October 5, 2014 by David K. Sutton
Ben Affleck Unwittingly Confirms Bill Maher’s Criticism Of Liberals
On the September 26th installment of Real Time on HBO, host Bill Maher used his “New Rules” segment to call out liberals who need a lesson on what liberals are supposed to stand for. “President Obama keeps insisting that ISIS is not Islamic,” said Maher. “If vast numbers of Muslims around the world believe — and they do — that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea, or drawing a cartoon, or writing a book, or eloping with the wrong person, not only does the Muslim world have something in common with ISIS, it has too much in common with ISIS.”
Bad ideas must be called out, and that will be the theme of this piece.
“There’s so much talk about wiping out ISIS. You can’t. Not with bombs. You can only expose that something is a bad idea.”
And bad ideas are never off-limits from discussion. I don’t care if it’s a bad idea related to your finances or a bad idea related to your belief system. A bad idea is a bad idea.
Cultures are different. It’s okay to judge that rule of law isn’t just different than theocracy, it’s better. If you don’t see that, you’re either a religious fanatic or a masochist, but one thing you most certainly are not, is a liberal.
To count yourself as a liberal, you have to stand up for liberal principles. Free speech. Separation of church and state. Freedom to practice any religion or no religion without the threat of violence. Respect for minorities, including homosexuals. Equality for women.
It amazes me how here in America, we go nuts over the tiniest violations of these values, while gross atrocities are ignored across the world.
And this is where it gets really good, and where Bill calls out atheists and liberals on their bullshit.
Ninety-One percent of Egyptian women have had their clitorises forcibly removed. Ninety-Eight percent of Somalian women have. Ayaan Hirsi Ali grew up in Somalia and is one of them. She was scheduled to speak at Yale last week, but the school’s atheist organization — my people — complained that she, “Did not represent the totality of the ex-Muslim experience.” Meaning what? The women who like mutilation?
You’re atheists! You should be attacking religion, not siding with the people who hold women down and violate them, which apparently you will defend in the name of multiculturalism, and then lose your shit when someone refers to Chaz Bono by the wrong pronoun.
This is exactly the kind of “liberalism” that I’ve had just about enough of. It’s basically armchair liberalism, where people choose the easy targets, then when some of us criticize the real problems in the world, like Islamic fanaticism supported by a large part of the Muslim world, these armchair liberals call us intolerant. Excuse me, but I do not condone murder in the name of a belief system. I do not support people who say they are fine with death as punishment for leaving the Islam faith. I do not support women treated as objects for men to manipulate anyway they choose, cloaked under the veil of religious belief. Or consider this scene from season three of The West Wing:
Representative Andrea Wyatt: The U.S. Constitution defends religious pluralism. It doesn’t reduce all of Islam to fanaticism.
Toby Ziegler: Neither does this speech. It calls fanaticism fanaticism.
Representative Andrea Wyatt: Toby…
Toby Ziegler: It’s fanaticism whether we call it that or not, so we’re going to call it that. We respect all religions, all cultures.
Representative Andrea Wyatt: To a point.
Toby Ziegler: Yes, to a point. Grotesque oppression isn’t okay just because it’s been institutionalized.
So now we fast-forward to the October 3rd episode of Real Time when Bill Maher introduces the 5th and final guest, author and neuroscientist Sam Harris. First they talk about spiritualism, or more specifically that Maher has no idea what that is. And I agree, I have no idea as well, but that’s what Harris was there to talk about, because he has a new book called Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion. But after a few minutes of discussion in this area, things got even more interesting when the topic changed to liberal principles and calling out bad ideas.
Bill Maher: So the other thing we want to talk about of course is that you and I have been trying to make the case, I think, I have anyway, that liberals need to stand up for liberal principles. This is what I said on last week’s show, obviously I got a lot of hate for it, but all I’m saying is that liberal principles — like freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities, including homosexuals. These are liberal principles that liberals applaud for, but then when you say in the Muslim world this is what’s lacking, then they get upset.
Sam Harris: Yeah, liberals have really failed on the topic of theocracy. They’ll criticize white theocracy. They’ll criticize Christians. They’ll still get agitated over the abortion clinic bombing that happened in 1984, but when you want to talk about the treatment of women, men, and homosexuals, and freethinkers, and public intellectuals in the Muslim world, I would argue that liberals have failed us. — The crucial point of confusion that we have been sold, this meme of Islamophobia, where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry toward Muslims as people. That’s intellectually ridiculous.
This is where actor Ben Affleck started to “lose” his “shit” (as Maher alluded to earlier), and then goes on to unwittingly confirm Maher’s point about liberals.
“Hold on — are you the person who officially understands the codified doctrine of Islam?” asked Affleck. “Are you saying Islamophobia is not a real thing?” No Ben, that’s not what they are saying. What Bill, and Sam and other people like myself are saying is that you are an example of a knee-jerk liberal who is quick to label someone as Islamophobic instead of actuating listening to what we are saying. “I’m not denying that certain people are bigoted against Muslims as people, that’s a problem,” said Harris. “It’s gross. It’s racist. It’s like saying, ‘Oh, you shifty Jew!’,” retorts Affleck.
No, it’s not.
So yes, Ben Affleck unwittingly confirmed Bill’s point about liberals. In Ben’s world, we must not call out bad ideas when they are religious ideas because that means we are “bigots,” or we are “gross,” or we are “racist,” and so on. And that’s why Ben is wrong. Because in the real world, where criticism of bad ideas should never be off-limits, we can call out bad ideas, even if they are religious ideas. Nobody is a bigot for calling out a bad idea. As I said earlier, I don’t care if it’s as mundane as a bad financial planning idea, or as hypersensitive as a bad religious idea, bad ideas are bad ideas, and we should have intellectual conversations about them.
Now, there’s an important distinction here. I do not condone ridiculing or tormenting someone of faith because of what that someone believes, even if you think what they believe is a bad idea. We can call out the bad idea, but the person should not be subjected to harassment or vexation. What I’m saying is, we can have forums, even talk shows like Real Time, where we can have intellectual debates on the merits of various ideas. And again, calling out bad ideas does not make one a bigot just because those bad ideas are believed by a particular religious group or sub-group. And it does not make one intolerant to call out intolerance masked as religious belief. And if a core tenet of a religion is itself intolerant, then that must be called out as well. Because, again, religious belief is not off-limits from criticism.
But that’s the problem with liberals like Ben Affleck. They think to even criticize a religion is to be a bigot, at least that’s what he seemed to be saying on the last Real Time. Affleck seems to be saying that you are a bigot to even try to point out that one particular religion at this point in history (we can debate previous times in history), has more people doing more bad things in the name of that religion. That is not the same thing as condemning every person of that faith. But as soon as you go there, liberals like Affleck get all bent out of shape and start shouting things like “intolerance” and “bigotry.”
The problem with Islam right now is that it hasn’t gone through the modernity and mainstreaming that other major religions have been subjected to over the centuries, that eventually leads to moderation, shrinking the size of the fringe groups. Sure, there are still extremists in all religions, but there is one religion that is producing an outsized number of extremists that use violence and terror as part of their everyday toolkit. And nobody is a bigot for pointing that out.