Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ameriphobia

Americans are constantly being told by the left to be more tolerant of people from different cultures; and, especially, not to fear people from Islamic countries. Yet, many Americans have a deep sense of suspicion of some Muslims solely because of the way the 9/11 terrorists infiltrated our country. These monsters insinuated themselves into our lives and took advantage of our tolerance with deadly result. Are terrorists lurking among us still, acting westernized yet working to kill us? Are some of the people who immigrate to America today “sleepers” who will do the same as the 9/11 terrorists? Or are we Islamophobes unduly fearful of outsiders?

I don’t think our fear of being attacked again is unfounded. It is a genuine fear based upon the fact that many Americans have been killed by religious fanatics in the name of Islam. And I find it curious that we are told by many on the left that there really is no terrorist threat, that the entire issue is stoked up by the right to create paranoia among us to generate political support for increased military and homeland security spending.

The terrorists were educated by religious leaders, men of God, who breathed venomous hatred toward Americans. Is this still happening? We are told that a lot of this anti-American speech still takes place in many mosques in America. Is our generosity being taken advantage of again? No, we are told, we should realize that our fear of Islamic radicals is a sickness based on our past racist tendencies. Too many of us are Islamophobes they tell us.

Yet, the question I would ask is “Are we more afraid of them than they are afraid of us?” What makes so many in the Muslim world want to kill us? Is it their love of humanity or pure unadulterated hatred? Many in the left tell us it is not as simple as that; that there are many factors that contribute to the fear of Muslims and the Muslim religion, much of which is related to our latent and past racism toward blacks and other minorities. According to this view, our past and present racism is responsible for our unfounded views toward Muslims.

In pursuit of answers to these questions, I recently read a booklet published jointly by the Council on Islamic Relations (CAIR) and The University of Berkeley Center for Race and Gender entitled “’Same Hate, New Target’ Islamophobia in the United States , January 2009, December 2010”. This booklet provided an interesting perspective on the question of Islamophobia. In fact, it was more than merely interesting; it was frightening – not for what it revealed about Islamophobia but for what it revealed about Ameriphobia, the unfounded fear of America.

First of all, the article made no effort to scientifically document the existence of Islamophobia in America. There were several anecdotes about anti-Muslim incidents but much of that can be dismissed as non-representative of the vast majority of Americans. Just as you cannot cite a few instances of racism in America to prove racism among the vast majority, you cannot point to a few examples of anger directed at Muslims to indicate a general fear of Islam. It simply isn’t fair. But that doesn’t stop the CAIR and Berkeley writers of this booklet.

For instance, CAIR’s National Director, Mr. Nihad Awad, in his letter published in the article, calls Islamophobia “close-minded prejudice against or hatred of Islam and Muslims…”

This is a flawed definition of Islamophobia. Prejudice is not a phobia. Prejudice is making judgments about a certain person without having all the facts. A “phobia” is an irrational fear. And I submit that no one can provide a scientific study that definitively proves that Americans are irrationally afraid of Islam or that they are fundamentally racist.

What is the point of this definition if it defines nothing? Fear is usually aimed at a person or object that is a threat to the individual’s life. Fear of having ourselves or our fellow Americans killed by terrorists is a real fear. But if you can call a rational fear a “phobia”, you make a person question his fear while you do nothing to alleviate it. You create moral paralysis; you make it impossible for the rationally fearful person to do anything about his fear; you create a clear road for the terrorist and for political groups who seek to undermine America's values and principles.

Add Islamophobia to the tactics of the left and you get the use of the BIG LIE against political enemies. If you constantly repeat the lie that Americans are irrationally fearful of Muslims, it is thought, they will come to believe it. What happens when the "chickens come home to roost"? Mr. Awad’s final paragraph tells you, “I pray that in the future, this report will be seen as one element in the movement to push back against individuals and institutions who promote hatred and fear of Islam as an American value.” Push back? In what way? With what force? For what purpose? How big is this group that must be pushed back and who will do the pushing back? Government, CAIR, Berkeley, terrorists? Will anyone be sent to prison? Will there be street fights and beatings in the push back?

