Home Moderates and Radicals in Islam and the Left
Home Moderates and Radicals in Islam and the Left

Moderates and Radicals in Islam and the Left

The core strategic problem we face is two conflicts with two ideologies that operate subversively until they are in power. That is, instead of stating their agenda openly, Islam and the left operate as false fronts maintaining a friendly moderate image while pursuing a far more radical agenda.

The distinction between moderates and radicals is at the heart of the debate about Islamic terrorism. Much as it used to be at the heart of the debate about Communism and its fellow travelers. Everyone will concede that there are indeed radicals, if only ISIS and Stalin. What they will deny is the extent of the complicity and, more significantly, the fact that the radicals were pursuing the same ends as the moderates, an Islamic Caliphate or a Communist dictatorship, only more rapidly and ruthlessly.

The thing that must be understood is that moderates do not disavow radicals. Rather they bridge the gap between the radicals and the larger society, justifying their ends, and eventually their means, while pretending to disavow them. Radicals reject any dialogue. Moderates emphasize dialogue.

Moderates will verbally reject the means with which an end is pursued. Accordingly they will reject terrorism. They may even claim to reject the ends, such as an ideological dictatorship, but they will, in good fellowship, ask you to accept their premise which inevitably leads to the acceptance of both the ends and the means.

For example, moderates on the left and in Islam will ask you to accept that terrorism is caused by American foreign policy. Once you have accepted this premise, then you have partially justified terrorism and paved the way for accepting an "Arab Spring" that eliminates the consequences of American foreign policy by properly Arabizing and Islamizing the governments of the region.

Likewise, if you accept the premise that Israel's presence in its '67 territories is driving terrorism, then you have signed on to everything from BDS to the destruction of the Jewish State.

If you concede that crime and violence are driven by class and racial inequities, then you accept that the only way to end this "class war" is massive taxation and wealth redistribution through government intervention that addresses the root cause.

That is not the way it seems to most people. And that is why the "moderate" strategy works so well.

Once you have accepted the moderate definition of the root cause, you will inevitably be forced to accept the radical remedy. This is true across a spectrum of lower level policies. For example, accept that homosexuality is genetic and gay rights become the inevitable and inescapable outcome. That is how the root cause defines the outcome. And this is how moderates achieve radical goals.

Moderates convince you to accept their premise of the root cause. Then they argue for sensitivity to the radicals whose motives have suddenly become understandable. Finally they argue for a settlement in which a compromise is reached that will allow the radicals to achieve a moderate version of their ends.

The Muslim Brotherhood takeovers of the Arab Spring are an example of a compromise to avert Islamic terror aimed at creating a Caliphate. The ultimate outcome is the same, but the moderates dress it up as a kinder and gentler alternative.

And this is the core strategic problem that we face.

The radicals are not any kind of serious physical threat. We could destroy ISIS easily if we chose to unleash our full force against them. The same is true for every single Islamic terror group in the world. And, for that matter, their state sponsors too.

The real threat is always the subversion of the moderates. The challenge then becomes the need to expose the false facade of the moderates. This leads to a push-pull struggle. The moderates cry that they are being unfairly victimized by hateful people. There are shouts of red-baiting and McCarthyism, profiling and bigotry. Their critics are paranoid and unhinged. The moderates even assert that there is something ugly and "Un-American" about asking them to account for their agenda.

And this is really the core argument made by the two allied subversive ideologies. It is "ugly" to expose their views, to quote them, to bring them to the surface. It is intolerant. It's not the way that respectable people should behave. And the moderates, who pose as respectable people precisely to play on the weakness of the middle class for being respectable, understand that this is the ultimate weapon.

Respectable people do not accuse the friendly Imam on the block of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or promoting Jihadist texts. They do not accuse the cheerful teacher in the school whom everyone likes of pushing anti-American views on her students. That is not respectable behavior.

And moderates, who pretend to be respectable, excel at pushing the respectable shame button.

It doesn't matter if it's true. It's ugly to discuss it. That is respectability simplified. It's much better to talk about how much we have in common, to speak about how we can unite and make the world a better place. And the moderates have plenty of ideas in that regard. All of them involve accepting their premise of what the world's problems are and how they can be improved by a series of proposals that would culminate with mass tyranny and murder.

