Politics/Religion

Who Do I Believe About Islam?

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It seems every other day I wake up and read about an act of Islamic-inspired terrorism in the world — two men storm into a church and slash the throat of a Catholic priest, bombs explode in crowded markets in the Middle east, a suicide attack in a major European city — the list goes on.

The reaction is predictable here in the USA: large, incendiary attacks often draw out the hyper-nationalists, xenophobes, Christian fundamentalists, and general racists of The Right who seek to paint every Muslim (a follower of the teachings of Islam to differing degrees) as a terrorist or on their way towards radicalism. However, the “champions” of The Left (the apologists), also crawl out carrying their #notallmuslim flags, their “terrorism has nothing to do with Islam” rhetoric, and touting geo-politics, western foreign policy, colonialism, oppression and Zionism as the root of all terrorism.

Which begets the question: Who do I believe about Islam?

Half a year ago, Kamel Daoud released a piece in the NYT Op-ed section called: The sexual misery of the Arab world, slamming the practices of Islamic countries for their treatment of woman. Before that he wrote a piece for La Monde, titled: Cologne, The Scene of Fantasies, highlighting the cultural differences held by many Muslim men migrating over to Europe in relation to how they see women — and how those differences fueled the now infamous Cologne attacks.

Both essays were met with some support and alternatively, louder cries of ‘Islamophobia,’ furor, and for the La Monde piece, a collective letter by 19 Western and French Academics regarding the perceived fallacies made by Daoud.

Adam Shatz, a self-professed friend of Daoud’s, and NYT published author offered a nuanced, though ultimately condemning take on both of Daoud’s pieces. On the London Review of Books‘ website, he wrote:

Daoud, who joined the Islamist movement as an adolescent only to repudiate it as an adult, sometimes writes as if the sinister hand of Islamism, even the ‘culture’ of Islam, were responsible for all of the sufferings in ‘Allah’s lands’, not to mention Cologne. The exaggerations in Daoud’s New York Times piece about behaviour in the Arab world were too sweeping, the leaps of judgment too swift. He seemed to be breaking taboos about Muslim ‘sexual misery’ for their own sake, without realising that some of these taboos are clichés in the West, in racist circles where he would not be welcome except as an ‘Arabe de service’. Daoud has always refused to be muzzled by fears of the ways others might use his writings; if racists choose to exploit his criticisms of Islam, he can hardly be blamed for it. It is an admirable stance. But to write in blithe disregard of nuance and complexity  —  and of the battles waged by the Arab women in whose name he spoke  —  struck me as irresponsible, and unworthy of him. I wrote to him in the hope that he would climb down from this mountain of hyperbole, and instead explore the ambiguities of sex and power in his fiction. He replied that my letter had confirmed his decision to ‘return to literature’ and ‘leave journalism’.

Similarly, and perhaps more tellingly, take the case of Faisal Said Al Mutaar, an Iraqi-Born human rights activist who went to school under Saddam Hussein, fled his birth country for fear of his life, migrated to Singapore, and finally made his way to the United States as a refugee. In an interview format conversation with Ali A. Rizvi for the Huffington Post, he covered what disappointed and angered him the most:

Ali (INTERVIEWER): I’ve been amazed recently by white liberals right here in the West alleging that you  —  a man who fled Iraq after losing loved ones and having his life under threat for years  —  are an “Islamophobe” who is somehow “out of touch”. How do you respond to them?

Faisal: It is disappointing. As a secularism and human-rights activist as well as a liberal myself, I have defended the right and will always defend the right for people to practice their belief system, including Islam, despite all my disagreements. As I mentioned in our previous conversation, the Bill of Rights and the Human Rights Declaration are my bibles. Actually, the worst titles I have gotten are not “Islamophobe” or anything of that sort but “Uncle Tom” and “white people puppet,” after spending little more than a year in America and integrating, to some extent, into the culture. So they accuse people criticizing religion and Islam of being racist, but they use the most racist terms in describing people like me. This double standard is what angers me the most.

I bring up these instances because they frustrate me — and also because I imagine they lend a hand to increasing the confusion we’re having in the western world on this issue.

The story goes something like this:

1. ex-Muslim or secular Muslim makes a case that there are current issues with Islamism or the way Islam is interpreted by large populations or cultural differences between some refugees that may be arriving.

2. ex-Muslim or secular Muslim is then harassed as racist, considered delusional, called such things as a “native informant” or “uncle tom” by (pseudo) “liberals”, Muslim Conservatives, and some Muslim Moderates.

