And so it has come to pass that Sweden has been affected – though only minorly, mercifully – by the scourge of Islamist terrorism. This is, sadly, hardly shocking. The southern city of Malmö, for example, has suffered from appalling (and largely unreported) racial and cultural tensions and violence, ranging from the exodus of threatened Jewish residents to numerous shootings of immigrants to all-out rioting. And much to the chagrin of lefties everywhere, the ‘far-right’ Sweden Democrats recently entered Parliament for the first time.
There is also scant surprise in the fact that the perpetrator was educated in this country. The Luton Islamic Centre, however, deserve immense credit for having removed him from their establishment after he espoused some decidedly suspect views.
Faced once again by an example of the scale of the failure of ill-conceived and ignorant multiculturalism, the left across Europe have promptly attempted to puff up their chests and assert themselves. Such a thing is of course preposterous in the light of what their ‘values’ have brought to European shores. Furthermore, it is ideologically impossible to espouse the superiority of a set of ‘values’ that are grounded in a belief (it is worth stressing that it is a belief) that having a multiplicity of values is an enlightened cultural plain.
However, the Independent has done its best to outline and assert what it perceives to be the moral absolutes that our brave new world is allegedly founded upon in today’s leading article: ‘We must hold fast to our values in the face of terror’.
In the face of vast tides of illiberal and draconian terror, it appears that the Independent is encouraging… more liberalism!
So how should democracies respond to this insidious threat, driven as much by religious offence as anger at Western military actions abroad? The answer is that we need to keep calm and defend our liberal values.
The solution is not censorship of magazines or newspapers. In May an attempt was made to burn down [Lars] Viks’s home. However offensive his art might be to some, he needs to be protected by the Swedish authorities.
Ah, I see. The typical response of the left: have the State pay to protect someone who has been the victim of a slow, violent erosion of freedom of speech. That’s unquestionably preferable to acting decisively.
The article then shows signs of a grasp on reality:
Nor can censorship of ideas be any sort of solution. This is directly relevant to Britain since the Home Secretary, Theresa May, is considering banning Terry Jones, the American pastor who threatened to burn the Koran on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, from entering Britain to address an English Defence League rally in February. Ms May has the power to exclude an individual from coming to the UK if they are not conducive to the public good – and she has been lobbied by anti-extremist groups to bar Mr Jones’s entry. But the Home Secretary needs to think very hard before exercising this power. Unless it can be shown that Mr Jones will directly incite violence, it would be better not to make a martyr of him.
I am inclined to agree here. It would indeed be a profound mistake to ban Mr Jones, as Cranmer has already articulately discussed. However, the anonymous author seems to have made the error of labelling the likes of UAF ‘anti-extremist groups’. And then the article retreats back downhill…
The terror threat against the populations of Western states is real. But it needs to be treated like a criminal conspiracy, rather than an emergency that requires the suspension of our liberal traditions. Our police and intelligence services are adequately equipped to meet the threat. Our existing laws are capable of dealing with those who resort to violence to further their goals. And our societies are strong enough to withstand these challenges, providing we do not compromise our values.
The entire edifice has crumbled. For a start, I would like to know precisely what constitutes our ‘liberal traditions’. Are the post-Holocaust internment camps for Jews seeking to emigrate to Palestine a good example? Perhaps not. What about the illiberal (but logical, rational and sensible) clause 51 in Magna Carta relating to malign foreign influence?
“As soon as peace is restored, we will banish from the kingdom all foreign born knights, crossbowmen, serjeants, and mercenary soldiers who have come with horses and arms to the kingdom’s hurt.”
If only we could enact a similar ruling now.
The key malaise and ambiguity within the Independent’s analysis is precisely the same one that has undermined our sense of self, be it British or English: there is no certainty or tangible sense of what constitutes ‘our values’. I’m not too sure where the author(s) of this piece has/have been over the last 60 or so years, but there is no such thing as ‘our values’ anymore. This is the first surrender of multiculturalism. It may yet inform the last.
The vacuum that we have created for ourself at the very heart of our being is fatal. Reasserting our sense of self in the vacuous, ideologically defunct doctrine of multiculturalism is of urgent, fundamental and immediate importance.
What the writers of the Independent’s lead seem to have forgotten in their (admittedly noble) clamour to avoid clumsy legislative limits on freedoms is that this debate is about much more than that. The Henry Jackson Society notes that British Jihadists capitalise on the ‘UK Identity vacuum’ and calls for a shared narrative of who and what we are.
We must look back to the resolve, strength, courage and certainty of our ancestors. If it is on their broad shoulders that we claim to stand, we must channel these attributes to protect what they fought to create and defend.
The consequences of moral weakness, more than legal or liberal weakness, are presently unthinkable.