There are actual moderates of course.

The majority of those on the left aren't harboring secret plans to build gulags. They would find the idea horrifying. Likewise many Muslims in Western countries don't support Islamic terrorism.

They are moderates, but only in the sense that they have not yet signed on to radical ideas. Not in the sense that they would fight and oppose them to their very last breath. They are mostly moderates out of a lack of conviction rather than a surplus of it.

Subversive organizations operate through incremental radicalization. The average American liberal of twenty years ago would not have supported half of what he vocally advocates for today. Even Obama and Hillary were against gay marriage when they ran for office. In a few years they moved from opposing a policy to threatening to prosecute those opposed to it. That is how the left works.

Obama and Hillary always had a consistent position. The leadership of the left had one. It was the ordinary rank and file liberal who might have been in the dark until the whistle was blown and the herd stampeded toward the next policy abyss. A year ago those same liberals might have felt uncomfortable with the notion of men using the ladies room. Today they would fight a civil war for it.

The process operates the same way across a spectrum of policies. The left keeps its more moderate followers in the dark about its real goals. Then once the stampede begins, the moderates who derive their sense that they are good people from following the ideas of the left, quickly fall in line.

The same is true of Islam. Plenty of Muslims would not be happy with an immediate transition to ISIS. But plenty are willing to back the more incremental attempts to build a Caliphate through political Islam in Turkey or through the Muslim Brotherhood. Their moderation, like that of many Germans in WW2, consists of an unwillingness to know what dirty deeds are being done.

The moderates bridge this gap both for their rank and file, and for the outsiders who have to be fooled into accepting their premise in order to accept their ends. Their greatest weapon is respectability. When cornered, they insist that they are just nice people who want to make the world a better place. And their critics are bigots, nasty people, who don't want everyone to get along and spread disunity.

And doesn't everyone just want to get along? Isn't that nicer and better? Isn't it a good thing that there are passionate young people who want to make the world a better place?

The chief ally of the moderates is this sort of middle class respectability. The moderates paint their critics as radicals who have no solutions. When in fact they themselves are radicals with a final solution. And yet combating this sort of happy talk remains our greatest challenge.

Yet it is also a passing challenge.

Middle class respectability is a function of a sense of security. When that sense of security begins to implode as a society experiences chaos, the middle class stops clinging to respectability.

And then the real conflict begins.

We may well be approaching that phase. Economic decline and Islamic terror are leading to a radical break with respectability. We are entering a radical age in which the moderates take off their masks and radicals of various stripes gain great influence and openly recruit for their cause.

This will be a shattering experience for many. It will be a very ugly one in many ways. And yet the only way to avert it would be to expose the false moderates who are driving this process for what they are. And this is exactly what those who have the most to lose from a radical rise refuse to do.

None of this is a new phenomenon. History is repeating itself.


  1. Anonymous15/6/17

    Moderate liberals are a dying species. Kids are taught, from early childhood, not only to disobey the rules but to expect a reward for doing so, because the ‘system’ is making them bored. This ‘mob approach’ has left us with the current college freaks. Besides marxists, there are some special guests that love it, too. There a cue… Allah akbar, kaboom¡

  2. D.D.Mao15/6/17

    Lets not pirouette around the truth the difference between the two parties are a matter of degrees not yards. America in 2017 is more divided, more tribal and less politically flexible than in previous times. Most campaigns are run today on the purely negative aspect with little vision or ideology involved. There are no moderates in either party anymore.....it's solely tribal. We have slipped into the age of unenlightenment where you follow the group think or else. Those who want to be relevant go along or you'll be shunned and faced with a challenger during the next primary. You'll definitely confront names like traitor, cuck, troll, and liberal. Any politician who straddles the fence is because they haven't been nudged with the right political incentive for voting with the tribe.

    The left doesn't want a debate they want a consensus based on manufactured intelligence which mistakes manipulation of emotions for actually thinking. The left is an elitist ruling class pretending to be populist. You accomplish this by encouraging half the population to attack the other half while telling the first half they represent 99% and the other half the 1%. They deal in empathy, envy, altruism, division and guilt which is meant to bind and blind. This isn't difficult when the American public has the attention span of a 12 year old and relies on getting it's information from twitter sound bites and web sites that agree with their views.

