The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, February 23, 2006
The West's Last Chance
I shouldn't have read it before going to sleep last night. It made me so angry - I nearly threw the book across the room! And that was only the first chapter.
Tony Blankley's The West's Last Chance infuriated me. His first chapter was a hypothetical - a worst case scenario - of life in Europe and America in 2007. Blankley was prescient when he wrote the book in 2005, because in his hypothetical, the instituting of Sharia law in Europe was a direct result of protest against 'religiously offensive art.' Wow. Seeing as the book went to print in July - before the cartoons first appeared in the Jyllends Posten - it's quite impressive that he included such a similiar idea as part of his opening chapter.
If I were a conspiracy theorist... but I'm not.
The results of these deliberations were presented as a reasonable series of compromises. Permanent, multi-denominational commissions were established to review current and proposed artwork in public venues, with a view toward removal of those considered offensive to the public taste, or to a substantial minority of the public. Many of the statues that had been removed from public streets for protective reasons never reappeared. In their place, municipalities put abstract statuary, including new works freshly commissioned from Muslim artists.
Most museums were reorganized so that Muslims could enter and view works of interest, such as landscapes and Islamc exhibits, wihtout being exposed to idolatrous or sacrilegious art. In the process, many seconday paintings, primarily of interest to scholars and connoisseurs, were simply never rehung or displayed. They quietly disappeared into storage, where only serious researchers were permitted to see them.
Some extremists remained unsatisfied with these measures. They pressed for further restrictions, with seperate days for men and women to attend museums and cultural events.
This is just a small part of it. I am eagerly awaiting my lunch break to devour not only a sandwich, but at least a couple more chapters of this intriguing book.
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This sounds like a newer 1984. With the political correctness , feminism , and racial intolerance sweeping the globe , expect this all to happen , just as the communists planned .
Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-23 12:05:53 PM
I remember 1984. The year and the book. A lot of us saw that milestone come and go with great interest, since Reagan decided to take on the Soviets for real. The truth is that both books in question came from the fiction section. I wouldn't get tied in a knot over your latest read.
Posted by: dan | 2006-02-23 12:15:02 PM
It was quite easy to take on the communists , when the ones that counted were still confined to Russia for the most part. Todays` logarithmicaly accelerated infiltration is going to require massive fumigation . Witness the Netherlands , at one time the most liberal ,who have done an about face. Other than Switzerland and Australia , both insignificant I ask if there is anyone able to do what it takes . Short of a bunch of H- bombs going off in world capitals ,I`m afraid not. But then , that isn`t necessary.
Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-23 12:32:22 PM
War may be necessary with Iran because of the indoctrination. But I think we may keep hopes for Pakistan and Syria. For example, Lybia became much more quiet after airstrikes and real threats of more.
The real solution to Islamofacism is evangelization. It is happening in some places but muslims resist by all kinds of violence including murder.
Posted by: Rémi houle | 2006-02-23 12:45:07 PM
I just re-read Bradburry's seminal dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451. Well, I only got as far as the end of the first section. This novel was written 50 years ago. Keep this in mind, as the fire chief explains to the protagonist how the firemen went from putting out fires to starting them:
"Classics cut to fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume. I exaggerate, of course. The dictionaries where for reference. But many were those whose sole knowledge of Hamlet...was a one-page digest in a book that claimed: 'now at least you can read all the classics; keep up with your neighbors.' Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there's you're intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more...
"School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts...
"Now let's take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we? Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don't step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that! All the minor minor minorities with their navels to keep clean. Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said...It didn't come from the Government down. THere was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time...
"With schools turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, sntachers, fliers and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers and imaginative creators, the word 'intellectual' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar...We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to them cower, to judge themselves against...
"You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can't have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn't that right? Haven't you heard it all your life? I want to be happy, people say. Well, aren't they? Don't we keep them moving, don't we give them fun? That's all we live for, isn't it? For pleasure, for titilation? And you must admit our culture provides plenty of these." (54-59)
A very similar sentiment was expressed in Brave New World. These quotes were taken from the 50th Anniversary edition of the book, which also has a few very interesting essays by Bradbury, reflecting on the novel, including the incidents of censorship of this book as it's been republished over the years.
I know this has been a long post, but one last quote from the book. A young girl describes what school is like in this dystopic vision of the future:
"An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't; they just run answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film teacher. That's not social to me at all...They run us so ragged by the end of the day we can't do anything but go to bed or head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place or wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place with the big steel ball. Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you can get to lamp-posts, play 'chicken' and 'knock hibcaps.' I guess I'm everything they say, alright. I haven't any friends. That's supposed to prove I'm abnormal. But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?
