A peculiar essay in The New York Times Saturday draws a series of parallels between the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and Western conservatives, including patriotism, an appreciation for child-bearing, and a distrust of radical secularism.
Of course, the language chosen is meant to make those on the right appear as barbaric as the jihadist terrorists who rape women, destroy historic monuments, and slit the throats of infidels.
So instead of “patriotism,” Algerian author Kamel Daoud speaks of the “fantasy” of a return to the way things were. Though specifically referencing France, he speaks of “the far-right political parties of today.” In France, Daoud writes, these conservatives want to take France back to its Christian roots and “restore the land of its Gallic ancestors to what it was before immigrants, the Stranger, flooded in.”
The strange thing about this comparison is that while the Islamic State systematically eradicates historic and religious monuments, conservatives prize them as links to history and memorials that endure through time. It is the left that rejects founding principles in an attempt to reinterpret everything from ethics to constitutions according to politically correct standards.
A second parallel between Islamists and “far-right groups,” writes Daoud, is their “awkward relationship to women.” For Islamists, he says, “women are a source of evil” who “separate men from God.” Conservatives see women in the same way, he asserts, as evidenced by “nativist and natalist” policies that promote love of country and a belief in family. Daoud disparages these values as “feudal” concerns that “extol the benefits of breeder housewives.”
It seems of no importance to Daoud that France’s birthrate has dropped below replacement levels, and that France’s population can only be sustained by heightened immigration consisting mostly of Muslims, who seem historically incapable of integrating into French society. Being Algerian himself, perhaps he sees the gradual erosion of French culture and civilization as a positive thing.
Last week, it was revealed that Islamic State theologians had issued a ruling concerning a series of regulations governing sex with female slaves taken in battle. ISIS militants routinely use rape as a tool of war and terror and have come under fire for atrocities such as the buying and selling of women as sex slaves for as little as a pack of cigarettes.
This is the true “war on women” continuously denounced by conservatives, on which liberals remain culpably silent, preferring instead to complain of “coarse language” employed by Republicans or a lack of access to abortion on demand as an offense against the rights of women.
In a striking double standard, the left carefully selects which violators of women to pillory and which to protect. Thus, Bill Cosby is excoriated while Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, and Roman Polanski are given a pass for their crimes because of their liberal sympathies.
Finally, Daoud repeats George Soros’ claim that conservatives somehow play into the hands of the Islamic State by creating an environment of fear. Some people, writes Daoud approvingly, “accuse the far right of doing the Islamists’ bidding by also seeking to cause a rift within Western society.”
“The two camps feed on each other, providing mutual reinforcement,” he writes.
Despite the many similarities between conservatives and the Islamic State, Daoud concludes, some might say that “only Muslim extremists kill.” Not so fast, he counters, because in reality, conservatives “kill humanism, and that’s the only thing that could save us all.”
It is true that conservatives reject the atheistic humanism that would replace society with the State and would completely gut culture of references to tradition, family, or faith. As Pope Francis said in his message for the World Day of Peace on Friday, “There is no true humanism but that which is open to the Absolute, and is conscious of a vocation which gives human life its authentic significance.”
In point of fact, however, the only people and groups standing up against the Islamic State are conservatives, while liberals hide their heads in the sand, hoping that they will just go away. Who, then, is doing the “Islamists’ bidding”?
The Islamic State actually shares much more common ground with the political Left than with conservatives, beginning with their sworn enemies: Christianity and Western civilization.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.