My new book, “Scarlet Letters: The Ever Increasing Intolerance of the Cult of Liberalism,” hit the bookstores in August.

As if to justify my thesis, the neo-puritans of the left went hog wild this summer branding their political enemies with a Scrabble box of scarlet letters, culminating this past week in a veritable run on the Scarlet “I” for “Islamophobia.”

Without progressives realizing it, though, their letters – the “I” included – have lost their sting. “Muslim is the new gay,” said Mark Steyn, a man who has helped defang the Islamists, and he was more right than he knew.

According to one insider, Islamists in America consciously decided to mimic homosexual activists who had been successfully using the “phobia” trope to defame opponents of their political agenda.

Muslim activists saw the same potential in the concept of “Islamophobia.” With just this one word, they could tie their struggle to those of other marginalized groups and “beat up their critics.”

This past week or so, they tried to do a little critic beating in three much-publicized incidents. One, of course, involved “Clock Boy,” Ahmed Mohamed, the wily 14-year-old who duped a Texas town into arresting him and has been reaping the bounty ever since.

“Can we have a little perspective about this?” said Bill Maher, who has himself been branded with a Scarlet “I.” “Somebody look me in the eye right here and tell me, over the last 30 years, if many young Muslim men (and he is young, 14) haven’t blown up a lot of s–t around the world?”

Perspective has little currency for progressives whose greatest pleasure in life is imputing racism to others. This is something Clock Boy and his activist father, Clock Dad, understood and exploited.

The irony, of course, is that there is nothing about the applied theology of Islam – stifling speech, suppressing women, stoning homosexuals and separating infidels from their heads – that is remotely “progressive.”

But then again, neo-puritanism is not about celebrating progressive virtue. It is about condemning Christians and other conservatives who resist the celebration.

Jack Cahill’s brand new book illustrates how the neo-Puritan progressive movement came to mimic a religion in its structure but not at all in its spirit — order “Scarlet Letters: The Ever-Increasing Intolerance of the Cult of Liberalism”

The fact that the Clock Boy incident took place in Texas doubly delighted the elect. They got to place a Scarlet “I” on the whole state much as they branded the state with a generic Scarlet “H” for “hate” in the assassination of JFK by a Louisiana communist some 50 years ago.

Predictably, when a Palestinian assassinated RFK five years later in Los Angeles, there was no stigma placed on L.A. or on Palestinians. But consistency is as alien to the left as is perspective.

Republican candidate Dr. Ben Carson got his Scarlet “I” for saying on “Meet the Press,” “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” Carson believes, not unreasonably, that Shariah law is inconsistent with the Constitution.

Confusing the Council on American-Islamic Relations with a pressure group that matters, CAIR executive director Nihad Awad demanded that Mister Ben Carson withdraw from the presidential race.

Confusing the zeitgeist of their own newsrooms with that of America, the media thought that Carson would at least apologize to save his campaign. As Carson understood, the rules changed this summer. To apologize would have cost him his campaign.

America was beginning to see that people who are comfortable with trafficking in baby parts ought not be telling the rest of us what we should apologize for.

The man most responsible for changing the rules, Donald Trump, also got slapped with a Scarlet “I” last week. He failed to correct a questioner who accused – accused? – Barack Obama of being a Muslim.

Trump, of course, was not about to apologize. It was he who kicked off the Scarlet Summer in mid-June on an unrepentant note.

Mexico, claimed Trump, “was sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists.”

La Raza – Mexicans are no more a “raza” than Muslims – promptly branded Trump with a Scarlet “X” for xenophobia, dismissed him as “an extremely silly man” and predicted his quick demise.

Anticipating that demise, Univision, NBC and Macy’s severed their relationships with Trump. When asked by CNN’s Don Lemon about being dropped by Macy’s, Trump replied, “They fold under pressure. That’s the problem with our country: Everyone folds under pressure.”

He was right, and America writ large knew it. Failing to see how Trump’s stand resonated, the neo-puritans continued their slap-happy summer campaign with Scarlet R’s for Confederate flag fliers, Scarlet H’s for Christian cake makers, and even Scarlet T’s for those “haters” who thought it took more than a dress to make a woman.

Thanks largely to the example Trump set, the Scarlet Summer turned into pure silly season. In its fall opener, “Stunning and Brave,” South Park captured this silliness with such vulgar vengeance that lefties were seen scraping the “Coexist” and “Hate is not a family value” bumper stickers off their aging hybrids before the second commercial break.

“The Republican nominee for president will be that candidate who best learns that there is no future in apologizing,” I wrote in the opening sentence of a June 10 WND article, a week before Trump announced.

I am not always right, and may not be this time, but I’ll be close.

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