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April 2017


A Letter From An Ivy League Admissions Dean – WSJ By James Freeman

Brown University in Providence, R.I. houses one of the country’s most selective undergraduate colleges. The Brown Daily Herald, a student-run newspaper, cites Dean of Admission Logan Powell in reporting that the school received a record-high 32,724 applications this year, and admitted just 8.3% of applicants.

Among those lucky few is the daughter of a Journal reader who is still trying to make sense of a letter the family received this week from Mr. Powell. Our reader’s bright daughter had already received news of her acceptance when a letter arrived that was addressed to her “Parent/Guardian.”

Oddly, the note referred to the accepted student not as “she” but as “they.” Dean Powell’s letter also stated that our reader’s daughter had no doubt worked hard and made positive contributions to “their” school and community. Our reader reports that his perplexed family initially thought that Brown had made a word-processing error. That was before they listened to a voice mail message from the school congratulating his daughter and referring to her as “them.”

We’ve read about the literacy crisis in the U.S. but would not have guessed that the problem extends to Ivy League administrators. An item on Brown’s website announcing Mr. Powell’s 2016 hiring reported that he had previously served at Bowdoin, Harvard and Princeton—and also noted that he would be overseeing a staff of 38 people at Brown. One would think that at least some of them are familiar with pronouns.

It turns out that the errors were intentional. Brown spokesman Brian Clark writes in an email that “our admission office typically refers to applicants either by first name or by using ‘they/their’ pronouns. While the grammatical construction may read as unfamiliar to some, it has been adopted by many newsrooms and other organizations as a gender-inclusive option.” Our reader figured as much. “Mind you, our daughter has always been clear what her biological gender and identity is — she’s a woman,” he reports. He believes the school “wants to make it clear that only left wing extremists are welcome at Brown. Fine with us — good riddance.”

The letter from Dean Powell included a total of four short paragraphs, including this one: “And now, as we invite you to join the Brown family, we encourage you to allow [daughter’s name] to chart their own course. Just as you have always been there, now we will provide support, challenge and opportunities for growth.”

Nearly a complete stranger, Mr. Powell is writing a short, error-filled letter to parents claiming that his organization is fit to replace them. No doubt the “Brown family” with all its “thems” and “theys” can offer a wealth of valuable educational opportunities. But anyone who buys the line that competent parenting is part of the package has probably never set foot on campus.

If ‘Terror Knows No Religion’ Where Is All The Christian/Jewish Terrorism? Benny Huang

Two horrific suicide bombings, in two different cities, two hours apart—this is how Egyptian Christians began Holy Week.

In the cities of Tawra and Alexandria, Muslim terrorists stormed Coptic churches where they proceeded to blow themselves to a fine pink mist while taking 44 worshippers with them. These two attacks followed last December’s horrific suicide bombing at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Cairo that killed 29.

Does Egypt have a problem with Islamic violence? Not according to Egypt’s most prominent clergyman, Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb, who holds the prestigious title of Grand Imam of al-Azhar. At a conference in Cairo last month, al-Tayeb said that the incidence of Muslim violence around the world is rather unremarkable: “There is an obvious double standard in the world’s judgment of Islam on the one hand, and [its judgment of] Christianity and Judaism on the other, despite the fact that all are guilty of one and the same thing, that is, religious violence and terrorism.”

The point al-Tayeb is trying to make is pretty straightforward: that people are quick to chide Muslims for terrorism when in fact the terror problem cuts across religious lines. Clearly all of this talk about terrorism must be a cloak for bigotry. If people were truly concerned with eradicating terrorism they would condemn it wherever it’s found. The fact that they don’t exposes their hypocrisy.

He continued: “Christian and Jewish violence is a cool and casual matter for the West, which never besmirches the image of these two religions. Only their third brother [Islam] stands trial alone on the dock, where his image is constantly marred.”

Here the imam skillfully employs the language of familial ties, comparing the Abrahamic religions to three brothers. One of these brothers is singled out for scorn although he is no more guilty than the others. Clearly, that brother has been unjustly maligned.

Unfortunately, al-Tayeb is not easily dismissed as a crank. As the Grand Imam of al-Azhar he commands respect in Egypt and throughout the Muslim world. When he speaks, people listen.

