The Knife and the Pony

I was puzzling and pondering about the alliance between the Left  and the Jihad. Having exhausting any historical cause or psychological cause, I conclude the cause is spiritual.

The inspiration of the imps in Hell, consumed with their wretched hatred of mankind, are the only thing sufficient to explain how Leftists can (for example) at once claim to support the rights of women, and bring the terror and majesty o the law to bear against writers (including, namely, Mark Steyn) for talking about honor-killings and female genital mutilation.

Tom Simon, one of the most intelligent writers it has ever been by pleasure to read, recently wrote in the comments here on the topic of this alliance:

I’m sure the match was made in Hell, but there is, unfortunately, a pseudo-rational basis for the unholy alliance. It is an outgrowth of Marxist thinking, though most of the people who subscribe to it don’t know that and have no idea they are practising Marxists, because of the stupid modern habit of jumping into an argument in the middle without any attempt to find out what axioms it is based upon.

Put as shortly as possible: All property is theft; therefore those who have no property are the victims of theft. Muslim countries are poor, therefore they are victims of those who are rich.

In slightly greater psychological detail: Discrimination (to the Modern Leftist) is the ultimate sin. All cultures, all behaviours, all plans and courses of action, all people and all nations, are inherently equal. Therefore, no matter what anybody does, they ought always to get equal results. This does not happen. Therefore, there must be some swindle going on — in some unseen way (‘systemic’ is the usual word), those who succeed are taking away success from those who fail. To you and me, who look at facts and evidence and reason, it is obvious that a man who works twelve hours a day at productive employment will do better than the man who spends those twelve hours drinking whisky. But to the Modern Leftist, there is a priori no reason to prefer work to whisky; therefore the man who works is robbing the drunkard.

Therefore, the Modern Leftist is committed always and everywhere to favour those who fail over those who succeed. It is a five-year-old’s view of reality, if five-year-olds were susceptible to paranoia and capable of advancing complicated conspiracy theories. If somebody has a pony, he took it away from somebody else, and that should be my pony, and I want my pony, I want my pony, I want my pony! The fact that ponies come from somewhere, and not everybody automatically has one, does not impinge upon these people’s consciousness. It cannot, because that knowledge contradicts the doctrine of equal results and is therefore thoughtcrime. The idea that actions have consequences, the idea of cause and effect, the idea that ponies are in limited supply and you have to do some particular thing to get one — these ideas are anathema; they are Kryptonite to the Modern Leftist mind, and they will contort their thoughts into the most idiotic forms rather than admit these things.

As I said, I have no doubt that the ultimate inspiration of this disease is diabolical in nature; but the vector is all too human. What is unutterably sad is that human beings are taught to operate their minds (I will not say ‘think’) in this way. Modern public education consists of little else; and it is chiefly through public education that the Gramscian ‘long march’ through the institutions to ultimate power has come to bear fruit.

My comment:

Bravo. Mr Simon, like everything of yours I have read, your words are lucid and brilliant.I cherish, for example, the sentence “What is unutterably sad is that human beings are taught to operate their minds (I will not say ‘think’) in this way.”

And yet my intellect is not satisfied with your explanation, because it does not explain the central mystery.

The central mystery is that if Marxists and Political Correctoids (as we might call those Leftists who adopt Marxist ideas and attitudes without knowing their sources) were motivated simply by envy, by wanting a pony (or, in this case, wanting a rainbow-powered hovercraft unicorn) their reason would tell them to adhere to the party promising them a unicorn, and to eschew the party not promising them a unicorn, but promising to behead them.

So it makes a sort of fatuous sense for a Political Correctoid to vote for a demigogue promising to despoil the rich and distribute wealth from the bottomless coffers of the state. The coffers are bottomless because money comes from nowhere without cause and effect. That is the way things work in Cloud-Cuckooland: economists say “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” and the Correctoid replies, “If we clap our hands hard enough, Tinkerbell will give us all free lunches!”

So the Correctoid adopts an attitude of unreality. (Even the phrase ‘political correctness’ is a reference to the difference between factual correctness, i.e. reality, and political correctness, i.e. make-believe.)

The Correctoid brings an excessive gullibility to bear on any demagogue who pretends that the laws of economics are optional, or, worse, are a conspiracy system. The prime moral commandment of the Correctoid system is a mutual agreement not to disturb the mutual deception, the game of play-pretend, as the demagogue and his victims, who also his enablers, mutually reinforce the mutual hallucination that they will not one day have to pay, either in gold or in blood, the bill when it comes due.

But I do not see how this fits in with the Correctoid lust and longing for torture and death at the hands of theocratic misogynistic sadist barbarians.

The Jihad is not offering the spoiled brats of the Left a unicorn, or a pony. They are offering everything the Left says they hate and fear from the Catholic Church: that is, the Jihad is anti-abortion, anti-homosexual, anti-women, strictly patriarchal, severely puritanical, abhorrently bloodthirsty, fanatically intolerant.

In short, the Jihad is the Leftist caricature  of bigoted fascist rightwingism sprung to life. Everything the Left says they hate in me exists in reality in the Jihad, or more so.

So the conversation goes like this:
Left: ‘I want a pony!’
Right: ‘Left, you may have a pony, if you earn it.’
Jihad: ‘Left, I want to saw your head off with a blunt knife while singing the praises of Allah, after forcing you watch me sodomize your children and raping the headless body of your wife. Death to the Left! Death to the Great Satan!’

Left (in reply): ‘Three cheers for the Jihad! They are the good guys! Send human shield to protect them at the expense of our own lives! Grant them the protection of civilian courts! The Right is to blame for all the evils in the world! WE LOVE YOU JIHAD!’

You see? Even with your explanation, which I uphold and believe to be the truth, it is not a sufficient truth. It still just makes no sense.

Now, you might say that the Left is unaware of the Jihadist excesses, and does not know what they stand for, or what they believe, or how they act, or what the history of the West since circa AD 700 has been, or since circa AD 1930. And all that is true. A careful and well-practiced and nuanced ignorance and willful blindness, a bold unwillingness to confront, or even to be aware of, any fact, no matter how painfully obvious, is the hallmark and leitmotif of the Left.

