The Corner

Re: Riots as Protests

Stanley, I agree with most of your analysis, but I think we parse it too fine when we start down the road of whether sympathetic commentary about lawlessness by people in the public eye is indicative of those people’s support for the lawlessness.

We have watched this game be played for years by Islamists and Leftists — as I recount in The Grand Jihad. Let’s put aside for the moment that Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood are somehow hailed by their Western apologists as having forsworn violence even though Hamas is one of their organizations and even though their leaders endorse suicide attacks and praise bin Laden. The Brotherhood has ostentatiously rebuked al Qaeda’s tactics at times — all the while, again, praising al Qaeda in some of its statements to Arabic speaking audiences. These public displays obscure, quite intentionally, the fact that the Brotherhood and al Qaeda are on the same page as far as goals are concerned — they want societies Islamicized.

The Brotherhood knows that there is no meaningful popular support in the U.S. (and in most of the West) for its agenda. But it punches above its weight — i.e., its front organizations get lavish, respectful attention from government and from media — because it is successfully leveraging the atmosphere of intimidation created by the terrorists. Their not so subtle message is: Incrementally accommodate us reasonable, moderate Islamists or create the rage and resentment (which we will stoke) that provokes terrorist attacks. While we debate ad nauseam whether they are really pro-terrorist or anti-terrorist, they laugh all the way to the sharia-compliant bank.

As you’ve documented for years here, and in Radical-in-Chief, “direct action” (lawlessness to extort concessions by the state and civil society) is a key part of the community organizer playbook. Even if organizers and their allies engage in lip-service condemnations of radical lawlessness, that lawlessness is knowingly leveraged to increase the bargaining power of Leftists as they pursue an agenda that just happens to be the same agenda the law-breakers desire. To me, it’s irrelevant whether public officials and other public figures are sincere in condemning violence if they are willfully exploiting the violence for their own ends.

Violent extortion is a black-and-white thing — often, a life-and-death thing. I think it’s a mistake to overcomplicate it with a bunch of psychobabble in the nature of, “While we certain condemn the lawlessness, we must understand and address the root causes …” You are either for civilization or against it. That’s not a question as to which we ought to entertain a middle ground.

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