In order to bolster his claim that all religions are equally guilty of terrorism he cited a few examples—the 1980s abortion clinic bomber Michael Bray, cult leader David Koresh, and the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. Besides the fact that abortion clinic bombings are very, very rare (al-Tayeb reached back a full 32 years to find one), that Koresh was not actually a terrorist, and that McVeigh was a political terrorist and a very lapsed Catholic, his comparison is on solid footing. Okay, not really.

The “double standard” accusation is a serious one that was likely intended to disarm Westerners who are notoriously sensitive about treating others with bias. But is there really a double standard in the way we perceive Muslim violence compared to other kinds? Yes, there is—just not in the way that the Grand Imam suggests. Each time a Muslim terror attack occurs, journalists attempt to lead the public through what can only be called a coping ritual. The ritual has four stages.

The first of these is the “let’s not jump to conclusions” stage in which reporters take great pains not to assume that the attacker is a Muslim just because his name happens to be Abdul or Muhammad or even because he yelled “Allahu Akbar” moments before his killing spree began. Then, when it turns out that he is a Muslim, reporters wonder if his religious affiliation might have been incidental to the attack—which it rarely ever is. In the second stage, the shortest of the four, reporters actually acknowledge the attack and its motive before quickly moving on to the third stage. I’ll call this the “Muslims fear backlash” stage, and it’s characterized by stories about hijab-snatchings (that usually turn out to be hoaxes) or Muslims getting dirty looks in the street. It isn’t even necessary to find any actual incidents of backlash after an attack because the fear of a backlash, not the backlash itself, is the real story. The fourth and final stage is when reporters begin to ask how the right-wing might “exploit” the story. This serves as a warning that taking action to stave off civilizational demise is somehow letting the terrorists win.

So yes, there’s a double standard. No other kind of terrorist attack is reported this way.

But that’s not what Ahmed al-Tayeb meant by a “double standard.” What he meant was that Muslims, Christians, and Jews commit proportional amounts of terrorism but Westerners seem only to notice or care about the Muslim variety. This is a truly extraordinary theory and one that I have often tried to test. Every time there is a Muslim terrorist attack anywhere in the world—and they’re happening now at a rate of several per month—I ask myself if there were other attacks committed in the name of other faiths that the media failed to report or I failed to notice.

Let’s start with the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt. Have there been any comparable attacks carried out by Christians against mosques? Nope. The only one that I could find occurred this January not in Egypt but in Canada. The alleged perpetrator, Alexandre Bissonnette, appears to be an anti-immigrant nationalist and a fan of Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen but not particularly religious.

To be sure, the Canadian mosque attack was terrorism but it was also anomalous and not religiously inspired. There is no equivalence between Bissonnette and the suicide bombers who attacked two churches on Palm Sunday, and even if there were it wouldn’t begin to balance out the countless other terror attacks that have occurred in recent weeks. In the past thirty days a Muslim attacked the Palace of Westminster in London with his car and a knife, killing four and wounding 50. A Muslim blew himself up in the St. Petersburg metro, killing himself and 14 others. A Muslim stole a beer truck in Stockholm and plowed through the downtown area, killing four. Finally, two suspected Muslims planted roadside bombs in Dortmund, Germany in an attempt to murder members of a Borussia Dortmund soccer team. Thankfully, no one was killed.

Presumably all of these attacks have proportional counterparts committed in the name of other faiths, right? No, they don’t. Though Lutherans represent the largest religious group in Sweden, there has never to my knowledge been a Lutheran terrorist attack in that country or any other. Likewise there are no Russian Orthodox suicide bombers. There is no Anglican approximation of ISIS. If the Muslims don’t have a complete monopoly on religious terror, they’re pretty darned close.

Yet terror-deniers never tire of trying to draw some kind of false equivalence between Muslim terrorism and other kinds, no matter how much of a stretch it is. They often deny or downplay Muslim terrorism, or they assume that every white terrorist is both Christian and religiously motivated, or they blame Christians for Muslim terrorism.

This strategy of drawing equivalence where none exists seems to be having some success. A recent CBS News poll found that a full 66% of registered Democrats believed that Islam was no more prone to violence than other religions. Nine percent believed it was actually less prone to violence! These people must believe that every incident of Muslim violence has an equivalent counterpart out there somewhere. The media (which they control, by the way) must be creating misperceptions in the public’s mind by covering up all the violence committed by non-Muslims.

