A “Spasm Of Paranoia And Bigotry”? A New McCarthyism? Or Just More Smears By The Left?

Writing at The Daily Beast, Peter Beinart opines that each day “it becomes clearer that we are in the midst of a national psychosis: the worst spasm of paranoia and bigotry of the post-Cold War age,” and then posits that “[t]he interesting question is: Why now?”

He then constructs an elaborate and tortured historical argument attempting to show that the current concern about the building a mosque near Ground Zero is merely Islamophobia arising from the same isolationism and fear that drove McCarthyism and the “red scares” of the early- to mid- 20th Century.  Nice try, but no sale.

Maybe Beinart should start instead with a more basic question that he assumes the answer to instead of asking it.  Are we “in the midst of a national psychosis,” a “spasm of paranoia and bigotry” against Islam at all?  No, we are not. 

See for example, this CNN story about two young Muslims, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq, who recently traveled more than 13,000 miles across the United States:

His takeaway from the trip, he says, was seeing how Muslims in America have assimilated in their communities, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Wichita, Kansas, to Oklahoma City.

“It was really cool and refreshing to see people who genuinely love the communities they’re in and they’re there to stay,” Ali said. “They’re involved in the community, not just the mosque.”

It was also remarkable to have people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, “just bend over backwards and be friendly to us,” he said.

Or how about this from Jennifer Rubin at Commentary Contentions:

Last year, the FBI released its hate crimes report based on 2008 data. There were 1,519 criminal incidents based on religion. Of those 1,013 were against Jews. Muslim hate crimes? 105 in a country of 300 million. Americans may have some faults, but Islamophobia isn’t one of them.

But for Beinart, this country is s seething mass of viciousness just waiting to be unleashed by Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich on “a despised, terrified minority that you can vanquish without ever losing a GI or racking up a dollar of debt.” 

There is something about this view of one’s countrymen that is sad.  For people like Beinart, the “other” that is up to no good is always one of our own. 

Everyone else is granted dispensation from the possibility of malicious intent.  But not us.

Published in: on September 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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