THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 558, February 21, 2010
"Voluntary servitude has consequences."
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise
Maybe once a week, maybe oftener, I receive material of some kindpublished articles, recorded speeches, or simply messages from my friends and other concerned individualswarning me that Western Civilization is about to be overwhelmed by a middle-eastern wave of destruction.
The latest contribution was a transcript of a speech delivered in 2008 by a Dutch politician named Geert Wilders to something called the Hudson Institute, an organization I urge my readers to look up, say, in Wikipedia. Quite frankly, examining the list of their founders and funders, I'd far rather be overrun by radical "Islamofascists" than by them.
Read Wilders' speech here:
[Repinted in today's letters to the editor at Letter 13Editor]
Read about the Hudson Institute here.
Wilders' speech is short, full of stories about various European governments allowing themselves to be bullied by Muslim immigrants into a range of absurdities from not mentioning farming in public schools (because farms have pigsoffensive to the newcomers) to handing whole neighborhoods over to their control, to officially recognizing sharia religious laws which were never voted on by anybody.
He then launches into a bigoted diatribe in which he claims that Islam isn't a genuine religion at all (the same way that Clarence Thomas wasn't a genuine black person, and Sarah Palin isn't a genuine woman) because it brings with it a comprehensive worldview including its own politics and social mores. Apparently he's never heard of Catholicism.
I'm not here to defend Islam (or Catholicism, for that matter). As my readers know, I'm a lifelong atheist who regards all religions as equally ridiculous, equally destructive to the things that make us human.
Not being involved in a religion of my own, I think, allows me to see a few truths that others may have more difficulty seeing. One of them is that Islam is a relatively young religion, as these things go, a natural breeding ground for zealots (as what religion hasn't been, at one time or another in its history) and therefore given to certain excesses.
In the day, Christianity had its brutal Spanish Inquisition, its massacre of 20,000 Albigensians in a single day (Does "Kill them all, the Lord will know his own!" ring a bell?), and its despicable bookburnings from Florence to Tenochtitlan. In time, Christianity grew up, at least to a degree. Islam simply hasn't had that kind of time yet.
Of course there are fanatics on both sides who will disagree with me. They represent one of the greatest evils of collectivism, an inability (or a malignant unwillingness) to perceive individualsand individual differencesamong the masses that one wishes to tar with the same brush. A denial that for every Khomeini there have to be a hundred Mullah Nasrudins, and for every Osama, a thousand Omar Khayyams.
Nobody in the Judaeo-Christian west pays attention to anyone in the Muslim east but their Savonarolas, their Cotton Mathers, their Pat Robertsons.
We've been here many times before. In one era, it was immigrants from China, known in the tabloids as the "Yellow Peril". In anothertwice, in factit was the "Red Menace", mostly eastern Europeans. At one point it was Italians, with their trench coats, slouch hats, and long knives. At another, it was the Irish, shiftless and lazy. In late 20th century California, it was Vietnamese street gangs. And there are the ever-popular Mexicans and others from south of the border. In the 19th century it was Catholics when it wasn't being Freemasons.
This is not to say that there aren't Muslimsthe militants among themwho hate what they call "the Great Satan" and wish to see it utterly destroyed. They have good reason. The individualistic, satisfaction-centered lifestyle we've slowly and painfully constructed over the past thousand years is so immensely attractive that it constitutes a deadly threat to those who wish to control the lives of others.
They're not the only ones who feel that way. Western Civilization has enemies everywhere on the planet that fanatical collectivists of any stripecommunists, fascists, environmentalist Gaia worshippersfear its power to distract the victims they would otherwise round up and herd toward whatever cliff they want their followers to jump over.
Am I saying that George Bush was right after all, that the attacks on September 11, 2001 happened because "they hate our freedom"? Not if you're talking about the vast majority of people in the middle east who, left to themselves, rather like Americans and wish we could be friends.
No, the saddest, stupidest part of all this is that the military, political, and religious bullies of the area would never have been anything but a minor nuisance if western governmentsparticularly that of the United Stateshadn't given them all the popular support they could wish for, and fuelled their aspirations for at least the past century with mercantilist looting, political interference, and most recently, the needless murders of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Not to mention a pair of wars waged for the very lowest of motives.
When I was in junior high, I had my first acquaintance with racist neofascism, in the form of some crude pamphlets somebody brought to school. What struck me even at that age was the odd (and pathetic) view that, although white people were meant by God (or somebody) to rule the world, their mighty whiteness could be spoiled by the merest drop of non-white blood. A pretty damned fragile kind of supremacy, I thought.
You still see the same thing now, but it's about culture. Those who oppose immigration, legal, illegal, or both, frequently voice a fear that our American culturewhich has swept the planet and is the very thing other people still like us formight be diluted and lost if we let in just one too many people of the wrong shade or accent.
This, of course, is utter nonsense.
Everybody wonders about the meaning of the passage on a dollar bill, "Novus Ordo Seclorum", sometimes translated as, "A New Secular Order". If it means what I think it doesopinions varyI'm for it. The secularization of American society means each of us is free to believe whatever he or she wishes, and that religious differences among us need not interfere with our everyday social and economic transactions.
This simple idea quickly generated the wealthiest, most powerful civilization in the history of mankind, and it will go on preserving that civilization through whatever future tribulations it's fated to experience, just as long as we continue to respect it and to rely on it.
The jihadists are a tiny minority at home, not as popular as most westerners believe. Iran got stuck with the Ayatollahs the same way we got stuck with Obamahatred and disgust for the previous regime. Now, people are getting tired of them. In Europe, they are to Muslim immigrants what the Black hand was to Italians, thugs who would have faded from history if Congress hadn't handed them Prohibition as a gift.
We must not make that mistake a second time. Abroad, we can take the wind out the jihadists' sails simply by compelling our government to leave everybody over there the hell alone. Trust trade and TV eventually to heal the breach. People in the middle east will force changes on their own governments exactly as the Russians did on theirs.
Everybody loves jeans and rock'n'roll
Here, we must abolish political correctness, once and for all. The world was betterand saferwhen we were free to point at one another's differences and laugh. I'm an Irishman who thought he was a Polack.
You can start with me.
As my friend and colleague Albert Perez points out elsewhere in this issue, America is not Europe, and Americans are not Europeans. We told a king to go to hell and made it stick. We've been pushed around long enough, by a government gone insane, but we're beginning to push back.
When you read Geert Wilders' speech, consider how many of the incidents he speaks of would never have happened in any part of the United States where individuals assume responsibility for their own physical safety. We may still suffer a bit of thuggery here and thereAcorn, Barack Obama's Praetorians, for examplebut it loses most of its effect where, instead of dialling 911, people can reach for a 1911A1.
That's one compelling reason why, above all, as Americans and as human beings, we must see to it that the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the highest law of the land, commonly known as the Bill of Rights, is enforced energetically and stringently, as the Founding Fathers intended. To any extent that our freedom of conscience is not fully protected by the First Amendment, it will be protected by the Second.