The revelation today (by Bret Baier of FNC) that the murder of Chris Stevens, the American Ambassador to Libya, along with three other Americans, was not a spontaneous mob response to a video entitled “The Innocence of Muslims”, but was almost immediately understood as an episode in the war on terror, has provoked an absurd response from one Democratic Party ally, Simon Rosenberg, who defended Susan Rice’s appearance on five Sunday talk shows blaming the murders on the video.
It is my suspicion that Fox and others will miss the point of the line perpetrated by the Obama administration (including Hillary Clinton), who have equivocated on the First Amendment by slamming the ugly and mendacious video, apologizing for its very existence. I have seen the same type of argument coming from cultural nationalist minorities since the 1970s: that “positive images” of their groups will advance their interests, and that negative images are responsible for “prejudice” and “institutional racism.”
Such an argument reminds me of the hegemonic liberal line following WW2, that it was Nazi propaganda that moved the normally stolid and sensible German people to follow Hitler. Why was this claim put forth? We needed Western Germany as a buffer against the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Such a diplomatic position may explain why antisemitism is not taught in the schools, while “racism” is roundly denounced, to the point where any black nationalist movement gets a pass as an understandable response to generations of persecution.
This absurd claim purporting to explain Hitler’s bond with the German people is at the bottom of the more recent multicultural taboo on negative images and hate speech. Its source in intellectual history is German Idealist epistemology that privileges stories and visual symbols over class coalitions, class interests, mistakes of leaders (i.e., appeasement, etc.)
Here are just a few of the many blogs that I have written on threats to the First Amendment. I worry that the term “Islamophobia” will take the place of rational analysis of divisions between radical Islamists (jihadists) and those Muslims who have adopted the chief tenets of the civilized West and the Enlightenment. If Obama is re-elected, I fully expect new rules forbidding debates over the political direction of countries in the Middle East and in the Third World in general. Such rules would be defended as partaking of “internationalism” as opposed to proto-fascism in America, pinned of course on the Right and on any teachers and professors who stray from the established discourse on foreign policy.