The interview with Geert Wilders on Channel 7 last Sunday morning provides a cautionary tale. If you are intending to discredit someone, never send a buffoon to do the job. The interviewer, Andrew O’Keefe, is normally an amiable entertainer on the Seven Network, but he is so obviously unburdened by any real knowledge of the subject that one can only wonder what sort of audience the station thought it might be appealing to.
I could start with the blindingly obvious cognitive dissonance displayed by Andrew. Unable to deny that Wilders is under 24/7 armed guard, he tried to pretend that critics of Christianity would face similar threats to life and limb. In response to Wilders’ argument that Islam is a political ideology, not simply a religious belief, he tried to argue equivalence with the Judeo-Christian ethos that has underpinned Western civilization.
The reader might wonder why I am giving so much space to an intellectual lightweight but this example highlights the extent to which the world of popular entertainment has been infected by leftist assumptions. One major problem of pseudo sophisticates is an inability to take religion seriously, to even begin to understand theological thought. The result is the assumption that one religion is as good or as bad as any other.
Unable to refute Wilders’ strictures against the Koran, poor old Andrew attempted to dredge up selective quotes from the Old Testament to support the canard of equivalence between the Bible and the Koran. And so the interview descended into pure farce. Geert Wilders, who incidentally is an agnostic, tried to explain the difference between the Bible and the Koran. As any biblical scholar would understand, the Bible has to be understood in the context of the periods in which particular texts were written. In simple terms, it has many authors who over time sought an understanding of God’s nature and purpose. By contrast, the Koran is taken as literally the word of Allah. Unlike the Bible, it is not subject to reinterpretation in the light of changed circumstances.
By creating a false equivalence between Islam and other religions, the Left is able to justify an alliance with Islamists against liberal capitalist democracy. People like Andrew O’Keefe play the role of useful idiots.
It is striking that the physical intimidation of attendees at meetings addressed by Geert Wilders is orchestrated by the usual leftist suspects, who would be the first to suffer under an Islamist regime. It goes to show that all too many leftists live in a parallel universe. They want to fight yesterday’s enemies. They are primed for battle against white racism, Adolf Hitler and maybe Joe Stalin, now that he is safely dead. But now that Andrew O’Keefe has implied that that our Western Judeo-Christian civilization is just as vicious, cruel and murderous as Islam, we are tempted to fall over laughing. However, this intellectual conceit has come to dominate public discussion of the Islamic challenge to our civilization and has contributed to the marginalization of the likes of Geert Wilders.
Perhaps we should not be surprised. Over the past century, successive totalitarian challenges to our liberal democracy have been greeted with blank incomprehension by large numbers of supposedly educated and sophisticated people. We think of the likes of Churchill, spurned and ridiculed back in the 1930’s. It may be too simple to say that history repeats, but it sure does rhyme. Too few “get” it among the chattering classes.
What really offended me personally in that interview was the implication that the average viewer is an idiot. If the popular mainstream media wants to regain some respect, they should understand that the average viewer is not as stupid as many would like to imagine.
Christopher Carr is a frequent contributor to Quadrant Online