Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Overdue Discussion . . . Part II

As I said in my introduction to Part I (below):

I have great admiration for Charles Krauthammer, and I give his reflections on Europe's cultural predicament much weight. He has said more or less the obvious about the apparent extreme position that Greet Wilders has taken with respect to the likely Islamicization of Europe. Writes Kauthammer:
What he says is extreme, radical, and wrong. He basically is arguing that Islam is the same as Islamism. Islamism is an ideology of a small minority which holds that the essence of Islam is jihad, conquest, forcing people into accepting a certain very narrow interpretation [of Islam].
Robert Spencer, whose expertise in the area of Islam cannot be questioned, has argued on the contrary not only that the relative size of "moderate" and "radical" Islam is not as comforting as some think it is, but that the distinction between the two is largely a Western distinction which has little relevance in the Islamic world, and that our attachment to the distinction has obscured the true scope and meaning of the rising tide of Islamic supremacy.

Evidence of this can be found even in -- of all places -- the New York Times. See the story headlined: U.S. Sees a Terror Threat; Pakistanis See a Heroine.

Be that as it may, ideas have consequences. For a generation the patently absurd myopia of multiculturalism provided the moral cover for cultural irresponsibility and adolescent moral posturing on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere. The result in some places in Europe (and a few in our society) has been a crisis of governance that has now reached a point at which correctives that might have sufficed to rectify the situation several years ago are far less likely to avoid the violence that every responsible person seeks to avoid.

A mere five years ago, Wilders' "extreme" proposal would have been -- and was -- widely regarded as borderline lunacy. Five years on, and in light of rapid developments in many parts of Europe, it begins to look less extreme to many. Five years from now, those troubled by what Wilders has to say today may find his message convincing, if not prophetic. This trajectory of opinion itself has serious consequences for Europe as it begins to look for alternatives to the civil war which will almost surely break out if things are allowed to drift rudderlessly as they have in the last few years.

I find some of Wilders' proposals as troubling as the next person, but one needn't agree with his proposals to agree with his assessment of the historical and cultural situation. It is that assessment which warrants, in my view, our attention to the video below.

Here's Part II:

Harsh words these, but words Wilders has paid a high price for daring to speak. Whether one agrees with his proposals for dealing with the crisis of Europe, it is hard to question his courage and his sense of historical and cultural responsibility. Wilders has located the heart of the crisis. It is not simply Islamic immigration; it is European flecklessness; Europe's failure to believe enough in its own culture to ask newcomers wanting to enjoy its fruits to assimilate to its traditions and laws.

My friends will surely have a lot to say on this, and I welcome the conversation; it's long overdue.

1 comment:

ignatius said...

After seeing Part II, I find more problems with Wilders' proposals.

First, to stop immigration from Moslem countries would be a big problem for Christians living in those countries. The main example is Egypt. A lot of Copts have come to Austria and made new lives here because the persecution in Egypt has made living there increasingly difficult and dangerous.

Second, calling Islam a totalitarian ideology and not a religion is simply false. When serious, fervent Moslems pray to God, also freely spoken prayers, also when they fast and conduct their so-called "inner jihads" for self-betterment, and make their pilgrimages to Mecca, they are practicing a religion.

I'm not denying that there is an imperialistic totalitarianism in Islam, but that's not all it is. I wish things were that simple, but they aren't.

Third, I don't see how one can demand of Muslims that they live without sharia if they want to stay in the west. If you fast for Ramadan, you're following a part of sharia. If you pray five times a day, you follow sharia. If a Moslem takes the religion seriously, he should do these things. This demand of Wilders has to be reformulated or modified.

Fourth the claim that Moslems come to Europe to colonize it and bring it into dar-al-islam is not true in all cases, and probably not even in most cases. I'm sure most Moslems come to Europe because they are seeking better lives for themselves and their children.

There's a lot more to say, but I'll stop here.