Having glossed countless FrontPageMag promotional accounts of Islamofascism Awareness Week, having read David Horowitz’ War Blog on each of its wearisome days, having absorbed the big fat hype about how it was the largest conservative student demonstration ever, the unmistakable impression I have finally come away with is that the whole thing was a set-up.
Yep, Islamofascism Week is a big fat ploy to accomplish the same old Horowitz & Co. mission, namely, to assault and discredit Women’s Studies programs, humanities academics, feminists, and so-called “Leftists” in the interest of transforming academia according to a worldview shared by luminaries like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, and the late, but omni-present, Joseph McCarthy.
All classic Horowitz, all very theatrical, all rather predictable—except that he deployed an armory of particularly lethal weapons this time, thereby escalating the tension in a public discourse already made shrill by an unpopular and immoral war, an energy crisis, the status of undocumented workers, looming global climate change, the failure of U.S. healthcare, the upcoming presidential elections—and the recent return of the noose.
In a way “Islamofascism Awareness Week” was a masterful work of double-speak: Deploy religious bigotry against Muslims in order to promote and legitimize a Coulter-style Christian nationalism, excoriate Women’s Studies programs for not doing a better job of unilaterally condemning the treatment of women in Islam in order to attack Women’s Studies for daring to exist at all, and last but not least, provoke a vicious anti-intellectualism in order to agitate for the surveillance and ultimate replacement of the so-called indoctrinating leftist academics with fascist ideologues masquerading as merely conservative scholars.
This was a week made for Horowitz—and all he had to do was ignore a few critical facts, for example, Coulter’s rabid anti-Semitism, or the wealth of feminist scholarship concerning the status of women in religious fundamentalisms, or the plain and simple fact—pointed out to him many times and proven beyond doubt in the Pennsylvania Hearings—that a professor’s real-life politics are not her/his classroom pedagogy.
But ignoring facts appears to be one of the things Horowitz does best, and in this he joins in spirit if not in financing the company of many smaller organizations whose modus operandi is to fear-monger, lie, and bully their way into the effective obsolescence of the Constitution. One such group, the Patriot’s Voice (www.the-patriot-s-voice.com), torments my small neck of the woods, Northeast Central Pennsylvania by running their members for school board, often exploiting voter apathy to win posts by write-in campaign on the vague promise to “bring accountability” back to public education.
Much like Horowitz’ appeals to “common sense,” “accountability” turns out to be code for the conversion of public education into a form of religious and nationalist indoctrination that rivals any of the theocracies of our terrorist-producing enemies. Amidst their attempts to ban books, keep students from attending Model U.N., slander their critics, and make martyrs for God of themselves, Patriot’s Voice members spout the words of their heroes—Horowitz, O’Reilly, Coulter, and McCarthy among them.
Strange it is, however, that one must strain to hear any whisper of, say, the compassion or respect for justice of a Jesus.
So Islamofascism week came and went. Some folks protesting Horowitz at Emory behaved badly, and that is indeed unfortunate because I, for one, want to hear what he has to say. How else can I formulate a response to the kind of danger his view of the world represents? How else can I come to understand the intimate relationship between organizations like Horowitz’ grotesquely misnamed Freedom Center and the Oxymoronic Patriot’s Voice? Horowitz’ strategies are, no doubt, far more media savvy—as Islamofascism week demonstrates—but his motives are no less those of thugs despite their apparent sophistication.
Like the Patriot’s Voice, Horowitz claims to represent the voiceless—oppressed college students in his case, taxpayers and the alleged victims of unionized teachers in the Patriot’s Voice case—but both in fact represent not people at all but ideologies so anathema to the very first amendment rights that protect them that I begin to wonder if, like Stephen Colbert, their intent is to satire.
Wendy Lynne Lee