They are justly proud of an ability to play play-pretend so hard, with their eyes squeezed so tightly shut, that not a single droplet of reality, howsoever tiny, can enter the rigid enclosure of their hermetically-sealed brains. They inflict the fate of Winston Smith upon themselves voluntarily, and love Big Brother with their immense talent at doublethink and groupthink in full play.

But this merely puts the question at one remove. If the Left are unaware that Islam is a religion bent on violent world dominion, violent suppression of women, violent extermination of the Jews, and violent annihilation of every human right and freedom the Left claims to cherish, why does the Left go to such marathonic and moronic efforts to become and to remain unaware?

The vastness of the propaganda machinery, the billions of dollars involved, the cooperation from Hollywood, from Academia, from Human Rights Commissions and lawyers and public opinion makers is simply staggering to contemplate.

So, no. The Left are surely ignorant of the truth, but it is a deliberate ignorance, bought at great costs and sustained with an astonishing discipline of effort over a long period. Why? What is the point of so much effort?

We know that the Left is suicidal. They wish the destruction of the civilization that sustains them, or, at least, they work for the destruction while claiming to work for the foundation of a utopia. This has always been their motive and their method. Leftists regret not having had been aborted; they look forward to being euthanized, preferably by being left to starve, Schiavo-style, slowly to death by indifferent nurses in their helpless old age, dying while crying for water.

But this goes beyond mere suicide. The Jihad wants to destroy the Leftist ideals, their minds, their souls, everything for which they stand.

What puzzles me, and what is not answered to my satisfaction is the question of why such efforts are being made by the Left to support an enemy of civilization even more hostile to the Left and to the announced goals of the Left than the sadistic, racist Nazis and the vicious, totalitarian Soviets?

Stalin indeed might have rewarded some of the useful idiots in the West who served his purposes, had he been successful. The Mullahs intend to inflict humiliation, torment, and death upon the useful idiots.

So why are they making themselves so useful? Why are they so idiotic?


  1. Comment by DGDDavidson:

    . . . the idea that ponies are in limited supply and you have to do some particular thing to get one . . .

    Quick, someone tell me what particular thing I have to do to get my pony.

  2. Comment by paul.griffin:

    I might venture that they share a common hatred for this country. Their enactment of that hatred differs quite a bit, but they both think of America as the Greatest Force For Evil In The World. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that.

    • Comment by The OFloinn:

      “The idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,
      All centuries but this and every country but his own.”
      —W.S.Gilbert, The Lord High Executioner’s Song

    • Comment by paul.griffin:

      I would also proffer that many of those who show contempt for this country have not spent much, if any, time outside of it. And most of those who have, have spent time in Europe, wallowing further in depravity. Spend a few years doing missions work in the slums of Guatemala or dealing with the utter corruption of (and occasionally fearing for your life due to) the police force in Mexico, and America starts to look pretty damn good.

      It grieves me tremendously to think of what she is becoming (not merely our government, but our electorate), of what people are throwing away for the sake of, as Vanderleun put it, “having any kind of sex life you want”.

  3. Comment by vanderleun:

    “to support an enemy of civilization even more hostile to the Left and to the announced goals of the Left than the sadistic, racist Nazis and the vicious, totalitarian Soviets?”

    Although you touch upon the reason when you write ” sodomize your children and raping the headless body of your wife” it is not surprising that you turn away from the deeper implications. The Left is, as we know, spiritually perverse. What is harder to see (because it is harder to look at) is that this spiritual perversion’s runoff is sexual perversion. The Left is, in homosexual parlance, the Submissive Bottom to Islam’s and Jihad’s sadistic and genocidal top. Members of the Left are sexually stimulated by buggerings of children and rape of murder victims. The derangement of jihad actually makes them yearn to be buggered and raped by Jihadists. It’s a disgusting psychological sickness and difficult to contemplate. But there it is. After all the current deal the Left makes with the rest is that if you just do things the Left way they’ll let you have any kind of sex life you want.

    Very Satanic. Isn’t it?

  4. Comment by Joseph M (was Ishmael Alighieri):

    Apart from recognizing its diabolical origin, I have little to add. Here it is:

    – Islamic rage is assumed to *result* from western (Christian) oppression. Remove the oppression, and fanatical Muslims will be just like your Mormon next door neighbors: nice guys who hold a few whacky but mostly harmless beliefs. They will realize they don’t *really* want to saw your head off with a dull knife once we stop being mean to them.

    – history was written or edited or suppressed by mean Christians/imperialists/capitalists, and so cannot be trusted. In fact, whatever we’re told the books say (we’re not actually going to read them, just have members of our tribe tell us what they say) we can safely assume is the opposite of the truth.

    – You, John C Wright, as well as all members of your tribe – and we will assign you a tribe, you have no say in the matter – are liars and meanies. You must be ridiculed or ignored. I will become ritually unclean if I were so foolish to acknowledge that you even have arguments.

    – You either get it, or you don’t. You’re either a member of the cool kids club, where everybody agrees to have miraculously received a whole and entire all explaining world view that is prior to and trumps and obviates all logic and reason – or you’re not. If you don’t get that it’s all the Spirit unfolding himself in History, or dialectical materialism, or men suppressing women, or our ego suppressing our sexual desires, and so on, there’s no *reasoning* that going to help you get it. You are both mechanistically doomed to not getting it (due to your class, gender, culture or whatever), and at the same time completely culpable and worthy of death for not getting it.

    But, yea, this is a mystery.

    • Comment by SMM:

      I believe Joseph has hit the nail on the head.

      Q: Why do Leftists oppose those who subjectively disagree with their plank, yet aid those who objectively will oppose their plank, even their existence?

      My answer: 1) Because they “are taught to operate their minds” that the Right is the true threat. Meanwhile, the Left believes islam’s objective threat is a fantasy, a scary story perpetrated by the Right. Should only the Western Tradition/Christendom be weakened, then, of course, islam wouldn’t really do those things our enemy, the Right, claims they would do. islam, in her weakness is being used (by the Right!), in order for them to oppress us. Those Rightists are crying “wolf” to get the advantage over us.
      2) Pride. These have been our arguments for so long now (at least a few decades!) that to not oppose our supposed enemies, those Rightists, would be to acknowledge we were wrong about being FREE — you know to makes babies, kill them, abuse our bodies, and feign intellectual superiority. We choose islam as our ally (for now) to keep those Rightists at bay. We’ll either corrupt the islamists or backstab them as necessary later.

