The historical irony is that when Henry made his speech, the Wahhabist Saudis were engaged in the conquest of the Arabian Peninsula, which they completed in 1806. Who could have predicted then that their descendents and their hired fellaheen would invade America two and half centuries later with the express purpose of gagging the likes of Henry in the name of Allah?
That was in relation to the request of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) that the Fox TV network disclaim any "negative" portrayal of Muslims in its popular program "24."
CAIR, as I discussed in that commentary, has been busy with legal activism in the spirit of the ACLU. As though to underscore my Patrick Henry remarks, on December 19th the Muslim "civil liberties" organization has demanded that Republican representative Virgil Goode of Virginia apologize to "members of the Muslim community in his district" for "anti-Muslim" remarks in a private letter to the head of the local Sierra Club. (See CAIR's website under "news releases.")
Goode wrote, in reaction to the expressed wish of newly elected Muslim representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota to be sworn into office on a Koran:
"I do not subscribe to using the Koran in any way. The Muslim Representative from Minnesota was elected by the voters of that district and if American citizens don't wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."That is Virgil Goode's position, and he may say what he pleases. He is probably one of those who believe that America was founded on Christian principles, and that any elected official, in any level of government, should be sworn into office with a hand on a Bible. In practice, it may as well be a chunk of the Blarney Stone. I don't believe any elected or appointed official over the last century has ever strictly "upheld the Constitution." If any had, would we be saddled with a wealth-consuming, rights-violating welfare state that is drifting towards out-and-out statism?
Ideally, if some document is required to ritually sanctify an oath of office, elected officials and justices should be sworn in on a copy of the Ten Amendments, not on a tract containing the Ten Commandments or the ravings of any creed's "prophet."
But, there are two things wrong about this latest episode of Islamic arrogance. First, it is that CAIR is demanding an apology for a private opinion stated in a private letter. Although Goode is an elected representative, his letter doubtless expressed something he dare not say in Congress.
Second, there is the question of how that private letter came to the attention of the whirling, scimitar-wielding dervishes of CAIR. Is the head of the local chapter of the Sierra Club a Muslim, or sympathetic to Islam? Did another employee of Sierra send CAIR a copy of the letter? Or did someone in Goode's own office purloin it? Someone turned informer on Goode. From what motive?
On December 21, NBC's Brian Williams claimed that Goode sent the letter to his constituents. Which obfuscated version of the event has any grounding in reality? The network's coverage of the flap was subtly biased in favor of Ellison. It even concluded with a smarmy Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, who said:
"In the spirit of the season, I am sending Mr. Goode a Christmas present - a copy of the Constitution."This is the same Nihad Awad who said a few years ago that he wouldn't mind seeing the Constitution some day replaced with the Koran.
Someone fingered Goode to CAIR. Regardless of how the deed was done, however, CAIR's action will send a chilling message to anyone - politician or private citizen - to keep his mouth shut and his thoughts to himself if he has nothing good to say about Muslims or Islam.
"Representative Goode's Islamphobic remarks send a message of intolerance that is unworthy of anyone elected to public office," said CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor on CAIR's website. "There can be no reasonable defense for such bigotry."
It is a moot point whether or not Goode's remarks were bigoted. Criticism of Islam or of any Muslim should not automatically be deemed indicative of a dangerous and irrational psychological disorder, which is what the term "Islamophobia" implies. Islam and all Muslims are fair critical game, just as are Christianity and all Christians, and any other religion and its followers one cares to name. No religion is founded on reason, and all religions are legitimate subjects of rational scrutiny, caricature, and lampooning.
This is the true target of CAIR's accusation: not bigots or the xenophobic, but any person who subjects Islam to rational scrutiny and has the moral certitude to speak publicly on the matter.
To date, and to his credit, Representative Goode has refused to apologize.
CAIR is expanding its attention to toys, in this instance, video games. CAIR further reports on its website of December 19th:
"CAIR today asked Wal-Mart to stop selling a video game that glorifies religious violence and may harm interfaith relations....CAIR says it has received complaints about the game 'Left Behind: Eternal Forces,' produced by Left Behind Games Inc. the game reportedly rewards players for either converting or killing people of other faiths....The game's enemy team includes people with Muslim-sounding names...."I am no fan of the "Left Behind" series of novels - it is, after all, an apocalyptic Christian story - but if CAIR is so concerned about the "negative images" such games and rhetoric promote or perpetuate, it can do something about the violence of Islam's practitioners in the Mideast.
"We also believe that as a company that prides itself in hiring and offering services to a diverse group of people, it is Wal-Mart's corporate social responsibility to take into account the potential social impact of its decision to sell this harmful game. We, therefore, respectfully request the removal of the video game...from your selves."
A companion incident occurred when two U.S. senators, Olympia Snowe (R-MA) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) sent the chairman of ExxonMobil a letter dated October 27 castigating the oil company for siding with "global warming deniers" and funding their research.
"We are convinced that ExxonMobil's longstanding support of a small cadre of global climate change skeptics...have made it increasingly difficult for the United States to demonstrate the moral clarity it needs across all facets of its diplomacy." For an excellent analysis of the possible ramifications of the letter, see Tom DeWeese's article, "The Real Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming: Skeptics Have Valid Arguments" on Capitalism Magazine (December 19). Among other things, DeWeese reveals just how "small" that cadre of "skeptics" is.
What concerns this writer is the veiled threat of punishment with special taxes and more regulation if ExxonMobil does not withdraw support from scientists who are either critical of global warming goodthink or who have burst its balloon. This is attempted censorship by the back door. And the only public official who has had the courage to name it comes from an unlikely quarter, Britain.
Lord Monckton, former policy adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, sent Rockefeller and Snowe a stinging letter that upbraided them for playing teeth-baring thugs. (For the full article, go to the PRNewswire, December 18.)
"You defy every tenet of democracy when you invite ExxonMobil to deny itself the right to provide information to 'senior elected and appointed government officials,' who disagree with your opinion," wrote Monckton.
"Skeptics and those who have the courage to support them are actually helpful in getting the science right. They do not, as you improperly suggest, 'obfuscate' the issue: they assist in clarifying it by challenging weaknesses in the 'consensus' argument and they compel necessary corrections."His letter to Rockefeller and Snowe concludes:
"I challenge you to withdraw [the assertions that ExxonMobil is engaging in fraud and disinformation] or resign because your letter is the latest in what appears to be an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence the voices of scientists and others who have sound grounds, rooted firmly in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, to question what you would have us believe is the unanimous agreement of scientists worldwide that global warming will lead to what you excitedly but unjustifiably called 'disastrous' and 'calamitous' consequences."Or, as Ayn Rand once put it: Fifty million Frenchmen can be as wrong as one - in this instance, innumerable and noisy computer-model obsessed nerds who prefer verisimilitude over reality. His letter would have been faultlessly perfect if Monckton had further stated in it that it is global warming advocates (such as the "Gorebies") and environmentalists who engage in fraud and disinformation. It would be refreshing to hear someone say that the exponents of global warming's alleged disastrous and calamitous consequences and of environmental catastrophe fall into one of two categories: uncritical dupes, and power-lusting, man-hating political opportunists to whom truth is not only irrelevant, but the enemy.
It would be apropos to quote John Milton here, in regards to both Islam and the global warming alarmists and to the subject of the shutting up of their critics, from his Areopagitica (1644), one of the most perceptive political tracts ever written:
"Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"It is a free and open encounter that is the nemesis of the religious and environmental totalitarians among us and which they wish to suppress. In a culture of consensus and political power to enforce it, it is Truth that is "out."