A few years ago, my Better Half invited Martin Amis to Toronto to give a talk at a private venue. There was much that was delightful in that talk, but above all, what was noteworthy was this quote regarding the left and Islamism:
I take my hat off to the left in that they’ve found something to defend in a movement that is racist, misogynist, homophobic, totalitarian, inquisitorial, imperialist and genocidal. Perhaps it is their [Islamist’s] view on usury that is attractive to the left — low interest rates, or non-existent interest rates.
I kept thinking about that quote during the Canadian election campaign this fall, as those about me shrieked and moaned about the niqab. In particular, what struck me were two women I know who call themselves “feminists” (and who would most definitely identify as leftists) and their views on the matter.
For the record, I wish the matter had not become such a focal point, and further, I don’t believe in “banning” niqabs or burqas. But I see a difference when it comes to a solemn oath in which someone is pledging their loyalty to their new and free and (presumably) chosen country. And the reason I feel that way is that I believe in the equality of the sexes, and in the importance of a civil society that protects that equality. So I sort of assumed any “feminist” would, at the very least, not treat wearing a niqab as though it were heroic and not, you know, say anything monstrously stupid on the matter.
Boy, was I disappointed. One of these feminists posted on one of her social media pages that not only should a niqab be accepted at a citizenship ceremony, but that it would be ok with her if someone wore a Nazi uniform at said ceremony. Lovely. (This is the sort of moral bankruptcy with which we are contending.)
The other posted a celebratory “Good for her” when the woman at the centre of the case took her oath with her face covered. Now, this latter person is a young woman who uses words like “patriarchy” unironically, and who took Women’s Studies courses at university unironically. She is always ranting about the “objectification” of women but then — in the heat of the election campaign — praised to the skies the First Nations woman who won Mrs. Universe and trashed Stephen Harper shortly thereafter. So I guess her anti-beauty pageant values were subject to change, if a beauty pageant allows an expression of Harper Derangement Syndrome.
Speaking of which, both of these ladies suffer from HDS, which was likely part of the reason for their pretzel-twisting logic about women’s equality/Nazi uniforms and so forth. But I really think the broader motivation was what Amis was describing — a noxious sort of anti-Western/anti-American worldview that renders all common sense-thinking disabled.