhabis in the Gulf as valuable bulwarks against global Communism.”
Some? Except for a few isolated cases, most Republicans praised Islam and absolved it of any role in the jihadist terror attacks. In the fight with communism, conservatives created a worldview in which atheism (not collectivism) was the enemy and religion the antidote. Islam couldn’t be evil, it was a time-tested religion accepted by millions including our allies fighting communism in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia, unlike secular Egypt and Iraq, was never in the Soviet orbit. Islam, conservatives believed, is part of the solution.
Even after the Iranian revolution of 1979, conservatives maintained their faith in Islam. It was only a Shi’ia enthusiasm that was the problem. Traditional level-headed Sunni are nothing like those crazy Shi’ia … or so thought the Republicans in the 1980s. And the love was requited; Muslims typically voted Republican up to and including the 2000 election.
The Islamic attack of 9/11 was a shock, not just for the nation, but for Republicans. Muslims around the world cheered. Even to this day, bin Laden is a hero for the majority of Muslims in several Islamic countries. But most conservatives, now joined by the politically correct left, still can’t believe Islam is the problem. Notice that even Hanson uses the marginalizing modifier, “radical.”
Conservatives today are like left-liberals during the Cold War. While conservatives damned communism as stark evil, left-liberals talked about building bridges, softening criticism to encourage compromise, and encouraging moderates. The left-liberal couldn’t believe that communism was evil to the core. Indeed, they shared some of the same altruist-collectivist values that branded individualism (i.e. Capitalism) as selfish and unfair. It had to be a distortion of a noble ideal by a few who co-opted the communism movement.
With some important exceptions, conservatives, today, talk like left-liberals of the Cold War period. Even Mr. Hanson sees building bridges—or nations—as the way to winning the “hearts and minds” of people who are increasingly reviving a 7th century religious practice undiluted by reason. After all, conservatives are still fighting the Cold War, if not abroad then at home. The vociferous condemnation of Darwin and secularism is far greater than the vilification of Islam for the simple reason that too many conservatives believe Islam can’t be bad at the core. Thus, we’ll see the bizarre outreach to so-called moderates as we tell them to practice their religion as their founder intended.
To add to the absurdity, the left has not called conservatives on their fantasy view of Islam. The left has all but virtually embraced Islam. Similar to their anti-anti-communism of yesteryear, the left can’t embrace Islam outright but, instead, has adopted an anti-anti-Islam stance that condemns the critics of Islam.
The bankruptcy of the left and right makes it clear we need new leadership.