I JUST READ an excellent article by Mark Steyn called Lights Out On Liberty. He made many good points in the article, and below I will share a few choice nuggets. But I urge you to read the full article (maybe share this trimmed-down version with your friends). And then come back here and let's get to work doing something about it. Steyn said, among other things:
...today’s multicultural societies tolerate the explicitly intolerant and avowedly unicultural, while refusing to tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance. It’s been that way for 20 years now, ever since Valentine’s Day 1989, when the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against the novelist Salman Rushdie, a British subject, and shortly thereafter large numbers of British Muslims marched through English cities openly calling for Rushdie to be killed.
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I wrote my book America Alone because I wanted to reframe how we thought about the War on Terror — an insufficient and evasive designation that has long since outlasted whatever usefulness it may once have had.
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I started keeping a file on pig controversies a couple of years ago, and you would be surprised at how routine they have become. Recently, for instance, a local government council prohibited its workers from having knickknacks on their desks representing Winnie the Pooh’s sidekick Piglet. As Pastor Martin Niemoller might have said, "First they came for Piglet and I did not speak out because I was not a Disney character, and if I was, I’d be more of an Eeyore. Then they came for the Three Little Pigs and Babe, and by the time I realized the Western world had turned into a 24/7 Looney Tunes, it was too late, because there was no Porky Pig to stammer, ‘Th-th-th-that’s all folks!’, and bring the nightmare to an end."
What all these stories have in common is excessive deference to — and in fact fear of — Islam. If the story of the Three Little Pigs is forbidden when Muslims still comprise less than ten percent of Europe’s population, what else will be on the black list when they comprise 20 percent? In small but telling ways, non-Muslim communities are being persuaded that a kind of uber-Islamic law now applies to all.
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I would argue that these incremental concessions to Islam are ultimately a bigger threat than terrorism. What matters is not what the lads in the Afghan cave — the "extremists" — believe, but what the non-extremists believe, what people who are for the most part law-abiding taxpayers of functioning democracies believe.
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Last month, in a characteristically clotted speech followed by a rather more careless BBC interview, the Archbishop of Canterbury said that it was dangerous to have one law for everyone and that the introduction of Sharia to the United Kingdom was "inevitable." Within days of His Grace’s remarks, the British and Ontario governments both confirmed that thousands of polygamous men in their jurisdictions are receiving welfare payments for each of their wives. Kipling wrote that East is East and West is West, and ne’er the twain shall meet. But when the twain do meet, you often wind up with the worst of both worlds. Say what you like about a polygamist in Waziristan or Somalia, but he has to do it on his own dime. To collect a welfare check for each spouse, he has to move to London or Toronto. Government-subsidized polygamy is an innovation of the Western world.
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The Western world is not run by fellows noted for their line-holding: Look at what they’re conceding now and then try to figure out what they’ll be conceding in five years’ time.
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Sharia in Britain? Taxpayer-subsidized polygamy in Toronto? Yawn. Nothing to see here. True, if you’d suggested such things on September 10, 2001, most Britons and Canadians would have said you were nuts. But a few years on and it doesn’t seem such a big deal, nor will the next concession, or the one after that.
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Ultimately, our crisis is not about Islam. It’s not about fire-breathing Imams or polygamists whooping it up on welfare. It’s not about them. It’s about us. And by us I mean the culture that shaped the modern world, and established the global networks, legal systems, and trading relationships on which the planet depends.
To reprise Sir Edward Grey, the lamps are going out all over the world, and an awful lot of the map will look an awful lot darker by the time many Americans realize the scale of this struggle.
Mark Steyn is the author of America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. What can you do about the persistent western accommodation to Muslim demands? Here are seven things you can do.