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The Pope’s Comments on Islamism

I have failed to follow in this space the Pope’s comments condemning the deadly religious crusade which a large faction of Islam now finds itself prosecuting. But the Anchoress, as the Anchoress tends to do, sums it up beautifully:

Any intelligent human being understands that one does not - in the 21st century - publicly touch on the subject of Islamic jihad and religious compulsion, no matter how delicately or distinctively, unless one wants to deal with a reaction that is both primitive and intimidating, by a group demonstrably closed to dialogue.

And yet Benedict, clearly an intelligent man, has done so. He has, in essence, dared to say to Islam, €œIs this really what you want to be doing, in this century? The rest of the world ‘s religions have put away the swords €¦how about we talk? €

Up to now, no one has come out and said that to Islam. The Pope is the first.

Claudia Rosett had a good one, too. Gosh am I behind.
It ‘s a good rule of thumb that there is no one more easily offended than your average despot and surrounding acolytes. Tyranny by nature requires grand fictions, and when anyone dares point out that the emperor has no clothes, or the emperor is living it up while dressing his minions in suicide belts, or the emperor is murdering his own subjects and honing technologies and methods to blackmail, subjugate or kill anyone else in reach, then the emperor and his cohorts take huge offense. If you happen to live under their sway, they chuck you in prison. If you are outside the immediate reach of their secret police and terror squads, they do what they can to maneuver the debate onto their terms. They — who apologize for nothing — demand apologies.
You know, President Bush has been talking a lot about freedom lately. He doesn’t do it well anymore. He used to, but not anymore. But there are those who still see that freedom, as stodgy a word as it is, is fresh and new and contentious. That it needs to be explained and brought into every conversation about the news of the day. That it really does need to be defended. The Middle East is not a free place, Islam is largely not a free religion, and a war is being intelligently waged on the corners of the world which are free.

If the debate in America in 2008 sounds anything like the things Rosett and the Anchoress have been writing, then it doesn’t matter the earmarks and the pork and the stupid social issues: the Republicans will win again.

Why? Because all of the people who talk like Claudia Rosett and the Anchoress—and the Pope, I suppose—find themselves voting for Republicans these days. That isn’t necessarily because they are Republican voters. It is because the politicians who talk and write and think like them, however inelegantly, are Republicans. It ought not be that way—there should hardly be a disparity between the parties on this issue. But there is—not because the Democratic Party dislikes freedom, of course, but because today’s Democrats in Washington are so petty and selfish and short-sighted that they create a de facto disparity—so Republicans keep winning.


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