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Irreconcilable Differences

February 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Standing in line waiting for my morning oatmeal at the cafe beneath my midtown office, I noticed something astounding a couple of weeks ago. There was a woman standing in line reading Glenn Beck’s The Overton Window. I sought to make eye contact with her, if for no other reason than to give a thumbs up to this anomaly of a lady. Regardless of your views on Mr. Beck, seeing someone…anyone in Manhattan with a potentially conservative view is a site to be treasured. However, when the woman saw me looking down at her book, she quickly closed it, put it in her purse and turned away, startled that I knew she was one of the silent majority.

This is the climate in which we coastal conservative infiltrators live on a day-to-day basis. We have to be careful with the books we read in the cafe, the topics we bring up at the cocktail party and the jokes we crack at the office. The fear stems from the intolerance of liberals, who are incapable of functioning in a world consisting of anyone but those who think. speak and act the same as them. And frankly, I do not know how much longer I can be tolerant of such intolerance.

Perhaps it is my jaded view having lived in New York and New Jersey my whole life, but I have started to come to the conclusion that our mindsets are so antithetical that we are simply unable to co-exist in any meaningful way.

For liberals believe that we are our brother’s keeper — that by the power of decree some people should be able to reach into the pockets of others to provide for themselves. Liberals believe that certain people in society should be able to make decisions for others for their own good. Liberals believe that wealth created in the private sector is a mere byproduct of greed and graft. Liberals believe that all religions and visions of morality are equal. Liberals see every issue in terms of egalitarianism, race and class.

I find such a world view abhorrent.  It pits some people against others by design. It is based on envy, arrogance and the imposition of force. It robs man of his individualism, his humanity and his soul.

Barack Obama represents this worldview in its most extreme form, albeit buttoned up and with a soothing smoker’s voice to hide its revolutionary nature in relation to this country’s bedrock principles. It leads to supporting terrorists in the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt; it leads to giving the nuclear secrets of our allies to the Russian thug government; it leads to the crushing of our economy, and the demonization of its most crucial constituents.

Given that the natural end to the socialist society is one of mass poverty, constant threat of attack and overall demoralization, without any notion of morality or justice, (but rather with their perversion), I find it quite difficult to not hold this personally against all of the useful idiots — friends and foes alike who support this kind of world.

How in good faith can we love our neighbors who seek to plunder us, knowingly or unknowingly threatening our safety and whose policies are going to make the lives of our children far more crass? How can we feel sympathy or compassion for someone who supports Islam in word or deed when its whole history has been marked with bloodshed, debauchery and hatred — and its adherents continue their conquest today. How can we support people that wish to suppress our speech and our G-d-given rights?

Politics is supposed to be a separate sphere from our personal lives. But increasingly, the politics of the left encroaches on every aspect of our personage. This is what happens in a collectivist society, where so many of our countrymen have been duped into parroting, believing in and legislating based on effectively Marxist principles. Increasingly, I wonder what is to become of the irreconcilable differences between us and them. I can no longer give their hatred and contempt for us my sanction.

The MSM: Miserable Misunderstanding Misunderstanders of Islam

May 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Check out my latest piece at Big Journalism:

Glenn Beck’s Dangerous View of the Middle East

April 22, 2010 2 comments

Last week, Glenn Beck rolled out a plan to fundamentally transform America – back to its roots of limited government, individual liberty and free enterprise.  Whether you like Glenn Beck’s shtick or not, the fact of the matter is that on a nightly basis he has been performing a public service in exposing Americans to vital ideas, and shedding light on stories that the rest of the MSM has shamefully ignored.  But during Thursday night’s episode and as has been common of late, Beck presented what I believe is a fundamentally flawed and dangerous premise when it comes to foreign policy.

Last Thursday’s program centered on slashing the defense budget, part of a principled effort on Mr Beck’s part to show that we can shrink every aspect of the state and return to fiscal sanity.  Many of his ideas were quite reasonable: that the US should generally avoid foreign entanglements, fight wars to destroy its enemies, not win their hearts and minds, and stop kowtowing to dictators.  While I would take issue with the idea that we should completely depart from the rest of the world, as certainly some of our bases serve worthy strategic ends, this criticism is secondary to one I have on another point that Glenn proffered.

