The Left is only too happy to suppress free speech. It doesn’t know what it’s getting itself into
By Lars Hedegaard
One thing in particular struck me last week when I was in London for the showing of Geert Wilders’ Fitna in the House of Lords. Well, apart from the fact that Mr. Wilders was banned from entering the country.
It was the press’ uniform designation of the Dutch politician as “right-wing” or even “extreme right-wing”.
What precisely has Geert Wilders done or said that makes him deserving of this epithet? For make no mistake: whereas “left-wing” is considered an accolade and smacks of loving kindness towards green forests, stray dogs in need of a warm place to sleep and undernourished children in Africa, “right-wing” denotes a misanthrope who hates all good people and will eat innocent babies for breakfast.
If one has committed the ultimate sin of criticizing religion, particularly if it is murderous and retrograde, there is no way to wash off the brand of Cain. Politically you may be a socialist, a liberal or a conservative. You may be a staunch supporter of the welfare state, socialized medicine, gay marriage, preferential treatment of women and 75 percent taxation of all private income. It won’t help you if you have distanced yourself from the teachings of the prophet.
This is curious. Irreverent criticism of religion used to be a specialty of the Left. Today such criticism proves that one is a semi-fascist to be shunned in polite company.
The forgotten prophet
There are still a few grizzled post-socialists around that will remember what their old prophet, Karl Marx, had to say about religion in the very first sentence of his Contribution to a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right from 1843: “… criticism of religion is the premise of all criticism”.
Criticism of religion is not only the starting point of all criticism. It is the prerequisite of any kind of criticism. In a society where religion cannot be criticized, everything becomes religion ¬¬– from the length of your beard to what hand to use when wiping your backside.
Where there is no criticism of religion, life and society in their entirety become religious and the littleest squeak against the existing order is eo ipso an act of blasphemy to be rooted out by cutting off the offender’s head.
The courage to blaspheme is consequently the sine qua non of civilization and of social, intellectual and scientific progress. It is also the premise of the separation between church and state, as Jesus Christ was well aware of.
But what passes for the Left these days has long since given up on socialism’s founding fathers – particularly when they were right – and is groveling at the feet of a bloodthirsty moon-god from far Araby.
We know what has happened. But how and why did it come about?
A new worldview
We know that the broad Left – which in Europe would include various shades of the hard, Communist or Marxist Left, the New Left, which has now transformed itself into tree huggers, and the traditional Social Democratic parties – has vacated its traditional ideological positions in order to preach ideologies that used to be hallmarks of the far right. Positions such as the need for censorship, kissing up to demands that “religions” (i.e. Islam) must not be criticized or ridiculed, the institution of ethnic or tribal special privileges and inequality before the law – depending on what ethnic, tribal or clan chief or holy man can ingratiate himself to the top of the totem pole as most aggrieved victim.
This new weltanschauung takes us back to a legal order – or rather lack of order – the like of which we haven’t seen in the civilized world since – when? The democratic revolutions of the 19th century, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, England’s Glorious Revolution, John Milton’s Areopagitica, Magna Carta?
Take your pick. Any one of the above is true.
The road chosen by the parties on the Left permits no return. Having alienated – not to say discarded – large chunks of their traditional working class voters, they are now increasingly dependent on the Muslim vote, which they hope will guarantee them a perpetual foothold at least in the major populations centers.
Goodbye to the welfare state
In the process the Left has also undermined its signal creation, the modern welfare state.
In a remarkable report from 2008, Denmark’s National Bank (the equivalent of the Bank of England or the Federal Reserve) writes:
“A major part of the immigration into Denmark over the past 15-20 years, particularly at the beginning of the period, has come from less developed countries and has consisted of people with a low participation in the labor market causing a relatively large drag on public welfare expenditures. This has lead to a deterioration of the public finances, i.e. it has aggravated the problem of sustainability.
If immigration is to support the financing of the public sector, it must be in the shape of so-called “super immigration”. This concept covers a person who does not immigrate until he has completed his education, who is immediately employable and has an employment frequency of 100 per cent, pays taxes like a Dane, does not bring along his family and leaves the country before he reaches pension age.”
A tall order indeed and one that has never been filled by the sort of immigrants Denmark has been attracting.
Yet the Left has no answer to offer except for more immigration and lamentations over the oppression of Muslims combined with a loving understanding of their need for “respect” and special treatment.
