Spencer comes to Rep. Goode’s defense, sort of
I love Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia for being the first U.S. politician to say that Islam as such is a threat to our society and that Muslim immigration must therefore be reduced or stopped. For speaking this vital truth, Goode has become the target of an outpouring of vilification from the respectable liberal opinion organs of our society, as detailed by Robert Spencer today at FrontPage Magazine. After quoting these attacks for four paragraphs, Spencer defends Goode from the charges of bigotry and nativism that have been heaped on his head. But he does so in an indirect, Spencerian manner, using the evasive rhetorical tactics he always employs when the subject of immigration comes up.
Pointing to the evidence that Muslims around the world and in the U.S. support sharia, Spencer repeatedly poses the same question:
Is it reasonable to ask [newly elected Muslim congressman Keith] Ellison if he shares such views? When he speaks at a conference sponsored by such organizations, is it simply bigotry to ask him if he holds views they are on record as having? When Muslim leaders around the globe have spoken about the necessity to impose Islamic law upon the world, is it sheer nativism to ask Ellison and American Muslims if they hold the same views? …While Spencer’s argument is perfectly reasonable in itself, it is noticeably odd in the present context, since the position for which Goode is being attacked as a bigot and nativist is not that Muslims should be asked for their opinions about sharia. Indeed, Goode has not proposed asking Muslims for their opinions about anything. Goode has called for ending the immigration of Muslims to the U.S—because their religion, including sharia, is antithetical to our beliefs and values and the very form of our society. Goode is thus beyond the question-asking stage. Spencer, as is evident, is not. So, instead of coming out and supporting Goode’s brave and vitally urgent position on Muslim immigration, Spencer turns the whole article into a plea for Spencer’s own indirect and inadequate position on Muslim immigration, which is that we ought to subject prospective Muslim immigrants to a questionnaire about their beliefs.
What it comes down is that Spencer has said that it is morally ok to ask Muslims if they are sharia supporters. But, most pointedly, he has not said that it is morally ok to call for an end to Muslim immigration. Spencer has thus defended himself from the charge of bigotry; he has not defended Goode, who is, after all, the ostensible subject of the article.
Just a week ago, Spencer wrote about an unnamed horrible person, i.e., me, who had supposedly written “numerous personal slurs” about him. The chief of these slurs was that Spencer’s position on Islam is inconsistent, since he describes Islam as a mortal threat to our society, yet declines to call for a reduction or cessation of Muslim immigration, as his draconian views of Islam surely require. Spencer went on to insist that he does have a serious position on immigration, but, as I showed at the time, his position added up once again to … his promotion of a questionnaire. Now that an elected politician has gone beyond the shilly-shallying stage, now that a member of Congress has actually called for reducing Muslim immigration and thus turned Muslim immigration per se into a national issue, Spencer had a golden opportunity to prove that I was wrong about him and that he, Spencer, does indeed have a policy on Muslim immigration that corresponds with his deeply alarmist view of Islam. Instead, Spencer proved once again his unwillingness to take any substantive stand on the immigration issue—even in defense of the clear-thinking and courageous Rep. Goode.
Under the subject line, “TRUTHS THAT LIFE IS BLACK AND WHITE” (aptly reversing a line in Bob Dylan’s song, “My Back Pages”), Jeff in England writes:
More of the Spencer tightrope walk and then if you dare say that he is hedging or that he isn’t being clear he replies that he is being personally attacked or like Melanie, “misrepresented.” Charming! It’s really very simple. Either he and Melanie and Pipes and Hanson and all the rest of the “Usual Suspects” are for a reduction of Islamic immigration or not. How many times do Lawrence Auster and the readers of VFR (such as myself) have to press them for a clear statement on the question of immigration reduction?LA replies:
That’s a magnificent statement, Jeff. Just great. And your Dylan paraphrase is inspired and profound.LA continues:
In one sense, our argument with Spencer, Phillips, and the Suspects doesn’t revolve around their substantive position so much as their anger when their substantive position (or rather their lack of one) is pointed out. If they just came out and honestly admitted that, for whatever reason, they are not ready to call for immigration reductions, that would be much better. It’s their dishonesty and defensiveness about their actual position (or lack of an actual position) that has caused the problems and the ill-will.LA continues further:
Some people reading the above will think, there goes LA again, obsessed with the half-full glass, attacking his own allies instead of standing with them against the other side. The assumption of these critics is that Spencer, Phillips, and the Usual Suspects are on the same side as I am vis à vis Islam. The problem is that in modern conditions in which diversity and open immigration are the dominant ideologies, a person may have some deep concerns about the Other, but as long as he has not definitely taken a non-liberal stance toward the Other, in the long run he is likely to surrender to the Other (as I suggested yesterday may be happening with Daniel Pipes). Liberalism, the default position of the modern West, means surrender to the Other. The only alternative to liberalism in mainstream politics is the right-liberalism or neoconservatism that involves fanatical kvetching about the Other … followed by surrender to the Other. Only a person who consciously and on a principled basis has ceased to be a liberal can be counted on to go beyond kvetching and take a firm position about what needs to be done to save our civilization from the Other, and not back away from that position when he is attacked.LA writes:
Reader James S. points out that in mid November, just weeks before Rep. Virgil Goode became a national name, he was mentioned by VFR reader Clark Coleman as a congressman who answered questions on immigration directly and told you exactly where he stood.LA writes:
The sheer oddity of Spencer’s treatment of the Goode issue—ostensibly defending Goode’s position, but actually defending his own position—leads one to speculate about the nature of his thought processes. It seems to me there are two possible explanations for what he’s done here:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 28, 2006 05:24 PM | Send