Why Does the Left Defend Actions by Muslims that Would Horrify Them in Any Other Context?

In the late 1970's, I guess it was OK to mock Islam because Gary Trudeau sure did it a lot in his Doonebury comic.  I remember one panel where the Iranian Chief Justice was in the states for his college reunion, telling his old school mates he stayed in such great shape by "flogging" rather than jogging.

Today, though, the Left seems to feel that Islam is off-limits and even needs their protection.  It's OK to mock Indiana for not forcing every photographer to work gay weddings but God forbid anyone mock countries that kill gays just for being gay.   In Trudeau we have an icon of the 1960's radicals advocating for limits on free speech and for blasphemy laws.  Too bizarre for words.  Eugene Volokh has a good commentary on Trudeau's remarks.

Look, sometimes commentators like myself adopt a sort of feaux confusion on the actions of folks we disagree with.  But I am being honest here -- I really, really don't understand this.

I will say that I think this position tends to support a pet theory of mine.   Remember that I start with a belief that American Republicans and Democrats are not internally consistent on their politics, and not even consistent over time (e.g. Republicans opposed wars of choices in Kosovo under Clinton, supported them under Bush in Iraq, and then opposed them again under Obama in Libya).

So here is my theory to explain many party political positions:   Consider an issue where one party is really passionate about something.  The other party might tend to initially agree.  But over time there is going to be pressure for the other party to take the opposite stand, whether it is consistent with some sort of party ideological framework or not.   After 9/11, the Republicans staked out a position that they thought that Islam as practiced in several countries was evil and dangerous and in some cases needed to be subdued by force of arms.  In my framework, this pushed Democrats into becoming defenders of modern Islam, even at the same time that domestic politics was pushing them to be critical of Christian religion as it affected social policy (i.e. abortion and later gay marriage).  Apparently, the more obvious position of "yeah, we agree much of the Islamic world is illiberal and violent, but we don't think we can or should fix it by arms" is too subtle a position to win elections.   I fear we have gotten to a point where if either party is for something, they have to be in favor of mandating it, and if they are against something, they have to be in favor of using the full force of government to purge it from this Earth.  And the other party will default to the opposite position.

The counter-veiling argument to this is two words:  "drug war".  This seems to be a bipartisan disaster that is generally supported by both parties.   So my framework needs some work.


  1. Vypuero:

    The rabbit mentality - they are literally scared, so they cower and hide their cowardice behind silly excuses + they can use it as another cudgel (Islamophobia) against their enemies

  2. Matthew Slyfield:

    "The counter-veiling argument to this is two words: "drug war". This
    seems to be a bipartisan disaster that is generally supported by both
    parties. So my framework needs some work."

    Your framework just needs a simple addendum that anything that gets majority support in both parties will be very very bad for "we the people".

  3. mogden:

    It doesn't matter how horribly some Islamic countries treat their people. What matters is that Islam is oppressed by the West, so therefore due to privilege-guilt, we must ignore their misdeeds while emphasizing any of our own towards them.

  4. mesocyclone:

    It is indeed clear that you don't understand Republican foreign policy, so here's a little help...

    We opposed the wars of Clinton because they were not about our national interest.

    We believed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in our national interest. Afghanistan, in particular, was not a war of choice. A great nation that does not destroy the nation which attacked it will soon be a dead nation. I believe we should have left after crushing Afghanistan, but we didn't. Iraq was a supporter of terror and a known bad actor with a nasty history in an area of strategic importance, and was about to break out of UN sanctions. Our mistake was not invading Iraq - it was in failing to govern it effectively.

    We opposed the war in Libya because it was not in our interest. In fact, it was dumb as a bag of hammers. Ghadaffi had turned over his nuclear weapons program to us, outing A. Q. Khan in the process (and showing the hand of the Chinese). In response, we protected him. He was a bastard, but he was our bastard. Tossing him out was supremely dumb, as was obvious at the time and has been shown to be subsequently.

