Created 2006-12-04 15:53
Is Islam compatible with democracy? This is a question I address elsewhere. We also have to ask ourselves, however, whether the conditions needed for a properly functioning democratic system are currently present even in the West. I’m not always sure about that. In a functioning democratic state, the state passes laws in accordance with the wishes of the people, and also strives to uphold these laws. In Western Europe in particular, the state does neither, as most laws are passed by unelected EU bureaucrats and not elected national parliaments, and as the streets are increasingly ruled by gangs and criminals.
When Arne Hjemaas from Fauske in Norway discovered who was behind a series of burglaries in August and September, he gave the information to the police. “We knew where the burglar was and where the stolen goods were. He had stolen so much from us and from other firms that he had hired a garage to store everything,” Hjemaas said, but the police did nothing.
Finally, Hjemaas and his brother decided to pick up the goods and hand the burglar over to the police. “Unfortunately, it ended in a fight. The man was armed and aggressive. This is not stated in the police documents. The police have documented the burglar’s bruises, but not mine. Our actions led to recovering stolen goods for us and others.” Later, Hjemaas was told that the man was supposed to be apprehended the day before, but the officer who had been assigned the mission had to attend a funeral. Now, Hjemaas is about to be prosecuted for violence and risks four months in jail.
Alexander Boot, a Russian by birth, left for the West in the 1970s, only to discover that the West he was seeking was no longer there. This led him to write the book How the West Was Lost. I don’t agree with everything Boot says. He places a lot of emphasis on the importance of religion, which is fine, but I disagree with his criticism of post-Enlightenment civilization in general. Still, he is articulate and original, which makes him worth reading anyway:
“Parliaments all over the world are churning out laws by the bucketful. Yet, they fail to protect citizens so spectacularly that one is tempted to think that this is not their real purpose. […] Governments are no longer there to protect society and the individuals within it. […] For that reason a crime committed by one individual against another is of little consequence to them.”
The law also increasingly denies citizens the right to protect themselves and their property, with the United States as an important exception, at least for now. This despite the fact that Switzerland, with the heaviest-armed population in the world, has low crime rates. In the first two years after a complete ban on handguns was introduced in Britain, gun crime went up 50 per cent and is still growing.
According to Boot,
“While killing is still frowned upon, other violent crimes, including assault and even attempted murder, often go not only unpunished but even unprosecuted in many Western countries. Unless, of course, they are committed in self-defence, something the state abhors as this diminishes its control over the life and property of its subjects. […] The burglar is in the same business as the state: redistributing wealth. Burglary is a form of income tax, and the burglar merely collects the excess that has evaded the tax collector’ net. […] A burglar is a victim, not a criminal, grew up needy and downtrodden, we, society at large, are to blame for his plight.”
Citizens no longer respect laws because they know the state does not do so either. According to Boot, this is caused by the loss of religion:
“Without God laws are arbitrary and can fall prey either to evil design or ill-conceived political expediency, which is another way of saying that without God law is tyranny. […] Religion, for all the misdeeds committed by it or in its name, was the foundation on which Western culture and civilization had been erected. Destroy the foundation, and down comes the whole structure with a big thud. […] The unsavoury Spanish inquisitors, for example, are variously estimated to have carried out between 10,000 and 30,000 executions during the three-and-a-half centuries they were in business.”
That’s pretty bad, but still not more than a monthly output in your average Socialist regime. And Alexander Boot does not buy into the excuse that Marxism has been misunderstood:
“Any serious study will demonstrate that Marx based his theories on industrial conditions that either were already obsolete at the time or had never existed in the first place. That is no wonder, for Marx never saw the inside of a factory, farm or manufactory. […] Whatever else he was, Marx was not a scientist. […] Marx ideals are unachievable precisely because they are so monstrous that even Bolsheviks never quite managed to realize them fully, and not for any lack of trying. For example, the [Communist] Manifesto (along with other writings by both Marx and Engels) prescribes the nationalization of all private property without exception. Even Stalin’s Russia of the 1930s fell short of that ideal. In fact, a good chunk of the Soviet economy was then in private hands […] Really, compared with Marx, Stalin begins to look like a humanitarian. Marx also insisted that family should be done away with, with women becoming communal property. Again, for all their efforts, Lenin and Stalin never quite managed to achieve this ideal either. So where the Bolsheviks and Nazis perverted Marxism, they generally did so in the direction of softening it.”
Boot also has some critical words about the Western political system, especially since he believes that the loyalty of Western political elites “is pledged to the international elite that increasingly supersedes national interests.”
“The word ‘democracy’ in both Greece and Rome had no one man one vote implications and Plato used it in the meaning of ‘mob rule.’ The American founding fathers never used it at all and neither did Lincoln. […] a freely voting French citizen or British subject of today has every aspect of his life controlled, or at least monitored, by a central government in whose actions he has little say. He meekly hands over half his income knowing the only result of this transfer will be an increase in the state’s power to extort even more. […] He opens his paper to find yet again that the ‘democratic’ state has dealt him a blow, be that of destroying his children’s education, raising his taxes, devastating the army that protects him, closing his local hospital or letting murderers go free. In short, if one defines liberty as a condition that best enables the individual to exercise his freedom of choice, then democracy of universal suffrage is remiss on that score.”
