Whenever I believe that the now virtually insane left wing of the our society cannot possibly fall any further into the abyss, a new horror crosses my screen. Today's descent into madness comes from none other than Juan Cole, until yesterday a highly respected professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan and the author/blogmaster of Informed Comment, what used to be one of the more influential blogs covering middle eastern events.
Until yesterday, that is. Today Juan Cole is a sad joke. When you betray your academic position, your intellectual credibility and surrender your honor in order to slander a political opponent, you no longer deserve any of the respect you might have earned over a lifetime.
Yesterday Juan Cole published what I'm sure he thought was a very clever little article in the on-line magazine Salon: What's the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick
The article pretended to present a scientific analysis comparing what Cole claimed were Palin's Christian beliefs with the beliefs of Muslim Fundamentalists and decided they were virtually identical. The only difference according to Cole? Lipstick.
Funny, on today of all days, I can think of another difference.
The analogy is so flawed it is simply laughable. And Cole knows it. He is many things. Stupid is not one of them.
He created a patently false analogy, a comparison based on occasionally random points of similarity, ignoring the major differences that define the very heart and soul of the two religions and the societies that shape and harbor those beliefs.
Cole's goal was simple. He wanted to make Americans fear Palin as much as they fear Islamic terrorism. He wants to make Americans believe Palin is not one of them, but instead a radical fringe fanatic to be shunned. Cole states glumly, "A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian."
Sadly many of the assumptions Cole made about Palin are simply false, including, but not limited to, her basic religious beliefs. Much worse, Cole dealt with trivia, ignoring the most core beliefs of the two groups, beliefs not at all shared by Muslim fundamentalists with Evangelical Christianity.
He certainly ignored the most obvious. Palin, a woman, is candidate for the second highest and most powerful elected office in the world. Funny, Cole never made that comparison.
You see, Cole didn't want to mention that women in societies or sects ruled by Muslim fundamentalism are not allowed to vote, not allowed hold office, not allowed to own property, not allowed to go in public unaccompanied by a male relative, not allowed to attend concerts or sporting events. In the most fundamentalist societies, women are not even allowed attend school or receive medical care or treatment.
And while Pentecostals might speak in tongues, they do not stone women in the public square for being raped.
Now there are similarities between people everywhere. I've read that cosmetic and make-up parties are very popular in Iran, Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern countries. But any use of cosmetics must be carefully hidden beneath the burka.
So the one thing Cole cannot actually say with any factual certainty is whether Islamic fundamentalist women wear lipstick.