Friday, July 22, 2005

More From Across the Pond

One of the more conservative blogs I visit regularly is British and very libertarian. The home page is decorated with what appears to be a nine millimeter semi-automatic resting on a tome by Karl Popper. Although I disagree with most of the posts, I often find myself nodding appreciatively at the thought-provoking and civilized way in which the opinion is couched. I also appreciate the name of the blog: Samizdata. Given the current attempts at regulation of American bloggers by the FEC, I suspect that the term will begin to gain some currency here in the US.

At any rate, I was intrigued with Perry de Havilland's post this morning. Clearly written in response to the second bombing of London in two weeks, Mr. de Havilland's comments are, for the most part, actually quite sensible.

Endlessly blathering on about how "Islam is a religion of peace" or alternatively to call for expelling 'Muslims', simply because they are Muslims, is the sort of wilful blindness and one size fits all collectivism of a sort I would rather leave to socialists of both left and right. Anyone who values western liberal civilisation needs to think a little harder than that, avoiding both atavistic collectivism and a head-in-the-sand refusal to see we have a serious problem that will not go away on its own.

We do not need Muslims to approve of alcohol or women in short skirts or figurative art or bells or pork or pornography or homosexuality or (particularly) apostasy. We have no right to demand that at all and obviously not all Anglicans approve of some of those things, so why require that Muslims must?

No, what we do have the right to demand (and that is not too strong a word) is that they tolerate those things, which is to say they will not countenance the use of force to oppose those things even though they disapprove of them. In fact it is not just Muslims from whom we must demand such tolerance.

If we can get them to agree to tolerate those things, then it does not matter if Muslim women wear burquas because as long as they are not subject to force, a woman may elect to say "Sod this for a game of soldiers!" and cast off that symbol of misogynistic repression... and if she does not do so, well that is her choice then... but she must have a choice. They do not have to look like us (I do not hear calls for Chinatown to be razed to the ground), they do not have to share our religion(s), or lack thereof, but they do have to tolerate our varied ways and if by their actions or words they show they do not, we have every right to regard them as our enemies as take action against them to defend ourselves.

It's pretty hard to argue against that, although I certainly think a blanket "take action against them" approach might result in a Floridian bloodbath if taken to extremes.

While I hope I don't have to ever reprise Mr. de Havilland's post after a terrorist attack in the US, his words are certainly sage, coming as they do so soon after two attacks on his homeland.


Blogger Eli said...

And his words also apply *remarkably* well to fundamentalists as well, which he kinda hints at. We "intolerant" liberals don't want devout Christians to change their lifestyles in any way, *except* that they not attempt to impose them on ours, either through proselytizing or law.

4:00 PM  

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