“I hope I shall never see the day when the forces of right are deprived of the right of force.” So commented Winston Churchill on the West’s obsession with disarmament in the 1920’s. Were he alive today, would he express the same hope about the West’s right to defend itself?

The policy of disarmament rests on two premises: one, that a reduction in a nation’s military capabilities will result in a commensurate reduction of the chances of war. If one nation does not “feel” threatened by another’s military forces, it will not be encouraged to arm itself. Destructive war will be avoided.

The second premise of disarmament is that one nation’s increase in armament will only encourage other nations to increase their own, thus increasing the probability of war.

Both premises were founded on a “multiculturalist” evasion of the fact that governments that respect their own citizens’ individual rights will respect the rights of the citizens of other nations, and not formulate policies of conquest; and that totalitarian regimes are inherently belligerent, violating not only their own citizens’ rights but those of the citizens of other nations. Britain, France, and the United States treated Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy as their legitimate equals. The Washington Conference (1921-22), the Pact of Locarno (1925), the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928), and the granddaddy of all peace treaties, the Munich Agreement (1938), were all based on a policy of not presuming to judge the political systems of other nations.

On the statist, totalitarian nature of Germany, Italy and Japan, the Allies remained silent. The diplomacy of peace was of paramount importance.

How is the policy of disarmament (or “arms control”) related to the policy of self-censorship, or of censorship itself? They are first cousins. Multiculturalism, political correctness, and a groundless “respect” for the beliefs of Muslims are disarming the West. If no one offends, “blasphemes,” or “defames” Mohammed or Islam, then a potentially violent conflict between Western values and their adherents and Muslims in the West and abroad will be avoided. And a key element in the success of such a policy is to disarm the advocates of freedom of speech. Peace, it is thought, can be bought at the price of government-enforced or government-sanctioned silence.

Churchill was ignored and criticized when he repeatedly warned his own and other Western governments of the dangers of “treating” with totalitarian Nazi Germany. He warned that appeasing it would not in the end purchase them peace, except perhaps the “peace” of eventual attack and possible conquest by Germany. But Churchill was a child of the nineteenth century, a more rational era than either the twentieth or the twenty-first. Political figures of his stature are nowhere in evidence today.

We are in a similar circumstance today. Our State Department implicitly condemned the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, saying that our government shared “the offense that Muslims have taken at these images.” To date, our government has made no move to protect American publications and other venues of freedom of speech over the issue of Mohammed and Islam. In order to avoid a clash between First Amendment advocates and Muslims, whose spokesman hope someday to replace the Constitution with Sharia law, it has found it necessary, not to impose outright censorship, but to abandon Americans to the barbarities and legal machinations of domestic jihadists of the mind.

Leaving aside for the moment the issue that, in terms of taxation, regulation, and education, our government is a premier violator of the Constitution as it was originally conceived as a protector of individual rights, it has a legitimate monopoly on the use of force. It has refused to employ it in defense of its own citizens. This way, it is thought, “peace” can be purchased and contentions avoided, and the world can move on to a Platonic plateau of mutual amity. Advocates of the freedom of speech need only shut up; what would it cost them? In the name of peace, their rights can be sacrificed.

A government that does not respect the rights of its citizens will not defend either those rights or its citizens, not even from what, in this instance, amounts to the beachhead of a foreign invasion.

Moreover, an unfettered, bold, and fearless exercise of the freedom of speech in regards to Islam and Mohammed would conflict with our government’s current policy of appeasement of Islam. Like the architects of the aforementioned disarmament treaties, our policymakers refuse to make any distinctions between Western governments and Mideast tyrannies, between Western values and medieval ones. After all, how can “peace” be attained with theocracies and dictatorships when men back home are denouncing or criticizing those same theocracies and dictatorships?

“Peace” is the first priority of President Bush’s foreign policy. His and Condeleezza Rice’s ears would turn selectively deaf if they heard Patrick Henry’s words in 1775, on the eve of war with Britain: “Gentlemen may cry peace, peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!”

The war began on September 11, 2001, with the attack on America. It has entered a new phase, with the enemy’s attack on men’s minds, on their right to speak out and defend themselves, on our own soil, in our courts, in our universities, in our press.

Most Western publications and the news media chose not to reprint the Danish cartoons or identify the issue at stake; most hid behind the apron of “sensitivity” to Muslim beliefs. A handful of publications saw the peril and chose to act. Those courageous enough to reprint the cartoons are being targeted for retaliation, with either death threats or legal action.

