‘Proportionate’ — now there’s a word of the moment, lately found in any number of editorialists’ chin-stroking ruminations on the state of play in Israel and Gaza. It seems, as far as one can follow the scribblers’ woke logic, that the enlightened and fair-minded are obliged to inscribe on one side of the ledger a list of the bloody outrages endured and then balance the books by responding only so much and no more. Force of arms must never deviate from from some unspecified rubric of fairness and moral equivalence.
Simple, really, if taken as stated: The Hamas filth roast a baby alive, behead others, rape, butcher, kidnap, and burn, so the proportionate response, logically speaking, would be for Israelis to rape, butcher, kidnap, and burn in equal measure. What could be more ‘proportionate’ than equivalence, an eye for an eye? But that, of course, is not what the solons of the opinion pages mean.
Aggrieved Israelis, it seems, should be more like the well-known Jew of long ago who turned the other cheek, with just a dash of judicious anger such as that directed at money-changers in the Temple. Well, as the world is seeing and Kinky Friedman sang, they ain’t making Jews like Jesus anymore. Trouble is, as editorialists and bylined opinionistas continue to demonstrate, the refuge of relatavist thinking hasn’t changed at all except to embrace with even greater enthusiasm the notion that good and bad need to balance on the bottom line.
Rod Dreher explains why this has come to be the case in a lengthy report on the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference in London, where Quadrant‘s Simon Kennedy was also in attendance and filed this report. After describing how Texas Muslim leaders sought to have him fired from his job at the Dallas Morning News for daring to point out the radicalism being promoted in Texas mosques, Dreher writes:
… for over twenty years now, we have been instructed by the media and by institutional leaders not to ask the hard questions [of Islam], because the hard questions are bigoted on their face.
Where has that gotten us? It has gotten us to a place where open Jew-hatred is common in America of 2023, as long as it is framed as in support of Muslim Palestinians. And combined with wokeness, it has gone from something we were all supposed to avert our eyes from two decades ago, lest some redneck somewhere have a Bad Thought about Islam, to something they are proud to proclaim.
After October 7 and its aftermath, we can’t put off asking hard questions and making hard demands of American Muslims. But of even greater importance, given their far greater numbers and influence in American institutions, are the Woke.
Islamic radicalism might have been contained had it not been for the woke. You might wish to believe that these people are all still only a small number in American life, but you had better understand that history shows it only takes a small number of truly committed revolutionaries to control a society.
We can no longer suppress or otherwise avoid hard questions about wokeness in our society. It is soft totalitarianism — but it won’t stay soft.
Dreher’s piece — which is, alas, paywalled — can be read in full at his Substack blog. Be assured, the word ‘proportionate’ appears nowhere in the text.
— roger franklin