See the previous installments in this ongoing discussion about American values, Left vs. Right, Biblical morality, and New Media activism:
By Michael Lumish on October 13: Politics Vs Theology: Beginning A Debate With David Swindle. “Why we should not frame political issues as a matter of Good versus Evil.”
By David Swindle on October 20: Secular Political Ideology Vs. Biblical Moral Values: Continuing a Debate with Michael Lumish. “Why I don’t care much about Left vs. Right anymore. And four more points of disagreement.”
By Michael Lumish on October 27: Debating America’s Ideological Origins: Part III in Lumish Vs Swindle. “A disagreement about the founding fathers and classical liberalism.”
By David Swindle on November 3: What To Do When Progressives and Conservatives Can’t Communicate: Part IV of Lumish Vs Swindle. “Set the straw men on fire.”
We are at, perhaps, a transformative moment in the history of American foreign policy.
For the first time in American history we have an American president that favors political Islam. This is a remarkable thing and it needs to be discussed not just within popular media, as PJ Media does with scholars such as Barry Rubin, but throughout all western news sources. Although other American administrations have talked with the Muslim Brotherhood, no other American administration has embraced the parent organization of both al-Qaeda and Hamas as has the Obama administration.
I am disgusted and horrified both as an American and as a Jew.
What we need is your help in creating a stronger alliance between American Christians and American Jews in order to stand against political Islam as it rises throughout the world. That is the main reason that we are having this conversation.
My intention, you should know, was never to speak strictly to Jewish people and I very much regret giving you that impression.
Most of us here, at PJ Media, agree that the Obama administration has been a disaster. Not only has Obama been terrible for the Jews and for Israel, but he is absolutely awful for the United States and for our alliances around the world. I usually limit myself to criticisms around the Arab-Israel conflict, because I have some expertise in the area, but there is no question that Obama has weakened American influence internationally. This will not come as news to you, obviously.
My central point, and my purpose for publishing here, is that Jews and Christians need to unite in favor of enlightenment values and thus in opposition to political Islam. The Obama administration supported political Islam when it supported the Muslim Brotherhood. And the Muslim Brotherhood, as you well know, is the parent organization of both Hamas and al-Qaeda. It has also targeted Christians throughout that part of the world for persecution, thereby chasing them out of the region. No one, it seems, cares about the Copts aside from themselves, despite the fact that scores of churches have been burned to the ground in Egypt and in Syria.
Nonetheless, we seem to have two points of disagreement. The first is in the role of Biblical values within the ideological origins of the American Constitution.
You accused me of beating a straw-man in your last post, but perhaps I can be forgiven for assuming that by Biblical values you meant values as derived from the Bible.
You say it, yourself, when you write:
Of course Classical Liberalism has more influences than just the Bible.
I could not agree more.
However, you clarified the matter when you wrote this:
one who believes in Biblical values expresses them through defending classical liberal governments and public policies.
And that, my friend, makes perfect sense.
Also, I have to say that I find your distinction between French Revolutionary ideology and American Revolutionary ideology as a distinction grounded, at least in part, in how each responded to the Judeo-Christian value system to be instructive. The reversal of the “nature-man” dichotomy through the rise of the Hebraic system into a “God-man-nature” system is also exceedingly interesting from a theological stand-point and it should give your readership a moment of pause and consideration.
I want to thank you for some good food for thought and will now move on to the next aspect of the conversation.
I never suggested you write about cooking or sports instead of Israel and antisemitism. (Not that it’s an either-or choice.) I suggested you write for a bigger purpose than just trying to convert your fellow secular progressive Jews to your new political ideology.
I actually do not have a new political ideology. My purpose was never to convert my fellow secular progressive Jews to whatever ideology that might be. This is quite simply not the case.
I stand up in opposition to the persecution of women in the Middle East, gay people in the Middle East, and all non-Muslims in the Middle East. I do so within the tradition of western-left social justice and in opposition to the Democratic Party and the progressive-left, because they have betrayed their essential values. Standing against political Islam is fully within the tradition of the American Civil Rights Movement and should be embraced by the left, and by the Democratic Party, but it is not.
My criticism of political Islam is thus from the left.
Within recent decades there has been an unacknowledged ideological tension within the progressive-left between the multicultural ideal and the ideal of universal human rights. These represent the twin-pillars of western-left thinking when it comes to human social arrangements. The fact of the matter is that notions of universal human rights have died on the left, because political Islam will simply not stand for it. The progressive-left betrayed its core values because it simply could not reconcile multiculturalism with social justice and has thereby degraded its reason to be.
What matters most to me, as an American Jew with a liberal upbringing, however, is that the western world awaken to the threat of political Islam and acknowledge the scam which is the “Palestinian” national movement. I count you as an ally because you, and many conservatives, speak out against a significant threat and were not bewildered by the notion that the so-called “Arab Spring” stood for democracy, which it clearly did not.
The American conservative movement is at the forefront of addressing this issue and you have my sincerest thanks. You should have the sincerest thanks of all Jews, but you do not. You should, in fact, have the sincerest thanks of all liberals, but you do not. What I want, and I hope that you will help me, is simply to alert other American liberals that we need not be enslaved to the Democratic Party and the Progressive-Left movement and that if we wish to promote social justice then we must oppose political Islam.