Hitchens on Hirsi Ali

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If you have any doubt where the sympathies of the leftist intelligentsia lie, look no further than Christopher Hitchens' latest column at Slate, in which he surveys critical reaction to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book, Infidel. The examples he cites are all unbelievable, but the review that called her a "bombthrower" took the cake.

The Feb. 26 edition of Newsweek takes up where Garton Ash and Buruma leave off and says, in an article by Lorraine Ali, that, "It's ironic that this would-be 'infidel' often sounds as single-minded and reactionary as the zealots she's worked so hard to oppose." I would challenge the author to give her definition of irony and also to produce a single statement from Hirsi Ali that would come close to materializing that claim. Accompanying the article is a typically superficial Newsweek Q&A sidebar, which is almost unbelievably headed: "A Bombthrower's Life." The subject of this absurd headline is a woman who has been threatened with horrific violence, by Muslims varying from moderate to extreme, ever since she was a little girl. She has more recently had to see a Dutch friend butchered in the street, been told that she is next, and now has to live with bodyguards in Washington, D.C. She has never used or advocated violence. Yet to whom does Newsweek refer as the "Bombthrower"? It's always the same with these bogus equivalences: They start by pretending loftily to find no difference between aggressor and victim, and they end up by saying that it's the victim of violence who is "really" inciting it. [bold added]
You have moral agnosticism here, accusations that Hirsi Ali is an "Enlightenment fundamentalist" elsewhere, and then she also gets pilloried as an "absolutist". Hitchens then wonders about two of the critics.
Garton Ash and Buruma would once have made short work of any apologist who accused the critics of the U.S.S.R. or the People's Republic of China of "heating up the Cold War" if they made any points about human rights. Why, then, do they grant an exception to Islam, which is simultaneously the ideology of insurgent violence and of certain inflexible dictatorships? Is it because Islam is a "faith"? Or is it because it is the faith -- in Europe at least -- of some ethnic minorities? ... And notice what happens when Newsweek takes up the cry: The enemy of fundamentalism is defined as someone on the fringe while, before you have had time to notice the sleight of hand, the aggrieved, self-pitying Muslim has become the uncontested tenant of the middle ground.
Why indeed? Hitchens ends his column with the most interesting bit yet: He answers his own question, but he is being too sarcastic, at least as I read it, to realize it!
Perhaps, though, if I said that my principles were a matter of unalterable divine revelation and that I was prepared to use random violence in order to get "respect" for them, I could hope for a more sympathetic audience from some of our intellectuals.
He would indeed, and this isn't all that hard to explain. Who lived in material comfort for decades in the West, while advocating the economic planning of the Communist world and at the same time promoting the fiction that socialism -- the massive violation of property rights by the state -- was somehow compatible with all the other rights possessed by individuals? And, after the collapse of communism, who continued advocating socialism after the mountains of evidence of its failure to bring material prosperity became apparent? Who drew moral equivalence between East and West whenever there was risk of the latter looking good, but otherwise pointed out flaws in the West at every opportunity?

The same people who now damn reason as fundamentalism, and a preference for a society that respects individual rights as "absolutist" (i.e., inflexible, hidebound) thinking. The left could once pose as at least being concerned with "human rights" before the grisly reality of the social system they promoted was exposed to the world. When that occurred, they had a choice: stop promoting the failed system, or stop pretending to be concerned with reason and individual rights.

The left is not promoting Islamofascism because it fears being blown to bits, but because it opposes reason through the proxy of Western civilization. This is why leftists are bending over backwards to continue the jihad against Ayaan Hirsi Ali. They want to unleash the wolves of Islam on the unsuspecting West -- but especially upon the woman who has already escaped them twice and is busy warning the rest of us.

-- CAV


bothenook said...

i'm well into the book "Infidel", and it is amazing. this woman has a hell of a story to tell.
another thing that is really brought home while reading: we have life so easy it's not funny. even our poorest of the poor in this country would be considered comfortable in the part of the world Ayaan grew up in.
makes you appreciate what you have.

Gus Van Horn said...

Any time I hear anything about her, it is along those lines: immense hardship and indomitable spirit.

Haven't bought the book yet, but I will be reading it very soon!