      Little does the Left seem to care that the islamist has chosen them for an ally for the same reason. When we get in a position of power, we will convert or backstab the Leftist (as necessary).

  5. Comment by Mme Scherzo:

    Jamie Glazov has been flogging this dead pony for awhile now. (United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror) It seems like a marriage of convenience, with the understanding that one side will co-opt the other once the Great Satan is neutralized.

    That’s the simplistic answer, though. I’ll leave the icky details to more experienced plumbers.

  6. Comment by Stephen J.:

    As always, I will attempt to extend what benefit of the doubt can be extended, first by noting Mr. Simon’s comments:

    “Therefore, the Modern Leftist is committed always and everywhere to favour those who fail over those who succeed.” This is not quite true; the idealistic progressivist sees this as favouring the have-nots over the haves, the poor over the rich — a plank which is, after all, vital to the Judeo-Christian tradition; progressivism simply falls down when it reflexively and dogmatically assumes that the only meaningful responsibility for poverty is external and social. (Randian objectivists commit the opposite error, dogmatically assuming the only meaningful responsibility for poverty is internal and personal.)

    “The fact that ponies come from somewhere, and not everybody automatically has one… the idea that ponies are in limited supply and you have to do some particular thing to get one — these ideas are anathema….” As a logical thesis this is true and correct. It has, however, far less power of emotional conviction when the person saying it is (analogically) the one person, out of a hundred in the village, who owns seventy-five of the village’s eighty ponies, with the other five being fought over by the other ninety-nine. To say “There is not enough to meaningfully and evenly go around for everyone” does not mean “And therefore any possible distribution is just as fair as any other, prima facie, and nobody has any grounds for complaint whatever the distribution”.

    — And secondly by noting a distinction that Mr. Wright, in fact, makes himself when he (correctly, I believe) characterizes the hostile force as The Jihad, and *not* “Islam” or “All Muslims”. The atrocities of the jihadists are not denied outright en masse (though individual instances are often disbelieved), nor applauded or excused (except when executed against Israel and the U.S.), but they are disregarded as — and this is a key progressivist byword — non-representative.

    This is the answer to the question “Why are they making themselves such useful idiots?” They honestly believe that shari’a and the Jihad are transitory symptoms of a remediable economic situation, not an inevitable aspect of an essential cultural value set. They don’t want to beat the Jihad in war and devastate the Muslim people; they want to make the Jihad unnecessary by helping the Muslim people (materially, at least). They believe that Muslims will abandon jihad and shari’a of their own accord once they see the self-evident material benefits of doing so, and given the track record of that approach’s success with Christianity in the West, it’s not entirely incomprehensible that they might think this will work.

    In short, the progressivists don’t want to support jihad; they just want to help the poverty and injustice of ordinary Muslims, and they believe that the two can be sufficiently disentangled as to make this a meaningful distinction. I think this depressingly unlikely to be correct, but the stubborn refusal to give up trying to help those you see as suffering is, I have to concede, admirable. (Refusal to admit that you may be wrong about how to help or what will help is not — but since it’s all of an emotional piece, it’s all equally hard to do.)

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      “As a logical thesis this is true and correct. It has, however, far less power of emotional conviction when the person saying it is (analogically) the one person, out of a hundred in the village, who owns seventy-five of the village’s eighty ponies, with the other five being fought over by the other ninety-nine.”

      The problem with argumentum ad hominem is that the argument is unchanged no matter who utters it. I was as poor as a churchmouse back when I first read Ludwig von Mises, and was convinced, merely by its driving logic, of the force of the argument. The people who disagreed with me, and supported the socialist view, included millionaires and media moguls and movie star living in mansions.

      So, with all due respect, the power of emotion conviction here has power only over idiots, that is, men who abandon the difficult and boring work the thinking logically in preference to the sloppy and entertaining work of sneer at the imagined or real flaws of other men, in order to discredit what those men say, without dealing with what they say.

      That I would have to explain why argumentum ad hominem is invalid to anyone older than a High School sophomore is distasteful to me. Please do not bring up such arguments again, even to discuss why they have or lack an emotional appeal. No one worth convincing is convinced by such means.

      • Comment by Stephen J.:

        I agree wholeheartedly with your characterization of ad hominem (darn autocorrect spelled that as “nominee”!) as a rhetorically invalid technique of logical debate, but do you truly contend that when you find out someone advocating a particular point of view or course of action is behaving, consistently and egregiously, in such a manner as to suggest he does not believe it himself — perhaps even profiting from your belief in it — you do not acquire some suspicion of the probity of his argument? Was not one of the reasons you began developing suspicion of secular arguments for libertinism your observation that the people in question could not, did not, nor even particularly tried to, live up to its precepts of disinterested carnality, and became just as jealous when betrayed as any devotee of monogamy?

        One of the biggest things that undermined my willingness to consider the possible threat of anthropogenic climate change was my observation of the behavior of its biggest advocates, like Al Gore and David Suzuki, and of the poor science practices of its researchers like Mann and Briffa. Ad hominem does not disprove an argument, but it can be a very good point for why we might think it worth the effort to try to disprove. Even Jesus resorted to a good old-fashioned “Ye serpents, Ye generation of vipers!” now and again.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          No, the opposite. Each time in real life I have heard an argument ad hominem (“You support the Tea Party because you are a White” or “Catholics support contraception because they seek world domination via overpopulation” or “Economists believe in the free market because they are the bought lackeys of the rich”) it had been when there was no argument to be made. No one who had real ammo shoots blanks.

          Now, I do not mind someone who says, “Al Gore is a hypocrite therefore Al Gore is a bad man.” I do indeed believe Al Gore is a very bad man. But I do mind is someone says “Al Gore is a hypocrite therefore Global Warming is a fraud.” I do indeed believe that global warming is a fraud, but may my tongue be ripped from my Vulcan mouth with red hot pincers before I allow such illogic to disgrace my mouth.

          Again, if one is confronting an expert witness, and one wishes to impeach him, so that he is not taken as an expert, that is perfectly fair and valid as a type of argument. I believe, for example, that the Apostles did not invent the story of Christ to make money because they were martyred. I take them as expert witnesses, who, by being witnesses, have put their credibility (and hence their hypocrisy) into the dock.