3. (Pseudo) “liberals” feel good. They have stood up for the rights of oppressed minorities. After all, their doctor, friend, or favorite restaurant owner is a Muslim, and he’s a fantastic guy.

Examples like these, which are numerous, are where I believe the crux of the matter lies — and symptomatic of too many individuals on The Left.

While parts of The Right are eager to condemn all Muslims as misogynists, terrorists, and satan re-incarnates (possibly due to their religious motives), parts of The Left fervidly and openly denounce any criticism of Islam and its adherents as ‘Islamophobic’ — so much so that they’re unwilling to allow any conversation, unwilling to admit there might be a link between belief and action — even when that talking point is coming from people who are highly studied, experienced, and are often from Islamic cultures.

Say a word against Islam and ‘Islamphobe’ is shoved down your throat quicker than you can finish your thought. Interestingly, these leftists are often proud of being atheists or secularists; they gleefully denigrate Christianity, but are afraid to say: “all religions, in their current forms, are not equally bad — some are worse than others.”

They are unable to differentiate between anti-Muslim bigotry (against people) and genuine criticism of Islam (against a set of ideas people hold). If you’re having trouble delineating between criticism of Islam and straight up bigotry towards Muslims — read this, by Faisal Al Mutaar to help you in your cause. I think it’s one of the best, most succinct articles written on the issue.

What confuses me the most is the amount of smugness with which these individuals on The Left assert their claims of racism and bigotry against anyone wanting to take part in this conversation. They genuinely believe they’re on the higher moral ground when they spit out the terms ‘Islamophobe,’ and ‘Islamophobic,’ rattling them out like trigger happy amateurs at a shooting range with unlimited ammunition.

It seems the honest, balanced, non-bigoted, and open conversations people are wanting to have about Islam (in many cases by ex-Muslims or secular Muslims), are being censored and sabotaged. Not by The Right as we would expect — but by The Left. It is often the well-meaning, (or sometimes not well meaning i.e. Nathan Lean, Cenk Ungyur, CJ Werleman, etc.) individuals who cause the most damage in this space.

I can understand, though. When I first saw criticisms of Islam, my knee-jerk reaction was to defend those being accosted.

I had to parse together that criticizing Islam ≠ condemning all Muslims. 

And that it was fine to discuss it — the same way I’d be happy discussing Christianity and pointing to its problems without being ‘bigoted’ or ‘racist’ towards Christians or speaking out against the Catholic church without worrying of being ‘bigoted’ or ‘racist’ towards Catholics.

The author and mathematician, James A. Lindsay, on his blog, coined an interesting and what could be a highly applicable term for this phenomenon: Ophobophobia.

Ophobophobia is the irrational fear of being perceived a bigot (by self or others) by being deemed insufficiently sensitive to the experience of some identifiable group of others.

This is what I propose is happening on The Left. Influenced partly by the need to virtue signal as being accepting and welcoming (and quite possibly the utter garbage that is The Young Turks) these days.

All of which leads me to my second point:

We should not be afraid to criticize other cultures and ways of life — if our only fear is being called ‘bigots’ or ‘racists’.

If you apply different standards to different people based on their race and skin color, that in itself is inherently racist. Individuals should be held to the same standards — morally, ethically. President George Bush (or his speechwriter), among his many blunders, coined a sensible concept. He called it the “bigotry of soft expectations,” an idea which is actually championed by Bill Maher these days.

The inability of the left to correctly handle these issues is of course, as noted by many, creating a vacuum where the far right will, and has, already stepped in — as demonstrated in parts of Europe, where political parties with far right leanings are rising rapidly in popularity.

Indeed, in the past year or so, this sort of mentality has even been popularized as the ‘Regressive Left.’ Defined as: a political epithet used to negatively characterize a section of leftist who are accused of holding politically regressive views (as opposed to progressive views) by tolerating illiberal principles and ideology for the sake of multiculturalism. It’s an interestingly curious phenomenon — if it were not so damaging to the progress these reformers wish to make.

So then, who should I believe about Islam?

People like Ali A. RizviAsra NomaniFaisal Saeed Al MutarMaajid NawazRaheel RazaSarah Haider, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (all ex-Muslims, or currently believing Muslims who have grown up in Islamic cultures) are perhaps a good place to start.

