The Western left, especially of the chattering class variety, generally believes that foreign hostility including but not limited to jihadism is an understandable reaction to one or more Western sins, whether capitalism, materialism, cultural or actual "imperialism," or Zionism, and that it will end only if we stop sinning. This much is obvious to anybody who attends lectures on national security at a major university and who listens to the questions from the professors and students in the audience. Well, if one believes that foreign hostility is purely or even mostly a function of our own immoral policies, "moderate" Muslims are offensive in three ways. First, in arguing that jihadists ought to be held accoutable for their own hostility the moderates impeach the left-wing view of the world, and nobody appreciates that. Second, the moderates lend credibility to the idea that Western sins are not sins at all, which means they are in fact "stooges" of the capitalists, imperialists, and Zionists. Third, they force Western liberals to express a "value judgment" about a non-Western institution -- Islam -- and that is an enormous no-no according to two generations of scholarship, one generation of schooling, and half a generation of corporate compliance training.
Two examples of the deepest fears of the left can be found on yesterday's Easter op-ed pages.
First, there is Erica Jong's musings from HuffPo as she tells us why she is so horribly afraid that the evil Republicans might win the election:
And yet we have had great candidates before--think Al Gore--and lost to the low-level conniving, smearing and swift boating of the GOP (Grandiose Old Plutocrats).
The GOP stands for nothing today but looting the national treasury for the rich. George Dubya Bush once addressed them as the "haves and have mores"--clearly he is one of them--but maybe he will have less now that the Carlyle Group is running out of money. Maybe he'll have a little rachmones for the have-less and have-nots, though I doubt it.
If anyone in Washington read history, they'd understand that any empire that spends more in war than on its people eventually goes down in flames. The Persians, Greeks and Romans proved it--see Herodotus--and the British, French, Belgians, Dutch and Germans proved it all over again in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But does anyone care?
Apparently not. It's a rule of history that when an empire gorges on guns and forgets butter, that empire winds up on the scrap heap of history.
Dubya could have learned this at Yale had he not been drunk or stoned all the time and figuring out ways to avoid going to 'Nam.
But he doesn't know and doesn't care. He thinks, "The surge is working." Dick Cheney and Condi Rice tell him so. And now McCain echoes them. And our idiot corporate press--which has no time to read or think or dig for information (too busy getting pix of Kristen-Alexandra's tattoos) doesn't give a shit either. Leave that to the book-writers. That's safe enough since Americans don't read--especially not big thick books about history.
Yes, only the courageous "book-writers" (like her!) care. Note the casual dismissal of stupid American (except, I imagine those who are clever enough to read her books).
Next, there is Erica's soulmate, Robert, who expresses his own terrible fear:
And I will hazard a terrible guess: that we have lost Afghanistan as surely as we have lost Iraq and as surely as we are going to "lose" Pakistan. It is our presence, our power, our arrogance, our refusal to learn from history and our terror – yes, our terror – of Islam that is leading us into the abyss. And until we learn to leave these Muslim peoples alone, our catastrophe in the Middle East will only become graver. There is no connection between Islam and "terror". But there is a connection between our occupation of Muslim lands and "terror". It's not too complicated an equation. And we don't need a public inquiry to get it right.
Somehow, I don't think that it's the "audacity of hope" thing that brings these two great thinkers together in their assessment of the horrific sins of George Bush and Western Civilization in general. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Both are certainly audacious enough to hope for the defeat of the REAL enemy: Bush, America, Israel and the West. That they come together on the Easter op-ed pages--is that not a perfect example of a zipless fuck, or what?
As TigerHawk notes, this fundamental belief in the Original Sin of the West continues to give the Jihadists and murderers of Islam a complete moral pass. By their own careful postmodern 'reasoning', it is only by the defeat of the West in Iraq, Afghanistan and everywhere--beginning with the Republicans in the U.S.--that the way is then cleared for the imposition of an International Order of Peace, Justice and Brotherhood which will sweep the world as Islamists everywhere will lay down their arms. If only the West would stop sinning and killing see the Light !
With great intellectuals like these two giants of the left, who needs stupidity?