Back-handing the sinister American left...
by Greg Swann
Why is it, do you suppose, that we are not up to our necks in liberals up in arms about the Islamic fatwa against Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel? After all, in response to an article by Daniel, religious fundamentalists staged riots that left hundreds dead, hundreds more injured, thousands more burned out of house and home. Then they burned her newspaper's offices to the ground, chased its editor into exile and pronounced a death sentence upon her head. All because she committed an act of unfettered journalism. How can it be that all the usual liberal suspects are not marching arm-in-arm down Fifth Avenue in protest? Where are the demonstrations featuring adorable children dressed up as death and unsightly middle-aged women dressed up in their altogether? Where is the full-page ad in the New York Times signed by literary luminaries, reformed communists, unreformed communists and the entire editorial staff of the New York Review of Books?
Andrew Sullivan makes a similar observation in a recent Salon column: "[W]hen it comes to a far, far deadlier menace to our freedoms than fundamentalist Christianity, much of the left is silent or, worse, making excuses for this Islamist threat." Surely this is true. The Washington Post says that it's only Christian TV preachers and conservative advisors to President Bush who question the peaceful nature of Islam. The Post ignores webloggers and other internet ideologues, perhaps because they're not so easily tarred with liberal labels. But it remains that the liberals themselves are absent from condemnations, particular or general, of extremely unpeaceful exponents of Islam.
Consider the case of Kola Boof. As the very-non-liberal WorldNetDaily reports, Boof has her very own fatwa upon her very own head. Not only that, she had a personal phone call from Osama Bin Laden himself, who said to her, "If I had the time to waste, I would slit your throat myself." Boof is a poet, an essayist and a novelist, a black Sudanese feminist whose writing tears at the very heart of the most patriarchal of patriarchies, Arabic Islam. To my knowledge she hasn't actually killed any policemen, unlike perennial liberal poster-boy Mumia Abu-Jamal. But she's a writer, for goodness sake! Under a sentence of death! Exactly how much more does she need to do to get Norman Mailer to toss a tirade?
Weblogger Eric Raymond decries a treason of the intellectuals: "An intellectual commits treason against humanity when he or she propagandizes for ideas which lend themselves to the use of tyrants and terrorists." Could this account for the liberals, strangely absent, strangely silent in the only debate that matters, ultimately? One form of intellectual treason, Raymond argues, "[D]enounces our will to fight terrorists and tyrants, telling us we are no better than they, and even that the atrocities they commit against us are no more than requital for our past sins." That certainly fits the commentary we have heard from the left since the 9/11 attacks. There is nothing to be objected to, the left seems tacitly to argue, with beating, stoning, burning women, with sentencing innocents to death, with burning down newspaper offices, with demolishing skyscrapers with hi-jacked airliners, murdering thousands in the process. There is nothing to be objected to with Islam, with the East, with terrorism. The root cause is us, not them.
Raymond claims that this treason is caused by "second-rate intellectuals" who, "feeling themselves powerless, tend to worship power." I think this is an error. In the same respect, Sullivan argues that the left is beset by "a failure to grasp that freedom is under attack," and this, too, seems wrong to me.
Why does the left defend a Mumia Abu-Jamal and not an Isioma Daniel? Is it because the left worships power?
Why do liberal critics and trend-setters rally to an illiterate thug like Eminem, when the demonstrations in support of Kola Boof drew fewer than twenty protesters, none of them leftist bigfeet? Is it because they don't "grasp that freedom is under attack"?
Or could it be that the left understands its objectives perfectly, and we do not?
Posit, if you would, a left that is not pro anything. Not pro-freedom as Sullivan supposes, not pro-power as Raymond offers, not pro-communist or pro-environment or pro-union or pro-feminist or pro-homosexual or pro-vegan. Posit instead a left this is anti-Western. Not anti-television or anti-condominium or anti-moveable-type. Posit a left that is fundamentally anti-Western: anti-rationality, anti-egoism, anti-individualism, anti-capitalism.
But wait...! That is the American left, is it not? They hector us ceaselessly to put the heart before the mind, 'higher purposes' before the self, the collective before the individual and the need of the endlessly needy before the greed of the producers. Leftists could never summarize their philosophy so succinctly, but this is, in fact, a fair summary.
So working from the supposition that the motivating philosophy of the American left is not pro anything but rather anti-Western, what falls out? Would you expect them to defend Mumia Abu-Jamal, which serves to undermine duly-constituted order? Or would they take the part of Isioma Daniel against a mindless machete-wielding mob? Which would do more long-term damage to the West?
Would they march in behalf of Kola Boof, thus communicating their contempt for the slavery and brutalization and murder of women? Or would they march up to the cash register to give millions of dollars to Eminem, in tribute for the corruption of America's youth? In tribute, in fact, for the celebration of the slavery and brutalization and murder of women. Which would quicken the demise of Western culture?
What best fits the evidence? A left that lusts after power? A left that misunderstands the threat to freedom? A left that is perverse or distracted or over-committed? Or a left that labors persistently to undermine and destroy the West? Not as an organized conspiracy, but as a shared, long-standing habit-of-mind.
The West is not Christianity, even if its only well-publicized defenders right now are Christians. The West is free--free of dogmas or doctrines imposed by force, free of moral codes imposed by force, free of political systems imposed by force, free of economic restrictions imposed by force. At its very best--not yet realized but glimpsed in the distance--the West is home to the sovereign individual, every man his own king, every woman her own goddess. Every peaceful life a life led in splendor, without fear of domination or usurpation or theft-by-taxation.
The left is not for the opposite of this. The left is not for anything. But the left, by its actions if not always its fully-conscious intent, is against everything that is uniquely Western. That is why they muster their unwitting foot-soldiers to destroy every redoubt of Western civilization. That is why they accuse and vilify the West when it is the victim of the most craven kind of Eastern savagery. And that is why they defend cop-killers and wannabe-cop-killers, but do not condemn Islamic tyrants who sentence to death innocent women whose only crime is objecting to Islamic tyranny.
America's liberals don't want Islam to win this cultural war. They just want the West to lose it. If you understand the true objectives of the left, the seeming-contradictions make perfect sense...