Hair-Trigger Moderates

By | November 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

hair trigger

First of all, thanks to Ann Coulter for introducing this term. It is not just useful − it is informative. It teaches us the folly, the incongruity, of claiming that people in general, and Muslims specifically, can be “moderate,” yet at the same time be on such a hair trigger that they suddenly explode into homicidal violence at the least provocation.
What fraction of Muslims are either overt extremists or hair-trigger moderates? Some say 10%, though fewer of course in the United States. But to be conservative, let us take half that, 5%. There are roughly 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, and 5% of that is 60 million, about the total population of France − not a small number. It is wrong to associate all Muslims with their violent minority. It is equally wrong to ignore that minority, as the Obama administration tries to do.
True moderates remain calm and retain their moderate ways unless they are subjected to extreme provocation. On the contrary, hair-trigger moderates merely talk moderation. But even that is an exaggeration. Hair-trigger moderates talk moderation only when speaking in English to outsiders. When speaking among themselves, they often speak in violent, extreme words.
Hair-trigger moderates are always on the verge of violence. Some time ago, Terry Jones, a pastor in Florida, burned a copy of the Koran. Yes, it was his right to burn a Koran. It was also his right to burn an American flag. But having a right to do something is entirely different from being wise or responsible in doing it. A wise man would understand that burning a Koran in public might provoke violence, and might endanger our troops in Afghanistan. A responsible man would never do that.
The pastor was guilty of being unwise and irresponsible, and of seeking publicity at the expense of others. But that’s all he was guilty of.
As was predictable, at least 22 innocent people were murdered in Afghanistan, and perhaps more elsewhere, by mobs of hair-trigger moderates who were infuriated by Pastor Jones and whipped up by community organizers. But what did those innocent people on the other side of the earth have to do with Jones? Nothing − except that they were available to hair-trigger moderates.
In fact, seven were U.N. employees, there to help the Afghan people. Three were from Norway, Sweden, and Romania, as well as four Nepali security guards. Not one was a colleague of Terry Jones. A characteristic of a hair-trigger is that when it suddenly goes off, it destroys whoever happens to be in the vicinity.
Nevertheless, some commentators equated Jones with the murderers, even going so far as to claim that he should be prosecuted. But it does not take a professor of theology to understand that the murderous mob was responsible. Granted, Pastor Jones must carry some guilt, as must the media that publicized his actions. But how much guilt? I would say a very small part − insignificant in comparison with that borne by the murderers themselves.
I view all human beings as created equal − and therefore subject to the same universal moral laws. I view Muslims as equal to me in every respect − including responsibility for their actions. I view Muslims as adults, capable of controlling themselves as adults should. I view Muslims as intelligent, capable of understanding basic moral principles. As a result, I blame the hair-trigger moderates much more than I blame Terry Jones and the media that publicized his actions.
What about Dr. Ben Carson and his reluctance to support a Muslim for president? What if anti-Christian or anti-American violence increases in the Middle East? Despite the media furor, I wouldn’t blame him at all. We must not allow threats of violence to cause us to abolish freedom of expression – or even worse, freedom of thought.
Many liberals talk smoothly about equality, tolerance, and diversity − but they don’t walk the walk. In reality, they view the objects of their concern as their inferiors. And what is the liberal view of Muslims?
To make my point, let me ask a question: How would other religious or cultural groups be judged if they frequently exploded into murderous rages when irritated?

● How would Christians be viewed, if a group of them murdered innocent bystanders to protest a museum exhibiting at public expense a photo of an actual crucifix immersed in urine, or an image of the Virgin Mary covered with dung? Covering sacred images with excrement is more blasphemous, and more revolting, than burning a book.

● How would Christians be viewed, if a group of them murdered innocent movie goers to protest a showing of “The Da Vinci Code,” which portrays Christianity as an enormous fraud, and describes Jesus as an ordinary man who married and fathered a child. Defaming an entire religion is worse than burning a book.

● How would Jews be viewed, if a group of them went on a killing spree to protest the film “Lucky Number Slevin,” in which a gangster called “The Rabbi” orders murders while reading from a Torah scroll? What greater insult could there be to a religion and its Scripture than associating them with horrible crimes?

● How would veterans be viewed, if a group of them shot up a mall to protest the burning of an American flag, or to protest another negative view of them in a Hollywood film? What greater insult could there be to a person than enduring great hardship, then having his sacrifice spat upon?

No one would make excuses for homicidal Christians, Jews, or veterans. Those who were guilty would rightly be condemned as the unstable, dangerous criminals they were. And the rest of the group would be subject to scrutiny. So why are Muslims not held to the same standard?
Why are Muslims treated as though they were victims of persecution, when in fact anti-Muslim hate crimes are rare, while anti-Jewish hate crimes are over four times more common in America? In the Middle East and Africa, Muslim hate crimes against Christians are in the news almost daily. So who are the real victims?
Instead, many liberals excuse Muslims’ violent outbursts as if they were small children subject to tantrums. Many liberals excuse Muslims’ hypersensitivity as though they were suffering from some kind of psychiatric disorder. As a result, many liberals shift the blame for the violence from the perpetrators to Koran-burning pastors or cartoonists who “insult” Muhammad, or to anyone except those who are guilty.
What is more, these apologists for murder insist on referring to the “Holy” Koran, though they do not consider it holy, and to the “Prophet” Muhammad, though they do not consider him a prophet. They betray their own cowardice by ostentatiously bowing to the beliefs of others which they do not share. Of course, they don’t refer to the “Holy” Bible, the “Prophet” Moses, or the “Messiah” Jesus − because no one frightens them into doing so. If you look in the dictionary under “C” for courageous, you will not find their pictures.
Might we be safer if we all kowtowed to the most violent among us? Perhaps, for a time. But eventually, we will have to decide how far we are willing to back up. We will have to decide how much of our precious heritage we are willing to give up for the sake of a temporary lull in hostilities.
The Quran-burning pastor was a fool for risking the lives of our troops and other Westerners unnecessarily. But eventually, we have to decide where it is necessary for us to take a stand. Rather than the hot-headed pastor, we should emulate the cool-headed General Napier.
General Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853) was the British commander-in-chief in India. He did not burn Hindu or Muslim holy books − that would only have endangered his troops to no purpose. But he did stand up against an immoral custom. At the time, suttee was common. It involved burning a widow to death on her husband’s funeral pyre, so his family would not have to share the inheritance. General Napier was informed that suttee was an ancient Hindu custom with religious and cultural roots, and that interfering with it would cause trouble. (Sound familiar?) Unmoved, the general replied:

You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.

We do not need to go around burning Korans and antagonizing Muslims without reason. If we do, we are fools who deserve the trouble we cause. But we do need to decide on our fundamental moral and political values, and then to stand up for them regardless of the trouble it may cause. If we don’t, we won’t survive as a nation or as a civilization − and we won’t deserve to.

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