By suppressing debate about Islam, nationalism and terror, the left set the stage for today’s backlash.
Politicians across the West are saying the same thing in what is shaping up to be the widest rollback of the freedom of movement in decades.
It’s not just right-wing nationalists like Marine Le Pen in France or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Centrists get it, too. Some, like Angela Merkel, are still-reluctant restrictionists. Others, like Theresa May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and French presidential aspirant François Fillon, are more forthright. All have wised up to the popular demand for drastically lower immigration rates.
The irony is that freedom of movement is unraveling because liberals won central debates—about Islamism, social cohesion and nationalism. Rather than give any ground, they accused opponents of being phobic and reactionary. Now liberals are reaping the rewards of those underhanded victories.
Liberals refused to acknowledge the link between Islamist ideology and terrorism. For eight years under President Obama, the U.S. government refused even to say “Islamism,” claiming ludicrously that U.S. service members were going to war against “violent extremism.” Voters could read and hear about jihadists offering up their actions to Allah before opening automatic fire on shoppers and blasphemous cartoonists.
The left also largely “won” the debate over Muslim integration. For too many liberals, every Islamist atrocity was cause to fret about an “Islamophobic” backlash. When a jihadist would go boom somewhere, pre-emptive hashtags expressing solidarity with threatened Muslims were never far behind.
But liberals don’t bother nearly as much about the pathologies in Muslim communities, and in Islamic civilization itself, that were producing so much carnage. Some would sooner abandon their own feminist and gay-rights orthodoxies than criticize what imams in Paris and London suburbs were telling their congregations.
liberal writers sneered at the Somali-born human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali as an “Enlightenment fundamentalist.” Brandeis disinvited her to speak on campus in 2014. The Southern Poverty Law Center last year branded her an “extremist,” along with the counterterror campaigner Maajid Nawaz.
Liberals thus empowered the most illiberal elements of Muslim communities while marginalizing reformers. Is it any wonder that many voters came to see Muslims as sources of danger and social incohesion?
Liberals, finally, “won” the debate over nationalism. In Europe especially and the U.S. to a lesser extent, they treated nationalism and the West’s Judeo-Christian heritage as relics of a dark past. For European Union leaders, the ideal political community was an ever-expanding set of legal procedures, commercial links and politically correct norms. Citizens could fill in the blanks with whatever cultural content they preferred—preferably “Europe” itself.
Judging by their breathless editorials and social-media outbursts, leading liberals still blame this reversal in political fortunes on a paroxysm of collective fear and hatred, the forces they’ve always sought to banish. Yet the main culprits for the popular revolt against liberalism are liberals themselves.
How Liberals Won the Debate
Liberals won the debate, at least in terms of response from president Obama, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Holland, most of Hollywood, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton.
Mainstream media went along, every step of the way.
Every Western mainstream media outlet backed Hillary. Every Western mainstream media outlet backed Obama when he was dropping bombs in seven countries while preaching “let them in”.
Liberals won the debate because they did not give a damn how their constituents felt. Look at the European nannycrats led by Jean-Claude Juncker who insists on “more Europe” and “more refugees” despite the wishes of their constituents.
Merkel won the debate in Germany. Once again media helped. The result was a backlash in Hungary, Austria, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
The liberal message in the UK now says that it was a mistake to hold a referendum. Instead, I suggest liberals should look at the reasons people wanted a referendum.
Liberals won the debate in Ukraine. The result was outright war coupled with inane tariffs on Russia.
Despite winning the debate, polls look like this.
I don’t doubt the poll because it helps explain the election in the US. I suspect a similar poll would explain Brexit.
Winning the Debate, Losing the Election
We bomb the hell out of seven countries, giving refugees cause to want to leave. But instead of condemning the bombing, the liberal elite combined with Western media to welcome the refugees rather than condemn the bombing.
Congratulations are in order. Liberals, with the full and complete backing of mainstream media “won” the refugee debate.
They price for winning the debate was losing the election.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock