Playing the Indian Card

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Islamophobia" and the Left

Hope and Change?

It’s all starting to make me dizzy. Back before 9/11, I was often getting emails from feminists demanding that the US invade Afghanistan, in defense of women’s rights. I lived for some years in Saudi Arabia, and kept reading articles objecting to the Kingdom’s lack of appreciation for women’s rights. The hijab was oppression by the patriarchy. Yet now, quite suddenly, feminists and the left generally are all in support of Islam. A poster shown prominently during the recent women’s march on Washington showed a woman in a hijab painted as the American flag. The leader of that march, I hear, was Muslim, and the assembled throngs listened to a Muslim call to prayer. Bill Maher has now been banned from speaking at Berkeley because he has publicly criticised Islam. Poor fellow, still bitterly clinging to a few tawdry principles, if misguided, has gotten him caught in the whiplash.

It is all very Orwellian—Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. Oceania has always been allied with Eurasia.

The hostility to Islam was always misguided. But one wonders: does the left actually have any principles? What are they? It is just really hard to see any coherent philosophy behind all this. And it is harder to see how anyone with any actual principles could remain allied long with the left.

The left is of course supposed to be all in favour of women’s rights. Yet this is not the first time they seem to have gone directly against this. They loved and love Bill Clinton, whose actions towards women would seem to be criminal had anyone else but Clinton done them. Yet voting Trump instead of Clinton’s wife last election was “misogyny.” Granted, it was Mr. Clinton and not Mrs. who behaved so badly, but she always backed him and defended him against the charges of the claimed victims. The left is adamant about the need to allow men into women’s public toilets at will, a measure that seems very much against the best interests of women and girls. The left is vitriolic in its attacks on any woman identified with the right: Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump, Sarah Palin, Betsy DeVos.

The left is of course supposed to be all in favour of black people (“African-Americans” in the US). Yet it was more passionate about opposing Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education than any other Trump cabinet appointment, because she backed charter schools and vouchers. She actually now needs a police escort wherever she goes. The primary beneficiaries of charter schools and vouchers are poor black families.

The left is supposed to be all in favour of the working class. Yet their fierce opposition to enforcing the laws on immigration directly harms the American working class. It drives down and keeps down the price of low-skilled labour.

Trump is supposed to be intolerably anti-gay. Yet he has long supported gay marriage. When he became president, Barack Obama publicly opposed it, as did Hillary Clinton at the time. Yet they are supposed to be heroes to the gay community.

And what about Jews? The left is currently making a big cause celébre about one attendee at Ezra Levant’s recent Toronto rally supposedly making a Nazi salute. Yet Levant himself is Jewish. They insist that Trump and Steve Bannon are “anti-semitic.” Yet Trump’s daughter is a Jewish convert, and Bannon’s Breitbart is consistently pro-Israel. Was Obama? Meanwhile, a McGill student who called on all to physically assault “Zionists” is getting widespread support on the left.

One might almost begin to suspect the left has no principles.

Can the same charge be laid against the right? I don’t think so. True, Trump’s policies do not correspond to some longstanding right-wing views: he is anti-free-trade, and the right has for some time been pro-free-trade. He is sympathetic to Russia, and most on the right have seen Russia as America’s main geopolitical rival.

But this seems to me quite different: it is a case of Trump going against the right-wing mainstream, not the right-wing mainstream changing its views.

So what is left, as a general principle, behind the left wing? I think it has to be laid down to sheer class interest. That class being the professional class. Whatever is best for the professions, is the left-wing position: whatever is good for teachers, college professors, lawyers, doctors, social workers, bureaucrats. Everything else, it seems, is a con job, for those interest groups who can be suckered. Or, put more kindly, these are client groups that the left promises to take care of, in return for keeping them in power.

But the left has no special allegiance to any of these client groups. Whoever will sign on, gets a nose to the trough.

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