I finish with this from Mr. Al Mutaar:

For U.S. media consumers, the most important distinction to make may be the one between Moderate and Pseudo-Liberal Apologists and Muslim Reformers. Muslim Reformers admit that there is a connection between certain radical interpretations of Islam and terrorism; also, they don’t blame all the ills of the Muslim world on Jews and/or U.S. foreign policy. As you can probably tell, my own sympathies lie with them, and they deserve your support.

Follow me on Twitter: @malharmali

This essay was originally published at allthink.com on August 4th, 2016

The Growing Political Divide

We all have them on our Facebook feeds. Those two or more vocal and committed friends who hold vastly differing political ideologies, and seem to battle them out in the comments section of a sometimes biased article or study regarding which one’s position is superior — much to our entertainment. They bicker over a variety of issues from gun control, economic policy, war, global warming, to Trump, Hilary, Bernie, and Cruz.

A good debate is fun to encounter, but what often occurs is that quickly these challenges of ideology turn into personal attacks against the other. Insults of “bleeding heart liberal” or “ignorant conservative” are often encountered and antipathy and animosity is plentiful. The thought of a plausible compromise or nuance on any situation is thrown out the window and arguments suddenly turn rabid in classic cases of tribalism. It’s me in the “In Group” vs. you in the “Out Group.”

The problem is even worse on cable news networks, where these so-called “debates” from guests on opposing sides of the aisle often devolve into screaming contests. Middle ground can be almost non-existent.

So how much do Democrats & Republicans, Liberals & Conservatives (otherwise known collectively as Americans) hate each other?

A 2014 Pew Research Study, titled “Political Polarization in the American Public,” along with a 2014 study from Stanford, titled “Fear and Loathing Across Party Lines: New Evidence on Group Polarization,” both shed some interesting insights and discoveries into the age-old Left vs. Right debate in the United States.

The Pew study notes that in the past two decades, Republicans and Democrats have grown more divided than ever with a dwindling amount of ideological overlap. It found that most Americans continue to express a mix of liberal and conservative values on relevant topics such as government, immigration, foreign policy and others. However, those individuals who are considered to be consistently liberal or consistently conservative (those firmly at opposing poles) has more than doubled since 1994. In 1994, the number was 10%. In 2014, it was 21%. Seeing as no current study is available from the Pew Research Center, and considering the current political atmosphere, it could be posited that the number, and polarization, has even further increased.

This growing disparity in thought has resulted in a larger percentage of the American public firmly holding their stances on their ideologies and has led to more individuals positioning themselves in the “tails” of the political spectrum. The center, or individuals who hold varied, nuanced views on how the country should be governed has also been decreasing. It was down to 39% in 2014, from 49% in the surveys conducted in 2004 and 1994. This shift shows Democrats moving to the left, and Republicans moving to the right, with less overlap in between them.

Today, 92% of Republicans are to the right of the median (middle) Democrat, compared with 64% twenty years ago. And 94% of Democrats are to the left of the median Republican, up from 70% in 1994.

This becomes an important finding because it is these polarized (and vocal) individuals who are mostly likely to be politically active, donate in some form or the other to their political party, and show up and vote for that party — as shown in the graphic below.

Tying into the animosity and antipathy we see from conservatives & liberals towards each other, the study also found that Democrats & Republicans have a growing contempt for the opposing party. Disliking the opposition is nothing new, but according to the study, “today, these sentiments are broader and deeper than in the recent past.”

In 1994, hardly a time of amicable partisan relations, a majority of Republicans had unfavorable impressions of the Democratic Party, but just 17% had very unfavorable opinions. Similarly, while most Democrats viewed the GOP unfavorably, just 16% had very unfavorable views. Since then, highly negative views have more than doubled: 43% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats now* view the opposite party in strongly negative terms.

*In 2014

When individuals who held very unfavorable views of the opposing party in the Pew study were asked:

“Would you say the party’s policies are so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being, or wouldn’t you go that far?”

Most replied, “yes, they would go that far.”

This particular statistic perhaps lends an insight into why we are seeing this hyper contempt, dislike, and “othering” of individuals who hold differing political ideologies on cable news networks, various social networks, and our very own Facebook feeds. It is after all these partisan individuals who usually soak up the political limelight, and rightly so — as they are the most passionate about their positions, and willing to stick their necks out for them in the public forum.

When the entirety of the survey participants were asked that question, 27% of Democrats felt their opponents policies were so misguided that they represented a threat to the well-being of the country, while 36% of Republicans held that view about Democratic policies.