          But this does not apply to arguments that stand or fall by their own merits. Not only do I not find ad hominem arguments probative or relevant, I have learned to abhor them to an extreme degree, because they are the sole and only line of attack ever used by the Left on any topic.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      oting a distinction that Mr. Wright, in fact, makes himself when he (correctly, I believe) characterizes the hostile force as The Jihad, and *not* “Islam” or “All Muslims”.

      This distinction is trivial. The Germans in World War Two who were not themselves members of the Nazi Party either actively or passively accepted and supported their atrocities. Likewise, the Russians who were not themselves members of the Communist Party. All Muslims share in the blame for atrocities committed in their name with their support in the same degree and to the same extent that all Spanish Catholics share the blame for the Spanish Inquisition. I certainly do not recall many of the commentators on the Left hastening to assure one and all that Christians are not to blame for the enormities of a few crazed individuals hijacking an otherwise noble religion.

      Indeed, I have even heard, although this is hard to believe, certain historically illiterate dunderheads routinely referring to the Crusades as if these great and noble wars were somehow bad or shameful. They do so in such a cursory way, however, I cannot tell what the basis for their implied criticism might be.

      During World War Two, is was not necessary for each and every mention of the Nazis to include a hasty disclaimer that ‘not all Germans’ were bad people. Why is this war different? Because, this time, the fascists have a God?

      • Comment by Stephen J.:

        Well, I happen to agree that the vast majority of ordinary Spanish Catholics shouldn’t be held responsible for the Inquisition (what voice did they have in it, after all?). It’s also worth noting that Nazi Party membership was closing in on 8 million in the 1940s, close to 10% of the entire nation’s population, while the 1.8 million estimated jihadists active today represent only around 0.1% of Islam’s 1.2-1.5 billion adherents. And unlike the Nazi Party, which was an artificial ideology less than 15 years old at the time it was voted in, Islam is a 1400-year old faith that represents an ancestral cultural identity and life-validating purpose for over a billion people, an identity those born and raised in it literally cannot conceive of abandoning without betraying everything they consider themselves to be. (Or without getting executed for apostasy, but for the vast majority the loss of Paradise is a greater fear than loss of life.) So I can understand why progressivists today feel it is much more important to emphasize what they see as a much greater gulf between active hostiles and passive civilians than existed in Germany and Russia.

        That I understand it does not mean I agree with it, of course — ironically, it is precisely because Islam is such a deeply entrenched value system that it can be that much more dangerous with that much fewer active combatants. But the question was why progressivism fails to see the threat, and I think this superficial perception of numerical proportion is one of the reasons.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          So I can understand why progressivists today feel it is much more important to emphasize what they see as a much greater gulf between active hostiles and passive civilians than existed in Germany and Russia.

          I would agree if, indeed, the gulf existed.

          But that same vast majority regards the conquest of the Eastern Roman Empire from Spain to Byzantium as their fundamental origin and validation, much as the English look at the Battle of Hastings, of the Americans at the Revolution. Jihad is preached by mainstream Islam in much the same way that Just War theory is preached by the Catholic Church.

          From the behavior of the alleged moderate Islams, their position is the same as that of the non-Nazi Germans or the non-Communist Soviets. Namely, they will make no difference whatsoever in the outcome of the struggle. They have no reason to prefer Western decadence to the new puritanical version of Islam which uses Communist style terror and infiltration tactics.

          You cannot be something with nothing. The Left and most of the Right stand for nihilism, the belief the reality is fluid and void. Christianity is no longer a powerful cultural force in the Western world, or a powerful political force. The so called moderate Islamics have not only no reason not to ally with Christianity over their neighbors, they have every reason not to: Islam exists only as an opposition to Christianity, and it was invented only in reaction to Christian and a rejection of it. Basically, what Mohammad invented was a heresy of Christian from which all humanity was divorced: a Christianity without Christ.

          And no one in his right mind would reject Islam for nihilism, or reject anything for nihilism. Even a warped and heretical version of the truth is better than a total mental and moral vacuum.

          (I am amused, unfortunately, at the use of the fluffy phrase “life-validating” to describe an otherworldly warrior religion whose most notable cultural export is the Wahhabi Death-Cult.)

          • Comment by Stephen J.:

            “And no one in his right mind would reject Islam for nihilism, or reject anything for nihilism.”

            Ayaan Hirsi Ali did. Is she not in her right mind?

            But you’re right that “life-validating” is too fluffy; say rather “identity-affirming”. Once you define yourself by a creed, to betray that creed is to betray yourself; this is an instinctive response deeper than reason, and progressivism, ironically, recognizes that trying to break this response by force is most definitely counterproductive and often even immoral depending on the degree of force used. (The only creed they will try to break by force is capitalist classical liberalism, and then only because they believe it is greed, not creed — their own version of No True Scotsman.)

            Again, I do not myself agree with their premises (which I believe tragically mistaken) or their conclusions (which I believe tragically counterproductive and dangerous); I merely try to demonstrate the connections between premises and conclusions, and why the conclusions are considered valid once and if those premises are accepted.

            • Comment by John C Wright:

              “Ayaan Hirsi Ali did. Is she not in her right mind?”

              Alas! You cut me to the quick. I admit the example stumps me. Maybe there are people who would rather believe in nothing than something. But it seems awfully unhealthy to me.

              I concede the point. Sane people can overthrow their old beliefs which are perversions of truth, and, in rebellion, fall into an error even more perverse, and this is not insane, merely a sign of that evil which all men carry in our hearts. I confess your wisdom and retract the statement.

              • Comment by Nicholas D. Rosen:

                Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an atheist, but not a nihilist. She believes in reason, and in trying to make this world (the only world she believes in) a better place. She believes in an objective reality, that things are what they are, and not what one wishes they were, or what it is politically correct this week to pretend that they are. You may think that her belief system is wrong, but it isn’t nihilism, certainly not in the same sense that some PC-niks are nihilists.

                • Comment by John C Wright:

                  Well said, but I am not the one who called Ali an nihilist. Stephen J did that, or no one did.