Who are those individuals and institutions who must be pushed back? The report tells us:

• Pamela Geller and Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA)
• Robert Spencer and Jihad Watch
• Brigitte Gabriel and Act! For America
• Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy (CSP)
• Steven Emerson and the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT)
• Newt Gingerich
• The four members of Congress who called for an investigation of Muslim Capitol Hill interns
• Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and other violent extremists
• Daniel Pipes

I’m not going to give you the biographies of these people. You can look them up yourself. However, I will state that most of these people are critics of Islam who draw a connection between the premises of Islam and the justifications used by terrorists for killing Americans. In other words, they are critics of Islam involved in the effort to understand why we were attacked on 9/11/2001. In fact, none of these people appear to fear Islam. There is no evident prejudice in the arguments of these people; most have made a thorough study of Islam and its tenets. And, with the exception of bin Ladin, most of these people are politically conservative.

Yet, the writers of this pamphlet say this:

“A critical study of Islam or Muslims is not Islamophobic,” former CAIR Research Director Mohamed Nimer wrote in 2007. “Likewise, a disapproving analysis of American history and government is not anti-American…One can disagree with Islam or with what some Muslims do without having to be hateful.”

Try disagreeing with Islam in Saudi Arabia (without being hateful) or in Iran or Syria or Pakistan or any nation dominated by Islam. And try disagreeing with Islam in America without being called Islamophobic by CAIR.

Who do they consider to be the good people?

• New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg
• Loonwatch (www.loonwatch.com)
• Congressional Tri-Caucus
• Rep. Keith Ellison (a Muslim) (D-MN)
• Jon Stewart, Aasif Mandvi and The Daily Show
• Keith Olbermann and Countdown with Keith Olbermann
• Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report
• Media Matters for America
• Interfaith Leaders
• Rachel Maddow and The Rachel Maddow Show

This list speaks for itself; but one thing is obvious. Few of these people have ever criticized Islam and some of them are comedians known for making fun of conservatives.

There is no proof that America is a fundamentally racist nation. In fact, it sets the standard for rationality when it comes to judging people according to their character as individuals. Americans, overall, should not feel guilty for their treatment of any group today. The idea of Islamophobia is a concoction of the left intended to impose guilt upon Americans and convince them that they should treat Muslim immigrants differently than they treat American citizens and other immigrants. Rather than analyzing a real issue, offering real solutions that improve society; CAIR and its allies on the left are instead trying to frame the issue to their own political advantage while disregarding true analysis based upon rational standards. They want to politically defeat someone and the key to identifying that someone is our purpose. Who or what do CAIR and Berkeley leftists fear?

In fact, a good case can be made for the existence of Ameriphobia in both CAIR and Berkeley. This Ameriphobia is not something new, however. These organizations are grounded in a form of anti-Americanism that has existed since the advent of socialism during the 19th Century. One of the biggest reasons that CAIR and Berkeley are afraid of America is that they accept several myths about our system and those myths are founded, not on reality, but on the views, ideas and fears of the enemies of freedom.

These myths represent a strategy designed to denigrate both capitalism and America in order to set the stage for the lynching of America in front of the world. The fact that the strategy is not new is an indication that the members of CAIR do not want to foster understanding and fair treatment. They prefer to mimick commonly used fallacies against America in order to drive a wedge into American society so they can advance their own anti-American agendas.

The source of Ameriphobia is predominantly Karl Marx. Marx’s critique of capitalism is reputed to spell out certain flaws in capitalism that socialism is designed to correct. Marx’s anti-capitalism parallels religious ideas found in a number of prominent religions. It is based upon a general antipathy toward commerce, profit and usury expressed by many religions. In fact, the critique of capitalism in Karl Marx’s writings is also similar to and parallels the critiques of America expressed by terrorists and many radical Imams today.

These fallacies can be expressed by the following statements:

1. Capitalism is individualistic rather than collectivist
2. Capitalism is inefficient and socialism is efficient
3. Capitalism is Imperialistic
4. Capitalism is decadent and immoral

I will not go into the debates over these critiques of capitalism here but I will state that these four statements are false. They are based upon a fundamental idea that self-interest is evil. They are repeated constantly all over the world and especially in American universities where many Muslims come to be educated. They create a massive prejudice among average people all over the world toward America and American businesspeople. They are expressed in American movies by American actors and they create prejudice against anything American. They justify countless unnecessary and restrictive regulations of capitalism and they justify and animate countless violent anti-capitalist and anti-American groups around the world. These groups and ideas poison the world against self-interest, justify dictatorships and foment hate and destruction.  The false Marxist critique of capitalism has devastated and impoverished the 20th Century and stands poised to destroy our economies today.  The existence of this critique implicates the leftists in America today as destroyers of freedom and the killers of men.

If you read the arguments of CAIR, Usama bin Ladin, OWS, anti-capitalist Christians, President Obama, Van Jones and others on the left, you will hear these arguments openly, some advocating violence, others advocating government expansion.  The anti-capitalists don’t want you to know that their solution to capitalism is worse than capitalism. They talk about what’s wrong with capitalism and what they are doing to fix it, but ignore the fact that what’s wrong with capitalism is that they are interfering with it.

For instance, in the article from CAIR and Berkeley, you hear no criticism of the violations of individual rights in Iran, about Iran’s efforts to destroy Israel and destabilize the Middle East. You hear nothing about Saudi Arabia’s efforts to foment jihad around the world and especially in America. You hear nothing about how women and other individuals are being killed and maimed all over the world as an expression of “justice” under Islam. You hear nothing about the racism directed at Jews all over the world but especially in the Middle East. You hear nothing about the riots in the Middle East against Christians or about the treatment of Christians who, in many countries, are not allowed to build churches. You hear nothing about the dictatorships in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories that are destroying the lives of millions of their own citizens. You only hear that America is evil because it is based on self-interest; that it was once a racist country and that it must reform itself and accept into citizenship people who are decidedly anti-American. And because of the moral implications of anti-capitalism, you seldom hear a protest from American conservatives.

If there are (and I’m sure there are) any truly rights-respecting people within Arab communities in America, they must surely be people who have rejected the barbarism found in their home nations and who have come to America to live as Americans. These people do not like the religious intolerance they have found in their land of birth and they see America as an opportunity to live truly free lives…free of religious dominance and brutality. They come to America to be Americans not Muslims. They don’t come to America to hate America. Nor do they fear America.

CAIR thinks that paying lip-service to American values and expressing an opposition to terrorism, will help them fool the American public. They think they can justify their Ameriphobia and anti-Americanism by fighting a long-lived false image of a racist America. One thing is true: you can only hope to get away with this kind of deception with the help of American university professors.

The title of the pamphlet “Same Hate, Different Target” implicates America as fundamentally racist. To what “same hate” does the title refer? To the struggle by many whites to win equality for Blacks in America? To the many whites, Asians, Hispanics and blacks who have died for the freedom of oppressed people around the world? To the freedom and economic equality sought by millions of immigrants to America? To the Constitutional protections that have been extended to people of all colors in America? No…the article prefers to focus on the racism in America. That’s it…we’re a racist nation with a cloud of guilt hanging over us. They call us the oppressors of other nations and we must therefore not be prejudiced and hateful toward them by allowing Shariah Law in America.

The title of this document is an insult to Americans. It rings like an insider comment intended only for people who have a particular point of view. It is a statement that would only be made by someone whose ideology contains a strong anti-American bias. Who are the racists according to this ideology? Why, they’re conservatives and Tea Party protestors.

The important question to ask is “What happens when you call American free thinking by the name of ‘racism’?” You get a political package deal that gives you the ability to call a difference of opinion full-blown racism. It gives you the ability to demonize people who have no racist intent. For instance, in America, if you make a valid point about Christianity from a philosophical perspective, you are not always called anti-Christian. Nor are you called Christian-phobic. But if you say that most racists during the Civil War were Christians, and that this proves all Christians are racists, you are doing a disservice to religion and to Christianity - and you will be roundly criticized for such unfairness. However, this is exactly what CAIR and Berkeley are saying about Americans who happen to disagree with progressives.

