America’s Second Civil War

From Dennis Prager:

It is time for our society to acknowledge a sad truth: America is currently fighting its second Civil War.

In fact, with the obvious and enormous exception of attitudes toward slavery, Americans are more divided morally, ideologically and politically today than they were during the Civil War. For that reason, just as the Great War came to be known as World War I once there was World War II, the Civil War will become known as the First Civil War when more Americans come to regard the current battle as the Second Civil War.

This Second Civil War, fortunately, differs in another critically important way: It has thus far been largely nonviolent. But given increasing left-wing violence, such as riots, the taking over of college presidents’ offices and the illegal occupation of state capitols, nonviolence is not guaranteed to be a permanent characteristic of the Second Civil War.

There are those on both the left and right who call for American unity. But these calls are either naive or disingenuous. Unity was possible between the right and liberals, but not between the right and the left.

Liberalism — which was anti-left, pro-American and deeply committed to the Judeo-Christian foundations of America; and which regarded the melting pot as the American ideal, fought for free speech for its opponents, regarded Western civilization as the greatest moral and artistic human achievement and viewed the celebration of racial identity as racism — is now affirmed almost exclusively on the right and among a handful of people who don’t call themselves conservative.

The left, however, is opposed to every one of those core principles of liberalism.

Like the left in every other country, the left in America essentially sees America as a racist, xenophobic, colonialist, imperialist, warmongering, money-worshipping, moronically religious nation.

Just as in Western Europe, the left in America seeks to erase America’s Judeo-Christian foundations. The melting pot is regarded as nothing more than an anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-Hispanic meme. The left suppresses free speech wherever possible for those who oppose it, labeling all non-left speech “hate speech.” To cite only one example, if you think Shakespeare is the greatest playwright or Bach is the greatest composer, you are a proponent of dead white European males and therefore racist.

Without any important value held in common, how can there be unity between left and non-left? Obviously, there cannot.

There will be unity only when the left vanquishes the right or the right vanquishes the left. Using the First Civil War analogy, American unity was achieved only after the South was vanquished and slavery was abolished.

How are those of us who oppose left-wing nihilism — there is no other word for an ideology that holds Western civilization and America’s core values in contempt — supposed to unite with “educators” who instruct elementary school teachers to cease calling their students “boys” and “girls” because that implies gender identity? With English departments that don’t require reading Shakespeare in order to receive a degree in English? With those who regard virtually every war America has fought as imperialist and immoral? With those who regard the free market as a form of oppression? With those who want the state to control as much of American life as possible? With those who repeatedly tell America and its black minority that the greatest problems afflicting black Americans are caused by white racism, “white privilege” and “systemic racism”? With those who think that the nuclear family ideal is inherently misogynistic and homophobic? With those who hold that Israel is the villain in the Middle East? With those who claim that the term “Islamic terrorist” is an expression of religious bigotry?

The third significant difference between the First and Second Civil Wars is that in the Second Civil war, one side has been doing nearly all the fighting. That is how it has been able to take over schools — from elementary schools, to high schools, to universities — and indoctrinate America’s young people; how it has taken over nearly all the news media; and how it has taken over entertainment media.

The conservative side has lost on every one of these fronts because it has rarely fought back with anything near the ferocity with which the left fights. Name a Republican politician who has run against the left as opposed to running solely against his or her Democratic opponent. And nearly all American conservatives, people who are proud of America and affirm its basic tenets, readily send their children to schools that indoctrinate their children against everything the parents hold precious. A mere handful protest when their child’s teacher ceases calling their son a boy or their daughter a girl, or makes “slave owner” the defining characteristic of the Founding Fathers.

With the defeat of the left in the last presidential election, the defeat of the left in two-thirds of the gubernatorial elections and the defeat of the left in a majority of House and Senate elections, this is likely the last chance liberals, conservatives and the right have to defeat the American left. But it will not happen until these groups understand that we are fighting for the survival of America no less than the Union troops were in the First Civil War.

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Violent Rhetoric Is Terrible, But Actual Violence Is Cool

From Kevin D. Williamson:

Hearken unto me, o ye students of political history, and recall the ancient days of . . . 2011.

