Like so many others of my age group, class and education level, I used to be a diehard screaming radical lefty, but in a nice way. I had a picture of Mao on my wall and thought it was really cool that the Chinese let doctors dig latrines while illiterate peasants operated on patients after only one hour of training. I supported Palestine and wore the required black and white scarf. It was what we counter-cultural people did in my youth.
Once I went to a meeting in my hometown’s faction of AKP/m-l (The Worker’s Communist Party/Marxist-Leninists) where several earnest guys with wispy beards and corduroy trousers, a little bit too short as was the ghastly fashion in 1976, droned wearily on and on about “the party line” this and “solidarity” that. When they started saying: “… and so we need armed revolution in Norway” I piped up: “What the hell for?”
The whole room looked at me as if I were a particularly nasty cockroach that had crashed the party line, and that was the end of my life as a Marxist-Leninist. Then I moved to China and began to realise what “cool” Communism was really about. I started reading books about what the nice and friendly Chinese I met had been doing only a few years earlier; killing teachers for fun and turning their own parents in to the local bullies to be ‘struggled against’ in mass meetings while the country descended into chaos all around them.
Then 9/11 happened and I began to read up on this thing called Islam which I had previously known only from 1001 Nights and it suddenly struck me how the islamic ideology is nothing but Communism only worse; at least Communism didn’t follow people into the toilet and the bedroom. (On the one occasion a month which Mao allowed his married male and female worker bees to get together to create more “stainless cogs in the Socialist machine”, that is.)
I was therefore surprised to see that my peers, now critical of Communism and its restraints on freedom and blatant disregard for human life, supported Islam in its attack on America. “They had it coming.” “They were asking for it” was what I heard from many after that awful day. It turned out that they thought (as I had many years before, I’m ashamed to admit) it was America that was the enemy and terrorist of the world, not those who openly screamed for the death of freedom while killing not only teachers but schoolgirls for fun.
I thought this very strange. We were now 40-odd years old and they still held on to the thoughts they, well, we, had had when we were 16?
I started reading voraciously books by former Muslims as well as discovering through the blessed medium of the internet people I could relate to, such as David Horowitz, Jamie Glazov, Glenn Beck, Erick Stackelbeck and a slew of others too numerous to mention. I discovered with a thud: That I’m a libertarian conservative and that this is now the new counter-culture!
Why, all the people who were so revolutionary in my youth are now comfortably mainstream; their views, unchanged since 1976, are now the only accepted views in the entire western culture and I’m being seen as a fascist racist Nazi far right-wing nutjob! Yes, it was Facebook that alerted me to this startling notion.
After I started posting my views on my blog and thence on Facebook, several well-meaning friends have ‘taken me aside’ by sending me personal messages on Facebook, rather than having an honest debate in public. They always start out by assuring me how much they like me and my love of dogs and China, but couldn’t I just stick to Tibet and the Hong Kong government in my postings? Don’t I realise that by “spewing hatred” against Islam, I will “become more extreme than the extremists”?
After mad murderer Breivik killed all those people in Norway last year, it became that I was “worse than Breivik”, and couldn’t we all just get along? Yes, posting pictures of Muslim women with their faces melted off by some acid-throwing husband clearly makes me worse than a guy shooting teenagers in the face.
Ah, Facebook. I suppose I should count myself lucky that only two of my real friends have unfriended me so far. The first one was a woman whom I know very well. She has been to my house several times and we have partied together on numerous occasion. Her cut-off point was when she posted on Facebook environmentally “There are just too many people in the world! We need to get rid of a lot of people.” When I, quite reasonably I thought, asked her who she had in mind, she cut me off, going on to explain in a personal message that she’d had enough of my “hatred” and I was a completely different person in my writings than the “warm and friendly woman” she had personally liked.
So the party line was stronger than her own lying senses.
There is only one thing stranger than women; feminists, even, supporting Islam and that is gay guys supporting Islam.
The second personal friend who unfriended me on Facebook is a gay guy. He had long been irritated about what I wrote about people who openly say they will hang him from a crane or push him from a height if he as much as shows his face in their country. In his email, more or less identical in wording to all the other friendly or threatening messages I have received after I came out as an anti-authoritorian-ideology person, he ended with:
“What is completely unnaceptable is when a post becomes racist – when I posted about the Malaysian government issuing guidance to teachers so that they could spot gay children, your response was “Why not just say it – they’re muslims” – that is just blatant racism. How would you have felt if, on one of your posts about Breivik, someone had posted “Why not just say it – he’s Norwegian”? Your post was insulting to millions of people. I have no truck with racism whatsoever under any circumstances and for that reason I blocked you and unfriended you. I also deleted your post as I did not want to be associated with racist comments in any form.”
So he, an English gay guy, stands firmly with the people who are now, under an increasingly Islamist government, training to “spot” gay children. Never mind what they will do with them once they are spotted. But you know what, gay guy, I wouldn’t feel a second of hurt if someone said Breivik is Norwegian. He is Norwegian, and so am I. And that’s all we have in common.
My former peers of the communist/socialist/anti-Israel/anti-USA/pro-Palestine persuasion, however, have so many things in common with the new Communist on the block, Islam. One of them is that they want to control what other people think and write.
Bye, former friends. No great loss.