Ahead of Sam Harris’s scheduled talk in Australia, the organisers of the event , ‘Think INC.’, shared the above meme on social media. Sam Harris is quoted from his 2006 essay titled ‘The End Of Liberalism’:
‘Increasingly, Americans will come to believe that the only people hard-headed enough to fight the religious lunatics of the Muslim world are the religious lunatics of the West’
Rather than heed the warnings contained within, critics of Harris opted for distortion instead – namely by spreading the lie that Harris was actually issuing a call to embrace fascism rather than decrying the empowerment of it. As Harris clarifies here:
‘The whole purpose of that essay (written in 2006) was to express my concern that the political correctness of the Left has made it taboo to even notice the menace of political Islam, leaving only right-wing fanatics to do the job. Such fanatics are, as I thought I made clear, the wrong people to do this, being nearly as bad as jihadists themselves. I was not praising fascists: I was arguing that liberal confusion and cowardice was empowering them.’
Fast forward nearly a decade and we appear to be catching a glimpse of what liberal complacency looks like in the rise of one Donald Trump. A man who sees the collective punishment of Muslims as a solution to Jihad, amongst other abhorrent views. This man isn’t just some TV rent-a-mouth, but a Presidential Candidate. If alarm bells weren’t ringing for liberals in 2006, they should be now, because the house is on fire.
This is a perfect example of how toxic the ‘nothing to do with Islam’ brigade has been on our political landscape. Whilst this collective can only insist that we needn’t be concerned about Islam, the far-right are able to mine a ceaseless supply of Islamic terror to bolster their narrative. The really bad news is that this supply won’t be decreasing any time soon either.
What is on the decline however is the number of people willing to subscribe to the head in the sand approach from the left – namely individuals who are able to see, read or listen to what’s actually going on in the world.
Without a sensible, mainstream counter-narrative, who are the uninformed, frustrated and fearful going to look to when those elected are clearly lying (at least to themselves) about the problem? It’s no surprise that some people may opt for Trump’s wrong ‘solutions’ over no clear solutions at all. Trump is at least ‘in the right ball park’ as they say Stateside, insofar as the problem is related to Islam. It’s just that he’s swinging like a lunatic and isn’t fit to play the sport.
It’s hard to estimate just how many of Donald Trump’s supporters can be explained by this phenomenon, but the answer surely has to be ‘more than enough’. It’s unlikely that Donald Trump will ever make it as far as The White House, happily. But it makes you wonder just how many warning shots liberals are willing to ignore before they decide to reclaim the stage on this issue. The consequences of my fellow liberals not being up to the task is a future reality too grave to contemplate.
Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.