The Council has Spoken 082010


Sharif don’t like it
Rock the casbah
(He thinks it’s not kosher)

Rock the Casbah – The Clash

This week’s winning council entry, The Razor’s  The Rage Beneath The Surface, examines the Left’s tolerance for intolerance as it explores the issue of the Ground Zero Mosque:

Should we subject ourselves to Islamic fundamentalists today simply because Roman Catholics burned heretics at the stake 500 years ago? How clever is it to ally yourself politically with a group that devalues you (in the case of feminists) or wants to kill you for who you are (in the case of gays)?

Maybe they do so out of plain ignorance. Having fallen for Marxist atheism in college they may have believed that Islam was just another opiate of the masses. Perhaps they do so out of hope, thinking that the alliance will change the minds of the Islamists. Or maybe it’s due to fear: You can drop a crucifix in a pot of piss or create a painting of the Virgin Mary with crap without worry – and even look edgy doing so. But draw a cartoon of Muhammed or make a 10 minute movie about women’s bodies covered with Quranic verses and you get banned in newspapers and a note pinned to your chest with a dagger. Leftists refuse to recognize that while it’s possible to talk your way out of a robbery or mugging, it’s impossible to talk your way out of being murdered.

There is a disconnect among those who would celebrate the display of magnamity to one who doesn’t show the a reciprocal generostiy of spirit. But too many of our elites will brook no dissent in the matter: one who asks Muslims to show sensitivity are bigots. To that charge Charles Krauthammer answers:

Ground Zero is the site of the most lethal attack of that worldwide movement, which consists entirely of Muslims, acts in the name of Islam and is deeply embedded within the Islamic world. These are regrettable facts, but facts they are. And that is why putting up a monument to Islam in this place is not just insensitive but provocative.

Just as the people of Japan today would not think of planting their flag at Pearl Harbor, despite the fact that no Japanese under the age of 85 has any possible responsibility for that infamy, representatives of contemporary Islam — the overwhelming majority of whose adherents are equally innocent of the infamy committed on 9/11 in their name — should exercise comparable respect for what even Obama calls hallowed ground and take up the governor’s offer.

This week’s winning non-council post, Pascal Bruckner’s  Europe’s Guilty Conscience, deals with a different intellectual collapse. In this case it is the collapse of Europe or at least of Europe’s self confidence.

While America is a project, Europe is a sorrow. Before long, it will amount to little except the residue of abandoned dreams. We dreamed of a great diversity where we might live well, seek personal fulfillment, and, if possible, get rich—and all this in proximity to great works of culture. This was a worthwhile project, to be sure, and such a calm condition would be perfect in a time of great serenity, in a world that had finally achieved Kant’s “perpetual peace.” But there is a striking contrast between the stories that we Europeans tell ourselves about rights, tolerance, and multilateralism and the tragedies that we witness in the surrounding world—in autocratic Russia, aggressive Iran, arrogant China, a divided Middle East. We see them, too, in the heart of our great cities, in the double offensive of Islamist terrorism and fundamentalist groups aiming to colonize minds and hearts and Islamize Europe.

This article by the way reminded me of another recent article, Israel through European Eyes by Yoram Hazony, which argues, in part:

It is a little-discussed fact that the Jews are not the only ones for whom Auschwitz has become an important political symbol. Many Europeans, too, see Auschwitz as being at the heart of the lesson of World War II. But the conclusions they draw are precisely the opposite of those drawn by Jews. Following Kant, they see Auschwitz as the ultimate expression of that barbarism, that brutal debasement of humanity, which is national particularism. On this view, the death camps provide the ultimate proof of the evil that results from permitting nations to decide for themselves how to dispose of the military power in their possession. The obvious conclusion is that it was wrong to give the German nation this power of life and death. If such evil is to be prevented from happening again and again, the answer must be in the dismantling of Germany and the other national states of Europe, and the yoking together of all the European peoples under a single international government. Eliminate the national state once and for all—Ecrasez l’infame!—and you have sealed off that dark road to Auschwitz.

In different ways, our two winners this week describe what we might call the West’s lack of self-worth.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners