To the editor:
I thank Bruce Springsteen for honoring me with a rebuttal (Journal-World, July 12), which naturally I take issue with.
Springsteen and Krauthammer support forceful actions targeting “violent Islamists.” I am reminded of McCarthyite attacks on “communists,” except that communist had a precise definition, namely membership in CPUSA (which by the way was perfectly legal). Not that McCarthy cared about precision or fairness.
Evidently, neither does Springsteen. To narrow the target group he proposes a list of descriptors for “Islamism” that, if you substitute “Old Testament” for “Sharia,” perfectly fits radical right Christians. The descriptors boil down to antimodernism, which Sharia already covers. International polls show a majority of Muslims express support for Sharia, so we would still have an impossibly large target group of a half billion conservative but mostly law-abiding Muslims.
“Violent” is a weasel word when applied to ideologies. Shariaism and most other ideologies support some violence (e.g. self defense and police arrest) and oppose other violence (e.g. genocide and attacks on the faithful). The only fair and effective way to control violence is to target particular violent plots and actions, not violent ideologies in general (which by the way are perfectly legal. First Amendment, anyone?)
Springsteen also has the gall to imply I am somehow impugning moderate Muslims by opposing bigoted attacks on conservative Muslims.
However Springsteen has half of a point: We do need to vigorously defend our values by attacking overly violent ideologies — but only through rational speech and fair law enforcement.