"I'm afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always use to be that way? My uncle says no. Six of my friends have been shot in the last year alone Ten of them died in car wrecks. I'm afraid of them and they don't like me because I'm afraid. My uncle says his gradnfather remembered whn children didn't kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncle says..." (29-30)
Sorry again for the long post. But it's not just present-day dystopias that are signalling the direction we're headed. The alarm has been sounding for almost a century. Pick up these other "classic" dystopias:
We by Zamyatin
1984 by Orwell
Brave New World by Huxley
Player Piano by Vonnegut
Handmaid's Tale by Atwood
You may disagree with the authors' politics external to the book or every single conclusion they reach in the book, but each other these dystopias has something incredibly important to say about the world we're living in right now, and how we got here.
Thanks for being patient with the post.
Posted by: sherbygirl | 2006-02-23 12:46:08 PM
Our civilization is vast so we can`t have our minorities stirred ? Yes of course , better that ' we ' cater to them all , that`s the solution . That will guarantee my ' happiness ' . And if ' they ' want to stay ' happy ' , let them stay where they are , because I don`t want to be unhappy and I have been sufficiently brain washed to be ' happy ' here without them .
Posted by: daveh | 2006-02-23 1:12:01 PM
Dan, the West's Last Chance is not fiction - it is classified as Current Events. Only this disturbing first chapter is fictional. Beyond that, Blakely - former Reagan White House staffer, former aide to Newt Gingrich, and current editorial editor for the Washington Times - writes of the threat to Europe and America not only from the more militant factions of Islam, but the silent moderates who may not approve of the violence, but who agree with the sentiment behind it.
Posted by: RightGirl | 2006-02-23 1:15:03 PM
"The Lebanonization of Europe", Fred Siegel, NY Sun, Feb. 23:
H/t to "Arts and Letters Daily"--well worth checking daily:
Posted by: Mark Collins | 2006-02-23 1:24:48 PM
Islam, like its other brutal cousins, Marxism and Nazism, will gladly take that inch that liberals continue to give them and stretch it into a mile...
Islam cannot help itself....its very nature is intolerance based on its founder's own intolerance and hatred....
What is truly amazing is how stunned and blind liberals are who apologize for every islamic tantrum and mass mayhem.......the funny thing is, the leftist lunatics will be the first to taste the sweet shade of the islamic scimitar.....
Useful idiots before with Lenin.....Useful idiots now for Islam!!!
Posted by: Albertanator | 2006-02-23 1:31:03 PM
It's not just liberals who are apologizing for Islam and turning a blind eye. In the past weeks we've seen our own PM and Peter McKay, George Bush and his damned port deal - these are the people who are supposed to be on sanity's side, but who are wilfully turning away from potential threat. Look at me - I just used the word potential. It's ingrained in us to give the benefit of the doubt, despite what our instincts tell us.
Posted by: RightGirl | 2006-02-23 2:02:09 PM
Mark Collins, thanks for the articles. Yes it is about intimidation and how the media is cleverly used by radical Islam to shape our views and gradually turn people into submission.
Sherbygirl also gives us a very scary example of how a young girl simply doesn’t want to submit to the pressure of joining in on the destructive behaviour around her.
I was unnerved yesterday when I felt manipulated by Dalton McGuinty and Sid Ryan over the threatened ILLEGAL strike. It didn’t happen, so the media has everyone convinced this is “good” news. Why is it “good news” that at the 11th hour an ILLEGAL strike didn’t occur? To me that’s BAD news that an ILLEGAL strike evan came that close.
Ditto that Queens Park did not go along with a former Attorney General’s recommendation that Sharia Law be introduced in Ontario. That was positioned as GOOD news. I think it’s incredibly BAD news that Sharia law should even be on the table for discussion.
How do we turn this around? It seems to have been going on for awhile …
“Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization” …..George Bernard Shaw 1925 Nobel Prize for Literature, 1856-1950
Posted by: nomdenet | 2006-02-23 2:19:28 PM
Interesting for those who were around in the 1960s and 70s to watch the current crop of muslim imans demonstrating in TO. I assumed they were of mid-eastern extraction, but not really. I heard several guyanese speaking types with long black beards and attire. Now, they are muslim imans; before they were marxist anarchists. Same people with same rage. Over what? You tell me.
Posted by: Dave | 2006-02-23 6:50:51 PM
Regarding Bradbury 451, Wells 1984 and so on...
...what's the saying, truth is stranger than fiction?
Posted by: tomax | 2006-02-23 9:26:23 PM
Iraqi authorities struggled to contain a convulsion of Muslim sectarian violence yesterday in which more than 150 people died in massacres, armed clashes, suicide bombs and reprisal attacks on Sunni mosques. Muslimm killing other Mulsims. What a great murdersous relgion, join it and you can be enorsed to kill others, encouraged by an imam to.