Anybody remember 2011? I remember 2011 pretty well. One of the infamous and horrifying events of that year was the shooting of Gabby Giffords by a pathetic misfit in Tucson. That was followed by a veritable Wagner opera of alarm and distress regarding the state of American political rhetoric. Oh, you remember, do you not: Sarah Palin, who had targeted several purportedly vulnerable Democrats for special electoral attention, had published a map with crosshairs — crosshairs, people! — over those Democrats’ congressional districts.

You’d have thought that Palin had pulled the trigger herself. Every good liberal on God’s green Earth began lecturing us about the need for “civility,” about the horrifyingly violent rhetoric of the Tea Party, etc. The president himself lectured us on civility. E. J. Dionne went the Full Yglesias (What’s the Full Yglesias? Stroking your beard and wetting yourself at the same time), writing:

Since President Obama’s election, it is incontestable that significant parts of the American far right have adopted a language of revolutionary violence in the name of overthrowing “tyranny.” . . . We must now insist with more force than ever that threats of violence no less than violence itself are antithetical to democracy. Violent talk and playacting cannot be part of our political routine.

Former senator Gary Hart, writing in the Huffington Post, insisted that riling up partisans by employing martial tropes in political campaigns (but we can’t call them “campaigns!”) is “to invite and welcome their predictable violence.”

The editors at the Huffington Post seem to have evolved on the issue, having just published a column by Jesse Benn, whose mirth-inducing bio-line identifies him as a doctoral student in journalism, in which he calls not for a revival in violent political rhetoric but for actual political violence: “Sorry Liberals, A Violent Response To Trump Is As Logical As Any,” the headline reads. Benn argues that the Trump phenomenon is not “a typical political disagreement between partisans,” and that “there’s an inherent value in forestalling Trump’s normalization. Violent resistance accomplishes this.”

E. J. Dionne has not been heard from.

A few days ago, Vox suspended an editor (after considerable criticism) who called for violence, in the form of riots, in response to Trump.

Gary Hart has not been heard from.

Neither has the president.

What’s violent rhetoric compared with genuine calls for violence?

Actual political violence is apparently to be encouraged when the goons are on the left and the target is (I suppose) on the right. Let a couple of ranchers in Nevada get squirrely, though, and it’s the end of days.

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Liberalism’s Imaginary Enemies

From Bret Stephens:

Little children have imaginary friends. Modern liberalism has imaginary enemies.

Hunger in America is an imaginary enemy. Liberal advocacy groups routinely claim that one in seven Americans is hungry—in a country where the poorest counties have the highest rates of obesity. The statistic is a preposterous extrapolation from a dubious Agriculture Department measure of “food insecurity.” But the line gives those advocacy groups a reason to exist while feeding the liberal narrative of America as a savage society of haves and have nots.

The campus-rape epidemic—in which one in five female college students is said to be the victim of sexual assault—is an imaginary enemy. Never mind the debunked rape scandals at Duke and the University of Virginia, or the soon-to-be-debunked case at the heart of “The Hunting Ground,” a documentary about an alleged sexual assault at Harvard Law School. The real question is: If modern campuses were really zones of mass predation—Congo on the quad—why would intelligent young women even think of attending a coeducational school? They do because there is no epidemic. But the campus-rape narrative sustains liberal fictions of a never-ending war on women.

Institutionalized racism is an imaginary enemy. Somehow we’re supposed to believe that the same college administrators who have made a religion of diversity are really the second coming of Strom Thurmond. Somehow we’re supposed to believe that twice electing a black president is evidence of our racial incorrigibility. We’re supposed to believe this anyway because the future of liberal racialism—from affirmative action to diversity quotas to slavery reparations—requires periodic sightings of the ghosts of a racist past.

I mention these examples by way of preface to the climate-change summit that began this week in Paris. But first notice a pattern.

Dramatic crises—for which evidence tends to be anecdotal, subjective, invisible, tendentious and sometimes fabricated—are trumpeted on the basis of incompetently designed studies, poorly understood statistics, or semantic legerdemain. Food insecurity is not remotely the same as hunger. An abusive cop does not equal a bigoted police department. An unwanted kiss or touch is not the same as sexual assault, at least if the word assault is to mean anything.

