Monday, July 10, 2006

The Denial Continues

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.


Blogger Always On Watch said...

Actually, there more be more to Grover Norquist. I'm sure that you've read what Frank Gaffney has been saying, especially since Norquist's marriage to a muslimah. According to the tenets of Islam, a muslimah must marry a Muslim or a convert to Islam.

Just yesterday, Norquist was the topic of a front-page article in the WaPo. The title of the article is "Powerful GOP Activist Sees His Influence Slip Over Abramoff Dealings." Byline: Jonathan Weisman. If you read the article, you'll notice the reference to Alamoudi, who turned out not to be so moderate after all despite his invitations into both the Clinton and GWB White House. More than a little embarrassing for Norquist, I'd say.

The Abramhoff scandal has not reached all who were involved in some money-laundering, IMO.

BTW, one aspect of the movie I saw yesterday was that of denial (or "ostriching," as I term it from time to time).

7/10/06, 10:24 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Yes, here's that article on Norquest. His only defense against Gaffney is to yell bigotry. He clearly has no defense.

7/10/06, 10:51 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

It’s interesting how Norquest still has a following. During the Cold War, loyal Democrats used to worry about groups that seemed mild of the surface but were communist-fronts. When they discovered the truth, they shunned such groups. Other leftists weren’t so concerned but most Democrats saw ties to communism as sufficient reason to shun people just as Republicans today shun David Duke. Norquest should get the Duke treatment. He should not be welcomed among Republicans.

7/10/06, 10:56 AM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

I concur with Jason that "conservatives created a worldview in which atheism (not collectivism) was the enemy and religion the antidote." They should not only be ashamed of themselves, but also contrite for not addressing their error in the years that followed.

My experience on a religious conservative blog in 2001, was being labeled a racist and xenophobe, for being anti-Islam and anti-Arab. As one adversary put it "Weingarten proposes the same racism as in the past, except that instead of hating the Chinks and the Micks, he hates the Arabs and the Spiks." That discredited anything I had to say for a month. Yet it was then 9/11, and there ceased any arguments for claiming that the Muslims were just like us. Rather, these religious conservatives simply stopped addressing the subject.

Nonetheless, there is a sense in which religion can be viewed as antithetical to collectivism. Judaism and Christianity claim that the primary loyalty of an individual is to God, rather than to man. Thus, the conscience (of the inner man) is to be the foundation of society, rather than conformity to others. Moreover, the guide "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit saith the Lord" abrogates the initiation of force, that is at the heart of Islam.

My only point is that we can oppose Islam not only by secular guides, but by a heritage that is within Judaism and Christianity as well.

7/10/06, 12:41 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

My only point is that we can oppose Islam not only by secular guides, but by a heritage that is within Judaism and Christianity as well.

Oh, how I agree! Our individual orientations can be our strength.

7/10/06, 5:09 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

Islam is a factor in all the ongoing "hot spot" conflicts throughout the world - Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, India / Pakistan (Kashmir), Iraq, Israel, Iran, Kosovo, Nigeria, the Phillipines, and the Sudan. One or more sides in these conflicts claim to fight directly under the banner of Islam.

This small list does not include Islamist forces in low-intensity conflicts in Russia / Chechnya, as well as the French-backed anti-Christian jihadis in Cote D'Ivoire and Chad, among others.

No policymaker should dare call himself a "realist" without acknowledging this.

7/11/06, 1:00 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mr. Beamish,
From the days of its inception (particularly since MTP moved to Medina), Islam has, for the most part, not lived in peace with neighboring countries. Sure, the occasional hudna has been declared, but then the conquest starts up again.

As Dr. Andrew Bostom has pointed out (not his words): it's all jihad all the time.

7/11/06, 8:42 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Allen’s experience discussing Islam with conservatives back in 2001 is interesting. In the weeks following 9/11, I found many liberals who were harsh critics of Islam. A few could differentiate between Islam and Christianity as each is practiced today. I remember having good discussions with some liberal Democrats about how Christianity (via Aquinas) and Judaism (via Maimonides) were able to absorb and appreciate Classical learning (especially Aristotle) but Islam wasn’t able to go down this path. Quite a few Catholics were aware of the history.

But this is where Hanson’s quote is right on the mark. Before 9/11, left-liberals were disdainful of Islam as a unreformed religion and too many conservatives view Islam as just another “Old Time Religion” with our Saudi “allies” being worthy of an empathetic understanding.

Now it has changed. Many conservatives, with the help of Robert Spencer writing in Human Events (and his books) now understand that Islam is a very different beast. And the left, consumed with vilifying America and coming to the aid of our Islamic enemy, has to defend Islam as benign if not a praiseworthy “anti-imperialist” force fighting the "big bad America." Thus, we see Michael Moore cheering the jihadists in Iraq as freedom fighters and Clooney making a movie where he turns Saddam into a Prince who cares about his people in the face of the nefarious American CIA.

Hanson’s on to something when it comes to a switch in orientation towards Islam by the left and right … even if it is only the start of such a development.

7/11/06, 9:15 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

As Huntington points out “Islam has bloody borders.”

Some people think it’s all about America … something we did. But as Beamish points out they are fighting everywhere Islam comes into contact with other cultures. And as AOW points out, they have done this since Islam’s founding because of the religion it is.

7/11/06, 9:17 AM  

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