                  I divide the world into seven concentric rings. In the bullseye is the Catholic truth, which is the heart of Occidental civilization; and surrounding this is the inner or first ring of schismatics, such as the Orthodox Churches, Coptic, Cypriot, Russian, Malabar and so on; and second is the ring of heretics but who are still basically sound of heart and soul, albeit lacking the Eucharist, but who nonetheless keep Christ as the center of life; third is an outer ring of those who accept God but reject Christ’s divinity, and this includes Arians, Jews, Mohammedans and perhaps Mormons.

                  The next ring out is the Benighted, who regard religion as important, but not central, and look to worldly institutions for worldly solutions to man’s problems. No matter what his pronounced faith, in his heart and in his actions the Benighted Man is a Deist or Agnostic, someone suspicious of organized religion. He subjects faith to a benign neglect, even though he cherishes the freedom to worship as paramount. Faith is individual rather than collective, a matter of personal conscience, or taste. Thomas Jefferson is the exemplar of the Benighted.

                  In the East, Confucius is the Exemplar of this worldly pragmatism.

                  The fifth ring is the Wrathful, who regard religion, and all the works of civilization, as irredeemably wicked, and seek the overthrow of civilization in hopes of replacing it with a Cloudcuckooland utopia. The Wrathful are inevitably materialist Atheists, usually determinist. Karl Marx is the exemplar of the Wrathful, or Frederick Nietzsche.

                  Despite their hatred of supernaturalism, this is an ersatz religion growing out of the cultural assumptions of Christendom and feeding off it. It is unique to the West.

                  The sixth ring is the Pagans, who regard mysticism and spirituality as benevolent, but organized religion to be a corruption. They dismiss the promulgation of dogma or the use of reason in supernatural matters. They believe in an evolution from materialism to spiritualism, or in some sort of life-energy like the ‘Force’ in STAR WARS that makes no demands on them. Their gods are petty and tame. Mme Blavatsky and George Bernard Shaw and Shirley Maclaine are exemplars of such spiritual sloth.

                  Most pagans of Oriental, classical, or primitive faiths fall into this ring, but with the caveat that they are as virgins, ignorant of Christ, not as widows, who knew Christ and rejected the knowledge. Lao Tzu is the exemplar in the East of this form of non-rational mysticism.

                  The seventh and outer ring is Nihilism. This is the modern equivalent of Gnosticism, a belief that the evil of the world-system can be overcome by the esoteric knowledge and nonrational formula of the chosen few. Political Correctness is nihilism in its most perfect form. There is no exemplar of this disease, because while men can approach the Nothingness from various angles, no one can consistently enter into it fully or logically.

                  In the East, Buddhism is a type of nihilism, albeit one less optimistic than Western pseudo-Gnosticism of Political Correctness, because the Buddha does not believe the illusion of the world system to be of one’s own making or control, but malign.

                  While the Left is centered in the Fifth ring and slides ever more rapidly toward the abyss of the Seventh, some practitioners of Leftism can be found in the Fourth or Sixth. Having never read a word of Ali, I had no idea where she might be placed in my system. When Stephen J said (or implied) that she was a Nihilist, I was willing to assume he knew whereof he spoke.

                  But his point is still valid even if the example is not. There are indeed people who sell their souls and get nothing in return, for, if not Political Correctness would not be the dominant paradigm of the Twilight of the West in which we live.

        • Comment by Mary:

          “It’s also worth noting that Nazi Party membership was closing in on 8 million in the 1940s, close to 10% of the entire nation’s population, while the 1.8 million estimated jihadists active today represent only around 0.1% of Islam’s 1.2-1.5 billion adherents.”

          Apples to oranges. John Rabe was one of those Nazi Party members. Others were trying to hide pasts that would have gotten them into serious hot water with Nazis.

          To make a serious comparison, you have to include not only active jihadists, but those who lend tacit support, no matter how small.

          • Comment by Stephen J.:

            Agreed; although if “lends tacit support” is defined as merely “does nothing to stop them”, I think we may be veering dangerously close to exactly the kind of “there are no ‘innocent civilians’ in this struggle” viewpoint that Just War theory rightly forbids, and that we do not consider valid when our enemies apply it to us or our allies. (That Islamic militants see no problem applying it to us at all should be considered a key indicator of a critical value difference in the system, but Progressivism prides itself on its ability to edit value systems.)

            • Comment by Mary:

              Well, here’s an example. A woman left a corridor in an apartment building for her apartment for a few minutes. When she came back out, her toddler granddaughter had vanished. Dozens of people were in the corridor the whole time. None of them admitted to seeing anything.

              None of them ever have. Neither the girl nor her corpse have ever been found.

              Similarly there was a case in France where Muslims kidnapped and tortured a Jew. There were plenty of Muslims who heard his screams.

          • Comment by wlinden:

            Right. I just finished Zusak’s novel THE BOOK THIEF… There an “unreliable” man whose application to join the Party has been repeatedly refused, is caught giving food to a Jewish prisoner, and then effectively DRAFTED into the Party so he can then be drafted into hazardous air raid duty as punishment.

            Sorry, I do not buy that my cousin the Sufi dervish is any more “responsible” for atrocities than I am “responsible” for lynchings.

    • Comment by SMM:

      I believe your distinction in using The Jihad vs. Islam (or all muslims) is probably valid. Nonetheless, I believe that it does aid the benighted progressivist in using the byword you mentioned – “non-representative”. I have read too much Brigitte Gabriel to not agree with Mr. Wright about percentages of jihadists not mattering too much in the ideological application of islam by The Jihad.

      That said, your answer to the leftist psychology secondary to islam seems good to me. As John Lennon sang, “[they] want to change the world.”

  7. Comment by Darrell:

    I would suggest that the Left (depending upon how we are defining Left and Right) does not support Islamo-fascism/Jihad/Radical Islam, but rather that the Left justifies this movement as, essentially, the clinging to of guns and Qu’rans by a bullied and impoverished underclass. The Left does not react to Christianity this way because it is/was the dominant socio-political structure that they have been rebelling against for the last hundred years and they aren’t decided yet if they have won or are simply winning.

    When you look at Jihad, to use your term, from the view of the Left, they see people lashing out due to an intrinsically unfair system. If the system were corrected then the militant views would fall away of their own accord and then the real work of re-educating the people could take place. This re-education is now mostly understood by the Left as generational and strongly linked to access to public schools and higher education — in other words, the younger and the more educated are smarter (less religious) and more liberal than the older and the less educated.

