Bumper Sticker Liberalism

An interview about a new book:

Another popular bumper sticker consists of the word “Coexist” formed out of traditional iconic symbols: a crescent, a cross, a tao, a star of David, etc. It’s a pleasant enough sentiment, and it allows liberals to think they’re somehow above the fray when it comes to the ongoing struggle between the post-Enlightenment West and totalitarian Islam. Except if you’re imagining a world of peaceful coexistence, you’re not taking a neutral position. You’re coming down on the side of the West. Liberals are in the thick of the war; they just don’t have the stomach to accept it. Their aspirations for peace — a peace in which individuals are free to act according to the dictates of their own consciences — place them squarely on the side of heterogeneity over unity of belief, of personal autonomy over selfless obedience, of reason over faith. Radical Islam is at war with everything liberals hold dear. Liberals just don’t want to get their fingernails dirty.

As he notes earlier, they’re not really liberals — they just imagine they are.

Of course, conservatives have bumper stickers, too, but they tend not to as much, because it’s an often apparently invitation to get their car keyed. By those “liberals” who preach civility.

43 thoughts on “Bumper Sticker Liberalism

  1. Michael

    Regarding the CoExist bumper sticker, I have seen them. When I see one on a car in Damascus or Tehran I will them seriously. Until then I just chuckle.

  2. Brock

    A bumper sticker politics is the very worst sort of “Saying things make me feel better about myself without having to follow through with actions or behavior” mind-set.

  3. Pro Libertate

    Modern leftism has become all about coerced behavior and using the state exclusively to do the coercing. That’s the fundamental flaw and the reason libertarians tend to not have any representation of note within the Democratic party. Not that the right doesn’t want to coerce behavior, too, but they seem to have a narrower scope and to retain some of the old (and correct!) tradition of distrusting the government.

    To me, I often see that “Coexist” sticker and similarly trite sentiments as having steel behind them. Not “We all should strive to be tolerant and accepting of one another”, but “You all will do things our way or we’ll make you do it.” Not that everyone sporting that sticker thinks that way, but a lot of them appear to.

  4. Bob-1

    The fallacy in the quote is to confuse radical islam with non-radical islam.

    As for Tehran: I would totally expect such bumper stickers in Tehran, but they would be government propaganda. You know, the Iranians invite Israelis to come to seminars and so forth, for propaganda show pieces. Since you can always find an Israeli with a contrary opinion, about any subject, and since Israelis feel free to share their opinions, Iran gets takers. Doesn’t mean a thing.

    It might be more meaningful to find such bumperstickers in countries with significant Muslim and non-Muslim populations, like India (third largest Muslim country), or Ivory Coast (1/3rd Muslim).

    As for bumper stickers, if you think conservative ones are less common, then I suspect regional differences + confirmation bias, since I thought (maybe wrongly) that conservative bumper stickers are far more common, both on Interstate trips through the mid-west, and here at home in suburban Chicago.

    1. McGehee

      Conservative ones may appear on more vehicles in some places, but liberal ones appear in such thickness on the cars that display them, that they nevertheless outnumber the opposition.

      Alternatively, you’re ascribing conservatism to bumper stickers that carry no such intent — in which case it’s your bias in action.

      1. MfK

        Somewhere I have some pictures of a car that was parked in a Maryland Target store parking lot. Every square millimeter of non-transparent (or translucent) surface on that car was covered with a bumper sticker. And they represented pretty much every point of view, randomly intermixed. Would the owner of that car be considered a fair-minded Rennaissance man?

    2. Titus

      The fallacy in the quote is to confuse radical islam with non-radical islam.

      You misspelled “pious.”

  5. McGehee

    The old bumper sticker “Question Authority” is a great opportunity to play with a liberal’s head. Upon seeing it and the owner of the car on which it’s plastered, point at the sticker and demand, “Who the @#$!! are you telling me what to do!?”

  6. Aaron

    Modern day liberals are rather confused about Voltaire.

    He didn’t say: I do not agree with your oppressing your women and beheading those who insult you, but I’ll defend to the death your right to oppress your women and behead those who insult your religion.

  7. Ryan Olcott

    The only bumper stickers (actually on my rear window) that I’ve ever had lasted about 6 months, they were gifts. A Gadsden Flag and a LOL (this one). I recently moved to southern Virginia, and within 3 months my car’s rear window was destroyed by vandals while sitting in front of my house. 340$ worth of ‘Stimulus’!

    It was probably the same high-school age turds I caught yesterday vandalizing my neighbor’s Romney yard signs.

  8. Patrick

    Someone should market a bumper sticker with a downward-pointing arrow on the left, followed by “THIS MEANS YOU, A**HOLE”.

    So when you see a Coexist sticker in a parking lot, you can add this new sticker above it, with the arrow pointing at the C.

    1. Daver

      Well, there’s the COEXIST bumper sticker where the C has a suicide belt and the other letters are on the other side cowering.

