Chamberlain's Legacy

Islam is constantly challenging and denigrating Western morality and values, and in a society that ostensibly considers free speech a hallmark should be allowed to do so.

Islam’s claim to a higher morality is based on revealed truths which, by definition, are unassailable. Islam would like their unassailable truths, and the "perfect human being" who conveyed them to be tacitly, if not explicitly, beyond reproach.

Western countries that have made criticism of religion in general, and Islam in particular a crime e.g. Britain, the Netherlands, Austria..., have effectively surrendered to the forces of intolerance without a fight.

The West has implicitly, if not explicitly, accepted Islam’s argument that limits should be placed on criticism of religious beliefs, thereby allowing radical Islam to advance almost unchallenged. This gradual surrender of basic freedoms in the face of religious intolerance is slowly neutering the most effective weapons against the spread of religious tyranny: freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

Winston Churchill, after the end of the Second World War, when the war still had no official name, was asked what they should call the war that had just ended and cost more than 30 million lives. He said “the unnecessary war.” The war would have been unnecessary if the democracies had stood steadfast in the face of Hitler’s demands instead of rewarding aggressive behaviour.

I was reminded of Churchill’s response when viewing a demonstration by Muslims in London during the so-called “cartoon protest”. A picture from that protest is on the cover of Between a Pillar and a Hard Place.

I am sure that Churchill, if he were still alive, would have labelled the democracies’ timid response – which involved mainly apologizing for their citizens exercising their right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech and promising to severely restrict these fundamental rights where religion was concerned – as rewarding aggressive behaviour.

The fear of random death for their citizens at the hands of those who will not forgive even the mildest criticism of their faith has caused these governments to conclude a Chamberlain-like peace which cannot last.

Will the outcome be the same, a bloody, global war to dwarf all wars to try to regain cherished freedoms carelessly thrown away?

Bernard Payeur