Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Friend of Western Civ Speaks Up

Western Civilization still has its friends...yes, even at home. It may still be the fashion in many of our major universities and in some of our colleges to view Western Civilization not as a heritage to receive but as an evil to be overcome. But in this land of the free there is thankfully still a vigorous defense not only of its legitimacy, but of its moral superiority.

In the recent issue of City Journal, Ibn Warraq responds to Tariq Ramadan with this short but stirring and spirited argument for, "Why we should not be reluctant to assert the superiority of Western values" ("Why the West Is Best," City Journal, Winter 2008). This just a taste. You should read the whole thing (835 words).

A culture that gave the world the novel; the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert; and the paintings of Michelangelo, da Vinci, and Rembrandt does not need lessons from societies whose idea of heaven, peopled with female virgins, resembles a cosmic brothel. Nor does the West need lectures on the superior virtue of societies in which women are kept in subjection under sharia, endure genital mutilation, are stoned to death for alleged adultery, and are married off against their will at the age of nine; societies that deny the rights of supposedly lower castes; societies that execute homosexuals and apostates. The West has no use for sanctimonious homilies from societies that cannot provide clean drinking water or sewage systems, that make no provisions for the handicapped, and that leave 40 to 50 percent of their citizens illiterate.

Ibn Warraq is a secularist scholar of Islam and the Koran born on the Indian subcontinent and educated in the West. It is no surprise, therefore, that he must write under a pseudonym. That's life when you want to speak freely about the so-called "religion of peace." Among his books are Why I Am Not a Muslim (1995), The Origins of the Koran (1998), and Quest for the Historical Muhammad, (2000). He is the founder of the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society and is a senior fellow at the Center for Inquiry.

Another heroic defender of Western liberty against the creeping advance of stifling Islamic social control is Dutch lawmaker, Geert Wilders of the PVV (the small Party for Freedom). He has made a 15-minute film, Forbidden (in Dutch, Fitna), which is provocatively critical of Islam. As a consequence, Muslims are beside themselves with rage, Pakistan restricted access to to YouTube last week, and the Dutch government is trying to persuade Wilders to abandon the film. Essentially, let's adopt elements of tyrannical political culture for the sake of improving relations with tyrannical governments and societies.

Watch the trailer for Forbidden on the recklessly irresponsible YouTube.

The Canadian Press story, "Backlash begins even before Dutch legislator's anti-Qur'an film airs," reminds us that Dutch filmmaker, Theo van Gogh, was murdered in 2004 "by an Islamic radical enraged by his short film, "Submission," a fictional study of abused Muslim women with scenes of near-naked women with Qur'anic texts engraved on their flesh." Watch part of the film that earned him death. It doesn't take much. Charles Krauthammer gives a vivid picture of what is at stake in these conflicts:
Last Nov. 2 [2004], Theo van Gogh, Dutch filmmaker and descendant of the painter, was cycling through Amsterdam. He was accosted by Mohammed Bouyeri, who shot him six times as Van Gogh pleaded ``We can still talk about it! Don't do it!'' Bouyeri then cut his throat with a kitchen knife, severing his head all the way to his spine. Bouyeri was not done. He then took a five-page Islamist manifesto and with his knife impaled it on van Gogh's chest. On trial now in Holland, Bouyeri is unrepentant. In court he turned to van Gogh's grieving mother, and with infinite cruelty said to her, "I do not feel your pain.'' ("Europe's Native-born Enemy," Washington Post, July 15, 2005)

There is natural human tendency toward tyranny and slavish submission to it. For that reason, "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"--understanding it, fierce attachment to it, and then courage and sacrifice.

No comments: