Tag Archives: ISIS

Islamic Extremists Are Every Bit As Bad As Nazis

For decades, one of the most scoffed at clichés has been to compare someone or some group of people to Nazis. Adolf Hitler and his fellow Nazis were almost unimaginably evil, invading countries and attempting to exterminate entire races of people, so there was no more pejorative term in the modern lexicon than “Nazi”, but because they were so awful, the idea of comparing someone to then has long been considered both absurd and insulting to the many victims of the Nazis. Such comparisons have become emblematic of the type of overheated rhetoric that has seemed to infected public discourse in recent years. Everyone knows there is nothing as bad as the Nazis. Until now that is.

Islamic extremist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda are every bit as bad as the Nazis were. Neither ISIS nor Al Qaeda have killed as many people as the Nazis (at least not yet) but that is only due to lack of means, not lack of effort. Nazi lead Germany/Austria was one of the most powerful countries on earth at the time. Al Qaeda doesn’t actually control any territory, and though ISIS may control portions of two war torn, economically backward countries, they don’t even have a fighter jet, let alone an air force. What kind of carnage do you think ISIS would inflict if it were in charge of one of the world’s most powerful countries?

ISIS and Al Qaeda routinely execute civilians, and openly encourage their sympathizers around the world to attack innocent strangers in an attempt to instill terror. Even humanitarian workers providing aid to Muslims are taken hostage and beheaded. The horrifying thing about extremists like ISIS is that they don’t make any attempt to hide their atrocities against civilians. On the contrary, they actually promote them by sending graphic video all over the Internet and social media. The world only learned of the full extent of the Nazi’s death camps after they were liberated.

Islamic extremists and Nazis are similar in that they both advocated a hateful, destructive ideology. The only difference is that one was based on the dominance of a race and the other was based on the dominance of a religion. Though the groups are similar, the reaction to them by the rest of the world is much different.

Nobody in the West has ever felt the slightest hesitation in criticizing Nazis or their Neo-Nazi descendants. There are still many people in the West who passionately believe the Nazis were right, but they are met head on by the majority of citizens who are equally passionate in shouting down and ostracizing these extremists. With Islamic extremism, the West is much less passionate and decisive in its opposition. Nobody of any political persuasion has any reticence or restraint in attacking Neo-Nazis, and for that reason, they have very little political power.

For some strange reason though, seemingly intelligent people in the West seem to have a deep fear of criticizing Islamic extremism, almost to the point of denying that it exists. It is becoming increasingly absurd in light of recent events to deny this issue. It is also odd that people are so worried about inadvertently offending Muslims by criticizing radical Islam when the vast majority of the victims of Islamic extremism are in fact Muslims. Most of the people beheaded in Iraq are Muslims, as in Syria, as are the people being routinely flogged and jailed in Saudi Arabia.

Hopefully the barbarity of the recent attacks in Paris will not just wake up the civilized world to the true danger of radical Islam, and also start some candid discussions that focus more the issues and less about offending people. I suspect that most Muslims are actually far more concerned about ISIS and Al Qaeda than they are about offensive cartoons.

Seeing is Feeling – How Video Shapes Public Opinion

Ray Rice was caught on video assaulting his fiancé and has since been cut by his team, suspended indefinitely, and become a pariah. Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend in July and he is quietly playing football with the Carolina Panthers as if nothing happened. Donald Sterling, due to a number of lawsuits and allegations over the years, was widely believed to be a racist, but he managed to be an owner for 30 years with virtually no complaints from any of the players or NBA executives. But when he was caught on tape telling his girlfriend that he did not want her going to games with black people, the NBA and the general public were outraged and he was forced to sell his team.

We always knew that Ray Rice knocked out his fiancé in that elevator, which was why there was a negative reaction to the original 2 game suspension. The NFL, after listening to all the criticism over the 2 game suspension, changed its policy so that in the future, a player would receive a six game suspension for domestic abuse. Then when the second Ray Rice video was released showing us exactly what we already knew, the NFL then suspended Rice indefinitely. Many have pointed out that it seems the real reason why Rice’s suspension is so long is that he happened to be caught on tape.

Leaving aside the discussion of what would have been an appropriate punishment for Ray Rice, it is intriguing how much more outrage the public feels when they actually see the incident with their own eyes. It is important to keep in mind that this is not a case where the video clarified guilt or innocence; we always knew that Rice assaulted his fiancé in that elevator and then dragged her out like a sack of potatoes. It was seeing it that caused the outrage.

The lesson I take from all of this is not simply that people are hypocrites, but rather that people may need to something with their own eyes before they truly know their opinion of it. Maybe people should hold off on forming strong opinions on something until they have seen it with their own eyes. How many supporters of the death penalty would have the same position if they had to watch prisoners being executed? On the flipside, how many people who typically favor leniency and early parole for convicts would feel the same way if they were forced to watch the actual violent crimes that were committed?

The same people that are now outraged over Ray Rice’s original two game suspension and calling for Roger Goodell’s head never batted an eye over the years as one player after another was convicted of domestic abuse and didn’t face a single game suspension. Those stories just faded into the background just like all those nightly stories on Ebola outbreaks, civil wars, famines, and child poverty reports. We hear the stories, conceptually we agree they are terrible, and then we clean up the dishes.

Over the past year we heard stories about this group in Syria that were so violent even Al Qaeda disowned them, but collectively we just shrugged off the thousands of deaths until we saw a video of a hostage being barbarically beheaded. Now we are going to war with them. If ISIS had massacred an entire village of 10,000 people that day instead of posting the video footage of killing that journalist, they would not be the target airstrikes right now. If Greg Hardy’s assault had been videotaped instead of Ray Rice’s, Hardy would be suspended and Rice would be playing football this weekend. Seeing isn’t just believing, seeing is feeling.