The cultural clash between Islam and America is not between Christianity and Islam. It is between Islam and freedom. The leaders of CAIR appear to know it. Yet, it is true that Christianity is much more acceptable to the average American than Islam and this is a problem for groups like CAIR who are intent on instituting Shariah Law in America. Their strategy is to convince Americans that Shariah can exist side-by-side with Constitutional Law and that it does not represent a threat. But this is not true, the two cannot coexist. The cultural clash is too severe and CAIR knows that Shariah Law represents an attitude that can never be accepted in a society that defends individual rights. Shariah Law assumes that good Muslims must submit to God and that God is government. Islam was established through warfare and it insisted that any conquered people convert to Islam or be killed. This perspective that Islam is superior to all other religions and all other governments is a direct threat to any nation that has not accepted Islam as government. And, more importantly, in America, it is a direct challenge to the separation of church and state that is vital to our Republic. This conflict can only be resolved by one form of Law superceding the other.

For decades, in America, religion was not allowed into government in order to avoid the tendency of religion to dominate morality and institute religious ritual as mandated practice. The Constitution sought to liberate man from any influence that would circumvent his natural ability to think for himself and it forbade religion from participating in government…even among religious men in government. In other words, religion in America had to accommodate the liberty of man and not seek to impose itself by means of government force. This changed Christianity and made it peaceful. People could be Christian without having to feel that their freedoms were being undermined.

Islam, throughout history, did not have to learn how to “behave” as did Christianity. Today, Islam has burst upon the scene, without the filtering processes inherent in the Constitution, not as a religion of peace, but as a religion of conquest that considers the secular nature of our society to be decadent, this-worldly and evil. Islam did not have to temper itself to accommodate the Constitution because it gained power by conquest in other parts of the world. Throughout history Islam has practiced the ritual of cleansing by forcing other nations to become Muslim. It considers itself to be the true government of man and does not respect the original intent of the Founding Fathers to prohibit religion from being the government. It sees this idea as ludicrous because to them Islam is society.

The result of this approach is not only a disrespect for the principles of America but a belief that America is evil because it has not accepted Islam. Many Muslims see Americans as infidels who sin against God, not because they do truly evil things, but because they live secular lives. The manner of acting that characterizes Americans, their self-assertiveness, their self-confidence, their outspokenness, their way of dress, grooming, their lack of religious piety, even their way of enjoying life, are all problematic for many Muslims. These characteristics are considered an insult to God. This is a clash of civilizations for which there can be no compromise. For CAIR, Americans must realize the devout spiritual nature of Islam, see it as superior morally and decide to submit to it. For many Muslims, there is no other choice for America.

Is it possible that CAIR is trying to use the progressive movement in America as a cover for insinuating Shariah Law? Is it possible that CAIR is asking Americans to consider Islam, a religion that must certainly be in crisis today (due to its inability to control the radical murderers and gangsters among them), as just another group of good citizens who happen to have their own legal system? Is this why Americans are accused of unfairly fearing Islam?

The most important consequence of accepting a poorly defined term such as Islamophobia is that it keeps people from acknowledging their justified fears. It blocks intellectually the real fear people have about terrorism, anti-Americanism and hateful lies spouted by religious fanatics, Islamic fascists and progressives alike. For instance, why does CAIR say that conservatives are Islamophobic when they question the actual implications of Islam and, at the same time, say that Americans must stay silent and listen to all forms of criticism to avoid being called racist? And further, why are conservatives’ questions about Islam considered to be Islamophobic but CAIR’s mimicking of progressive criticisms of America considered to be patriotic? The article says,

“Among a certain segment of the population, the Tea-Party and right-wing Republicans, anti-Islam bigotry has become mainstream and lost any taboo. People are unabashed and open in their displays of Islamophobia. In large part, this is in reaction to President Obama’s election. Many bigots are upset that we have a black president. But because of the taboo associated with anti-black racism, they are constrained from openly expressing it. So they falsely declare Obama is a Muslim and feel comfortable denigrating him for that,” said a Muslim who has held elected office.”