    Jihad is simply not viewed as a credible existential threat by the Left but rather as a scrawny kid fighting a giant.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      I would suggest that the Left (depending upon how we are defining Left and Right) does not support Islamo-fascism/Jihad/Radical Islam, but rather that the Left justifies this movement as, essentially, the clinging to of guns and Qu’rans by a bullied and impoverished underclass.

      I submit you are making an error of fact. No Islamist preaching death for the Jews has been brought before the Canadian Human Rights commission for saying Jews should be killed. Mark Steyn, and journalist making political commentary — the core form of speech civilized societies do and must protect as inviolate — was.

      A young woman in Canada — I can look up the name and date and details if you wish, or you could as easily as I — was strangled to death by her father and brother for refusing to wear the head covering that is fashionable among Muslims since roughly 1970. The murder was treated in the press as if it were an understandable error in judgment, one commenter being so delicate in his language that he could not, for reasons I leave you to speculate, call it strangling.

      The sex slavery business in Holland is nowadays mostly run by Muslims. Schoolgirls are gang raped and photographed, and blackmailed by the photographs into a life of prostitution, control by drugs and beatings and threats against their mothers (there is usually no father around). The police are reluctant to investigate due to political correctness. They don’t want to be called racists. Read this:

      During the rocket attacks into Israel by Hamas, every single news story I hear on CNN, and I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE, reported the deaths of the Palestinians at the hands of the Jews. At first I could not believe what I was hearing. It was one stentorian condemnation after another, all heaping moral opprobrium on the Jews for daring to defend their little boys and girls from indiscriminate murder. Later, I heard another “news” segment with the same message. Later, a third and a fourth and so on.

      I heard not a single mention of the reason for the Israeli air raids, or what their targets where, or why the Hamas soldiers were bivouacked in high-profile areas like schools and hospitals and, in one case, a media center for the Western media. It was like listening to Pravda.

      In order to discover the Jewish causalities, I had to go on the Internet and look it up.

      It was pure and unadulterated anti-Israeli and Pro-Palestinian propaganda. Perhaps there were news segments on CNN which offered a more balanced view, or which were not damned lies uttered against our allies for the purpose of aiding and abetting the enemy, but, if so, I happened not to have heard them.

      “When you look at Jihad, to use your term, from the view of the Left, they see people lashing out due to an intrinsically unfair system. If the system were corrected then the militant views would fall away of their own accord and then the real work of re-educating the people could take place”

      You mean, to use the correct term. Please do not try my patience with your Orwellian word-games. I have no patience to liars or for idiots who believe lies.

      I am also not very patient with accusations that the Palestinians are somehow victims of the Jews, as if the Jewish wealth and success was not due to Jewish democracy and hard work, but was instead a sign the the Jews were pirates who had looted the Palestinians of the wealth and liberty they enjoyed under the reign of the Turks, their previous masters. It is, in other words, merely an ad hominem attack: the Jews are in the wrong because they are rich, or because they own the land of their ancestors.

      That the Jihadists are Western educated members of the Middle Class makes no dent in this dogmatic ad hominem favored by the Left. Facts do not matter to the Left.

      And yes, I am aware that the Left believes that the devil in their make believe theology, the unfairness of the system, is the cause of all human sin and error, and I am aware that their eschatology preaches that magical rainbow-powered unicorns, farting stardust, will descend from heaven and poop blessings and happiness and endless joy over all the world the moment the utopian radicals over throw the system. This is the basically the same as the belief of the ancient Gnostics.

      It is magical thinking. It is an example of an inability to distinguish a symbol from reality. It assumes magic (to the Left, economic systems are magic) causes evil and aggression, and that overthrowing the magic with more powerful apotropaic magic, if only enough rich Jews are sacrificed, the mysterious godlike forces governing the universe will be appeased, and the unicorns will finally appear, led by the Great Pumpkin.

      Your comment correctly and accurately reflects what it is the Left says their dogmas are. The comment is of interest, perhaps, to psychiatrists or anthropologists studying the causes of decline in a civilization, or to theologians studying a particularly vile and uncouth heresy. The belief is unique, in that, other other magical voodoo beliefs, or heretical dogmas, it neither identifies itself as magic nor as dogma, but takes itself to be a scientifically rational belief, confirmed by evidence, or a matter of plain common sense. That their dogmas is not a dogma is itself a dogma, and cannot be questioned, or even thought about, on pain of being denounced as thoughtcrime by their self-appointed inquisition, and suffering the Two Minute Hate.

      I think we can take it as a given that such Leftist beliefs are not only illogical and false, not only risible, but disgusting and vile.

      • Comment by Darrell:

        Mr. Wright

        As I am always misinterpreting your responses to me, I have a question before I respond to the meat of your reply. Are you intending to be disparaging towards me in your reply?

        I ask, in part, because I am fairly certain that you are calling me a liar (or an abetter of liars) and most of your response reads to me as if you are arguing against someone else’s post as I see very little in the first half that is logically connected to what I wrote.

        In other words, you asked two questions to which I answered and then you responded, once again to my interpretation, like a jerk.

        • Comment by John C Wright:

          I am not intending any disparagement. This often happens to me over the Internet, and I do not know why. My beautiful and talented wife thinks it is because I write with more formality and courtesy than is normal these casual days, and folks interpret that is being cold and insincere. I also tend to use plain words like “pervert” or “liar” when someone is perverting nature or saying a thing meant to deceive, rather than using a more polite circumlocution.

          But more likely I was being a jerk in my reply, since the topic is one where my opinions are strong, as is my frustration at an inability to make myself clear. I freely offer an apology for my jerkishness, and hope you will find the grace to forgive me.

  8. Comment by Stephen J.:

    I’d written a much longer post, but most of what I said has already been covered more succintly and less pompously above; I think my original submission can be dispensed with.

  9. Comment by Scott W.:

    Great analysis here which beats my theory that leftists spent lots of time in junior high getting wedgies, stuffed into lockers, and indian rope burns by white jocks and Islam is basically the grown up version of jocks and liberals still haven’t learned to stand up for themselves, so radical moslems need only threaten to put liberal’s head in the toilet and they will give you half of Israel.

