By Warner Todd Huston
The west’s current battle with radical Islam has revealed the worst in both the west and the world of Islam. Obviously from Islam we have seen the intolerance, hatred, oppression and evil in its nature. But, from the west we have seen revealed the hollowness of its soul and a complete lack of self-regard as so many western nations allow the evil of Islam to attack them from within as well as from without. The west has lost its spine to stand up for its own principles, in fact has thrown away all pretext that it even has principles worth preserving.
Ben Franklin is reported to have said that for the American people the Founders had created a Republic but he added the caution "if you can keep it." By that he meant, of course, that it was up to future Americans to maintain the system grounded upon the first principles the Founders bequeathed to us. The same can be said of any society for if a society throws away or strays too far from its beginnings it becomes a materially different entity. Now sometimes it’s a good thing when a society strays from its genesis, to be sure. Leaving behind certain prejudices, rectifying the suppression of ideas or ending the oppression of minorities is the mark of a maturing, benevolent society. But, too much change can also be a bad thing. And change merely for changes sake is not a legitimate goal.
This dual reliance on conserving tradition while moving forward to liberalize society is familiar ground for the west in general and the United States in particular. The Founders clearly believed that both liberalization and conservatism could be enshrined in a modern state. After all, the whole thrust of the Founders’ ideology was that they were combining a preservation of the best of English tradition with the liberalization of government by the consent of the people and the ideals of religious liberty.
To the American Founders, these were principles well worth fighting for. And it should be remembered that if the Revolution had failed, each and every member of that Founding era would have suffered severe consequences for their support for the war. It also should be remembered than many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence did, indeed, suffer the consequences of their war even as they won it. Some lost their fortunes, some the lives of their families, some their health. So, sacrifices were made in support of these first principles.
But what do we have today? We have the same west that invented freedom of religion, freedom of the press, democracy, freedom of speech and liberty allowing an enemy to use those principles against it. We have western nations that are prepared to allow their own first principles to die a slow death as ideas antithetical to such principles are allowed to take a foothold among them.
In 2006 we saw the idea of freedom of the press destroyed in Denmark as a minority Muslim population rampaged their way to suppression of the media there. Danish workers were attacked and beaten by lawless bands of Muslims and the Danish media was eventually suppressed by a government that threw away its own principles merely to please these hate filled Muslims. All the while many European media outlets did their level best to ignore the entire story pretending the self-flagellation of the Danish was not happening before their very eyes.
For the last several years the French have pretended not to notice the uncivilized behavior of hundreds of thousands of its youth, a majority of whom are made up of Muslim immigrants, who have been engaged in a wild campaign of arson and destruction of private property. Sadly, no French authority has done a thing to stop it. The situation has gone from bad to worse as the campaign has developed into violence against citizens and police, moving beyond the initial stage of vandalism.
Many western nations have also been slowly casting aside their own rule of law to allow these Muslim enemies of equality and liberty to begin to implement Sharia "law" side by side with western jurisprudence. It is happening in England and it has also been threatened in Canada. These nations have allowed their immigrant communities to implement their own law and as each day passes these people come to imagine that they have less and less reason to live by the laws of their adopted nations but, instead, may supplant the centuries old western systems of jurisprudence with their own, traditionally oppressive, religious based laws. Apparently these western nations don’t value their own laws enough to assure that all fall equally under them.
It isn’t just Islam that the west is turning its back on its own principles to assuage. Even as inconsequential a thing as advertising has been suppressed by its own creators, and willingly so, to satisfy outsiders who claim outrage. In one case, for instance, the French carmaker Citroen has cancelled an advertisement campaign because people from one of the most oppressive nations on earth has complained. In this case, the image of China’s murderous Chairman Mao was used to sell the car with the slogan, "It’s true, we are leaders, but at Citroen the revolution never stops." Mao’s bland, chubby face was pinched into a smirk and this caused Chinese whiners to complain that it was "inappropriate." Absurdly, Citroen felt bad that it had made fun of one of the worst murderers in human history and apologized, canceling the campaign. Citroen released this obsequious statement: "We repeat our good feelings towards the Chinese people, and confirm that we respect the representatives and symbols of the country."
All this adds up to a west that is so afraid to offend outsiders that they too easily allow ideas that would destroy the very basis of western principle to invade and set up an internal enemy within. This self-destructive behavior is just as dangerous as allowing an armed enemy to attack without response and will kill it just as surely. In a failed quest not to offend anyone, the west allows its principles to be gutted by peoples and ideas that have no intention of becoming part of the western societies into which they have immigrated but intend to destroy that society to recreate the society from which they came.
For our very survival, we in the west must learn that "tolerance" is meaningless when what is being tolerated has the intention of destroying the very folks that are offering that tolerance. Tolerance is only successful when it is reciprocated.
In the end, it seems the west has lost its backbone. It has lost the very manhood it once had to fight for its principles and this will be the death of us all.
In closing, though it the following quote is about war, it is also an appropriate sentiment in this context…
"War is an ugly thing but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." –John Stuart Mill
We can add that fighting for first principles is just as important as fighting an all out war. Sadly, too many western nations have lost even this instinct at self-preservation.
Warner Todd Huston is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.