July 6, 2010

The Odd Twists of Guilt

Justin Katz

Mark Steyn proposes an interesting turnabout:

... As paradoxical as it sounds, Muslims have been far greater beneficiaries of Holocaust guilt than the Jews. In a nutshell, the Holocaust enabled the Islamization of Europe. Without post-war guilt, and the revulsion against nationalism, and the embrace of multiculturalism and mass immigration, the Continent would never have entertained for a moment the construction of mosques from Dublin to Dusseldorf and the accommodation of Muslim sensitivities on everything from British nursing uniforms to Brussels police doughnut consumption during Ramadan. Holocaust guilt is a cornerstone of the Muslim Europe arising before our eyes. The only minority that can't leverage the Shoah these days is the actual target. It is disheartening to see Elie Wiesel, in Toronto the other day, calling for Holocaust denial to be made a crime throughout the world (as it already is in many European countries). He so doesn't get it. The greater risk to Jews is not that the world will "forget" the murder of 6 million people but that it has appropriated the crime for its own purposes. In Europe, the ever more extravagant Holocaust Memorial Day observances have taken on the character of America's gay-pride parades with their endlessly proliferating subcategories of celebrants. As Anthony Lipmann, the son of an Auschwitz survivor, wrote in The Spectator five years ago: "When on 27 January I take my mother's arm — tattoo number A-25466 — I will think not just of the crematoria and the cattle trucks but of Darfur, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Jenin, Fallujah."

One could note that the Holocaust wasn't the only moral crime contributing to social guilt and the multiculturalist mindset, which Islamofascists — while feeling no guilt about their treatment of Jews, women, homosexuals, Christians, and any other subjugable groups — leverage to self-present as an oppressed minority. In the United States, slavery and segregation are the hinge pin.

In a sense, Western Civilization has been in a sort of cultural Purgatory. Having awoken to some of the evils in which we've participated — although they are by no means unique to us — we are shocked into a crisis of confidence. Not surprisingly, our own demons and those from outside see an opportunity to seize while we're locked in an unhealthy vanity of repentance. The challenge is to learn from the past rather than wallowing right back into it.

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These are all good points.

Notice that quote at the end of the Mark Steyn excerpt. This guy is really defining genocide down. He starts with the Holocaust, then lists Darfur and Rwanda. Both are legitimate examples of genocide and challenges to the West's cries of "Never Again." Zimbabwe is the site of some heinous human rights abuses but I'm not aware of anything there that rises to the level of the Final Solution. Then Mr. Lipmann gratuitously throws in Jenin and Fallujah. Both cities were the site of battles between, on the one hand, terrorist organizations who deliberately target noncombatants as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist regime and, on the other hand, professional military forces representing Western liberal democracies who take all practical measures to avoid civilian casualties even at risk to themselves. Guess which side he wants to associate with the Holocaust.

Posted by: David P at July 6, 2010 6:48 PM

FYi, the EU has 500 million people and approx. 17 million Muslims, or about 3%.

I'm not sure that would qualify as the "Islamization of Europe".......

(for instance, there are more Asian Americans in America in terms of %).

Posted by: Stuart at July 6, 2010 9:37 PM

The issue of the Islamification of Europe is not adequately described by reciting raw percentages. Firstly, Muslims in Europe are not equally distributed. Europe includes eastern countries, like Poland, where the Muslim population is barely measurable. But it also includes France, whose Muslim population is anywhere from five to ten percent.

More important than mere numbers is the issue of cultural assertiveness. A culturally assertive minority can have influence all out of proportion to its numbers when the majority is not prepared to defend its values and culture. Thus England is prepared to contemplate allowing Sharia law to operate alongside English Common Law. In the Netherlands, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament, was forced to go into hiding and eventually flee the country because her accounts of growing up in Muslim Somalia and her criticism of Islam's treatment of women angered the local Muslim population, who responded with death threats and the murder of her collaborator Theo van Gogh, great great nephew of Vincent van Gogh. Imagine a member of Congress being forced into exile because of offensive speech. In the United States criticism of and insults to religion are a daily occurence but they don't result in violence as a rule. The depictions of Mohammed in the Danish cartoons were mild compared with famous examples in the United States such as Serrano's Piss Christ and the Madonna smeared with elephant dung. Christians respond to these insults with anger and a demand that taxpayer money not be used to sponsor such displays. But there is no serious effort to even censor such works, much less murder the artists who create them.

Today is the fifth anniversary of the London subway bombings. Four suicide bombers detonated backpack bombs on crowded subways and one bus. Three of the four were born in England and the fourth was born in Jamaica, a member of the British Commonwealth and heir to English notions of liberty. When Al Qaeda sought to attack the United States on September 11, it had to import its bombers. Imagine an America where terrorists could recruit nineteen suicide bombers locally.

Even our neighbor to the north is surrendering its heritage as freedom of speech gives way to censorship in the form of "Human Rights Commissions" that claim the authority to punish "offensive" or "hateful" speech.

