If our extreme left maintained a kill-or-capture list for the morning after the revolution (before they started arresting and executing each other), the 30 subjects interviewed in “Showdown with Evil” would fill out the top of its roster. In the left’s view, the conservative and stubbornly independent voices captured in this book’s rapid-fire chapters are guilty of crimes against inanity on two counts: Not only are they boldly, proudly and deliciously politically incorrect, but – far worse – their positions are based on facts, common sense and a positive view of the United States of America.
The left’s problem with Guantanamo has never been what it is – leftists adore a good prison camp – but with who we put in it. The campus thought-police would love to round up and incarcerate these interviewees, who range from the courageous (Brigitte Gabriel, for example), through the venerable (Norman Podhoretz and the late William F. Buckley, Jr.), to the magnificently outrageous (Christopher Hitchens, an independent thinker of ferocious integrity). Elliot Abrams, Natan Sharansky, Richard Pipes, David Horowitz and dozens more. Dr. Glazov has gathered the most impressive collection of thinkers-in-freedom’s-cause available in a single volume.
Beginning with a foreword by Richard Perle, this fine book is especially valuable for those with hectic schedules, since the reader gets the powerful views of freedom’s defenders in distilled form: Glazov is a masterful interviewer who has a great tactile feel for the form, sometimes letting the subject run, elsewhere challenging an interviewee to clarify or reinforce his or her positions. The result is a masterpiece of clarity, pithiness and value.
Every page of this book is quotable, and any lines pulled to give readers a taste of the contents inevitably ignores other worthy entries, but a few key observations or revelations at least hint at the overall value of “Showdown with Evil”:
For me, a keynote statement for the entire book is the incomparable Victor Davis Hanson’s insistence that, in dealing with Islamist terrorists, their sympathizers and the broken environments that spawn them, we should stop apologizing for our success and tell them bluntly, “Dear radical Muslims, you, not us, created your present misery through religious intolerance, gender apartheid, statism, corruption, tribalism, anti-scientific fundamentalism and autocracy, and we have neither regrets about our own success nor responsibilities for your own self-induced miseries…”
One suspects that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will not take Hanson’s position publicly in the near future (even though our governing “elite” knows full well that every word of Hanson’s charge is true).
Elliott Abrams then shreds the left’s distaste for a serious human-rights policy and its round-heels affection for dictators and thugs. Indeed, throughout this book, a key theme is the left’s embrace of destructive, murderous fantasies; the left may adapt its rhetoric to the moment, but never gives up its attempt to gang-rape liberty.
A few pages later, David Horowitz, the veteran crusader for freedom of thought, notes that we’ve actually seen an intellectual and moral deterioration within the American left (yes, such decay has been possible): “[T]he driving force of [today's] leftism is a nihilistic assault on America, rather than a positive agenda of socialist construction as was evident in the past.” Hoping to build a “better” world – even one built on the bones of the peasants and workers the left pretends to champion – was ethically superior to a mad lust for destruction of “the most democratic, the most egalitarian societies that have ever existed.”
Today’s irresponsible leftists have more in common with the bloodthirsty French mob that alarmed Edmund Burke than with the theoreticians who, all good intentions and willful ignorance, destroyed the black American family with the cultural heroin of the Great Society. Of course, we may all be grateful that, unlike the mobs in the Place de la Concorde in the early 1790s, today’s campus leftists are physical cowards: Given a choice between manning the barricades and seeking tenure, they will always choose the latter. Nor do they protest the “hegemony” of big banks by refusing to pay their mortgages.
Still, the left’s rhetoric is sufficiently hateful (and self-adoring) to encourage nihilists, fascists and terrorists everywhere. Horowitz understands full well the cult-like thrall to which leftists enthusiastically submit, aggrandizing their own imaginary moral splendor by blaming others for all the world’s ills: “Their dementia is to believe that if only enough Israelis/Christians/neo-conservatives are eliminated, the world will become a livable and just place.” Of course, there will always be another “enemy of the people,” no matter how many are shot in the back of the head or starved to death.