Of course, many – if not most – of the non-socialist parties have been equally eager to embrace mass immigration of non-integratable masses from the third world. But they haven’t really been that wedded to the cradle-to-grave welfare state – at least not in the beginning.
In fact, when we look at such countries as Germany, Holland, England, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, it was private enterprise that started importing cheap and unskilled labor from the rural populations of Bangla Desh, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco and other such places to fill the gaps along the assembly lines. At that time – in the late sixties and seventies – many spokesmen for the labor unions and the socialist parties were critical of this unwelcome competition that threatened to drive down wages and undermine hard-fought labor rights.
That was when the old industrial society was on its hind legs, soon to be replaced by the knowledge society, in which many of the new immigrants were simply unemployable. Yet they were allowed to stay on, bring in their large families and collect welfare.
The new proletariat
With the fundamental shift from industrial to knowledge society it also became clear that socialism in the shape of the nationalization of the means of production was no longer achievable. The traditional working class was disappearing and the downtrodden masses, which the Marxists had identified as the “revolutionary subject”, became too bourgeois for comfort. They left the socialist parties in droves and began voting for center-right parties that promised them a share of the wealth created by private enterprise. A house, a car, a color tv and such. In other words the kind of amenities that the leftist intelligentsia had come to consider as indispensable for its own lifestyle.
This presented the socialist ideologues with a major problem. From their reading of Lenin, Trotsky and Gramsci they knew that they were destined to remain the vanguard of the masses. The proletariat was unable to reach the required level of political consciousness without the constant goading of their far-sighted betters.
Socialism was no longer in the cards. Still the socialist intelligentsia was unwilling to let go of its claim to power. So it had to find a new revolutionary subject – a class of people that would never allow itself to be bought off by the allure of a bourgeois life but was guaranteed to remain at the edge of society.
And they found the Muslim immigrants. This socialist-Muslim nexus turned out to be a marriage made in heaven. The swelling ranks of the Muslim immigrants could deliver the votes to fill the void left by the disappearing native working classes, and the socialist parties could reciprocate by delivering welfare benefits, cultural concessions and free immigration to their to non-working Muslim charges.
The tiger’s tail
This well-functioning political arrangement, however, is on the verge of making the welfare state unsustainable. It is crumbling all over Europe, but there is no way back for the Left. There is no option but to cling ever tighter to the tiger’s tail. Otherwise the beast will turn around and bite them. We have already seen intifadas in England, France, Denmark and Norway. If the “youths” don’t have their way, they will burn the town down, smash up the cars and brutalize the indigenous population.
To keep this bizarre road show running, it has become necessary for the leftist rulers to crush free speech. However much they may privately deplore it, there is nothing else to do if they want to retain the Muslim vote that keeps them in power.
A poll conducted by the official Statistics Denmark and published on February 10, 2009, shows that 50 percent of the Muslim immigrants and their descendants want to make attacks on religion a criminal offense. 36 percent of the immigrants and 40 percent of their descendants disagree.
The corresponding figures for ethnic Danes are 79 percent against and only 15 percent in favor.
The next step ¬– a head-on attack on democracy itself – is in the works. Throughout Europe we are already seeing arrests and convictions of “right-wing” agitators who refuse to laud the multicultural state as the epitome of social virtue.
Further down this slope there may be bans on political parties that threaten to rally significant numbers of the non-Muslim
The economy strikes back
There is, however, one fact of life that our power holders have left out of their political equation. That is – as Bill Clinton has so aptly expressed it – the economy, stupid.
In the near future the economy will strike back. Censorship and persecution of the unruly will not save the welfare state. How will the native populations react when they find out that their kids are not being educated, that they are not receiving adequate treatment in the hospitals, that their pensions and other welfare benefits are dwindling and that they cannot rely on the police to protect them? In a situation where they cannot themselves pay for such services because the state continues to suck up most of their income?
That is the question.
An equally intriguing question is how the captains of private enterprises and their investors will react when they realize that capitalism is incompatible with sharia law. Free enterprise cannot flourish in a society where there is no security of property rights and where there are no courts to enforce contracts.
And that is precisely the problem inherent in the likely spread of sharia courts and “sharia financing”.
If you are an infidel who happens to have done business with a true believer, the sharia court is duty bound to find against you because sharia law is based on the inequality of Muslims and non-Muslims. It is even worse if you happen to be an infidel businesswoman.
Perhaps it is time that the business community, which has so far preferred to stay aloof, starts paying attention to the real world.