    As to the Republicans and Islam, you have it very wrong. After 9-11, Bush made it very clear that the enemy was Al Qaeda, not Islam or Islam as practiced in any particular country. Democrats became defenders of Islam not because of Republican attacks, but because of their reflexive support of anyone that the West demonizes or, in this case, whom they fear the west would demonize even when it wasn't happening. Bush was being completely silly in how much he avoided blaming Islam.

  5. Solomon Foster:

    I think this -- http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/09/30/i-can-tolerate-anything-except-the-outgroup/ -- goes a long way toward explaining the dynamic you're seeing.

  6. bigmaq1980:

    No model is perfect, but this one certainly has some truth to it.

    A more recent example struck me as rather disturbing. The virtual silence on the right regarding the incident, caught on video, in SC with a cop shooting and killing a fleeing man.

    Yet, heaven and earth would be mobilized if there were no video, and the right would be outraged at the left's outrage in the face of a lack of evidence in a "he said, she said" case with few witnesses.

    So, I would add a possible corollary to your model: Even if a principle can be shared between the two parties, where an incident occurs that provides a compelling foundation for one party's view (even if skewed, exaggerated or misplaced), the other will default to silence attempting to console it's cognitive dissonance.

  7. Lorenzo from Oz:

    Virtue signalling: the more self-contradiction you are willing to swallow, the more you signal your commitment to "Virtue". As I discuss here:


  8. Don:

    Actually, I think ESR has it right, at least as far as the left is concerned.


  9. stanbrown:

    Spot on. if you want to identify inconsistency, look at Democrats' positions on Clinton's military moves, the shifting positions on Afghanistan and Iraq, and whatever the hell it is that Obama has done all over the Middle East. I dare Warren to try to discern any rational consistency in that history.

  10. TeleprompterOTUS:

    Progressives are rebellious children that refuse to grow up. Two common types of rebellion are against socially fitting in (rebellion of non-conformity) and against authority (rebellion of non-compliance.) In both types, rebellion attracts attention by offending it. So too the progs defend islam because it is so counter to common sense and totally non conforming with civilization and so attention getting as a result.

    The progressive proudly asserts individuality from what adults like
    or independence of what adults want and in each case succeeds in
    provoking disapproval. This is why rebellion, which is simply
    behavior that deliberately opposes the ruling norms or powers that be,
    has been given a good name by progressives and a bad one by adults.

  11. ColoComment:

    The facts of that incident speak for themselves. And I suspect that the folks on the right would have had the patience to wait for the factual evidence to develop. Which patience, I might add, was absent from the rabble rousers of Ferguson and the Bronx.
    The video was fortuitous, but forensics and re-creation of the scene would have provided evidence of the cop's terribly wrongful actions (distance & direction of shooter from victim, bullets in back, etc., etc., etc.)
    I don't know quite what you want the folks on the right to say about it, except that yeah, the cop did a horrible thing and he will see the inside of the justice system. up close and personal.
    What would you have them do?

  12. jdgalt:

    I wonder if most of the Left are simply scared like Garry Trudeau, or if they genuinely feel that "multiculturalism" excuses behavior by Muslims 1,000 times worse than behavior they would scream at if you or I tried it?

    If the latter, maybe we should invent a (milder) male chauvinist faith. Just don't call it Christianity, and we're home free.

  13. jdgalt:

    Pot, kettle, black. Obama's continued insistence that ISIS is a perversion of Islam, and that Fort Hood was "workplace violence" and not terrorism or jihadism?

    It's becoming obvious to me that only ex-police officers should ever run for President. Because they have plenty of practice in coming up with *plausible* lies when questioned. None of the last four presidents has been able to manage that.

  14. Gil G:

    It's clear "the Left" here means the American Left and as such is easy to answer. In the U.S. it's the Christians who are rabid fundamentalists and want to disregard the 1st Amendment and turn the U.S. into a Christian Theocracy. If the same Christians are quick to deplore Muslims in Europe who think their religion ought to be the law of the land and use the concept of "freedom of religion" to destroy freedom for others then said Christians became secular for a day.