The consequences of this polarization, and inability to reach a middle ground, impact policy negotiations and deliberations. While the 39% in roughly the center (let’s stick with that figure, it might be smaller currently) believe that Democrats & Republicans should simply meet in the middle in addressing the issues of the nation, the polarized liberals and conservatives think differently. For those at the ideological “tails” of their political parties (those who are the most politically vocal with opinions, donations, and voting) meeting halfway is not plausible, and as has been established before, according to their thinking, leads the country on a path towards less well-being.

A logical point of compromise for most Americans is splitting things down the middle. But a significant minority — and a substantial share of the active and engaged electorate — see things differently, saying their side should get more of what it wants in political negotiations.

Related to negative sentiments towards opposing parties being broader and deeper than in the recent past, the Stanford study, conducted by Shanto Iyengar, a Stanford political scientist and director of the Political Communication Laboratory, and Sean Westwood, a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton, calculated how far political partisanship has snuck into everyday life and its non-political affects, using a series of mini-tests. It used a fascinating benchmark to check the animus that members of differing political parties have against each other: race. The research concluded something remarkable — that discrimination based on political affiliation was just as strong if not stronger than that based on race.

Partisans discriminate against opposing partisans, and do so to a degree that exceeds discrimination based on race.

The Stanford study also showed the results of the growing polarization, as indicated by the Pew Study, to note that partisanship and partisan effect were strong cues for non-political judgments and behaviors. Meaning that individuals were more likely to discriminate in everyday life decisions based on political party affiliation, than on race.

For example, in one of the four mini-studies conducted in the research, where sample participants were told their vote would be the tiebreaker between two individuals tied for an academic scholarship, the resumés of potential scholarship recipients were tailored to include their partisan leanings.

“President of Young Republicans” & “President of Young Democrats”

The results of the mini study demonstrated the tribalism, and “In Group” mentality that is increasingly creeping into non-political decisions.

Despite the explicitly apolitical nature of the task, it was the party cue that exerted the strongest impact on selection for the largest number of participants. In the partisan task approximately 80% of partisans (both Democrats and Republicans) selected their in-party candidate.

The authors, Iyengar and Westwood, speculate in their conclusion on how the results of their mini-studies apply to the political process:

In closing, we note that the increased levels of partisan affect have fairly clear implications for the political process. Hostility for the out party among rank and file partisans sends a clear signal to elected officials; representatives who appear willing to work across party lines run the risk of being perceived as “appeasers.” For the vast majority who represent uncompetitive districts, there are strong incentives to “bash” the opposition. Recent evidence on Congressional “taunting” fits precisely this pattern; representatives from safe seats are especially likely to taunt the opposition party.

The growing antipathy that is exhibited these days towards the “other” in the opposite political party, and the “In Group” vs “Out Group” mentality we see, is perhaps explained by civil and social limitations we place on ourselves (a hypothesis provided by Iyengar and Westwood). Race is something that cannot be chosen by an individual, while political affiliation can — which is why it’s possible, and even encouraged in some circles, to be so openly against the “Out Group.” The norms we have, which are supported by the bulk of our populace, say that it’s wrong to discriminate by the race of an individual — however in our society, no such caveat is given for discrimination based on political affiliation. People are free to hate without the reserve of societal constraints inhibiting them.

 

With the upcoming general elections and the, for some, less than ideal candidate pool, it doesn’t help that the two likely nominees for each party seem to be the most polarizing — and are those who are most despised by their opposing sides.

If the trends highlighted by the Pew study and the Stanford study continue, then it is more than likely that the American public will grow even further polarized with their views and divided by party lines. And at the end of 2016, if Trump or Hilary is elected, we can surely expect the tails of political polarization, noted in the Pew study, to fan further outwards.

Otto Warmbier, Shades of Marxism, SJWs and a Lack of Kindness

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On, March 16th, an American college student on vacation in North Korea, Otto Warmbier, was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for allegedly attempting to steal a political propaganda banner from a hotel in Pyongyang.

While most of the world reacted with a mixture of outrage, hardnosed pity, and sympathy, a dubious faction of our population reveled in Warmbier’s imprisonment — the zealous Social Justice Warriors.

Eager to cater to their ever growing numbers, on March 23rd, 2016, Huffington Post published an article titled, “North Korea Proves Your White Male Privilege is not Universal” by La Sha, a self-professed “deconstructor of oppressive ideologies and systems, especially racism.”

