My two recent posts about Islam vs. Radical Islam have precipitated much commentary, clinic some of it laudatory and some of it denunciatory. For now, I’d like to address Mark Tapscott’s indignant response.
Tapscott is the editorial page editor of the Washington Examiner. He complains that when I criticized their editorial headline — “Muslims, not Americans are religious bigots” — I ignored the substantive content of their actual editorial.
But so what?! I wasn’t criticizing the editorial; I was criticizing the headline. And the headline is, quite clearly, bigoted and, therefore, objectionable. It says that Muslim Americans are not authentically American. It says that they stand apart from their fellow countrymen — that they are somehow inherently distinct and alien.
We all make mistakes. Why can’t the Washington Examiner just admit that they made a mistake? Why, instead, must Tapscott get angry, defensive and indignant?
Unfortunately, Tapscott’s defense of his mistake compounds his original sin. He argues that the content of the editorial somehow excuses the headline. The Examiner’s point, he contends,
was clearly that, compared to Americans, who are the most religiously tolerant people on Earth, Muslims in majority-Muslim nations are all too often religious bigots: because they practice, as a matter of law and faith, lethal persecution of all who choose to believe differently.
There is, of course, a strong element of truth in what Tapscott is saying. Religious bigotry and persecution are, indeed, all too common in Islamic countries.
However, we should be careful not to exaggerate and stereotype. Because in truth, the overwhelming majority of Muslims — and certainly the overwhelming majority of Muslim Americans — are not engaged in religious persecution and Jihad, or war against the West. In fact, most Muslims — and certainly most Muslim Americans — are moderate and peace-loving people.
Tapscott says I “trashed” the Examiner in order to curry favor with the liberal media elite. You see, by “professing to be conservative” and then “trash[ing] the genuine article,” I advance my career.
This is silly and ridiculous, as anyone who knows me can attest. I’ve always spoken my mind, written what I think, and called them as I see them. And I’ve done this sometimes to my great professional detriment.
Why, just this week, my relationship with David Horowitz’s NewsReal Blog ended because I spoke my mind in contradistinction to the party line as promulgated by NewsReal’s editor, David Swindle.
Tapscott also objects to this (second) sentence:
But Muslims, apparently, are fair game. They can be written off as the alien “other,” and no one seems to care.
Ah, nice touch there at the end, Guardiano, mentioning ‘the other,’ and thus aligning yourself with the basic liberal smear that conservatives are just a bunch of narrow-minded paranoids who fear anybody and everybody who is ‘different.’
Tapscott is right: The Left does smear conservatives in this way. That’s why I devoted the first part of my piece to condemning left-wing McCarthyism. “Too often,” I wrote,
the charge of ‘racism’ and ‘bigotry’ is a manifestly false allegation designed to shut down political debate and silence legitimate opposition to liberal policies such as ‘affirmative action.’ But unfortunately, when it comes to Islam, many conservatives are at risk of conforming to the left-wing stereotype.
Rather than haughtily refuse to acknowledge error — why not fix mistakes and defeat liberal slurs the best way: by refusing to act in ways that support them?
You can follow John Guardiano on Twitter: @JohnRGuardiano