  15. Andrew_M_Garland:

    This is my theory.

    === ===
    [edited] Majority Leader Harry Reid has changed the rules such that most of Obama’s judicial and executive branch nominees no longer need to clear a 60-vote threshold to reach the Senate floor and get an up-or-down vote.

    This action is one more manifestation of the Democrats’ hostility toward any limitations on government power as long as they are in control, which they clearly intend to be for a long, long time.
    === ===

    The leftist, statist program of benevolent rule comes in two stages: take complete control, then impose the plan. They look wistfully at any regime which has complete control. That is the hard part needed to accomplish their dreams.

    They showed with ObamaCare that they have no fear of specifying mind numbing, Rube Goldberg complexity. It is no matter that it doesn't work well or at all. With complete control, they have decades to tinker and experiment with getting it right. Forward! for as long as it takes. Time and the peasantry don't matter when you are rebuilding the world by the seat of your pants.

    The Leftist position: The Muslim dictators and warlords do terrible things. But, eventually we will apologize and atone for our past injustices (as Mr. Warren said) and convince them to follow the liberal path. The dictators aleady have complete control, a good start. In the meantime, peasants, gays, Christians, and Jews will die, but that is the unavoidable course of history.

    The most beloved slogan of the Left is: "You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs." That is nonsensical, because people and societies are not omelettes. It is only self-justification for causing harm.

    But, in that line of thought, I suggest: "Leftists can't make an omelette without breaking all the eggs."

  16. jdgalt:

    A typical, knee-jerk remark by someone whose idea of "religious freedom" covers only the things he wants to do. As soon as a business person wants to do something else with that freedom, he becomes a "rabid fundamentalist" and his freedom = "Christian Theocracy." I call BS.

  17. Incunabulum:

    "The counter-veiling argument to this is two words: "drug war". This
    seems to be a bipartisan disaster that is generally supported by both
    parties. So my framework needs some work."

    Both parties can be explained - and are internally consistent over time - if you assume that the only principle both parties hold is getting and maintaining power.

    Then the fact that both parties love the drug war is consistent with their principles - the drug war is an expansion of state power which expands party power which expands personal power.

    The war *I* start expands my power and so is good and just. The war *you* start threatens that so it must be vile and illegal.

    Really - Public Choice theory explains the observed actions of the parties.

    really, it can't be any other way. Most large organizations do not, *can not* have a unified set of principles - too many people have too many different priorities. Even where they are concerned about the same things, how far down on the list that thing shows up is going to vary.

  18. Gil G:

    A typical knee-jerk remark by an American Christian who thinks they're so oppressed when others don't think "freedom of religion" mean Christians can take over the U.S. and turn it into a Christian Theocracy. As said in Europe it's the Muslim who wants to radically transform society and use the concept of "freedom of religion" and "tolerance" to mean anyone who opposes fundamentalist Islam is hateful. In the Middle East it's the Christian who gets oppressed, displaced and murdered. For people in the U.S. now the Muslims aren't trying to change the laws and rearrange the notion of what rights rather it's the Christians.


  19. Gil G:

    As opposed to Rightists who would . . . ? Last time I looked even Rightist believe interfering in other countries is pointlessly expensive. Since when did the U.S. become the world's police officer? Western Christians are free to board a plane and fight for their brethren and sistren at their own expense but forcing your whole country to fight a religious war because you identify with one side doesn't sound like a good foreign policy to have.

  20. Bram:

    The American Left and Islamists have much in common: Love of victimhood, hate of freedom, lack of reason, and most importantly - stupidity.

  21. Jim Collins:

    "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." What amazes me it that some of these leftist clowns are actually hoping that Islam, China or Russia destroys the US so that it can be rebuilt as a Socialist utopia.

