Guess whose fault it is that Trump is running for president, and has some popular support? It’s not the mobs of bigoted known-nothings who cheer his every simplistic solutions. It’s not the right-wingers who have been feasting on a steady diet of Fox News. It’s not the beady-eyed monomaniacal fanatics who love their guns and god.
Nope. It’s all the fault of the leftists who oppose every single thing Trump stands for.
That’s the message of Douglas Murray, the right-wing neocon who recently had a long mutual grooming session with Sam Harris. He now explains why it’s all our fault.
Last night Donald Trump announced a new ‘policy’ idea which would be to stop any more Muslims going to America. He would even, it seems, prevent Muslim Americans who are currently out of the country on their holidays, from returning home. This is – it need hardly be said – a back of the envelope policy. And it has already had the desired effect. The social justice warriors who mistake Twitter for real life, have been busily signalling their utter outrage at Trump’s remarks. Journalists have seized the opportunity (which the New York Times and others have been trying all along) to insinuate that Trump is in fact the new Hitler. The reaction is as ill-tempered as the original comment. But we should know how we got here.
Pray tell, how? I think we can already guess from his lead-in that he’s going to blame the very people who reject Trumpisms. Try to follow the twisty logic here.
When the political left refuses to identify where Islamic terrorism comes from, what drives it or what it can even be called, it leaves the ground wholly open for anyone else to do or say anything they want. Far from being blunt tools or broad brushstrokes, referring to ‘Islamic extremism’ or ‘Islamism’ makes an obvious and conscious effort to put down a delineating line between non-extreme Muslims and the extremists from their faith. Yet many Muslim organisations, among others, reject this. Groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) expend all their energy berating anyone who makes this delineation and pretends that people exercising such care are in fact ‘tarring all Muslims’. What such Muslim groups seem not to realise is that this in turn makes people suspicious of all Muslims. ‘Why are these Muslim groups pretending that any and all critics of the jihadists are saying something they are not? Maybe all Muslims are in fact jihadists?’ is a conclusion some people will find themselves pushed to.
So…if someone objects to broad stereotyping of Muslims, people who disagree will think that the anti-stereotypers are hiding something, and therefore it is reasonable to equate “Muslim” with “Jihadist”? WHAT??
Donald Trump has not said he wants to prevent terrorists from entering the country — he wants to ban all Muslims, period. There is no nuance there at all. Murray is arguing that pointing out the raging bigotry of such statements will alienate the people who agree with anti-immigrant sentiment and force them to believe that all Muslims are Jihadists. Meanwhile, the guy with the reasonable tone of voice who thinks that we ought to carry out racial profiling, who believes that Ben Carson has a realistic foreign policy, who thinks it would be horrible to drop nuclear bombs on the Middle East, but we just might have to do that … that guy, why, he has nothing at all to do with mainstreaming reactionary right wing hatred.
He wants to claim that the real source of the problem is that those danged leftists are all making simplistic claims that Islam is perfectly harmless; that what we’ve done is cultivate an atmosphere where the public is expecting simple, stupid answers because social justice warriors think Islam is harmless, so they’ve turned to the loud idiot who says Islam is evil in reaction. And the neocons who’ve been delivering their simplistic explanation that the problem is Islam, full stop? They had nothing to do with it.
In Europe I have said for more than a decade that if political leaders kept saying ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ and similar untruths and half-truths then a day would come bearing an atrocity so bad that the mainstream politicians would not be listened to anymore. This prediction is currently being played out across the Channel in France. In the UK I am happy to say that the Prime Minister and those around him have been listening. They realise that a complex problem does not have easy answers. It does not have easy answers like pretending that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’. And it does not have easy answers like those of Donald Trump.
Sure. Yeah. The left is all about easy answers. That’s why Noam Chomsky urges us all to join hands and sing kumbaya to make the bad people go away, and why Sam Harris prefers the complex, subtle, difficult foreign policy expertise of Ben Carson.
Up is down, front is back, black is white in these people’s world. Noam Chomsky is simple. Ben Carson is complex. The Iraq War was a triumph. Bombs are peace (as long as they are American bombs). The people who kill people are the people who keep insisting we should do something other than killing people. Simple answers are bad, so accept the simple answer that Islam is the source of evil.
I’ve been on this funhouse ride for too many decades. Let me out, I’m gonna puke.