The Official Blog Of Edward Cline

Month: February 2006

Kipling’s Remonstrance: ‘An Imperial Rescript’

Rudyard Kipling’s verse is little known today. The wisdom one can find in it would not fit into the modern pedagogical philosophy of unreason, political correctness, and conformity. After all, he was an unapologetic champion of the West, of the second British Empire, in particular, an unabashed but not uncritical “cultural imperialist.” Most students — indeed, most writers and thinkers today — are ignorant of Kipling, if not hostile to him. He died in January, 1936, when the world he had known had changed for the worse, and was marching toward war and collectivism and horrors unimaginable to him in the 19th century.

But, as early as 1890, at the age of 25, in “An Imperial Rescript,” he took a marvelously adept poetic swipe at consensual collectivism, which, before he could imagine it ever happening in his lifetime, would impoverish his own country and many more nations in the next century. The opus begins:

Now this is the tale of the Council the German Kaiser decreed,
To ease the strong of their burden, to help the weak in their need.
He sent word to the peoples, who struggle, and pant, and sweat,
That the straw might be counted fairly and the tally of bricks be set.

In short, representatives of all the productive men from around the globe — the “Lords of Their Hands” — were summoned to wait upon the Kaiser’s Council and hear a master plan for eliminating exploitation, injustice, unregulated commerce and labor, and other alleged social ills throughout the world. It is implied in the second stanza that men were crying out against those ills, and that the Kaiser heard their complaints.

The third stanza goes:

And the young King said — “I have found it, the road to the rest ye seek:
“The strong shall wait for the weary, the hale shall halt for the weak:
“With the even tramp of an army where no man breaks from the line,
“Ye shall march to peace and plenty in the bond of brotherhood — sign!”

But, the productive men pause before they sign the document that would fetter each man to the next. Just as they are about to indenture themselves to mutual servitude, someone laughs. Not Howard Roark. Not John Galt. In 1890, it was too early for that particular literary “No!” to be flung out at the world.

A hand was stretched to the goose-quill, a fist was cramped to scrawl,
When — the laugh of a blue-eyed maiden ran clear through the Council-hall.

What did this maiden represent? Was she laughing at the foolishness of what the men were submitting to? Why did the productive men pause?

And the Spirit of Man that is in Him to the light of the vision woke;
And the men drew back from the paper, as the Yankee delegate spoke: —

Each man has second thoughts about what he is about to agree to. Kipling allows an American the first objection:

“There’s a girl in Jersey City who works on the telephone;
“We’re going to hitch our horses and dig for a house of our own,
“With gas and water connections, and steam heat through to the top;
“And. W. Hohenzollern, I guess I shall work till I drop.”

Then a Briton proudly reiterates the ownership of one’s life and purpose:

And an English delegate thundered: — “The weak an’ the lame be blowed!
“I’ve a berth in the Sou’-West workshops, a home in the Wandsworth Road;
“And till the ‘sociation has footed my buryin’ bill,
“I work for the kids an’ the missus. Pull up! I’ll be damned if I will!”

By the ninth stanza, the Kaiser’s Council goes into consultation about what to do about this revolt of the men they only want to help by relieving them of the “burden” of freedom. Here Kipling permits himself a kind of humor possible only to a man who takes ideas seriously. The Council passes a resolution:

“But till we are built like angels — with hammer and chisel and pen,
“We will work for ourselves and a woman, for ever and ever, amen.”

Modern “free verse” is replete with random concretes connected to no abstractions, not even esthetic ones. Kipling’s poem here contains many concretes that express a pair of metaphysical and political abstractions: individualism and collectivism.

Kipling was on to something: A glimmer of mutual slavery, of true democracy, of chain gangs, and unions — of the nature and consequences of collectivism. And he offered an antidote to it: a reminder to men of the purpose of life. The laughing maiden represents, as far as one can tell, the joy of life. The benevolent rays of the early sunset of reason in his time permitted him to champion independence and individualism. His productive men remember why they work and live, and refuse to become slaves or to enslave each other.

What an overture! What wisdom! And what a literary ancestor of Ayn Rand was Rudyard Kipling! She was our own laughing maiden, who reminded us all!

Notes:

  1. Rescript — a sovereign’s or government edict or announcement.
  2. Hohenzollern — a German dynasty that ruled from 1192 to 1918.
  3. ‘sociation — An association, or voluntary, private mutual aid or welfare organization, to which workers paid a small subscription, and which acted much like an insurance company.

A Strategy of Sacrifice, a Reply of Scorn

“The irony of fate,” states one literary reference work, means “a strange fatality which has brought about something quite the reverse of what might have been expected.” Or might have been intended. Irony in politics is uniquely and intimately linked to the law of unintended consequences. The term irony itself is rooted in the Greek eiron, or “a dissembler,” or liar.

Altruism, or the moral code of sacrifice and living for others, has produced a larger number of ironies or unintended consequences than any other species of good intention. Its ironies cannot be fathomed except by reason coupled with a questioning of its morality. They become evident only after honest and extended questioning of altruism’s practicality. The irony of altruist policies leaves some of their practitioners and observers baffled and ultimately discouraged. Others learn nothing from the failure of altruism; they just try harder to make it work.

Let us cite a few of the most recent and notable ironies.

The democratic election by Palestinians of HAMAS, a terrorist gang dedicated to the violent destruction of Israel, is an irony of the first rank. The election results received the blessing of our own Pope of Humility and Sacrifice, ex-president Jimmy Carter. However, even if it could be proved that the election was rigged in HAMAS’s favor, it would not make a difference. American and European observers had hoped, in fact, had intended, that one of two things would emerge from those elections: a mellowed HAMAS that yearned for “peace” and was committed to negotiating with Israel; or, a slate of “moderate” Palestinians who wouldn’t be as terrifying as the Koran-sanctioned, ski-masked gunmen behind them. After all, if they wear three-piece suits and pass a frisk for weapons before entering negotiations, then they must be civilized and open to a peacekeeping deal.

Or so our pragmatic policymakers believe. The White House has sworn never to deal with HAMAS, but pledged to continue “humanitarian” aid to the Palestinian government for schools, medical services, and food, even though little of it in the past has ever been used for those purposes. Our State Department and intelligence services know this. But altruism trumps reality and truth every time. HAMAS is synonymous with homicide. “Democracy” was supposed to work like alchemy and render the homicidal benign. HAMAS burst that illusion immediately upon being elected to power.

