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    They will convince no one outside of their small circle of friends

    They will convince no one outside of their small circle of friends

    The past several days have seen a feeding frenzy by the mainstream media and left-blogosphere trying to blame Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer for the murder of dozens of innocents in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik.  It was a horrific crime which deserves universal condemnation.

    The theory goes that because Geller and Spencer were cited in Breivik’s manifesto, Geller and Spencer caused the crime. 

    As Mark Steyn points out, Breivik’s manifesto also was lifted in significant part from Ted Kaczynski’s manifesto, quotes Steyn himself, “as well as several friends of NR — Theodore Dalrymple, Daniel Pipes, Roger Scruton, Melanie Phillips, Daniel Hannan (plus various pieces from NR by Rod Dreher and others) — and many other people, including Churchill, Gandhi, Orwell, Jefferson, John Locke, Edmund Burke, Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, not to mention the U.S. Declaration of Independence.”

    The blame game being played at The NY Times, The Atlantic, and elsewhere will convince no one other than their small circle of friends because the rest of us live in the real world, where we have endured over 30 years of Islamist and radical Islamic violence.  Speaking out against this violence is not the same as calling for violence. 

    Long before Geller and Spencer had blogs there was the Ayatollah Khomenei, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, the first World Trade Center attack, and a host of other atrocities committed in various places around the world; those atrocities continued unabated including in Bali, Madrid, London, at Ford Hood, and in attempts on airplanes to ignite shoe bombs and underwear bombs.

    We also live in the real world where there are no-go zones in several European cities for Jews because of Islamist and radical Islamic intimidation, including Malmö, Sweden which has been almost emptied of its Jewish population.  A Jew cannot wear a Jewish star or yarmulke in sections of Paris.  American anti-Semite David Duke gives speeches in Tehran.  Arab media outlets regularly spew anti-Semitic venom.  A well-known female reporter was sexually assaulted in public in Egypt as the crowd shouted “Jew.”

    Who caused that hatred and violence, and what were those people reading?  If we are going to claim that a reading list is the cause of violence, then the people who are attacking Geller and Spencer will find themselves in an uncomfortable position when it comes to the cause of so much of the violence in the world.  I hold the people responsible, not the texts, which is why you will never read me blaming “Islam” as opposed Islamists or Islamic radicals.

    To the extent Geller and Spencer blame Islam, as opposed to Islamists or Islamic radicals, I disagree with them.  But that does not mean that they have called for or are the cause of violence.

    It also bears mention that whenever there is violence the first reaction by the mainstream media and left-blogosphere is to blame the “right wing” and Tea Party in the absence of any evidence and even in the face of contrary evidence:  Jared Loughner, The Cabby Stabber, Bill SparkmanAmy BishopThe Fort Hood ShooterThe IRS Plane CrasherThe Pentagon Shooter.

    But don”t even go that far.  What about the people who issued death wishes against Sarah Palin and Scott Walker on Twitter.  What were they reading?  I guarantee you it was The NY Times, The Atlantic,, and many of the left-blogs who almost daily attack Palin and Walker in the most vile terms.  What if one of them had acted on the threats, would The NY Times put itself on trial?

    There are people who exhort others to violence, and those people should be condemned regardless of which side of the political or religious spectrum they occupy. 

    There also are people who go too far in their rhetoric on all sides, but that does not equate to a call to violence or put them in a position of responsibility for people who cannot distinguish.


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    Midwest Rhino | July 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Clearly Kaczynski was the dominant persuasion to kill innocents, with the intent of effecting change. Kaczynski was from Chicago, where machine/mob politics rule. He trained at the liberal seminaries of Harvard and Berzerkly. Kaczynski was part “Green Anarchist”, part Bill Ayers bomber. It would seem Ted and the left deserve the most credit for Breivik’s willingness to use violence as a political tool.

    janitor | July 26, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    “The emergence of ‘Christian’ terrorism in Europe does absolutely nothing to diminish or simplify the problem of Islam — its repression of women, its hostility toward free speech, and its all-too-facile and frequent resort to threats and violence. Islam remains the most retrograde and ill-behaved religion on earth. And the final irony of Breivik’s despicable life is that he has made that truth even more difficult to speak about.”

    Cassandra Lite | July 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    When the Discovery Channnel bomber cited Al Gore as inspiration, the left disavowed him as a wacko. Of course, these were the same people who, after 9/11, asked us to consider why “they hate us”. Only when it was pointed out that one of the reasons “they hate us” was the west’s liberalism and decadence did they stop asking.

    bleached cat | July 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Well done, Professor Jacobson!

    Is the NYT saying we are what we read or what we write? I don’t remember them condemning anti-colonialist Edward Said, the Koran, and angry imams for speech inciting the 9-11 terrorists. Also, it seems eminently unfair to define someone by others’ actions, short of him or her engaging in extreme manipulation and direct coercion of a particularly vulnerable audience. Free will and personal responsibility should supersede any idea of the “devil”/ FOX, Geller, Limbaugh, conservative mind rays, Cloward and Piven, Ayers, Algore, Olbermann, etc. making one do it.

    If we are what we read or voraciously consume, though, we are all, and I don’t know what to make of it, Two and Half Men. But at least fewer and fewer of us are the uber and untermensch the Times would have us be.

    LukeHandCool | July 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    When it comes to a terrorist attack and the possibility of the perpetrators being Islamists, these people don’t operate under the assumption of granting an ever-larger benefit of the doubt … it’s now become an insistence of doubt.

    And when the issue at hand is questioning government spending or gay marriage or Israel’s right to exist … the culpability and/or evil motives of crazy Christians or teabaggers or dual-loyalty Jews has gone from leap of faith to Star Wars-warp-speed jump.

    Tell me again … from which side is the “chilling effect” on speech coming?

    Their wacky ways of thinking can be amusing at times. But it gets really irritating when you think that any greater sway they might have and they are really mucking with the world our children and our grandchildren will inherit.

    LukeHandCool (who agrees with the Professor that few outside of their circle will buy their argument in this instance, but who really worries about the indoctrination happening in our schools … and who reached a low point when, a few years back he went back to school and started a master’s in geography. He had a meeting with the head of the department who seemed at first a very friendly and decent chap. As he lead Luke to his office, through the old map room, Luke looked at the globes and atlases and old maps and felt a rush of excitement … until they reached the professors’ office door at the far end of the map room … a door covered in anti-conservative, anti-Republican, “Impeach Bush,” etc., bumper stickers. I kid you not. The entire door covered. It was very hard for Luke to smile during their meeting afterwards).

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