Posted by: Islam | 2006-02-23 11:41:02 PM
Is apologizing for Islamists who are violent, the same thing as questioning the motives of deliberately offending a religious group?
This whole cartoon thing is contrived, and being used both (I'm not saying the same way) by those whose agenda is 'individual rights over...everything' and those who seek to stir up hate in easy to convince places.
Seems to me, there is more danger in a stupidly 'open to anti-culture' immigration system, than in this fake controversey.
Will Canada be able to say, at any future point, "we have a culture that we want to protect"? I doubt it. Canada has blithely been trying to eliminate their own christian culture for decades. All that is left is a system of anti-christian censorship and a secular disinterest in things that don't directly affect us INDIVIDUALLY today.
Note: Individual rights do not extend to the deliberate harm of others. (Except for those who have no power, like babies.) It also is not christian behavior to deliberately provoke someone by insulting their religion. That would be intolerant. Is it Canadian behavior?Criticizing behavior and insulting religion are not the same thing. Even journalists probably can know this. Even conservatives or liberals or cartoonists or politicians or libertarians or children .
A person can be aware of a danger,discuss and debate it, bring attention to it, demand action on it, and yet still have standards for their own behavior.
Posted by: lwestin | 2006-02-24 6:24:48 AM
I disagree with the scenario outlined by the book for several reasons. One major reason is the size of the world population and the current unevolved nature of the Islamic religion. Another major reason is - China. I'll try to explain. I'm looking at the scenario from a kind of 'biological perspective'.
1. The Islamic religion is not merely a religion but also a sociopolitical structure. It has not evolved; it functions only within a group-based, anti-individualistic, non-industrial political and economic system - that can only support a medium sized population.
It has, in itself, no capacity for innovation, and insists on its citizens as 'intellectual slaves' of dogma. It cannot, since it is anti-reason and anti-individual, support science. Therefore, it cannot support a massive population which requires, because of that size, industrialism.
The Islamic community hasn't had a scientific thought for 1,000 years. Even its claim of 'zero' and 'arabic numbers' is fallacious, for these are Hindu inventions, and the Arabic community, as non-innovative but as a Gatherer, gathered and reported all forms of knowledge in its encyclopaedic era.
In the Islamic world, there hasn't been a single scientific innovation leading to increased capacity to control the environment. They have 'slumbered' over the centuries. What 'woke them up' - is oil. But, this oil wealth hasn't changed their mental or political infrastructure; it has instead solidified it as the tribe-in-power attained wealth and reduced the population to a single class. There is no middle class. Their educational systems are appalling - and they cannot, themselves, 'be an industrial economy'.
This dysfunction has, in the last two decades, emerged as a cancer within the ME..and has spread west..as the exploding population of the ME, deprived of economic and political power, moved west.
However, this population remained low class. Their religion, controlled by the imams of the ME, remained unevolved, reducing the adherents to 'intellectual peasants'.
AND - these immigrants did not move into a middle class in the West. They remained uneducated.
AND, the West's tolerance, within the postmodernist view of 'multiculturalism', has enabled and encouraged their isolation, their lack of education, their being 'stuck in the lowest class' and unable to form a middle class.
This is the cancer - a dysfunctional system in the ME, kept intact by the wealth of oil..when it should have collapsed long ago.
And Western tolerance of their isolationism, has assisted the spread of this cancer to the West.
2) An unevolved Muslim population cannot operate an industrial economy. Islam may be the 'fastest growing religion', not by converts but simply by exploding birth rates in the ME. But, as a mental perspective, since it is so irrational, anti-reason, anti-individual, and based around faith-based dogma - it cannot, cannot, cannot, operate an industrial economy.
Therefore, it cannot become a dominant perspective, IF the world population remains at 6 billion and/or increases.
If the current Islamic mindset becomes dominant, the industrial technology would collapse in a decade. That would be the end of science.
4) Our world requires science. We are not the only organisms on this planet. Bacteria, for example, have as strong a desire to exist as do humans - and they are far superior in their adaptive and evolutionary capacities than we think they are. Bacteria are constantly developing new forms (eg bird flu, which is going to spread to a human influenza)...and if we do not develop scientific tactics to counter these new forms - the world population could be decimated -massively - by our inability to also evolve (technologically) as our env't evolves.
As I said - the current Islamic religion, which has not evolved, cannot permit science.
5) China. China, unlike the Islamic world, changed out of its peasant agricultural system and moved into industrialism. It is now going through the difficult phase of relinquishing both its tactic-of-change (Maoist communism) and its much older antipathy to the individual. It is going through this phase with far greater ease than did the West (1100-1500) when it too changed. And, the ME, to the contrary, is fighting, with a violence like a cancer, the necessity of both rejecting tribalism and promoting individual free thought.