Competing for first rank in terms of bringing democracy to tribalist barbarians is the election of a nascent theocracy in Iraq itself. President Bush intended that Iraqis discover the blessings of liberty, and thousands of Americans have paid the price for his good intentions. The horrible truth is that he has accepted the verdict that it is a theocracy most Iraqis have chosen to govern them.

The U.S. military, particularly the Navy, has been sent by the White House to help victims of recent natural catastrophes: the tsunami, the Pakistani earthquake, and the Philippine mudslide. This meant the expenditure of manpower, time, and billions in aid matériel in repeated bids for goodwill. However, such “humanitarian” generosity is not purchasing the U.S. the love of either the stricken populations or their governments, as is intended. To earn their love, the U.S. must show evidence of pain. The U.S. to date has shown no pain in giving. The generosity earns us no merit or credit. How Kantian! Those ragged-looking mobs on our TV screens, accepting our bottled water, blankets, and bags of grain one day, will the next demonstrate against us with curses and flag-burnings. This suggests that they are wiser to the irony of altruism than is George Bush or Tony Blair.

It is another kind of fatal irony that while Third World countries (remember that derogatory but apt term?), including all Arab countries, are exercising their “self-determination,” the nations of Europe are surrendering their own to the super bureaucracy of the European Union. What began long ago as the “Common Market,” ostensively dedicated to lowering or eliminating protectionist trade barriers for the sake of increasing every nation’s prosperity and well-being, has morphed into a bizarre, wealth and sovereignty consuming alliance of the inept against the able and the still prosperous. Particular animosity is reserved for Britain, which has one foot inside the Union and one out of it.

Now a new surrender of sovereignty is in the making: obeisance to the sensitivities of Muslims residing in Europe. Franco Frattini, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, remarked in response to the anger against the Danish cartoons, that Europe “was aware of the consequences of exercising the right of free expression.” Which is as much as saying: We are willing to gag our press in exchange for your not burning more cars, killing cartoonists, or going on a rampage.

But, there is hope for Europe yet. The French shot down the lumbering, politically correct EU constitution, probably to the relief of most Europeans. What would sentence the bureaucracy in Brussels to sure death would be an act of secession by one or two of the more prosperous members of the Union. This welcome development may occur. But those countries must first reject altruism and its partner in politics, collectivism. They must first learn that individualism and free speech cannot coexist with their antipodes within or without their borders.

Daniel Pipes, one of the most intransigent and prodigious sources of information about Islam, terrorism and the jihadist agenda, and whose knowledge of the creed and its blood-thirsty players is encyclopedic, denies that the “cartoon” war is “clash of civilizations” or a “war of cultures.” Ironically, he claims that Arabs should realize that “disengagement” from the West in the form of boycotts against Danish or Scandinavian products will only cause the Arabs to suffer and experience further alienation from the West and its values, which could be said to ensure happiness on earth for the living.

The irony here is that most Arabs — of “the street,” of the diplomatic, of jihadist suasion — place happiness on earth last in the list of their means and goals. Muslims are forbidden to make moral judgments of their creed. Period. Their acceptance of the whole cloth of the Koran and Hadith — Shi’ite, Sunni, it little matters the sectarian version of the creed — must be total and without reservation. Most of them are willing to sacrifice lives, wealth, and liberty to achieve Islamic hegemony on earth, or at least see the more activist among them achieve it in their name with beheadings, IEDs, suicide bombings, and fatwahs on Western cartoonists. They never grow tired of the U.S. saying it is sorry, and derive obvious, unspeakable pleasure in seeing a giant grovel, stumble and stammer.

We must thank Western news services for rushing to show us just how angry the “Arab street” is and how joyful it can be when the West offends it or suffers a setback. All those televised forays into Cairo coffee houses, alongside Iraqi funerals, and in the midst of gunfire-punctuated Palestinian demonstrations to solicit and broadcast the average Arab’s opinion of the U.S. are intended to drive home to Western viewers lessons in moral equivalence.

Actually, they work to achieve just the opposite: a contempt for maliciously medieval minds, regardless of whether their owners wear traditional garb or Nike baseball caps. The average American must ask himself, when he sees Arab men and boys beating themselves on their heads with swords, or dying by the hundreds in stampedes to throw pebbles at a rock: Is this what we’re sending our troops to protect? For whose country or what values are our troops dying and being maimed for life? This is what we’re supposed to respect? Why aren’t we doing something about Iran, and Syria, and Saudi Arabia? Aren’t they our real enemies? What are we waiting for? Another 9/11?

Americans do not realize that President Bush and his ilk are waiting for tolerance and altruism to work their “magic.”

The multiculturalist philosophy that denies the West any degree of superiority over demonstrably inferior cultures is not advancing the gospel of “equality” in the pestholes of the world, which include Iraq and Afghanistan. One may include Pakistan and any other nation with a Muslim majority. Quite the opposite. It has given those pestholes, each ruled by a tripartite philosophy of mysticism, stagnation and corruption, leave to declare war on the West.

Of course, the latest irony is President Bush’s stubborn, reason-defying defence of a plan to hand over management of American ports to an Arab firm based in Dubai. Would FDR have proposed handing over management of American ports to a German firm during World War II, because it was more “efficient”? Don’t worry about it, say the press secretary and the news anchors. Look at Dubai’s skyline, it’s so modern! They’re even planning on building the world’s tallest skyscraper here. And the U.S. Navy calls on Dubai hundreds of times. But, one wonders how much all that is costing the U.S. taxpayer in oil prices and expenditures to maintain our military in a war the White House refuses to prosecute.

However, if we can’t trust the Pakistani intelligence and military to hunt down the Taliban and bin Laden, or the Iraqi government not to turn against its sponsor, the U.S., why should we trust the interlocking Arab connections that would profit from Bush’s folly to not let Al Quada or the Muslim Brotherhood or President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran to sneak a WMD into the U.S.?

Didn’t Dubai only last week agree, at the behest of Adolf Ahmadinejad, to stop anti-Iranian broadcasts? With allies in the “war on terror” like Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan — whose president planted a Judas kiss on Bush by demanding that the Mohammed cartoons cease — who needs enemies?

Altruism delivers a Judas kiss every time it is embraced in foreign policy. All we need do is turn the other cheek to receive it. It has been the premier liar and traitor of Western history. Sometimes the unintended consequences are immediate; at other times, long in fruition. We are witnessing a soufflé of both. But its practitioners have never been the ones to pay the price. When men begin to tire of being lied to and betrayed and sacrificed in the name of an unearthly ideal, when reason rules men’s means, ends and values, that will be the end of altruist irony.

