Thursday, March 16, 2006

Reality catches up with art

Readers old enough to remember their high school civics classes might recall an earlier expression of "multiculturalism" and "diversity" before these terms were ever coined, that America was a "mosaic" of races and cultures, not a "melting pot" of reason, freedom, and the rule of law. They may recall, with some distaste, their teachers expounding with sanctimony on the subject and their textbooks describing it in preacherly prose. Neither the teachers nor the textbooks, however, offered any guidance or advice about what would happen or what action to take if the elements of that "mosaic" proved to be inimical or hostile to each other and resulted in violent, destiny-defining clashes.

Move from the classroom to home and television. Fans of the four series of "Star Trek" will recall the "Prime Directive," a world "Federation" rule that forbade Enterprise crews from "interfering" with primitive alien cultures, no matter how barbaric and irrational they were. With very few exceptions in the episodes, this rule was strictly and conscientiously observed. Also stressed in the series was the notion of "toleration" of alien cultures and practices, no matter how impossibly "inhuman" they were portrayed. Those cultures were to remain "pure" and undisturbed, left alone to "evolve" on their own, if ever.

But what was the origin of these ideas? Long before the debut of "Star Trek" in the 1960's, they had filtered down from the modern philosophy taught in our universities to Hollywood, philosophy imported from Europe and tailored for American consumption and promulgation over the course of a century. The relativistic, anti-reason, subjectivist, anti-absolute, reality-denying contents of that philosophy, unopposed by even so much as a fillip of Aristotelian philosophy, helped to indoctrinate not only the writers of those and other television programs, but the culture in general. Then came multiculturalism, "diversity," and "tolerance," all shielded under the mantra of political correctness.

President George W. Bush may or may not have been a "Star Trek" fan, but the "Prime Directive" seems to be the foundation of his foreign policy. Islam, in his view, is a religion of peace "hijacked" by extremists and criminals, against whom we are waging (and losing) an unimaginably costly war. Islam, to him, is itself exempt from criticism or judgment. The true nature of the creed eludes him. The thematic similarities between the Koran and, say, Hitler's Mein Kampf, apparently are beyond his grasp. If Iraqis "democratically" vote themselves a theocratic government as repressive as Iran's, the West should not be judgmental, even though it is sacrificing blood and treasure to make it possible. "Tolerance" means adopting a policy of non-judgmentalism, and is the natural partner of the altruistic policy of "sacrifice."

We can, however, thank the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" for introducing and concretizing a new nemesis long before its real-life counterpart made itself known. This was the "The Borg," a ravenous, nomadic phenomenon bent on conquest through the destruction of civilizations and the absorption and forcible conversion of their inhabitants into ant-like ciphers with no volition of their own. Its collective by-word and warning was "Resistance is futile." The sole alternative to submission to it was death. Its goal was to erase all traces of individuality and values from men so they could better serve "the hive."

Islam (or submission) can be characterized as a real-life "Borg." Islam is a creed that demands unthinking, unreserved submission and obedience to the commands of a ghost, purportedly related by an angel (Gabriel) to a pedophilic barbarian-cum-prophet some fourteen centuries ago, and that encourages the conquest and absorption of secular Western societies under primitive Sharia law. Colonies of Muslims appeared and grew in the midst of those societies, in Europe, Canada, the United States, and other Western countries. They were an alien phenomena that first seemed as anomalously insular as the Amish and Hassidic Jews, but have begun to exhibit a virulence that would not otherwise have been noticed, acknowledged or even tolerated but for the emasculating effects of multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance.

Then-chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Omar Ahmad, told a gathering of California Muslims in July 1998 that "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran...should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth." If that ever came to pass, what would happen to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? Presumably they would suffer the fate of the Alexandrian Library in a Muslim campaign to cleanse men's minds.

Islamic spokesmen and activists belligerently demand, first, "toleration" of their irrationalism, and then the cessation of any form of criticism of the creed that could be deemed or defined as blasphemy, offense, or "hate crime." On the premise that Islam cannot be "reformed" into a less hostile, non-aggressive creed without destroying it -- a task that would in fact render it as "benign" as that of the Amish, and no longer "Islam," once its homicidal commandments were expunged from the Koran -- what has been the overall Western response to its demands, which are absolute and non-negotiable? Why is the West retreating from the threat of conquest? Why does resistance to Islam appear to be "futile"?

Let us examine some incidents in which Western values, especially freedom of speech, have been challenged and confronted by Islam, and all but abandoned by the West.

In Britain, during the height of the Danish Mohammed cartoon uproar, the police covertly photographed demonstrators in London who carried placards that promised or advocated death for the cartoonists and anyone who "insulted" Mohammed. These demonstrators, however, if they are arrested, will not be charged with inciting murder or violence against individuals, but with "hate crimes." Conversely, anyone expressing a position on Islam that Muslims could claim to be offensive, may also be charged with a "hate crime."

