Bill Maher Stands Up for America


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Warning: HBO-level language. Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan.

In this clip from HBO’s recent episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” the leftist host and comedian says what so many of his progressive pals cannot:

1. Our American culture is better than the Middle East’s.

2. American Christians who follow their holy book literally are benign.

3. Islamofascism’s bullying to get us to suppress the first amendment cannot be tolerated.

Maher embraces these three controversial political positions. (“Controversial” within the community of the Left, that is.) But he’s unwilling to take the logical next step that these ideas demand: become a conservative.

If you acknowledge that our culture is worth defending, if you realize that individual liberty is not negotiable, and that Christian conservatives are in no way comparable to terrorists then you have no business being part of a movement — the political Left — that is dedicated to the promoting the exact opposite.

I don’t expect Maher to acknowledge that — he’s far too financially dependent on his leftist identity. He’s also unwilling to sacrifice his cool level by embracing political untouchables like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin even though they share his position on the three points above. The day comes for many of us, though, when we’re willing to stop being cool. Some of us can realize that Freedom is more important.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GaryRumain Gary Rumain

    Strange days indeed – John Lennon.

  • davarino

    How can I compromise with someone that hates America and wants to fundamentally change it? Dont get me wrong, Im not against change because I hate change. I am against change when it is done with out the peoples consent or without going through the proper channels (ie. constitution, law, ….)

  • eerie Steve

    Maher supports moral license first and America only if it acts as a vehicle for such. A completely pragmatic view of the situation will see him as a Bill Maher support only.

    Like it or not, a patriot does not think about reciprocal attacks in war while Todd Beamer's body is being scraped off the NW PA countryside.

  • Guest

    Heaven forbid that Bill Maher becomes a conservative. But maybe it will be OK; after all, I didn't like it when Dennis Miller came over to "the dark side, " and he turned out all right.

  • voiceofstl

    A broken clock is right twice a day.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/The_Inquisitor The_Inquisitor

    "You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone on the left in the US who wouldn't agree completely with item everything on that list …"

    It all depends upon what you mean by "agree." Undoubtedly most would give lip service, but do they really mean it?

    Has the sympathetic Left media demanded that the apprehension and conviction of the North Park extortionists be a top law enforcement priority? Has the media had its Jerry Falwell moment?

    I doubt it, but I don't know. I don't read or listen to sympathetic Left media. Perhaps you can tell me.

  • Feist

    Fundamentally change it? I was wondering how long it would take for the the Beckspeak to arrive – and there it is! You don't like when an attempt to fundamentally change America occurs? The last time someone on the Right was in the executive office, he made a habit of circumventing the checks and balances of the constitution with signature statements. More than 1100 times during his administration, he decided that he knew better than both congress and the courts while those on the Right who could have challenged his abuses turned a blind eye, so you should be careful about throwing around that "the left hates America" meme.

  • Feist

    I haven't seen any media demand it, right or left, but while we're asking questions, has any public figure on the Right condemned the armed "Restore The Constitution"rally that took place on the anniversary of the OKC bombing? Is that how we're doing it nowadays – is that how we remember hardworking Americans who were murdered by a Right Wing domestic terrorist who didn't like the building they worked in? Must have been okay, I guess, because only those on the Left called it out for its repugnance.

  • Phineas

    Who cares? It's still Bill Maher, who thinks that anyone even an inch to the right of his know-it-allness is a racist,sexist,square,backwards, uncool,a rube – you know,Republicans,Conservatives,Tea Party supporters,anti-Feminists,all religions( other than Islam,of course ),etc,etc.

    So for him to be against this, there must be a reason that's anything but sincere,an ulterior motive that's different than ours.

  • Jim C.

    There's nothing "liberal" or "conservative" about knowing our culture is far less out of whack than that of the Islamic states.

  • DOn

    Bill Mao-er was also critical of Obama's snail paced reaction to the oil spill in the gulf and rightfully so. Obama said and did notheing for nearly a week and now is spoutiong off that he has been on the job since 'day one'.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

    Look dingleberry, McVeigh was not a right-wing anything. Just because Billy Jeff Clinton and Janet Reno said it does not make it so. Don't forget it was Hillary "Hell-to-Pay" Clinton said that every one who opposed her make believe hubby was part of a "vast right wing consspiracy." Again, just because she said it does not make it so.

    • Feist

      I don't need anyone else's opinion on the matter to know he was on the Right; not the Clintons, not Reno, not you. Deny all you want – doesn't change what McVeigh was. Thank you, by the way, for punctuating your opinions with name-calling. Makes your argument so much more palatable and your side so much easier to relate to.