Other than being some mean-spirited conjecture layered with a few scant truths, the article also highlights the racism, Marxist mindset, and absurdity that is rife in the so-called, “Social Justice Warrior” movement.

Though the article begins with apologetics about why the author is shocked with the harshness of the verdict, she quickly moves into quite a hardened statement. Noting her mother’s reaction to the Michael Fay case in 1994, La Sha states:

my mother’s callous reaction to Michael Fay’s sentence is my reaction to another young white man who went to an Asian country and violated their laws, and learned that the shield his cis white male identity provides here in America is not teflon abroad.

Foregoing Warmbier’s motives for visiting North Korea, which could be educational, academic, or cultural (unless he planned on culturally appropriating their practices — THAT is problematic), and the questionable claim made by DPRK that he actually took down a banner, what is disturbing is the lack of empathy available from La Sha and many other voices in this field.

Marxism, amongst other things, is the ideology that the struggle between social classes is a major force in history. In the capitalist mode of production the Bourgeoisie are the oppressors of the Proletariats. In other words, “Marx argued that the capitalist bourgeoisie mercilessly exploited the proletariat. He recognized that the work carried out by the proletariat created great wealth for the capitalist.”

What’s happening today, specifically in the “Social Justice Warrior” movement, is that individuals are swapping out the idea of a class with the idea of race and/or gender. Meaning instead of the Bourgeoisie oppressing the Proletariat, it’s the (to use SJW terminology) cis white heteronormative males oppressing pretty much all of society. Or in this case, cis white heteronormative males oppressing the minority population.

Think that’s a stretch? Read this — written by La Sha at the end of her article:

The hopeless fear Warmbier is now experiencing is my daily reality living in a country where white men like him are willfully oblivious to my suffering even as they are complicit in maintaining the power structures which ensure their supremacy at my expense.

The author here posits that Warmbier, though oblivious, is part of the Bourgeoisie class responsible for oppressing her (the Proletariat). She no longer sees Warmbier as an individual — someone to be sympathized with and feel kindness for, but solely as a member of an oppressive class. How does she make this judgment of Warmbier? By looking at his skin color, gender, and his presumed sexuality. Otherwise known as racism/sexism — judging someone by, as she herself puts it in her article, “DNA coding [which] produced the favorable phenotype.”

From here comes a deeper dive into the pool of absurdity — the idea the oppressed cannot be racist or sexist, because they’re fighting against the oppressor and systems of power. That racism and sexism are exclusively institutionalized. It’s the kind of mindset that makes it possible for individuals to say, “women can’t be sexist.”

Or, “minorities can’t be racist.”

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Unfortunately, this is a common thread of thinking in the SJW community and factions of 3rd wave feminists.

Look up the definition SJWs — it’s much simpler than you think.

It’s not the goals of SJWs that are opposed or that minorities and woman are not discriminated against to some levels. Numerous studies would show otherwise. It’s tough to find anybody who doesn’t want equality for all. It’s rather how quickly methods of SJWs develop into collectivist blaming that is worrying. To them, there is only a perverted class warfare — the oppressor versus the oppressed. And when it comes to the actions of the oppressed, anything is justified — even basking in the imprisonment of a fellow citizen.

The sad thing is: the author of the article, and various other Social Justice minded individuals, instead of objectively taking a look at the criticisms of their viewpoint and writings, will surely tuck away this, and various other pieces written with the same gist as evidence of their “systemic oppression,” and us “oppressors” trying to keep them down.

In La Sha’s mind, spending time in a prison camp is exactly the same as her daily reality. Through her paradigm, she is just as much the victim as Otto Warmbier.

What the Trump Rally Fiasco Reveals about “The Left”

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If you have access to a cable news network, or, in fact, one of those annoying (but necessary) apps that pings you notifications regarding the latest on-goings in the world, then you will have noticed last night the Donald Trump Rally in Chicago was cancelled.

While individuals on the left-hand side of the divide jumped in jubilation, to varying degrees, individuals in the center, and most definitely the right, gnashed their teeth in agitation. For the cancellation of the rally represents a growing problem amongst the so-called “progressive” movement.”

