There's a certain
consistent pattern regarding the worldwide Left's assessment of
culpability for Muslim terror. It is the fault of the murdered.
recent example is the blaming of Denmark, or at least the Danish
newspaper, for publishing cartoons of Muhammad. From Kofi Annan
to The New York Times -- and the other American newspapers
that declared respect for religious symbols a new journalistic
virtue -- liberal and leftist opinion always condemns violent
Muslim demonstrations, but always with a "but." The
"but" is that in the final analysis, it was the Danish
and other European papers' faults for insulting the Muslim prophet.
This is only the latest
example of finding the victims of Islamic violence responsible
for that violence.
For a decade or more,
it has been a given on the Left that Israel is to blame for terror
committed against Israelis by Palestinian Muslims (Palestinian
Christians don't engage in suicide terror). What else are the
Palestinians supposed to do? If they had Apache helicopters, the
argument goes, they would use them. But they don't, so they use
the poor man's nuclear weapon -- suicide terror.
The same argument
is given to explain 9-11. Three thousand innocent Americans were
incinerated by Islamic terrorists because America has been meddling
in the Middle East so long. This was bound to happen. And, anyway,
don't we support Israel?
And when Muslim terrorists
blew up Madrid trains, killing 191 people and injuring 1,500 others,
the Left in Spain and elsewhere blamed Spanish foreign policy.
After all, the Spanish government had sent troops into Iraq.
When largely Muslim
rioters burned and looted for a month in France, who was blamed?
France, of course -- France doesn't know how to assimilate immigrants,
and, as the BBC reported on Nov. 5, 2005, "[Interior Minister
Nicolas] Sarkozy's much-quoted description of urban vandals as
'rabble' a few days before the riots began is said by many to
have already created tension." Calling rabble "rabble"
causes them to act like to rabble.
If you wish to test
the thesis that the Left blames those blown up for being blown
up by Muslim terrorists, have your son or daughter at college
ask some liberal arts professors who is to blame for 9-11 or Muslim
suicide bombers in Israel, etc.
In fact, one way to
describe the moral divide between conservatives and liberals is
whom they blame for acts of evil committed against innocent people,
especially when committed by non-whites and non-Westerners. Conservatives
blame the perpetrators, and liberals blame either the victims'
group or the circumstances.
We Americans are used
to this. For decades, liberals have blamed violent crime in America
on racism and poverty, i.e., on American society far more than
on the murderers, rapists, arsonists and muggers themselves. Conservatives
blame the criminals.
Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, black mobs murdered innocent
Korean shopkeepers and burned sections of the city. The liberal
response in America was virtually universal: We must understand
the anger of these people at American racism. The daily special
section on the riots in the major local newspaper, the Los
Angeles Times, was titled, "Understanding the Rage."
Friedman, the New York Times foreign affairs correspondent,
has been among the few prominent liberals to support the Iraq
War, he regularly blames Islamic terror on unemployment in the
Since examples of
liberals refusing to blame criminals and terrorists for their
behavior are legion, let's try to figure out why this moral inversion
is so common.
Here are three hypotheses:
One is that liberals
tend to blame outside forces for evil. This emanates from the
secular humanistic view of people as basically good -- and therefore
human evil must come not from the bad choices and bad values of
the evildoer, but from the unfortunate socioeconomic and other
circumstances of the person's life.
The second explanation
is that as you go further left on the political spectrum, it becomes
increasingly difficult to blame the "weak" for any atrocities
they commit. The Left does not divide the world between good and
evil nearly as much as it does between rich and poor, and between
strong and weak. Israel is stronger and richer, so Palestinian
terror is excused. White America is stronger and richer than black
America, so black violence is excused. The West is stronger and
richer than the Muslim world, so Muslim violence is explained
And third, liberals
tend to be afraid of the truly evil. That's why the liberal newspapers
of America refused to publish the Danish cartoons, probably the
most newsworthy cartoons ever drawn, but have never had any hesitance
about showing cartoons and photos that mock Jewish and Christian
symbols. Christians and Jews don't kill editors.
We don't know who
will be the next target of Islamic or other murderers from poor
or non-Western or non-white groups. All we can know is that liberal
and leftist thought will find reasons to hold the targeted group
2005 Creators Syndicate