Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Progressive/Islamic Coalition

“Progressives” have frequently been criticized for being “soft on Communism.” Communism claims to be a secular and scientific program to liberate the poor. It shares many of the progressives’ ideals if not their methods. Islam on the other hand has many major characteristics that are contrary to progressive beliefs. It is not Islamophobic to point out that women have a lower status in Islam or that homosexuality is officially frowned upon within Islam.  Islam is by definition theistic. What can possibly account for the apparent sympathy many progressives have for a rigidly theistic political movement?  What could Communism and Islam possibly have in common?

There is an understandable explanation for this affinity. Progressives, Communists and radical Muslims share similar enemies.  Perhaps Peter Hitchens explained it best.  “The Left can sympathize with it (Islam) as the enemy of the Christian monoculture and as an anti-colonial and therefore ‘progressive’ force.”  Hitchens contends that Islam shares an important goal of progressivism: it is anti-Western and therefore progressive.  Hitchens may be dismissed as a conservative critic of the progressive agenda.  However, the same conclusion was reached by George Galloway, a “progressive” member of the British Parliament.  When asked to explain his call for uniting Muslim and progressive forces, he replied,  “Not only do I think it's possible but I think it is vitally necessary and I think it is happening already. It is possible because the progressive movement around the world and the Muslims have the same enemies. Their enemies are the Zionist occupation, American occupation, British occupation of poor countries, mainly Muslim countries. They have the same interest in opposing savage capitalist globalization which is intent upon homogenizing the entire world … So it's necessary to unite these two great forces."

Certainly not all progressives are motivated by hostility toward Western culture.  However, a significant number of the left’s opinion shapers are.   This would not be a problem if progressive intellectuals did not play such a significant role in policy decisions.  Once confined to small enclaves like Greenwich Village they were a curiosity.  Now that they control the “commanding heights” of our society, their influence is highly significant.

Opposition to a society’s culture appears to be a significant component of the progressive intellectual’s makeup.  It is not confined to the United States.  George Orwell claimed, “England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality.  In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution.”  M.V. Tugan-Baranovsky, the Russian socialist intelligentsia's theoretician described the typical Russian intellectual at the beginning of the 20th Century: "he was permeated with revolutionary spirit and had the greatest disgust for Russian historical traditions, regarding himself in this respect as an out and out renegade. . . . As for traditional Russian culture . . . hostility to it is the most typical mark of the intellectual. . . . The Russian intellectual is uprooted from his historical soil and consequently selects the social ideal which seems best from the rationalist point of view.  This is the socialist ideal - cosmopolitan, supranational and suprahistorical.”

Here in the United States Eric Hoffer stated, “Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America.” Thomas Sowell claimed, “There is simply a whole class of people who hate what this country stands for, who have contempt for its people and who exploit every opportunity to undermine its institutions and ideals.”

This hostility is best revealed by Susan Sontag: "Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Balanchine ballets, et al. don't redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history. It is the white race and it alone - its ideologies and inventions - which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself."

Sontag is not an isolated case.  There are literally thousands of university professors like Nicholas De Genova who stated, “I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus,” during an anti-war rally.  He was referring to the 18 servicemen killed during a battle in Somalia in 1993.   Professor Ward Churchill referred to the “techncrats” working at the World Trade Center as "little Eichmanns."  This somehow justified their murder.  Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict, described this hostility to the West as, “a peculiar Western self-hatred that is nothing short of pathological.”

Academics are not the only individuals who have a rather benign attitude toward Islamic radicals. Washington State Senator Patty Murray described Osama bin Laden in these terms, “He’s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day-care facilities, building healthcare facilities, and the people are extremely grateful.”  She added, "We have not done that. We haven't been out in many of these countries helping them build infrastructure.” Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D. Ohio) compared Islamic terrorists to American revolutionaries. “One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown.”

When politicians and policy makers have a tenuous allegiance to their culture and country there are obvious problems.  Our policies in the Middle East have led to a chaotic situation.  This can be attributed to an extent on a distorted view of America’s role in the world and a misunderstanding of radical Islam.

Rev Canon Patrick Sookhdeo: The condemnation of Western culture, especially its Judeo-Christian basis and its liberal tradition, has driven post-modern leftists into an unexpected alliance with radical Islamists, although on other issues leftists and Islamists take opposite positions.  Hatred of their common enemies has forged a bond between them.  Islam in Britain: The British Muslim Community in February 2005, The Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, 2005, p. 73.