The Bigotry of Low Expectations

Weren't we told that the unrest in the Muslim world was the fault of George W. Bush and his ham-fisted foreign policy?

Since America has now adopted a posture of "leading from behind", deference to world bodies, appeals to the "international community" to do what America used to do and foregoing public interaction with the Israeli Prime Minister, why hasn't resentment toward America abated? Could it be that non-Muslims are reviled because of their infidel status and cultural openness?

Is anyone walking on eggshells around other religious groups? If not, is this an admission of having a different moral expectation of Muslims than for Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, Hindus, Confucians, etc., etc., etc.?

Is there any other religion/culture on the face of the earth for whom the response to violence and murder would be "We understand your pain and are sorry that it was caused" instead of "What the hell is wrong with your moral compass"? Doesn't this reveal that Muslims are not regarded as moral equivalents and therefore cannot be spoken to as moral peers?

Does anyone expect the autonomic response of American Christians to abortion to be rioting and murder? Does anyone expect the autonomic response of the black community to skinheads to be rioting and murder? Does anyone expect the autonomic response of the homosexual community to offenses to be rioting and murder? If the answer is anything approaching a no, doesn't this presuppose that their value system prevents this sort of behavior? Why doesn't this same moral expectation exist for those engaging in mayhem in the Middle East? Why is one group expected to act in a developed, advanced moral manner while the other is not?

Did culture and values (as opposed to politics and economics) have anything to do with informing a population that an appropriate response to a religious offense is to riot and commit murder? If yes, was the media wrong in its assessment of Mitt Romney's remarks vis-à-vis Israelis and Palestinians?

The left attempted to detach Nidal Hasan's rage from his values and culture and was left with blaming his actions on pre-post-traumatic disorder – yet another external influence that overwhelmed culture. No explanation was given for how yelling "Allahu Akbar" while committing murder may have played into the day's events or suggested a cultural mooring.

And yet, the media had no problem indicting culture - conservative culture - on behalf of Jared Loughner when they blamed his behavior on a culture of hate and provocative right-wing rhetoric. Of course, their premature musings were completely false, but hey, being in the media means never having to say you're sorry. Even if true, was Loughner somehow less responsible for his actions?

One wonders if the Uni-bomber, Code Pink, OWS, SEIU thugs who beat a conservative black, Bill Ayers, G20 protesters, Black Panthers and that guy who shot up the Family Research Council did what they did because of their personal culture and values. Or maybe they had a tummy ache or were externally provoked in some way. Would FRC be excused if they acted in riotous ways since they have been called a hate group? One supposes there would be excuses galore for Muslim violence if an American religious group called the Muslim extremists in the Middle East a hate group, and God forbid, posted it to the internet.

The left wants it both ways. Their darlings are relieved of personal responsibility for their actions and only do things as a reaction to some external stimuli. The left wants to pretend that certain behaviors are not informed by culture, values or even, as Jonah Goldberg has noted in his recent book, ideology. But when the right does anything, whether violent or not, it is from a culture of hate, corrupt values and warped ideology. The thing is, the right would agree – sans adjectives – that they operate from a learned culture that promotes certain values and leads to certain ideologies and that it is precisely that culture that elevates man above animals.

Does the left really believe that animalistic defensive response is equal to or better than culture? Do they believe that Muslims are cultureless animals that have not yet learned to control their reflexive impulses? Probably not, but the left gets to this tricky spot because they are unwilling to admit that some cultures are better than others. Calling Romney's comment about culture vis-à-vis Israel and Palestine a gaffe confirms their aversion to acknowledging western culture as better. So does their dismissal of the right's disciplined nationalism as xenophobia. (Although, listening to the Democratic Convention speeches, there was a lot of 'America is the best', 'no other country on the planet is as good as America' talk. Does that make them xenophobes too?)

The left treats Muslims like children – albeit violent children that can do great harm. Yes, we want to respect the beliefs of others and there is no reason to be overtly provocative or mean. (The Westboro Baptist jackasses come to mind.) But while disagreeing, everyone assumes that their opponents will act responsibly while battling over ideas. The left believes this about American Christians. They know without a shadow of a doubt that they can say anything about American Christians and not fear that their property, livelihoods or lives will be in danger. The left knows that the culture and values of the Christian community prevents them from acting in riotous and destructive ways.

However, the left does not maintain this set of assumptions about Muslims. Why? Because the left knows that Muslims either do not profess such a mitigating culture and/or do not act in ways that suggest they are constrained by a culture and values that eschews violent behaviors and respects the rights of their fellow man. The left's speech is stifled and they are constantly self-censoring in order to placate the hair trigger Muslim world.

But, to be fair, in certain areas the right also interacts with a particular group in the same manner that the left treats Muslims. Because of fear of financial destruction through boycotting (Chik-fil-A), losing their job (political correctness), poor grades in school (speech codes), character assassination and bullying (racist, bigot, sexist, homophobe, hater, etc.) physical occupation of parks and bridges and disruption of business (OWS), or being hauled off at midnight for a little, ahem, questioning (link) – just to name a few examples – the right often is bullied into not speaking freely for fear of retaliation from a group that seems to be unfettered by cultural and value driven ideology that would assure decent disagreement.

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