I thought President Obama had lost the ability to shock me after seven years in office, but I was wrong. Worse than liberal naiveté, Obama has tapped into the kind of mindset that produces vicious, cruel, and dehumanizing societies who commit the worst atrocities in history.
The president’s remarks have been consistent in not condemning anything ISIS does as representative of Islam as a whole—to him it’s not radical Islamists or any Muslim extremist philosophy based on the teachings of the Koran—instead it’s some perversion of Islam, etc. ad nauseum.
Inevitably, as it always plays out when there’s a tragedy, we’ve reached the point in the Syrian refugee debate where the Left and the Right are just shouting past each other and nobody’s listening.
And then I read Dennis Prager’s excellent article in National Review documenting everything the Left got wrong in the Paris terror attacks (and it’s a very long list—it would be much shorter to write about what they got right, but then we’d have nothing but a headline).
Take President Obama’s statement on the attack:
This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people on France, but this is an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share.
At best, this is classic left-wing naiveté; at worst, it is nonsense produced by left-wing thinking. This was not an “attack on all humanity.” And it wasn’t an attack on “the universal values we share,” since there are in fact few universal values that humanity shares. It was an attack on Western liberal values. If humanity shared universal values, there wouldn’t be wars, or hundreds of millions of subjugated women, or theocratic and secular tyrannies.
When I read that, it occurred to me that there’s another “at worst” scenario that Prager didn’t catch. If ISIS violated “universal values” and committed an attack on “all humanity,” that implies (as Prager notes) they don’t share the values Obama considers universal.
Take that one step further, and it implies that anyone who doesn’t share those universal values, who acts out of some other set of values, is subhuman—not part of the humanity Obama purports to defend. This is an incredibly dangerous path to take. It’s not even one step short of the Nazis and the Imperial Japanese: it’s quite even with those horrific regimes.
Dehumanizing your enemy is a useful tactic in war. America did it in WWII, but we always recognized that the enemy was only the banner of evil that must be removed—at the end of the day, the basic humanity of our foe was inescapable, because our worldview (the “Judeo-Christian” worldview based on the Bible) recognized the value of all human life. Despotic societies and worldviews dehumanize people based on the alignment of their values, however. And Obama went there.
The elitist Left is comfortable standing above religion like a schoolmaster sorting children by ability. Christians should be thus, picking and choosing Bible verses that suit the secular Left’s own agenda. Muslims should be thus, the friendly and beneficent Pashas who live by a code of honor. The Left picks its own winners and losers, and Islam is a religion of peace marred by perverted zealots who do not follow its teaching, while Christianity is a collection of bloodthirsty sects bent on conquest peppered with some truly placid souls who follow a gentle, effeminate Jesus.
Of course, the holy books of these two religions paint the totally opposite picture, but who needs ancient texts when you’ve got all the answers and become the sole arbiter of “universal values?” This is why the Left can never understand why Muslims don’t just evolve into the Left’s sensibilities like many American Christians have—or rather the Christians the Left likes (the ones who share their “universal values”).
The Left has gone from calling Bible-believing Christians purveyors of intolerance, hate and bigotry to labeling them a physical danger to America. And now Obama has crossed another line by declaring every Muslim who doesn’t hold to the Left’s values as subhuman.
Make no mistake: even moderate Muslims fall into this category. An Egyptian moderate Muslim wrote this insightful piece in the Times of Israel last February after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
In my childhood I was told that every day that passes on the Islamic nation without a caliphate is a sin. That the failures and miseries of the Muslim world started the moment we gave up conquests and wars against the infidels. That our prosperity depends on conquering new lands, converting new believers, looting new resources and enslaving more women. I was taught that a Jew is essentially a demon in flesh and that it is our destiny as good Muslims to kill them all. I was regularly fueled by battle stories and stories of lethal feuds of seventh century Arabia. It was not just me, a small child in Cairo, who was raised with these great apocalyptic prophecies, it was also so many people from all around the globe.
This is what moderate Muslims believe. Although most of them aren’t trying to kill us, they certainly understand why those who are trying are doing it.
My argument is, we are using the label “moderate” for everyone who is not trying to kill us regardless of that person’s actual views. We are in a very bad situation to the extent that we have confused moderation with self-interest. The majority of the Muslim world may not be moderate, but rather acting in its daily life from a purely self-interested point of view. This is a very good thing. We should encourage all Muslims to act and preserve their self-interests. But we should not lie to them about the nature of their religious ideas.
President George W. Bush was very careful not to call our post 9/11 actions a “war on Islam,” choosing instead to call them a “war on terror,” an imperfect yet useful catchphrase. That moniker was used until Obama dropped it and never replaced it. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu calls it a war on “primitive medievalism,” which is technically more correct but rather wonkish for the average person.
We now know that Obama would call it a war on subhumans, who don’t ascribe to those “universal values” he touts, which are exclusively cooked up by liberals for other liberals. If we allow such dangerous invective to continue to spout from the leader of the most powerful country in the world, we will be led into incalculable slaughter.
But even worse, we could fall victim to a more terrible fate: being led into committing inhuman atrocities to our enemies. Obama, who professes to renounce torture, assassination, and who says he believes in mercy, law, and human dignity, has shown that he has the heart of a pathological despot bent on ideological supremacy (sounds amazingly similar to ISIS, doesn’t it?), by declaring a billion Muslims to be subhuman.
(crossposted from sgberman.com)