The Clueless Left and Islam

Daniel Greenfield penned a perceptive and welcome critique, “What the Left Does not Understand About Islam” (February 15th), of the cluelessness of the Left vis-à-vis Islam. The Left, he writes, is naïve about its rival ideology, and ideologically will always remain naïve. The Left, he writes, has never been able to think outside of the cardboard box it has built for itself.

The left has never adapted to the transition from nationalistic wars to ideological wars. It took the left a while to grasp that the Nazis were a fundamentally different foe than [sic] the Kaiser and that pretending that World War 2 was another war for the benefit of colonialists and arms dealers was the behavior of deluded lunatics. And yet much of the left insisted on approaching the war in just that fashion, and had Hitler not attacked Stalin, it might have remained stuck there.

From my own observations, what the Left refused to acknowledge was that it was Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Soviet Russia that behaved like unrepentant imperialists and colonialists, invading and conquering other nations for all the loot they could lay hands on. It was the consistent kneejerk evasion of that fact which demoted the Left from a noisy avante- garde to a commune of deluded lunatics.  Greenfield goes on to remark:

The Cold War was even worse. The left never came to terms with Communism. From the Moscow Trials to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the moderate left slowly disavowed the USSR but refused to see it as anything more than a clumsy dictatorship. The only way that the left could reject the USSR was by overlooking its ideology and treating it as another backward Russian tyranny being needlessly provoked and pushed around by Western Europe and the United States.

The rise of Islam, however, presented the Left with another conundrum it could not handle.

Communism was…a red virus floating around the world, embedding its ideas into organizations and using those organizations to take over nations.

Islam is even more untethered than Communism, loosely originating from powerful oil nations, but able to spring up anywhere in the world. Its proponents have even less use for the nation state than the Communists. What they want is a Caliphate ruled under Islamic law, a single unit of human organization extending across nations, regions and eventually the world.

The Left, instead of confronting Islam as a rival ideology, has preferred to stick with the devils it knows, imperialists and the running dogs of capitalists. Greenfield notes:

The left is incapable of engaging with Islamism as an ideology, instead it reduces the conflict to a struggle between colonial and anti-colonial forces, showing once again that the left’s worldview is usually at least fifty years out of date.

Fifty years out of date, or fourteen centuries?

Their response to the Clash of Civilizations has been to include Islamists in the global rainbow coalition of minorities, gays and gender theorists, indigent third world farmers, transsexuals, artists and poets, sex workers and terrorists; without considering what the Islamists were or how they would fit into this charmed circle.

Here is another take on just how clueless the Left is about its competitor for power.

Project a hypothetical triumph of Islam over the world, and how its itinerant ally, the Left, would be treated. Not very well.  Consider the Left’s global rainbow coalition of “minorities, gays and gender theorists, indigent third world farmers, transsexuals, artists and poets, and sex workers.” Islam, committed to doctrinal purity and eager to cleanse the world in literal conformance with that doctrine, would act to extinguish every member of that rainbow coalition, including those not mentioned by Greenfield:  feminists, gun-owners, free-speech advocates, cartoonists who offend Islam, atheists, agnostics, apostates, followers of other religions, libertarians, anti-government advocates, Constitutionalists, First Amendment champions, and so on. Rightly or not, they’d all be lumped together in Islam’s holding pen until they can be prosecuted, tried and walked to the chopping block or gallows. Leaving the Left what?

Nothing, not a single victim of capitalism or colonialism. The Left will wonder what happened to its dialectical materialism, or claim that these are not the progressive forces it had predicted would pacify the world and leave it warless and in peaceful harmony. They might complain, if they dared to, that a gatecrasher hijacked their future. The more perceptive Leftists might then grasp just what Islam meant when it claimed it was just a “religion of peace.” They would understand that it won’t be a world in which they’d be expected to pray five times a day to godless icons of Marx, Lenin, Engels, and Stalin, but instead to Allah and Mohammad.

They would understand that Islam isn’t interested in peacefully coexisting with other faiths and ideologies, “interfaith dialogue” to the contrary notwithstanding. They would grasp that Islam is as totalitarian as anything conceived by George Orwell and would play no favorites, not even with loyal Party members.

