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The Last of England

By Mark Steyn

On Monday I wrote about a curious British reaction to theCharlie Hebdo massacre:

The other day Wiltshire Police went to a local newsagent and demanded that, in the interests of “community cohesion”, he hand over the names of every customer who bought a copy of Charlie Hebdo… This is Mother England in 2015: You can still read samizdat literature, but your name will be entered in a state database.

The Daily Mail‘s Amanda Williams reports today that this was not a one-off idiosyncracy by some bozo coppers in one county, but came from the very top:

National Anti-Terror Unit Handed List Of Charlie Hebdo Stockists To Local Forces Who Then Went Round Demanding To Know Who Bought Copies

The man responsible for this decision is Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester, who holds the additional responsibility of “national police lead for preventing extremism“. A Chief Commissar for Preventing Extremism is a title that not so long ago one would have had to go to Eastern Europe or a banana republic to find. But it is now held by a British policeman. Nevertheless, Sir Peter would like us to know that he thinks, somewhere way down the chain of command, some of the lads may have gotten a little carried away:

Anti-terror units handed local police officers the names of British newsagents who stocked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the Paris attacks.

But the decision by some forces to then visit the outlets and quiz shopkeepers about who bought the publication was ‘overzealous and unnecessary’, Britain’s anti-terror police chief has said.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and national police lead for preventing extremism, said he was now urgently clarifying guidance to all UK forces.

It comes after police were caught asking British newsagents which sold copies of the satirical magazine for details of the customers who bought it.

Shopkeepers in Wales, Wiltshire and Cheshire reported that police approached them and demanded personal information on readers of the magazine.

In a letter to the Guardian, Sir Peter said that the move to provide details of newsagents to local police was intended to ‘provide community reassurance’.

This is the same Sir Peter Fahy who, only two months ago, was warning that Britain could “drift into a police state” in which his officers wound up having to act as “thought police”. But why drift into a police state when you can put your foot on the gas and get there in the fast lane? My tireless compatriot Blazing Cat Fur comments:

This is how a Police State operates. The same police state that turned a blind eye to Muslim Rape Gangs.

I don’t think that’s an exaggeration. The wretched David Cameron was happy to march in Paris under the #JeSuisCharlie banner, but, if he were an honest man, he’d be parading under #JeSuisTheGuyWhoTakesDownTheNamesOfEveryoneWhoBuysACopyOfCharlie. Like most of the European political class, Mr Cameron recognizes he has a problem on his hands – a problem he and the rest of the Euro-elite have created: They have imported a huge population that, even discounting those who wish to join ISIS or slaughter British soldiers on the streets of Woolwich, has no great enthusiasm for English liberties. With the characteristic arrogance of an insulated ruling class, Cameron thinks the solution to the problem is an enhanced security state mediating relations between his fractious citizenry. And, if that means reigning in English liberties, such as the freedom to read a magazine without being monitored by the state, so be it….

….I was born in Canada, and just about everything that works in my own deranged Dominion (as Stephen Harper once suggested to his befuddled London hosts) came from the Mother Country. Germany, Italy, France et al gave us better art, music, food, women, but it is the English-speaking world that has seeded and grown liberty on every corner of the earth – property rights, self-government, fair courts, laws of contract, free speech… And through the last century it is the English-speaking world that has defended and fought for those liberties when the rest of the west has turned to dark and crude perversions.

So the death of England is not like the death of Sweden or Belgium. It represents the foulest betrayal of a glorious inheritance. I have quoted before my old National Post comrade George Jonas – that things aren’t wrong because they’re illegal, they’re illegal because they’re wrong. If an English policeman no longer knows it’s wrong to ask a newsagent for the names and addresses of those who purchased a particular magazine, no amount of “clarifying” “guidance” from Sir Peter Fahy can help him. And if an English Chief Constable no longer knows it’s wrong to demand the national distributor cough up the names of all the stockists he’s shipped it to, no amount of bland soft-totalitarian blather about “providing community reassurance” can alter the fact that an English public servant is subverting a core liberty – an English liberty. A society can survive losing this or that liberty as they ebb and flow across the centuries, but there are no easy roads back when it loses thespirit of liberty. And that is what Sir Peter Fahy and his ilk are missing.