  9. Daver

    Of course, no group has a monopoly on boorishness. I notice a site that sells Darwin fish also sells replacement legs–apparently some people feel the need to snap the originals off. Not as bad as keying a car or breaking its windows, perhaps, but still vandalism.

      1. Daver

        The item specifically said for legs that have been snapped off. I expect they could be used for other purposes (too much Carroll–I really wanted to type ‘porpoises’).

        Have you seen a Christian fish vandalized by having legs added?

  10. ken anthony

    The fallacy in the quote is to confuse radical islam with non-radical islam.

    So we need a working definition. Here ya go…

    Islam requires muslims to convert, dhimmify or kill everyone on the planet.

    Radical muslims do the killing. Non-Radical muslims are ‘for it.’

    If not radical or non radical then you are not a muslim according to islam (and if they find out, you will be killed.) Not just killed but take first priority in being killed over any other non muslim.

    Bob, the sooner you realize this the sooner you will stop spouting this particular bullshit. Your peaceful muslim friends, if they are not one or the other, are not muslims. Ask any radical. You could also ask any non-radical but you don’t seem to know how to distinguish those from non muslims.

    1. ken anthony

      Bob, your heart should go out to those that must pretend to be muslim because otherwise they would be killed. They may be the most persecuted minority on this planet.

        1. ken anthony

          Bob, you missed my point. It is muslims that say these others are not muslims. It is muslims that will kill these first because they are worse than just infidels like you and me.

          Islam requires muslims to convert, dhimmify or kill everyone on the planet.

          If you are not doing the killing or ‘for’ the killing YOU ARE NOT MUSLIM. PERIOD. EXCLAMATION.

          I can call myself a purple people eater. It doesn’t make me one.

        2. ken anthony

          BTW, reference to VoA reveals another problem. These practicers of Taqiyya, muslim lying codified in their scripture, are throughout our government and need to be purged. None of them should pass an FBI investigation. For some reason, presidents are not required to pass an FBI investigation either. I think we should fix that.

      1. Titus

        Well, Ken, my heart certainly does. Personally, I can’t say that I’m very upset when and where progressivism infects and replaces Islam (even if it’s all but in name) — given the choice of whom I’d rather live under, it’s no contest.

    2. Bob-1

      Christianity requires all sorts of things that living breathing Christians simply don’t do. You can say such people aren’t really Christians, but that isn’t a very useful thing to do, if you’re interested in the behavior of Christians, as opposed to the study of Christianity.

      1. Titus

        You can say such people aren’t really Christians, but that isn’t a very useful thing to do, if you’re interested in the behavior of Christians,

        I couldn’t disagree more. Epistemic clarity is paramount. For whatever it’s worth, it’s certainly worth knowing the difference between someone who follows either the New Testament or modern progressivism.

      2. ken anthony

        The authority on who is or is not a christian is the bible. What the bible says in response to some claiming to be christian? “I never knew you.”

        I really am not a purple people eater.

      3. Daver

        I’m not sure that Christianity requires them the same way Islam does. For one thing, most of the really odious ones are in the OT, and the OT was supposed to govern behavior under the old covenant. Christ established the new covenant, and Leviticus became obsolete. That made it a lot simpler to proselytize.

        Most Christians really don’t know their bible all that well (I don’t really want to get into a “No true Scotsman” argument here. There are Christians who have read it cover to cover multiple times, but most that I know of just know the bits that are read to them in church). This makes it a lot easier to pick and choose the bits that they want to follow. Islam, on the other hand, encourages its followers to memorize the Koran (even if they don’t understand it because they don’t speak Arabic).

        Thirdly, they’re more like “guidelines” than actual rules.

    3. Bilwick

      It’s like a friend of mine who has studied the subject once wrote: The difference isn’t really between radical and non-radical Muslims–since both adhere to a religion that not only countenances coercion against non-believers, but advocates it–but “active” Muslims and “lax” Muslims.

      Of course Bob-1 wouldn’t have that much trouble with the coercive aspects of Islam because, being a statist, he doesn’t have that much of a problem with coercion.

      1. Titus

        Indeed. Note also that propinquity approximates piety. The closer to Mecca the Muslim, the more pious he is. The same is true in the US. Leftism being the religion of the US, the closer to DC, the more statist. (It’s a little tricker here because so many of our connections are virtual — airports, internet, etc. But generally a “red state”r in “flyover country” with mostly himself to depend on won’t be worshipping on Obama’s altar. Blue states surround DC.)

        1. Daver

          Islam, like Christianity, denigrates astrology. I read an article that mentioned that the further from Mecca they get, the more native Muslims believe in astrology.

          In the US, Blueness tends to congregate around the coasts (and the great lakes). San Francisco is pretty darn blue, and its about as far from DC as you can get in the contiguous states. Hawaii is surrounded by water, and look what it’s done to them.

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