Ed Driscoll

Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Multiculturalists

Robert Stacy McCain makes an observation that may seem initially startling to some, but is actually quite logical, in one sense: “The Democratic Party is now dominated by the ideological soulmates of Sirhan Sirhan.” Hey, just ask Helen Thomas and her myriad of supporters on the left. Or Bill Ayers, who included Sirhan in the dedication page of one of his books.

More from Stacy:

Radicals like Ayers supported the PLO for the same reason they supported the Vietcong: Any enemy of America is a friend to those who hate America.

Bill Ayers doesn’t support Hamas because of any concern for the well-being of Palestinians, any more than Ayers supported the Black Panthers out of empathy for black people. Ayers hates America, and the violent extremists he supports are mere proxies for that fundamental hatred which is the essence of Ayers’ radicalism.

In his Maclean’s column, Mark Steyn notes the “blame the victim” mentality that drives, as he puts it, “The left’s strange hostility to Hirsi Ali.” (But then, who isn’t the left hostile towards?):

In a way, the Western left’s hostility to Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes my point for me. In Terror and Liberalism, Paul Berman wrote that suicide bombings “produced a philosophical crisis, among everyone around the world who wanted to believe that a rational logic governs the world.” In other words, it has to be about “poverty” or “social justice” because the alternative—that they want to kill us merely because we are the other—undermines the hyper-rationalist’s entire world view. Thus, every pro-gay, pro-feminist, pro-black Western liberal’s determination to blame Ayaan Hirsi Ali for the fact that a large number of benighted thuggish halfwits want to kill her. Deploring what he regards as her simplistic view of Islam, Nicholas Kristof rhapsodizes about its many fine qualities—“There is also the warm hospitality toward guests, including Christians and Jews.”

Oh, for crying out loud. In the Muslim world, Christians and Jews have been on the receiving end of a remorseless ethno-religious cleansing for decades. Christian churches get burned, along with their congregations, from Nigeria to Pakistan. Egypt is considering stripping men who marry Jewesses of their citizenship. Saudi Arabia won’t let ’em in the country. In the 1920s, Baghdad was 40 per cent Jewish. Gee, I wonder where they all went. Maybe that non-stop “warm hospitality” wears you down after a while . . .

As Paul Mirengoff of the Power Line blog observes, traditionally when useful idiots shill for illiberal ideologies it requires at least “the illusion of progressivism” to bring them on board. Islam can’t provide that, but that’s no obstacle to getting the bien pensants to sign up. As much as anyone, secular leftists want meaning in their lives. But Communism  went belly up; the postwar welfare state is bankrupt; environmentalism has taken a hit in recent months; and Christianity gives them the vapours. Nicholas Kristof will not be the first great thinker to talk himself into a view of Islam as this season’s version of Richard Gere Buddhism.

At a superficial level, the Islamo-leftist alliance makes no sense: gay feminist secular hedonists making common cause with homophobic misogynist proscriptive theocrats. From Islam’s point of view, it’s an alliance of convenience. But I would bet that more than a few lefties will wind up embracing Islam to one degree or another before we’re done.

Mark’s line that “it has to be about ‘poverty’ or ‘social justice’ because the alternative—that they want to kill us merely because we are the other—undermines the hyper-rationalist’s entire world view”, dovetails well with Ace’s recent observation that the multicultural, diversity-obsessed left is angry that there actually are two cultures in America:

For liberals, lying about one’s liberalism is a feature, not a bug.

Liberals love outrageously liberal publications which pretend to be neutral. The New York Times. CNN. The Washington Post (in the main; here and there it departs from orthodoxy).

The entire MFM is premised upon this lie.

And liberals love it.

Liberals love being instructed that their opinions are not liberal at all, because if their opinions are liberal, that implies a choice has been made, and if there ever was in fact a choice, that implies (though it does not prove) that another choice was possible and even legitimate, and liberals are not fond of acknowledging that opinions contrary to their own have some merit.

They prefer being instructed that their opinions are not opinions at all, but facts and/or simple common sense and/or the manifestly just and right way to view the world.

They do not usually acknowledge their politics as matters of ethics, in which one’s responsibilities, duties, and rights depend upon one’s starting assumptions about what is to be more or less highly valued, which is, in itself, largely an arbitrary (or at least highly arguable) choice.

People can debate ethics.

They prefer to view their politics as a matter of strict black and white morality in which their view is not arguably the more ethical or sound one, but in which their view is Good (capital G optional), and the opposite politics are Evil (capital E required.)

One can debate such ethical dilemmas such as whether it’s better to see your kid go hungry or steal a loaf of bread from another family.

One can’t argue, really, whether or not it’s better to do Good than it is to do Evil.

Liberals favor the latter formulation. And because they’ve had 60 year of stultifying reinforcement of their prejudices by a lockstep MFM and academy, they’ve gotten quite accustomed to that formulation, and actually tend to get emotionally angry when it’s suggested they’ve not really chosen Good over Evil so much as their idiosyncratic and arbitrary preference for one good (no capital g) over another, arguably just-as-valuable good.

They don’t like hearing, for example, that by choosing Equality as the paramount good, they have decided that Freedom is a far less important good, and always to be compromised and diminished in order to expand Equality. They will insist, until their dying breath, that by choosing Equality over all else, they are actually also creating the most Freedom, too.

All upside, no downside. Nothing lost for everything gained. Straight Good versus straight-up Evil.

So when faced with an actual evil — as opposed to say, Glenn Beck recommending that his viewers pick up a copy of Hayek or Rand, the epistemic closure of the left’s worldview is simply unable to process to cognitive dissonance. It can’t be the fault of radical Islam. All cultures are equal, and equally good (except for America) — therefore, Ayaan Hirsi Ali must be responsible in someway for her plight — even if that flies in the face of the left’s worldview of universal accredited victim-hood.

While the song has remained the same for quite some time, all of this boils down to the question of the hour.

Update: “By [Hirsi Ali’s] reckoning, the death toll of Muslims killed by other Muslims amounts to around 2,000 in recent months. ‘I want to see the other face of Islam,’ she says. ‘But first I’d have to dig through all the bodies.'”