Who May Say What About Whom at Wellesley Modern-day Torquemadas weaponize potential hurt feelings by suppressing free speech. Richard L. Cravatts

Something alarming is happening on campuses, fueled by tendentious and morally self-righteous progressive students, and some faculty, who have displayed a shocking disregard for the university’s cardinal virtue of free expression, deciding themselves who may say what about whom on their respective campuses—and purging from campuses those ideas they have deemed too hateful, too unsafe, too incendiary to tolerate or to allow to be heard.

Until now, these champions of the aggrieved have been less than transparent in both their motives and intentions, disingenuously asserting that their efforts to suppress the speech of those with opposing conservative views is done to protect perceived victim groups. Ideas which are contrary to these social justice warriors’ acceptable worldview are dismissed as contemptible—not even worthy of being debated—or are neutralized and debased by designations which characterize it as ‘hate speech’ because it is, depending on the victim groups attacked, racist, sexist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, or homophobic. So sure of their righteousness and ideology are they that they do not even try to hide their preconceived notions and evident bias against ideas they have decided are beyond the pale or unworthy of being given voice.

Feelings, not ideas, are what count; emotionality now trumps rationality.

The defective rationale for the thuggish substitution of the suppression of other people’s speech for what is supposed to be two-sided academic dialogue was just revealed at Wellesley College, where both students and, unusually, faculty publicly articulated the shocking notion that only certain speech is to be permitted—namely, those ideas which promote and support progressive liberal views—and that opposing views, and the conservative speakers who utter them, are not even deemed worthy of being able to share their ideas on the Wellesley campus.

In an astoundingly facile editorial in the April 12th issue of the Wellesley News, the paper’s editors responded to recent debates over free speech on that campus, precipitated, somewhat ironically, by a series of lectures as part of Wellesley’s Censorship Awareness Week, during which one controversial speaker, Northwestern University professor Laura Kipnis, critiqued the notion that American campuses are awash with sexual assault. In her book Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, in fact, Kripnis asserted the view that, “We seem to be breeding a generation of students, mostly female students, deploying Title IX to remedy sexual ambivalences or awkward sexual experiences, and to adjudicate relationship disputes post-breakup — and campus administrators are allowing it.”

That opinion was apparently intolerable to Wellesley’s students, and some faculty, who refused to acknowledge Kripnis’s notions, theories that contradict their preconceived worldview that men are predatory and women have to be protected from them, something she describes as “neo-sentimentality about female vulnerability.”

Rounding up gays in Chechnya It’s all about Islam, folks. Bruce Bawer

Four years ago, when the perpetrators of the Boston bombing were identified as two brothers from Chechnya, the American media, as Daniel Greenfield wrote at the time, went “into ‘Palestinian’ mode insisting that we need to talk about the conflict in Chechnya.”

Yes, Greenfield agreed, we could talk about that conflict. But he added:

There is a conflict in Chechnya and Iraq and Pakistan and Afghanistan and Thailand and Nigeria and the Philippines and India and Israel and France and a hundred other countries.

Where there is a sizable Muslim majority or even sizable minority, there is conflict.

Indeed. And Chechnya, which is a “semi-autonomous republic” within Russia, happens to be 95% Muslim. Its president, Ramnaz Kadyrov, has defended honor killings on the grounds that wives are their husbands’ property. He’s told Chechen women that their primary reason for existing is to bear children. He’s encouraged Chechen men to practice polygamy, even though it’s against Russian law. He’s required all females in Chechnya to wear headscarves in schools and other public buildings. And he’s left no doubt that his fanatical support for all of these positions is rooted in his faith. “No one can tell us not to be Muslims,” he has said. “If anyone says I cannot be a Muslim, he is my enemy.”

It was Chechen Muslims who committed two of the most appalling terrorist acts since 9/11. The first, in 2002, was the gruesome armed seizure of that Moscow movie theater, in which about 130 hostages died. Remember? It’s hardly ever mentioned anymore, and rarely cited when people are making lists of major acts of jihadist terrorism.

The second, and even worse, atrocity was the 2004 school siege in Beslan, in which 330 hostages, including no fewer than 186 children, were murdered. For all the horror of that incident, you don’t hear much about it these days, either.

