The new cynicism.
Trashing our own values and balking at standing up to totalitarianism and Islamic extremism. From Ross Douthat (h/t Mark Steyn at NRO):
…Various Western journalists, intellectuals and politicians — the list includes Oriana Fallaci in Italy, Michel Houellebecq in France, Mark Steyn in Canada and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands — have been hauled before courts and “human rights” tribunals, in supposedly liberal societies, for daring to give offense to Islam.
But there’s still a sense in which the “South Park” case is particularly illuminating. Not because it tells us anything new about the lines that writers and entertainers suddenly aren’t allowed to cross. But because it’s a reminder that Islam is just about the only place where we draw any lines at all…
In a country where the latest hit movie, “Kick-Ass,” features an 11-year-old girl spitting obscenities and gutting bad guys while dressed in pedophile-bait outfits, there isn’t much room for real transgression. Our culture has few taboos that can’t be violated, and our establishment has largely given up on setting standards in the first place.
Except where Islam is concerned. There, the standards are established under threat of violence, and accepted out of a mix of self-preservation and self-loathing.
This is what decadence looks like: a frantic coarseness that “bravely” trashes its own values and traditions, and then knuckles under swiftly to totalitarianism and brute force.
Indeed, this is the new normal. We get upset that we lock away prisoners in Gitmo, but don’t bat an eye when a President gives the O.K. to assassinate an American (Terrorist Nidal Hassan’s imam, Anwar Al-Awaki was born here in the U.S.). We think it is wrong to assassinate Al Qaeda operatives so the best thing to do is drop a bomb on the person’s house and kill not only him but anyone else who is inside. We condemn Israel for building homes in its capital, but don’t condemn the Palestinians for wanting to bomb Israel in the first place. We’re quick to say that “Islam is peace”, but then we don’t see any peaceful actions coming from the practitioners of the religion.
This reveals a cowardice about our society. Whereas we will be quick to call a peeing on a picture of Christ a work of art, no one even attempts to draw a picture of Mohammed. We can desecrate the Bible, but a myth that the Qu’ran was flushed down the toilet earns condemnation from atheists and Muslims alike. In fact, Mr. Douthat even balks at fully recognizing that Islam is the enemy of the West:
Happily, today’s would-be totalitarians are probably too marginal to take full advantage. This isn’t Weimar Germany, and Islam’s radical fringe is still a fringe, rather than an existential enemy.
Unfortunately, the radical elements of Islam is not relegated to the “fringe”. Hamas won a major election in the Palestinian territory. Hezbollah, though a terrorist group, holds major offices in Lebanon’s Parliament. Syria is an enabler of terrorism, who recently delivered SCUD missiles to Hezbollah, who is still at war with Israel. Iran is a the most prolific enabler of Islamic terrorism and technically declared war on America when it held our embassy hostage in 1979. And for years the brutal tactics of Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations was considered legitimate by so-called “moderate” Muslims. So the radical elements of Islam is not relegated to some fringe portion of the religion, but has basically become a way of life and legitimate form of violent tactic against its enemies. In fact, the so-called “moderates” within the religion are not condemning any of this, but will be quick to silence those who would stand against such a thing by calling them Islamophobes. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Douthat is incorrect in stating that Islamic extremism is not an existential threat because it has been such for many decades. The sad thing is that we in the West allowed it to happen.