A Leaden Silence on the Islamic Threat to Free Speech

An ominous silence has followed the initial uproar over the Danish cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The silence is deafening, emanating from two quarters that properly should be the most concerned: the news media and the government. They are either oblivious or indifferent to the crucial issue of the inviolability of the First Amendment.

Instead, they are obsessed with issues far removed from the question of whether or not anyone has the right to mock an idea or an icon or simply express thoughtful criticism of it. New Orleans and the Katrina victims, Vice President Cheney’s hunting accident, videos of state policemen hit by passing cars while writing speeding tickets, obese children, and truth in multi-grain cereal labels, comprise just a fraction of the myopic fare offered on primetime news. So many deserving scrub pines obscure the redwoods in the distance.

The continuing destructive and deadly riots against the cartoons in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other locales now only merit incidental reportage, if any at all. Our politicians as well have tiptoed around the cartoon subject with a pusillanimity hard to credit them. They are otherwise so voluble about everything else, such as the necessity of smoking bans, gun control, reducing high cholesterol, punishing oil companies for their profits, and simpler Medicare prescription drug guidelines.

One should not blame semi-clueless, photogenic news anchors too much; they are just highly paid teleprompter readers posing as reporters cum entertainers. They read whatever their highly paid, politically correct house news writers churn out on orders from their editors. Who are they to initiate a probe into the speech restrictions of the Campaign Finance Law?

One can, however, charge a heavier responsibility to our politicians. Every one of them is sworn to uphold the Constitution, but not one has dared say much about the Danish cartoonists and how their predicament and jeopardy might just as easily be imported to the U.S. and experienced by American cartoonists. A veritable “clash of civilizations” is underway. Not one governor, senator, or representative has shown the least inclination to enter the fray on behalf of his electorate or constituents, or even demonstrated awareness of the clash.

One might be tempted to think they are exercising discretion as the better part of valor; after all, they could very well be targeted for Islamic violence or at least a noisy demonstration by Muslims if they publicly took the side of free speech and never minded anyone’s offended feelings. But that temptation would be brief, given the venal and pragmatic character of most politicians. Their philosophy of serving and protecting productive Americans is to manage and regulate their lives for their own good, in exchange for handsome salaries, generous medical benefits, bountiful retirement plans, and innumerable perquisites. All paid for by fettered and yoked tax cows.

The realm of ideas and rights seems too frightening for most politicians to venture into. They fear it for one of two reasons: they might discover principles which they might otherwise feel compelled to champion, but would not want to for various reasons ranging from party loyalty to careerist inconvenience; or because they might anticipate the shame of ignorance and a sense of inferiority that can only be assuaged by a pragmatic disdain projecting a sense of superiority. As one Oxford don, a professor of logic, remarked: “Philosophy teaches you how to detect bad arguments, so it is no surprise when politicians are not keen for it to be studied.” Nor keen to study it, either.

Silence is golden, goes the proverb. Golden, perhaps, for a spell of contemplation and cogitation. Silence can be leaden, too, signaling a baleful ignorance or a pernicious turpitude when the times demand the knowledge, courage and character of our Founders. Listen carefully; you might in time hear the dull thud of the First Amendment as it falls behind a diverting forest of the pedestrian and mundane, unheralded by our pseudo-Solons and unnoticed by the news media.

Islam makes ‘Freedom of Speech’ the new Ground Zero

A reader who read “The Myth of the ‘Moderate’ Muslim,” and agreed with most of my main points in it, remarked: “I still can’t bring myself to close the door on Islamic reformation, as you apparently have.”

I’ve closed the door on such a reformation, unless, as I state in my “Moderate Muslim” article, someone steps forward to eviscerate the creed. Now, as far as the “taming” of Christianity is concerned, one should keep in mind the Old Testament and the New. The Old is as bloody-minded as the Koran is now; the New, dominated by Christ, the code of self-sacrifice, indiscriminate forgiveness, and so on. There is no such division in the Koran, and won’t be, until and unless someone creates one, lifting out and rendering “benign” the least belligerent elements of the existing Koran to create a “New Koran,” one that is as “passive” and un-in-your-face as the New Testament is, as an alternative to the “Old Koran.”

However, it beggars the imagination how anyone could ever give Mohammed, the central figure and chief prophet of Islam, a moral “make-over” that approximated Christ’s persona as a humble, kindly, passive savior and preacher of neighborly love. Mohammed is the Attila of Allah, all fire and sword. It would be as absurd to attempt such a transformation as to attempt to recast Hitler as an exemplar of St. Francis of Assisi. The instances of Mohammed’s examples of “tolerance” and “peaceful coexistence” are practically nil.

That is the only way Islam can be salvaged and “tamed.” However, as I remark in my article, it would no longer be “Islam,” but instead an insipid, watered-down shadow of its former self. It is unlikely to happen any time soon. The man who would propose it probably would invite a fatwah and the attentions of the Islamic religious police.

Islam now is both a theocratic system and a political goal. Its proponents refuse to separate the two agendas; in fact, cannot separate them without committing apostasy. The religion and the politics are one and the same. This explains their push to have Sharia law “coexist” with secular law in Western countries. If Western judges and legal philosophers concede that Sharia is just as legitimate a legal system as the secular, we are doomed.

Imagine the disaster if agents of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, managed to sneak a nuclear device into midtown Manhattan and explode it. That would be the physical destruction of the city and its inhabitants. Now imagine the disaster if loyalty to value-negating multiculturalism permitted our courts and the legal profession to proclaim that Sharia law must be “respected” and granted supreme authority over all American Muslims. That would be a philosophical disaster and a greater mortal blow.

Sharia law is a primitive, anti-conceptual, concrete-bound religious system of Islamic jurisprudence, weighted heavily in favor of the Muslim male. What is permitted by it? Murder, rape, assault, mutilation, blood feuds, looting, and slavery — all crimes that can be allowed or mitigated by Muslim judges, mystical “experts” who rely in their adjudication on the Koran, the Sunna from the Hadith, the ijima, and other murky sources and authorities. Virtually everything that Western law treats as a crime against individuals is not a crime in Islamic law. Westerners who do not believe in Sharia law, or more likely have never even head of it, have been judged and executed by both Muslim judges (the “witch doctors”) and their counterparts, the terrorists (the “Attilas”).

