Buchanan of Arabia

Ilana Mercer, February 17, 2006

Dhimmitude, or dementia”—take your pick—is how commentator Lawrence Auster lamented Patrick J. Buchanan’s recent lapses. Mr. Buchanan has come out against the Danes for their finger-in-the-dyke bravery in the face of Islamic bullies; and for foreign aid for Hamas for their election victory in the Palestinian Authority.


Before Hamas came to power, Buchanan had been a principled opponent of foreign aid, rightly calling it a racket and a shakedown. But Hamas, a deeply and indelibly anti-Semitic terrorist outfit, changed that. In a positively bacchanalian column, Buchanan exalts Hamas for its “sacrifice” and dedication, and mocks Israel for being “close to hysterical” over the outcome, adding that it was its behavior in the first place that elected Hamas.


To round up this orgy of immorality, Mr. Buchanan urges Americans to open the spigots and let the aid flow, provided Hamas keeps “armed resistance” against Israeli civilians to a minimum. (I foresee a follow-up column, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin for embracing Hamas.)


A careful reading of the brilliant Buchanan’s oeuvre reveals that he is consistent in his inconsistencies. To dismiss him as demented or indentured is to underestimate the man’s astringent mind and, I’m afraid, the sinister nature of his thinking.


I say “I’m afraid,” because I admired Mr. Buchanan, even writing that he was “one of the few American patriots left among the ‘nattering nabobs,’ a thorn in the side of the swarm of neoconservatives and their pseudo-conservative allies—Messers Limbaugh and O’Reilly—with whom he was forced to joust.”


In “the cartoon wars,” Mr. Buchanan is every bit as preoccupied as a neoconservative with recruiting Americans to serve a grand, national, Rousseauist purpose. This time, Jean-Jacques Bush wants us to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, most of whom are moderates, or so Mr. Buchanan insists.


Here’s the rub: what Mr. Buchanan considers “moderate” is not moderate in any real sense. For these “moderates,” as Mr. Buchanan attests, “all believe that to depict the face of the prophet or to ridicule him as Salman Rushdie did is a sacrilege.” This is the standard of moderation Mr. Buchanan wants the free world to abide.


A standard which has been flouted with respect to the saintliest of Western icons.


Why, Christopher Hitchens subjected a nun to a coruscating critique in The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. How on earth can we motivate for an exemption for Mohammad, peace be upon him (offering praise when the prophet is mentioned is now mandatory)?


Mohammad’s “practice and constant encouragement of bloodshed are unique in the history of religions,” says historian Serge Trifkovic (good luck with that, Serge):


Many commands of the Kuran and Muhammad’s actions and words recorded in the Traditions are morally abhorrent and/or criminal by the standards of our time. But even in the context of 7th century Arabia they were often considered repugnant. Muhammad had to resort to “revelations” as a means of justifying his actions and suppressing the prevalent moral code of his own society. Attacking caravans in the holy month, taking up arms against one’s kinsmen, slaughtering prisoners, reserving a lion’s share of the booty, murdering people without provocation, violating treaties, and indulging one’s sensual passions, was also at odds with the moral standards of his Arab contemporaries. Only the ultimate authority could sanction it, and Allah duly obliged him.


These facts, all gleaned from the Qur’an and the hadiths, could be construed as insulting. If Mr. Buchanan’s fatwa is heeded, they’d have to be suppressed.


Nor is the Top Dog exempt from dhimmitude. According to Mr. Buchanan, Bush ought to have followed “the lead of our best friends in the region,” who denounced “the insulting content of the cartoons.”


The Israelis did that? Most Americans think of them as America’s “best friends in the region.” But not Mr. Buchanan, who is dedicated to delegitimizing the Middle East’s only true democracy—a small spot of sanity in a sea of savagery, where enlightened Western law prevails, and where Christians, Jews and their holy places are safe (Muslims are always safe in liberal countries).


Were anyone to recommend that we follow the lead of our Israeli friends in the region, Mr. Buchanan would have a conniption, and carp about “outsourcing Middle East policy to Tel Aviv.”


You see, to Blowback Buchanan, Israel, and Israel alone, is to blame for Muslim disaffection. The Israeli lobby (and the “Illuminati Jews From The Center of the Earth”) has driven the Empire to war with Muslims, and alienated it from its natural allies in the region.


Thus the buddies Mr. Buchanan wants the president to bow to are “Abdullah, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Recep Erdogan of Turkey, and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan.” By crowning them America’s “best friends in the region,” Mr. Buchanan has once again tipped his hand. He’s an Arabist, not a proponent of a neutral foreign policy.


Mr. Buchanan, however, is much more than an Arabist; he’s an Occidentalist—one who hates the West for its “rootless cosmopolitanism,” irreligiousness, free market, and imperialism. This contempt has, I’m afraid, led Mr. Buchanan into an ideological latrine and locked him there.


After conflating the Danes with the most off-putting exemplars of free expression—Larry Flynt the pornographer, the Nazis of Skokie, and the late Robert Mapplethorpe of the bullwhip-bedecked behind—Buchanan allows that we are all entitled to be contemptuous of “the beliefs and values the Islamic faith holds dear, and for the prophet.” “But if we wish to exercise our right to air [these views] in print or broadcast, we should expect to reap what we have sown.”


With these obligatory lines, Mr. Buchanan discharges his duty to the West and its puny freedoms. What follows is an ode to Islam. Buchanan’s paean to this faith’s brute force is crucial in divining why he demands the West’s capitulation, following the cartoon Jihad.


Far from being revolted by the barbarians going berserk on the Muslim Street, Mr. Buchanan is awed by them, describing these Muslims glowingly, as “devout and resolute in defense of their faith.” Compared to their faith-inspired savage splendor, Mr. Buchanan thinks “the milquetoast Christians of modernity,” who reason in response to “sacrileges such as ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’” are “pathetic.”


To understand contemporary Muslims’ “devoutness,” Mr. Buchanan suggests we hearken to Christianity’s past. Christians were once warriors too. Hallelujah!


To Mr. Buchanan, might is right when it comes to the faithful (although Jewish religious zealots he abhors—yet another of those consistent inconsistencies.)


Mr. Buchanan went AWOL on the West because he respects a Muslim fanatic’s right (and might) to threaten scribes and illustrators more than he honors the right of these fallen pacifists to live aggression free.


In Mr. Buchanan’s universe, the meek in faith are not to be blessed—or even defended—but are to be subjugated to “Blood and Soil” barbarians. Such Muslims he views as the admired faithful who deserve to inherit the earth.  



©2006 By Ilana Mercer


   February 17

CATEGORIES: Israel, Paleoconservatism, Palestinians

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