Carl Bernstein, in his book, characterized the postwar investigations of American Stalinists as a fascist “Reign of Terror” – all the while deep-sixing the actual terror that was being practiced by the regime to which those Stalinists had pledged their loyalty. Such was the topsy-turvy post-Sixties take on these matters. In the same way, ever since 9/11, Muslim leaders and their friends in the cultural elite have painted a picture of an America, and indeed an entire Western world, in which Muslims are daily terrorized by the non-Muslim majority – a picture which, of course, in these days when Jews are fleeing Europe to escape Muslim bullying, is entirely the opposite of the truth.
The facts about Islam – just like the facts about Stalinism – are crystal clear. And yet when you try to explain those facts to some people, they react as if…well, as if you’d told them their nice, ordinary, next-door neighbors were secret agents taking orders from the Kremlin.
As with Stalinism, what makes the truth about Islam so difficult for so many people to swallow is precisely the fact that it is so extreme. Who could believe that millions of people living in a free country would really want to live under a law that punishes the victims of rapes and prescribes death for apostates? Like the reality of Stalinist ideology, the reality of Islamic theology is so thoroughly monstrous, and so thoroughly foreign to most Americans’ sensibilities, that many Americans find it beyond imagining that people living next door to them might actually live by – and be prepared to die for – such beliefs.
One thing that today’s American jihadists have in common with the American Stalinists of yesteryear is that they’ve discovered the remarkable usefulness, in their struggle to manipulate Western minds, of the word peace. One of the Kremlin’s favorite stratagems, back in the day, was to invite manipulable authors and intellectuals from the Free World (among them Arthur Miller) to “peace conferences” and “peace councils,” the word peace being employed to convince these dupes that the Soviet Union stood for peaceful coexistence and that the Cold War was the fault of the warmongering West. The idea was that these useful idiots would return home and make use of their cultural influence to help shape the views of the general public – who, in the fullness of time (for Stalinists, like jihadists, were patient people), would vote to put their government in the hands of other fools whose policies would render the West more susceptible to Soviet conquest.
Since 9/11, jihadists and their allies have employed the word peace in much the same way. It’s remarkable how quickly the absurd notion of Islam as a “religion of peace” spread around the Western world – and how hard it’s been to dislodge.
David Horowitz’s 1989 essay provides a very useful reminder that for the kind of person to whom the horror of totalitarianism is self-evident, it can be well-nigh impossible to accept that one’s neighbors, friends, and relatives – people who seem perfectly nice, reasonable, and intelligent – might in fact be devoted to totalitarianism heart and soul. It was one of the strengths of Stalinism, in its war with the West, and is one of the strengths of Islam, in its war with the West, that human beings who are happy to be free cannot easily conceive of free individuals whose lives are utterly devoted to the replacement of liberty with utter submission to a barbarous faith.
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