Timothy Garton Ash has an op-ed in today’s LA Times showing once again the high anxiety pervading European elites about the rise of anti-Muslim parties (“Geert Wilders and how to handle a gold-medal hypocrite“). The idea is that Wilders is a hypocrite because he “calls for the holy book of some 1.5 billion people to be banned!” Ash leaves out Wilders’ charge that the Koran is a fascist book that incites violence. And Ash never mentions Wilders’ point that Islam in Europe has had a chilling effect on free speech:
Speech now deemed suspect includes subjects that are commonly and openly aired when not involving Islam: women’s subordination, violence, child marriages, criminalization of homosexuality and animal cruelty. While not all such cases resulted in convictions, all contribute to a broad and chilling effect on speech. Because there is little predictability in the prosecution and adjudication of such cases, hinging as they do on subjective feelings, nobody knows what can be said with impunity. The flawed premise that religious views can easily be compartmentalized into personal or social realms itself violates the teaching of most religions.
Not to mention the fact that people critical of Islam have been threatened, physically attacked, and even murdered. Wilders has an around-the-clock body guard.
Ash’s solution for dealing with Muslim immigration is that
messages of intolerance and xenophobia, such as those purveyed by Wilders, should be combated in the court of public opinion, not the court of law. Our motto is “minimize compulsion, maximize persuasion.” Mainstream politicians, intellectuals, journalists, businesspeople, sports heroes — all should mobilize to convince the public that so long as people abide by the ground rules of a free society, they have as much right to be full and equal citizens as anyone else, whether they be Muslim, Christian, atheist or Zoroastrian. And that we can make this work.
But for several decades we have been subjected to wall-to-wall, 24/7/365 propaganda extolling the benefits of multiculturalism, ignoring all the downsides, and portraying White people who complain about and fear their dispossession as evil or psychiatrically deranged. It would be great if, instead of proposing yet another propaganda campaign based on guilt mongering and painting utopian pictures of the future, Ash would give us a rational discussion of the merits of massive non-White immigration for the average European and its long term effects on Europe and the rest of the West. Social science research is clear that the downsides are enormous.
It’s getting to the point where people like Ash are like Soviet government spokesmen continuing to preach the old nostrums even after most citizens had completely tuned out. Huge numbers of Europeans can see what’s happening right in front of their eyes and they are becoming politically mobilized. (Ash notes that the Dutch coalition government “depends for its survival” on Wilders’ support.)
Great things are happening in Europe.