What to Say to the Totalitarian Left on 9/11/11
Instead of a respectful hearing what ensues is this: the politically incorrect feminist speaker is peppered with hostile questions, then silenced by boos, catcalls, foot-stamping, and name-calling; she might even be physically menaced. Security might be required. This is hardly an atmosphere in which a free exchange of ideas can occur. Similarly, like the Mearsheimer-Waltand Joan Wallach Scott papers, Thobani's seemingly sophisticated paper, replete with footnotes, is trying to pass for an academic or even intellectual work. But hers are ideological, not scholarly, views. The attempt to pretend that one is the other is what I have characterized as a new totalitarianism among Western intellectuals.
Thobani's article is an angry and self-righteous declaration of war. She does not have one positive thing to say about any of our work. Responding to Thobani in kind -- with rage and condemnation -- gives me no pleasure, for what do we gain? Two warriors growling, slicing the air with paper swords while millions of Third World women and men of diverse skin colors and ethnicities are indeed being tormented and slaughtered -- but mainly by other Third World men and women of diverse skin colors and ethnicities -- while we do nothing because to intervene or even to acknowledge that this is happening is politically incorrect? (By the way, "white" folk have sorrows too, but enough about that.)
Ethnic Arab Muslims are genocidally slaughtering black African Muslims, Christians, and animists in Darfur; Muslims are blowing each other up when they pray in mosques in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia; Muslim men are shooting down and beheading their own intellectuals and dissidents in unimaginable numbers. According to one compelling source, such numbers far outpace anything the combined American and Israeli forces have done in the last 50 years. The estimated number of Third World Muslim violent deaths at the hands of other Third World Muslims, country by country, vastly exceeds that of Third World Muslim deaths in so-called "white imperial" wars.