Who are you?
I’m David Matthews. Yes, it is a pseudonym. Yes, I am white and middle aged. I welcome your comments here on the blog or you can reach me by email at exxleft at hotmail dot com.
Are you a Jew?
Are you a right-wing fundamentalist Christian now?
Then what are you?
To quote the Counting Crows, “I wanna be someone who believes.” But right now I don’t. I wanted to convert to Judaism, but much more difficult than the three hour schuls and all the Hebrew required is the fact that you have to believe in God- that was, and is the whole point. I have a great respect for Buddhism, sometimes. I have a tremendous respect for Christianity, and admit to the most kinship. If belief came back, it would be here. Christianity has brought untold riches, spiritual and material and emotional, to the world. It is a civilizing religion. It paved the way for freedom, justice, equality. Another wonderful gift of the Jews, Christianity. I also have a tremendous respect for the evil trinity of atheism: Hitchens is hilarious, Harris is simple and super smart, and Dawkins’ is so passionate about unraveling the mystery in scientific terms and his knowledge is intriguing. But darn it if I always have to wreck the party by poking holes in everyone’s ideologies. The brilliant and surly Hitch has frequently shifted gears, however, and regardless of their path, I admire people who can change their mind and admit that they were wrong.
Are you a Republican?
Of all the current platforms, an appraisal of the facts and perspectives and priorities leads me to the libertarian model.
That said, I vehemently disagree with libertarians on some very important points.
I like Republicans very, very much. Sometimes.
I am ex-left, but really, there’s no where to go. That’s why I adopted the idea that it’s not about right and left but about right and wrong.
Why do you bother?
But America/Canada/Britain/Israel’s not perfect.
No, they’re not, and they get the vast majority of criticism. It’s important to be vigilant about injustice at home. But if the most serious, extreme, painful, and large-scale injustices should take the most amount of urgency, understanding, discourse, work, and advocacy, why do the freest, safest countries get the majority of marches, protests, and attention? It’s because there is no penalty in a free country. The cost for people to stand up to injustice in Iran or North Korea is one’s life, and as you read this people are actually laying and dying just because they don’t like their leader. Journalists there, or in Palestine or Eritrea and beyond, disappear or get chopped into little pieces if their work reflects anything outside the party line. There are flotillas with famous authors on them going to Israel, not Syria, not Iran, not Egypt. That’s because the risk is real in the latter three targets that one will never come home. The way I see it, I subject my life to a very minor or no risk to speak for those oppressed and mutilated and tortured. Many of these people cannot speak for themselves, and since it costs me so little, I will not be silent.
But why is criticism of Israel or Jews always dismissed as antisemitism?
This is a classic leftist canard. Even as the left hurls “Islamophobia” at anyone who criticizes Islam for very real atrocities like female castration and the modern day beheading of sorceresses, they whine that non-factual accusations and disproportionate mudslinging might be called what it is- antisemitism. Criticizing Israeli policies or the Jewish religion is not antisemitism, and if you want to find criticism, go to Israel and open any Israeli paper. The fact that there are mixed opinions and no one is put to death for treason or apostasy should make the issue clear. How can you believe “according to Palestinian sources” when said sources are dragged through the streets by motorcycles or shot point blank in the head without a trial if they are critical of their regime? There is very criticism of Israel that does not boil down to the belief that they do not have the right to a state or the right to self-defense. There is very little criticism of Israel that is accurate or historically factual. All “we are all Hamas” nonsense and fashionable support among losers and intellectuals alike for Hezbollah, Hamas, etc is antisemitism, since the charters and creeds of these groups are very explicit towards annihilating Israel. Most criticism of Israel is not motivated by concern for Palestinians or Jewish women but by hatred for Jews. This is obvious when the same groups that purport to solidarity with Palestinians have nothing to say when Palestinians are hacked into pieces by their own “government,” when Palestinian homosexuals are sodomized with broken bottles and have to escape into enemy Israel for safety, when Palestinians who are Christians suffer apartheid as Islamist terrorist groups ransack and massacre, when Palestinians in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and beyond are treated with Jim Crow laws and denied work and citizenship, or massacred en masse. Radio silence. No one seems concerned about Muslim people unless a Jew or American is the perpetrator or can be made out to be. The body count in Syria in just a year and a half is higher than Israel has killed in sixty years of war, to name just a tiny example. And not in self-defense, not in response to terrorism. Their own people. There is no special UN agency, there are no major “peace” protest groups, no flotillas. If the worst atrocities are priorities, then the media and activism should have a lot more action on just about everyone else. The fact that they don’t reveals antisemitism, yes.
