Last night I arrived on the last stagecoach into Las Vegas, where I had dinner with the courageous Patrick Boylan. Today at FreedomFest I’ll be debating Daniel Peterson, a professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University, on this topic: “Islam: Radical or Peaceful?”
It’s a strange topic, since the natural opposite to “peaceful” is not “radical” but “violent,” and the problem within Islam is not “radicalism” or violence per se but supremacism, which can proceed through non-violent as well as violent means, but I know what they mean. In any case, this debate will just be part of the warm-up act for the main event, which is Christopher Hitchens vs. Dinesh D’Souza on “War, Terrorism and Geo-Political Crisis: Is Religion the Solution or the Problem?” (although D’Souza lists the topic as the more interesting “Christianity, Islam and the War on Terror.”) I will be there and will ask questions if I can, particularly of D’Souza, who has never responded to my challenge to debate in a long format such as he has tonight with Hitchens, rather than the truncated affair that was our debate at CPAC.
Meanwhile, some of you have noted that a blogger with whom I’ve had several lengthy and tiresome exchanges has once again devoted his site to a series of lengthy and ever lengthening attacks on me. I had not intended to note this here, since neither he nor I are more important than the jihad and our defense against it, but I do want to thank all those who have written, publicly or privately, in my defense. And while I’m at it I’ll note two things: the whole brouhaha is based on his false claims about where I really stand, particularly his contention that I don’t really mean what I say unless I say it not in blog posts but in a freestanding article. This is absurd — I really do mean what I write here.
Now he is comparing our conflict, such as it is, to the Council of Nicaea, and to the free West’s struggle against relativist and standardless liberalism, which I apparently now personify. The absurdities multiply. I confess I haven’t been taking this nearly as seriously as he has. After he had selectively posted some of my emails to him, taking out most of their substance, he announced grandly that he was blocking my emails henceforth — whereupon I sent him one to see if such a block was really in place, and sure enough, he posted it swiftly on his blog. Blocked indeed! Paragon of honest dealing indeed! So I had some mischievous fun sending him some outrageous ones, and I am sure we will be seeing these before too long, also, coming through an email block more porous than a New Orleans levee.
But there is a serious point to be made in all this. This man spending an astonishing amount of time savaging me when there are people with far greater reach and influence than I who have far greater differences with him than I do (although one of our principal disagreements, that I do not believe the anti-jihad resistance is or should be a racial issue, has not come up at all in this silly exchange). Those who are aware of the problem of jihad need to put aside what differences we may have and stand together — Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, whatever — and fight against the jihad and Islamic supremacism, or it will surely triumph. That unity is farther off, and more needed, than ever.