All they would see would be piles of victims of Islam, not of capitalism or of colonialism.  The Left acts now as the janissaries of Islam, as ideologues and Sturmabteilung of another totalitarian system, for the moment tolerated and drafted into Islam’s cause to swell the numbers of Islam’s brigades and to handle the rough stuff in protests and demonstrations and clashes with the targets of the day. And when Islam’s battles are won, the Left will act surprised when the executioners knock on their door and escort its members to killing fields that resemble Pol Pot’s and to camps modeled on Auschwitz. They would be slaughtered by the bushel in the name of Allah, because they worshipped false gods or no gods and proposed a godless global government.

The humbler and more cowardly of them will submit to Islam. All others would be terminated.  Some of their women and pretty boys would be whisked away to stock the numerous new harems that would be established, and which would not be limited to the palaces of Saudi Arabia and Dubai and Qatar and Cairo. They would pop up in New York City and Peoria and Buenos Aires and London and Vienna and San Francisco. Name your city or town.

That would be the character of the world under a global caliphate. The Left would find itself in the inconvenient and embarrassing position of the garage mechanic, George Wilson, in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In it, Wilson is told that it was Jay Gatsby who struck his wife in a hit-and-run outside his garage, not his airhead paramour, Daisy Buchanan. So Gatsby catches the mechanic’s bullets. Wilson then shoots himself. Daisy gets off scot-free. While the literati may treat Daisy as a useless “ornament” of capitalism, in fact, Daisy is Islam.

Gatsby was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s conception of unregulated capitalism, married somehow to gangsters and crime, while Wilson’s grungy garage was symbolic of the underside of capitalism. Poor, exploited, put-upon George. But it was clueless Daisy Buchanan who killed the woman. Leftist literati may understand Fitzgerald’s novel, but their ideological muchachos do not.

Intellectually honest Leftists will follow George Wilson’s example. Less honest ones will adapt.

Greenfield concludes his masterly column thus:

The left dwells in an intellectual bubble of its own making. It transforms that bubble into an elaborate place, furnishing the space until it resembles a miniature world, but a bubble is not a world, it can only ever be a bubble. Trapped inside the bubble, the left cannot realize that the world is going backward, not forward, that the 21st century is really the 7th century and that the future is the past.

The Islamists understand this quite well. The left cannot.

I think Greenfield gives the Left too much credit for being clueless. I think his is a misplaced generosity. I am convinced that the Left’s ignorance of the true nature of Islam is a front refined and tailored over recent decades, ever since Islam and jihad began making headlines, disguising something much more insidious. Down deep, in the remotest, darkest corner of the soul of every Leftist, collectivist, statist, and community organizer, is a seething glop of malice for freedom which he wishes to exterminate, come what may, never mind how, and don’t ask him about it if you don’t want to see him froth at the mouth and threaten you with physical violence. If the extermination is performed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, or Cass Sunstein, or any other exponent of totalitarianism, it won’t matter to him, just as long as the murder is committed.

And if it’s performed by Islam, so be it. He will be content, even if it means he will need to buy himself a prayer rug or pay jizya from his paltry income and show up at Islamic rallies as a loyal infidel. All else – the protests, the books, the lectures, the posters – is guff and practiced posturing to him. He works to create the image of a champion of the underdogs, whoever and wherever they might be, when, in truth, he would just rather shoot the mangy mutts.

And what is the root of that seething glop of malice? An unquenchable, malevolent envy of every individual who has ever achieved independence and happiness without the Leftist’s assistance or advice or guidance, an envy of the incalculable wealth produced by what little capitalism has been permitted to exist in any given nation’s mixed economy or welfare state. This envy is coupled with an intimate but repressed knowledge and certitude that the kind of ideal communist or socialist state envisioned by him can produce nothing but poverty, misery, a state of stagnation sustained by force and deception and lies, and the suffocation of the able and the brightest.

Of individuals better than he. All tyrants and would-be tyrants nurture an inferiority complex. The only way they can compensate for it is the use of force and as much power over people as they can muster.

Islam would also produce that kind of existence, and the Left must know it, if only secretly and not spoken about among themselves, and certainly not to the gullible hoi polloi, in another kind of “gentleman’s agreement.” The Left’s ideology and Islam’s ideology are compatible in practice, differing only in details and object.