Omar Ahmad, an official of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the leading Islamic organization in the U.S. and an advocate of “respect” for all things Islamic, once stated, “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” The website containing that statement, violent quotations from the Koran, and particulars of the Islamic agenda of conquest (not assimilation), has been taken down, very likely because it was too blatant a confession of Islamic means and ends.

This is a disaster waiting to happen, and multiculturalism has prepared the new “Ground Zero.” The twin towers of freedom of speech and free minds are smoldering. Will they collapse? It is certainly a “clash of civilizations” we are witnessing today. Only our political leaders, the news media, and most of our intellectuals are oblivious to it. Most of them are too busy advocating their own brands of totalitarian submission.

Onkar Ghate, a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute, in an Op-Ed deftly connected the principal dots between the Christian injunction to “love our enemies” (that is, not pass moral judgments on them, and to speak no evil of evil men and evil ideas) and the failure of our government and news media to come to the defense of the Danish cartoonists. (“The Twilight of Freedom of Speech“).

Aiding and abetting in that betrayal of the Danes and of America itself is the not-to-be-questioned “faith” of multiculturalism, which imbues its religious and secularist adherents with the “virtue” of turning the other cheek. Since the cartoons that mocked Mohammed were claimed to be offensive to Muslims, the White House and State Department with abject humility practically apologized for them, while the news media issued grave disclaimers and ostensively took no sides on an issue that not only affects them, but the efficacy and meaning of the First Amendment. “Your most cherished beliefs have been insulted and ridiculed by irresponsible persons, and we are sorry for that. Please accept our apologies. We beg your forgiveness.”

Self-censorship of that kind will ultimately foment a move for the overt censorship of those who refuse to turn the other cheek and exercise their right to speak out.

The reader also wondered about the “more secular Muslims living and working in capitalistic Western countries” who “probably fall into a non-fundamentalist category.” These are the very same “silent” Muslims who let the killers “misrepresent” their creed. They are silent either from fear of retaliation or because they agree with the killers but are too timid to say it outloud. Their brothers in Paterson, New Jersey and in Brooklyn danced in the streets and passed out candy when the WTC was attacked, celebrating the event with the same gleeful fervor as their brothers in the Arab countries.

If one wanted to witness a grotesque instance of men celebrating the destruction of the good because it is good, the “Arab street” here and abroad provided it on 9/11. One needn’t be a fundamentalist to be a mute follower or silent sanctioner.

I contend that the more civil, “secularized” Muslims are between that rock and a hard place I mention in the article. It’s either/or for them. They either discover reason, individualism and genuine freedom, and repudiate Islam, or they remain passive ciphers and objects of suspicion by the rest of the population. Just as Christians cannot remain loyal to reality and ghosts at the same time, and must ultimately choose between them (but most of them don’t), so it is for Muslims.

I’m sure there are many former Muslims who left the mosque, but we won’t hear much from them for the reasons I cite in my article: they would become the targets of death squads or some other form of persecution. Salman Rushdie is the most notable example. There are no alternatives for them. All one can do at present is introduce Muslims to Objectivism, but what would that accomplish, if they fear reason, dismiss it as “godless”, or claim it is a handmaiden of faith? Most Christians do. And most Muslims sense better than many Christians that God and reason are antithetical.

The reader asked: “If there are no and can be no moderate Muslims, what do you propose doing about the Muslims who do exist?”

I don’t think it’s a question now of what we do with them. It’s a question of what they’re doing about us. They know the nature of their enemy, our own leaders and intellectuals. They’re determined to push this clash of civilizations to its limits. If we had the power to “do something about them,” the first step would be to proclaim without apology or hesitation that this is a Western country that upholds reason, individual rights, freedom of speech, and capitalism, and plays no favorites in religion. Obey our laws, or face prosecution.

You would tell them: If you conspire to overthrow our government, you will be charged with treason and made to bear the consequences. If you do not like those terms, then relocate to a country that is more conducive to your philosophy of existence, such as it is. Just don’t attempt to impose it on free men, who will fight back if they are not disarmed by censorship, ignored or excoriated by the news media, or made sitting ducks by the likes of our contemptible State Department.

Muslims, or those among them who secretly doubt the morality of their creed, must consider becoming independent individuals who hold reason as man’s only means of survival and happiness. I don’t say it’s impossible, but at the present, the odds are against it. Islam is scoring victory after victory — by default. Islam seems to be efficacious; why shouldn’t the rank-and-file Muslim side with the odds-on winner? What could ignite a magnum of introspection and questioning among Muslims would be a resounding defeat at the hands of the West (such as nuking Iran’s nuclear facilities now). At the current pace of events, and given the cowardice and virtual submission to Islam of our political leaders, that isn’t much in the cards, either.

Many Objectivists have had religious backgrounds. But they discovered the value of free minds, individualism, and freedom of speech — or the right to challenge any idea or belief — and made a break with their past. The key element was in their valuing these things as attributes of living happily and successfully on earth.

Imagine how much more oppressive and thought-suffocating Islam and a Muslim household in a Muslim “ghetto” (and a self-created ghetto, at that) must be compared with the average Catholic (or Protestant or Jewish) household, and try to project the level of independence and commitment necessary to abandon that environment. A Muslim wrestling with his honesty and secret convictions would risk ostracism, banishment, or much worse, murder or mutilation, if he let them be known. No doubt everyone has heard of the Mafia “code of silence” and “loyalty to the family,” which is supposed to be an ethical guide to good gangster behavior. Break the code, betray the “family,” and you die.

Islam is one humongous moral Mafia that relies on submission, faith, fear and force to keep its followers in line and to prosecute its jihad. And its “godfather” is Mohammed. It was not a coincidence that in my original article I drew an analogy using Coppola’s Don Corleone and the obsequious mortician. It concretized the essential relationship between Islam and its followers.

The Myth of the ‘Moderate’ Muslim

An acquaintance asked me recently, in response to a statement of mine in a past article on the Danish cartoon crisis, if it was not possible for Islam to undergo the same “taming” process that Christianity underwent. Wouldn’t most Muslims see the differences between the freedom of Western nations and the tyranny of Islamic nations? I had written: “Fundamentally, there is no such thing as a ‘moderate’ Muslim or a ‘civilized’ Islam, not when the core beliefs of the Koran and commands of the Hadith sanction the murder and enslavement of non-Muslims in an on-going jihad that will end only with the establishment of a global caliphate.”

