- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 12, 2002

Islam means peace
"Our political and intellectual elite is remarkably inflexible in its secular liberal ideological assumptions. Having no serious religious faith of its own, its members refuse to take seriously the faith of others. Instead of pondering the complex problem of the relationship between the world's great religions they assure us that no religious problem exists.
"The most outspoken character witnesses for the hastily nicknamed 'Religion of Peace and Tolerance' were, unsurprisingly, non-Moslems, Sunday-morning popular entertainers, academicians steeped in political correctitude, and politicians.
"Their hasty claims about the distinction between 'real' Islam and its violent aberrations were crudely ideological. They were based on their simple conviction that all faiths, having equal legal privileges, must in some sense be equally good, and 'true,' and hence capable of celebrating all others in the spirit of tolerance.
"Islam might have been made much less threatening if the West had not conciliated or sponsored its most threatening exponents."
Serge Trifkovic, writing on "Islam: the Folly of Appeasement," Tuesday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com
Making it up
"The Cannes film festival gave it a Special Jury Prize, with the audience giving the film a 13-minute standing ovation. And the media hype continues. In fact, there has never been a more appropriate moment for the filmmaker Michael Moore and his rants against America than now.
"'Bowling for Columbine,' the 'documentary' is a movie almost designed to slake the anti-American thirst, whetted by the war on terror. And from an American, too! Not since Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer have we seen such a successful export of anti-Americanism, a phenomenon carefully cultivated by some on America's campuses and liberal urban enclaves. And like most American products, it sells very well.
"The only problem with this scenario is that Michael Moore is a serial dissembler. His book, 'Stupid White Men,' was laced with inaccuracies and falsehoods. His movie is just as bad.
"Moore claims that five-sixths of the U.S. defense budget went toward one plane. He also claims that two-thirds of President Bush's campaign finances came from 700 people. These claims are so ludicrous it says something about Moore's credibility that he even believed them himself. Both are easily refuted. But if you are going to argue that Bush was selected by plutocrats and that the Pentagon wastes all its money, you've got to come up with some facts to support your case. So Moore just makes them up."
Andrew Sullivan, writing on "Less Is Moore," Sunday in the Times of London
Mobster morality
"Many viewers and critics have complained about the slow pace and talkiness of The Sopranos' fourth season, but this suggests that they've been watching the show for the wrong reasons. The show's underlying conflicts emerged dramatically this fall. Only they didn't have much to do with the typical mob 'action' whackings, scams, and the like. They had to do with morality and, curiously, politics.
"The primary moral conflict in the show, it turns out, is between Tony and his conscience.
"From the beginning, critics have referred to Tony as a sociopath. But this diagnosis seems false for several reasons. First, his rationalizations are consistently vigorous and outraged, and for that reason seem aimed as much at himself as at others. Real sociopaths don't have to try that hard.
"Second, Tony is capable of sympathy for his children, his wife, his therapist, various people who are already dead, and, revealingly, animals.
"Tony, in other words, is not a sociopath. He recognizes at several levels the claims that morality makes on him."
Matt Feeney, writing on "A Reckoning," Tuesday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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