This new phase can be symbolized by the suits against a Canadian publication, The Western Standard, by Muslims for having reprinted the Danish cartoons, and by a suit against the Jyllands-Posten, the first newspaper to publish the cartoons, by a syndicate of clerics in Denmark for “defamation” and “injury” by the cartoons and their accompanying text. These are small publications with financial war chests that could not match Saudi Arabia’s, Iran’s, or CAIR’s. (And you may be sure that most of these suits and actions are being planned and orchestrated by strategists in the Middle East).

It is doubtful that any major American and Western newspaper will volunteer to help defray the legal costs of the suits. It could be interpreted as an “anti-Muslim” action, as well, and serve as an excuse for Muslim spokesmen to charge them with “discrimination,” or “racism,” or “hatred,” and to organize demonstrations to threaten, intimidate, and publicize purported “persecution.”

Americans have been effectively disarmed in the face of a barbarian invasion. In another commentary I referred to Islam and its followers as “The Borg.” Wherever in the West Muslims have established colonies, it was not with the intention of assimilating into the Western culture and adopting Western values (which they could do only by repudiating Islam). Whether individual Muslims advocate or sanction it or not, the goal of Islam is to assimilate, by force, by deception, by dissimulation, the West into a grand caliphate. Islam does not tolerate divided loyalties.

On the other hand, “offended” Muslims may exercise their freedom of speech in this country without fear of restriction or constraint, claiming to be “victims” of alleged “Islamophobia.” The parallel to this policy was Hitler’s rearmament of Germany, based on his claim that Germany was a “victim” of the Versailles Treaty and of the punishing sanctions imposed on it after World War I. He claimed Germany’s “right” not only to rearm, but eventually to “reclaim” territories wrested from Germany by the terms of Versailles. However, they could be reclaimed only by force and flouting all previous treaties. The Allies found themselves helpless to do anything to stop him. They had disarmed themselves, morally and literally.

Hitler lied to the Allies every time he occupied more of Europe. He was a master of dissimulation only by default of the Allies, because they wanted to believe him and thus avoid a confrontation and possible war.

Islamists wish to “reclaim” the West they lost centuries ago to the rising tide of freedom. When Islamist diplomats speak of “peace,” it is of the quietus of submission and conquest. Our policymakers do not want to believe it.

The Allies’ disarmament programs, together with their pragmatic, non-judgmental policies and a wish to avoid war, only encouraged Hitler to make more territorial demands — which by 1941 included most of Europe — not to mention Mussolini’s attempt to reconquer Africa, and Japan’s invasion of China.

Today, the abandonment of the principle of the freedom of speech has only encouraged Islam to make its own “territorial” demands, and to expand the scope of its influence and power in Western nations.

In the United States, in Britain, and in European countries, Muslims who attain those countries’ citizenships are bound by their creed to lie when they swear allegiance to those countries’ political, cultural and social values. In Muslim culture, this is known as “taqiyya,” or the art of dissimulation.

A Muslim who applies for and attains U.S. citizenship must either lie when he takes the oath of citizenship (which includes a pledge to support and defend the Constitution), or commit apostasy, whose penalty is death. Mohammed sanctioned “taqiyya”; therefore, it must be employed, obeyed, and exploited.

Serge Trifkovic, a former BBC commentator and U.S. News & World Report reporter, and the author of “The Sword of the Prophet,” remarked in a recent Front Page Magazine interview: “The Sharia, to a Muslim, is not an addition to the ‘secular’ legal code with which it coexists with the Constitution and laws of the United States…It is the only true code, the only basis of obligation. To be legitimate, all political power therefore must rest exclusively with those who enjoy Allah’s authority on the basis of his revealed will. America is illegitimate.” It will acquire “legitimacy” only when it is governed by a satrapy appointed by Riyadh or Tehran.

Muslim children born in the U.S., of course, do not need to take the oath of citizenship, and are not expected to lie. They are automatically citizens, but raised in Muslim culture to be hostile to their own country. They are a homegrown, potential fifth column reared to grant automatic, unthinking allegiance to their creed. It happened in Britain and France. It is happening here, too. Many of the Muslim students at New York University who demonstrated against the cartoons on March 29th, and Muslim students at other schools across the country, are American citizens.

They have been empowered by their schools, and emboldened by the silence of our political leadership and our press, while other Americans have been deprived of the “right of force,” that is, of the protection of their own government of the right to speak out against an irrational philosophy and its followers’ actions.

Churchill chose to speak out, and “roared” against tyranny great and small. Objectivists should be the Churchills of our day, for we are the sole consistent advocates of reason, rights, and freedom. Only reason can save the West, and we must have the unrestricted, unobstructed right to apply it to any issue, including religion, any time, anywhere, whether in the press, on university campuses, over the airwaves, or in public.

Let us roar, before we, too, are permanently disarmed and silenced.