    • Comment by Jordan179:

      Ironically, in junior high and high school I was exactly the sort of person — in my weirdness — who normally would have been bullied a lot. I was only bullied a little bit, though, largely because I tended to FIGHT BACK the moment that the bullying escalated to actual physical touching. Later, I found out that one of the reasons I couldn’t get along well with Leftist teenagers and young men was that they were horrified by my tendency to threaten violence in return when threatened with violence by others (by the time I reached my full growth, very few nasty people cared to push it beyond mere threats). Also, I found out that THEY tended to have been bullied a lot when they were small — which was probably not unconnected with their utter repudiation of even self-defensive violence.

      Make of this what you will — I think it’s somehow connected to the Left’s hatred of Israel.

  10. Comment by Tim Ohmes:

    What puzzles me, and what is not answered to my satisfaction is the question of why such efforts are being made by the Left to support an enemy of civilization even more hostile to the Left and to the announced goals of the Left than the sadistic, racist Nazis and the vicious, totalitarian Soviets?

    Could the source of the Left’s foolishness not be insurmountable pride.

    They view Christianity, Judaism, and especially the Catholic Church as mortal enemies who must be eliminated from the world, yet they do not have the courage or the means to accomplish their goal. However, they imagine the Jihadists to have the wherewithal, the will and the courage to do so. Why not egg the Jihadists on to do the dirty work they are too inept to accomplish.

    It may be they simply view them as “useful idiots”. I have no doubt they view all religionists as idiots, but the others ones are not “useful”. Once their prime enemy is defeated and destroyed, they merely face the simple task of converting those left to their view and eliminating those who will not conform.

    After witnessing the destruction of the Left’s major religious enemies, many other religions may fall or simply become ‘state religions’ which teach and live the party line. Then eliminate the Jihadists after the fact.

    I believe they think themselves superior to all religious minds but certainly they see themselves vastly superior to the primitive Jihadist minds. After it becomes only them against Islam, They imagine Islam will have no chance.

    Pride had led greater minds to equivalent foolishness.

    • Comment by John C Wright:

      But the Leftist to whom I from time to time speak do not seem that smart or that conniving. They hate (or feel condescending contempt for) Christianity, or, if Christian themselves, feel ashamed of the pretend Christian past invented by Elizabethan propaganda, oddly enough, still believed in the Anglosphere. But they do not hate the Islamics, who actually did do and always have done the things the Left blames the Church for doing.

      The Leftists seem to be sincere, and not to see where they are going. They seem not to be aware of what they are saying. It is like they are possessed.

      • Comment by Tim Ohmes:

        I agree they are sincere and they know they are sincere. They are more sincerely sincere than any other person has ever been sincere. Their sincerity trumps all others sincerity. This is their problem.

        They are so certain and sure of themselves, they believe they are incapable of error. Others may err but never shall they.

        In a manner of speaking, they are possessed. They are possessed with the pride of their education, pedigree, or any number of worldly gifts. They unknowingly exhibit the ‘knowledge of good and evil’ mistake of the Garden.

        I also agree with you that none in my experience is smart enough or conniving enough to accomplish their worldly ends. The problem is they are “useful idiots” for the one who is “the most cunning of all God’s creatures”.

        He certainly has the desire, the intelligence, and the malice. All he needs are physical bodies he can use to effect his ends. The Left is foolishly co-operating.

      • Comment by Jordan179:

        They ARE possessed — by destructive memes, riding their minds as surely as medieval demons.

        Normally, memes don’t work like that — we choose whether or not to adopt them. But if one is sufficiently weak-minded …

  11. Comment by False_Keraptis:

    Leftism is a world-striding, thousand-headed colossus of evil, so there is no single explanation for anything it does. Like your beloved Church, Leftism has something to offer everyone: cathartic violence, scientistic bean-counting, ecstatic self-abnegation, corrupt money-grabbing, and even hard work for the benefit of one’s fellow man. Off the top of my head, here are the reasons I see for a Leftist to align with Islam.

    1) Strategically, as Mr. Ohmes said, the Leftist sees Islam as the enemy of his enemy.
    2) Any idiot can sympathize with people who are similar to him, so to demonstrate his superior enlightenment and tolerance, the Leftist must sanctimoniously take the side of the foreign “Other.” The more repulsive this “Other,” the more evolved the Leftist must be.
    3) Islam looks like the underdog in its struggle with Western Civilization, and the Leftist likes to side with underdogs. We’ve all been raised on tales of the evil Empire and the heroic Rebel Alliance, and superficially the jihadis appear to be the plucky heroes of the story.
    4) When the White, Western working class failed to deliver the prophesied Revolution, the Leftist shifted his faith to the Third World and racial/religious minorities in the West as the instruments of utopia.

  12. Comment by Dystopia Max:

    It’s simple: The Left are the HIV virus. The Muslims, or the Nueva Aztlanis, the homosexual lobby, the Black Power types, the feminists, or any of the other festering resentment arrows in the left ‘coalition,’ are merely the various weaker diseases that develop into the AIDS that kills any part of the country after the defenses are weakened. Countries with half an ounce of love for their traditions or respect for their people would have kept them out or kept them imprisoned. But the left has been working on destroying that love, respect, and even the ability to make or enforce distinctions among friend and foe, for the past decades in its place in academia, media, government, and sadly, church councils.

    Once the sustenance collapses and the coalition clients revolt, the young people of today are going to swing right so hard they’ll make David Duke sound like Jimmy Carter. The HIV virus, like liberals, only survives amid the defenses that are still left to destroy, which is why rich elite neighborhoods are usually either far removed from the necessity of defense or active behind private security forces hired by someone else, for another purpose.

  13. Comment by joeclark77:

    Rush is right when he says “They want to beat us more than they want to beat Al Qaeda.” The Left does see us as their main enemy. You have all, above, articulated good reasons why. The part of the equation I would like to then look at is, given that there is something called “the Left” out there, why would a young person choose to “join” it? Personally, I don’t really buy that public schools are as effective at brainwashing as they mean to be. I remember graduating (and voting!) without any good idea which party stood for what, or which one I was going to be a member of. (And I was the valedictorian!) So I think people do make a free choice as to their politics, despite our fears and the left’s hopes that schools will indoctrinate us.

