One of the most common self-assessments of the Left is that conservatives rarely see nuances in moral questions, while liberals always do.
That this is a false conceit can be demonstrated with regard to almost any position held by the Left. There is no nuance in liberal positions on abortion, race-based affirmative action, capital punishment, embryonic-stem-cell research, or just about any other social issue.
Two such issues are the current Cordoba House Islamic Center controversy and Americans’ perceptions of Islam.
To liberals commenting on these issues, all that needs to be said are two things: First, Islam is a religion of peace, and even the most sophisticated questioning of that claim is an expression of nativism, bigotry, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. Second, the Muslim imam in New York City has a right to build his $100 million Islamic center two blocks from the spot where thousands of Americans were incinerated by 19 Muslims in the name of Islam. That no conservative spokesman has challenged the imam’s right to build the center, only the rightness of the act, is ignored whenever the New York Times, for example, discusses the issue.
The truth is that the Right’s views of Muslims, the Cordoba House, and Islam are considerably more nuanced than those of the Left.
Remember, we are comparing elite with elite, not the elite Left with dregs like the Gainesville “pastor” of a “50-member church” who planned an “International Koran Burning Day” and who was universally dismissed on the right as a publicity-seeking jackass.
The elite Right — the leading conservative columnists, editorial pages, and vast majority of major talk-show hosts — readily and regularly distinguish between jihadists and their American Muslim neighbor across the street.
But the Left rarely distinguishes between bigoted haters and Americans who have questions about contemporary Islam and who oppose the building of a $100 million Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero.
This past Sunday, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof offered another example of the Left’s nuance-free attacks on Americans who have any moral reservations about the world of Islam today.
Kristof began his column with an attack on the “venomous and debased discourse about Islam” in America.
He gave one example: New Republic publisher Martin Peretz, a rather thoughtful lifelong liberal, who actually had the temerity to raise moral concerns about Islam in a recent article. Peretz asked, for example, “Is not western society, imperfect as it may be . . . immensely more liberal than the domains of Islam?”
He added: “This intense epidemic of [Islamic] slaughter has been going on for nearly a decade and a half . . . without protest, without anything. And it has been going for decades and centuries before that.”
Kristof ignored every issue raised by Peretz and quoted one sentence to cite Peretz’s article as an example of the “venomous and debased the discourse about Islam” permeating America. To the New York Times and the rest of the Left, the question here is not whether what Peretz wrote is true — because when it comes to the Right, the Left is concerned with finding bigotry, not truth.
“Nativists are back on the warpath,” Kristof went on to write.