Beck said,

Nothing is in our interest if our values and principles are gone.  Why do you think they hate us in the Middle East?  Maybe because we don’t stand for anything.  We’ll get into bed with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.  We’ll get into bed with anybody.  It doesn’t matter as long as we get our oil, as long as our interests are served.  They’re not served if we disregard our values and our principles.

After Beck’s opening monologue, he continued:

In the last five years, I have, I’ve gone from a big hawk to…not Ron Paul but on the road to Ron Paul.  Part of it is motivated by…we can’t spend it anymore, and the other part honestly is, I wasn’t paying attention before 9/11…When people said they hate us, well, did we deserve 9/11?  No.  But were we minding our business?  No.  Were we in bed with dictators and abandoning our values and principles?  Yes.  That causes problems.

While Beck is right that it would be a tremendous boon to our nation and blow to our enemies to end our reliance on Middle Eastern oil, there are major problems with the rest of his argument.  That Beck attributes hatred in the region to America’s disregard for its values, and for its presence and influence overseas, leads him down a troublesome path paved by Ron Paul and his followers.  The notion that the Muslim world hates the US because we are hypocritical and to use their parlance, “imperialist,” is wrongheaded and naïve.

When a nation is fighting a war, the first thing it must do is recognize its enemy.  Beck and others that adhere to the above view of the Middle East do not understand our enemy.  Leaving aside that Islamists have carried out attacks on the most isolationist of areas of Europe, and on the most peaceful of people’s including Buddhists in Bangladesh, the fact of the matter is that Beck and others have fallen for the propaganda that Muslims hate the US because of things we have done, or presumably because of our alliance with Israel, though to be fair Beck rightly defended this friendship (and has continued to warn about Iran) which Paul’s followers would not.

The folks who espouse this view of the Muslim world should grapple with other perspectives on Islam in theory and practice before coming to their conclusions.  Were they to listen to the words of Islamic scholars such as Robert Spencer, intelligence officials such as former Pentagon Analyst Steve Coughlin, military leaders (and hopefully future Congressmen and maybe even Presidents) such as Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, apostates such as Hirsi Ali, Hamas defectors such as Mossab Hassan Youssef, Middle East politicians such as Tayyip Erdogan, Islamic thinkers such as Maulana Maududi and tireless activists such as Pamela Geller, to learn about the Quran, Hadith and important concepts revealed within these works such as taqiyya and dhimmitude in addition to studying history past and present, I believe their world view would change.  I fear that heretofore Glenn Beck has not done so, which may have major ramifications given his reach and influence across the country.

Glenn Beck is right that we have abandoned our values and principles, but our enemies in the Middle East and abroad do not hate us for doing so.  In fact, if anything they should like us for our unprincipled words and actions, as by accommodating, cowering to, fighting halfheartedly and refusing to properly recognize them, we have shown them that we do not have a will to win.  They do not hate us, nor fear or respect us for our spinelessness, but laugh at us.  Out of ignorance or fear of the truth, we have put forth values and principles in our cultural relativism and political correctness that an enemy that loves death more than we love life can easily exploit both violently and democratically.

What our enemies would hate is America standing for its principles, because our social, political and religious traditions and institutions are incompatible with Sharia law.  To the degree to which the Muslim world hates us, it is because our values are anathema to it, and dictate that we will never submit to it.  We are the Infidels.  And as Robert Spencer notes in countering the popular Buchanan trope that Islamists hate us because of our actions,

the Qur’an directs Muslims to continue to wage war against Infidels not just “until persecution is no more,” but until “religion is all for Allah” (Qur’an 8:39). As the influential Pakistani jihad theorist Maulana Maududi put it, “the purpose for which the Muslims are required to fight is…to put an end to the suzerainty of the unbelievers so that the latter are unable to rule over people. The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the True Faith.”

The premise that our enemies hate us for the reasons that Beck highlights represents a faulty one, and one that is most dangerous given that we are engaged in an existential battle whether we recognize and choose to participate in it or not.  When Beck presents views like he did tonight, and calls people such as Geert Wilders fascists – brave people who are trying to warn us so we do not end up like them – he is making a fatal error that undermines much of his great work.  This is because if we do not fight to preserve the Western Civilization that Beck and you and I love, a fight that can only be won by first properly understanding the nature of our enemy, we can kiss the rest of our values goodbye.  Without life, there can be no liberty or pursuit of happiness.