As with the Boston Marathon bombings, the American media were quick to link both of these actions to the cause of Chechen separatism. But the Moscow atrocity was, in fact, committed by three groups of Chechen jihadists: the Riyad-us Saliheen Brigade of Martyrs (formerly known as the Islamic Brigade of Shaheeds), the Islamic International Brigade, and the Special Purpose Islamic Regiment. The Beslan massacre was committed solely by the first-named of these organizations.

The Battle of Berkeley The leftist mob has sown the wind. Now, the whirlwind looms. By David French

If the media accurately and comprehensively reported on leftist mob violence, it would see that a pattern has emerged: On campus and in the streets, a violent or menacing core seizes the ground it wants, blocks access to buildings, and shuts down the speech or events it seeks to suppress. This violent core is often surrounded and protected by a larger group of ostensibly “peaceful” protesters who sometimes cheer aggression wildly and then provide cover for the rioters, who melt back into the crowd. After the riot, the polite progressives condemn the violence, urge that it not distract from the alleged rightness of the underlying cause, and then do virtually nothing to enforce the law and punish the offenders.

We’ve seen this play out time and again as mobs shut down campus speech, occupy campus buildings, and even assault innocent people — all without facing any real fear of arrest or meaningful punishment. In the aftermath of the Middlebury College incident, where protesters blocked Charles Murray from speaking, surrounded his car as he tried to leave, and sent a professor to the hospital, academics from across the political spectrum said all the right things. But the authorities have so far done nothing. Conservative Princeton professor Robert George has taken to tweeting a daily reminder that the mob is still winning:

45 DAYS, still no one has been expelled or prosecuted for the mob violence and attack on academic freedom at Middlebury. #remembermiddlebury https://t.co/aeqmO2MSuH
— Robert P. George (@McCormickProf) April 17, 2017

At Berkeley, a mob blocked Milo Yiannopolous from speaking, before going on a violent rampage that included arson, smashed windows, and assault on innocent bystanders. Americans were pepper-sprayed and beaten for the “crime” of supporting Donald Trump while the police stood idly by, letting the riot play out before arresting a grand total of one person.

Urban and academic progressive leaders can respond to violence with all the scolding tweets, sternly worded statements, and calls for calm they want. But until those who break the law and violate university policies are aggressively brought to justice, it won’t matter. As long as those who preside over our most prominent academic institutions continue to heed leftist threats and attacks rather than stand up for peaceful conservative speech, the rule of law will remain abandoned in favor of the mob’s agenda. And history proves that once a government abandons the rule of law, it has a hard time controlling the consequences.

Case in point: this weekend’s battle in Berkeley.

Campus and urban progressives have a choice to make. Is this a nation of laws?

Restoring Deterrence, One Bomb at a Time? The only thing more dangerous than losing deterrent power is trying to put it back together again. By Victor Davis Hanson

The Tomahawk volley attack, for all its ostentatious symbolism, served larger strategic purposes. It reminded a world without morality that there is still a shred of a rule or two: Do not use nerve gas on the battlefield or against civilians. The past faux redline from Obama, the systematic use of chlorine gas by Syria, and its contextualization by the Obama administration had insidiously eroded that old battlefield prohibition. Trump was right to seek to revive it.

The subsequent MOAB bomb strike in Afghanistan is useful against ISIS’s subterranean nests, and in signaling the Taliban and ISIS that the U.S. too can be unpredictable and has not quite written off its 16-year commitment. But as in the case of the Tomahawk strikes against Syria, it also fulfilled the larger purpose of reminding enemies, such as Islamic terrorists, North Korea, and Iran (which all stash weapons of destruction in caves and the like) that the U.S. is capable of anything.

In other words, apparently anywhere Trump thinks that he can make a point about deterrence, with good odds of not getting Americans killed or starting a war (he used Tomahawks not pilots where Russian planes were in the vicinity), he will probably drop a bomb or shoot off a missile or send in an iconic carrier fleet.

The message reminds the world that the Obama administration’s “lead from behind,” “don’t do stupid sh**,” plastic red-button reset, Cairo Speech foreign policy followed no historical arc that bent anywhere. And the U.S. was previously on the wrong, not the right, side of both history and the traditions of U.S. bipartisan foreign policy — an aberration from the past, not a blueprint of the future.

Like Ronald Reagan, who, after Jimmy Carter’s managed declinism, shelled Lebanon, bombed Gaddafi, and invaded Grenada, Trump is trying to thread the needle between becoming bogged down somewhere and doing nothing.