When David Cameron appeared with David Letterman a couple of years back, he knew the date Magna Carta was signed, but didn’t know what it meant. In this 800th annniversary year, in the coercive hyper-security state over which he presides, that no longer seems so surprising.

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Why Charlie?

By DAVID SOLWAY

charlie_hebdo_wtc_1-30-15-1

…It is a stirring piece expressing an unimpeachable sentiment. But the assault on Charlie Hebdo by no means marked a turning point, as she appeared to suggest. Far from a unique event, the Muslim campaign against free speech has been going on for many years now. Freedom, the right to dissent, the satirical genre — all have been dying for some time.

The Danish cartoons marked an identical watershed. The assassination of Dutch provocateur and filmmaker Theo Van Gogh marked an identical watershed, as did the death threats against his collaborator and Danish parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, who had his satirical drawings removed at a Tallerud art exhibition and who has an ISIS bounty on his head and is living under police protection, marks an identical watershed. The fatwa against Salman Rushdie and the killing of his Japanese translator marked the same watershed. Geert Wilders living under police protection marks the same watershed. Though later acquitted by the Danish Supreme Court, Lars Hedegaard’s remarks about the lethal dysfunction of many Muslim families, which led to his conviction for hate speech under the Article 266b of the Danish penal code and a subsequent assassination attempt, marks the same watershed. The South Park controversy over the appearance of Mohammed dressed as a giant teddy bear marked the same watershed — the producers instantly caved following athreat issued on the Revolution Muslim website. Molly Norris, of “Let’s all Draw Mohammed” fame, still in hiding, marks the same watershed, as does the imprisonment of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula for producing a low-rent, little-watched video trailer, Innocence of Muslims, ridiculing Mohammed. Yale University Press refusing to print the Danish cartoons in a book dedicated to the subject marks the same watershed. The list goes on.

It’s been a long time since most ordinary or even celebrated people would dare to represent Mohammed or say anything mocking or even critical about the religion of hate. Our pusillanimous leaders and members of the intelligentsia buckled under to Islamic triumphalism some years back and evince a growing tendency to Sharia-compliance. If, after the Danish cartoon controversy, every single intellectual or public figure of any note had posted the cartoons, we would be in a different place today. But instead they joined in the chorus about responsibility and not unnecessarily offending pious people.

My own country, Canada, is traveling the same route to cultural perdition. Anti-Islamic firebrand Eric Brazeau, just sentenced to a year and a half in jail for reading out the Koran on a subway train, marks the same watershed. And the much maligned Ezra Levant, one of the few courageous journalists who actually printed the Danish cartoons as legitimate news depicting what the violence was all about, was sued by an offended imam, lost his magazine The Western Standard, found himself over $100,000 poorer, and is once again fighting in court. Few of us can approximate to his moral stature and his willingness to put himself on the line for an essential cause.

Meanwhile, the hundreds of journalists around the world wearing Je Suis Charlie banners don’t have the cojones to show what Stephane Charbonnier and his colleagues died for. And how many of our news outlets have actually reported the whole story, cartoons and all? The failure to defend our freedoms began ages ago when almost no one had the clarity of vision and the moral courage — certainly not our journalists, our politicos, our academics, our intellectuals, our entertainers — to man the barricades and fight against those who would deprive us of our rights. In fact, many of these pundits and news outlets saw fit to blame the victims for provoking the jihadists. This isn’t just a paradox; it’s bad faith, cowardice, hypocrisy and a form of cultural treason of the highest magnitude.