  22. Craig Loehle:

    I believe you are right about the dynamics of political parties but wrong about the source of the "protect islam" behavior. I think this arises from "tolerance" at all costs. We must be tolerant and forgiving of all manner of weirdness (unless it is conservative weirdness) even if it means tolerating horrible behavior. This leads to the inability to discuss problems or to call ISIS an islamist terror organization or to admit that Jews were targeted in the deli in Paris. This ban on intolerance is even worse in Europe where it has resulted in even the mention of immigration as a problem or of a particular group as having issues can lead to arrest. The child sex crimes scandal in GB was the result, because Pakistani men must be protected from accusations of wrongdoing.

  23. wreckinball:

    Ok now get a breath, give me an example of a law or regulation that has been proposed that would establish a "Christian Theocracy"
    lots of rhetoric, I'm looking for something to back it up

  24. Steve-O:

    I kind of wish the person who shot the video had kept it a secret until the investigation(s) was/were complete, so it could have served as a good data point of their quality.

  25. wreckinball:

    I agree its an extremely strange alliance. Islamic Fundamentalism is an entire way of life including law (Sharia). It is entirely anti-choice and not tolerant. They not only don't bake cakes for gay weddings they behead the participants. You may have it right that its just a position to disagree with the other side.

  26. wreckinball:

    But selective tolerance is not really tolerance.

  27. wreckinball:

    For example, the Indiana law was basically establishing the right to be left alone. It does not impose anything an anyone

  28. awp:

    I was going to post the same thing.

  29. obloodyhell:

    }}} e.g. Republicans opposed wars of choices in Kosovo under Clinton, supported them under Bush in Iraq, and then opposed them again under Obama in Libya

    Warren, you cannot be *this* stupid and fucking ignorant.

    You want to claim inconsistency, fine, but you'll need an actually VALID example.

    There's a clear and blatant distinction with regards to Iraq. America had a VESTED INTEREST in removing Saddam.

    Regardless of the ACTUAL state of his WMDs, he actively sought them, was known to have used them against both Iran and the Kurds, and openly supported terrorists and their actions, with particular in regards to the USA -- he had openly provided a 100k reward to the families of the 911 flyers (and made it clear that others would be similarly rewarded), as well as had three of the six known terrorist training camps in the world inside his borders, including the only one with an intact airframe specifically for practicing takeovers of plane flights (could the 911 terrorists have gotten use of that for practice...? NAW...)

    So, NO, SORRY, your example of "inconsistency" is flat out BULLSHIT and you cannot possibly NOT know this.

    Stop trolling your own site.

  30. obloodyhell:

    }}} The virtual silence on the right regarding the incident, caught on video, in SC with a cop shooting and killing a fleeing man.

    I'm sorry for you, if you believe that convicting someone without all the evidence is a "good idea". I think Kangaroo Courts like that used against so many in the last few years of Teh One's Absolute Rule are a bad idea in the long run.

    And if you didn't suffer from Cranio-Rectal Insertion Syndrome, you'd know that Trial By Media is a very bad idea. It is known to have railroaded many innocents in the preceding century or two, while letting the guilty go unpunished by society.

    While the evidence which has come out since the initial video seems unlikely to clear the officer, it certainly makes it far less a blatant assassination than the video makes it out to be. What additional info will come out in trial? I'll wait and see. And let the jury with the evidence before them, not me, convict the man.

  31. obloodyhell:

    Might've been good. Now they know what the hell is upon them.

  32. obloodyhell:

    Warren is too busy trolling his own site to bother. :-/

  33. obloodyhell:

    As you may have noticed, consistency is not a strong suit for liberals.

  34. obloodyhell:

    Never having noticed that the first ones to go "after the revolution" in the subsequent purges are always the Useful Idiots.

  35. obloodyhell:

    They are belling the wrong cat, however.

  36. Tanuki Man:

    "feaux?" "counter-veiling?"

  37. Gil G:

    And the Bible is totally different because it says that gay men don't executed . . . oh wait . . .

  38. Gil G:

    I believe it was about the right of religious to not violate their beliefs without breaking the law. In other word, when religion and law conflicts the religion wins.

  39. morgan.c.frank:

    well, there are examples. i'm not sure they rise to the level of extremism that we could refer to as "theocracy" but i'll take a stab:

    1. numerous "defense of marriage" acts. these seek to define marriage as a man and a woman. this goes beyond being left alone. this seeks to take rights from others. i fully support the freedom of any minister/priest/shamen/whatever to preside over only those ceremonies that suit their conscience, but to seek to ban others from doing the same is a different matter.

    2. seeking to ban the teaching of evolution in school. yes, this still really goes on. the basis for it is religion and pseudoscience. it smacks of the church trying to silence Copernicus.

    3. in many, many states, you cannot sell alcohol on sunday. what is that if not law driven by religion (keep the sabbath holy)?

    i could go on. theocracy? that seems a bit much. forcing religious values on those who do not share them and taking away their rights? yes. they do seem to rise to that level.

    now, let's be clear, these may be the same issue in terms of genotype as muslim theocracy, but they are the equivalent of a sniffle as opposed to the plague.

    what's odd is that the same left in the US that goes absolutely ballistic about several of these issues (and justifiably so in my opinion) is then completely silent on much more severe theocracy. they think the dali lama, a former slave owner and heir of one of the most repressive, violent, and raping regimes in world history, was a swell guy. they do not even seem to notice that the "religion of peace" murders people over sexual orientation and stones women to death for holding hands before marriage.

    this is what i simply cannot get my head around. this is like being outraged about people who double park but not caring in the least about vehicular manslaughter.

  40. bigmaq1980:

    Cranio-Rectal Insertion Syndrome - yep, the only way to provide a "convincing" argument is to insult. It's easy and childish. Just what we hate about the left when they do this.

    Not saying there should be a "trial by media", as you put it.

    Just saying there ought to be some sense of "there is something extremely wrong with this picture".

    Is there ANY doubt, whatsoever, that if there was not a video, this would be a HUGE left vs right battle?

    At the least, why don't WE ALL clamor for body cams? If ever there was a case that demonstrates the value, here it is.

    This does not require a proclamation of the innocence or guilt of the officer.

    It will take the steam out of the leftist message.

    This is the opportunity to show that the left has it wrong about the right.

    Why the relative silence? It just helps gas the left's message.

  41. ColoComment:

    "In other word, when religion and law conflicts the religion wins." Get your facts straight, please.

    In addition to re-reading the first full phrase of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (you just need to read to the first semi-colon), you might re-read RFRA and a few of the state laws based on it. You'll see that, for the religion to "win," the state must FAIL to prove that it has a compelling state interest for so burdening the religion, and that it is pursuing the LEAST burdensome alternative. If the state can show a compelling interest and that the path chosen is the least burdensome to the religion, THE RELIGION LOSES.

    The reason it appears that religion wins as often as it does, is that the government's cases are so weak. "Because we don't like what they're doing/how they do it" is not a sufficient argument.

    Oh, and as I'm sure you know, it's been applied to permit Muslims' beards in prison, Native Americans using peyote, and Muslim women wearing head scarves, among others. Why you are focusing here on Christianity, I'm not sure, except that they are simply the most recent group to feel the overwhelming coercive power of the federal government and as yet have declined to surrender, sit down and shut up.

  42. Gil G:

    The issue should be one of a private business issue - the right to refuse to deal with others - not a religious one. Once people get some rights as to their religion for "compelling" reasons - where does it end? Who decides what "compelling" even means? And so forth? After all look at the Christian nutters who want to hang the Ten Commandments everywhere - their concept of others' religious freedom is lost to them.

  43. Doug murray:

    When it comes to principles both parties stand for one thing; election. All the rest is just tactics.