    The Republican party as we are aware has discredited itself over the years with it's false promises and empty ideology. They have failed, folded and created unrealistic expectations. Their nominees were mediocre candidates that are often paralyzed by risk aversion and look only after their own self interest. This lead to the recent nomination and election of another empty suit based solely on his pugnaciousness while seriously dividing the party and diluting the meaning of Conservatism.

    "A government of the people, by the people, and for the people" just may perish from the face of the earth.

  3. Anonymous15/6/17

    "Middle class respectability is a function of a sense of security". Isn't it unfortunate that things will have to get much, much worse before we stop clinging to respectability and properly address these threats. Thanks again for stating these things so succinctly and incisively.

  4. Anonymous15/6/17

    The friendly imam and cheery teacher are indeed dangerous. Children are unready for their sophistry. If parents warn kids against them, it's all too likely they'll be humiliated as stupid, antisocial, worthy of mockery.

    Moderation is a gradient tending toward ever more dysfunction as one continues being indoctrinated. Critical thinking, not social acceptance, is how to avoid becoming its slave.


  5. Anonymous15/6/17

    Our Western cities will have to become another Lebanon before the error of leftist ideology dawns on the masses. I think the age of virtue-signalling might not have long to go in some countries.

  6. I agree with the above analysis. It is interesting how radicals blame social media for polarization, while it's social media that's enabled the unmasking of these groups. I see nothing wrong with people controlling their own media intake to comport with ideas they know to be true and timeless. So long as we keep the ability to freely consume and publish media, right thinkers will not be dominated by radicals, and radicals will remain frustrated in their drive to take totalitarian power. How long they wish to persist in a state of frustration is the open question.

  7. Yep I've been thinking along the lines of the tactics that are being used against "Polite Society". Trump can easily be seen as the ideal man for the job at hand. He cannot be easily manipulated by a desire to appear gentile. This is his time at any other time who could not have achieved power . . . I see parallels with Winston Churchill

  8. "Moderates" "may even claim to reject the ends, such as an ideological dictatorship, but they will, in good fellowship, ask you to accept their premise which inevitably leads to the acceptance of both the ends and the means.

    Once you have accepted the moderate definition of the root cause, you will inevitably be forced to accept the radical remedy. ... That is how the root cause defines the outcome. And this is how moderates achieve radical goals.

    He who says 'A' must say 'B'.

  9. Anonymous16/6/17

    Excellent analysis. I have long stated that the left's continual calls for "tolerance" and "pluaralism" function as a secular analog of Taqiyya. When out of power, the left and its various client groups plea for tolerance, legal recognition, and inclusion in civil society. When in power, they leverage all of their cultural, institutional and governmental power to smash every vestige of traditional society. For them, "live and let live" means "let us live and you die." This strategy has been most clearly visible with the LGBT movement, but it is a tactic endemic throughout the left.

  10. Anonymous16/6/17

    Leftists and Muslims are definitely birds of a feather. They want to finish off us normals before they have to square off against each other.

  11. Not often I say this, but Daniel truly falls into: One of the smartest people in the room, category. His insight is amazing...

  12. Anonymous16/6/17

    Mr. Greenfield, You have enlightened me so much with almost all of your prior essays, but, regarding this one, I am proud to say, I have been aware of not accepting their basic premises. I have literally made fellow teachers cry and/or yell at me when I do not accept their basic premises. For example, I got into a heated argument with a fellow teacher who made the exact claim you mention in your article; that is, that islamic terrorism is caused by "patriarchal, capitalistic American policies". I laughed (intellectuals HATE it when you scoff at their ideology) and told him that that is a stupid thought. The reality, I told him, is that islam had been violent long before the United States was even an idea. He retorted that the 30-years-war was "the most violent ever and that it was all perpetrated by White people." I told him that he must go back so far in history proves my point! I have many other examples, but I will just say here that I cannot emphasize enough that it is imperative to not accept their core concepts. And when you recognize those core concepts and oppose them, they lose it. They don't know what to do; they don't know how to respond. (On a related example, a teacher invited CAIR to come speak at our school. I presented this to our administration with a brief, one-page explanation of why CAIR is considered controversial and, I am happy to report, their invitation was revoked.) So, Mr. Greenfield is correct...we must eschew "respectability" and confront them on their basic assumptions.

