The Sad Desperation of Anti-Islam Conspiracy Theorists
When Lowe’s Home Improvement pulled its ads from TLC’s All-American Muslim show last month due to pressure from anti-Muslim bigots, hundreds of thousands of Americans publicly expressed their disapproval of this cowardly decision. While Lowe’s thought it would avoid controversy by withdrawing its ads, the vocal outcry sent an important message about the relative size of the broad majority of Americans who value interfaith cooperation and truth-telling and the small band of hateful extremists.
Despite strange right-wing claims to the contrary, no one ever argued that Lowe’s somehow didn’t have the “right” to pull its ads or that they should be forced to reinstate them against their will. Americans were simply voicing their opinions about the decision — the perfect example of how participatory feedback loops are supposed to work in a democratic capitalist system.
But to radical anti-Muslim organizations like ACT! for America, who sponsored a petition defending Lowe’s, this backlash was not only un-American, it was actually “the latest example of how radical Islam threatens, undermines and eventually destroys freedom.”
In an email update yesterday, ACT! tried to spin public opposition to Lowe’s decision as a threat “to the freedom a company has to make business decisions about when and where it will advertise.” Inventing revisionist realities, of course, is the only way to fit this data points into their grand “creeping sharia” conspiracy theory that <1% of the U.S. population is a) united in a coordinated plan to replace American law with Islamic theocracy and b) capable of tricking/forcing the remaining 99% of the country to do so.
None of this is particularly new or surprising, of course, but it’s a good reminder of exactly the kind of people the modern conservative movement (and presidential candidates) have increasingly elevated as “expert voices” on national security and religious issues.