No president in recent memory also has outsourced such responsibility to his military advisers, whom Trump refers to as “our” or “my” “generals.” He can afford to for now, because he has made excellent appointments at Defense, State, National Security, and Homeland Security. These are men who justifiably have won broad bipartisan support and who believe in the ancient ways of military and spiritual deterrence, balance of power, and alliances rather than the U.N., presidential sonorousness, or soft power to keep the peace.

These opportunistic deterrent expressions are likewise intended to remind several parties in particular that the Obama hiatus is over.

Apparently, Trump will not necessarily reset the Obama reset of the Bush reset with Russia. Instead, he probably believes that Putin will soon agree that the 2009–16 era was an abnormal condition in which a far weaker Russia bullied friends and connived against almost everything the U.S. was for. And such asymmetry could not be expected to go on. A return to normal relations is not brinkmanship; it should settle down to tense competition, some cooperation, and grudging respect among two powerful rivals. Who knows, Putin may come to respect (and even prefer) an American leader who is unpredictable and unapologetically tough without being sanctimonious, sermonizing — and weak.

Peter Smith: Praise Allah and Pass the Cudgel

The face of Islam is two Muslim women in Australia openly excusing wife beating. It is Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar openly proclaiming at an Orlando mosque, not long before the slaughter at a gay night club in the same city, that “death is the sentence” for homosexuals.
What’s all this rubbish about Muslim men not being allowed to beat their wives? All that brouhaha about those two pleasant-looking Muslim ladies explaining sweetly that husbands indeed had a right to deal out a bit of marital biff when warranted. Hear! Hear! Or, if you like, Allahu Akbar!

I note that Muslim Labor federal member Ed Husic unaccountably eschews the beating option “It’s not acceptable in any form to strike anyone, either between husband and wife or anywhere,” he reportedly said. Bad syntax apart, the sentiment is both clear and terribly heretical in my view. Isn’t he the same chap who used the Koran when sworn in as a minister in 2013? What is he thinking about? That’s the question that springs to my mind.

Allah is clear in verse 4:34, unless Mr Husic thinks that Mohammed got that bit wrong from the Archangel Gabriel, or perhaps Gabriel misunderstood Allah, or maybe the mistake is as prosaic as the equivalent of a typing error back in the 600s. Who knows, but I can only assume that Husic takes a selective view of the Koran. Or maybe he is a ninny with no stomach for smiting necks and finger tips as Allah instructed in 8:12.

Allah forbid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Husic also takes friends from among unbelievers, a direct violation of 4:89.

Mark Durie (The Third Choice) lists sixteen verses of the Koran which set Mohammed on a pedestal as a model to follow. Very convenient, you might think cynically, if you are a mere amanuensis to have the guy in the sky repeatedly anoint you as a positive pillar of virtue. And virtue it seems is in the eye of the holy beholder.

Among other things, the very model of a man to emulate led raids, killed, enslaved, married a six-year old, acquiesced to the killing of those who didn’t like him, and rejoiced in Allah condemning his poor old Uncle Lahab (and his wife) to grisly everlasting fates (111:1-5) for rejecting his message in Mecca. Mahatma Ghandi-like he wasn’t.

Fresno State Reports Own Professor for ‘Trump Must Hang’ Tweet By Tom Knighton

Virulently anti-Trump professors — by which I mean “most professors” — feel pretty invincible. After all, when a video recently surfaced of a professor comparing the election of Trump to a terrorist attack, the student filming it got punished.

So imagine Fresno State professor Lars Maischak’s surprise last week when his tweet demanding President Trump be hung was reported to law enforcement by Fresno State’s president:

Though Maischak did not respond to Campus Reform’s initial inquiry on the matter, he did try to clarify his comments on Twitter, saying that while he “did not intend to harm Mr. Trump” nor “wish for anyone else to harm Mr. Trump by way of an assassination,” he does think “given the nature of [Trump’s] regime, that he will be held accountable for his crimes in a court, and that historical precedent suggests that a death sentence is inevitable, if democracy prevails.”

Now, however, Campus Reform has been informed that university President Joseph Castro promptly alerted multiple federal agencies to the tweets after becoming aware of them, and has been in “regular contact with federal authorities” over the past several days.