Yet bogus studies and statistics survive because the cottage industries of compassion need them to be believed, and because mindless repetition has a way of making things nearly true, and because dramatic crises require drastic and all-encompassing solutions. Besides, the thinking goes, falsehood and exaggeration can serve a purpose if it induces virtuous behavior. The more afraid we are of the shadow of racism, the more conscious we might become of our own unsuspected biases.

And so to Paris.

I’m not the first to notice the incongruity of this huge gathering of world leaders meeting to combat a notional enemy in the same place where a real enemy just inflicted so much mortal damage.

Then again, it’s also appropriate, since reality-substitution is how modern liberalism conducts political business. What is the central liberal project of the 21st century, if not to persuade people that climate change represents an infinitely greater threat to human civilization than the barbarians—sorry, violent extremists—of Mosul and Molenbeek? Why overreact to a few hundred deaths today when hundreds of thousands will be dead in a century or two if we fail to act now?

Here again the same dishonest pattern is at work. The semantic trick in the phrase “climate change”—allowing every climate anomaly to serve as further proof of the overall theory. The hysteria generated by an imperceptible temperature rise of 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880—as if the trend is bound to continue forever, or is not a product of natural variation, or cannot be mitigated except by drastic policy interventions. The hyping of flimsy studies—melting Himalayan glaciers; vanishing polar ice—to press the political point. The job security and air of self-importance this provides the tens of thousands of people—EPA bureaucrats, wind-turbine manufacturers, litigious climate scientists, NGO gnomes—whose livelihoods depend on a climate crisis. The belief that even if the crisis isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be, it does us all good to be more mindful about the environment.

And, of course, the chance to switch the subject. If your enemy is global jihad, then to defeat it you need military wherewithal, martial talents and political will. If your enemy is the structure of an energy-intensive global economy, then you need a compelling justification to change it. Climate dystopia can work wonders, provided the jihadists don’t interrupt too often.

Here’s a climate prediction for the year 2115: Liberals will still be organizing campaigns against yet another mooted social or environmental crisis. Temperatures will be about the same.

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The World’s Most Dynamic Religion

From Bret Stephens:

Maybe Sigmund Freud should have been a political scientist. Psychoanalysis might be useless as treatment for neurotics, but there’s something to be said for it as a mode of ideological investigation. To wit, what explains the fatal attraction of the secular mind to the politics of impending apocalypse?

I’m reminded of this again as embarrassed eulogies are being written for China’s one-child policy, which Beijing finally eased last week after a 35-year experiment in social folly and human cruelty. Instituted in the name of resource conservation, the policy resulted in millions of forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations, a male-female birth imbalance of 118-100, and a looming demographic disaster as Chinese grow old while the working population shrinks.

As government policy goes, the one-child policy was as repressive and illiberal as it gets: the ultimate invasion of privacy; the ultimate assault on the human rights of women and girls. Naturally, liberals loved it.

They loved it, in part, because it had been their idea to begin with. Paul Ehrlich helped get the ball rolling with his 1968 blockbuster “The Population Bomb,” which begins with the words: “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Mr. Ehrlich, a biologist at Stanford, had no scholarly credentials as a demographer or an economist. But that didn’t keep him from putting a scientific gloss on a personal prejudice.

From “The Population Bomb” there came Zero Population Growth, an NGO co-founded by Mr. Ehrlich. Next there was the United Nations Population Fund, founded in 1969, followed by the neo-Malthusian Club of Rome, whose 1972 report, “The Limits to Growth,” sold 30 million copies. In India in the mid-1970s, the Indira Gandhi regime forcibly sterilized 11 million people. Then-World Bank President Robert McNamara praised her for “intensifying the family planning drive with rare courage and conviction.” An estimated 1,750 people were killed in botched procedures.

Power is seductive, as are fame and wealth, and it’s easy to see how being a scientific prophet of doom afforded access to all three. So long as the alarmists fed the hysteria, the hysteria would feed the alarmists—with no end of lucrative book contracts and lavish conferences in exotic destinations to keep the cycle going. It’s also not surprising that someone like Mr. Ehrlich, trained as an entomologist, would be tempted to think of human beings as merely a larger type of insect.

“My language would be even more apocalyptic today,” an unrepentant Mr. Ehrlich told the New York Times earlier this year. “The idea that every woman should have as many babies as she wants is to me exactly the same kind of idea as, everybody ought to be permitted to throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.” Notice what Mr. Ehrlich is comparing to garbage.

