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Alterity: Leftists Worship "the Other"
Donald R. Burleson, PhD – April 19, 2017
 
 
A constant puzzlement to those of us with logical minds is the question of how the American Left manages to be so infatuated with Islamic societies that they brand anyone feeling differently as “Islamophobic” and “racist.” And this in spite of the fact that Islamic societies have the worst record on human rights in the history of the planet, particularly women’s rights, when women in fundamentalist forms of this religion are barely even regarded as human.
 
But this Leftist confusion is only a symptom (albeit an outstanding one) of a larger and more tragic form of delusion. The fact is, Leftists in this country are astonishingly enamored of what some literary theorists call alterity—a fancy word for “otherness.”
 
One begins to understand what this means when one comes to realize that in most respects, people of the American Left, despite what they will tell you, hate America—its social system, its economy, its traditions, its values. They live here, of course, and quietly take advantage of all the benefits of living here, but they hypocritically despise the system that has produced and nurtured them. In the diseased circles they travel in, it’s only fashionable to do so.

Accordingly, their view is typically that in any conflict, the United States of America is wrong; and in any comparison with other cultures, as a matter of routine America must come off badly. Islamic cultures merely provide a convenient platform on which they may play out their witless narrative.
 
The culture of the U.S., with regard to religious backgrounds, has essentially had a Judeo-Christian tradition. This most assuredly is not to deny that there exist many patriotic, honest, productive, upright American atheists; there are tens of millions of us, in fact. But the particular religious culture of the United States tends to define even the disbelief of those of us who are not religious. One might say that an atheist is someone who lives in New York and doesn’t believe in Jehovah, or someone who lives in Baghdad and does believe in Jehovah. Until recently, practically no one in the U.S. ever gave belief in Allah a thought, one way or the other. Even for nonbelievers in the prevailing religion, America has a well-defined culture.
 
So, in this setting, Islam is “the Other.” As a huge religious system having hundreds of millions of adherents around the world, it stands as a glaring and (to some) fetching alternative to the more settled American system. It makes for a big, conspicuous Other, contrasting itself tremendously with American values. In its fundamentalist forms it advocates sharia law at the expense of Constitutional law, and in the befuddled minds of many liberals it represents an attractive replacement for what they see as the stultifying, hopelessly provincial norms of Western civilization in general, and American culture in particular. It isn’t that American liberals believe in Islam, mind you; they just resent your not believing in it.
 
To Leftists with such a view, if some of us vociferously object to this intended displacement of Western culture, or even dare to express repugnance for radical Islamic terrorism, we brand ourselves as narrow-minded bigots who are just too fond of our own way of life and too blind to see that there is that big other world out there that we ought to appreciate more than our own.
 
In short, to the American Left, whatever isn’t quintessentially American is preferable to whatever is.  And alas, it avails little for the rest of us to point out that this view of life is pathetically stupid from the standpoint of any real discernment. One wonders why Leftists don’t just move to one of those other countries they so admire. But then we do know why that is—deep down inside, they know perfectly well they’re better off where they are, even though they would blush mightily to admit it, and run the risk of angering the great god “Other.”
 


 

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