What Has Become of Liberalism?

by Jonah Goldberg

Barack Obama encouraged people to compare him to Abraham Lincoln. For instance, here’s the opening from a 2007 ABC News piece co-written by Jake Tapper:

Standing outside the Historic Old State Capitol building where Abraham Lincoln gave a famous speech condemning slavery and calling for the United States to unite, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a 45-year-old with two years of federal legislative experience under his belt, today announced that he will claim the mantle of Lincoln and as president heal a divided nation.

The piece goes on:

But most of all Springfield allowed Obama to immodestly and continuously compare himself to Lincoln.

It was in Springfield where Obama “was reminded of the essential decency of the American people,” he said, which is “why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a ‘house divided’ to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.”

And here’s Evan Thomas writing for Newsweek in 2008:

It is the season to compare Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln. Two thin men from rude beginnings, relatively new to Washington but wise to the world, bring the nation together to face a crisis. Both are superb rhetoricians, both geniuses at stagecraft and timing. Obama, like Lincoln and unlike most modern politicians, even writes his own speeches, or at least drafts the really important ones—by hand, on yellow legal paper—such as his remarkably honest speech on race during the Reverend Wright imbroglio last spring.

There was, of course, so much more.  

This was always nonsense, but then again so much of the hype about Obama in the early days of his presidency was nonsensical. Still it does contribute to the poignancy of the moment. I’m referring specifically to the Islamic State and their celebration of slavery. MEMRI has excerpts of Facebook chats between British and French supporters of the group as they discuss the great news that you can buy Yazidi women as sex slaves. 

French IS Fighters And Supporters On Facebook, September 3, 2014

Abou Jjihad: ”350 dollars for the Yazidi girl in Mosul if you want LOL” . . .

Abu Selefie: “I heard there were slaves in Raqqa is it true?”

Abde-Rahman: ”I saw it was around 180 dollars per slave LOL”

Abou Muhammad: ”You have revived a tradition”

Abou Jihad: ”Yes I heard brothers say there are some in Raqq

a as well” . . . “180 dollars must be [the price] for the ugly ones”

Abde-Rahman: ”LOL I am laughing so hard”

Shinobi: ”LOL And how much is it in spare parts? Check and see if you can get kidneys or livers there is demand.”

And here is another conversation:

Dawla: ”What are the slaves for? Is it like your wife but without a marriage contract?”

Amine: ”If they become Muslim are they freed?”

Abou Jihad: ”It’s not really like your wife, they can be used for intercourse [the writer uses a vulgar French expression for sex], you make her work in the house, and you send her to work at your parents’, stuff like that.”

Cara: ”If she becomes Muslims it seems to me that you don’t have to free her. It’s obligatory if you have a child with her. . .” . . .

Dawla: ”You can have children with her?”

Cara: ” Yes but [then] she would then be free.” . . .

Abou Jihad: ”It’s the child that is free, not the woman (if she is not Muslim)”

Mehdi: ”Personally does not sound appetizing” . . .

“I prefer my future wife rather than a dirty slave.”

Dawla:” So you can be intimate with her without a marriage contract? And you can have more than one?”

Abou Jihad: ”Yes . . . they are idolaters, so it’s normal that they are slaves, in Mosul they are closed in a room and cry, and one of them committed suicide LOL and Yes I have 350 dollars LOL” . . .

Abou Selma: ”And what if the slave refuses the intercourse? And what if your wife refuses to let you have intercourse with the slave?

Mehdi: ” Wow those are good questions…”

Dawla: ”Women are so jealous, they will never agree” . . .

Abou Jihad:” A woman that stays at your house and that doesn’t want you, after a while she will crack, she will have to have sex with you. And also the slaves are scared of the mujahidin so they feel that they have to LOL”

Abou Selma: ”Second question: what if your wife refuses?”

Abou Jihad: ”She can’t refuse . . . It’s a tradition” . . .

Mouhamad: ”I have 3500 dollars to spare, I am going to buy 10, who wants one?”

It’s also worth noting that the president has done everything he can to claim that his domestic political opponents are engaged in a “war on women.” He won an election largely because he convinced enough women — and pliant journalists — to take this bilge seriously. Just this week the head of his party went on at great length to claim that the Republican governor of Wisconsin has been “giving women the back of his hand.

Oh, and let us not forget, the president and his supporters work very hard to paint their domestic political opponents as religious extremists because some private businesses and religious groups don’t want to pay for procedures that violate their conscience. 

Now compare this to the people who are celebrating the fact their faith allows them to enslave women. 

Just think about it for a moment. The president surely knows about this. His administration surely knows about this. And yet, the president — this modern incarnation of Lincoln, protector of women and opponent of domestic religious extremism — defines his goal for the Islamic State as reducing it to a “manageable problem.” Does this mean that if the group renounces any designs on attacking the U.S. homeland (an impossibility given the tenets of their faith and ambition for a global caliphate) he will stand by as they continue to barter women as sex slaves and breeders? This is the same man who campaigned in Berlin as a “citizen of the world” and champion of global community. 

Forgive me, but the term, “Lincolnesque” doesn’t immediately spring to mind. 

The disconnect goes beyond mere inconsistency or hypocrisy. It is a moral sickness that is sickening to behold.