Why does Robert Spencer, a Christian conservative, support Hirsi Ali?

In several articles over the last year, I have presented evidence that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-Dutch politician, critic of Islam, and conservative icon, is in fact a secularist leftist anti-Christian—an enemy of the traditional West and of whites. She is certainly an enemy of Western political liberty, having sought to ban Christian and conservative parties in Europe, though of course she strongly advocates modern, libertine-type liberty. She was also among the 12 signers of a leftist anti-Islam manifesto in March 2006 that said, “It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.” The clear implication is that Christian “theocrats”—which by contemporary standards means anyone who actually believes in Christianity—are Ali’s enemy as much as jihadists are.

Here are some of my articles on her:

Hirsi Ali is not just anti-Muslim, she’s anti-Christian

Secularists who oppose religion instead of Islam (my critique of the leftist and anti-Christian manifesto that Ali signed)

Hirsi Ali’s anti-Christian agenda

Hirsi Ali, the conservatives’ hero, wants to ban Belgian conservative party as Nazi-like

Why conservatives must not depend on “conservative” minorities

In contrast to my critical views of Ali, Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, in an announcement of a speech Ali will be giving at Harvard, calls her “one of the heroes of our age.” This brings to mind the criticism I made of Spencer in 2004. I pointed out that Spencer, though a Christian of Near Eastern ancestry, and one of the strongest and most courageous critics of Islam writing today, does not seem to be clearly for anything except secular pluralist liberalism. Thus he constantly attacks Islam, but never seems to offer any defense or articulation of the Western culture that Islam threatens. He has repeatedly written that Islam and multiculturalism threaten “secularism,” rather than Western civilization. In a discussion at VFR following the linked article, Mr. Spencer denied that he was seeking to secularize the West and said that he thinks the West cannot defeat the global jihad “without recovering its own spiritual and cultural resources.” This was welcome to hear. Yet if Spencer does not favor a secularist agenda, if he values the traditional West and Christianity, why does he consider Ali a hero?

Spencer would probably reply, as he has before, that my criticisms are nothing but unproductive carping given the importance and the courage of Ali as an ally of the West against Islam. But I do not accept his premise. To put my own position simply: if the enemy of my enemy is also the enemy of the things I hold dear, she cannot my friend—or my hero. Given Ali’s record as an anti-Christian secularizer, a would-be abolisher of conservative parties, and a promoter of a radically libertine West, Spencer’s unabashed admiration for her suggests that my criticisms of him in 2004 were correct.

The most generous interpretation of Spencer’s support for Ali is that he is caught up in the typical mainstream conservative fallacy that only Muslims have the true moral authority to criticize Islam, that only nonwhite minorities have the true moral legitimacy to defend the West, and therefore white conservatives must have a conservative minority permanently attached to them at the hip if they are to seem legitimate themselves. But, as we’ve seen over and over, many of these “conservative” minorities do not defend the West, but, unsurprisingly, pursue their own, minority, agenda against it. If the West is to be defended, we Westerners must do it ourselves, not rely on non-Westerners to do it for us—non-Westerners whom we then make into our “heroes,” thus putting the seal on our own moral and political impotence.

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Karen writes from England:

Hirsi Ali demonstrates the arrogance of non-Westerners in Western countries; countries that have graciously if foolishly allowed such people rights of entry and even citizenship. It is one thing for her to call for a ban on Islam, her own and an alien, barbaric religion. It is quite another for her to call for a ban on the host society’s religion [LA note: Ali called for the banning of a Christian party, not of the Christian religion]; a religion that underpins the very civilisation of the West. This reveals, in quite a striking way, her ignorance of Western civilisation and its development. It also reveals her lack of interest in learning about it or becoming part of it. She manifestly wants to reject it. She is, at core, a traitor who aims for the destruction of Western civilisation and its replacement by a utopian free for all which will probably turn out to be a free destination for her fellow blacks (and Moslems). She clothes this in an anti Islamic stance which simultaneously conceals her true objectives regarding the West and flatters her fellow “conservatives” into giving her visibility. She is a fraud. She lives in the West but does not want to be part of the West.

In essence the Christian party she wants to kill off in the Netherlands is the political wing of the Dutch Reformed Church, the same Church which founded the Nationalist party in South Africa. The Nationalist party built an affluent First World country but posed limitations on nonwhites in the form of apartheid. They also banned pornography, abortion, illegal drugs, gambling, pole and lap dancing and limited TV broadcasts to certain hours per day. They enforced law and order and gave criminals tough sentences. Hirsi Ali understands that this party will in all likelihood block Third World immigration and may impose restrictions on immigrants. She knows that they will likely uphold Western civilisation and end the free for all tolerance which has destroyed the Netherlands. She is therefore acting as a black in the interests of blacks. In the end they are all the same; it just comes down to acting in their own racial interests and against the whites’ interests. It is race and not religion which is the interest.

Alex K. writes:

“To put my own position simply: if the enemy of my enemy is also the enemy of the things I hold dear, she cannot my friend—or my hero.”

But can she not at least be an ally? Stalin was the enemy of all we held dear, wasn’t it acceptable to ally with him in World War II? Or to ally with very oppressive regimes in the Cold War?

LA replies:

I was thinking that when I was writing it, but it didn’t quite fit in.

It depends. My position is that religious people and secular people need to work together to save the West from Islam. But if a secularist is waging rhetorical war against Christians, conservatives, and whites, then what is the basis of an alliance? I mean, Ali seems a standard leftist, railing everywhere against conservatism. Everything she would do, would undermine any attempt to defend Europe. Any measure against Islam that went beyond what she would approve of, she would attack as racist and Nazi.

I repeat, that manfesto she signed made “theocracy” the enemy. The manifesto implicitly equates Christianity with sharia and jihad. For there to be an alliance, there has got to be a measure of mutual respect. I told Andy Bostom in the fall of ‘04 that his friend Ibn Warraq’s aggressive, wise-guy atheism was a real turnoff. I said, “You’ve got to tell Warraq that if he wants the support of conservatives, he can’t go around mocking God and attacking Christianity. His subject is Islam, he should stick to that and not attack religion in general.” I said this to him several times, with utmost seriousness. I said Christians can work with secularists, if there is mutual tolerance. The message never got through.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 09, 2006 10:26 AM | Send

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