Times piece insulting to Muslims

Tibor Machan

Do I search for hypocrisies among my adversaries? Only when it is too obvious to miss.

And what if anything is wrong with hypocrisy? So what if you are a liar but make a big deal about condemning lying in your neighbor? Why is that a problem?

In this era when major political figures denounce ideological thinking, why should one be consistent and show integrity?

Those are not the virtues of sophisticates. Those are pedestrian ideals.

As our president pointed out, “the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works….”

So whether the government is a totalitarian tyranny or a dictatorship isn’t of concern — the only issue is, does it work, which leaves entirely unaddressed what it is supposed to work for.

Anyway my issue here is hypocrisy and my candidate for the hypocrite of the week is The New York Times, which in last Sunday’s Week in Review section ran an essay titled “Crime (Sex) and Punishment (Stoning).”

Maybe I am overly suspicious but this piece struck me as bending over backward not to be too harsh on those societies in which stoning people — especially women — for sex crimes is acceptable. But what makes me suspicious?

Well, consider just a few remarks from the piece.

“Much of the outrage these (stoning) cases generated — apart from the sheer anachronism of stoning in the 21st century — seems to stem from the gulf between sexual attitudes in the West and parts of the Islamic world, where radical movements have turned to draconian punishments, and a vision of restoring a long-lost past, in their search for religious authenticity.”

“Stoning is not practiced only among Muslims, nor did it begin with Islam.”

“Stoning is a legal punishment in only a handful of Muslim countries — in addition to Iran, they include Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and Nigeria, but it is very rarely put to use.”

“But Islamic law requires very strict conditions for a stoning sentence….”

As I see it these bits tell a story of temptation, the temptation of reckless multiculturalism, of cultural and legal relativism. OK, but so what?

Well, I was thinking as I was reading these sentences in the Old Gray Lady how would it go over if this is how some writer discussed, say, slavery, ethnic prejudice or the subjugation of women in the West? I doubt it would fly so well.

This bending over backward so as to be understanding toward cultures in which stoning human beings is regarded as a proper form of punishment — right now in the 21st century — seems to me to show an ideological bias on the part of the editors of The Times.

Not only is this objectionable because it is unjust toward America but also because it is insulting toward Muslims. Somehow the latter do not qualify to be judged by the standards of humanity applicable to Americans and Westerners, it appears. Are they not human enough for that?