“Progressives” call for diversity. They want to hear you if you are marginalized, oppressed, or at the mercy of “institutional racism.” They call for diversity of skin color, diversity of race, diversity of gender, and diversity of class. But it seems the most vital diversity required for a well-functioning society with checks and balances is often swept under the rug, or thrown into the fires of “progress”: the diversity of intellectual opinion. It’s fine and well if you believe what is common speak amongst the group. But don’t you dare voice a differing opinion. It’s a strangely disturbing phenomenon. It seems that students and young people on The Left are unable to ingest narratives that clash with the ones they hold near and dear to their hearts, and what their highly Left-leaning professors have taught them.

What seems most ironic is that many commentators pointed out that the protesters, (which were apparently well organized Bernie supporters, University of Illinois at Chicago students, and Black Lives Matter members), “were protesters exercising their free speech and first amendment rights.” You may not like what Trump has to say, and the way in which he riles up a frenzy in his supporters. You may think that he’s a megalomaniacal jackass who’s not consistent on any issues. You may know, for fact, he openly encourages violence at his rallies and has called for protesters to be “punched” and “roughed up.” You may think he’s a racist fascist. But resorting to fascist tactics in your own response is certainly not the way to go — and that is definitely what factions of “Progressives” are guilty of. These behaviors trample on the fabric of western enlightenment values, upon which we’ve built the great societies in which we live — and also strengthen Trump’s position with the mildew-eyed masses who lap up his rhetoric. The very same masses who will now use the cancellation of his rally in Chicago as another blow on the figurative stake which solidifies their position — and their votes for Trump.

And yes, Free Speech does allow individuals and groups to protest against the speech of others without the worry of retribution to follow — specifically from the government. But there is a fine line between protesting, and the way “Progressives” consistently use heckling and hounding to force conservative opponents into submission.

This is intolerance from the “Progressive” movement. And we are all slowly coming to realize it and see it all around us. It is not the bigotry with which The Right is often accused with — to do with racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia etc. But something, which I believe in the long run, is definitely more damaging: intolerance of differing ideas, and the blanket belief these differing ideas stem from places of hate.

The cancellation of the Trump event in Chicago has firmly brought this into front-page territory. However, for the past few years, these instances of the stifling of speech have been taking place on university campuses fairly consistently. It is only now we are beginning to see what is becoming of extreme fringes of The Left, and the mindset which is trickling its way towards the majority of the movement. These instances where The Left has reared its fascist head on campus are far from isolated. At the end of February, a conservative speaker, Ben Shapiro, was escorted out of his speech from CSU-LA under police guard for his stance on rebuking, “institutionalized racism.” Comedians are no longer electing to play on college campuses for fear of running into students that can’t take a joke. Bill Maher, a staunch liberal, had troubles delivering his commencement speech at UC Berkley last year due to his strong criticism of Islam. Conservative speakers are protested against and de-platformed on the regular. The list goes on. And on. And on. If your views don’t fit the “Progressive” narrative to the T, then, sorry, you have no place here.

Now, before I’m maligned as a Trump supporter, I must point some things out. I’m pro a woman’s right to choose. I believe there is a gun problem in the USA. I’m against mass deportation (and the idea of a wall). I believe welfare is necessary in some cases. I’m for gender equality. And I’m most certainly for gay marriage and equal rights. All the things that make me a “Liberal” and should make me fall on the left-hand side of the scale. However, the way things have been shifting lately, I feel I am more centered than ever.

I am by no means the first person to point this out. And, I hope, I certainly will not be the last — for we need to speak up. And I say this as an individual who is not even an American citizen.

In the words of Peter Tatchell, a tireless campaigner for gay & human rights for 49 years, who recently found himself de-platformed by the Student Left from an appearance at Canterbury Christchurch University:

“Bad ideas are best defeated by good ideas.”

And that is the crux of the issue. What are we so scared of? If we believe our values, ideas, and beliefs are truly superior and better for humanity, why can’t we take them into the marketplace of ideas? Why can’t we defeat terrible ideas in the public forum and shame them for their stupidity? That is where they will crumble. Terrible ideas will not fall apart by stifling them, oppressing them, and locking them away like unwanted children or the black sheep of the family. There they will only fester and grow to be more insidious, more contagious, and more appealing to those that have been withheld from expressing them.

We cannot expect to muffle the mouths of those we disagree with and then wonder in frustration why those very same people are pushed to the extremes with their positions. Trump is a smart man; I’ll give him that. He’s found an effective moniker to swoop in on and provide a mouthpiece for those that are frustrated beyond belief. And we liberals and “Progressives” in our actions, and inability to accept and engage with contradictory points of view, are only fueling him, and his supporter’s fire.

 

Follow me on twitter: @malharmali