Dupes, deceivers, and the shortage of straight talk about radical Islam
During the long conflict between the Communist bloc countries and the Western democracies, there was a robust war of ideas. Those publicly sympathetic to the Communists included both dupes and deceivers. The former advanced the interests of the Communists without necessarily taking their side, through a combination of naïveté and political or academic fashion. The latter, on the other hand, deliberately purveyed what amounted to Soviet propaganda.
These days we see clear parallels in public discourse about the tensions between Islamic fundamentalism and Judeo-Christian or “Western” culture. Today’s dupes and deceivers aggressively market the notion that there is moral equivalence between the two belief systems. In this process a great deal of disinformation is disseminated with little if any evident skepticism, and from a number of ostensibly reliable sources.
It is easy to be numbed by this daily drumbeat, to acquiesce in the notion that we of the Judeo-Christian, Western (and especially American) persuasion are equally, if not predominantly, to blame for most hatred and intolerance. But this is emphatically not the case.