It doesn’t require stupid people for the utterance of stupid things — just smart people embracing stupid ideology.
In the wake of advocating a counter-terrorism plan mercilessly mocked by critics as a jobs-for-jihadists program, State Department spokesman Marie Harf has provided more comedic-commentary gold. Downplaying the threat posed by Islamic jihad while a guest on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday, she said we faced “a lot of different extremist threats.” And she finally had an answer for critics wondering where the supposed Christian terrorists are:
Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army.
“Who’s that?” you ask?
You’re not alone. Harf said on Wednesday, “I don't remember people talking about that as much anymore.” And there’s good reason for this. The group — which once operated in Uganda — is “almost defunct,” as American Thinker’s Rick Moran put it, and Kony himself is said to be extremely ill.
And how Christian is Kony, anyway? Invisible Children, Inc. — which produced a 2012 film about the failed warlord — tells us his beliefs could be described as “a syncretic mix of mysticism, Acholi nationalism, Islam, and Christian fundamentalism” (emphasis added) and that he “claims he is visited by a multinational host of 13 spirits, including a Chinese phantom.” The Independent reported that many believe him “to be clinically insane” and that he encourages “a quasi-religious cult involving black magic.” Even more damningly, Shoebat.com’s Ben Barrack writes that “Kony has been funded by the Muslim Government of Sudan for years and that government is led by none other than Omar al-Bashir, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood”; he also reports that this was confirmed by “U.S. Special Forces who traveled to the region [and] insisted that al-Bashir was harboring Kony.” In fact, Barrack lays it on the line, bluntly stating:
“In short, Kony is not a Christian at all. It is unadulterated propaganda to say that he is.”
One could also add that if he were, he’d have found a novel way of conforming to the Commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery”: marry anyone you’re sweet on (it’s said Kony has 88 wives).
Of course, in reaching a decade into the past in her apparently failed attempt to find Christian terrorism, Harf only reflects Barack Obama, who reached the better part of a millennium into the past when citing the Crusades. This only helped cement Obama’s reputation as historically illiterate, however, as Americans are increasingly coming to understand that the Crusades were themselves a defense against Islamic jihad. And, likewise, Harf’s wanting comparison further damages her reputation, an example being Moran’s calling her an “airhead.” But while he didn’t specify if at issue was normal or compressed air, the reality is that Harf isn’t a dumb woman. She and much of the West, however, have glommed onto a dumb ideology.
There is deeply inculcated emotional desire among many today to portray all cultures and religions as morally equal, to spread what loosely could be called Everyone is the Same Doctrine (ESD). Ostensibly, the motivation is to eliminate bigotry. Of course, this didn’t stop leftist writer Susan Sontag from saying “The white race is the cancer of human history” or most of academia from pushing “white privilege” theory. But why be consistent when you can be effective?
Now, even just viewing matters anecdotally, it’s clear that ESD is one of those uncommon theses contrary to common sense. Were the Aztecs — whose grand-scale human sacrifice involved ripping beating hearts from thousands of still-alive victims — the equivalent of the Spaniards who vanquished them? Was the Taliban’s culture equal to the Amish’s? But philosophical examination reveals the true folly of ESD, which encompasses both multiculturalism and religious-equivalence doctrine.
Religions and cultures both have something in common: Different ones espouse different values. Thus, not all religions or cultures can be morally equal unless all values are. Of course, this “moral relativism” is common today, with research showing 83 percent of American teenagers embrace it. And frequently are heard the associated refrains, such as “Everything’s a matter of perspective” “and “Who’s to say what’s right or wrong?” It’s thought the “enlightened” position. Simpletons see only black and white; sophisticates see the grey (maybe even 50 shades).
But relativism is self-defeating. After all, if all values are equal, how can equality be better than inequality? How can objectivity be better than prejudice, tolerance better than intolerance, or hatred better than love?
Also note that as with religions and cultures, different ideologies’ different values cannot be a qualitative difference under relativism. This means that Obama’s and Harf’s liberalism is no better than Nazism, libertarianism no better than tyranny, and collectivism no better than economic freedom. Either values are all equal or they’re not.
If Westerners weren’t so relativistic — if they believed in Truth, by definition absolute — they would assess world threats more intelligently and be less imperiled. They’d understand that while we can certainly debate the relative merits of religions and cultures, as we can with ideologies, they simply cannot all be morally equal. But you won’t as easily be able to discern evil if your basic world view (mis)informs that evil doesn’t exist.
Unfortunately, though, relativism reigns. Note that the Barna Group, which conducted the earlier-cited research, found that the teens’ moral confusion is just part of a tree-apple progression, writing “By a 3-to-1 margin (64% vs. 22%) adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation.” Perhaps critics ought to remember this when criticizing Obama. He’s just representing his constituents.
Photo of Marie Harf: U.S. Department of State