The notion of "hate" crime subverts the whole idea of criminal responsibility, in addition to making mere thought a crime. On one hand, the concept treats an emotion as a crime and grants it legal, prosecutable legitimacy. Since all emotions are based on conscious or subconscious evaluations, or thought, an emotion can manifest itself in some form of objectionable expression (which could be rational or irrational) in oral or printed form.

On the other hand, the notion of "hate" crime grants legal legitimacy to the purported victim's claim of offense, wounded pride, or other emotion-based response to any criticism of the victim's "beliefs," including a sense of jeopardy caused by the "offending" expression.

How easy it will be to shift the definition of a "hate crime" from an inflammatory placard or a shouted imprecation during a demonstration to include an article, essay or book! Are Western judiciaries ready to strike down hate crime laws? No. They are rapidly endorsing their introduction into Western legal systems.

Most Western newspapers demurred reprinting the Danish cartoons out of "sensitivity" to Muslim religious values (although Muslim-run newspapers and news services feel no such constraint when depicting Jews, President Bush, or Western values). The staffs of several American and European university papers were fired or penalized for printing the cartoons. In Minnesota, a professor of geography at Century College was censored by her school's administration for posting some of the cartoons on the bulletin board of her department, even after she hid them from random sight.

Several Mideast editors ran some of the cartoons, not out of sympathy with freedom of speech, doubt about the veracity of Mohammed, or to defy their governments, but simply to show other Muslims what the uproar was about. They were arrested, or dismissed, and their papers closed. One editor in Yemen (a U.S. "ally") faces the death penalty.

Europe is reaping the perilous harvest of its decades-long experiment in multiculturalism and tolerance of the irrational, and there is no reason to think that the endemic Muslim violence there will not be emulated in the U.S. Many European countries, especially France, are experiencing a spike in gang rapes of "unveiled" European and "apostate" Mideast women by Muslim men and teens as a form of jihad. European politicians, artists and writers who have spoken out against the dangers of Islamofascism or who have been critical of Islam must have police protection. Many Muslim sections of European cities are "no go" areas to the police. A Turkish Muslim proclaimed in 2003 that Paris, Rome and Madrid were now components of the Islamic world because so many mosques have been erected in those capitals.

It can't happen here? American Muslims are not "into" jihadist behavior? Daniel Pipes has on his site logged dozens of instances of "mini-jihadi" in the U.S. committed by resident Muslims, the most recent being the attempted murder on March 3rd of students on the campus of the University of North Carolina by an Iranian immigrant who drove an SUV into a crowded pedestrian zone with the intent of killing as many Americans as he could. Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, age 22, was the quintessential "moderate," Western-educated Muslim and model student (majoring in philosophy and psychology) who before his action displayed no overt signs of hostility towards his adopted country. His statements, after his arrest, comprise the kind of anti-American rant one can find on jihadist websites or in al-Quada videotapes.

Pipes is understandably perplexed by the event, and writes that Taheri-azar was "not some low-life, not homicidal, not psychotic, but a conscientious student and amiable person." He reaches some wrong conclusions and offers an irrelevant solution. Muslims, he writes, should develop "a moderate, modern, and good-neighborly version of Islam that rejects radical Islam, jihad, and the subordination of 'infidels.'" However, the term "radical Islam" is redundant. Remove jihad and the subordination of infidels from Islam, and there is no Islam. The problem is the creed, just as it is with Christians who attack abortion clinics or murder doctors, and with environmentalists who torch car dealerships or attack animal research labs.

The idea of "non-interference" ala Star Trek is evidence of multiculturalism's influence in the general culture. It, diversity and "tolerance" combine to close the door to rational discussion and persuasion in every detail. It renders helpless law enforcement to deal with the irrational, barbaric ethics and practices of Islam. Muslims can get away with their irrationality under the protection of multiculturalist "tolerance." Any proposal or move to dilute Islam's "purity" as practiced by Muslims triggers claims of Islamophobia or apostasy or even racism, not only by Muslim spokesmen, but by many Westerners, as well (such as Hollywood). From the Islamic perspective, "tolerance" is a unilateral policy to be benefited only by Muslims, while "multiculturalism" or "diversity" certainly is not on the Islamic agenda of global or even American or European conquest.

Only two choices are open to the West: submission to Islam by means of a totalitarian repression of free thought and expression imposed by Western and especially by American authorities; or an assertion of the Western values of reason and individual rights and of their superiority over any species of mysticism, and a declaration of true war against Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. The alternative is to experience the degradation of progressive subservience or "tolerated" dhimmitude in deference to the "Borg."

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