Next week is IslamoFascism Awareness Week, David Horowitz's latest temper tantrum against the American university system for not recognizing his genius and offering him tenure. Advising the young conservative faithful to gird their loins for next week's battles, Horowitz typifies neoconservatives' tendency to present differences of ideas in the language of combat:
"We are all familiar with the way the left wages its political wars. If someone happens to disagree with its position on racial issues –if one believes, for example, that government enforced racial preferences are misguided or immoral –the left will denounce that person as a “racist.” In our culture, this is the moral equivalent of a bullet in the head. If the president of Harvard cites scientific data that women have different aptitudes for mathematics (lower) and verbal subjects (higher) than men, the left will denounce him as a “sexist,” another cultural bullet in the head. If a person believes that children should not be instructed about sex in public schools at the kindergarten level, the left will denounce her as a “homophobe” – one more mortal blow."
Yes, so many bullets in heads, it's almost as if David were really at war instead of sitting at a desk squeezing his Osama bin Laden stress toy, seething with resentment at every quiche-eating unpatriot who's ever said or written an unkind word about him. And I think that David actually means the rhetorical equivalent of a bullet in the head, not the moral equivalent. The moral equivalent of a bullet in the head would be, for example, lethal injection.
In regard to controversy over the term "Islamofascism," I think it's somewhat counterproductive at this point to allow oneself to be drawn into debates over the term, as it's beyond clear that its use has nothing whatever to do with accurately describing the nature of the threat of Islamist extremism. The primary function of the term "Islamofascism" is to signify the political and ideological affiliations of those who employ the term "Islamofascism." That is, it is a shibboleth that identifies members of the Warrior Right to each other as the potent, carnivorous, and extremely handsome heirs of Churchill, Reagan, and Braveheart, and reveals anyone who questions or objects to the term as either a Chamberlain, a Hitler, or a The Guy Who Betrayed Braveheart. As Yglesias noted a few weeks ago, based on Horowitz's own promotional materials, the clear goal of his stunt is not to engage with people with other views of the issue in the interest of better understanding it, but simply to identify those who think differently and define them as part of the out group.