  44. obloodyhell:

    }}} Cranio-Rectal Insertion Syndrome - yep, the only way to provide a "convincing" argument is to insult.

    Look, JERKOFF. I made a VERY CLEAR, COGENT ARGUMENT about why you were wrong. Stop having a whiny hissy fit because I said -- politely -- that you were a complete and utter moron insulting people you disagree with.

    This whole situation has nothing to do with "The Right" -- and very little to do with The Left, except for the fact that we've already seen, about a half dozen times since Trayvon Martin -- how the LEFT media handles this kind of thing. And the whole Wilson incident showed the dangers of TRIAL BY MEDIA -- which notion you're supporting indirectly and which issue your above argument did literally nothing to disprove except to go, "Nuhhh-UHHH!!!"

    So you don't like it, stop insulting the intelligence of those you're disputing. You're clearly fighting outside of your weight class.

    }}} At the least, why don't WE ALL clamor for body cams?

    1) If THAT was what you were talking about, you should've SAID something about it. Instead of backhanding "the right" for not commenting either way about it. I am currently unaware of any significant effort on "the right" to oppose this notion. So why, all of a sudden, should this be, for no particular reason, a cause celebre for "the right" in this instance? Oh, wait, you were just looking for an excuse to backhand the right for no justifiable reason. Sorry.

    2) Not that I disagree with that notion, but in this case, there'd be little difference. Around 80% of the interaction was visible either on the dash cam or via the captured video. Or haven't you bothered to LOOK at the dashcam video that shows the whole start of the interaction until the perp runs away? For virtually no VISIBLE reason? The cop isn't upset with him, being abusive, or anything unreasonable. The guy changes his story -- TWICE -- while the cop is questioning him. Then bolts as soon as the cop goes back to his car to check on his data

    The only part that's not known at this point is the interaction where the cop and the perp got into the tussle, by which point he already had shown every sign of having committed a felony, and by which action he also showed he was violent, which, depending on exactly what the rules of engagement, and rules for use of deadly force in SC and his own specific police district, may well make him completely exonerated. I don't expect that, but it damned sure is possible. So stop trying to turn this into a Darren Wilson case where the officer gets tried by the freaking media before all the facts are known.

    I consider it fairly unlikely that the FACTS will exonerate him. It seems -- literally -- overkill.

    But I don't know them, so, unlike you, I'm not passing judgement on the officer's actions.

    Unlike YOU, I'm not prepared to convict him without even half the facts.

  45. Bram:

    Christians and Jews are killing gays where?

    You are comparing an ancient book to acts going on right now.

  46. Mercury:

    1979 (April 2-14). April 12th is more or less priceless:


  47. Zeev Kidron:

    I have some explanations:

    Bullies understand and respect bullies, professional courtesy of sorts.

    Religious fanatics (God is Allah or All Mighty State or Dear Leader) understand each other too.

    They understand each other because on a very basic fundamental way they are the same: Employ a theology (Belief system with no proof) to meddle in, nudge, shove and control other people's lives and livelihood.

    They are scared to death by Islam. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bibi and Sarah Palin will write an Op Ed in some newspaper when attacked for being "Homophobic" or "anti women". Muslims will slit your throat and that's painful.

    They are very willing to be "brave" when fighting against Israel/Tea Party with signs and articles at Salon. Accusing Muslims may result in fighting on a whole different level, and that they are not willing, nor able, to do.

  48. bigmaq1980:

    Stooping to name calling again! Sigh!

    Hope you really feel better as a human being.

    You even get my point wrong, awfully wrong.

  49. jdgalt:

    All tolerance is selective. If it were not, it would be suicide. The trick is to set the limits in a way that doesn't make you a hypocrite.

    Of course, hyprocrisy only matters if committed by a righty. Just ask any lefty.

  50. obloodyhell:

    OK, genius, stick your head in the noose you made:
    WHAT "religious war" did the "Christian Right" force this entire country into?
    Please answer this, as I could use a good laugh.