“President Castro said that the university alerted the FBI, Secret Service, and Homeland Security as soon as it became aware of the comments made by Dr. Maischak on Twitter,” Director of Communications Kathleen Schock told Campus Reform. “He went on to say that the university been in regular contact with federal authorities. There are no other details we can disclose about those communications.”

The tweet in question from Maischak’s now apparently deleted Twitter account read:

To save American democracy, Trump must hang. The sooner and the higher, the better. #TheResistance #DeathToFascism

I spend a lot of my time reporting some crappy news about school administrators. President Castro’s decision to adhere to the law is a welcome change and should be applauded.

It can be argued that Maischak didn’t spell out his desire to assassinate the president — that’s for the investigators to decide. However, his claims that he doesn’t want someone else to assassinate Trump rings hollow considering what he also expressed last week: CONTINUE AT SITE

Student government votes to allow the American flag to be removed from meetings By Rick Moran

The University of California-Davis’s student senate voted to allow the removal of the American flag from its meetings.

Saying “patriotism is different for every individual,” the senate voted to make displaying the flag optional.

Any idiot can see where this is headed.

Fox Insider:

Pete Hegseth pointed out that the senate appeared to say that there would be instances where the flag’s presence was inappropriate.

“We’ve got patriotism triggering people now,” Campus Reform reporter Cabot Phillips remarked.

In a statement, Student Senator Jose Antonio Meneses further clarified that the flag was not banned from meetings, but only had its mandated presence lifted.

Phillips said the vote was not an isolated incident, recalling a situation in New Mexico where a student was forced to remove a flag from his dormitory window.

Does anyone doubt that some snowflake will call for the flag’s removal? The student senate thought they were being clever in hiding their intent behind sophistry, but if there isn’t at least one member of that body who will complain about displaying the flag, I’ll be shocked.

The problem isn’t so much that one or two people will object to displaying the flag. It’s that there will be intimidation to force others to go along with it. That’s the true fascism on the loose on college campuses – the forced acceptance of a minority viewpoint through intimidation and threatened ostracizing of anyone who disagrees.

Anyone who feels uncomfortable about a national symbol that has stood as a beacon of liberty and freedom for the truly oppressed people of the world is probably too sensitive to survive outside a university setting. Most of them will be unable to live on their own and will end up living with their parents or marrying someone who will be forced to care for them.

Turks Vote to Give Away Their Democracy by Burak Bekdil

Alarmingly, Turkey’s proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States.

It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.

“The conditions for a free and fair plebiscite on proposed constitutional reforms simply do not hold,” said a report released by the EU Turkey Civic Commission.

In a bitter irony, nearly 55 million Turks went to the ballot box on April 16 to exercise their basic democratic right to vote. But they voted in favor of giving away their democracy. The system for which they voted looks more like a Middle Eastern sultanate than democracy in the West.

According to unofficial results of the referendum, 51.4% of the Turks voted in favor of constitutional amendments that will give their authoritarian Islamist president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, excessive powers to augment his one-man rule in comfort.

The changes make Erdogan head of government, head of state and head of the ruling party — all at the same time. He now has the power to appoint cabinet ministers without requiring a confidence vote from parliament, propose budgets and appoint more than half the members of the nation’s highest judicial body. In addition, he has the power to dissolve parliament, impose states of emergency and issue decrees. Alarmingly, the proposed system lacks the safety mechanisms of checks and balances that exist in other countries such as the United States. It would transfer powers traditionally held by parliament to the presidency, thereby rendering the parliament merely a ceremonial, advisory body.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claims victory in the April 16 referendum, at a rally the night of the vote. (Image source: VOA video screenshot)

Why did the Turks choose democratic suicide?

1. Erdogan’s confrontational Islamist-nationalist rhetoric keeps appealing to masses who adore him for his claims of being in the process of restoring the country’s historical Ottoman influence as a leader of the Islamic world. His rhetoric — and practices — would often echo an authoritarian rule in the form of a sultan. It was not a coincidence that the thousands of Erdogan fans who gathered to salute their leader after his referendum victory were passionately waving Turkish and Ottoman flags and chanting “Allah-u aqbar” [“Allah is the greatest”, in Arabic]. For most of Erdogan’s conservative fans, “God comes first… then comes Erdogan”. That sentiment explains why the vote on April 16 was not just a boring constitutional matter for many Turks: It was about endorsing an ambitious man who promises to revive a glorious past.