My e-mail to Taranto about his endorsement of Peters (and about Taranto’s own past statements about Islam)

James Taranto
The Wall Street Journal

In your September 8 column about Attorney General Gonzales’ visit to the Wall Street Journal, you tell how he spoke about the “radicalization” that is going on in U.S. prisons, but then repeatedly refused to answer questions from the WSJ about whether this radicalization has anything to do with Muslims. You then commented:

There is, of course, a good reason for such evasion. We aren’t at war with Islam, and declaring war on a religion whose adherents number about one-fifth of the world’s population would be boneheaded in the extreme. (Ralph Peters eloquently answers anti-Muslim bigots in today’s New York Post.)

Below are direct quotes from Peters’s article attacking the Islam critics as Nazi-like bigots. So please tell me, do you believe that Islam critics such as Bat Ye’or, Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom, Diana West, and Serge Trifkovic, along with all the millions of people who believe that Islam represents a serious threat to our civilization and our freedoms (not to mention every serious Western observer and scholar on Islam who has ever written prior to modern liberalism, ranging from William Muir to Mark Twain to Winston Churchill),


  • represent “the most repugnant trend” in the current debate on Islam?

  • are more “destructive” than the anti-American left?

  • are members of an ugly “domestic insurgency” among “right-wing extremists bent on discrediting honorable conservatism”?

  • believe that “all Muslims are evil and subhuman”?

  • believe “that Muslims are Untermenschen”?

  • are promoting “the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca”?

  • are “just the Ku Klux Klan with higher-thread-count sheets”?

  • are “heirs of the creeps who once told us Jews can never be real Americans and JFK will serve the Vatican”? (See note below.*)

  • are “inveterate haters … whose personal disappointments have left them with a need to blame others (sounds like al Qaeda to me…)”?

  • are “bigots [who] might like to try to kill a billion Muslims”?

If you, along with Peters, believe that the above statements accurately describe those who speak of the centrality of jihad and sharia in Islam, or who even raise these points as things we ought to be concerned about, then please tell me how we can ever have a rational debate about Islam. For example, suppose we start out saying, as you do, that Islam must reform itself and adapt to democracy, but that, with the passage of time, it becomes more and more evident that Islam is not reforming itself and indeed is incapable of reforming itself. How can people even discuss this fact without being called Nazi-like “bigots” who want to “kill a billion Muslims”?

If a poll shows, as was recently the case, that 24 percent of British Muslims support terrorism, how can we discuss the meaning of this without being told that we are like the Ku Klux Klan?

If we find out that all devout Muslims believe that sharia law must govern the entire earth, and that non-Muslims must be subordinated under sharia law, how can we talk about the implications of this without being told that we are more destructive than the anti-American left?

And if we learn that all mainstream Muslim sects and all authoritative Muslim scholars support the sharia law which requires the death penalty for anyone who tries to leave Islam, how can we form logical conclusions about this without being told that we are “heirs of the creeps who once told us Jews can never be real Americans“?

Are you really sure that you want to approve of Ralph Peters’s unhinged outpouring of liberal hate in place of rational discussion about this vitally important problem?

Here are my discussions of Peters’s article:
Peter’s edifying contribution to the Islam debate
More on Peters’s unbelievable column; and a discussion of Western guilt

Here is Robert Spencer’s response to Peters’s article:
Ralph Peters flailing in a fog of confusion

Lawrence Auster
View from the Right

* Note: There were perfectly rational grounds for people to be concerned about the ultimate political loyalties of Catholics. John Kennedy himself treated those concerns as rational, not as bigoted. As candidate he made a speech saying that he would follow the U.S. Constitution, not the Vatican. This ended the problem. It is the height of political correctness to come along in the year 2006 and treat the rational concerns that people had in 1960 about a Catholic office-holder’s ultimate loyalty as though this were some monstrous act of bigotry.

Taranto called Islam a barbaric religion

This morning, after discovering a revealing item posted at VFR two years ago, I sent Taranto a follow-up e-mail:

To: James Taranto
Subject: Taranto called Islam a barbaric religion in 2004

Mr. Taranto,

As noted in the below e-mail which I wrote to you in February 2004 and then posted at my website, in February 2004 you wrote about the fact that hundreds of pilgrims are routinely stampeded to death at the stoning ritual during the Haj in Mecca, then you commented: “Isn’t there something barbaric—in practice, if not in principle—about a religion whose rituals routinely result in such bloodshed?”

In the same column you also said:

Describing Islam’s starkly disparate treatment of men and woman as “a show of equality” is downright Orwellian. For whatever reason, Western journalists, commentators and politicians engage in an awful lot of self-censorship and convoluted reasoning to avoid casting an unfavorable light on Islam. [Italics added.I

So, accordng to you, it is regular Islam, and not Islamic “radicalism,” that routinely results in hundreds of people being killed in the barbaric practices during the Haj. According to you, it is regular Islam, and not “radical” Islam, that treats women as a lower order of being. And according to you, Islam itself is the object that needs to be criticized but that people are afraid to criticize because they will be called anti-Muslim bigots.

Since you were criticizing Islam, not just “radical” Islam, therefore, according to the Ralph Peters article that you endorsed yesterday, you yourself are an “Islam-hater.” You are a “domestic insurgent,” a “right-wing extremist bent on discrediting honorable conservatism,” an “enemy within” who is more destructive to debate than the anti-American left. Not only that, but you believe that “all Muslims are evil and subhuman” and that Muslims are Untermenschen,” and you are promoting “the Protocols of the Elders of Mecca.” Furthermore, you are “just a Ku Klux Klan member with a higher-thread-count sheet,” and you are an “heir of the creeps who once told us Jews can never be real Americans and JFK will serve the Vatican.” And finally, you are an “inveterate hater … whose personal disappointments have left you with a need to blame others (sounds like al Qaeda to me…),” and you are a “bigot who might like to try to kill a billion Muslims.”

To avoid being considered a Nazi-like bigot, you can do one of two things. You can retract what you said about Islam in 2004. Or you can retract your endorsement of the Peters article.

Below is my e-mail/blog entry to you from February 2004 where I quoted you on Islam and asked you, if Islam has this barbarity within it, isn’t it important for us to debate whether we want to continue letting Muslim immigrants into this country? You didn’t reply. Of course, by Peters’s standards which you have endorsed, my asking you this question showed me to be a Nazi.

Islam is barbaric, says Taranto. Therefore … ?
by Lawrence Auster at View from the Right, “the right blog for the right”

Here’s the latest installment in my “Open-Borders Conservatives Watch,” e-mails I write from time to time to establishment conservatives who have acknowledged some devastating incompatibility between some immigrant group and our society, yet who refuse to draw any logical or practical connection between that fact and U.S. immigration policy. This one is to James Taranto at Opinion Journal:

Dear Mr. Taranto:

In your item about the 250 people who were trampled to death during the Haj at Mecca, and about many similar disasters in recent years during the Haj, you write:

“Isn’t there something barbaric—in practice, if not in principle—about a religion whose rituals routinely result in such bloodshed?”

If you believe that the religion practiced by Moslems is barbaric, what conclusions do you draw about America’s and Europe’s policy of the last several decades, a policy enthusiastically supported by your newspaper, of allowing mass immigration from Moslem countries—a policy that results in Moslems becoming more and more numerous and powerful in Western society? Do you think this immigration has been a good idea, or a bad idea? Do you think it should be continued, or that it should be stopped?

Lawrence Auster

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 03, 2004 07:45 PM

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 09, 2006 10:44 AM | Send

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