The freedom to criticize and to challenge is a bedrock of western liberalism. It derives from the idea that objective truth exists; that this truth can be discerned through examination and debate; and that ideas which are true will withstand criticism. Throughout much of the western world, the people seem to be losing the stomach to defend these freedoms. Hopefully Americans are made of sterner stuff.

Posted by: David P at July 7, 2010 1:10 PM

Justin WISHES France was Islamisized ......but, sorry, it still is a bunch of happy socialists enjoying 6 weeks off, cradle to grave health care, food, sex and life.

Darn it......

Pointing to a few schoolkid terrorists is not evidence of anything. That would be like pointing to Tim McVeigh as to why we have to watch out for whitey or christians or ex-army folks.

All societies have burps when integrating new immigrants. I am certain they can take care of themselves in the long run.....

Another point you failed to make is that diversity in Europe is due to MUCH more than guilt. It is due to some of the same forces that resulted in diversity here - namely servitude! Vast amounts of low cost labor have been imported into Europe.....
"Europe needs 56 million immigrant workers by 2050"

"The European Union recently experienced a high point in immigration with 2 million people entering the 27-member bloc each year in 2004 and 2005. This group of immigrants comprise 3.7 percent of the total foreign population of the 27-member bloc"

Based on those FACTS, it is not guilt but selfishness (cheap labor) which may be responsible.

Posted by: Stuart at July 7, 2010 3:37 PM

Well it doesn't have to be just one or the other. Europe does need the labor but that isn't necessarily greed. It could have somethind to do with the fact that European fertility rates are below replenishment levels. In other words, Europeans are not producing enough new workers to sustain the social welfare states that they have built over the last sixty years. Low fertility can be due to many factors, one of which is the lack of cultural assertiveness I described in my last comment.

In fact your opening sentence kind of makes the same point. The French majority doesn't see western civilization as anything worth defending so they are content to have themselves a good time while Europe dies. Meanwhile, the Islamic minority sees itself as part of a cohesive worldwide movement with no doubts about its right to expand its territory and impose its culture on foreign lands.

People like McVeigh, Eric Rudolph and Ted Kaczynski are basically loners. They may have fantasies about sparking a movement through their actions but the 9/11 hijackers, the London bombers, the Madrid bombers, the Bali bombers and every other jihadist in the world knows (or knew) they are part of a movement with considerable popular support. There is just no comparison.

Posted by: David P at July 7, 2010 5:39 PM

I don't agree - if you look at many of the jihadist they are loners or part of a relatively small group of "haters" just like McVeigh. Heck, we have tens of thousands of militia types here all arming themselves up and reading the bible at the same time (like the recent arrests in MI).

Whether McVeigh, the Holocaust Shooter or some of the further out tea party types....they can all be thought of as either part of a group or...as loners.

As to Europe and immigration - the fact is that immigrants work harder and cheaper. That is selfish part. As with Americans, most Europeans don't want to work in the fields...nor send their kids to do so. When it comes to having kids, they are smart enough to know their continent has reached it's max sustainable population. If they listened to the Pope, there would be an environmental catastrophe as well as more wars. There is only so much land and so much food and so much water, and Europe learned many of those lessons the hard way. Unlike Americans, they don't think there are vast new resources over the next Mountain ridge.

Their social welfare states largely work......look at Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, etc.

You might say "yeah, but now they are going to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62". Big deal......here we don't even have a retirement age, and Boner just suggested raising SS to 70! People are living longer, so raising it from 60 to 62 makes sense.

In short, criticizing them is the pot calling the kettle black, since our society...even with our harder lives...has proven anything but sustainable! We work harder and get less for it, because we pray at the altar of Wall Street, Consumerism and Corporate Profits. It's not working out too well, but you would not know it based on the rants from the right...they still have that old fashioned religion!

I was born here and I am an American. But I can certainly see the draw of having a government which cares more about the people...as opposed to Defense Contractors and Oil Companies and Campaign Contributions.

Posted by: Stuart at July 8, 2010 10:56 AM

Heck,Stuart,for a "smart"guy you sometimes sound weird.
Asian-Americans,and Asian immigrants have no demands that we speak their languages;that we allow them to have their own justice system like Sharia;that we give them affirmative action priority treatment;have low crime rater;high academic achievement(due to cultural respect for education,like the Jews,not necessarily higher IQ's than anyone else);nuclear families;and the lowest out of wedlock birth rates.
Except for the older refugees from SE Asia,speaking English is no issue.
With all that assimiliation,they still maintain contact with their cultural roots.
The Islamics are in your face and uncompromising.It's part of their religion.Not all,by any means,but enough.
Tell me the last Chinese,Korean,Filipino, or Japanese welfare slug you've noticed.Thought so.
Even Asian gangbangers usually keep in "in house"so to speak.
Asian immigration will help the US do well.
Islamic immigration,not so much.

Posted by: joe bernstein at July 8, 2010 5:12 PM
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