June 08, 2008
In the spring issue of the City Journal runs an essay by Bruce Bawer, entitled “An Anatomy of Surrender,” in which he describes the West’s acquiescence of “creeping sharia.” Bawer cites numerous examples of censorship and self-censorship from both America and Europe. They prove that critical views about Islam are no longer tolerated.
Bawer points out that attempts to roll back freedom of speech and other liberties have been less successful in the U.S. than in Europe. He is right. However, he does not explain why this is the case, apart from briefly mentioning that it is “thanks in no small part to the First Amendment.” Unlike Europe, America has not introduced so-called “hate speech legislation” which imposes fines and jail sentences for voicing politically incorrect opinions about certain taboo subjects. Yet, as Americans know, speaking one’s mind can get one into trouble in the U.S. as well. There will be no fine or imprisonment, but one risks losing one’s job and being ostracized.
Yet the question remains: Why is Europe collapsing at a faster rate then America?
The reason is one which people like Bruce Bawer are reluctant to acknowledge. Bawer is a liberal American homosexual who wrote books such as A Place at the Table: The Gay Individual in American Society. In 1998, he moved from New York to Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. It is not a coincidence that he went to Amsterdam. What Bawer loved about the Netherlands was, he says, “its tolerance, its secularism.”
He moved there soon after finishing his book Stealing Jesus: How Fundamentalism Betrays Christianity because he wanted to live in a secular society, away from the Christian fundamentalism of America. The Netherlands is the country that has taken secularization, multiculturalism, tolerance of alternative lifestyles, drug abuse, and other fads to their furthest extremes. It was the first country to discard its Christian past and introduce legalised abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, legally regulated prostitution and drug dealing. On his website Bawer explained:
Moving among the native Dutch, whose public schools teach children to take for granted the full equality of men and women and to view sexual orientation as a matter of indifference, I felt safe and accepted.
However, having settled in Amsterdam Bawer noticed that the country that had renounced Christianity was not a paradise for gays. The Dutch had renounced their Christian heritage, giving in not only to the demands of gay lobby groups, radical feminists and the like, but also to those of Muslim extremists. Unlike in the U.S., homosexuals in Amsterdam are legally allowed to marry because the Dutch no longer uphold the traditional moral order. At the same time, homosexuals in Dutch cities live in constant fear of being beaten up by Muslims youths obeying the Koranic decree that homosexuals be put to death, because the Dutch no longer uphold law and order either.
Bawer fled. In 1999 he left for Norway, another liberal Shangri-la in Europe, just a few steps behind the Netherlands in legalizing liberal fads. However, as in a comical movie, in his quest for the gay paradise, Bawer went from one dire situation to another. Last January, in a piece entitled “First They Came for the Gays,” he relates how his “partner” was recently
confronted at a bus stop [in Oslo] by two Muslim youths, one of whom had asked if he was gay, started to pull out a knife, then kicked him as he got on the bus, which had pulled up at just the right moment. If the bus hadn”t come when it did, the encounter could have been much worse.
Two years ago, Bawer published the bestselling book While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West From Within. Since he is a liberal homosexual, who had previously written a number of books advocating the liberal and gay agenda, he had no problems finding a mainstream publisher and getting his book widely reviewed in the mainstream media. His book is a very useful tool to awaken an American audience to the drama that is currently unfolding in Europe. Nevertheless the book fails to explain what the root cause is of the phenomenon its author describes. Bawer is blind to the basic lesson Americans can learn from Europe’s predicament. He refuses to admit that secularism and liberalism destroyed Europe by creating a demographic and religious vacuum that Muslim immigrants and Islam are simply filling up.
What Bawer calls America’s “oppressive Christian fundamentalism” is exactly what keeps America healthy (at least in comparison to the continent). If the situation in Europe continues to deteriorate it will not be long before Bruce Bawer, for his own safety and that of his “partner,” will feel compelled to flee back to his native America. One can only hope that liberalism will not progress to the point where the American nation, like the nations of Europe, loses the will to assert its own identity, the conservative belief in the supremacy of its Christian heritage, the willingness to fight for the preservation of its traditional values.
Contrary to what Bawer says, it is not true that “first they came for the gays.” First they came for the Christians, and radical homosexual activists were in the vanguard of the liberal storm troopers who silenced the Christians in Europe.
