We have already surrendered to Islam
(Note: see follow up entry
on the surrender of Western governments to the Islamic law which prohibits criticism of Islam.)
In response to my post, “Here is our future—forever—unless we renounce liberalism,” Diana West sends a passage from her 2007 book, The Death of the Grown-Up. In the excerpt, she discusses how the anti-terror security regime instituted and accepted throughout the West is a form of dhimmitude. By guarding ourselves against the danger of domestic terrorism instead of rooting the danger out, we have in effect accepted that Muslims are already running our society. When you think about how the Dutch government has encased Geert Wilders in an armed security detail in perpetuity, instead of kicking out of the Netherlands the people who threaten Wilders (a possibility that never seems to have occurred to them), you realize that the Dutch have already conceded to Islamic rule over their country, without even a gesture of impotent protest. And the same—Diana West tells us in this eloquent passage—is true of ourselves.
Insecurity, vulnerability, aching loss, numbing shock—these are the poison fruits of terrorism in a world where anyone who submits to an airport body search, or even looks over his shoulder boarding a train, has assumed, however briefly, the status of a victim. Bat Ye’or would likely call such conditioned reflexes a form of dhimmitude: We are taking fearful or invasive precautions because our freedom—freedom from fear, freedom of movement—has been curtailed by threats of violence (I prefer “acts of jihad”) that are specifically Islamic, and therefore contribute to a culture of religiously dictated fear and limitation. The threat of such violence became more acute after 9/11, but it has been an unclear if present danger for decades. Which helps explain why this condition of dhimmitude has in fact become a veritable Western institution. Bat Ye’or looks back to its origins:
It was in the early 1970s, with the outbreak of Arab Palestinian terrorism worldwide, that dhimmitude erupted on European soil through violence and death deliberately inflicted on one category of persons: the Jews, who were singled out as in the Nazi period by their religion. Security precautions and instructions posted on synagogues and Jewish community buildings implied that being Jewish and practicing the Jewish religion in Europe might again incur the risk of death, and that the freedom of religion and freedom of thought had been restricted.[i]
So, that’s how it started. When I first read that passage a few months after 9/11, something clicked. I remembered a visit to Brussels in December of 1990 during which I saw armed guards posted outside a city synagogue. Such security precautions in Europe, as Bat Ye’or writes, were by then routine, but it was the first time I had witnessed them. And it was only after 9/11 that I realized what they really meant: It wasn’t that government authorities were preparing to target a specific, limited threat of violence to battle and eliminate it; on the contrary, the authorities were responding to a an ongoing threat that reflected the permanent fact that Jewish citizens in Belgium (and elsewhere) were no longer able to exercise their religion freely. And why weren’t they able to exercise their religion freely? As in the 1970s, the reason in 1990 was Arab Palestinian terrorists. In retrospect—namely, post-9/11—it seems odd that these terrorists have always been called “Arab terrorists,” or “Arab Palestinian terrorists,” and have never been labeled according to the animating inspiration of their religion as “Muslim” terrorists. Such coyness has buried a relevant part of the story: the Islamic context. Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, it was Muslim terrorism that had come to Europe, and, as a result, Jews were worshipping, if they dared, at their own fearsome risk.
And not just Jews. By now, the same fearsome risk extends to whole populations, in houses of worship and the public square alike. After reading Bat Ye’or, I realized that the now-familiar strategies of fearsome-risk management—guns around the synagogue, for example—represents a significant capitulation. The security ring around the synagogue—or the airport ticket counter, the house of parliament, or the Winter Olympics—is a line of siege, not a line of counter-attack. The threat of violence has become the status quo, and, as such, is incapable of sparking outrage, and is certainly not a casus belli. Guns at the synagogue door—or St. Peter’s Basilica, or the Louvre—symbolize a cultural acquiescence to the infringement of freedom caused by the introduction—better, the incursion—of Islam into Western society. Thus, dhimmitude—institutional concessions on the part of non-Muslim populations to Islam—has arrived in the West.
