Daniel Pipes has a list of questions he says are helpful in Identifying Muslim Moderates. It occurred to me that with surprisingly slight modification the list could become a guide for identifying liberal moderates:
- Violence: Do you condone or condemn partial-birth abortion, or illegal direct action by militant environmentalist, animal-rights, gay-rights and similar organizations? Will you condemn by name such organizations as NOW, Greenpeace, PETA and ACT-UP that promote such things?
- Modernity: Should traditionalists have equal rights with liberals (for example, in judicial and academic appointments, and with regard to the right to follow their own beliefs in running their own organizations)? Is wide-ranging humanitarian intervention, meaning a form of warfare, acceptable in today’s world? Do you accept the validity of political and social views that reject liberalism? Do liberals have anything to learn from antiliberals?
- Secularism: Do you accept the laws of a non-liberal government and unreservedly pledge allegiance to that government? Should the state insist on liberal propaganda in the public schools, or impose liberal ideological observances such as the Martin Luther King Holiday? When liberal habits conflict with secular laws (e.g., regarding sexual conduct), which should give way?
- Liberal pluralism: Are libertarians and mainstream American “conservatives” fully legitimate liberals? Do you see liberals who disagree with you as fascists? Is PC (condemning fellow liberals one has disagreements with as bigots or reactionaries) an acceptable practice?
- Self-criticism: Do you accept the legitimacy of scholarly inquiry into racial differences? Which is responsible for AIDS, sexual liberation or the Roman Catholic Church?
- Defense against the militant Left: Do you accept enhanced security measures to fight the militant Left, even if this means extra scrutiny of yourself (for example, stepped-up border controls to control immigration and thus multiculturalism)? Do you agree that institutions accused of funding the anti-American and anti-Christian Left should be shut down, or do you see this a symptom of bias?
- Goals in the West: Do you accept that Western countries are majority-Christian or do you seek to transform them into liberal countries ruled by liberal constitutional law?
As Pipes points out in the case of Muslims, the answer to a single question doesn’t necessarily prove anything, but taken together the questions do “offer a good start to the vexing issue of separating enemy from friend.”