My answer was two-fold: In dozens of injunctive instances, the Koran sanctions murder and conquest. For example, the Koran 2:191 commands, “And slay them wherever ye catch them” — “them” being any and all unbelievers in Allah. It is not necessary to cite any of dozens of similar commands to be found in the Koran and Hadith; they are all equally homicidal in nature, competing in lunacy with the ravings of a Charles Manson. To believe they can be interpreted as non-belligerent and pacific modes of serene tolerance is a gross evasion of the fact that words mean what they mean. No prism of interpretation, not by Western non-believers, not by Islamic scholars, can change the literal meanings of “slay,” “kill,” “terror,” “smite,” “cut off” and all the other gory verbs and nouns.

The second part of my answer addressed my acquaintance’s concern with the “moderate” Muslims. Surely they outnumber the “extremists” and “fanatics” among them, and could play a role in taming Islam.

My answer was that this was unlikely, given the nature of the creed and what it demands of its rank-and-file adherents, which is intellectual torpor and unquestioning “submission.” I replied that every Muslim I had encountered personally, or had observed in the press and the news media, did not seem to care about the differences between the West and Islam; that, in fact, it was the wealth and freedoms enjoyed in the West that are regularly condemned as “decadent” by their mullahs and imams.

“Moderate” Muslims choose not to question that official estimate of the secular West. They are taught from day one never to question the wisdom or statements of their “experts” or “holy men,” that to do so would amount to questioning or doubting Mohammed himself. Depending on the mood of a Muslim judge, this could be deemed either blasphemy or apostasy. Either way, it would earn the transgressor the death penalty, the loss of some of his limbs, or some other bestial retribution, with no chance of repentance. Here I cite the Koran 2:39: “But those who reject Faith and belie our Signs, they shall be companions of the Fire.” That is, murdered or banished, and presumably destined for Hell.

I wrote to my acquaintance: “This is an instance of being caught between a rock and a hard place. The man who would extricate himself from that dilemma would no longer be a Muslim. He would be quite extraordinary.” Not to mention brave. He would have earned and deserve our respect for such a soul-wrenching feat. I ended my answer with the observation that it took Christianity about 1,500 years to leave barbarism behind, dating, say, from the murder in 415 of Hypatia, the pagan philosopher and mathematician by Christian monks outside the Alexandrian Library in Egypt. The instigator of that atrocity was St. Cyril, archbishop of Alexandria. How long would it take Islam to abandon its jihadist agenda and relegate its saints and prophets to the dustbin? Could the West survive such a wait?

Islam can be “reformed” only by surgically removing its homicidal injunctions. What, then, would be left of Islam? Perhaps a “belief system” that would be as truly pacific as that of the Amish or Quakers. But then it would no longer be Islam.

The foregoing is in the way of broaching the subject of the craven behavior of the Western press in its frantic scramble to hide behind the aprons of “moderate” Muslims to wiggle out of its responsibility to unequivocally and proudly assert the paramount importance of the freedom of speech.

To date, only two American newspapers have published one of the cartoons, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Austin, Texas American-Statesman. Of the broadcast giants, ABC showed the Mohammed in a bomb turban cartoon once, then pleaded “sensitivity” and refrained from further display of any of the cartoons. CBS and NBC anchors reported on the cartoons and demonstrations, as well, but with unconvincing sanctimony announced they would not show the cartoons out of “respect” for the beliefs of Muslims. Fox News, however, had the moral spine to show some of the cartoons. About two dozen American Muslims picketed outside the offices of the Inquirer. Editor and Publisher on February 8th reported an imam claiming that the cartoon run by the Inquirer was “disrespectful to us as a people. It’s disrespectful to our prophet to imply that he’s a prophet of violence.”

That assertion, certainly not as suavely fork-tongued in delivery as the protestations of some Islamic scholars and Mideast studies professors in American and European universities, surely deserves an award for dissemblance. First, it stresses the equation of Islam with race; second, it ignores the homicidal injunctions that pepper the Koran.

Editor & Publisher also quoted USA Today deputy foreign editor Jim Michaels’s denial that it was fear that was stopping his paper from running the cartoons. “It was made clear that it is offensive,” he said, neglecting to mention by whom. “I don’t know if fear is the right word. But we came down on the side that we could serve readers well without a depiction that is offensive.”

Why have other newspapers and broadcast media refrained from running any of the cartoons? A better question is: Why have they not upheld their First Amendment right to run them and proclaimed loudly and clearly that they would assert such a right, and not be browbeaten by Muslim bellicosity and threats?

In my original article on this subject, “The Muslims’ New Program for Thought Control,” I named the reason: fear of retribution, of the kind of threats of violence that are rife in Europe and the Arab world. But no news organization is going to concede such cowardice. Instead, they have retreated behind the apron of the “moderates,” and claimed “sensitivity” to their beliefs. But even that is not substantive enough an excuse. They would need some authoritative reference for not defending their right to free speech.

Daniel Pipes provided it on February 7th in a National Review Online article, “The Clash to End All Clashes? Making sense of the cartoon jihad.” The NRO solicited the views of some experts on Islam and the Mideast on if it was “a clash of civilizations.” Pipes, a respected authority on Islam who has condemned its jihadists and who is certainly no mouthpiece for Osama bin Laden, answered in his article, “It certainly feels like a clash of civilizations. But it is not.”

After citing a handful of Muslims who condemned the fatwah on Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses in 1989, he concluded his article with this statement:

“It is a tragic mistake to lump all Muslims with the forces of darkness. Moderate, enlightened, free-thinking Muslims do exist. Hounded in their own circles, they look to the West for succor and support. And, however weak they may presently be, they eventually will have a crucial role in modernizing the Muslim world.”

So, where are these “enlightened, free-thinking” Muslims? A Muslim by definition can be neither “enlightened” nor “free-thinking,” not if he conscientiously subscribes to the tenets of Islam and is not inclined to risk losing the approbation of his fellow Muslims. If he attends Muslim services and practices the required rituals, but plays golf and the stock market, drinks alcohol, lingers over Victoria’s Secret ads, reads Shakespeare and is fascinated by the longevity of the Mars rovers, then he must be a counterfeit Muslim, as counterfeit as are many model Christians. Fire-breathing mullahs and imams would be the first to point that out. So, how much of a “crucial role” then could he have in “modernizing” the Muslim world?

