Liberalism's false choices

Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Robert Knight - Guest Columnist

Robert KnightAre you as tired as I am of false choices? Over and over, we're given simplistic formulae, plus name calling if we're on the "wrong" side of an issue. This is not happenstance; it's the way progressives shame people into adopting their agenda or at the very least silencing opponents.

When Democrats were selling ObamaCare, Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid decried Tea Party members as "evil mongers." Americans were either selfish skinflints or compassionate souls who favored healthcare for all. If you opposed ObamaCare, you hated the poor. In fact, you hoped they came down with everything from heart failure to the heartbreak of psoriasis.

The same goes with failing to support massive programs that create multi-generational dependency and are bankrupting us. Any resistance to even more spending is likened to kicking people into the gutter.

If you remain at all skeptical of claims made by government-paid academics caught falsifying data to fit apocalyptic, computer-generated projections of man-caused global warming, you're a climate change "denier."

That goes even for those who pause at the plight of hundreds of thousands of birds and bats killed annually by windmills and roasted alive over massive solar panel farms. Ask, and you'll be fitted for a dunce hat.

If you favor photo voter ID laws and accurate voter registration rolls, you're simply a "racist." If you have moral reservations about killing unborn children in the womb, you're "anti-choice" or even "anti-woman."

In June, the Supreme Court joined the mob of name callers by conveying the notion that people who believe marriage is the union of one man and one woman are motivated solely out of "animus." That makes belief in God's institution of marriage only a matter of "hate." If you think this is an exaggeration, read the Court's tortured majority opinion. You're also a hater if you think Bruce Jenner is still a man or that confused boys should not be permitted into girls' locker rooms and showers.

Finally, in the wake of Donald Trump's outspoken stance against Muslim immigration, there's a dishonest dichotomy about President Obama's plan to import thousands of Muslim immigrants (but not Christians) from Syria.

If we refuse to pretend that violence by Islamic terrorists that happens every day around the globe has nothing whatever to do with Islam, we're bigots, pure and simple.

This leaves no room for common sense and caution tempered by compassion. We can treat people fairly while remaining wary of an unexpected eruption of terror like that in San Bernardino. We can halt immigration from Middle Eastern nations with a pedigree for terrorism while at the same time working with friendly Muslim nations to take in more refugees instead of shipping them halfway across the world.

As for assurances about "vetting" migrants, does anyone honestly trust the Obama administration, which has lied so many times (Benghazi, "you can keep" your health plan, etc.)? This is the same bunch that has released known terrorists held at Guantanamo who have rejoined al Qaeda and are calling on Muslims to kill Americans.

The wife in the pair of San Bernardino mass murderers was "vetted" for a visa, despite at least a two-year history of fealty to Islamic State's brand of jihad. For days, the Obama administration declined to cite a motive, even with a wealth of evidence as readily available as Facebook postings. The only surprise is that they didn't find a way to blame a video.

I thought about all this the other day while shopping at a supermarket. We live in an area with many Muslims, including recent immigrants. Women wearing head scarfs are common, and occasionally, you see women in full, black burqas with eye slits. The latter fashion gives the lie to the idea that all immigrants are equally inclined to adopt American values.

A man dressed as an imam approached with a cart in which a little girl sat. The child looked up hopefully and nervously, so I gave her the warmest smile I could. She responded with a grin and what looked like relief.

Thanks to terrorists who deploy women and even children as suicide bombers, it can't be easy to identify publicly as a Muslim.

It's not unreasonable or "Islamophobic" to be wary, given the pattern of jihadi violence that has reached our shores, while at the same time treating Muslim citizens and visitors fairly.

We need to ignore those who give us false choices while we go about securing our nation and our liberty.

Robert Knight is a senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union. This column first appeared in The Washington Times.

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