This is an unabashed lie, a repetition of lies told about the Tea Party movement by the left. Another charge made by progressives that black Congressmen were spat upon and endured racist comments during the health care debate was also untrue. Yet, if CAIR claims to be inclusive of all American opinions, why does it make the same baseless political criticisms as the left makes against a large group of Americans? And what are we to think of the many intellectuals who have made reasoned, scholarly arguments that refute the practicability of the very same progressive policies that are today being advanced by President Obama...classical libera intellectuals who lived in the 1930s. Are they also racists? How is it that they resented President Obama's blackness before he was born? What are we to think about the people responsible for this report if they are willing to make spurious and false charges such as these?

Remember the list of enemies that CAIR and Berkeley presented in the document? Remember that this list included people and groups that CAIR considered to be Islamophobic.  Ask yourself why that list included some conservatives but not the Tea Party movement whose “anti-Islam bigotry has become mainstream”. Does this not qualify the movement for that list of Islamophobes? Is it possible that the list was a decoy designed to hide the real enemies who are mainstream Americans?

By now the left knows that it is not going to be able to turn the US government into a coercive state without serious opposition. They realize that the Tea Party movement and many conservatives are, to a large extent, a reasoned, principled opposition that will not allow the destruction of the Constitution. They know that there are too many people who understand the reasons and thinking that went into founding our country, too many who understand the meaning of individual rights, and who will not be silenced or steamrolled by invented “emergencies” and outright lies - or by threats of murder.

Further, organizations like CAIR see the American left as the authors of the cultural diversity ideology that CAIR needs in order to import Shariah Law. They know that they must exploit this ideology in order to succeed; and if Americans reject the concept of cultural diversity, they are in trouble. The Tea Party will not fall for the ploy that a group of people should be allowed to violate the rights of individuals, even those within its group, because of a "divine" law. The Tea Party, for the most part, is decidedly individualistic. They do not consider our nation to be made up of warring collectives vieing for control of the government, eager to use government to bash their enemies. Tea Party members judge individuals and encourage individual achievement and freedom. It is a movement of individuals fighting for individuals and because of this, it is an enemy to the numerous collectivists who foster collective solutions, collective sacrifice and collective punishment.

CAIR also knows that American independents, conservatives and Tea Party members will not "go silently into the night". They will not submit to Islam and they will not be cowed by statements of collective guilt. Tea Party members, because they defend individuals, are naturally opposed to Shariah Law and they will not pretend that accommodations can be made between American jurisprudence, group rock peltings and the exploitation, physical mutilation and abuse of women. To Americans, women are individuals and they cannot be summarily abused and controlled.

Our nation is moving into territory that is not new for nations that have descended into dictatorship. Before a dictatorship can take over a country, there must be chaos, violence in the streets and a breakdown of social institutions. This breakdown provides the cover necessary so that the coming dictators can jail, imprison and kill political opposition. To accomplish this, the prospective dictators invent “crimes” that the opposition has committed in order to justify destroying them. Today, we see the hints of the coming dictatorship in the actions of the Obama administration and the things it is doing regarding the Tea Party movement and Republicans in Congress, not to mention the increasing number of unilateral and unconstitutional decisions made by President Obama. The left has found a scapegoat in the Tea Party movement in the same way that the Nazis used the Jews and intellectuals among them, and in the same way that the Soviet communists hated the bourgeoisie and the intellectuals in Russia.

As a participant in Tea Party protests, as well as an American with Hispanic descent, I find it offensive that CAIR and Berkeley claim to be inclusive, while they criticize without basis a group that is made up of the entire demographic of the American populace. That CAIR aims its accusations of Islamophobia at people whose issues are budgets and spending should make you wonder at the real issue.