Must you publish such horrific, gratuitous images of violence?
Yes. The violence you see in movies is not real. The violence in rap music is just a song. This stuff is real. It is not disrespectful to the dead, tortured, or oppressed human in the photos to show the truth; it is an abomination to ignore it.
Are you a climate denier now that you’ve left the left?
I always took it for granted that the official default position was right- global warming is real and consumer society and evil American business moguls are to blame for the pending end of the world.
I felt very smug about being on the side of science. But I think there’s plenty of scientifically legitimate doubt, muzzled or subjected to mockery instead of consideration. Those scientists who have alternative explanations or insights are branded heretics by the screeching harpies of the environmental un-religion. Credentials as business people or energy experts will be accusations instead of merits, and those who have no vested interest in anything except truth will be taunted as “oil shills” anyways.
The bottom line for me is not that I’m sure, but that I’m open to the possibility that this paradigm is completely false and the scientists who believe that. Environmental science has long been fraught with error and fraud alike, with a high toll in lives. Even if environmental science is right on this- and there is enough lying and cheating and Climategate going on to cast serious doubt – but even if it is right, the prescribed efforts to solve the issue are not only unrealistic but will not result in change even if effected. And we also know that the toll will be catastrophic.
Whether the science is right or wrong, it is morally bankrupt to proceed with the current prescription for change. We best commit our energies to further innovation and look for other ways that won’t cause such large scale suffering. For those who genuinely care about the suffering they believe global warming will cause, of course they just as genuinely then want a solution that will work, and they will support those finding that solution because the facts show the current plans are both unrealistic and ineffective.
Finally, no rational person trusts the “consensus” of United Nations’ pawns. While I would trust an oil baron over the UN in a heartbeat, I will still subject his views to serious inquiry, as anyone’s. The best sources are those independent of business or activism or government, however.
Are you Islamophobic?
Yes. Any rational person fears Islam. Where Islam is present, mayhem is certain. I do believe in moderate Islam, but it has suffered for fourteen centuries under the worst form of censorship: death, which is the Islamic penalty for blasphemy and apostasy, and any other number of things. I support the courageous Muslims who work to an Islam of the 21st century. Good luck.
Do you hate all Muslims?
No. But I abhor it when Muslims engage in or advocate acts of barbarism- as all moral people do. I also abhor these same acts when committed by Christians, atheists, Hindus, Jews, or any one else. The politically incorrect truth is that these various groups are not equally culpable of barbarism. Hindus have almost entirely stopped burning women at the stake when they become widows, for example, and Jews are extremely unlikely to behead their friends or even their enemies.
There are no Buddhist equivalents of the Taliban, either.
Do you know who hates Muslims? Other Muslims. Not me, not Ayaan Hirsi Ali, not Geert Wilders. Who is bombing Ahmadis, slitting the throats of fallen women in Somalia, marrying their four year old daughters’ off, castrating girls, mobbing apostates to death, executing mentally ill children for alleged blasphemy, chopping off hands and feet? Who is slaughtering queers in the streets of Iraq and hanging them from cranes for public mockery? Who is practicing or pushing for sharia law?
Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, and others also suffer from jihadist and sharia violence and oppression, but the largest victim group of Muslims is Muslims. Those who spend so much time worrying about whether Muslims’ feelings were hurt should spend their time worrying about whether Muslims are being butchered as we speak, which they are. It’s a matter of priorities.