Tolerance unreciprocated leaves the West vulnerable.
by Bruce S. Thornton
Last week riots broke out in Afghanistan and Pakistan over an unfounded rumor, irresponsibly published by Newsweek magazine, that an American interrogator had flushed a Koran down the toilet. In response, the administration has been anxiously assuring the Muslim world that we indeed respect their religion and begging them to please like us.
Meanwhile, in last Friday’s sermon televised on Palestinian Authority television the paid employee of the PA described the Jews as an AIDS-like virus responsible for all the world’s evils, blamed their economic sabotage of Germany for the Holocaust, and predicted the future triumph of Islam over America, a time when “everything will be relieved of the Jews, even the stones and trees.” Yes, this is the same Palestinian Authority whose elected leader, himself a published Holocaust denier, will soon visit the President of the United States and whose organization will receive millions of taxpayer dollars.
Anyone familiar with the history of Islam and its 14-centuries-long violent jihad against the West and the Jews will not be surprised or shocked by these events. They express perfectly the arrogant intolerance of a religion convinced it has been chosen by God to rule the world, and so is justified in using every means, whether violence or propaganda, to fulfill that divine mandate. As the final and complete revelation of the divine, Islam feels no need to respect or tolerate other religions or secular notions like “human rights,” for they are all the detritus of infidel history to be swept away in the final triumph of the one true religion.
Hence, while we in the West anxiously monitor our words and deeds for even the slightest offense against Islamic sensibilities, we receive in exchange no such consideration; indeed, our eager protestations of respect merely excite more contempt. Thus even as we protest our respect for Islam, Jews continue to be vilified with anti-Semitic rhetoric redolent of Nazi Germany, Palestinian terrorists befoul one of Christianity’s most sacred churches, the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem still sits on the site of the Jewish Temple, and in Istanbul Hagia Sophia, once one of Christendom’s greatest churches, is still a mosque. Worse still, a whole revisionist history in which the intolerant, imperialistic conqueror is transformed into the tolerant, peace-loving victim of Western imperialism is propagated by self-loathing Westerners whose bigotry against their own culture confirms the Islamist view that we are indeed Godless heathens and spiritual cripples.
Just look at Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, a truly Orwellian reversal of history in which the fanatical jihadists are depicted as tolerant and civilized, the Christian believers are caricatured as either venal hypocrites or psychopaths, and the only good Europeans are those who have lost their faith. The mentality that would spend over a hundred million dollars on this historical lie is that of a psychological dhimmi, the non-Moslem who concedes Islam’s superiority and hence right to rule him. That is, the world-view of those for whom appetite and pleasure are the highest goods, flabby tolerance is the camouflage of moral exhaustion, and respect for the culture of the “other” is merely an expression of disbelief in the value of one’s own.
In short, like the hand wringing of the administration over an obvious lie only the irrational and ignorant would believe, this willingness to demonize the culture that created you and to extol as superior the culture that wants to destroy you can only be described as suicidal. Certainly the Islamist sees it that way, which is why he feels confident in predicting the ultimate triumph of his religion: he is willing to die and kill for his beliefs, whereas significant numbers of Westerners don’t really believe that there is anything worth dying and killing for.
Increasingly we Westerners resemble the Eloi of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, beautiful, gentle, highly civilized hedonists whose fate is to be devoured raw by the brutal Morlocks. We are the beneficiaries of a culture created by those before us who forged European civilization in the fires of resistance to Islamic jihad: in Spain, in Sicily, in Eastern Europe, in Greece — the plunder, rape, slaughter, massacres, sacks, kidnapping, and enslavement perpetrated by the armies of Allah were for centuries fought by those whose names now most Westerners have forgotten or would be embarrassed to claim as their own. Don John, Charles Martel, Leo the Isaurian, Prince Eugene, Montecuccoli, Andrea Doria, El Cid, Sobieski, Charlemagne, Suvorov, Boucicaut,, Hunyadi, Fernando II of Castile, Alfonso I of Aragon, Guiscard, Harold Hardrada-who among us knows anything about the men who fought and killed so that Europe, and Europe’s offspring America, today looks like Europe and America instead of looking like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Syria?
Because of the brutal violence of those warriors against jihad, we in the West today enjoy the luxury of cynicism, cheap irony, effete tolerance, and hedonism. We moral dwarves stand on the shoulders of those giants and spit on their heads, thinking our ingratitude is really an intellectual sophistication superior to the primitive superstitions and naïve ideals that have made our lives of freedom and prosperity possible. Meanwhile jihad by other means — demography, immigration, terrorism, the oil weapon — continues apace, at least until the time when a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon falls into the hands of a modern jihadist and we are returned to the sort of slaughter our ancestors suffered for centuries. Maybe then we’ll wake up.