Now, if these verses and teachings were interpreted differently over time -- as some seemingly violent verses in the Torah and the New Testament have been, almost universally, by Jewish and Christian scholars -- we would have no problem. But the second prong of the ideological violence test comes out positive here too. As polls show, huge swaths of Muslims endorse anti-Western violence, and the more religious they are, the more they endorse such violence. Over 50 percent of Jordanians and Lebanese support the terrorist group Hezbollah; over 40 percent of Nigerians and Indonesians do too; 30 percent of Egyptians and 19 percent of Pakistanis do as well. Those numbers are even higher, in general, for Hamas. In countries like Iran and territories like those controlled by the Palestinian Authority, the numbers skyrocket.
When Major Nidal Malik Hassan shoots up a cafeteria full of U.S. soldiers while shouting "Allahu Akhbar!," then, it isn't out of line to ask whether Islam is the ideological root cause. The answer may still be debatable, but it is a debate worth having.
The same does not hold true of conservatism with regard to Breivik. In fact, neither prong of the ideological violence test is met here. Conservatism does not promote political violence. Opponents of conservatism cannot come up with any significant support in articulated conservative thought that pushes violence to their chagrin. Certainly with regard to Breivik, the violence he pursued bore no relation to anything at issue in the anti-multicultural context -- he shot up a bunch of Norwegian kids, not a group of immigrant Muslims.
Second, there is literally zero support for Breivik among conservatives. The left cannot find a single conservative who approved of Breivik's acts. That's a far cry from the literally hundreds of millions of Muslims who support terror groups across the globe.
It's time to put away the "incitement to violence" club so often utilized these days to shut down free speech. Breivik's evil doesn't mean that conservatism promoted it or endorsed it. By the same token, not all ideologies are equal -- some (start ital) do (end ital) promote violence. It is imperative that we apply the ideological violence test before dismissing the effects of ideology. It is also necessary that we apply the ideological violence test before pointing fingers at mainstream political actors for violent monstrosities that have nothing to do with them.
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