Yes, Muslims Should Have to Answer for ISIS

Stick a microphone in front of an American liberal these days and they will wax big-hearted and full of understanding about how terrible it is that people are asking mainstream Muslims to condemn ISIS. “It’s ridiculous,” they will say, “to make these good people answer for their extremist, violent brethren.” Hillary Clinton went one step farther, claiming (somewhat counterintuitively) that Islam has nothing at all to do with ISIS.

In reality, of course, this is just yet more of liberals’ masturbatory fantasy of being better than ordinary people playing out. They don’t really believe this tripe that mainstream believers in an ideology don’t have to answer for the violent acts of their extremist fringe. In fact, it’s one of their favorite political tricks of all time.

First of all, keeping in mind that anti-abortion fanatics have all time worldwide killed far less people than Muslim terrorists killed last Friday in Paris, nevertheless every time it occurs in the United States, every pro-lifer who goes on camera is basically required to issue ritual condemnation as the price of admission. Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph was cynically used as a political football by Bill Clinton for months. When George Tiller was shot by Scott Roeder, the Wichita PD conducted a witch hunt in an attempt to pin the murder on “pro-life groups.” Even a casual Google search will reveal that liberals in the media love to pin every attack on an abortion clinic (whether or not it includes any violence at all) on the pro-life movement as a whole.

I looked fairly exhaustively for some equivalent condemnation of painting pro-lifers with a broad brush that Hillary offered for Muslims and of course came up with bupkis, because neither she nor any other prominent liberal has ever offered one.

In fact, there’s even some validity to the tactic in terms of enforcing social norms against violence. Shaming and other similar means of norm enforcement have been shown to be one of the most effective methods of curbing anti-social behaviors. One of the best ways to curb an extremist who acts on behalf of a purported ideology is repeated social shaming by other adherents to that ideology. The Scott Roeders of the world would take shaming from NARAL as a point of pride; only shaming from pro-lifers can have even a theoretical effect on their behavior.

Likewise, being tut-tutted by Christians and Jews only serves to increase the standing of ISIS to potential adherents. Only shaming by other Muslims can have even a possible effect. And it’s right and correct for members of a pluralistic society to ask, expect, and demand of the American Muslim community that they participate in it, and it’s furthermore right to ask why Muslims worldwide are pretty much doing the opposite of shaming, because doing so helps illuminate the extent of the problem we have.