    • Feist

      I don't need anyone else's opinion on the matter to know he was on the Right; not the Clintons, not Reno, not you. Deny all you want – doesn't change what McVeigh was. Thank you, by the way, for punctuating your opinions with name-calling. Makes your argument so much more palatable and your side so much easier to relate to.

  • trickyblain

    The civil rights acts of the 1960s "fundimentally changed America." The Civil War "fundimentally changed America."

    Why do you feel the need for the lame insults?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

      Because asshat referred to "fundamentally changing America" as Beckspeak. Try reading the stream before running off at the mouth.

      • Feist

        Using it as a way to tag someone as an America-hater is Beckspeak, and you have a misunderstanding of what Marxism is.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/The_Inquisitor The_Inquisitor

    When you broaden the discourse to "They're just as bad as me." you don't do yourself any favors.

    Again I am not that familiar with "Restore The Constitution" rally. You say they were armed. Did they fire their arms? Did they menace anyone with their arms? Were they disrespectful or interfere with those who wished to honor their dead? If so, they are certainly to be condemned. If so, and it wasn't reported on Front Page or NRB I am indeed surprised.

    But a rally which has the bad taste to hijack a time of remembrance to push their agenda is hardly on a par with threatening to murder those who simply wish to exercise their right to free speech. When you consider that such threats are a national problem causing lectures to be canceled and books to not be published, the newsworthiness of the rally pales into insignificance.

  • Seek

    Bill Maher is a freethinker. As such, he despises Islamic orthodoxy as much as (if not more than) Jewish, Christian, Hindu or any other orthodoxy that refuses to entertain doubt. He's a man of the Left, but as his dislike of Islam dovetails with America's right to defend itself, his views occasionally overlap with those of conservatives. There is no mystery or paradox here.

    Frankly, I see nothing wrong with any of this. We've cultivated alliances with Left-leaning freethinkers from Camille Paglia to Christopher Hitchens to Alan Dershowitz on this very basis. If a radical skeptic like Maher (more a libertarian than an outright "Leftist" anyway) can ridicule Islam, good. We need a few more like him.

  • USMCSniper

    Let me see… Muslims chop hands and heads off and stone and ritually mirder women and we don't, Duuhhhh,,, errrr….. Ahhhhemmm … I guess we are a better culture than them. Bill you are profound! A genuine master of the obvious.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

    Hey asshat! ":Fundamentally changing America" is Obamaspeak. Beck is just quoting the Marxist-in-Chief.

  • pastafarienne

    He thinks our American culture is BETTER because it is so *liberally* tolerant of free speech and freedom of religion. In America there is a precious separation between church and state… ironically it's usually American conservatives who try to destroy that separation. American conservatives want prayer in schools, an end to teaching evolution, an end to sex education, an end to abortion rights, denial of gay rights, and insist that this country must return to its religious foundations and reject secularism. Since those are all things that Islamofascists WANT imposed in their own countries, what exactly makes you think that Maher should become a conservative? He says Muslim conservatives are more dangerous than Christian conservatives, but that in no way means that he agrees with social conservatism. Just because an Atheist hates Islam, that does not mean he loves Judeo-Christianity by default.

    I assume by his views on Islam that when you say Maher should "become a conservative" you're talking about him becoming a social conservative, but since he hates religion, good luck with that. He's even said he's not "liberal", he's libertarian — huge difference.

    Also, "conservative" and "liberal" don't mean anything on their own. You have to specify whether you're talking about social issues or economic issues.

    For example, most "conservatives" are actually economic liberals (pro-free market) but social conservatives (anti-gay rights). But you can't be pro-free market and anti-social change at the same time. The two are at war with one another through the process of globalization. And no, I'm not "anti-globalization" because that's like saying I'm "anti-cultural interaction". It's happening, and it's natural. We just need to manage it in a way that does the most good and the least harm. The more that cultures are forced to interact through trade (and war), the more each society is going to "fundamentally change" whether you intended it or not.

    That being said, Muslims in the middle east are experiencing the same fear of "fundamental change" as many conservatives here in America. Their way of life is threatened and "the evil atheist West" is the reason their culture is being dragged kicking and screaming into the modern global community.

    • abdul7591

      Conservatives don't necessarily fear fundamental change. It depends on the nature of that change. For example, if we could get rid of the stultifying political correctness on all sorts of issues – Islamic terrorism, race relations, global warming, abortion, gun control – that would constitute a fundamental change away from the mental straitjacket that the ideologues of the Left have kept us tied up in. I would have no problem with any fundamental change that involved abolishing for good that kind of fundamental change. But socializing our health care system, or imposing cap-and-trade, those are fundamental changes I could do without. I believe that many of the fundamental changes Obama wants to impose on us would hurt everyone, including ordinary liberals.

