Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Moderate Dilemma

Nowadays, what does one do, and where does one go, when one is a moderate liberal? Of course, a moderate conservative could also ask the same question. What has happened to moderation, period? Who represents moderates anymore?

There was the recent incident where a young Muslim girl was caught on video twerking to some music. She was wearing a hijab at the time and was thoroughly excoriated on social media with vile comments going as far as wishing her to be killed for disrespecting Islam. Seriously? She apologized through emotional tears,

But as far as I am able to discover, not one liberal media outlet stood up for her. Nothing but crickets were heard.

Why is religion in general and Islam in particular so protected by the media, particularly the left-leaning portion of the media? And why has that symbol of female oppression, the hijab, become so sanctified? If you choose to wear it, fine and dandy, but let's not hold it up to be a symbol of female empowerment, for it is quite the opposite.

While I am inclined to rail on about the problems that religion causes, right now, I wish to focus on to the fact that I am particularly distressed by the silence of the left of the political spectrum. It seems that the old, moderate left has been overtaken by the radical left, the illiberal left, the authoritarian left, the regressive left, or whatever you choose to call it. Even the institutions that remain more moderate, for the most part, refuse to stand up to the authoritarianism of the far left, and I just can't understand it.

Speakers have been de-platformed at universities, even moderate ones because they have unpopular ideas. Apparently, students no longer  want to hear ideas other than those that match their preconceptions, and they will shout them down, even erupting into violence. In most cases they haven't bothered to thoroughly examine the speakers' views but are willing to protest based on hearsay.

When a moderate, intellectual woman such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali is de-platformed, there is a problem. She is an ex-Muslim who only wishes to reform Islam, not eradicate it. She's a woman who suffered FGM as a child and who has lived under death threats, but it seems that no one from the left wants to listen to anything that that this intelligent and thoughtful woman might have to say based on her knowledge and experience.

Not even listen! Why not listen, discuss, exchange ideas, even refute if you have something of substance other than screaming to contribute?

Seemingly, the only people willing to speak out about such genuine problems seem to be those from the right, and I am not of the right, for I believe in social justice. I am a pretty centrist sort of bloke who has for the most part leaned a little to the left. I believe in women's rights, universal health care, gay rights, and moderate welfare for the poorest amongst us. So the extreme conservatism as it exists now is very problematic for me. On the other hand, I also believe in free expression, and I don't believe, for example, that religion should be exempt from scrutiny. The left is certainly leaning that way, and it bothers me.

So, here I am, stuck in the middle of an increasingly polarized society in which the two sides prefer to shout at each other while plugging their ears. There just seems nowhere for moderates to go anymore.

11 comments:

Ginnie said...

I certainly agree with all you write. It seems to me like the world is "dumbing down". There is no sense of compromise and the right to express one's opinion, unless you are mimicking the garbage that is being fed to us, seems to be out of the question and not tolerated. I am actually grieving for "the good old days" when it was a pleasure to watch a good debate. Just another thing that seems to be gone for good ... like never getting a hand written letter anymore. (sigh)

Mara said...

I agree. It's either black or it's white. The grey tones on both sides seem to be missing completely. Which is such a shame, because both sides have their good points and ideas and a little more grey would go a loooong way!

Marie Smith said...

There was an exercise I did with students years ago where people with opposing views had an opportunity to express their opinions. Before you said what you thought, you had to summarize what the other person said first. It forced people to really listen to each other. Many times, it made them come to a concensus. Other times, it made them see what they had in common, was much more than how they disagreed. It was an effective way to deal with opposing views. I think people don't listen to each other these days.

Tabor said...

If you read some articles you will find that the conservatives have moved to the far right and the liberals have moved to the middle in response. I am neither in that each issue impacts me differently and thus, my conservative stand on one issue is balanced by my liberal stand on another. Although social issues I deal with very liberally as these are usually things of the mind and heart and not something easily resolved. Compromise. That is a dirty word. I am an agnostic/atheist and never tell anyone that because of the discrimination I would get.

Country Gal said...

Its all politics and it stinks ! Blah Blah Blah !! It has never changed for the better of all the people and never will, it's a fight that's an endless loss for all ! I believe in rights to but to what ends to a means are they willing to go that's the ? . Good write . Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

Jim Flack said...

Well spoken! I agree. Enough said lest I make a complete dunderhead of myself!

Debbie said...

i enjoy reading posts like these - they open up my mind. i am a listener, i listen to everything and i learn so much from other people. i don't completely understand the whole left/right thing but i believe things can change and that they will change for us here in the u.s. i surely hope so!!!

Dogman said...

CTRL-Left and ALT-Right (Thank you, Maajid Nawaz).

You expressed the same dilemma in which I find myself. And, I find that I am being pushed slightly rightward by the thoughtless antics of the CTRL-Left, and some of the remarkably sensible talk from conservatives such as Douglas Murray. Nonetheless I believe my values are essentially the same as yours.

I have also been trying hard to understand the Republican Trump phenomenon from the perspective of a presumably intelligent Trump supporter. I'll let you know when that happens. What reason would such a person extend to explain his or her or (insert preferred pronoun here) support for a party whose leader appears to me to be just about as loony and dangerous as Kim Jong Un.

Here are a couple of links you might find interesting:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/03/is-intersectionality-a-religion.html

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/future-liberalism-politicization-everything/

Vicki Lane said...

Such good points, AC. When we can't listen to other viewpoints, we are lost.

Kay said...

Another excellent post, John! No one stood up for that girl? The left was silent? Sigh....

Jenn Jilks said...

Ali is an interesting person. She does have some radical ideas, though.
I read her book.