In an example of what progressives call “punching down,” Alternet’s Max Blumenthal — privileged son of former Bill Clinton aide and Hillary confidant Sidney Blumenthal — recently took to trashing professional Islam critic and constant target of death threats, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Claiming the 45-year-old immigrant can only fancy herself some kind of reformer when the term is bracketed by scare quotes, he writes:
When Brandeis University canceled plans to award Hirsi Ali an honorary degree in April 2014, it appeared that her increasingly vitriolic tirades against Islam and its adherents had caught up with her. But then came the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, a seemingly clarifying moment that Hirsi Ali and fellow anti-Islam activists seized on as confirmation of their darkest prophecies.
Damn those attacks — they gave succor to our political enemies!
Blumenthal rightly takes Ali to task for casually dropping a statistic on a recent Daily Show taping that muddles more than it clarifies, namely that Muslims are responsible for “70 percent of the violence in the world today.” Some would say the root of these conflicts isn’t Islam per se, but squabbles over resources and petty criminality.
But then even in wealthy Europe, political violence is overwhelmingly Islamic in flavor. In fact the large block of orange you’ll see in the linked graphic is due to the terrorism of one man, mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik, who in 2011 took the lives of seventy-seven men, women, and children he deemed advocates of multiculturalism. Blumenthal wrongly accuses Ali of “defending” Breivik, so the killer hasn’t escaped this muckraker’s attention, but somehow the facts of ideologically driven violence in the modern world have.
Writing in Tablet last month, Jamie Kirchick explained in some detail the thought process going on among progressives in their attempt to allocate victimhood cred. He cited Ali to illustrate the rule that in 2015, Muslim trumps black on the hierarchy of oppression:
Had Hirsi Ali left any other religious order or conservative movement — say, Mormonism or the Republican Party — she would have been feted with international literary prizes, instantly awarded a New York Times column, and welcomed with open arms by progressive campus organizations.
In other words, if Ali had been the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt she’d be a hero of the left. But as it stands, the author, who’s advocated vociferously for the rights of women and gays, is merely yesterday’s liberal, which is today’s conservative.
Or so it seems. Explaining to “new atheist” Sam Harris in an interview last year how she found herself ensconced at the neoconserative American Enterprise Institute of all places, Ali described how…
…at the Brookings Institut[ion], and Rand, and Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown… there was no interest. They didn’t say it to my face, but I got the feeling that they were uncomfortable with what I had been saying about Islam.
Thanks to the modern left’s notion of empathy politics, we know why they were uncomfortable.