We are told ad nauseam that the terrorist atrocities we are witnessing on an almost daily basis have nothing to do with Islam — this despite the 25,000-plus Islamic-inspired terrorist attacks since the slaughter of 9/11. As for the bloodbath atCharlie Hebdo, the disavowals quickly set in. French president Francois Hollande lost no time flogging the tired mantra,assuring us with a straight face that the Charlie Hebdo perpetrators were “fanatics who have nothing to do with Islam.”Assem Shalaby, president of the Arab Publishers Association, has condemned “this vicious attack that contravenes the principles of Islam and the message of its prophet” — which it manifestly does not, as anyone even passably familiar with Islamic scripture, jurisprudence and orthodox commentary is immediately aware. Clearly, Josh Earnest, President Obama’s press secretary, is not, deponing on CNN that the Paris murders violate “the tenets of an otherwise peaceful religion” — unless, of course, like his master, he is lying through his teeth. At the same time, to cite Honest Reporting, “Conspiracy theorists and anti-Semites claim Israel is responsible for the Charlie Hebdo terror attack. The International Business Timessupplies the oxygen” — as does CNN and, of course, the ever dependable Ron Paul. True to form, plying a double disclaimer, the BBC described the event as “an apparent Islamist attack.” A win-win for Islam…

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Paris attack wakes Europeans to importance of free speech

by DANIEL HANNAN

We all know the traditional routine that follows an Islamist terror attack: momentary shock, then platitudinous disapproval, then condemnation of Western foreign policy, then hand-wringing about an imagined Islamophobic backlash. We’ve seen it again and again, even following such abominations as the murder of Theo Van Gogh in Amsterdam in 2004 and the London Tube bombings in 2005.

But not this time. Something in Europe has changed – changed utterly. A decade ago, Trafalgar Square was filled with Muslims complaining about the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed – not, to be clear, about the assassination attempts they had triggered, but about the cartoons themselves. This time, crowds in the same place, including many Muslims, held pencils and “Je Suis Charlie” signs.

A decade ago, it was a rare and brave newspaper that reprinted the Jyllands-Posten cartoons. Today, it’s the papers that hang back that find themselves under pressure.In 2009, when the anti-Islamic Dutch politician Geert Wilders was banned from entering Britain by the Labour Home Secretary, bien pensantcommentators growled their approval. After last week’s attack, few of them would dare.

Nor, these days, do we hear the equivocal semi-condemnations that were perhaps the single most depressing response to terrorist outrages. “Of course I oppose violence, but as long as Western powers support the Zionist occupation…” “Of course I condemn the killings, but we have to understand the alienation caused by racism and poverty…” As a former editor of mine liked to say, “everything before the ‘but’ is bullshit.”…

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Je Suis Sick and Tired of Cant

By Clarice Feldman

…And here’s what Obama said in 2012 after the slaughter in Benghazi: “A crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.  Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them…. The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

(What does it mean, this phrase: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”, if not an incitement to attack targets like Hedbo?)

Sarah Hoyt nails it:

With your words, your mollycoddling, your excusing of abhorrent deeds, your covering them under the tattered blanket of victims of racism, you prevent a sick, murderous culture from changing. You keep human beings in subjection. And you encourage the murder of innocents for no greater crime than speaking their minds.

But Obama is not alone in papering over the truth. The Hedbo shooters tried to proselytize the woman staffer and shouted in Arabic Allah is greatest .The supermarket hostage taker and murderer Amedy Coulibay told a French TV station that he targeted the four people he murdered because they were Jewish and that he was fighting for an “Islamic State”. The murderers were linked to Al Qaeda and the 19th Arrondisement Group whose members are currently fighting in IS, but Kerry is tonguetied on the subject of the links and Howard Dean has once again joined the ranks of those Islam-splaining….

 

….Moreover, many of these European jihadis go and have gone to fight with AQ and IS in the Middle East and return home without penalty. Unless and until this practice stops the U.S. ought to reconsider its practice of allowing visitors from the UK, France and Germany — where 1600 of these fighters hold passports — to enter without visas. The UK, France, and Germany should strip them of citizenship and their passports, or we should strip all citizens of those countries of the right to land here without visas.

We ought to consider reducing to the barest minimum and for limited purposes visas from countries which support, encourage or even tolerate Muslim fundamentalism, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Pakistan.

We ought to expel any non-citizens who espouse jihadism and close mosques whose leaders endorse or support it. Incitement to murder is a crime whether it’s inside or outside a mosque. We should speed up the deportation of residents and citizens who have gone abroad to fight with IS and Al Qaeda.

We ought to more closely monitor Moslem worship on our military bases and in our prisons and weed out any Salafists in the ranks of these chaplains. Right now they are breeding grounds for further mayhem.

