In the Consistency thread one of our frequent commenters made a revealing remark which deserves to be highlighted separately, as it unintentionally confirmed the point of the post:
Unsurprisingly, moderate muslims appear to agree with you almost completely. That's a shocker. (My definition is that they don't try to kill us, or fund people who try to kill us.)It isn't the snarky first part of this statement that is interesting; that's banal, and while revealing in its own way, it's de rigur for he sort of people we're talking about to on the one hand demand no one reach conclusions on the basis of necessarily limited information when it comes to them and their mascots, but who feel free themselves to rush to entirely unsupported conclusions regarding their opponents and targets, and express them in the snarkiest way possible, all the while holding the self-conception that they're stalwarts defending civil discourse. Of course, one commenter doesn't control anything, any more than I "create the narrative" (If only!). But this comment will be a useful example for how those who do set the terms of debate do so, and a facet of the mindset behind it.
This truly does reflect having two standards, however. In normal discourse, this isn't generally the standard for moderation: David Duke isn't considered moderate just because he himself never engaged in a lynching and had learned how to express himself in such a way that it's virtually impossible to find a statement where he openly and clearly encourages violence or terror. Yet people can get in trouble with the widely-respected SPLC for example,simply sharing a stage with him in a debate. We understand he's not "moderate" in spite of the suit and tie, and the carefully couched statements.
The fringe of the Mormon faith that still embraces polygamy is not considered "moderate," despite the fact that they keep to themselves and aren't trying to kill anyone. The Westboro "Baptist Church" mobs are not considered moderate, again despite the fact that all they do is use their right to freedom of speech and do not try to kill anyone, directly or indirectly.
I have the same standards when it comes to what I consider moderate, and no, it isn't "appear to agree with [me] almost completely," shocking though that might seem. But it is a bit higher than the sort of people who believe that people on "their side" who are unrepentant terrorists should be considered "mainstream -- educator[s] with distinguished professor status," without altering their views in the slightest, and that any attempt to notice that is invidious. Or that someone can attend a Church for twenty years, quote extremist passages uttered by its pastor in his own book, and we're still supposed to not only believe that he was completely unaware of said Pastor's extreme views, but that the pastor himself was unfairly attacked and mischaracterized. I don't have to agree with someone almost completely to consider them a moderate - I disagree with Nat Hentoff, for example, on quite a lot of things, but respect him greatly (though apparently he is also a bigot now).
I don't know about you all, but it takes me a week or two at most of attending a Church before I have a clear idea what the Pastor or Priest's perspective is (when I was on mid-tour leave from Iraq, my mother was living in the DC area - the Maryland Suburbs - so I spent it with her there. She was going to a small local Episcopal Church at the time, and I went with her to service and "Sunday School." After the first Sunday, I had a fairly good idea where the Priest was coming from, after the 2nd, I knew for sure). If I found myself in, for example, a Westboroesque Church (extremist "conservative"), my skin would crawl and I doubt I'd make it through a single service. I certainly wouldn't sit their docilely for twenty years.
Imam Rauf is of the same sort, but quite a high standard of "evidence" is expected before the Enlightened will allow us to know this. Until then, enforced ignorance is the word of the day. The Atlantic can run a hyperventilating piece on how the Koch Brothers are funding groups, implying it's a Bad Thing - because the Koch Brothers have views that The Atlantic wants its readers to oppose. But inquire into the sorts of things Imam Rauf has supported, and it's off-limits, despicable even. I don't know about you, but I haven't ever accidentally stumbled uncontrollably into financing a flotilla that included unrepentant members of terrorist groups. The Imam has. Alchemist pooh-poohed this (yes, Alchemist - those members weren't in Turkey anymore when they were aboard the ships. You got me there. Good on you). (Btw, Turkey used to have close relations with Israel. Now it. . .does not. Should we draw any conclusions from that regarding why their attitude towards unrepentant domestic terror groups might have changed? Apparently not).
You know, if there's one thing I've learnt from being in the Army, it's never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a Major, who got pooh-poohed, made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cos it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment. Morale totally destroyed... by pooh-pooh! (End Blackadder quote)
Enforced ignorance is the order of the day from our governing class/Progressives, even while they decry the ignorance of a majority of the American people. They will not allow proper conclusions to be drawn from, for example, the Fort Hood Shooting. Instead the official report, released this week, speaks of generic "workplace violence," and without a hint of irony the need to hire "additional health care providers, particularly in the mental health field." The "solutions" being imposed should be ones to make Armed Liberal(s) cringe: Fort Riley has prohibited soldiers who have firearm-carrying permits from carrying firearms for protection off-base and authorized unit commanders to set arbitrary limits on the caliber of firearms and ammunition their troops may privately own. The DoD is working on a regulation that would extend much of this Army-wide: all in response to Maj. Hasan bringing firearms onto the base in violation of base regulations, in a situation where if any of the other soldiers there had been armed, many lives might have been saved.
