Lewis: the only thing to do about the Islam threat is to hope Muslims embrace freedom

John D. writes:

The Über Suspect strikes again. Bernard Lewis, in his lengthy speech at the AEI 2007 Irving Kristol Lecture, begins with some fascinating historical and present day facts regarding the Islamization of Europe. As I read along, I highly anticipated the conclusion of his speech, given the direction in which Lewis’s verbal voyage was heading, talking of the assimilation problems…etc. I truly thought that he was finally going to drop the immigration cessation or “separationism” bomb. I should have known better because, in the end, Lewis declares that the appeal of freedom is our greatest hope.

LA replies:

Indeed, and what Lewis means by the appeal of freedom is the hope that Muslims will adopt an idea of freedom and government similar to the Western idea. He says that this “is perhaps in the long run our best hope, perhaps even our only hope, of surviving this developing struggle.” Here, truly, is the ultimate expression of the neoconservative view of the Islam problem. According to Lewis, who is literally the intellectual god of the neocons, Islam poses a real danger to our civilization, and our best and perhaps only hope for survival is that Muslims will transform themselves and become like us. This impossible dream is our best hope for survival! There is nothing that we can do for ourselves to protect ourselves from Islam, even as Islam continues to gain power in the West.

Bernard Lewis is, very simply, a traitor to the West.

Here is the closing section of his speech:

Such questions—polygamy, in particular—raise important issues of a more practical nature. Isn’t an immigrant who is permitted to come to France or Germany entitled to bring his family with him? But what exactly does his family consist of? They are increasingly demanding and getting permission to bring plural wives. The same is also applying more and more to welfare payments and so on. On the other hand, the enforcement of shari`a is a little more difficult. This has become an extremely sensitive issue.

Another extremely sensitive issue, closely related to this, is the position of women, which is of course very different between Christendom and Islam. This has indeed been one of the major differences between the two societies.

Where do we stand now? Is it third time lucky? It is not impossible. They have certain clear advantages. They have fervor and conviction, which in most Western countries are either weak or lacking. They are self-assured of the rightness of their cause, whereas we spend most of our time in self-denigration and self-abasement. They have loyalty and discipline, and perhaps most important of all, they have demography, the combination of natural increase and migration producing major population changes, which could lead within the foreseeable future to significant majorities in at least some European cities or even countries.

But we also have some advantages, the most important of which are knowledge and freedom. The appeal of genuine modern knowledge in a society which, in the more distant past, had a long record of scientific and scholarly achievement is obvious. They are keenly and painfully aware of their relative backwardness and welcome the opportunity to rectify it.

Less obvious but also powerful is the appeal of freedom. In the past, in the Islamic world the word freedom was not used in a political sense. Freedom was a legal concept. You were free if you were not a slave. The institution of slavery existed. Free meant not slave. Unlike the West, they did not use freedom and slavery as a metaphor for good and bad government, as we have done for a long time in the Western world. The terms they used to denote good and bad government are justice and injustice. A good government is a just government, one in which the Holy Law, including its limitations on sovereign authority, is strictly enforced. The Islamic tradition, in theory and, until the onset of modernization, to a large degree in practice, emphatically rejects despotic and arbitrary government. Living under justice is the nearest approach to what we would call freedom.

But the idea of freedom in its Western interpretation is making headway. It is becoming more and more understood, more and more appreciated and more and more desired. It is perhaps in the long run our best hope, perhaps even our only hope, of surviving this developing struggle. Thank you.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 21, 2007 11:14 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):