FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Bill Maher and Geert Wilders: Ideological Bedfellows

Bill Maher on Friday, March 27, decided that his statements tacitly endorsing putting Palestinians in concentration camps and denying Israeli Arabs the right to vote needed a good follow up.

On the youtube only segment, Overtime Overseas, in which Maher and his panelists attempted to tackle issues of a more international (read: European) flavor, SE Cupp and Barney Frank debated the culpability of the global Muslim population in the extreme acts of ISIS and Al Qaeda. Maher then joined in with, well, watch for yourself (Maher comes in about 45 seconds into the segment):

Something that needs to be addressed before we get to Maher: Cupp is conflating two very different things. The Catholic Church is an organized religion with a hierarchy and differing levels of responsibility in said hierarchy. Therefore, when priests molest children, the responsibility ultimately lies in the top of the hierarchical system the priests belong to, in other words, the Pope. Islam, however, has no such power structure and therefore no such levels of responsibility. Admittedly, this kind of a distinction is probably too abstract of a concept for Cupp, but it’s worth noting for the rest of us if we want to understand the central failings of this debate in general.

Let’s review what Maher is saying here. “I just wish there was somebody who could make the case in a way that wouldn’t have them be put way out there as a bigot, because there is a case to be made.” And who is he referring to as the person who is seen as a bigot here? Geert Wilders, of the Netherlands.  Maher also insinuates that Wilders’ views are not “crazy.” Let’s look at these views and see what kind “a case to be made” needs to be made by someone less polarizing, in Maher’s view.

Wilders views include: banning the Koran, mass deportation of Muslim immigrants, taxing the hijab, and a general terror of the Islamification, as he sees it, of Europe. These inflammatory views are what Maher is suggesting need to be brought to a wider audience by a less controversial figure. Note that Maher is not decrying any of the statements or positions of Wilders, nor is he calling for them to be curtailed or pulled back in any way. No, what Maher is suggesting is that these views are completely acceptable and simply need to be delivered to the Europeans in a more palatable manner.

It hardly needs to be said that the views shared by Wilders and Maher are at best incredibly xenophobic. If you doubt that, I invite you to try a little thought experiment: instead of Muslims, substitute Jews or Hindus and the relevant cultural and sartorial references. Endorsing the views of Wilder is a new low at Real Time, but it’s one that has been coming for a long time as Maher sinks lower and lower into racist crankery.

Maybe Bill Maher wasn’t endorsing all of Wilder’s views. Maybe he was just endorsing the spirit of his views in that there needs to be some sort of debate within the European community as to how to tolerate one another. It would be nice if we could give him the benefit of the doubt. But Maher has made it clear, time and time again, that when one subscribes to a point of view re religion, only the most fundamentalist and unwavering devotion to the words suffice. We should hold him to his standard.

Eoin Higgins is a writer and historian from upstate New York. He is a recent graduate of the Masters in History program at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. You can find his work at eoinhiggins.blogspot.com and follow him on twitter @CatharticMe

 

More articles by:

Eoin Higgins has a master’s degree in history from Fordham University. He lives in New York.

August 05, 2020
Roy Eidelson
Black Lives Matter: Resisting the Propaganda of Status Quo Defenders
Melvin Goodman
The Department of Homeland Security: the Ideal Authoritarian Tool
Paul Street
Misleaders at a Funeral: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Eulogizing Racial Justice in the Name of John Lewis
Seiji Yamada
Hiroshima, Technique, and Bioweapons
Vijay Prashad
How Trump Managed to Lead the World with the Worst Response to the COVID Pandemic
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s Alternative
Jonas Ecke
The Worst Hunger Season Yet to Come: Global Moral Failure in the Time of Covid-19
Rafiq Kathwari
The Battle for Kashmir
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Arch-Kleptocrat is Found Guilty
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Cold War China Policy Will Isolate the U.S, Not China
Lee Camp
Why Housing Is a Human Right
Sam Pizzigati
For Egalitarians, a Sudden Sense of Possibility
Jonathan Cook
Can Israelis Broaden Their Protests Beyond Netanyahu?
Thomas Knapp
Ten Years After Lieberman’s “Internet Kill Switch,” the War on Freedom Rages On
Binoy Kampmark
Staying on Message: Australia, the US and the AUSMIN Talks
Elliot Sperber
The View From Saturn 
August 04, 2020
John Pilger
Another Hiroshima is Coming…Unless We Stop It Now
Dave Lindorff
Unsung Heroes of Los Alamos: Rethinking Manhattan Project Spies and the Cold War
Kenneth Good
Escalating State Repression and Covid-19: Their Impact on the Poor in Kenya
Dean Baker
We Need an Economic Survival Package Not Another Stimulus
David Rosen
Globalization and the End of the American Dream
John Feffer
The Pandemic Reveals a Europe More United Than the United States
Patrick Cockburn
The Government’s Failed Track-and-Trace System is a Disaster for England
Ramzy Baroud
‘Optimism of the Will’: Palestinian Freedom is Possible Now
CounterPunch News Service
Statement From Yale Faculty on Hydroxychloroquine and Its Use in COVID-19
Manuel García, Jr.
Ocean Heat: From the Tropics to the Poles
Sonali Kolhatkar
Why the Idea of Jobless Benefits Scares the Conservative Mind
Greta Anderson
Framing Wolves in New Mexico?
Binoy Kampmark
Pulling Out of Germany: Trump Adjusts the Military Furniture
Shawn Fremstad – Nicole Rodgers
COVID Stimulus Checks Shouldn’t Penalize One-Parent Households
Adam Shah
The 1 Percent’s Attack on Unemployment Benefits is a Sign of Our Broken Democracy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
On the Beauty of Life
B. R. Gowani
Mohammed Rafi: Singer and Human Par Excellence
David Krieger
Eight A-Bomb Haiku
August 03, 2020
Linda Pentz Gunter
The Resistible Rise of Nuclear Gangsters…and Their Downfall
John G. Russell
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Cal Winslow
Their Heroes and Ours: California’s Health Care Crisis
David Barber
Renouncing White Privilege: A Left Critique of Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”
Linda G. Ford
Free Joy Powell! America’s Political Prisoner for Fighting Police Brutality
Prabir Purkayastha
Trump’s Withdrawal From WHO: a Cover-Up for His Abject Failure on COVID-19
Dean Baker
The Plunge in Consumption of Services Leads to a Record 32.9 Percent Drop in GDP
Ramzy Baroud
Human Rights Defenders: Palestinian Eyewitness Testimony of the Execution of Abdul Fattah al-Sharif by Israeli Soldier, Elor Azaria
Karen J. Greenberg
Accountability is Gone in America
Cesar Chelala
A Wrong Message for the Pandemic
Jonah Raskin
Chesa Boudin: Reformer in the San Francisco DA’s Office
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail