Klavan On The Culture

Suddenly Ideas Don't Matter?

“The main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize this administration and me for not using the phrase ‘radical Islam.’ That’s the key, they tell us. We can’t beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists. What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change?”

—President Obama, June 14, 2016.

“Don’t tell me words don’t matter! ‘I have a dream.’ Just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words, just speeches?”

—Candidate Obama, February 16, 2008.

President Obama’s policy of not calling Islamic terrorism by its name has cost innocent lives. As a New York Post editorial notes, federal law officers “operate under real constraints — including not just proper regard for civil liberties but also orders from a White House that obsessively fears seeming anti-Muslim.” These constraints may well have contributed to the FBI’s clearing of Orlando mass murderer Omar Mateen in two different investigations.

Ordinary folks are also affected. Neighbors of the San Bernadino shooters did not report the killers’ suspicious behavior for fear of “racial profiling,” a dishonest phrase that essentially demonizes common sense observation. Likewise, Mateen’s security firm employers did not act on warning signs of Mateen’s toxic outlook, very possibly, as one employee charged, for fear of seeming anti-Muslim.

These are examples of induced psycho-pathology: mentally unbalanced behavior caused by a bad idea, a multi-cultural lie that comes down from the top, from the White House, and leaves us all at risk.

And it demonstrates an underlying irrationality in the president’s — and the left’s — thinking process. In their desperation to maintain the hellaciously wrong and discredited ideas of relativism and multi-culturalism, Obama and his leftist fellow travelers have put themselves in the position of declaring that ideas don’t matter.

New York Times columnist David Brooks said it outright on the PBS Newshour: “As I said, as everyone says, the reason we have terrorism is not because the prophet Mohammed came down and not because there is a religion called Islam. The reason we have terror is that young men are alienated and feel they can wage war and a just war against societies that are racist and xenophobic and crushing toward them.”

Think for a moment about how ridiculous that is. A people’s religion doesn’t matter? A people’s governing philosophy doesn’t matter? The faith that inspired them to bring down the Byzantine Empire, to conquer huge swaths of Europe, to subjugate women, to insist on submission from followers…  has no overall effect on their societies? The reason they’re violent is because of our xenophobia? What racist snobbery that is! Brooks is saying that the terrorists aren’t capable of forming and acting on their own motivating philosophies, that they can only react to ours.

Barack Obama is constantly goading us to accept his point of view by telling us that the alternative is “not who we are.” In justifying his weak defense of our borders, just to give one example, he said: “Tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people is not realistic.  That’s not who we are.”

How does he — how does David Brooks — how does the left — think we became “who we are”? Why do they think they can appeal to our tolerance, our sympathy for the outcast, our very belief that it is our creed that links us rather than race? Do they think it has nothing to do with the religion that formed the west? It is Christianity — whether we believe in it as individuals or not — that taught our societies to judge not, to serve the poor, to give power to the powerless, to separate church and state and indeed to put our belief system over our various races. It is Christianity — and the Jewish and classical outlooks that shaped and informed it — that made us who we are. Do they think they can appeal to those ideas when they serve their purposes and then discount them when they become inconvenient?

There’s a reason State Department officials are rebelling against Obama’s Middle East policies, a reason the CIA director is warning us that ISIS is still strong. There’s a reason Obama’s war on terrorism is failing at home and abroad. This is a shooting war we’re in, but it is also a war of ideas. You can kill as many terrorists as you like, but until you face down their guiding ideology, there will be many more to take their places.

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