Last October the Brussels Journal, a website that pursues the dual goal of giving the conservative minority in Europe a voice in the public debate and, even more importantly, warning Americans so they can avoid Europe’s mistake, was attacked by Little Green Footballs (LGF), the website of one Charles Johnson, an ally and friend of Bawer’s. Johnson is a liberal who saw the light after 9/11 when he transformed into a so-called “anti-jihadist” and installed himself as the Grand Inquisitor of conservatism. Johnson pontificated that the Brussels Journal is not conservative, but is run by far-right white-supremacist neo-fascist Europeans, as dangerous as your average Islamist fanatic.
The reason for Johnson’s ire was BJ’s support for a counterjihad conference in Brussels last October, where members of European anti-immigration political parties such as the Belgian Vlaams Belang (VB) and Sverigedemokraterna (the Swedish Democrats) attended, as well as the fact that the BJ had criticized Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born Dutch politician and Muslim apostate. Hirsi Ali, whom Johnson calls “a heroine of the highest magnitude” and Bawer “perhaps the greatest living champion of Western freedom in the face of creeping jihad,” advised the Belgian authorities in February 2006 to outlaw the VB. She opined that the party
hardly differs from the Hofstad group [a Jihadist terror network in the Netherlands, involved in the assassination of Theo van Gogh]. Though the VB members have not committed any violent crimes yet, they are just postponing them and waiting until they have an absolute majority. On many issues they have exactly the same opinions as the Muslim extremists: on the position of women, on the suppression of gays, on abortion. This way of thinking will lead straight to genocide.
There it is: Anyone who does not agree with the secularists on their feminist dogmas, their homosexual propaganda and their pro-abortion stance, is just as dangerous as al-Qaeda and is a maniac bent on genocide. Bruce Bawer eagerly joined the controversy by attacking Paul Belien, the Brussels journalist who founded the BJ. He posted the following letter at Charles Johnson’s LGF website:
In May, Paul Belien wrote as follows in the Washington Times: “Europe is in the middle of a three-way culture war between the defenders of traditional Judeo-Christian morality, the proponents of secular hedonism and the forces of Islamic Jihadism.”
“Secular hedonism” is plainly his term for secular liberalism. Plainly he identifies with what he calls “traditional Judeo-Christian morality.” And the structure of his sentence suggests that for him both “secular hedonism” and “Islamic Jihadism” are equal enemies.
And what about those of us who foolishly think this is a war for INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY? Are we just supposed to sit back and shut up and take orders from a bunch of little Euro-fascists?
Another “little Euro-fascist” according to Johnson, Bawer and their ilk, is Brigitte Bardot. In April, the 73-year old French former movie star was tried in court for the sixth time for “inciting racial hatred.” The public prosecutor demands that Bardot be given a two-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of “¬15,000 ($23,000) because she wrote in a letter that she is “fed up with being under the thumb of this population [of Muslim immigrants] which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its habits.” In Europe, it is a criminal offence to hold such opinions.
Johnson and his friends refuse to defend Bardot. In their eyes she, too, is as horrible as the average Islamist suicide bomber. One of Johnson’s friends, an American neocon of French origin, wrote that Bardot is a “fascist,” just like the Muslim “Islamofascists.” About the prosecution of Bardot by the French authorities he said:
As far as I am concerned, this particular case is a dogfight between two equally totalitarian factions. I certainly do not recognize myself in the kind of France Brigitte Bardot (and the company she keeps) mourns […] [H]er getting in trouble for that is not enough of a reason for me to drop my principles and side with one flavor of Fascist just to oppose the other. I”ll just wait on my side of the line in the sand, to see which one comes on top. Rifle at the ready, if need be.
Interestingly, Johnson’s friend explained why he regards Bardot as a fascist: She has
a neo-Fascist outlook on homosexuals, immigrants and contemporary American foreign policy.
For neo-conservatives like Charles Bawer and other former liberals, the conservative Europeans opposing the Islamization of their continent and the Islamists are “equally totalitarian.”
They hate the traditionalist Europeans as vehemently as they hate the Muslim extremists. Everyone who does not condone their lifestyles is opposed with the same vigor. People like Bawer, Johnson, Hirsi Ali et al. have become America’s preferred critics of Islam. Like cuckoos they have laid their egg in the conservative nest. They defame real conservatives as “racists,” “fascists,” “homophobes,” and try to drive them from the conservative movement. They are self-styled anti-Islamists who, as Lawrence Auster notes at his blog, condemn every critic of Islam from outside their own liberal and/or neocon envelope, including everyone who dares raise the topic of deportation, or looks for the root causes of Islamization in either immigration policies or the West’s moral decadence.
