... but it is
the best thing going in the history of Earth. And this good thing we have is fundamentally threatened by identity politics, the notion that humans are somehow distinct based on ethnicity and therefore merit distinct treatment. Whichever speech writer for President Bush came up with the phrase, "the soft bigotry of low expectations" has hit the nail squarely on the head. These six words neatly sum up everything wrongheaded about identity politics, as well as explain the current fad of self censorship out of fear of Muslim violence.
The practice of identity politics cedes power to a few minority leaders while simultaneously slapping the collective face of minorities. Identity politics suggests less than human status. I reject this notion outright. We're all pink and squishy when turned inside out.
Pink and squishy applies directly to the war on terror. It bothers me that some hawkish, right leaning bloggers that I respect have been focusing so much time and effort lately to point out the obvious fact that we are not at war with Islam as a whole. Frickin' duh
. That doesn't go very far to excuse the silence of the moderate muslim majority. Either you believe, as the president regularly states in his speeches, that a "yearning for freedom" exists in the heart every human, in which case, the cause of fighting tyranny becomes a duty for muslim moderates, or you don't, in which case you're effectively saying that freedom for some people just isn't possible. That they're just not up to it
. They're fully human, (I'm with the prez on this one) and I'm not above shaming them into action
. It's been pointed out that their silence isn't completely voluntary. True, the majority of the muslim population live under authoritarian regimes, yet that's still not an excuse. Not if you consider muslims to be completely human, with all the attendant rights and responsabilities. Not when we're fighting on their behalf to remove the forces standing between them and self-determination. The multi-culti mixed-message senders here in the West certainly aren't helping!
Speaking of sending the wrong message, self censorship here in the land of the free, where we supposedly value our freedoms, can only stem from the mistaken belief that those crazy muslims can't help themselves
! Yes they can. And mostly they do
restrain themselves here in America, proving that the pink and squishy standard ain't dead yet (thank God.) In Europe? Not so much. But violence in Europe has intimidated Americans and that cannot stand. Also, I've noticed that self censorship here in the West is practiced mostly by individuals and organizations that oppose our military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. This puts them into the untenable position of BOTH refusing to expect muslims to check their extremists, AND refusing to assist them by removing authoritarian regimes. Way to show your support for what is arguably the largest oppressed population on Earth, Comedy Central
, and Borders
For myself, I believe it's worthless to remove dictators without demanding high expectations from a freed population. And those who reject one or both propositions, are cooking up a recipe for a domestic crackdown of civil liberties here at home. Not the bullshit, manufactured, "roll back of civil rights" controversies we bicker about today, no, I'm talking about the real deal. I'm talking about brute squads in Kansas and roadside checkpoints up and down the east and west coasts. Or as James Taranto wrote
Another terrorist attack would create an irresistible public demand for a new strategy, especially if the Bush strategy is rejected wholesale. An offensive strategy having been found wanting, the likely response would be a defensive strategy--a retreat into isolationism and an emphasis on homeland security. Its elements could include genuine curtailments of civil liberties, an end to the taboo against ethnic and religious profiling, restrictions on immigration, and heightened security that introduces enormous inconveniences into everyday life while constraining the flow of people and goods into America.
This would be a nightmare for liberals, and for all of us who care about freedom, prosperity and American engagement in the world. Those who are troubled by the Bush administration's aggressive approach to terrorism and tyranny in the Middle East should be careful what they wish for.
I think the choice is pretty frickin' clear: To whine about Bush's "illegal war for oil, based on lies" is to suggest that brown non-westerners aren't capable stewards of a fungible world comodity like oil, and
you run the risk of real
curtailment of freedoms here at home in the event of another attack. Whereas if you support our efforts abroad [Please note: I did not say "if you support Bush
," it's irrelevant who
initiated the campaign,] you get to legitimately boast you support human rights and oppose bigotry, not to mention enjoy the enormous satisfaction that follows when you help keep your country safe from further attack.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating. On March 19, 2003, I crossed the berm from Kuwait into Iraq, believeing that I was going to war to make my country safer, with the added bonus of freeing 25 million Iraqis. In retrospect, it's clear that I went to war to free 25 million Iraqis, with the added bonus of making my country safer.
Humanitarian intervention has value for its own sake. Doubly so when married to national security concerns.