Magazine article The Spectator

Apocalypse Now on the US Blogosphere

Magazine article The Spectator

Apocalypse Now on the US Blogosphere

Article excerpt

There is a world, increasingly driven by unreason, in which voices in the wilderness denounce each other as 'traitors', cry out that 'all I want is no more Islam near me', or allege that Prince Charles is 'waiting in the wings to declare the UK a Muslim country the minute QEII dies'.

It is the world of the American blogosphere of the 'left' and 'right'; the world not of the lunatic fringe, though it may often seem so, but of vox pop. It is a world of which the 'MSM', or 'mainstream media', knows too little. Yet blog-site contributors' opinions, threats and predictions -- expressed in large volume on such sites as jihadwatch, littlegreenfootballs or Daily Kos -- merit increasing attention for what they reveal of the temper of our times.

Roughly speaking, the blogging 'right' is anti-Muslim (and not just anti-Islam), progun and apple pie, anti-'big government' and 'liberals' in DC, and generally proBritish, anti-European and pro-Israel; while the 'left' is anti-'extremist', anti-'racist', pro'human rights', anti-militarist, anti-US support for Israel and anti-corporate -- the last a position sometimes to be found on the 'right' also.

Above all, for most of this 'right', all-out war has been declared on 'the West' by Islam and its 'terrorists'. But for most of the 'left' and 'liberals', war is being imposed on parts of the Islamic world by the Americans, Israelis, and their rag-tag partners in geopolitical 'crime', and against whom Muslim 'radicals' must be expected to strike back.

The differences between these mutually hostile camps, judging by the blogosphere, are growing. Moreover, as Islam's political fortunes have advanced, irrationality in response to this advance has spread also, to 'right' and 'left'. Some of it provides light relief. To bloggers on the 'right', the 'left' are 'moonbats', Democrats are sell-out 'Dhimmicrats', Saddam Hussein is 'Sodom Insane' and the ACLU is the 'American Criminal Liberties Union'; the 'left' describes President Bush as everything from a 'traitor' to a 'boil on the public butt', and pro-Israel Christian evangelists as 'fundie nutjobs'.

Other judgements are more serious in their portents. A blog-poster declares that the 'left' and 'liberals' have 'done nothing but grovel at the feet of Islamofascists'; another that the entire American 'left' -- who are no better than 'tares in the midst of wheat' -- are 'killing this country'. For their parts, 'left' bloggers see the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq as 'useless', and the Bush 'regime' as having 'run amok'.

However, 'left' and 'right' share the perception that it is the other which is in command of the polity and of the 'MSM'. To the 'right', which considers itself 'pretty much shut out of our national corporate media', 'what could not be accomplished on the battlefield -- an American retreat from Iraq -- was instead achieved in American newsrooms'. To the 'left', a 'right-wing machine' which includes 'experts who have sold out to it' and 'hateful right-wing talkshows' rules the waves.

Paranoia and odium are on the increase.

In the blogosphere, the word 'fascist' is thus routinely used by the 'left' to describe the 'right' of all shades -- the White House, for example, is said to be 'gripped by a fascist power lust'. The 'right', whose spelling is less good, not only regards Islamists as 'facists' but also those on the 'left' whom it accuses of sympathising with America's foes.

But nothing can compare with the 'right's' abuse of 'Muzzies' in general. They are variously said to be 'dumber than dirt', 'godless savages', 'losers', even 'Koranimals'. …

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