There are two main ways of thinking about who threatens freedom and democracy. One is that it’s certain groups of people. The other is that it’s whoever actually does certain things.
Who’s the enemy who’s threatening the world right now? There are two main views about this.
One view is this: The enemies are those who don’t believe in the value of moral values and democracy. Those who stifle freedom, hurt others, commit crimes, commit terrorism, wage wars, preach and espouse hatred.
The other view is this: The enemies are those who don’t believe in the value of moral values and democracy. Those who stifle freedom, hurt others, commit crimes, commit terrorism, wage wars, preach and espouse hatred.
Wait, that can’t be right. These are opposite views, but both could be described with the same words, especially by their supporters.
Let’s try that again.
One view is this: The enemy are those groups that are seen as going against the values of morality and democracy. You look at ISIS and note the word “Islamic”, and then it’s Muslims who are the problem. All of them. You think illegal immigrants are criminals, and then all refugees are bad guys and can and should be rounded up like animals.
The other view is this: The enemy is whoever actually does these things. It doesn’t matter what side you say you’re on. A terrorist is a terrorist whether they’re a Muslim extremist or a white supremacist. Denying people their human rights it wrong no matter who does it to whom.
Extremism is the enemy. Intolerance is the enemy. Hatred is the enemy. Violence is the enemy. You don’t get to dress it up in nicer words if someone on your “side” does it. A decent Muslim isn’t the “same” somehow as an Islamist extremist, but an extremist on “your” side is. If two people make statements that are almost indistinguishable if you hide all references to groups or sides, then those people are doing the same thing even if they’re on opposing sides.
The first view thinks that the important thing is to be on the right side, and then you’ll know all the wrong happens on the opposing side and whatever you do after that is justified self-defense at worst. If there’s anything bad on your side, it’s traitors to the group who disagree about this… and there are actually quite a lot of them, but they don’t really count, that’s not what your group is. The second view thinks that good and bad are not divided by groups, but instead, evil can exist in any group. And it should always be opposed.