      • abdul7591

        Oops, a correction:

        "I would have no problem with any fundamental change that involved abolishing for good that kind of fundamental change." The statement should read: I would have no problem with any fundamental change that involved abolishing for good that kind of political correctness.

    • Democracy First

      I am conservative, but not religious. You misrepresent what most Christians want.

      They support freedom from faith imposed by the state, while wanting to see the same degree of faith in public life that the founding fathers were comfortable with.

      They support gay rights, short of gay marriage.

      The more fundamentalist do not object to evolution being taught, but want some kind of "Intelligent Design" also presented.

      They're OK with sexed, but want sexuality taught in the context of family, morals and emotional health – and yes, abstinence.

      But to compare this with anything the Islamists want is exactly the false equivalence Maher so effectively eviscerates. It was Christians of faith that credated, and continue to support, the US constitution, a document based on the concepts of personal liberty and governmkent by consent. Yes, there was only partial democracy at the nation's birth. But everyone has moved beyond that.

      There are limits to how much social change you can have before you go backwards. It's not a zero sum game where "progress" can only be towards the better. For example, families are the bedrock of society (I'm a child and family counsellor). An individual's emotional health is largely determined from the emotional health of the family in which he grew up. In turn, a society's emotional health is largely a product of the emotional health in composite of all these individuals. But we can, and we are, now undermining family and therefore individual and societal emotional health. Counsellors see an ever increasing clientale afflicted with neurosis, self esteem issues, and maybe narcissism too. This reflects some unfortunate societal trends that some would so wrongly term "progressive."

    • Democracy First

      I am conservative, but not religious. You misrepresent what most Christians want.

      They support freedom from faith imposed by the state, while wanting to see the same degree of faith in public life that the founding fathers were comfortable with.

      They support gay rights, short of gay marriage.

      The more fundamentalist do not object to evolution being taught, but want some kind of "Intelligent Design" also presented.

      They're OK with sexed, but want sexuality taught in the context of family, morals and emotional health – and yes, abstinence.

      But to compare this with anything the Islamists want is exactly the false equivalence Maher so effectively eviscerates. It was Christians of faith that credated, and continue to support, the US constitution, a document based on the concepts of personal liberty and governmkent by consent. Yes, there was only partial democracy at the nation's birth. But everyone has moved beyond that.

      There are limits to how much social change you can have before you go backwards. It's not a zero sum game where "progress" can only be towards the better. For example, families are the bedrock of society (I'm a child and family counsellor). An individual's emotional health is largely determined from the emotional health of the family in which he grew up. In turn, a society's emotional health is largely a product of the emotional health in composite of all these individuals. But we can, and we are, now undermining family and therefore individual and societal emotional health. Counsellors see an ever increasing clientale afflicted with neurosis, self esteem issues, and maybe narcissism too. This reflects some unfortunate societal trends that some would so wrongly term "progressive."

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/BS61 BS61

      Maher is no Libertarian! Not when he says that we have to bring them kicking and screaming to healthcare!

  • BerlGoetz

    Some of my best friends are Christian orthodox freethinkers.

  • USMCSniper

    Let me see… Muslims chop hands and heads off and stone and ritually mirder women and we don't, Duuhhhh,,, errrr….. Ahhhhemmm … I guess we are a better culture than them. Bill you are profound! A genuine master of the obvious.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Dar_al_Harb LibertyLover

    I think we need to fundamentally change America back into a representative democracy.

    • Bill_H

      I say Yay to that !

  • 080

    Well Bill Maher must have broadened his sources to Alan Colmes, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart. I'm glad to see he's making progress.

  • 080

    Well Bill Maher must have broadened his sources to Alan Colmes, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, David Letterman, and Jon Stewart. I'm glad to see he's making progress.

  • Feist

    That's incorrect. He was critical of Obama for supporting offshore drilling at all. The statement that Obama did nothing for a week isn't supported by facts.

  • Feist

    Dear David Swindal &/or the site admin who deleted my first post:

    If the courage of your convictions can't stand up to being criticized by someone who thinks you're wrong, you either need to get out of the political blog business or get some thicker skin.

    And you'd still be hardpressed to find anyone on the left who wouldn't whole-heartedly agree with what Bill says in the clip.

    • Democracy First

      Not true.

      Over and over we've heard left wingers equate Christian fundamentalists with Islamists. Maher laughs that absurdity off.

