Monday, June 14, 2010

Repressive Tolerance

We have been commenting on the liberal counterattack against those who, in Paul Revere fashion, have been sounding the alarm about the dangers that a militant Islam-what has been properly labeled as Islamism-poses for any democratic society. The counterattack is couched in all of the liberal pieties about tolerance, and by doing so, clearly tar babies the alarm sounders as bigots.

But it isn’t bigotry that animates those who have focused our attention on the dangers of Islamism-it is the genuine fear that the values of this virulent branch of one religion are not only inimical to those of our free society, but that they at the same time are a clear and present danger-something that we are witnessing with greater clarity in Europe (see Bruce Bawer’s, While Europe Slept and Melanie Phillips’ Londonistan) where the Muslim population, unassimilated, is a lot larger than our own.

But in spite of the nature of the threat-and the misogynist and homophobic ideology that sustains it-Western liberals continue to apologize and equivocate, preferring to target the conservative backlash against the phenomenon.

In an interview with Maclean’s of Canada Aayan Hirsi Ali explains the paradox of this unholy alliance: “The liberal psyche wants to protect minorities, to apologize for imperialism, colonialism, slavery, and the appalling treatment of black people during the civil rights movement. At the same time, they want to continue to defend the rights of individuals. They’ve convinced themselves that the best way to do that in general is to defend the cultures that are non-white. But what they forget, and what they’re being confronted with, is that non-white cultures contain misogynistic, collectivist, tribal, gay-unfriendly and female-hostile traditions. And so they’re confused: on the one hand, they’re looking at minorities as groups they need to save and speak up for, and on the other hand, they’re confronted with the ideas and practices of individuals within those minorities that are very undemocratic and appalling, really.”

And it may also be true that in their paradoxical defense of what liberals should find indefensible, they are also pusillanimous-afraid of becoming the targets of the terror that they refuse to call out by name. What could be more exemplary of this two faced fraud than the entire censorship effort over at Comedy Central-where a South Park episode was bowdlerized because of the fear of an Islamist backlash.

As Outside the Beltway explains: “Quite bizarre and gutless. Not to mention hypocritical, given that “South Park” continually does vicious parodies of other sensitive topics, apparently without censorship from the network. They will apparently make fun of Christians and Scientologists but yet they are afraid to incur the wrath of intolerant Islamists. Which, again, was the very topic of this two-part episode?”

And in the same cowardly and hypocritical vein, how about the vitriol spewed against Elton John for daring to perform at Rush Limbaugh’s wedding. As Deroy Murdock points out, the venom unleashed stands in sharp contrast with the silence from the liberal echo chamber over the cancelling of John’s Egyptian concert appearance: “Elton's just a whore," the Village Voice's Michael Musto told MSNBC. "We're experiencing greed, a lot of greed, and people doing things for money," Joy Behar noted on June 7's "The View." "I wonder if it would be OK with everybody if Elton or somebody had gone down to perform during apartheid South Africa, you know, or the Ku Klux Klan, if they had a lot of money."

But as Murdock goes on to point out, “Compared to today's clamor, the whole world was napping as John faced not a seven-figure check, but rejection when he tried to play a private May 18 concert in Egypt. "How do we allow a homosexual, who wants to ban religions, claimed that the prophet Issa [Jesus] was gay, and calls for Middle Eastern countries to allow gays to have sexual freedom?" huffed Mounir al-Wasimi, boss of the Egyptian Musician Union. He then scotched the gig by John, whom he called "a symbol of homosexuals in the world." (For his part, John told Parade Magazine last February: "Try being a gay woman in the Middle East. You're as good as dead.")

Murdock is dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s of Ali’s point about how liberals don’t know how to handle antidemocratic impulses that emerge from groups they have designated as, “oppressed.” And Ali raises another point about the claim that the extremists don’t represent the entire religion.

As she points out: “I haven’t heard anybody say they’re horrified. Just to compare, many Americans, Canadians and Europeans protested the war on Iraq; they gathered themselves, they sent lots of emails, there was a lot of activism, they marched against this war. I haven’t seen that kind of thing from Muslims saying, “We’re against the numerous terrorist attacks all over the world carried out in the name of Islam.” No marches, no organizations, nothing. There are individuals, like Irshad Manji, like me, born into Islam, who stand up and say, “Hey, we don’t like this.” But we haven’t seen any kind of institutionalized protest by Muslims. That is the big question mark: are Muslims silent because they agree with the terrorist attacks? Or because they don’t know how to express themselves?”

Or, like the Comedy Central cowards, because they are so afraid that they have submitted to the terrorist veto? But, in our view, until this supposed silent majority gains its voice, we are all entitled to remain suspicious-and be extremely cautious about giving the mosque builders carte blanche.

Andrea Peyser in the NY Post captures this sentiment: “One type of new construction is exploding: The creation of brand-new mosques all over the city. In addition to the 13-story mega-mosque and cultural center planned to tower over Ground Zero, and a four-story mosque set to climb over a residential street in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, property has been purchased for a mosque in The Bronx, plus a shuttered Staten Island convent is in the process of being procured by the Muslim American Society for use as a religious center. Evidently, free speech does not extend to people who disagree. Neighbors who wake up to the reality that a large mosque is coming -- often with shady financing and possible calls to prayer broadcast five times a day -- are uniformly shut up by the PC police and branded as bigots. "If I wasn't afraid before, I am terrified now," said Gerri Owens of Staten Island, who fears the moderate Muslim American Society's historical ties to the radical Muslim Brotherhood...

Nearly nine years after 9/11, those in power are too quick to wave away legitimate fears. The people have a right to know who's moving in next door.”

What we are facing is truly a crossroads for the survival of our democratic society, and the values that are its foundation. If, in the name of tolerance, we allow these anti-democratic forces to metastasize without any response from us, we will be sowing the seeds of a homegrown terrorism that will-through the fear it generates-lead inevitably to the kind of systemic changes that liberals rightly abhor. But if that happens, they will have only themselves to blame.