But the real question isn’t what drives people to be leaders of a new movement. That’s easy enough to understand. It’s why so many people—usually well-educated, urbane liberals—would wish to be followers.

It isn’t the strength of the evidence. The idea of a population bomb was always preposterous: The world’s 7.3 billion people could fit into an area the size of Texas, with each person getting 1,000 square feet of personal space. Food has never been more abundant. As for resource scarcity, the fracking revolution reminds us that scarcity is not so much a threat to mankind as it is an opportunity for innovation.

What matters, rather, is the strength of the longing. Modern liberalism is best understood as a movement of would-be believers in search of true faith. For much of the 20th century it was faith in History, especially in its Marxist interpretation. Now it’s faith in the environment. Each is a comprehensive belief system, an instruction sheet on how to live, eat and reproduce, a story of how man fell and how he might be redeemed, a tale of impending crisis that’s also a moral crucible.

In short, a religion without God. I sometimes wonder whether the journalists now writing about the failure of the one-child policy ever note the similarities with today’s climate “crisis.” That the fears are largely the same. And the political prescriptions are almost identical. And the leaders of the movement are cut from the same cloth. And the confidence with which the alarmists prescribe radical cures, their intolerance for dissenting views, their insistence on “global solutions,” their disdain for democratic input or technological adaptations—that everything is just as it was when bell-bottoms were in vogue.

China’s one-child policy has been one of the great unrecognized tragedies of our time. It is a modern-day lesson in the danger of environmental fears and the misanthropic solutions they typically inspire. It behooves us to learn its lessons before we repeat its mistakes on a vaster scale.

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Suicidal Liberalism

From Christopher Caldwell:

Until mid-September, the half-million migrants who had been marching northwards into central Europe seemed like the Old World equivalent of Hurricane Sandy survivors. Families uprooted by the war in Syria were seeking safety, according to this view of things. It was sad to see little girls sleeping by the side of the road, but inspiring to see European volunteers, with their clipboards and their bags of snacks, their water bottles and Port-a-Potties, showing such compassion and logistical expertise.

German chancellor Angela Merkel never seemed prouder. Her announcement in mid-August that Germany could accept 800,000 refugees—vastly more than anyone had assumed possible—gave momentum to the mass migration. This was the new Europe, one not afraid of showing brotherly love to its Muslim neighbors. “To be honest,” Merkel said, “if we reach the point where we need to apologize for lending a helping hand in time of need, well, that’s not my country any more.” Americans will recognize this rhetorical device as the Barack Obama who-we-are-as-a-people technique, which implicitly threatens anyone who disagrees with the leader with ostracism from the national family.

But on September 15, this picture changed. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary, the easternmost outpost of Europe’s so-called Schengen zone, sought to restore order to his country’s border checkpoints, which had been overrun. New laws required newcomers to file asylum applications, and introduced criminal penalties for those who entered the country unlawfully. Almost immediately, groups of migrants rioted outside the town of Röszke and were driven back only with the help of water cannons. Gone were the little girls—because, however photogenic little girls may be, the lion’s share of the travelers are young men, and now they were heaving rocks at the authorities and showing up on YouTube videos shouting Allahu Akbar. Gone, too, were the stories of Syria—because only a fifth of those coming to Germany are from Syria in the first place. The rest are from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and other places, and they are following a route on which large-scale smuggling operations have carried all sorts of migrants for months and even years.

Two visions of Europe’s place in the world are clashing. For Merkel, the migration looks like a charitable opportunity. For Orbán, it looks like a portable intifada. In mid-September, it was Orbán’s assumptions that were being borne out.

Merkel’s invitation to 800,000 of the Muslim world’s tempest-tossed won her accolades around the Middle East. Arabic social media called her “the compassionate mother”—not an epithet often applied to her last winter, when she was wringing every last obol out of a Greek government that had been bamboozled into a draconian debt-servicing program by European officials. Germany seldom gets credit for its big heart on the world stage, and its citizens reveled in the adulation. The ZDF television chain held a “Germany Helps” telethon. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler, enthused that migrants who were ready to pull up stakes and leave behind everything familiar were “exactly the kind of people we’re looking for at Mercedes and everywhere in our country.” Although Merkel got 100 percent of the credit for this generosity, other countries would share the price for the immigrants she lured. Since the signing of the Schengen agreements in 1995, there has been free movement within most of the European Union. Orbán and the leaders of Poland and Slovakia announced themselves unwilling to take extra migrants, adding that they preferred that the ones they took be Christian.