But, China is not going to allow its burgeoning industrialism to stop in its tracks by the regressive 'back-to-the-desert' policies of the ME. There's a billion people in China, ready to move onto world capitalism, and they aren't going to let the ME stop them.
6)The West. Will it stand by and allow itself, the birthplace of industrialism, the birthplace of the individual, free thought and science - be returned back to the middle ages? I don't think so. The West, after a phase of 'negotiation' and 'tolerance' is beginning to wake up - and fight back. One major tactic is to reduce the 'welfare' in the modern state, and insist that the population, in the majority, move into the middle class. The majority of immigrant Muslims are either in low skilled jobs or welfare; the West has to insist that this change.
7) The Moderate Muslims..who have moved to the West. Ahhh...what will they do? At the moment, they are silent, and thus, are assisting this cancerous growth. Will they, en masse, speak up, and take back their religion, into their hands, and move it into the modern world?
Will they move themselves into the middle class?
So- for what its' worth...my thoughts on the situation.
Posted by: ET | 2006-02-24 7:22:45 AM
ET, you make a lot of valid points. However, I disagree that we are dealing with an uneduated population. Sure, the ones to emigrate to the West are far below our normal standards of education and experience, but their children are educated here, in class next to your kids. They take that Western school/university education back into their little enclaves here in our cities, and into ther mosques. I know when I was growing up and in school, some of the best educated kids were of ME origin - because they worked harder. They had very little social life outside of their families and mosques, so they studied. Now they are our doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. And they still have little life outside their work and their mosque. Lots of disposable income, a passion for their religion, and tons of brains. But those brains are still being corrupted by the mullahs in the ME, filtering their message back to Toronto, Hoboken, London, Paris... At least give the enemy credit where it's due: They are smart.
Posted by: RightGirl | 2006-02-24 9:55:08 AM
Right Girl- by 'uneducated', I refer primarily to the immigrant Muslims in Europe, who tend to have immigrated there as first generation unskilled and uneducated, low wage earners. Their children are now in the educational system, but tend to drop out early, take the low wage jobs.
In N. America, there is a different type of Muslim, who is more educated, who hasn't moved here to provide low skilled labour. But - these are still first generation people, and heavily influenced by the cultural norms of The Old Way.
I still think that a major problem is the tribal dysfunctionality of the ME, with those old tribes fighting desperately to retain power..and trying to maintain control of the emigrants, to use in this fight to retain power. If the Old Guard in the ME lose control of the emigrants, in Europe and N. America, then, they have little strategic power in the political global arena, to use those emigrants..to prop up their own failing regimes.
They are using the immigrants, now, to prop up their own regimes. Just imagine what it would be like of they didn't have this 'vocal mass' to support them and pressure the Western governments!
In Europe, I think the West has to refuse the 'multicultural rights of distinct ways of life' and insist on integration. Same in Canada.
And, the West has to reject their claims of 'victimhood' (the old colonial suffering - heck, any and all peoples have been overrun at some time..including by the Muslims)..
And, the West has to refuse to merge religion and politics..as these imams are demanding.
So- the fight is on two fields. The moderate Muslims have to 'take back' their religion from the extremists and stop being used by those extremists to prop up those evil dictatorships.
And, the West has to refuse to be cowed by the extremists, and their moderate assistants..and insist on our hard-won rights of freedom and democracy.
Posted by: ET | 2006-02-24 11:08:09 AM
I haven't heard of any protests in the streets of Syria, Pakistan, Europe etc. about the Al Qaeda bombing of the Golden Dome in Iraq, and the consequent reprisals of Sunni Mosques....maybe I just missed all the media coverage ?
Posted by: MarkAlta | 2006-02-24 3:52:04 PM
In Syria last week, I was expecting to see soldiers with guns. Didn't, but the atmosphere does not lend itself to 'demonstrations' that aren't organized by the gov't. There is a Christian population living amongst the Muslim majority, and they are cautious. Not much mixing. They keep to the known areas. We were able to visit a mosque with Christian history (and St. John the Baptist's head).
The atmosphere in Lebanon is much more relaxed, since the expulsion of Syria. (Although we did actually see soldiers with guns in several areas). The Muslims and Christians are on the same side of that one, and the gov't is a careful balance of both groups. The large demonstration (500,000) to remember the murder of Harriri(sp?) was a show of nat'l unity, but is seen differently by each. The Muslims are in love with Harriri. His face is still plastered everywhere. The Christians are relieved to be rid of the Syrians, but also relieved that the powerful and extremely wealthy Harriri is no longer a threat to the tenuous balancing act that is Lebanon.
Nobody seemed too interested in cartoons.
Posted by: lwestin | 2006-02-24 6:13:21 PM
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