Why Is Bin Laden Popular on TikTok? For That We Can Thank Neoconservatives

By John Zmirak Published on November 21, 2023

I want to start by doffing my hat to the experts in the room, the two scholars of Islam whom I personally recruited as columnists for The Stream, Raymond Ibrahim and Timothy Furnish. If you aren’t reading them regularly you’re missing out, and if you skipped their recent columns here on the Bin Laden Tik Tok cult (goofball Westerners “discovering” the wisdom of Bin Laden’s anti-American rants), you won’t understand it. Period.

No, Muslims Don’t Hate Us Because of Israel

I wish to second what each of them said about the world-dominating, totalitarian character of Islam itself — not “radical” or “fundamentalist” or “political” Islam. The religion in itself, correctly interpreted by its own scholars and leaders over the centuries and practiced almost everywhere — with a few brief, apostate exceptions. Orthodox Muslims do indeed feel called to subjugate every “rebel” against “Allah” on the whole of planet earth to either faithful practice of Islam, or dismal third-class Jim Crow apartheid subjugation as a begrudgingly tolerated serf. Every able-bodied Muslim male is obligated to engage somehow in jihad, whose first and primary meaning is military.

If you don’t believe this, you need to go read a book — preferably one by Raymond Ibrahim or Timothy Furnish.

Each of these Stream scholars does a brilliant job of unpacking a) how Bin Laden is lying and b) why campus leftists (and other youthful ignoramuses) buy his dishonest narrative, which blames Islamic hatred of … well, everything else on the planet except itself … on U.S. foreign policy. That’s like attributing Christians’ love for Jesus to … Coca-Cola’s Santa Claus ads. No, you don’t explain away fundamental characteristics of a world religion by reference to fleeting, passing trends.

How We Got Obama

I want to explain something else, and to do it I’ll need to ruffle some Republican feathers, especially among the GOP’s pro-establishment, pro-fraud, and pro-war constituencies. I’ll start by posing a few other questions, to trouble us alongside the riddle of why libertine Westerners are sounding like Bin Laden fanboys and camgirls:

  • Why did the Democrats nominate and Americans elect —with only token resistance from a surrender-happy John McCain — a man who for decades attended a Marxist revolutionary cell disguised as a church? A candidate who hired to co-write his memoir an unrepentant Marxist terrorist, Bill Ayers?
  • Why are leading Republicans obsessed with guarding Ukraine’s and Taiwan’s borders, but opposed to securing our own?
  • Why did American Christians yawn and shrug at the genocide of Christians that took place in Iraq while George W. Bush was president and our troops controlled the country — making our government criminally negligent in this war crime?
  • Why did the Republicans nominate and Americans elect — in the teeth of Deep State resistance — a presidential candidate who renounced 25 years of GOP foreign policy, and even revived an actual “isolationist” slogan (“America First”) not used since Dec. 8, 1941 (the day the America First Committee disbanded)?

The answer to all of these questions, and the Bin Laden popularity surge question too, is the same. Each of these weird phenomena happened either under the influence of, or in violent reaction against, the same exact thing. One monstrous piece of wickedness, of idolatry and folly and grotesque, Luciferian hubris caused it all.

Another False Religion of Domination and Conquest: Neoconservatism

Alongside intolerant, imperialistic Islam there was another ideology that wanted to conquer the world, to impose its core beliefs on every human being, who must either brainwash himself to believe it, or at least bow and cringe before it — as a begrudgingly tolerated serf.

If you think I mean Soviet Communism, think again. I mean, yes, that evil worldview checked all those boxes, but it’s not the villain here. Instead, I’m talking about an ideology that was crafted in the U.S. as a rival to global Communism, a new religion for export that sought to conquer or dominate every square inch of the planet.

I mean the worldview of pseudo-American triumphalist rah-rah labeled Neoconservatism. It took over the GOP around 1992, and reached its insane apotheosis in our invasion of Iraq. Neoconservatives in power proved every bit as intolerant of genuine religious, patriotic conservatives as any Marxist administrator on campus, or DEI consultant purging the ranks of a large corporation.

At the apex of their influence, high on the fumes of America’s win in the Cold War, neoconservatives urged the U.S. to conquer most of the Middle East, and forcibly transform a billion Muslims in our image. We would also dominate a prostrate Russia, and make sure of that by keeping a now-useless NATO heavily armed, and pushing its nuclear tripwire right up to Russia’s borders.

A Legacy of Lies, War, and National Bankruptcy

The neocons lied us into the Iraq War, which we waged with less care for civilian lives than Putin has shown in Russia, or Netanyahu has shown in Gaza. At least 600,000 civilians died in a war fought over mythical “weapons of mass destruction,” to avenge the 9/11 attack in which Iraq had played no part whatsoever. 

The same neocons tried to goad us into a war with Syria, on behalf of “moderate rebels” (per John McCain) who turned out to be … affiliated with al Qaeda, and dedicated to persecuting another 1 million Christians.

The neocons backed our insane intervention in Libya, which toppled a stable regime and produced both a civil war and the resumption of the black slave trade. And now they back the bloody quagmire in Ukraine.

And through it all, the neocons lied about something much more fundamental. They claimed that “real Islam” is a “religion of peace.” Pay no attention to little things like the text of the Quran, 1200 years of jihad, and the teachings of every important Islamic authority on earth today.

America the Abstraction

For a more in-depth analysis of Neoconservatism as both a false religion and a mutant form of the Marxism it claimed to counter, I urge you to go brew some coffee. Then sit down for 30 minutes and read what I wrote all the way back in January 2003, warning against all the disasters that the neoconservatives were promising to bring down on our heads. That essay, “America the Abstraction,” represents one more time when I hated being right.

The Bin Laden Tik Tok cult is in part an ongoing retch, a visceral expulsion, of the nonsense and madness that the GOP peddled wholesale for 20-plus years. It’s as if to expel the poison of one false religion, these addled Americans are grabbing for another. The cult of Barack Obama was only possible as a violent reaction against the Neoconservative god that failed. That reaction gave us same-sex “marriage,” transgender madness, the weaponized Deep State and most of our other current evils.

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The bulk of conservatives and other sane people in America have renounced the neocon madness, whose last dead-end representatives mostly survive at fading publications like National Review, and among some of the contenders in the GOP primaries for the non-Trump slot in the 2024 presidential race.

When we say “America First” it’s not because we’re selfish and don’t care about people elsewhere. It’s because we’re humble, realize that we’re a country not a religion, and know that we must get our own crumbling house in order, before it falls in on our heads. We must pluck out the beam from our own eye first.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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