Monday, March 15, 2010

Mark Steyn: Krauthammer Naive and Incorrect

Mark Steyn recently took Charles Krauthammer to task for being naive about where the real danger lies in the Netherlands.
These aren't words one has cause to type terribly often, but I think Charles Krauthammer is being deeply naïve in his observations on Geert Wilders (as, reportedly, was Glenn Beck, to whom I am otherwise well disposed, not least because he liked my Christmas single).

Wilders does not need to be lectured condescendingly about distinctions within Islam, because he lives with them every day. And he has concluded, notwithstanding Dr. Krauthammer's views on the precise "minority" that identifies as "Islamist," that Islam itself is the issue — and that, therefore, regardless of the "moderation" of the "overwhelming majority" of Muslims, the more Islam the less Netherlands in any recognizable sense. Are the gangs of gay bashers on the streets of Amsterdam "Islamist" by Krauthammer's definition? Maybe, maybe not. But, either way, they make the running, and the rest of the community is either indifferent or quiescent.
Steyn also points out that Krauthammer misses the importance of the state suppression and the growth of state power in opposing a core value in Western civilization: free speech.
Dr. Krauthammer is also incorrect to suggest there are two issues here. When the state attempts to constrain further Europe's already too shriveled bounds of public discourse, the only issue is state power. The Continental political class does not want to debate the question of its ever more assertive Muslim populations, and so has decided to criminalize that debate. Geert Wilders lives under 24/7 security because Muslims (including the killer of Theo van Gogh) have pledged to murder him. Yet he's the one on trial for incitement? The issue is not Wilders or his views, but the Dutch state and their ever more "extreme, radical, and wrong" views on core Western liberties.
Since Steyn wrote the book (America Alone) on Europe's (and the Netherlands') growing demographic/values crisis and has suffered his own free speech trial where truth was not a defense, Dr. Krauthammer should give a listen.

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