Tuesday, April 01, 2008

On "Islamofascism": An Open Letter to Paul Berman and Heather Hurlburt

I found your discussion on Bloggingheads both oddly troubling and almost entirely off point. Why move the ground from a highly polemical label, fascism, to the complexities of the term “communism,” without any discussion of whether the first term is appropriate? Surely a key factor in the appropriateness of the term “communism” to describe all of its various manifestations is the fact that all of the groups in question self-identified as communists. If the “Islamofascists” all described themselves as fascists, we could have a debate over whether they really were or not, but at least that would be a useful point of connection. The fact that Mr. Berman makes no effort whatsoever to make a case for the validity of the term in its own right strongly suggests that it is being employed purely for polemical purposes; and Ms. Hurlburt’s failure to call him on it made for a very tiresome seven minutes. Hence my uninvited rant.


Rob Forbes

A thoughtful discussion by Adam Simms of the term "Islamofascism" and of Paul Berman's role in promoting it is at JPF Notes and Comment.

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