We ought to require visa and citizenship applicants to swear under oath that they understand and appreciate our laws on free speech, press and religion, and that they will not advocate for the imposition of sharia law.

We ought to jail any parent known to us who has forced their daughter into a marriage abroad or to undergo a clitorectomy.

We ought to ban hijabs in public spaces, and stop tolerating demands for special treatment. How odd is it that bakeries not usually considered public accommodations  (for other than racial discrimination) under our laws are compelled to  bake gay wedding cakes while Somali-born cab drivers in Minnesota — engaged what is always considered a public accommodation — are exempt from carrying even aid dogs or passengers with liquor?

Just stop it.

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The Real Lesson of Charlie Hebdo

by Roger Kimball

….According to Anjem Choudary, France is responsible for the deaths of those 10 journalists and 2 policemen because it allowed Charlie Hebdo to “provoke Muslims.” It thereby, he suggests, “placed the sanctity of its citizens as risk.” His conclusion? “It is time that the sanctity of a Prophet revered by up to one-quarter of the world’s population was protected.”

My conclusion is a bit different. I believe it is time that the insane and murderous ideology of Islam is recognized for what it is, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. USA Today got a lot of push back for publishing  Choudary’s drooling apology for murder. I am glad that they did, for it reminds us in vivid terms exactly the sort of thing we in the so-called liberal West are up against.

Liberal regimes have always suffered from this paralyzing antinomy: Liberalism implies openness to other points of view, even those points of view whose success would destroy liberalism. Tolerance to those points of view is a prescription for suicide. Intolerance betrays the fundamental premise of liberalism, i.e. openness.

Of course (may I say “of course”?), there is a sense in which the antinomy is illusory, since any robust liberalism, i.e., a liberalism buttressed by a core of conservative backbone, understands that tolerance, if it is to flourish, cannot be synonymous with capitulation to ideas that would exploit tolerance only to destroy it. The “openness” that liberal society rightly cherishes is not a vacuous openness to all points of view: it is not “value neutral.” It need not, indeed it cannot, say Yes to all comers. American democracy, for example, affords its citizens great latitude, but great latitude is not synonymous with the proposition that “anything goes.” Our society, like every society, is founded on particular positive values—the rule of law, for example, respect for the individual, religious freedom, the separation of church and state.

Islam in its current configuration denies those values. Perhaps the “revolution” that President al-Sisi hopes will eventually take place and carve out a place for Islam among the civilized religions and political systems of the world. Until that day, however, the sane response to Islam is not to pixelate images that Muslims find “offensive,” as The Daily News just did, to its shame. Nor is it to redact news stories in the hope that they will not (as Anjem Choudary put it) “provoke Muslims,” as The New York Times just did, to its shame. Were I (per impossible) editor of The New York Times, I would run those cartoons of Mohammed on the front page of the paper every day for a month. The sane response is to say No to any form of Islam that does not accommodate itself to the animating principles of liberal Western society. That means no to polygamy, no to murdering people who apostatize from Islam, no to stoning adulteresses, no to murdering homosexuals and Jews, no to treating women like chattel, no, in short, to the entire rancid menu of insanity that is contained under the rubric “Sharia.”

Aristotle observed that without courage, one cannot reliably practice the other virtues, because courage is necessary to meet the existential challenges of life. We in the West have grown pusillanimous about our foundational principles and have retreated to a vacuous pseudo-tolerance that is without foundation because it is without animating convictions. As I write, there are reports that the Kouachi brothers have been cornered and killed outside Paris. At the same time, news is coming in that another Muslim, who killed a policewoman yesterday and two hostages today, has also been killed by French authorities. It’s a start.  But the West will never be free from the murderous incursions of the sick atavism that is Islam until it rejects the timid ideology of political correctness and multiculturalism. It is just too bad if wackos like Anjem Choudary are “offended” or “provoked” by satirical cartoons. They can stew all they like in their wounded self-aggrandizing fantasies. Once they act upon them, however, they have rejected the social contract that makes civilized life in a liberal democracy possible. Having done so, they should themselves be rejected.

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Ostracized by Cowardly West, Charlie Hebdo Faced the Islamists Alone

“Je Suis Charlie,” you say? Not when it mattered.

by MIKE MCNALLY

….Yesterday, much of the traditional media doubled down on its shameful behavior by again refusing to show the cartoons. Many web outlets, including The Daily Beast, Buzzfeed, and PJ Media, did publish them. One of the first newspapers spotted keeping its head below the parapet was the UK’s Telegraph — its website pixellated out a drawing of Mohammed in a photograph of a Charlie Hebdo cover. The New York Daily News  followed suit. CNN ordered its staff not to show the cartoons. The major networks refrained from doing so. The Associated Press claimed its policy was to “refrain from moving deliberately provocative images,” a policy which, it was quickly pointed out, hasn’t prevented it from selling photos of Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ.

Those organizations that bothered to offer an excuse fell back on the “offense” line, but it hardly needs saying that they’ve never felt compelled to extend the same courtesy to Christians or Jews.

The double standard can in part be explained by the fact that the liberals who dominate the U.S. media, and Britain’s globally influential BBC, believe that Islam is to be respected because it’s broadly the religion of brown people and victims of Western oppression, while Christianity can fairly be ridiculed because it’s the religion of white people and Western oppressors. And don’t, of course, get them started about the Jews.

But mostly, it comes down to the fact that journalists of every political hue have long been wary of provoking Muslims because they fear they’ll be murdered, while they know they have nothing to fear from Christians or Jews beyond strongly worded statements and perhaps a boycott.

Yesterday’s horrific events have borne out that calculation. While the talk now is of solidarity, it’s notable that in those self-regarding newsroom group shots that were doing the rounds last night the journalists were holding up “Je Suis Charlie” posters, but not Charlie’s cartoons. Because the next news organization to take a high-profile stand against Muslim extremism will find themselves every bit as alone and unloved as Charlie Hebdo did….

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Paris: City of Darkness #Charlie Hebdo

by EDWARD CLINE

Had the French government adopted a consistent policy of protecting the freedom of speech, nothing like today’s attack on the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, would ever have occurred. Muslims and Islam would not be so visible in France had the government also put out the unwelcome mat to Muslim “refugees,” as most European and American governments have. With the Muslim “refugees” and “asylum seekers” came Islam, on one hand, the cruddiest “religion” on the face of the earth, and, on the other, a totalitarian system of slavery and submission, applicable to Muslims and infidels alike.

To British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey is attributed the memorable line, “The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time,” at the onset of World War I. The lamps have been going out in Europe for decades as the invitation to invade (aka, “immigrate”) was broadcast by European governments to any and all Muslims who sought refuge or asylum from living under their own creed in various pest holes in the Middle East and Africa.

These hordes came expecting to abide by their decrepit creed and also benefit from the various European welfare systems and a higher standard of living. And they came expecting the host countries (think of all European Muslim populations as parasites thriving off their hosts) to submit and defer to Islam in all cases and instances, from food served in restaurants and schools to public dress to Christmas decorations.

Dutch politician and champion of freedom of speech Geert Wilders paraphrased Grey in a speech before his 2011 trial for violating Dutch “hate speech” laws.

The lights are going out all over Europe. All over the continent where our culture flourished and where man created freedom, prosperity and civilization. Everywhere the foundation of the West is under attack….

The lights are going out all over Europe. Anyone who thinks or speaks individually is at risk. Freedom loving citizens who criticize islam, or even merely suggest that there is a relationship between islam and crime or honour killing, must suffer and are threatened or criminalized. Those who speak the truth are in danger….

France has banned the burqa in public, and intervened militarily in Mali, but its overall stance against the depredations of Islam has been haphazard, piecemeal and ineffective. Regardless of the kneejerk actions taken by the French government, Paris’s lights have been dimming steadily over the course of generations (you can thank Existentialist thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre for setting the moral and intellectual tone). So have the lights in every European nation been dimming. The country that tolerates the burning of nearly 1,000 cars every New Year’s Eve is not a country that has much of a future. Its anemic, desultory policies to combat the Islamization of France are pathetic…

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