      Moreover, it is the left, not the right, that makes the cultural relativism argument, over and over. Even feminists have been known to excuse the mistreatment of women in Islamic nations: not long ago someone prominent wrote a long flowery pean to the burka and the women that wear it.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

      Try not using profanity next time if you don't want your comments deleted. We also do have commenting guidelines you know…http://www.newsrealblog.com/commenting-guidelines

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/DavidSwindle DavidSwindle

      Try not using profanity next time if you don't want your comments deleted. We also do have commenting guidelines you know…http://www.newsrealblog.com/commenting-guidelines

  • Feist

    Name names. Post some links.

    • Democracy First
    • Democracy First
      • Feist

        Thanks for the link, DF. I don't mean to come off as argumentative, but did you read the original article that the Chesler Chronicles is editorializing? http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/behind-the-vei

        Wolf's piece isn't the cavalier dismissal of women who live without choices that the Chesler suggests it is, nor is it a paean to burqas. It's about women who *choose* to wear them, or other veiling. Wolf makes note that she is speaking in particular of women she personally knows who live outside Islamic nations – women from families who are likely still transitioning to Western culture over the years. She notes that she's not speaking of *all* Muslim women.

        Wolf: "I do not mean to dismiss the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women. Choice is everything. But Westerners should recognize that when a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression."

        I don't see how an article that speaks of specific women who choose to wear veiling and some of the reasons those women have shared for making that choice translates into excusing the mistreatment of women who can't choose with an "argument of cultural relativism", no matter how much the Chesler says it does. Even though the original article isn't generalizing, the Chesler is responding to it as if it does.

        And the next thing you know, the entire Left is making excuses for and showing some kind of deep respect for Islamic fundamentalism. I just don't get the non-linear logic.

      • Feist

        Thanks for the link, DF. I don't mean to come off as argumentative, but did you read the original article that the Chesler Chronicles is editorializing? http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/behind-the-vei

        Wolf's piece isn't the cavalier dismissal of women who live without choices that the Chesler suggests it is, nor is it a paean to burqas. It's about women who *choose* to wear them, or other veiling. Wolf makes note that she is speaking in particular of women she personally knows who live outside Islamic nations – women from families who are likely still transitioning to Western culture over the years. She notes that she's not speaking of *all* Muslim women.

        Wolf: "I do not mean to dismiss the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women. Choice is everything. But Westerners should recognize that when a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression."

        I don't see how an article that speaks of specific women who choose to wear veiling and some of the reasons those women have shared for making that choice translates into excusing the mistreatment of women who can't choose with an "argument of cultural relativism", no matter how much the Chesler says it does. Even though the original article isn't generalizing, the Chesler is responding to it as if it does.

        And the next thing you know, the entire Left is making excuses for and showing some kind of deep respect for Islamic fundamentalism. I just don't get the non-linear logic.

        • Democracy First

          I understand that Wolfe was trying to nuance. She's far too bright to do otherwise.

          However,
          a) I recall – and could be wrong – that she was referring to not only burka-wearing women in the west.
          b) The real point is that she would make any effort at all to justify them. If she said, straight out and clearly, this is about the the very small percentage of women who wear burkas entirely of their free will, while acknowedging that the vast majority do so because they are imposed, and the whole discussion was in that context, that would have been one thing. Instead,
          c) I got the sense she was trying to be multiculturally open-minded, thus doing her best to counter what she deemed a western assumption based on bias.
          It`s the kind of article that, had it been written by a conservative, Wolfe would likely have attacked.

          I don`t see my original response to you. Perhaps it`s been erased for whatever technical reason. But the main point was that, over and over, I have seen here and elsewhere posters and writers do the cultural relativism thing and equate Christian and Muslim fundamentalists. Maher too, I can only assume, has noted the same, prompting this rejoinder.

        • Democracy First

          I happened over to Maher's comemnts at YouTube. Here were three comments on the first page, which perfectly portray my observation:

          #
          biankajeg Hey Y'all ~~ Let's not forget that right here in the good ol' US of A – Certain Christians threaten violence against theaters for productions portraying Jesus in a fashion they find offfensive — here in N. Texas it has happened twice lately — just saying :) 10 hours ago

          #
          evilbob2200 @SockbatReplica meh I know what you mean but I studied religion here at school and have met several people of the Muslim faith. They are awesome people and the ones that are making Islam as a whole look bad ar just 1% (if that) of all the followers of islam. The majority of muslims interpret their religion as peacful while the ones like terrorists are like our evangelicals and west borrow baptists 10 hours ago

          #
          evilbob2200 any one who doesnt think christinaity isnt fucked up look at the crusades!!! specifically look at the Children's Crusade of 1212. 11 hours ago

          • Feist

            2 of those comments are from the same person, and none of them mention their political positions.