    I recall the arguments I had with friends in college. (Well, vaguely now.) I became a libertarian, and most of them became Democrats. Of the Republicans, my primary association was “old people”. Bob Dole running for President that year didn’t help. I was an oddball and stubborn contrarian, and probably ended up libertarian more because of my personality than any good reason. As for the liberals, I really think that they thought they were part of some new, exciting, youthful, emerging thing. There was the sense that we were rebelling against “old people”… the Republicans were a placeholder for our parents (who I now realize were placeholders for God).

    Somehow the Left has abolished the maxim that “age brings wisdom” and replaced it with the notion that age makes one stubborn and curmudgeonly and just unable to comprehend new ideas. They have offered the young people a way to believe that they can have wisdom without age, that voting for something new proves they are able to process new ideas that the old guys just can’t get. That’s it, I think: it’s a shortcut. You get to be the smartest guy in your family but you don’t have to do the work of learning and thinking and making mistakes and growing old.

    • Comment by SMM:

      Wonderfully stated. I can see why you were a valedictorian. Your gained wisdom from becoming an old(er) guy shows why it was wise for the Constitution to set minimum age limits for becoming US Senators and US Presidents. In my state, a few wet-behind-the-ear (19 y.o.) “geniuses” have been elected to state office and have proved that intellect does not a substitute make for the life experiences wisdom demands.

      It’s too bad it is so difficult to market a tried and true “old” idea as well as leftists market “new” ideas to the young. The wisdom of trying the “new” ideas and experiencing the consequences before admitting “age brings wisdom” tends to make a cynical old curmudgeon.

      Presently, we overwhelmingly put the consequences of those new ideas on the old curmudgeons living by non-sexy, wise values while the practitioner of the new ideas just moves on without learning the wisdom gained in failure. Meanwhile, the curmudgeon gets more curmudgeonly and less able to market the old value-laden ideas. He’s relegated to the heartless, old white guy tribe. The new idea practitioner, not getting complete consequences of his new ideas, believes his ideas still valid just not applied correctly or promulgated by the correct leader.

      The old curmudgeon just doesn’t “get it”. Oh, but he gets it! He “got it” (learned) for his mistakes, and now, usually via proxy through a polity, through his assumption of much of the consequences from the mistakes of the youth.

  14. Comment by Stephen J.:

    For the record: My general habit of playing devil’s advocate is meant only as a sincere attempt to discern truth by looking at both sides, and any aggravation caused by it is entirely unintentional. I apologize to those I have aggravated and will back off if requested.

  15. Comment by Johnny Caustic:

    Interesting question. Since you asked it, I spent all day thinking about it.

    I think the reasons leftists support Islam are simple, and the reasons leftists are indifferent to the extreme anti-liberal nature of Islam are complicated.

    Leftists support Islam to demonstrate moral superiority by championing an imagined victim group, to find allies in their fight against Western values and conceptions of social order, and to say “f you” to Christendom.

    Also, leftist men are wusses who naturally defer to anyone who threatens them.

    Let me expand on the first point. As Lawrence Auster points out, leftists do not see blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, etc. as moral actors. For the most part, only whites and other “privileged” groups (East Asians?) can be moral actors. The role of Muslims is to be acted upon, thereby demonstrating the holiness or wickedness of the actors. The emotion of self-righteousness is at the very core of leftism; the further left, the greater the competition to be holier than thou.

    Which brings me to the second question: why do liberals seems oblivious to the fact that Islam is a natural enemy of liberalism?

    The complement to the moral superiority of the leftists is the sacred status of the “oppressed” groups. This is how leftists express the natural human drive to religion; hence political correctness. Sacred oppressed groups cannot be oppressors.

    Most leftists genuinely believe that every human being is a liberal at heart, but oppression has stopped him from realizing his potential. Once that oppression is removed, Muslims will agree with leftists on the value of tolerance, democracy, equality, etc., because when the conditions for self-actualization are met, of course every human being wants those things!

    Ironically, liberals don’t really believe in diversity at all–they simply cannot conceive how utterly differently other civilizations see the world. When Muslims advocate killing all the Jews or express outrage at women being educated, they must be extremists, not at all representative–it would be racist to think most Muslims are like that.

    Leftists simply cannot imagine that Islam will one day forbid the infidels from promiscuity or place men above women in public as Christendom once did. Surely Muslims will never have enough power to be a threat to anybody, right?

  16. Comment by Carbonel:

    Just as an aside:

    The fact that ponies come from somewhere, and not everybody automatically has one… the idea that ponies are in limited supply and you have to do some particular thing to get one — these ideas are anathema….”As a logical thesis this is true and correct. It has, however, far less power of emotional conviction when the person saying it is (analogically) the one person, out of a hundred in the village, who owns seventy-five of the village’s eighty ponies, with the other five being fought over by the other ninety-nine. To say “There is not enough to meaningfully and evenly go around for everyone” does not mean “And therefore any possible distribution is just as fair as any other, prima facie, and nobody has any grounds for complaint whatever the distribution”.

    Unless the chappie with 75 ponies has the only stud, and is in cahoots with the local government to shoot anyone whose mare births a colt, they have no possible grounds for complaint. Work, save and purchase your own stud, then breed your own darn herd of 75+ ponies. Indeed the kind of mindset that only perceives people fighting over the five poinies instead of thinking, “hey, I’ve got an excellent market opportunity here” serves to underscore the point Mssrs. Simon & Wright were making.

    More to the point of the essay: It’s the lure of the Inner Circle. It’s why (and how) any young person would “become” a Liberal, and why he’d espouse both the magical-pony (economic doublethink) and magical-Jihadis (cultural doublethink) . Lewis diagrammed the process in detail in That Hideous Strength. So long (as Mr. Simon pointed out) that the Muslims can be en toto the Oppressed Other, they are useful non-humans to patronize, and nothing any of them does (so long as it isn’t done to a realio-trulio human, i.e. any given progressive) is relevant. More importantly, since the educated Jihadis can offer inner-circle cachet by befriending the leftist, and provide an instant marker for tagging the out-groups who don’t “get” “their” “truth,” they are very, very desireable indeed, no matter what their religion actually says.

    I also think that although Muslims worship an evil god, Islam qua Islam would not be so generally terrible (or perhaps, more accurately, such a well-spring of terror in the world) if it hadn’t been infected, at the beginning of the 20th Century, by Marxism and all it’s hideous ancillary ideologies.

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