February 13, 2006
SO I GET HOME AND FIND MY INBOX full of complaints from lefties that I've been "silent" about Ann Coulter's remarks on Friday. I guess they're scrollbar-challenged, as I did in fact note them and link to Sean Hackbarth's denunciation. I figured that readers would know my feelings about Coulter -- whose similar comments I was condemning back before Bill Quick named the blogosphere -- but on the other hand, I guess I shouldn't take stuff like that for granted. I got an email today from a reader who didn't know that my wife had had a heart attack, and I got an email last week from a reader who, despite my best efforts, had somehow missed the fact that I had a book coming out. You can't assume that everyone is keeping up with everything, and I tend mostly to ignore Coulter.
The lefties seem mostly upset about her use of the term "raghead," which is racist and offensive, but more or less akin to the term "cracker," which doesn't seem to bother a lot of lefties. So pardon me if I'm largely unmoved by their mock outrage on this account.
But there are more serious reasons to be unhappy with Coulter, reasons that, as so often happens, are actually obscured by the theatrics of angry lefties. And though I've been a bit distracted this weekend, and I don't generally like to give Coulter's attention-getting efforts more attention, it's probably worth mentioning them now.
I didn't attend the event (I didn't actually attend any events except the book stuff in the Exhibition hall; I was supposed to be on a panel about online media but had to cancel) but as I understand it, Coulter made the raghead remark, and then a Muslim attendee -- perhaps the guy from "Muslims For America" that Helen interviewed for our podcast -- got up to object to the "raghead" remark, and she put him down. And that's what's really bad. In fact, Ann Coulter is guilty of doing what Ann Althouse and Stephen Green note that the lefty bloggers tend to do: Someone stretched out a hand, and she spat on it. And her ongoing treatment of Muslims has followed this general pattern of fostering alienation. The result of this sort of behavior is aid and comfort to the enemy.
To win this war, we need to kill the people who want to kill us. But we need to win over the rest. The terrorists of Al Qaeda want to polarize things so that it appears to be a war of Christianity against Islam, of America and the West against all Arabs and Muslims. With remarks like those, she's helping their cause, not ours. Call it "objectively pro-terrorist."
UPDATE: So I post this, and I'm still getting emails like this:
Why are you so silent about your CPAC co-speaker’s hateful and violence-advocating rants?
Why do you tell Democrats they should "muzzle and marginalize their idiots" while you ignore Ann, even though she's one of the most influential pundits in your Party and received a boisterous ovation from your fellow conservatives when she urged violence against "ragheads" and the assassination of Supreme Court justices? Why would you participate in an event that sponsors a speech urging violence against Muslims and the domestic political opponents of Republicans?
Speak up, I can't hear you.
Or read me, apparently. Hit "refresh" people. But this is starting to seem a bit, er, contrived. Have the people sending these emails even been to my blog?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ah, apparently it's some sort of campaign. It seems to me that the lefties are once again falling for Karl Rove's notorious "blogpaper" strategy.
MORE: And here's a nice roundup from Gateway Pundit about moderate Muslims coming to the fore in Denmark that illustrates what I mean. Read this report from Brussels Journal, too:
Moderates such as Kamran Tahmasebi say they have had enough of fanatic Islamism and its intimidation of the Muslim immigrants in Denmark. “It is an irony that I am today living in a European democratic state and have to fight the same religious fanatics that I fled from in Iran many years ago,” Mr Tahmasebi says. He came to Denmark as a refugee in 1989. Today he works as a social consultant and is very grateful for the life Denmark has made it possible for him to have. He says he no longer wants to keep a low profile to avoid attracting the attention of the imams. The cartoon affair was an incentive for him to stand up and warn against the Islamist imams in Denmark, whom he says are damaging the integration process with their misleading criticism of Danish values and norms.
Mr Tahmasebi is one of the people involved in the newly established network of moderate Muslims in Denmark led by Naser Khader, a member of the Danish Parliament. He says he is well aware of the risk he is taking by siding with Mr Khader, who has for a long time been living under police protection. But Mr Tahmasebi feels it is his duty to take part in this debate. “Naser Khader has carried this responsibility for too long. I share his beliefs and now I want to stand up and say so. Apart from that, as a parent I feel a responsibility to fight, so that my children will not have to live under Islamist dogmas. They shall be able to live free in this country.” Mr Tahmasebi adds that he believes the imams are one of the biggest problems Denmark is facing today.
You encourage these people by standing up to the radicals, and you also encourage them by not assuming that the radicals speak for everybody.
STILL MORE: Ah, so the emails calling me a "facist" and the like, by people who had obviously not read my posts or my blog, were coming from this post by Glenn Greenwald, where he included my email address. I'm tempted to return the favor, but I suspect that he's just trying to repair his credibility with his followers after I committed the unpardonable sin of linking to him favorably.
But the downside of these astroturf campaigns is that they only ensure that I'll view critical email from lefties with a more jaundiced eye next time, wondering who's really behind them. Plus, the obvious ignorance (and frequent illiteracy) of the emailers hardly serves to improve my opinion of their side of the debate. Thanks for doing your small part to degrade the blogosphere, Greenwald.
More thoughts on Greenwald's crusade here.
LATER: Okay, so I posted this last night. We're now well into Tuesday afternoon, and I get this email from Crooks & Liars reader Ben Compson:
I too am wondering why you haven't condemned Ann Coulter's recent remarks at CPAC. One thing that good about your blog is that you're somewhat moderate and often speak out when either liberals or conservatives need spoken out against. You silence here is deafening.
You lay into liberals when they say outrageous things like Coulter did, and you ought to be speaking up this time as well. Even if it costs you a few books sales.
I don't think my silence is deafening here since, well, I haven't been silent -- I think that Greenwald's readers, the ones who are still emailing me anyway, are ignorant sheep who apparently haven't bothered to look at my blog, but who just do whatever Greenwald suggests.
Anyway, Compson, since I actually addressed your concerns last night, and since you raised the connection here, how about buying my book? It's the least you can do!
Er, that, and try not to be such a tool next time. Because, you see, I make a point of trying to read serious emails that disagree with me first, and floods of emails from people who obviously haven't read my blog, but are just acting at the behest of someone else, make that approach untenable.