More On Lars Hedegaard Via the NY Times: Is Europe Waking Up?

Full piece here.

‘The Islamic Society, which runs Denmark’s biggest mosque and played an important role in stirring up passions against the cartoons of Muhammad, swiftly condemned the attack on Mr. Hedegaard. It also said it regretted its own role during the uproar over the cartoon, when it sent a delegation to Egypt and Lebanon to sound the alarm over Danish blasphemy, a move that helped turn what had been a little-noticed domestic affair into a bloody international crisis.’

Well, good for the Islamic Society.  If you need a little background on the Hedegaard case, click through.  We Americans are fortunate to have much stronger legal, political, and cultural traditions of free speech.

His tale here:

“The assassin came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like a typical Muslim immigrant’ in his mid-twenties — fired straight at his head. Though Hedegaard was a yard away, the bullet narrowly missed.’

This blog hopes Europe has reached a tipping point when it comes to standing up to violence and threats of violence to individuals, no matter the source.  There has been an alliance between semi-integrated Muslims who incite and commit violence when their religion and prophet are criticized, alongside a deeply liberal, morally relativistic establishment (by American standards socially democratic or further Left).

The only way to protect Hedegaard is through public support, so others like him aren’t magnets for righteous holy warriors.  He’s a polemicist, but judge for yourself whether or not he’s ‘hateful’ and what the interests are behind ‘hate speech’ laws.  Europeans admittedly, have had a tough time integrating Muslims.  You may not agree with everything he says, but as Hedegaard points out, if you can’t even talk about the problems of integration that Europe is facing, and tolerate voices of dissent like his, how will you begin to solve those problems?


Here’s a broader point to make about Western trends of thought, that highlight some problems and limitations in the culture.

Terry Eagleton is a British cultural thinker in the humanities, and he’s an actual Marxist.  Rarely is it actual Marxism we’ve been importing into the United States, especially by way of our humanities departments, but rather more Continental European thought in general.  Post-modern influences in the humanities often include feminists, race theorists, anti-colonialists (wikipedia), the Existentialists, some products of the generation of ’68 (wikipedia),  the works of Michel Foucault (wikipedia) and Jacques Derrida.  Generally, all of these influences aren’t necessarily seeking a Marxist overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, ready with their own top-down program for life, but they’re rarely traditionalists either.  Some are quite deep and of potentially lasting value.

These influences generally seek to challenge traditional moral thinking, question the roots of legal, social and political institutions, and are not fans of organized religion.  Most of them have their own theories and ideas that vary from anarchic to semi-anarchic, anti-establishmentarian to anti-capitalist, to top-down rationalist and nihilistic.

I think the video below might offer ideas on how we decide what’s important to read, to think about, and which ideas to pass along.  In it,  Eagleton is debating Roger Scruton, a British philosopher focusing on aesthetics and the humanities, and who is generally conservative:  What do British universities keep, and what do they leave behind?  What is culture, and what should one read, think, and feel in order to pass that culture on?:


This blog’s theory (take it, leave it, critique it) is that American culture since the rise of the 1960’s has been deeply influenced by post-modern thought, and that it’s been spilling out into the culture and our politics.  There has also, perhaps, due to technology and a freer flow of goods and information, been a convergence of ideas in the Western world.

Here’s a quote:

‘The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.’

George Santayana.

Related:  It’s the fierce critic of religion, new Atheist, and 68er Christopher Hitchens who has defended free speech most vigorously:  Repost-From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’

From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’

Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks HeadbuttedDuring Lecture’From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’

Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

See the comments Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was SuccessfulUpdate And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

Don’t get Borked, at least if you’re openly religious and aiming for higher office:  Bork had his own view of the 1960′s: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”

Tunku Varadarajan Reviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s ‘Nomad’ At The Daily Beast

Review here.

“Of Somali birth and upbringing, Hirsi Ali fled to the Netherlands as a young woman to escape marriage to a much older man, forced upon her by her father; there, she learned Dutch, became Dutch, and was elected to parliament, only to leave for America after her forthright criticism of Islam made her too radioactive for the disappointingly timid Dutch to handle.”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali suggests that in Islamic cultures, there really hasn’t been anything like the Enlightenment.  Honor killings, women kept apart from men, women kept under religious garments and in the home is not a matter of debate, but rather, a mandate from God and the only way to run your society.   Islam demands that you submit your will in faith to God, and well, that’s usually the end of the discussion.  In this vein, Hirsi Ali might be something of an Islamic reformer and has garnered skepticism, dismissal, anger and death threats from the Muslim world.

As mentioned, Hirsi Ali’s main target is Islam, and the injustice done against her by Muslims in the name of Islam, and she does so while using Western ideas and criticizing excessive relativism and multiculturalism as inadequate defenders of those Western ideas.   Muslims immigrate but are never fully integrated into their new, European societies.  They languish in generational ghettoes, maintaining their own cultures and languages and customs, and a wall of anger, resentment, injustice, xenophobia and suspicion builds.  Whatever injustice she argues Islam delivered upon her, misunderstanding dominates in this environment and many guiding political ideas are simply not profound nor accurate enough to get over that wall.

If you’ve read the book, please share your thoughts.

Also On This Site:  Many libertarians stand firm on freedom of speech:  Repost-A Canadian Libertarian Making Noise: Ezra LevantFrom Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’Christopher Hitchens At Slate: Yale SurrendersYale concluded that the risk of violence and the potential consequences that stemmed from their decision to publish a scholarly work about the Mohammed cartoons (reprinting those cartoons) was not worth the risk.  Hitchens is not a fan of religion.

Does Hirsi Ali really want to court the darker tendencies of the hard European right…or point out the flaws of the re-sentiment filled left?:  Repost-Ayan Hirsi Ali At The CSM: ‘Swiss Ban On Minarets Was A Vote For Tolerance And Inclusion’

A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea: From ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’

Is Islam incompatibile with freedom as we define it here in the West?, and is this a particularly British, Church Of England, problem?:  From YouTube: Roger Scruton On Religious Freedom, Islam & Atheism

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