Friday, March 23, 2007

Lewis' strategy? Hope and pray!

Bernard Lewis is considered by many, especially by some policy-makers in Washington, as the foremost expert on islam. While there is no denying he knows a lot about it, it is how this knowledge is applied that has left me perplexed, from supressing antisemitic passages in the Koran to spectacularly wrong predictions about the so-called Oslo peace process and the war in Iraq. His latest speech given at the American Enterprise Institute has several disturbing parts but the closing parts give particular cause for concern.

Where do we stand now? Is it third time lucky? It is not impossible. They have certain clear advantages. They have fervor and conviction, which in most Western countries are either weak or lacking. They are self-assured of the rightness of their cause, whereas we spend most of our time in self-denigration and self-abasement. They have loyalty and discipline, and perhaps most important of all, they have demography, the combination of natural increase and migration producing major population changes, which could lead within the foreseeable future to significant majorities in at least some European cities or even countries.

But we also have some advantages, the most important of which are knowledge and freedom. The appeal of genuine modern knowledge in a society which, in the more distant past, had a long record of scientific and scholarly achievement is obvious. They are keenly and painfully aware of their relative backwardness and welcome the opportunity to rectify it.

Less obvious but also powerful is the appeal of freedom. In the past, in the Islamic world the word freedom was not used in a political sense. Freedom was a legal concept. You were free if you were not a slave. The institution of slavery existed. Free meant not slave. Unlike the West, they did not use freedom and slavery as a metaphor for good and bad government, as we have done for a long time in the Western world. The terms they used to denote good and bad government are justice and injustice. A good government is a just government, one in which the Holy Law, including its limitations on sovereign authority, is strictly enforced. The Islamic tradition, in theory and, until the onset of modernization, to a large degree in practice, emphatically rejects despotic and arbitrary government. Living under justice is the nearest approach to what we would call freedom.

But the idea of freedom in its Western interpretation is making headway. It is becoming more and more understood, more and more appreciated and more and more desired. It is perhaps in the long run our best hope, perhaps even our only hope, of surviving this developing struggle. Thank you.

So let me see if I get this straight: we should hope that muslims become like us and that is the only way for our civilisation to survive? What if they don't become like us? What if they do not want to become like us? What then? How about simply saying that practices such as honour killings, sharia law and dhimmitude is incompatible with values of freedom and equality? How about telling those that come in that if they want to stay they have to adapt to the values of the domicile population? "When in Rome, do as the Romans!" And most of all, what do you say that those who want to bring the aforementioned elements of Islam to Europe and America not be let in or kicked out if they are there already? All this is inconcievable to Lewis and his crowd because that would mean the end of their ideology globalist multiculturalism and make their thesis of how everyone desires freedom and democracy worthless. So rather then face facts they indulge themselves into puerile fantasies exposing typical symptoms of the diseade I like to call the Rastenburg 1944 Syndrome.

But the detachment from reality and giving hope as a strategy is not the worst aspect of this speech. In it, Lewis basically said that if muslims don't become like us we should submit or convert to islam or otherwise we will die and that not only we shouldn't do anything about it but also we can not do anything about it. The choices are either post-modern multiculturalism, islam or death. No return to traditional religions and values of European nations and America should be even considered lest we loose our liberal ways.

What Lewis uttered in this speech is beyond the pale! Beyond all pales!

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