After all, what should it matter to the Left to whose ideology the hoi polloi swear an extorted obsequious obedience? Barack Obama’s, or Mohammad Morsi’s?

The Leftist won’t care which, just as long as they concede defeat and subservience to the State or to the Caliphate.



  • gravenimage

    Excellent article, Mr. Cline.

    We actually have seen *exactly* how this would play out, with the savage liquidation of the communist Tudeh Party in Iran as soon as the Mullahs had consolidated their power, and no longer needed their hard-leftist allies.

    Houshang Asadi chronicles this horror in his book “Letters to My Torturer”. He escaped by shear luck and the tenacity of his wife’s working on his behalf through contacts behind the scenes. Few of his fellow travelers were as lucky.

    He is an intelligent man, and yet he never quite lets himself understand either Islam or communism.

    Many of his comrades went to their deaths protesting that they had always supported the “Islamic revolution”. What a horrifying spectacle.

    And the same thing would happen here, if Islam has its way—enabled as they are by the hard left.

    Asadi now lives in the West—but he still doesn’t appear to understand that it is freedom that makes the West different.

  • Jocelyn Spooner

    Mr. Edward Cline………..A good article. As you point out, the whole Rainbow Coalition would be wiped out. Almost everything the Left stands for is at odds with all factions of Islam. All the beautiful people in Hollywood, would know the brutal reality. Can you imagine Lady Gaga in a burka with Anne Hathaway and Eva Longoria? What would Sean Penn do when he was told to grow a beard, refrain from drugs, and get down on his knees to worship Allah? And Rosie O’Donnell, an outspoken, gay woman? She wouldn’t last a week.

    My sense is they are joining hands against the common enemy, the United States and political individualism.

  • Edward Cline

    Jocelyn and Gravenimage: Thanks for your comments. The Left subscribes to the fatal and fallacious delusion that they would be exempt from Sharia and the Islamic kind of totalitarianism. They take the freedom they
    enjoy here and project it into a fantasy world. They’d be able to go out to a liquor store and buy their favorite alcohol. They’d be able to share the sidewalks with Muslims. They wouldn’t need to defer to Muslims of any rank. They’d assume that because they enabled the Islamists to rise to power, they’d be granted a bucket full of indulgences and exempted from what all other infidels would need to endure. But if they survive an inauguration of Islamic totalitarianism, they’d soon learn there won’t be any liquor stores, they’d have to walk in the streets, and learn that Muslims would sooner spit on them than shake their hands. That’s if they survived and were allowed to live. They won’t remember that when Hitler came to power in 1933, most of the communists who helped the Nazis savage the Weimar Republic and contribute to the anarchy that led
    to its destruction, were rounded up and sent to concentration camps. The lucky ones escaped to the West. Everything that they take for granted in the U.S. especially, would be denied them, including the freedom to make a lot of noise about taxing the 1% and spreading the wealth.

  • Jocelyn Spooner

    Mr. Cline

    Islam is a evil in many parts of the world. An enemy of Objectivismj. But I agree with some of the comments about the Catholic Church. The reason for the resignation of the pope is now surfacing. Another disgusting and horrendous example of evil. And an organization rotten to the core. It is filled with perverts of the worst kind. These are monsters and many are in responsible positions. This is the worst kind of perversity I have ever heard about. Much worst threat to freedom than Islam because it is everywhere in our country and the free world.

  • T D

    I had a 10 hour flight layover in Dubai. Many of the people I met were Muslim. Throughout the day there were times when beautiful chanting could be heard throughout the airport. Everyone was very courteous and I felt very welcomed. Though it was a controlled environment at an airport, these “real” interactions with different cultures are what really matter. I hope that everyone that comments on an article like this has at least attempted conversation with someone that may not share the same religious beliefs, skin color or bank account balance.

