Fat Steve's Blatherings

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Civil Rights Sanctimony


      Several newspapers have articles about Radical Islamofascist preachers, the general celebration of violence in Islam, its popularity among Muslim youth, and liberal dishonesty about violence (Hat tips: Glenn 'Instapundit' Reynolds, Tim Blair, and Betsy Nemark).  Daniel Pipes has some cogent thoughts on Britain as a haven for terrorism,   But none of them get to the roots of the situation: we have interpreted "freedom of speech" and "freedom of religion" to mean 'toleration, even celebration, of the advocacy of terrorism' (although the Times of London has an article that brushes up against the issue).  We may need to change that.

At Length:

      There's a lot of historical misinformation about freedom of speech and freedom of religion in the United States.  For those who didn't learn the truth in school, the fact is that most the original colonies had restrictions on both freedom of speech and religion, and they were continued when the colonies became states.  Official support for churches was gradually voted out democratically, but some 'entanglement' of freedom of religion remained till the sixites, as well as restrictions on freedom of speech and the press.

      But during the late nineteenth century, an ideology of total lack of restraints arose, and during the 1960s the Supremes forced them on the country.  We were to have no censorship of any speech or print whatsoever, except for a vastly weakened libel law, and a few prohibitions of public obscenity, the use of 'fighting words,' and publication of troop movements.  If you want to stir up hate, and proclaim that certain people should suffer mass murder, you can.  And the United States was not alone in this: the entire 'First World' pretty much followed.

      We saw some of the results of that last week, with fifty or more deaths in London.  The newspaper articles I linked tell of the explicit advocacy of violence by various Islamofascists.  Why do we allow such people to preach hatred, and urge murder?

      The redoubtable Mark Steyn makes a utilitarian case for having almost no limitations on free speech: allowing swine to speak in public encourages them to do so, thereby enabling us to identify and condemn them.  There is certainly much to be said for this idea, if the requisite condemnation is made.  Alas, that's seldom the case anymore.  When Newsweek blew the 'Koran desecration at Guantanamo' story, and eighteen or so people died in riots, a White House spokesman called for more responsible reporting.  The press thought it was outrageous that the government should 'tell them what to report.'  We don't really see much scrutiny of Islamic 'radicalism,' and the people who do attempt it become 'controversial,' (see Daniel Pipes's website for numerous examples).

      I own a book originally published during World War II, entitled Get Tough!  It's content is instructions for hand-to-hand combat, with no holds barred and no blows illegal. It's philosophy is that you don't fight a war with Marquis of Queensbury rules.  We need to adopt an attitude pretty much like that towards Islamofascism.

      At the very least, we need to treat "Islamic Radicalism" the way we once treated the Communist Party, U.S.A., or the Ku Klux Klan  That is, Islamic institutions should be infiltrated and spied upon, with those committing illegal acts arrested and imprisoned.  And we should strongly consider outlawing the advocacy of terrorism by religion.

      The usual first reaction to that last idea is hysteria: any restriction on "freedom of religion" will result in a state church burning heretics at the stake.  Bosh.  The second reaction is dishonesty: communications have no effect on behavior, but it's vitally important to allow them anyway.  A variation on the second argument is the libertarian idiocy that you are completely responsible for your own actions, and no one else has any real affect on them.  That simply isn't true.  The fourth reaction is the "government can never be trusted" line.  Neither can religous fanatics who believe that God authorizes them to murder.  (Someone once remarked that of libertarian anarchist Murray Rothbard that if the Communists took over the U.S., he'd be arrested and sent to a death camp -- and in the truck that was taking him there, he'd dance for joy at the destruction of the U.S. state he hated so much; I'm sure, if he stilled lived, he'd be making excuses for the London murders.)  Finally, there's the dishonest multi-culturalism that says judging other people or ideas to be evil or inferior is wrong.  The doctrine is self-contradictory, and thus incapble of being practiced.

      When you get past all this nonsense, what's left is pragmatic judgments on how much power the government should be granted, and what it should be directed against.  It's past time we thought about that honestly.

      More importantly, we need to defend western civilization morally.  We have a right to live as we choose, and those who don't like it should leave.  They have no right to murder us to impose their grotesque religion and ideology.  Islam's centuries of oppression, poverty, despotism and stagnation show it to be inferior to Christianity and Christendom.  We of the superior culture have no obligation to allow them to pretend our inferiors are really our equals.  We do have an obligation to defend our lives, our property, and our civilization.



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