Bloggere og kommentarer som er kritiske til multikulturalismen og islams innflytelse, har havnet i alvorlig uenighet. Sist ute er Bruce Bawer som ser en tendens til at folk sluker alt for å bygge en alliansen mot islam, også samarbeid med høyreorienterte partier som Vlaams Belang.
Vlaams Belang har seilt opp til å bli noe av en syretest: noen mener partiet er stuerent, noen er villige til å inngå en taktisk allianse. Andre, som Bruce Bawer, er alarmert. Partiet er tvilsomt i forhold til jøder og homofile. Partiets Paul Belien har sagt han er for den jødisk-kristne moral, men ikke bare det: han er mot «sekulær humanisme». Da begynner klokkene å ringe.
Vlaams Belang har en tvilsom fortid. Da de deltok på anti-jihad-konferansen i Brussel i oktober 2007 var det flere som reagerte, bla. Charles Johnson, som driver Little Green Footballs. Det falt ikke i god jord hos andre. Og det ble starten på en kløft som bare har vokst. Andre jihad-kritiske nettsteder: Brussels Journal, hvor Paul Belien skriver, Gates of Vienna, og Robert Spencers Anti-Jihad Watch havnet på motsatt side.
Ett vannskille er synet på Barack Obama. Høyrefløybloggene mener han er farlig, at han er en appeaser. Allerede under valgkampen trakk de frem hans mellomnavn – Hussein – og det faktum at hans far var muslim. De mener Obama er en ny Carter, at han er en sellout.
En høyreliberal fløy mener at Obama ikke er en ny Carter. De tror at han er en talentfull politiker som er smart. Å samtale betyr ikke nødvendigvis ettergivenhet eller kapitulasjon. Hvis man ser på de folkene Obama omgir seg med, så tyder ikke akkurat det på defaitisme: Robert Gates, Richard Holbrooke, Mike Mullen, James Jones, Hillary Clinton. Holbrooke og Clinton har sendt langt klarere meldinger til Pakistan enn Bush-administrasjonen. Når tiden er inne har Obama vist at han er klar til å bruke makt. Han faller ikke på kne når noen sivile blir drept i Afghanistan. Krigen må gå videre.
Dette handler om hva slags syn man har på samfunnet: Obama som president betyr et enormt steg for integrasjonen, ikke bare av svarte, men alle etniske grupper i USA. Obama er realiseringen av den amerikanske drømmen: universelle rettigheter for alle. Men det er ikke ensbetydende med snillisme.
Den amerikanske drømmen betyr at det er plass til alle, også muslimer. Men hos visse høyrebloggere har det skjedd en herding/forherdelse, hvor man inntar et ideologisk standspunkt: man er mot islam og muslimer per definisjon. Det finnes ingen åpning, intet håp. Når man også er kritiske til homofile, begynner det å avtegne seg en illiberal profil. Da er det ikke friheten man kjemper for lenger.
Bruce Bawer tar et oppgjør med disse tendensene i et innlegg på LGF:
Thursday, May 6, 2009, 9:28 P.M. CET: Recently, Andrew Sullivan posted a link to an article about Charles Johnson, the celebrated blogger who has distanced himself from many other anti-jihadists and called them «a bunch of kooks.» Though it grieves me to say so, and though I’ve hoped that things would somehow turn around, Charles is, alas, not whistling Dixie: I can testify that in the last couple of years some significant, and lamentable, shifts have taken place on the anti-jihad front. Writers and bloggers whom, not very long ago, I would unhesitatingly have described as staunch defenders of liberal values against Islamofascist intolerance have more recently said and done things that have dismayed me, and that, in many cases, have compelled me to re-examine my view of them.
Once upon a time, these people made a point of distancing themselves from far-right European parties such as Belgium’s Vlaams Belang – whose most prominent Internet voice, Paul Belien, has declared himself to be fighting for «Judeo-Christian morality» not only against jihadist Islam but also against «secular humanism.» Belien has made no secret of his contempt for gay people and for the idea that they deserve human rights as much as anyone else. Now, however, many of the anti-jihadist writers who once firmly rejected Vlaams Belang have come to embrace it wholeheartedly. In fact, for reasons unknown to me, this regional party in one of Europe’s smallest countries appears to have become, for a number of anti-jihadist writers on both sides of the Atlantic, nothing short of a litmus test: in their eyes, it seems, if you’re not willing to genuflect to VB, you’re not a real anti-jihadist.
I happen to be aware of this new state of affairs because during the last year or so I’ve been scolded by a number of respected and accomplished writers for refusing to make nice with Vlaams Belang. Some of them have done this gently, pleadingly; others, who once addressed me with civility and respect as a fellow independent writer, have taken a harsh and hectoring, and in two or three cases even a condescending and bullying tone with me, as if they’re the bosses of some political machine and I’m an irksome underling who’s deviating from the party line. The shift is, frankly, breathtaking. Some of these writers have admitted privately that VB is bad news but argue that the party is nonetheless a valuable ally in the struggle against the Islamization of Europe, just as Stalin was a useful partner in the war on Hitler; others insist vehemently that Belien & co. are terrific folks, and claim that their checkered reputation is entirely the work of Charles Johnson. Never mind that other right-wing European parties, such as Norway’s Progress Party, have explicitly distanced themselves from VB; never mind that in 2006 Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a far more well informed student of Benelux politics than any of VB’s eager new boosters, called VB «a racist, anti-Semitic, extremist party that is unkind to women» and earlier today, while acknowledging that «the party has adjusted its rhetoric and seems to have dropped its anti-Semitic stance,» told me in an e-mail that «it’s very difficult to know whether this [adjustment] is genuine or political pragmatism.»
The other day, in the wake of my City Journal piece «Heirs to Fortuyn?», a couple of anti-jihad writers who had not yet rebuked me for my stance on Vlaams Belang finally got around to doing so. Not only did they send me e-mails taking me to task for criticizing VB in that article; one of them also took it upon himself to chew me out for, in his view, admiring Pim Fortuyn too much and Geert Wilders too little. (Never mind that I’ve defended Wilders frequently and that Wilders has blurbed my new book, Surrender.) Wilders, this individual felt compelled to lecture me, is a far greater figure than Fortuyn ever was. Why? Because, he explained, Wilders stands for «Western values,» while Fortuyn stood only for – get ready for this – «Dutch libertinism.»
Yes, «Dutch libertinism.» The words took my breath away. During the last few days (while, as it happened, I was visiting Amsterdam) I haven’t been able to get them out of my mind. For a self-styled anti-jihadist – who, by the way, I first met three years ago at the Pim Fortuyn Memorial Conference in The Hague – to refer in this way to a man who sacrificed his life for human liberty is, in my view, not only incomprehensible but profoundly despicable. This is, after all, precisely the sort of language that Dutch Muslim leaders hurled at Fortuyn during his lifetime. And in the present case the words were plainly aimed not only at Fortuyn but at me – a writer who, like Fortuyn, that great martyr for freedom, is gay.
What the hell, one is entitled to wonder, is going on here? Why has Vlaams Belang, of all things, become a veritable sacred cow for so many anti-jihadist writers? And why does at least one of them now take such a staggeringly contemptuous view of Pim Fortuyn? I can’t honestly say that I understand any of it. But I do know this: when writers who represent themselves as champions of liberty start cozying up to distinctly illiberal parties like Vlaams Belang – and when one of those supposed champions of liberty starts to sound uncomfortably like the Islamist enemies of freedom whom he purports to despise – then there’s something terribly wrong, and genuinely evil, afoot.