  • Nicholas Bodine

    Islam and the Left are destroying the United States of America and Europe, and even more ominously, the very idea of Western Civilization itself. Our civilization is based on the belief that all power comes from the individual, that everyone has importance and a say in the eyes of a national government. The government exists to protect individual rights, and they are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness as Thomas Jefferson so wonderfully put it. Yet the idea is being destroyed by the very governments and people of the West. The Roman Empire did not collapse because of invasion, in reality the Empire collapsed because of internal weaknesses. It really is much like physics, where if you suck all the air out of a metal can, seal the can, and place the can inside a room under normal atmospheric conditions. (like your living room or kitchen) The can crumples up because there is no longer an internal pressure to counterbalance the external pressure of the atmosphere around it. Rome suffered from many things, but ultimately, the welfare state mentality was what killed Rome. Rome inflated its money supply until it was worthless, Roman Emperors gave out “cake and circuses” to the people to keep them entertained, and more importantly, subservient to the State. Moral decay and the lack of volunteers for the Roman military led to the use of mercenaries in the Roman military. Do you see what is going on today in the “West?” The same freaking stuff is happening, and heck, Cicero himself warned us about this problem. The problem is not that the Muslims and the Left have all the cards, the problem is we let them have all the cards. The so called “Right” have led the the Left lead them like lamb to the slaughter- willingly digging their own graves in the name of “compromise” and “understanding.” Certain elements of the West have been so cowardice before, in the 800s, a French king gave the Vikings six tons of gold and silver to just leave France alone. The Vikings plundered France anyway. The French themselves may be a courageous people, but it would appear that France has always been led by cowards. And it is no different today. Last year, the French elected François Hollande to the French Presidency, Hollande being a Socialist promising more of the same crap that put Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain in such financial trouble. France also is now 20% Muslim. See the pattern here? Those of us in West who genuinely disagree with the Left and Islam are silenced by fear and the suffocating reality of today that is today’s status quo. The “Conservatives” say they are against the Left, but are not led by any consistent set of principles or doctrine that they explicitly put out there. The Republicans lost the 2012 election for the very same reason they have always lost elections- by not having a clear, consistent set of principles from which to sell to the American people. The reality is simply that the Republican party is merely the Democratic party on depressants- they have the same beliefs and values, the Republicans will just make the trip to totalitarianism a longer trip; slow the train, but not stop it from going over the cliff. The Republicans also say they believe in freedom of religion, which is fine, except for the fact that Islam is taking over the country. As Ronald Reagan put it- “America does not need a third party, America needs a revitalized second party.” Both the Left and Islam are empowered by their opponents weakness and unwillingness to face the problem and deal with it. We can call the cowardly, suicidal policy advocated by nearly all the West’s “leaders” implementation of the Chamberlain Syndrome. The Chamberlain Syndrome is the belief that appeasing one’s enemies will get them to back down or be more willing to conform to that person’s or group’s (a nation or country is merely a large group) position. The name comes from Neville Chamberlain, Winston Churchill’s predecessor as Prime Minister, who agreed in the Munich Accords to give Hitler Austria and the Sudentenland in eastern Czechloslovakia in exchange for a promise to not invade and other countries after that. World War II started a year and a half later when Hitler invaded Poland. If the Nazis were to gain power and once again threaten the world, we would stand up to them. But we stand passively by and let the Left and Islam ruin us from the inside. It is time to stand and stop letting them push the West around. Energy resources at home should be utilized to stop the flow of wealth into the coffers of misogynistic, murderous, xenophobic, hateful Middle Eastern sociopaths. The cowards who run our governments must be kicked an punished for their betrayal of their own countries, citizens, and perhaps their own beliefs. And finally, those defenders of capitalism, whether “Conservative, ” Objectivist, or otherwise must be willing to stand out in the open for what they believe in. There is no defending what is good by lies and obfuscation. The Left is merely more honest than the so-called “defenders of Capitalism.” Islam is more violent, and uses force to silence opposition, Capitalist or otherwise. It is time to show others that there is a third way to run things- Capitalism, pure and simple. Any window dressing or adulteration destroys the message we want to bring to the world. As long as we are firm, we will win. Our enemies are consistent and numerous. Our own members are few and far between, the majority of people, even amongst the wealthy being duped into submission. (The Wholes Foods CEO retracting his “Obama is a Fascist” statement, or Warren Buffet calling for more taxes and embracing Obama) The time for action is now, before it really is too late.

  • Caba Aba Baba

    Retarded article as usual. Most feminists don’t support a global caliphate or whatever, in fact they criticize islamists all the time. They support the US getting thrown out of Afghanistan and Iraq, but so do many “capitalists”, and a lot of American foreign policies the Left opposes like its interventions in Iraq and Libya have dramatically strengthened terrorism.