A terrorist whose loyalty was sworn to a murderous adversary of the United States opened fire on a nightclub full of innocent civilians, so of course Democrats leaped into action and blamed law-abiding Americans who had absolutely nothing to do with the atrocity in any way.
There’s nothing new about that – the Democrats are a totalitarian party, interested primarily in their own power and agenda. They see everything through a lens of ideology that permits only certain politically-useful villains to be blamed for everything bad that happens. They’ll never admit that leaders like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been catastrophically wrong about national security. They’ll never consider any solution, to any problem, that doesn’t involve the government growing larger, under their control.
Blaming misfortune on designated scapegoats, no matter how clearly they were innocent of any responsibility, is a fascist trait, and the modern Left is moving past the “flirting with fascism” stage, into steady dates and heavy petting. Blaming Republicans, Christians, and the NRA for the murderous deeds of an Islamist terrorist isn’t much different from the way earlier fascists blamed everything on their preferred scapegoats, the constant demons haunting their ideology.
Another principle that remains constant is the notion that politicized murder is directed by organized forces larger than the shooter. It’s just a question of which forces one chooses to blame, which lines of influence one traces from the killer to a larger ideological network. Of course, lives and destinies depend on tracing the right network.
Liberals who are trying to use the Orlando attack as a weapon against conservatives and gun owners are essentially saying that Omar Mateen was wrong about which network he belonged to, and which ideology motivated him. Never mind what he said, and what he evidently dedicated a good deal of his adult life to. Instead, let the Left explain which hands were really pulling his puppet strings. For example:
#Islam doesn’t foment the violence alleged gunman Omar Mateen enacted, toxic masculinity & a global culture of imperialist homophobia does
— PP Black Community (@PPBlackComm) June 12, 2016
That’s one of the most explicit substitutions of crackpot political theory for objective reality you’ll ever see. The terrorist himself doesn’t know what he really believed, nor do the caliphate masterminds he swore allegiance to. No, they’re all helpless flotsam, adrift on a sea of “toxic masculinity and imperialist homophobia.”
You might think the revelation that Mateen himself had “gay tendencies” would scuttle that diagnosis, but you’d be wrong. They’ll just say he was a gay man driven insane, pushed into the arms of terrorists who have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Islam, by a culture of “toxic masculinity” that has everything to do with Christian conservatives, Western patriarchy, Southern gun culture, et cetera, ad nauseum, emphasis on the nausea.
Speaking of Southern culture, didn’t we just go through a nationwide purge of Confederate flags – stopping just short of toppling every statue of a Confederate general in the land – because one scumbag, Dylann Roof, shot up a church? Liberals had no problem whatsoever linking Roof to law-abiding people who had nothing to do with him, based entirely on cultural markers. No pleas of innocence were entertained. We had to scuttle “Dukes of Hazzard” lunch boxes, because the very sight of a toxic symbol might offend some, or drive others to become racist hooligans. But don’t you dare try suggesting that radical Islam has any connection to authentic Religion-of-Peace Islam!
One of the most popular memes on the Left over the past couple of days is that resistance to the Transgender Bathroom Crusade somehow motivated Mateen, or that people who don’t want grown men in the little girls’ room occupy the same moral ground as the man who murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub. Of course, this is shameless political opportunism, and some of the people pushing it would have trouble sleeping, if they hadn’t long ago decided their political opponents are subhumans unworthy of basic respect, while their own causes are so righteous that every lie told in their service is forgiven.
But it’s also another example of the idea that connections between moderate and ultra-extremist ideas are peachy, as long as they involve people the Left despises. Linking true-blue Obama-approved Islam to Mateen in any way is strictly forbidden – no matter what sharia law actually says about homosexuality, or how Muslim-dominated countries generally treat gay people – but linking Lutheran church ladies to him is fine and dandy.
The Left consistently views criminals as hapless pawns of their political enemies – you’d think hardly anyone in America’s prisons ever consciously decided to commit a crime – so they have a ready ideological framework for positioning Islamist terrorism as another side effect of white privilege, income inequality, gun culture, the Religious Right, or whatever else they feel like blaming.
Since there’s a Democrat in the White House, and he eventually got around to treating the Islamic State as a mortal enemy, liberals are obliged to admit there’s a sinister foreign power directing terrorists to hit American targets… but they want to blame their usual domestic enemies for driving impressionable young people into the arms of the terrorists. The current version of that intellectual short-circuit holds that taking effective action against Islamic terrorism is bigotry that will drive otherwise peaceable, moderate Muslims to become terrorists.
Isn’t that precisely the sort of linkage between moderate and radical Islam we aren’t supposed to make? It’s not conservatives asserting that an alarming number of good Muslim citizens are ready to embrace radical ideology if their feelings are hurt. It’s not conservatives who say that good Muslim citizens are incapable of distinguishing between criticism of ISIS-style radicalism and attacks against their own faith traditions. It’s liberals who make those assertions. They’re the ones who think a friendly Muslim doctor in New Jersey will be offended by harsh criticism of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his crew.
The association between strains of Islam is important to understand, because otherwise we cannot understand how people living in Western countries can so easily and swiftly be radicalized by Islamists like ISIS. In truth, the radicalization process isn’t quite as swift as we’re usually led to believe; it’s portrayed as an overnight transformation because the authorities don’t want to admit that signs of radicalization were missed, or were not reported by people who knew the budding jihadi.
Still, it does seem to happen fast enough to genuinely surprise some friends and family members. We should be trying to understand that process… but instead, the Obama Administration is willfully, deliberately blind to it, at every level, for purely ideological reasons.
They don’t want to understand how Islam has brought so many people to violent ends across the world. That’s why they’re perpetually astounded that ISIS has so much success recruiting both soldiers and “lone wolf” attackers. The radical and radical-friendly networks in the United States are much larger and more sophisticated than they’re willing to admit. Analysts who begin connecting the dots on those networks find themselves with truncated career paths.
There are degrees of connection between the moderate and extreme versions of any ideology. The process of radicalization is more akin to sinking through the levels of Dante’s Inferno than going to sleep one night as an upstanding Muslim citizen, and awakening the next morning as a “lone wolf” recruit.
The sad, infuriating, and dangerous thing is that liberals have absolutely no difficulty imagining such degrees of connection among organizations and belief systems they dislike. They’ll spend all day constructing deranged fantasy scenarios about how listening to Rush Limbaugh leads to looking at Sarah Palin’s bullseye map symbols, and then to opening fire on innocent victims in a Tuscon parking lot. They’ll loudly instruct those at the Rush Limbaugh end of that continuum that they must change their words and beliefs, or else be held accountable for the violence of extremists.
There are people who have worked very hard, for many years, to create patterns of influence that lead from moderate Islam to extremism, infiltrating Islamic organizations across the Western world with a real “toxic ideology.” Those people are far, far better acquainted with Islamic text and tradition than American liberals. American liberals cannot see them, because they have eyes only for their domestic political enemies.