Steve Emerson strikes another of this book’s essential themes, explaining how the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, and other radical, profoundly anti-freedom Muslim groups follow a strategy of intimidation, infiltration and prevarication. By howling “bigotry!” at the first sign of an open debate on Islam as a catalyst for terror, by infiltrating the halls of Congress and by lying about its funding, ties, purposes and goals, CAIR, specifically, has gained more influence in the Obama White House than any group or alliance intent on defending American values and liberties.
Among the many potent voices that follow Emerson’s, Abul Kasem’s stands out for his frank discussion of racism within Islam (and, especially, within Saudi Islam, today’s preferred export model). Islam has always been racist, from the oppressions of the “Golden Age,” when black slaves were treated so savagely that one of history’s most-dramatic slave revolts – fiercer than those of ancient Rome or 19th-century Haiti – occurred in Mesopotamia, where, for a time ex-slaves ruled from Basra (try finding a reference to that long bout of butchery in a leftist apologia for jihad). Arabs were the worst slave mongers of the last millennium and still indulge in forms of chattel slavery today. Kasem simply lays out the racism explicit in the Quran and the hadiths (the reputed sayings of Muhammad). He lets the religion speak for itself.
Authors Harvey Klehr and John Haynes rip apart the left’s angry denials that many of its heroes collaborated knowingly and actively with the Soviets. Klehr notes that the left has to continue to deny its extensive Soviet links of yesteryear because, to acknowledge them “would require them to rethink their entire mythology of the McCarthy era.” Haynes adds, “The hard left’s reaction reinforces in my mind the fundamental contempt for historical accuracy that permeates its intellectual world. The past is treated simply as infinitely malleable. …”
And so you understand why the left has concentrated on removing fact-based history from our schools: With each new failure or embarrassing revelation, the left has to reinvent the past again (leading to such whoppers as the titanic fraud that “Islam is a religion of peace,” or that America is the genocidal repressor par excellence). The left’s approach to history is Stalinist, straight, no chaser. (One expects the late Susan Sontag to be airbrushed from Manhattanite-politburo photographs for her late, rueful suggestion that her fellow leftists ask themselves why they had been on the wrong side of all the greatest issues of our time.)
In another invaluable interview, the great scholar Paul Kengor details one of the great political stories of our time – one which the sycophantic left-leaning establishment media refused to cover: The late (but not lamented) Sen. Ted Kennedy’s outreach to the KGB in an effort to enlist Kremlin support to derail President Ronald Reagan’s freedom agenda. The documents are there – but the media’s interest isn’t. (For younger readers unfamiliar with Tovarich Kennedy, some biographical background may be in order: In addition to his long, destructive squat in the U.S. Senate, Vice-Admiral Ted Kennedy was the naval hero of Chappaquiddick.)
Andrew Klavan then calls out the left (and Hollywood) by explaining its protective attitude toward radical Islam: “So desperate are they to display their tolerance, to claim virtue and open-mindedness for themselves … that they will give aid and comfort to a philosophy that turns everything they’re supposed to stand for on its head. Anti-female, anti-gay, anti-religious liberty, anti-humanity, radical Islam is a cancer on the face of the earth.”
Or, as William F. Buckley Jr., succinctly puts it in a capstone interview: “The left has priorities, and the priority this time around is to damage the United States.”
In compiling this “greatest hits” volume from the countless splendid and valuable interviews he has conducted over the years, Jamie Glazov has revealed his own priority: The defense of intellectual, religious and physical freedom.
Read this book.
Ralph Peters is a retired military intelligence officer, a media commentator and author of 26 books, including the recent “Endless War: Middle-Eastern Islam vs. Western Civilization,” and the forthcoming novel, “The Officers’ Club” (Jan. 18, 2011), set in the struggling post-Vietnam Army.