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.