He believes that democracy, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, has been replaced by glossocracy, the government of the word, by the word and for the word. The impulse behind Political Correctness consists of twisting the language we use, enforcing new words or changing the meaning of old ones, turning them into “weapons of crowd control” by demonizing those who fail to comply with the new definitions. Glossocracy depends upon a long-term investment in ignorance.
“Like the Russian intelligentsia of yesteryear, the glossocratic intelligentsia of today’s West is busily uprooting the last remaining vestiges of Westernness. The press is one gardening implement they use; education is another.”
One example of how language is power is given in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll:
“‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that’s all.’”
According to Boot,
“A semi-literate population is a soft touch for glossocratic Humpty Dumpties insisting that words mean whatever they want them to mean. […] Laws against racism are therefore not even meant to punish criminal acts. They are on the books to reassert the power of the state to control not just the citizens’ actions but, more important, their thoughts and the words they use to get these across. […] It is relatively safe to predict that, over the next ten years, more and more people in Western Europe and North America will be sent to prison not for something they have done, but for something they have said. That stands to reason: a dictator whose power is based on the bullet is most scared of bullets; a glossocrat whose power is based on words is most scared of words. At the same time, real crime is going to increase. […] A state capable of prosecuting one person for his thoughts is equally capable of prosecuting thousands, and will predictably do so when it has consolidated its power enough to get away with any outrage.”
This is unfortunately already happening. In Canada, Mark Harding was sentenced to 340 hours of community service slash indoctrination under the direction of Mohammad Ashraf, general secretary of the Islamic Society of North America in Mississauga, Ontario. Ashraf made it clear that during the sessions nothing negative could be said about Islam. “He said he was my supervisor, and if I didn’t follow what he said, he would send me back to jail,” recounted Harding.
Harding was convicted because of a June 1997 incident in which he distributed pamphlets outside a public high school in Toronto, listing atrocities committed by Muslims in foreign lands to back his assertion that Canadians should be wary of local Muslims. The pamphlet said: “The Muslims who commit these crimes are no different than the Muslim believers living here” and that “Toronto is definitely on their hit list.”
Harding stated that after his case became public, he no longer felt safe, due to threats from Muslims. When he entered court for his trial, a large crowd of Muslims chanted “Infidels, you will burn in hell.” Judge Sidney B. Linden’s 1998 ruling against Harding was based on Canada’s hate-crimes law. The judge determined he was guilty of “false allegations about the adherents of Islam calculated to arouse fear and hatred of them in all non-Muslim people.”
In June 2006, Canadian police arrested a group of Muslim men suspected of planning terror attacks against various targets including the Toronto subway, and possibly of beheading Canadian Conservative, pro-Israeli PM Stephen Harper. An intelligence study warned that a “high percentage ‘ of Canadian Muslims involved in extremist activities were born in Canada.
In Britain, after Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, was cleared for stirring up racial hatred by calling Islam “a wicked, vicious faith.” Gordon Brown, by many considered PM Tony Blair’s likely successor, immediately pledged to strengthen hate speech laws: “I think any preaching of religious or racial hatred will offend mainstream opinion in this country and I think we have got to do whatever we can to root it out from whatever quarter it comes.”
The issue here is not whether you agree with the BNP, the issue is that a politicized police force is used on behalf of the Labour government to harass political rivals and silence critics of their Muslim voters. Moreover, at the same time as the state is using legal harassment against critics of Islam, Islamic sharia laws are spreading in Britain.
Just like in Norway, where the authorities fail to protect their citizens against criminals but prosecute those who do what the authorities fail to do, so in Britain the state is harassing those who point out the fact that the state is incapable or unwilling to uphold the laws and the borders of Britain. The British see this, which is probably why they are increasingly leaving. And in Canada, you get convicted for “racism” for making predictions about the threat posed by Muslim immigration that later turn out to be perfectly accurate.
Theodore Dalrymple writes about a book entitled A Land Fit for Criminals, written by David Fraser, who has served as a probation officer for more than a quarter of a century. According to Dalrymple,
“For the last 40 years, government policy in Britain, de facto if not always de jure, has been to render the British population virtually defenseless against criminals and criminality. […] No Briton nowadays goes many hours without wondering how to avoid being victimized by a criminal intent on theft, burglary, or violence. […] As Fraser pointed out to me, the failure of the state to protect the lives and property of its citizens, and to take seriously its duty in this regard, creates a politically dangerous situation, for it puts the very legitimacy of the state itself at risk. The potential consequences are incalculable, for the failure might bring the rule of law itself into disrepute and give an opportunity to the brutal and the authoritarian.”
The democratic states of the West are losing the ability to protect their citizenry, and are in some cases turning into enemies of their own people. That is a situation that cannot and will not last forever. If left unchecked, these developments could have more serious consequences than most of us would like to contemplate.