And it is this:

CAIR and Berkeley fear average Americans. They fear us because we are free to think and judge them. They fear us because we represent a very large swath of mainstream America. They fear us because they cannot credibly call us ignorant anymore; they cannot simply imply that we should be ignored and circumvented. They know we won’t allow it. They are playing politics with the very serious issues of our debt, government spending and waste (the real Tea Party issues) so that they can falsely claim to be a persecuted minority and thereby gain power.

Berkeley leftists know that the political strategy of the left is to marginalize the right by unfairly associating anyone on the right with as many negative concepts as possible including the spurious charge of racism. This is a political strategy that apparently CAIR has no problem with, yet it claims to want fairness and openness toward Muslims and other minorities. We know that no one can fight for the rights of some individuals without fighting for the rights of all individuals. There are no group rights. Apparently, CAIR does not know this.

Most right-leaning intellectuals and even average citizens understand that these tactics are based upon strategies of deception. It is dishonest to demonize your political opponents by means of lies. It accomplishes nothing positive and it deflects honest Americans from the important work of solving our very real problems. The left would prefer to play the politics of destruction rather than solve problems. Why would CAIR want to be part of this deception?

Where is the Islamophobia in the Tea Party argument? In the very fact that it is an argument based upon the principles of our Founding Fathers. In the very fact that the Tea Party movement is anti-progressive. In the implication that Tea Party Americans are so principled that they will not allow Shariah Law to be practiced in America. CAIR knows that with the Tea Party movement around, they can’t undermine the Constitution, not now, and maybe never.

The emergence of the Tea Party movement has put a panic into all progressives and CAIR. They didn’t expect that anyone would rise up to defend the Constitution. Now they realize that there is a principled movement against them that will not compromise on fundamental principles; and it is a huge movement. They realize that all their arguments for the coercive state no longer work especially the arguments for collectivism and shared sacrifice. They know that eventually they will be swept out of power by this movement in such a large wave that they will be on the outside looking in for the next several generations if not forever. This explains why CAIR and Berkeley kept the Tea Party movement off its list; they didn’t want to admit that they feared the Tea Party movement more than any other group.

CAIR and Berkeley are participating in political games, picking winners and losers, sticking with the progressives and name-calling (Islamophobe and racist) against one of the largest political groups in the country. Instead of calling for objectivity, refusing to take sides in the political struggle, really meaning what they say about fairness, CAIR chooses instead to get into the political fray and attempt to disenfranchise people who care about budgets and Constitutional rights. CAIR and Berkeley are not fighting Islamophobia; they are exposing their own Ameriphobia.

CAIR and the progressives are doomed to fail. This is because past dictatorships have succeeded in gaining power only by tearing down society and cutting off all lines of communication. Today, that would mean they have to destroy mass communication systems such as cable television, the Internet, ebooks, social networking and wireless communications. The freedom that these media rely upon, the freedom of speech, is something Americans are not willing to give up, even if they have no opinion about dictatorship. And, even more importantly, because of its anti-intellectuality, the left has been reduced to a few multi-billionaires who waste huge amounts of money funding failed campaigns and bad ideas. The left needs mass communication in order to multiply by several degrees the amount of drivel they need to drown out the truth.

The Tea Party movement is a beacon of hope. In a few short years, the movement has accomplished phenomenal results; they have brought us much closer than ever to restoring the principles of limited government and individual rights. But, unfortunately, it is not an intellectual movement. Although there are strong influences from Ayn Rand and Austrian economics in the movement, it is primarily an alliance of disparate groups that converge on the issues of limited government, spending reductions and capitalism/constitutionalism. These are not bad issues around which to converge but they are not enough to create a free society that endures. In order to establish a proper society, it will take an intellectual movement that effectively defines the philosophical bases of these concepts. That was the work that the Founders, in spite of their superlative accomplishments, left to future generations. It is critical today that our generation do this work.

The Tea Party may succeed in disenfranchising, discouraging and removing from power the radical progressives in government, but before these people can be removed as a cultural force, they must be ousted from the universities. We must win the battle of ideas in order to create a better society.

No comments:

Post a Comment