    And, on another note, here is a video elucidating real "moderate muslims"


    King WesternMan

  13. Anonymous16/6/17

    Brilliant writing, Daniel.

    "This will be a shattering experience for many." So true! This generation hasn't faced any hardships. For many, the worst is when mom/dad takes away their iPhone. They've never been hungry, never been challenged and never been alone.

    Trump will look the "Beav" to what is coming next - the left love strong men (but will deny they are such). As Van Jones put it, “I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.” They clean up these people and make them acceptable all the while they are pushing the radical agenda on the other end.

    The scriptures say it well:
    I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

    So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

  14. Extremism is extremist, that is its nature. If often matters nothing what they are extremists about. They themselves might not care. Most people are ignorant. And don't care. That doesn't stop them from adopting extremism as its own ratio sum ultra. We see this all the time when some otherwise middle class suburban white boy grows a beard, converts to Islam and runs off to ISIS to rape and kill and burn children alive. ISIS wasn't the goal. Being a maniac was the goal. ISIS provides the method for that. Similarly, American 'liberal' college students just want to wreck things. They just want to riot and set fires and scream in a mob with their friends. No more than 1 in a hundred even know what they're saying or why. They want to be violent and they repeat what they read and hear on TV and social media to pump themselves up.

  15. Do NOT talk to me about moderates. In my experience, moderates are shilly-shalliers, who do not have the courage to stand for anything (lest it should make them unpopular), and whose vote is determined by which way the political wind blows. And that is a "good" moderate. The other variety is the closet communist or closet jihadist. The enemy from within. The amiable, seemingly apolitical, nice neighbor/teacher/whatever. The wolf in sheep's clothing.

    I do not trust moderates for one NYC minute. I wish I had a dollar for every moderate who calls himself so because he voted for Reagan. And since then, he has consistently and uninterruptedly been voting democrat. Now, for the benefit of the Doctors Obvious, I suppose I must say that everybody must vote and must vote for whomever they want. BUT ... that person I just mentioned is NOT a moderate. He's a closet democrat, at best. And don't try to tell me any different.

    Just in case you still harbor doubts about how much I dislike and distrust moderates, I'll tell you that I'll take a radical lefty over a mod any time. Yes, radical lefties are dangerous and nasty people. But they have the strength of their conviction (wrong as it may be). They are open and up-front about their ideology. You know where you're standing with them (though I would suggest you do not stand too close to them, if you value you life).

    The moderate, OTOH, is the eternal hybrid. The dyed-in-the-wool whatever. You never know what he really believes, or if he believes in anything at all. He is the one who will screw up and election at the last minute because he decided to vote for the politically correct candidate. He is the one who voted for Trump, but is now Trump's worse detractor because he sees that that's what all the "cool" people believe.

    I am sorry if I offended anyone here, but I feel very strongly about this issue. There may be honest-to-goodness moderates. Unfortunately, I have never had the pleasure of meeting them.

    To me, a moderate will always be the "Me too, me too" guy. And I have no use for that sort of person. Not eve when he is (temporarily) on my side.

  16. Anonymous16/6/17

    the extremist Muslim wants to cut your head off
    The moderate Muslim wants the extremist Muslim to cut your head off.

  17. Anonymous17/6/17

    Unfortunately people are waking up slowly to what the left and Islam is about. The problem is that the entrenched Republicans do not want to make any change either of the deep state, as they are part of what the left leads and the globalists are part of. This all will lead to a Civil War as increased terror or left violence acts continues. This is a simple view and it is not a pleasant one.

  18. Anonymous19/6/17

    If ISIS disappeared tomorrow islamic terrorism wouldn't. Anyone who believes ISIS is somehow the end all and be all of islamic terrorism, persecution, ethnic cleansing, enslavement of the unbeliever in I-SLAM needs to read a history book or visit Mauritania and the Sudan.


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