European leaders have generally mocked Orbán for his provincialism, then denounced him for his immorality, and then pursued his policies to the letter:

n In Austria, the Social Democratic premier Werner Faymann likened Orbán to the Nazis. Faymann leads a coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, who joined forces two years ago to keep the hardline anti-immigrant Freedom party (FPÖ) out of power. Now the FPÖ appears to have a shot at winning the municipal elections in Vienna in early October, and Faymann has imposed his own border controls.

n In Croatia, a new EU country not yet in the Schengen zone, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has long professed herself shocked at certain of Orbán’s policies. When Orbán introduced controls at the Hungarian-Serbian border, she offered to let the migrants pass on an alternative route leading through Slovenia. That idea lasted barely a day. As we went to press on September 17, her interior minister said Croatia had reached capacity and could accept no more refugees. Grabar-Kitarovic herself had put the army on alert. (Slovenia closed its own border with Hungary shortly thereafter.)

n But the greatest reversal was in Germany. The Christian Social Union’s leader (and Merkel’s ally) Horst Seehofer had called her invitation a “mistake that will keep Germany busy for a long, long time.” Even the left-wing government of Baden-Württemberg had been urging a three-month limit on asylum stays. Merkel carried on regardless. But on September 12 alone, 10,000 migrants walked out of the Munich train station, and the city was overwhelmed. Merkel’s interior minister Thomas de Maizière announced that Germany was closing its border. (And here we should stress that the borders in question were not the EU’s external borders but internal borders with other EU countries, which have been open for two decades.) As generally happens, Orbán’s vindication only deepened his adversaries’ resentment. Even after closing his own country’s borders, de Maizière was threatening to cut off Hungary’s EU funds should Orbán not agree to a larger refugee quota.

It was one of the bitterest episodes of German-Hungarian squabbling over human rights since 2002, when Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor Imre Kertész won the Nobel Prize for literature. Hungarians resented it when Germans boasted of Kertész’s Berlin domicile as a sign of their country’s moral progress. Hungarians took this bragging for an assertion that their own country had not made such progress. Kertész, though, has made an appearance in the latest migrant controversy, and now it is Hungarians who want to cite him. In The Last Refuge, Kertész’s diaries of 2001-2009 (not translated into English), he wrote a few remarks on Muslim migration that have in recent weeks become staples of political websites, both moderate and extremist. “I would talk,” Kertész wrote,

about how the Muslims are invading, occupying—to put it bluntly, destroying—Europe, and about Europe’s attitude towards that. I would speak, too, about suicidal liberalism and dumb democracy, the kind of democracy that envisions giving chimpanzees the right to vote. [Note: Kertész is referring here to an actual proposal of animal-rights advocates, not likening any group of voters to animals.] This story always ends the same way: Civilization reaches a stage of overripeness where it can no longer defend itself and doesn’t even particularly care to, where, for reasons that are hard to understand, it comes to idolize its own enemies. And, which is worse, where none of this can be said openly.

Orbán’s decision to enforce border controls changed everything, although one should note that Orbán has not acted in a rash or undemocratic way—the legal changes at the border were announced well in advance, and his changes to state of emergency laws were passed through parliament, not asserted by decree. One can, if one wishes, fault Orbán for irrealism, to the extent he believes Hungary’s maintenance of its traditional culture and demography is consistent with EU membership. The EU aims to do away with such considerations.

But it was Merkel’s rash invitation that forced Orbán’s hand. Merkel may wind up a kind of twenty-first-century equivalent of Günter Schabowski, the East German functionary who, at a press conference in 1989, misread a list of instructions he had been given and incited the stampede of East Germans who broke through the Berlin Wall. One can blame Merkel for setting millions of migrants on the road to Europe to redeem promises that Europe cannot possibly keep.

