FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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.

Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
Elliot Sperber
Eddie Spaghetti’s Alphabet
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail