Our clueless keyboard warriors need to simmer down about Islam: This is how the neo-cons led us to war

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tags: neo-con



Jim Sleeper is the author of Liberal Racism (1997) and The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York (1990)

Jeffrey Tayler, a contributing editor to the Atlantic, has joined the Atlantic’s David Frum and Jeffrey Goldberg to warn Western liberals against quieting, solely at their own discretion, the kind of “free speech” that shocks and offends Muslim immigrants. Liberals who warn against “Islamophobia” need to acknowledge that Islam is more absolutist and brutal than its Abrahamic cousins, Judaism and Christianity, Tayler tells us in a Salon piece.

Not only that, Goldberg decides that Islam’s adherents in the West are anything but members of a powerless minority, since there are more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. It’s time, adds Tayler, to face the fact that Islam is, by its nature, bent on total conquest. “The jihad against freedom of expression has opened a front in the United States. This is not a battle we have chosen; the battle has chosen us. It’s time to fight back, and hard.”

These are dramatic, resonant sentences, short and sharp. But they should be familiar to anyone with a sense of history. Too many who tell us of battles that have chosen us have damaged American strength and credibility, first by serving and cheerleading for concentrations of power that are hollowing us out from within, and second because they haven’t the slightest idea of how to fight effectively or how our society might actually sustain its resilience and fighting morale, as the Viet Cong and ISIS and our other enemies have done.

Call up the Marines? Call up mercenaries? Send out more drones? Put the surveillance state on steroids? That’s all demonstrably, monstrously part of the hollowing out, and I don’t think that our keyboard warriors have a clue.

My skepticism about the latest summons to war begins – but only begins –  with the incontrovertible truth I expressed here two days ago.

Most Muslim immigrants to the West are fleeing not Mohammed (whom they cherish), but the tyranny, orchestrated hatred and kleptocracy that are perpetrated in his name. Are they caught in an insoluble contradiction? Tayler thinks so. He means to go Frum and Goldberg one better by obliterating the distinction between cherishing the Prophet and murdering infidels. Islam, he writes, is inherently absolutist and brutal, as are its monotheistic predecessors Christianity and Judaism, “two Abrahamic ‘anti-human religions’ (to quote Gore Vidal)….  From a rationalist’s perspective, any ideology that mandates belief without evidence is a priori dangerous and liable to abuse…. Objectively, polytheism was better. Look back in time. The many gods of Greek and Roman antiquity, by their very multiplicity, presupposed a spirit of pluralism in their societies and even a certain ludic variety…”

Well, let’s see, I think I recall a bit of slaughter in Homer and Thucydides, but Islam, for Tayler, is the latest manifestation of a mass brutality that came in only with monotheism: “Enter the God of the Israelites. Jealous and vengeful, capricious and megalomaniacal, He issued His Decalogue. What is Commandment Number One? ‘You shall have no other gods before Me’ — an absolutist order implicitly justifying violence against those who haven’t gotten the memo.”

Yes, indeed, and a lot of support for Tayler’s, Frum’s and Goldberg’s demand that the West fight back, and hard, is still animated by the Jealous God of the “greater Israel” crowd that includes Netanyahu’s governing coalition and Brooklyn jihadis such as Baruch Goldstein, who slaughtered 29 Palestinians at prayer. I thought I glimpsed that God also in George W. Bush’s “crusade” and “mission” in Iraq (enhanced by his “Axis of Evil” speechwriter David Frum and by Frum’s book, “An End to Evil,” co-authored with Richard Perle). Didn’t these battles carry forward the beliefs of Bush’s own ancestor, the Rev. George Bush, whose 1840 tract, “Life of Muhammed,” denominated that prophet “an imposter,” and whose 1844 book, “The Dry Bones Revealed,” prophesied the return of the Jews to the Holy Land?

Tayler writes that “the Prophet Muhammad transformed the Judeo-Christian Despot into an even more menacing, wrathful ogre whose gory punishments were meted out to hapless souls after death.” But Muhammad didn’t “transform” the Judeo-Christian God into an even more menacing ogre. Jews who were expelled en masse from Catholic Spain during the Inquisition of 1492 lived peacefully, by the tens of thousands, for 500 years under the … um, Caliphate in Istanbul, and other Jews who had never left the Middle East lived peacefully even longer under the Ottomans, by the tens of thousands, in Baghdad, Mosul, Damascus, Cairo, Alexandria and even Jerusalem.  Europe, meanwhile, was enjoying the truly gory Thirty Years War and, within the Enlightenment, sowing seeds of horrors that even ISIL and al-Qaida have yet to equal.

Tayler, Frum and Goldberg (who was born and brought up on Long Island but served in the Israel Defense Forces, as David Brooks’ older son is doing now) are part of the problem they’re telling us to fight back against. In their declamations you hear echoes of their other summonses. Let’s glance at those before signing up for this one. ...




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