The big danger ever since this migration got underway is that it would get stopped up somewhere. The day after Germany closed its border with Austria, there were 20,000 migrants stuck in the Austrian villages of Nickelsdorf and Heiligenkreuz. And the further south you go, the fewer resources residents have to give the travelers a welcome. The migrants are largely young men from rough, tough parts of the Muslim world. There is now a queue of them that stretches all the way east to Bangladesh and beyond, and deep down into sub-Saharan Africa. People have sold cattle, abandoned houses, robbed employers, left wives and children, and burned all sorts of bridges to come. There are now hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of them. Many are war-hardened. They are looking for money, food, and female companionship, and they are convinced that Europeans are gullible sissies. This is where Frau Merkel’s Willkommenskultur has led: With the impending closure of the Croatian border, hundreds of thousands of young Muslim men are about to hit a brick wall in Serbia. Serbia!

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Zero Tolerance for Fellow Americans, Understanding for Islamic Terrorists

From Jonah Goldberg:

“Nice flag!” the woman shouted, sarcastically adding: “F—- you!”

The woman was seated on the patio of a restaurant overlooking Main Street in this famously liberal capital of this famously liberal state when a truck sporting the Confederate emblem passed by.

I could understand the sentiment (particularly given the fact that her lunch partner was an African-American man). When the woman saw my daughter and her friend, she apologized for her profanity.

And while I could have done without the f-bomb around two 12-year-old girls, my real objection was something different. The young woman’s outburst was exactly the reaction the buffoon in the truck was hoping for. After all, Vermont is the heart of union territory (and the first state to ban slavery in 1777). Even without the recent controversies, there’s no reason to fly a Confederate flag in downtown Montpelier except to offend.

But is that really the intent when the descendant of a Confederate soldier puts a flag on his ancestor’s tombstone once a year? According to many on the left, it is. “If we don’t eradicate the Confederate flag,” writes “social theorist” Frank Smecker, “we can only expect more of such racist, depraved acts (like Dylann Roof’s) in our future.”

I’m no big fan of the Confederate flag, but do serious people believe that if Roof didn’t have access to the banner, he would have pursued a life of peace?

It’s this lack of nuance and distinction I find so troubling — and hypocritical.

Claude Berube, director of the Naval Academy Museum, recently compared the rush to dig up Confederate graves and tear down statues in the U.S. to Islamic iconoclasm. The Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas on the grounds that they violate Islamic law. The terrorist group Islamic State is ransacking historic monuments for both God and mammon.

The comparison has its obvious limits, but it does highlight a remarkable double standard. Islamic terror has been on the rise for decades, yet over that time the left’s calls for nuance, tolerance and understanding have only grown louder. Virtually no one condones or makes apologies for ISIL’s barbarity (one can’t say the same about Hamas or Hezbollah), but there has been a Herculean effort to put Islamic extremism in “context.”

President Obama insists that ISIL isn’t even Islamic and that the West should not get on its “high horse” about today’s Muslim atrocities given that Christians committed atrocities eight centuries ago. When Islamist radicals were thwarted in their effort to behead Pamela Geller for organizing a “draw Mohammed” contest, many in the news media were quick to argue that she was asking for it. When an obscure pastor wanted to burn the Quran, the U.S. government went into a panicked tailspin, begging him not to offend or radicalize peaceful Muslims. When jihadists attacked a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s greatest rhetorical fury was aimed at an obscure filmmaker who made an offensive video about Islam.

Shortly after the shooting in Charleston, S.C., the New America think tank chummed the waters with a tendentious study insinuating that Roof and his ilk represented the real terror threat. “Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11,” proclaimed a New York Times headline. Forty-eight Americans, including the nine killed in Charleston, have been killed by non-Islamist “terrorists,” compared with a mere 26 by avowed jihadists.

The study is a methodological mess, starting with the fact that it starts the clock immediately after 9/11, ignoring the 3,000 killed on that day. It counts dubious attacks as right-wing terror and ignores the fact that the U.S. has foiled and deterred numerous Islamist terror plots in the past decade. If you catch a bunch of rattlesnakes in your backyard before they bite and kill someone in your family, is that proof there is no threat from snakes?

It would be an improvement if the left could stick to either of its double standards. Personally, I think fellow Americans — even ones who wear Lynyrd Skynyrd shirts — deserve some of the nuance and understanding so many reserve for Islam extremism. But if you’re going to take your zero tolerance for symbols of 19th century slavery so seriously, maybe you should show the same myopic zealotry with regard to the forces who are enslaving people right now.

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