None. Rank-and-file Muslims do not “interpret” or “sanitize” the Koran and Hadith. Their duty is to discuss its contents, seek clarification, and obey. Interpretations and meanings are left to their ordained holy men. More “liberal” interpretations might surface if it were not for the existence of the equivalent of Mafia hit squads and enforcers: Hamas, the Glory Brigade, and other gangs of theocratic killers. What average, law-abiding Muslim or imam is going to risk their wrath by committing what the “faith police” would regard as blasphemy or apostasy?

In short, how much “reforming” influence can we expect of a cowed congregation of Muslims? Has any American newspaper troubled itself with these questions, or made these observations? It is doubtful. Political correctness, that poisonous mantra of non-judgmental egalitarianism, has enfeebled the minds of most editors and journalists.

Britain has a more vitriolic population of Muslims than has the U.S. To date, no British newspaper has reprinted the Danish cartoons. Again, fear of retribution has caused the British press to take cover behind the apron of “respect” for Muslim beliefs.

In the London Sunday Telegraph story of February 2nd, 2006, it was reported, “Muslim protests are incitement to murder, say Tories.” Many of the placards carried by Muslim protestors outside the Danish embassy read, “Whoever insults a prophet, kill him,” “Massacre those who insult Islam,” and “Behead those who insult Islam.” Can anyone credibly claim these injunctions are open to “interpretation”?

The question is: Who, hypothetically, is being incited to murder? The sign-carriers? Those who are the intended victims of massacres, beheadings, and killings? Or are the sign-carriers guilty of “inciting” others to commit those crimes? The concept of incitement as it is used in this circumstance is ambiguous.

David Davis, the British shadow home secretary, stated in the article, “Clearly some of these placards are incitement to violence and, indeed, incitement to murder — an extremely serious offence which the police must deal with and deal with quickly….Certainly there can be no tolerance of incitement to murder.”

The authorities are trying to pin the blame for the inflammatory placards on “extremists” among the Muslim demonstrators, while excusing the rest of the chanting mob as their right of legitimate protest. However, just how blameless are those “moderate” chanters? They where there, and if by chance the “extremists” broke through the police cordon and set fire to the Danish embassy, would not the “moderates” have joined in the destruction and arson or shouted “God is Great” in encouragement, celebration, and triumph?

If “law-abiding” moderate Muslims are so “peaceful,” why are they so silent when their brethren promise death, destruction and vengeance? Is not such a silence a sanction of the violent actions of the “extremists”? Who gives leave to the “extremists” to speak and act in their name? Those “moderates.” They are not as guiltless as one might suppose. Their creed demands mental passivity, and they comply.

The same London Daily Telegraph, in an editorial on February 6th, under the heading, “Why extremists treat us with contempt,” posed the question after recounting the London demonstrations and questioning the wisdom of the police in arresting two men who counter-protested with placards bearing cartoons of Mohammed, but did not raise to finger to arrest Muslims carrying the inflammatory signs. “Might there be a connection between this cowardice and the contempt some Muslims feel for us?”

Good question, but the Telegraph itself provides the grounds for Muslim contempt. Three paragraphs later, it “submits” to Islam with this cowardly, craven genuflection to the West’s mortal enemy:

“This newspaper has a deep regard for Islam, that purest and most abstract of the monotheistic faiths, to whose tenets we recently dedicated a series of color supplements. We share the admiration of Rousseau, Carlyle and Gibbon for the Prophet, which is why, on grounds of courtesy, we have chosen not to cause gratuitous offence to his followers by reproducing the cartoons at the center of this row.”

The Telegraph prepared the reader for that kowtowing in another article on February 5th:

“This newspaper would not have published the cartoons of Mohammed at the center of this controversy, images which we regard as vulgar and fatuously insulting.”
If freedom of speech is abridged in deference to religious “sensibilities,” it will be implemented or enforced for the sake of the sacrosanct “moderates,” in this instance, “moderate” Muslims. They are the ones climbing into the belly of this Trojan horse of censorship by degree. The answer is not to open the gates and pander to their emotional, non-reasoning “sensitivities.” But the Western press is opening them, and we shall all suffer the consequences.

The only solution to “modernizing” the Muslim world is its complete collapse, and the first thing in it to be discredited and discarded is Islam as a “religion of peace.” It is, after all, the “moral” basis of that culture. Where is the “Muslim” intellectual who would light the fuse that would demolish Islam? He might possibly step forward if the Western press, as well as Western politicians, displayed the Churchillian courage to speak out against our latter day Hitlers. It is indeed a clash of civilizations, and the one with the most confidence in its own value will be the one to triumph.

Must we ‘allow’ all literature?

In the wake of the Mohammad cartoon controversy, I was asked by a reader if we ought to “allow” all literature–for example, literature specifically designed to engender hatred and contempt for other cultures or beliefs.

My answer: there should not be any limits placed on literature and we should “allow” all its forms. Literature by itself is inanimate; it has no volition; it cannot act. Therefore, one cannot credibly “prosecute” it, or hold it criminally responsible for actions taken by a person who has read it and might commit a crime. It is the person who is motivated by the literature who should be held responsible; after all, he chose to take the action. I stress here the role of action, or the initiation of force in a criminal act. Hate literature, such as literature that promulgates the notion of racial supremacy, bigotry, or that even advocates the overthrow of a legitimate government, cannot itself commit harm. To think it does or that it is in any way culpable is a ludicrously irrational notion that recalls the practice in the medieval era of judges trying and executing animals for crimes. It is the person or persons who take actions to advance an irrational cause who should be charged with a crime. And, here I stress crime.

Now, the authorities can be alerted to a group that distributes hate literature, and even monitor its members. But the authorities cannot legitimately act until that group takes a criminal action, such as blowing up a building, or until they have reason to believe that the group is conspiring to take such an action. And when the action is taken, then qua initiation of force, it should be deemed murder, or assault, or destruction of property, and the criminals, if apprehended, should be charged with that crime alone, and not with a “hate crime.”

The concept of “hate crimes” is an insidious concession to the collectivist notion that groups have rights. Only individuals have rights. If a “hate monger” murders one individual, then the appropriate charge of murder should be laid against him. If he has committed mass murder (such as the Oklahoma City bombing), then he should be charged with as many deaths and injuries as his action caused. And with nothing more. The man who recently slashed and shot men in a Massachusetts gay bar was to be charged with a “hate crime,” not just with assault with intent to kill. (He fled, and was killed in a gun battle with Arkansas police.) “Hate crime” laws are becoming a norm in the U.S., and usually carry heavier penalties than do capital crimes. Not good news.