No, the above has nothing to do with the Cordoba Initiative or Imam Rauf. Or American Muslims. But it has everything to do with the enforced ignorance that is part-and-parcel of Progressive Consistency, of much wider significance than the building of any one Mosque. Alchemist says that when this or that happens, he'll oppose it. But do the Progressives really? In the same Christopher Hitchens article, Hitchens mentions Cab Drivers in America refusing to pick up passengers, and people being accosted on the streets and told not to come any closer to a Mosque. In other circumstances, such as, for example, cab drivers refusing Muslim passengers or airlines treating Muslim Imams differently, it's not only widely discussed national news but a Civil Rights Case. Again: Consistency.
Lets look at another underlying attitude here, which is also almost always applied with the same consistency: Associationism. Many improperly apply it in these contexts, but only these contexts. But note it is routine on the Progressive side of things to draw conclusions based not only on the sort of groups and affiliations someone chooses, but even if they happen to appear together in the same venue briefly it can be insinuated they support everything someone else has ever said and done.
Guilt-by-association would be to assert that, for example, because Miss USA Rima Fakih has relatives in the Middle East who are members of extremist organizations, she is tied to extremism. Asserting this about her would be invidious and improper, and of course I did no such thing. She might not count as an example, however, because it turns out she is one of those Muslims who "agree with me almost completely." Perhaps the fine people who stand up for civil discourse will call her Islamophobic.
But it is not improper to point out groups one voluntarily joins in and affiliates with and draw conclusions that it is because of a commonality of views. People do not affiliate randomly, like seeks like. I'm reminded here of a remark made by one of my favorite extremists, made in a completely different context but with wider validity:
(I love this argument that the candidate's past and present colleagues, mentors and employers are a deeply private matter, like whether the One wipes his ass with his left hand or his right, which must not contaminate our consideration of the soaring rhetorical exhalations his producers write for him.)He has made another observation, also useful here:
Last week I was at a party, at a warehouse space in one of the crackhead districts of SF, at which the subject of crackheads came up. The woman across the table, a member of my social class, expressed great sympathy for this class. I asked her if she had ever been victimized by such. She said: "two days ago, someone smashed a window in my car and stole my iPhone."Note that by "clients" he meant, in essence, "clientela," an analogy that is a bit strained perhaps but is akin to my assertions regarding Consistency, as reflected in the last sentence of that quote: consistently having two standards, one for themselves and their mascots, and another for their opponents and targets.
And she perceived this crime through a pure Jean Valjean lens, with no sense at all that she had been *personally* victimized - much less, victimized by the government. Or a judge. Or an ideology. Or whatever. Rather, she considered it entirely normal and even laudable for a sophisticated, modern person to live in a city in which an iPhone cannot be left visible on a car seat, and she considered herself an idiot who had, for her $500 or whatever, purchased a valuable lesson about modern urban living. (She literally expressed the idea that an impoverished person had sold her iPhone to buy food. To be fair, she was in her early '20s.)
Who would think this way? Well, perhaps if you were a Frenchman in 1944, and your property was looted and vandalized, by American soldiers on their way to kick hell out of the Nazis, you might think this way. The State Department thought this way about the killing of Cleo Noel. This is the way you think about your own clients and the excesses and abuses they commit. Certainly, if this woman's car had been vandalized by cops, tea partiers, etc, she would have been enraged for life. We hate our enemies and not our allies - it is only natural.
I think the reference to Tea Partiers is apt here. The same people who are sanguine about the Cordoba Initiative and caution against intemperance, rushing to conclusions without a forensic-level of CSI-type evidence, and cautioning against painting with a broad brush and guilt-by-association routinely and casually do all these things in their characterizations and portrayals of Tea Party members. Indeed, they don't have to "try to kill us or fund people trying to kill us" in order to be portrayed as extremist kooks, and of course they aren't seen by the governing class/Progressives as "moderate."
So we end where we started: the first, banal part of the Alchemist quote from which I built this post, using it as an example of the type, illustrates how the same people who are so full of concern that Imam Rauf's views or the like might be mischaracterized feel free, themselves, to completely mischaracterize the views of those they disagree with. As I said: also revealing, also an example of Consistency at work, but a commonplace one.