Fools said I you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
When my son, Alexander, was little, he used to get himself into all sorts of trouble. He had a lot of energy and didn’t know how to channel it. Finally, I started to say to him: “Use your strength for good.” He didn’t understand at first what that meant, but eventually he began to stand up to bullies. As a result, bullies don’t tend to like him, which used to bother him but now it just makes him shrug.
When I first came back to politics in 2014, I was astounded at how many of my “friends” either sided with Hamas in that summer’s conflict or acted as though nothing of note was happening in Israel. Most had very big platforms, and I kept thinking: why aren’t they using their platforms for good?
In retrospect, that was nothing compared to what I’ve come to call the #KabulSilence. The biggest humanitarian disaster in our lifetimes was happening, and not one of my friends on the left posted about it. Not one. One could argue that this is merely toxic partisanship on steroids, but as each day goes by I keep thinking to myself: maybe they were never the people I thought they were. How do you intentionally ignore a genocide in the making to protect a man who should never have been president as well as his incompetent administration?
There are bullies of action and there are bullies of inaction—those who enable and empower evil. Silence is not violence, but it does speak volumes about character. The fact that leftists were able to destroy the consciences of moderate Democrats is perhaps the most telling aspect of this horrific moment in U.S. history.
And in the naked light, I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
The Taliban has reminded us that there really isn’t that much difference between leftists and Islamists. Both are part of a cult. Both are taught from birth to hate and segregate. Both follow an arbitrary set of rules that can’t be deviated from. Both don’t allow individual thought. Both use violence. Both see the U.S. military as evil white supremacists. Both want to annihilate Judeans.
So the fact that leftists don’t see any of what has been happening in Kabul as bad is not surprising. The ones that did had a simple response: It was Trump’s fault. Despite the fact that Biden did not follow one part of former Secretary of State Pompeo’s pull-out plan.
The Silent Liberals are a bit more complex. Silent Liberals claim to still believe in classical liberal values, meaning they ostensibly find leftists as detestable as Islamists. But speaking out in the face of evil is a fundamental part of classical liberalism. Free speech requires both the ability to speak out—the lack of government restrictions—and the bravery to do so.
I have come to call Silent Liberals the “Good Germans”: the moderate Germans in the ‘30s and ‘40s who knew what was happening but looked away, who made obedience into an art form. Many have argued that the Good Germans had no choice: if they spoke out, they would be executed immediately—as were many members of the original White Rose group.
But Silent Liberals have no threat of death hanging over them. In fact, one could argue that cancel culture—what Bill Maher calls “the giant dorm room bitch session”—is losing its edge, so many if not most Silent Liberals have nothing to worry about in terms of losing their jobs.
What, one must ask, keeps them silent? As photo after photo was more heartbreaking than the last—as 13 U.S. marines were gratuitously murdered—Silent Liberals adhered to a strict code of “we couldn’t care less.”
It’s true that photos of abandoned children and blood-saturated parents don’t mix too well with photos of Cape Cod or the Hamptons. But we all know the very ugly truth: if Trump was in office and had not followed his own plan, these same Silent Liberals would be posting these photos non-stop.
It appears they suffer from the 21st century version of what Tom Wolfe called “radical chic” in 1970. Consumed by “status,” they live in fear of sitting next to a leftist at a dinner party and receiving a public scowl. Or—I can barely write these words of shame—not being invited to the next dinner party. #JihadiChic?
Or maybe they were never the “smartest people in the room,” as they liked to call themselves. The smartest people in the room now appear to be Independents, willing to take on both the left and the right as classical liberals are required to do. For Silent Liberals, maybe classical liberalism was just a trend—a means to an end: status and power.
But that’s not even the worst of it. Leftism and the toxic tribalism it created destroyed the consciences of Silent Liberals. I doubt that many thought twice about not speaking out: their humanity has been deadened. That’s what happens in authoritarian societies. Ask the Russians. Ask the Chinese. Ask Arabs living under Sharia Law.
Did anyone ever think that this could happen here? America has never been perfect—but it has always had a soul. A soul that came from immigrants who fled fascism and would do anything not to experience it again.
Kabul was the final nail in the coffin of humanity on the left. One could argue that it started with making abortion into an industry, forcing parents to allow their prepubescent children to undergo life-altering surgery, resegregating children, ignoring shouts of “F*ck the Jews,” “Rape their daughters,” “Hitler was right”—yes, we’ve been moving to this point quite rapidly.
But to watch some of my own friends—people I truly did think were good people—act as though Kabul wasn’t happening… There’s only one question to ask: What happened to your soul? Sadly, their inability to answer will haunt us for generations.
And the people bowed and prayed“The Sound of Silence” lyrics © Paul Simon Music
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sound of silence