            We're going to have to agree to disagree on the Naomi Wolf article; a conservative didn't write it, and we'll never know what Wolf's reaction to it would have been if a conservative had.

          • Feist

            2 of those comments are from the same person, and none of them mention their political positions.

            We're going to have to agree to disagree on the Naomi Wolf article; a conservative didn't write it, and we'll never know what Wolf's reaction to it would have been if a conservative had.

          • Democracy First

            They don't state their political positions. But
            a) that's not relevant, in that what matters is the reflexive tendency to play the cultural relativism and moral equivalence card, and
            b) a is generally a function of modern liberalism.

            And their comments typify an endless stream of teh same that I've seen at this board over the years and even more so at left wing sites.

            On Wolfe – yes, we'll disagree – but i enjoyed the respectful excahnge.

          • Feist

            It's relevant to me; evilbob could just as easily be a Republican atheist.

            I enjoyed the exchange as well, DF, and appreciate not being called an asshat or a dingleberry. Thank you. : )

          • Feist

            It's relevant to me; evilbob could just as easily be a Republican atheist.

            I enjoyed the exchange as well, DF, and appreciate not being called an asshat or a dingleberry. Thank you. : )

        • Democracy First

          I happened over to Maher's comemnts at YouTube. Here were three comments on the first page, which perfectly portray my observation:

          #
          biankajeg Hey Y'all ~~ Let's not forget that right here in the good ol' US of A – Certain Christians threaten violence against theaters for productions portraying Jesus in a fashion they find offfensive — here in N. Texas it has happened twice lately — just saying :) 10 hours ago

          #
          evilbob2200 @SockbatReplica meh I know what you mean but I studied religion here at school and have met several people of the Muslim faith. They are awesome people and the ones that are making Islam as a whole look bad ar just 1% (if that) of all the followers of islam. The majority of muslims interpret their religion as peacful while the ones like terrorists are like our evangelicals and west borrow baptists 10 hours ago

          #
          evilbob2200 any one who doesnt think christinaity isnt fucked up look at the crusades!!! specifically look at the Children's Crusade of 1212. 11 hours ago

      • Feist

        Thanks for the link, DF. I don't mean to come off as argumentative, but did you read the original article that the Chesler Chronicles is editorializing? http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/behind-the-vei

        Wolf's piece isn't the cavalier dismissal of women who live without choices that the Chesler suggests it is, nor is it a paean to burqas. It's about women who *choose* to wear them, or other veiling. Wolf makes note that she is speaking in particular of women she personally knows who live outside Islamic nations – women from families who are likely still transitioning to Western culture over the years. She notes that she's not speaking of *all* Muslim women.

        Wolf: "I do not mean to dismiss the many women leaders in the Muslim world who regard veiling as a means of controlling women. Choice is everything. But Westerners should recognize that when a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression."

        I don't see how an article that speaks of specific women who choose to wear veiling and some of the reasons those women have shared for making that choice translates into excusing the mistreatment of women who can't choose with an "argument of cultural relativism", no matter how much the Chesler says it does. Even though the original article isn't generalizing, the Chesler is responding to it as if it does.

        And the next thing you know, the entire Left is making excuses for and showing some kind of deep respect for Islamic fundamentalism. I just don't get the non-linear logic.

  • badaboo

    I'll take a thousand Bill Mahers anyday over one idiot like Rush Limbaugh , who had the stupidity to make a comment alluding to the "timing of the BP rigg explosion" ….as if to imply a "conspiracy " …..and then someone had the stupidity to nbactually print it .

    • Babs

      Please badaboo….don't comment on what you've READ Rush said about the BP rig explosion…because that's JUST what you did…where did you get your info? And you are actually STUPIDER than whoever you're talking about.. How sad… I fear there are just TOO many like you….

    • Babs

      Please badaboo….don't comment on what you've READ Rush said about the BP rig explosion…because that's JUST what you did…where did you get your info? And you are actually STUPIDER than whoever you're talking about.. How sad… I fear there are just TOO many like you….

  • therealend

    I remember Mr Maher concluding that terrorists were somehow braver than our US military because they were so willing to sacrifice themselves while carrying out their mission. I wouldn't count on him to be a deep source of pro-American sentiment.

  • Paul P

    Ball Maher must have misspoken.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/BS61 BS61

    Feist – I totally disagreed and strongly opposed Bush. This is bigger than political parties!