In his City Journal article, Bruce Bawer lists numerous cases of prosecution for “hate speech crimes” in Europe. The article is deliberately one-sided. It tells only half the truth. Bawer does not mention Bardot, though since 1997 the poor woman has already been fined four times for criticizing the Islamization of France. The public prosecutor in Paris told the court last month that Bardot should be given a tough sentence because the prosecutor has run out of patience with her.
Bruce Bawer writes that in 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini
introduced a new kind of jihad. Instead of assaulting Western ships or buildings, Khomeini took aim at a fundamental Western freedom: freedom of speech. In recent years, other Islamists have joined this crusade, seeking to undermine Western societies” basic liberties and extend sharia within those societies […] while those who dare to call a spade a spade are “Islamophobes.”
He does not mention that there is another assault against freedom of speech going on by another type of “cultural jihadists.” It began well before 1989 and those who dare to call a spade a spade are “homophobes.”
Last year, a French appeal court sentenced Christian Vanneste, a conservative member of Parliament, to a fine of “¬3,000 ($4,600) plus “¬3,000 in damages to each of the three homosexual activist organizations that had taken him to court for his views on homosexuality. His crime? He had said that “heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality” and that “homosexual behavior endangers the survival of humanity.” The homosexual activist groups welcomed the court ruling, saying that freedom of speech should be restricted in order “to punish homophobic comments which should be fought because they inspire and legitimize verbal and physical attacks.”
Bawer criticizes hate-speech legislation that criminalizes “religious insults” and places the burden of proof on the defendant. This kind of legislation has been introduced in most European countries and Canada. It criminalizes not only every statement that might inspire and legitimize verbal and physical attacks on Muslims or that is deemed offensive by them (so-called “Islamophobia”), but also every similar statement about homosexuals (so-called “homophobia”). Indeed, hate speech legislation was not primarily introduced to facilitate the Islamization of Europe but, under pressure of homosexual lobbies, to undermine the traditional Christian roots of European society. Islamization is but the logical consequence of Europe’s dechristianization. Islam is the monster that the liberal secularists allowed in to devour their Christian opponents. Now that the monster has begun to devour the liberal secularists as well, the latter start to wail about oppressive legislation, though they continue to use the same legislation to harass Christians.
Unfortunately, the liberal secularists have not learned from the disaster in Europe and are eager to inflict the European predicament on other corners of Western civilization such as Australia and America.
The Daily Telegraph of Australia reported last month that the Australian authorities have told schools to stop using terms such as husband and wife. The terms boyfriend, girlfriend and spouse are also on the banned list and have to be replaced by the generic “partner.” Australia is also going to include “same-sex attraction issues” in students” lessons on relationships, diversity and discrimination. According to Australia’s Education Director-General schools have a responsibility to fight homophobia.
“Cultural jihadists hate our freedoms because those freedoms defy sharia, which they”re determined to impose on us,” laments Bruce Bawer. The other “cultural jihadists,” however, are determined to impose their social and sexual agenda on us. They, too, intimidate and terrorize. America has not been immune to this.
Last week homosexual activists at Smith College, Northampton, MA, rioted in protest against a speech delivered by Ryan Sorba entitled “The Born Gay Hoax.” Ryan was talking to the Smith Republic Club when activists stormed the podium and deprived Sorba of his right of free speech. Uniformed police officers who were present at the scene just stood and watched. Rather than take action against the rioters, the officers and a university official walked to the podium and ordered Sorba to leave the room “for his own safety.”
As Nancy Morgan recently wrote:
Gays are portrayed as victims of an unfeeling society. As such, they have been granted special rights not available to other Americans. The right not to be offended, the right to automatic respect, and the right to offend any person or group that dares to object. Imagine the outcry if Christians were granted these same rights. […] The fear of being branded homophobic, racist, mean-spirited or any of the other PC labels has effectively silenced millions of Americans.
This bears an eerie resemblance to Bruce Bawer’s description in City Journal of Europe’s appeasement of its Muslim bullies, who, like the gays, have also been granted special rights not available to other Europeans: the right not to be offended, the right to automatic respect, and the right to offend “ and silence “ any person or group that dares to object. In fact, the two situations illustrate one and the same phenomenon, which occurs when Westerners are no longer prepared to defend their traditional values and the moral heritage of Christianity which once formed the core of their identity.
Henry Hotspur is a European. In writing this essay, he is committing a double “hate speech crime” against both Muslims and homosexuals.