During a trial, or during a journalistic expose of it, the hate literature that played a role in a crime can be used only to explain a motive, and of course can earn public opprobrium. (And it cannot be denied that much “hate” literature, such as the literature that claims the Holocaust never happened, is despicable.) That should be the limit of its role in the prosecution of a criminal offender. When Nazi leaders were put on trial at Nuremberg, they were not tried for the “hate” literature they were responsible for, but for their crimes of mass murder. One could claim that Hitler’s Mein Kampf is hate literature and ought to be banned, or that Uncle Tom’s Cabin perpetuates racial stereotypes and ought to be banned from schools and libraries. But Mein Kampf did not bring Hitler and the Nazis to power. It was a culture that put them in power, a culture that was receptive to such literature. And Uncle Tom’s Cabin did not perpetuate racial stereotyping; people perpetuated their own ignorance.

In the context of the Danish cartoons and the Muslim demonstrations against them — demonstrations that in the Arab world resulted in death and destruction — it is becoming evident that the malicious signs one saw being carried in London were the work of so-called “extremists” acting on orders from Arab governments. This is just now coming out, that Muslim clerics wanted to make the cartoons an issue to test the alleged inviolacy of the freedom of speech and the West’s commitment to that inviolacy. Islam is at war with the West. These “extremists” are agents of hostile foreign powers, and should be rounded up and tried as enemy agents. And if they are British citizens, they should be charged with treason and sentenced as harshly as the British allow. In either case, their placards were tantamount to a declaration of war on Britain and the West — qua their roles as agents of foreign powers.

This ought to be the policy of the United States, as well. Unfortunately, the harshest official response to the London demonstrations has been a call to adopt “hate crime” legislation (the “incitement to violence and/or murder bill”), which happens to be a subject of debate in the British parliament.

Parenthetically, in order to be clear on this point of “allowing” hate or any other kind of literature, and because my reader introduced the term “allow,” the “allowance” should not be a matter of legislative permission. It is not a government’s function to prescribe what is “good” literature and what is “bad,” it is not its proper function to be the arbiter of the quality or content of any kind of literature, whether it is personal letters, essays, books, posters, cartoons, or propaganda, and have the power to “allow” it or prohibit it. This includes the distinctions between portraits of nudes and pornography.

The whole campaign against “hate” literature and to make its creation and propagation a capital offense is a collectivist burglary tool employed to disguise censorship by degrees. After all, who is to determine what is “hate” literature? And what could constitute it? My essays? My novels? I could write a brilliant essay against second-handers, or Islam, or southern Baptists, or homosexuality. I’m sure someone who reads it might deem it “hate” literature. He is free to disagree with it, and to call it what he wishes, but not free to physically assault me or imprison me or ask the government to punish me because his “sensibilities” have been “offended,” or in any way to deprive me of my liberty and freedom to write. He can always walk away from it, or ignore it, or compose a rebuttal.

In the same way, Muslims can ignore cartoons of Mohammed. Those who don’t reveal their real agenda: they want to subvert the concept of freedom of speech in order to shield themselves from legitimate criticism and opprobrium. It is not irrational skinheads or racists they want protection from, but rather rational, reasoning individuals whom they could not rebut in civilized discourse. You might have noticed in the news that some mullahs, imams and even “distinguished” Islamic scholars at universities are “deploring” the violent demonstrations, chiefly because they claim the protests are giving Islam a “bad name.” Too late, that! They are merely playing “good cop, bad cop” with the West, and their protestations are just more yada-yada-yada lip service to beguile the unwary and disarm the undiscriminating.

One Islamic scholar from the American University in Washington this morning on ABC complained in an interview with Charley Gibson that the violence is damaging the move to reconcile the irreconcilable between Islam and the West. Jesus Christ and Jews, however, are legitimate subjects of virulent Arab cartoons; prophets are not. He asserted that it is incumbent upon Westerners to understand this and extend the hand of tolerance and respect, while rank and file Muslims don’t need to understand us. He might have added: We are just the infidels ready for beheading and slaughter unless we submit and become servile, ingenuous followers.

Gibson brought up the subject of Jill Carroll, the kidnapped reporter facing execution, and the murders by Islamic “extremists” of Westerners and even other Muslims, but the scholar danced around that and left Gibson sounding like Elmer Fudd. Gibson, like many Western journalists, just couldn’t grasp the either/or ultimatum lurking in the scholar’s gentle, seductively unbombastic rhetoric.

The only literature that can be held responsible for a consequence is libel — that is, the author of a libel can be held responsible — when someone’s written or broadcast words demonstrably damage a person’s livelihood or reputation. Slander is a form of libel. These actions, however, are not crimes, but civil torts to be adjudicated in a civil, not a criminal, court.

I might add that the Danish cartoons are not instances of slander or libel. Nor can they be called “hate speech” or “hate literature.” Islam, like Christianity, Hinduism, or any other system of mysticism, is just that: mysticism posing as a moral code based on the unprovable existence of a commandment-issuing ghost. Any organized faith or creed is a legitimate target for mockery or satire because it is the epitome of irrationality and foolishness. All creeds are merely elaborate systems of tarot cards, ouija boards and crystal balls supplemented by voluminous instruction manuals, and we do not scruple to satirize those frauds and their “prophets.”

How often was Richard Nixon caricatured by cartoonists and in television satire as an oily used car salesman? Or Gerald Ford as a bumbler prone to “locomotion malfunctions”? Did those portrayals result in riots or demonstrations by used car salesmen or fiery rampages by the lame and halt? No. Nor did Nixon, Ford, the used car salesmen or the lame and halt sue for their presumably injured “sensibilities.”

One can’t slander or libel the irrational. One’s aim is to stylistically ridicule it, to cause people to recognize and laugh at the irrational or the foolish, to not take it seriously, to communicate to them a faith’s inherent appeal to dupes and fools. Islam, however, is an especial candidate for satire and mockery, since under its drab patina of daily humility, devotion and selflessness lurks a bloodthirsty, homicidal maniac. This has been demonstrated countless times; the consistent, truly devout are obeying the central tenets of the creed, and the “Arab street” follows and sanctions. Now, if one calls a killer a killer, verbally or in print, to his face or in an editorial or a cartoon, is that an instance of slander or libel? No. That is identifying a fact. And if a mystic or killer demands “respect” for his beliefs and asks us to refrain from “insulting” them, he is asking us for the unearned, for an esteem to which the irrational is not entitled.

So, all forms of literature are rationally permissible — that is, free to be written or expressed. To paraphrase a popular saying in the U.S., “Literature doesn’t shoot people, people shoot people.” If governments or courts begin to regulate literature, however, then that initiation of force — or censorship — would justify the only means left for a free people to save themselves from slavery or secular dhimmitude: to revolt, or, as the heroes in Rand’s Atlas Shrugged did, go “on strike,” which is much the same thing.

The Muslims’ New Program for Thought Control

“As we trace the genius of a nation by their taste in poetry and music, so by their encouragement of these we may judge of their rise or fall; good authors have never been wanting in happy climes. Barbarism begins her reign by banishing the Muses. Those who have ears to hear, let them hear!”

So wrote Philip Dormer Stanhope, the Earl of Chesterfield, in 1749 in a preface to a pamphlet of his speech in the House of Lords against the proposed Act for Licensing the Stage, an act supported by politicians who were being mocked in theaters by satire to the applause of an appreciative public.

In a not so coincidental dovetailing of events, a bill to regulate “hate speech” is at present being debated in the British parliament that would make it a criminal offense to publicly disparage any creed or set of religious beliefs, in addition to “inciting” violence via words or pictures against members of any race or religious sect. Ostensively, the bill is aimed at Muslims who call for jihad in Britain; in effect, it will silence anyone who questions or criticizes any creed or system of beliefs. The bill aims to suppress the provocation of thugs and rioters by gagging those who would call them thugs and rioters.

It will silence everyone but the Muslims.

At the same time, the Muslim “furor” over the publication and republication in Danish and European newspapers of cartoons that caricature Mohammed, whose depiction in any form is regarded as blasphemy, shocked many Westerners from their multicultural apathy. The one cartoon that seems to have touched the Muslim nerve — shall we call it “sensitivity”? — shows the head of Mohammed wearing a turban shaped as a lit-fuse bomb. This was a caricature that summed up the thousands of murders and scale of destruction wrought by Islamic “martyrs” and jihadists over the past thirty years. It was an astute, stylistic observation, a justifiable estimate of the means and ends of Islamic fascism.

The pit felt at the bottom of many stomachs over this new demand of the Muslims is fear: fear of mindless retribution, of death and destruction. It causes those who feel it to shut up in the name of “respect” for Muslim beliefs. This is the true nature of the “respect” of major American news organizations, such as CBS, when it refused to show a single cartoon.

The pit felt at the bottom of other stomachs is resolve, of a determination to stand up now for the freedom to say what one thinks, with the knowledge that if the West capitulates to Muslim demands, it will have surrendered the key freedom that permits the fight for all the other freedoms. Many European newspapers have defied Muslim “sensibilities” and reprinted the cartoons.

Islamic spokesmen called this action a “provocation.” But what is it that is being “provoked”? Violence. Property destruction. Kidnappings. Murders. The initiation of physical force and terror. All in the name of Mohammed and Allah. Hardly the behavior of a “pacific” religion that would persuade one that it just wants to “get along.”

Implied in the claim that images of Mohammed constitute blasphemy, is that anyone who creates such an image is guilty of blasphemy. What the Muslims are demanding is that non-Muslims accept that religious tenet. Thus, “respect” by non-Muslims of the tenet, at the price of surrendering the right to criticize Islam, means virtual conversion to Islam, a major step in the direction of actual conversion.

Islamists see the implications of multiculturalism and “diversity” much better than do the advocates and practitioners of these secular “creeds.” Islamists are infamous for not subscribing to multiculturalism and diversity. They might claim that it is not conversion they seek, but “respect.” But if one does not “respect” a belief, it is one’s right to question it, or to criticize it in a book, essay, speech, or cartoon. However, if one “respects” it, then it becomes a taboo subject, off limits to reasoned enquiry and civil discussion. One tells oneself: I have no right to say anything about it. And if one is prohibited, under penalty of prosecution, intimidation, or physical violence, from saying or writing anything about it, then there is no reason or point to thinking of it, either.

What a formula for thought control!

The Islamists know it. Most Western intellectuals and politicians do not.

It is time that Muslims here and abroad got used to “offensive” portrayals of Mohammed, and, for good measure, of Allah himself. After all, no one is forcing them to look at the cartoons. The West regularly shrugs off the pictorial vilification of Western institutions, culture, creeds, persons and icons. Anyone familiar with the Arab press and Arab websites will note how vicious Muslim cartoonists are.

That would be a fair trade, would it not, an exercise in mutual “tolerance” and good will? One might say that the solution to the problem is reciprocity. The Arab press can publish vicious cartoons of the West, and the West can publish mildly “offensive” cartoons about Islam.

But it is not an issue of reciprocity. Reciprocity is not in the Islamic agenda. “Islam” means “submission,” and it is submission its ill-willed mullahs and imams demand in exchange for the “peace” of intellectual torpidity in their rank and file followers, as well as in the West. Islam is by its very nature intolerant of other creeds and requires absolute, mindless obedience of Allah and compliance with the prophet’s commandments. It cannot be “reformed” as Christianity has been. Even the new Pope, Benedict XVI, has conceded that. There are no concessions Islam could possibly make without triggering its self-destruction. Fundamentally, there is no such thing as a “moderate” Muslim or a “civilized” Islam, not when the core beliefs of the Koran and commands of the Hadith sanction the murder and enslavement of non-Muslims in an on-going jihad that will end only with the establishment of a global caliphate.

Islamic spokesman claim that they do not seek to crush freedom of speech or expression, only to put “limits” on it. Ultimately, however, any “limit” on speech means no expression, no freedom to say what one thinks must be said. It means not reaching a conclusion, and settling for only half a syllogism, or none at all. It means that an idea has been removed from debate, discussion, and criticism.

This is a defining moment for the West. It must either speak up in defense and in bold, unapologetic assertion of the idea of freedom of speech, or forever cringe in “respect” of Islamic tenets, much as in the film The Godfather, the favor-seeking mortician cringed when gangster Vito Corleone accused him of not granting him “respect.” The fearful mortician immediately offered his respect and submission. He was seeking mere vengeance; Corleone required submission and acknowledgement of his power.

This will logically require the ultimate scrapping of another “belief” system, that of multiculturalism and diversity, and their recognition as fatal fallacies.

Ever since the Renaissance the genius of the West has been a commitment to the freedom of men to question the moral claims of others. Reason has always settled the question. Islamists are demanding that the West banish the Muse of Reason. Let those who have ears, hear that demand and understand its fundamental requirement. And let those who understand it, speak now, or forever maintain a “respectful” silence.

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