Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jeffrey Goldberg's Relativist Extremism

Jeffrey Goldberg provides an excellent example of the contrast between those who take seriously the threat to the West from global Islamic terrorism and those who discount the danger in favor of a moral-relativist strategic epistemology.

At issue for Goldberg is the alleged cabal of Jewish extremists behind the political documentary movie, "Obssession: Radical Islam's War Against the West":

If you read Goldberg's essay, he lays out not so much a criticism of the movie itself, but of the temerity of the movie's backers and cast to adopt an attitude of Western exceptionalism.

Goldberg's project is to focus on the background of the film's producers as Likud-backing totalitarians, and then to throw out the red-herring of Nazi Germany's industrial-scale extermination:

The tragedy of "Obsession" is not that it is wrong; the tragedy is that it takes a serious issue, and a serious threat - that of Islamism - and makes it into a cartoon. Its central argument is that the "Islamofascism" of today is not only the equivalent of Nazism, but worse than Nazism. This is quite a thing for a Jewish organization to argue. One of the featured speakers in "Obsession" is a self-described "former PLO terrorist" named Walid Shoebat, who argues on film that a "secular dogma like Nazism is less dangerous than Islamofascism is today."
With the exception of Stalin's murder of tens of millions in the Soviet Union, there's never been anything like the industrial killing of Hitler's Reich. And what the Soviets made up in pure scale is not matched in Hitler's program a racial eliminationism.

But for Goldberg to lay it out as he does is really a ploy to cut off discussion of
the genuine existential danger that radical Islam poses to the West.

The point for Goldberg really isn't to debate the legitimate threat of global jihad to the survival of the Western democracies, but to preempt criticism of Barack Obama:

The film is meant to suggest that Obama will provide aid and comfort to Islamism, or is an Islamist himself. There is not one shred of proof on this planet that Barack Obama is anything other than an Israel-supporting Christian. Yes, he went to party with Rashid Khalidi. So did I. Does that make me a member of Hezbollah?

I actually have another idea for a film: I would call it "Obsession" as well, but it would be about the poor souls who believe that Obama is a radical Muslim, that Israel has a right to expel Arabs from its lands, and that America should declare war on all of Islam.
Actually, this is not what the film says at all.

The opening credits declare that the film is not directed at the great majority of Muslims worldwide who are peaceful and abhor terrorism. Viewers can judge for themselves if folks like Carolyn Glick are extremists, but to take such a narrowly partisan view of an issue of great importance, to dismiss it with the same cartoonishness that he decries, shows Goldberg as no more than a blind partisan hack intent to demonize his alleged demonizers, and to dismiss as conspiracy the deep, underlying sympathy that Barack Obama holds for those who have long committed themselves to the destruction of the United States.