And it’s here in the U.S. of A., as well. Brandishing automatic weapons, police and soldiers patrol our cities, our buses, our banks, our institutions, our subways, our trains, our stadiums, our airports to prevent specifically Islamic violence. This, lest we forget, is a situation unparalleled—unimagined—in our history. Official Washington has become an armed camp. No longer does traffic stream down Pennsylvania Avenue past the White House; the historic street is now a cement-dump-lined “plaza” blocked off by retractable security stumps. The Capitol, meanwhile, sits behind a hamster-cage Rube Goldberg might have designed, its grand staircases blocked, and metal posts—called “bollards,” I recently learned—bristling down the sidewalks. The fact is, we are living in a state of siege. After 9/11, the United States embarked on an open-ended, war against Islamic terrorism, with varying degrees of foreign cooperation. But even as we fight abroad, we simultaneously assume the status of victims at home, surrendering our bags and purses for security searches, erecting aesthetics-destroying metal detectors, transforming our ennobling vistas and public halls into militarized zones under 24-hour-surveillance. This is necessary, we understand, for public safety: But is it the new “normal”? Or do we ever get Pennsylvania Avenue back? Do we ever get to make that mad dash down the airport concourse onto a plane just pushing off from the gate again? (This was an odd, if recurring point of pride of a family friend who used to time his drive from Kennebunkport, Maine, to Logan Airport with perilous precision). Don’t hold your breath; these homeland defenses sprouting up across the country look and feel like they’re here for good.
In this seemingly permanent climate of fear, then, ignoring genuine heroes—our exemplars of such adult virtues as bravery and sacrifice, honor and duty—is more than a cultural matter of infantile vanity. It is a security risk. “By our focus on victimization,” Crossland writes, “we have adopted our enemies’ standard of measure, and are handing them a victory.” It’s a psychological victory, of course, not a strategic one; but this, above all, is a psychological war.
As a people, then, we begin to make choices predicated on our new siege mentality, choices that a free people—free from fear, and, I would add, free from dhimmitude—would never make …
[i] Islam and Dhimmitude Bat Ye’or, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press p. 330.
[end of West excerpt]
Over the years I have often had thoughts similar to Diana West’s but hadn’t worked them out so fully and profoundly. What the passage says to me is this. The ubiquity of the intrusive security measures in our society—security measures necessary for one reason and one reason only, to defend us from Islamic terrorists who are here only because Muslims are here—is the proof that by the very fact of admitting large numbers of Muslims into our society, we have already lost our freedom to the power and the threat of Islam.
And, again, no one ever points out this screamingly obvious fact. No one ever says: the reason we now live in a bunkered society is that Muslims are among us. If the Muslims hadn’t been allowed to come here, these suffocating security measures would never have been necessary; if the Muslims weren’t here, the security measures would instantly become unnecessary.
- end of initial entry -
Paul Belien writes:
“We have already surrendered to Islam.”
True, and since the Arabic word SLM (as in iSLaM and muSLiM) means submission, by surrendering we have already become inhabitants of the Dar-al-Islam.
Tina A. writes:
I have always agreed with your brilliant, bottom-line analysis of the “forever” aspect of the security nightmare that characterizes much of American society, now that we are hosting millions of Muslims. Personally, whenever I go to Walmart, which is rare, I am always amazed at the numbers of non-English speaking, third-world costumed people in that store. It is breathtaking to think you are in the Midwest surrounded by so much stagnant strangeness. Muslim women with the full-black treatment are frightening looking, and with the fully bearded man ( sometimes with the cute little white cap on top) it is a horror show. Of course nary a smile is seen; the women just blankly stare out and the men glare. Actually, when I see these robots from another world I almost feel thankful for the existence of MTV. I hope its corrupting influence breaks them down and disperses their religion to the winds. May their children deeply desire torn jeans and mini-skirts, tats and eyeshadow, no later then 12.
Another prime location for the nausea experience is the airport, of course, where we all can feel the joys of being a prisoner in lockdown. The pain really builds for those who can remember when flying on a commercial airliner was pleasurable, and when the airport was an interesting and relaxed place. But of course we can’t talk about it.
There is a lot we cannot talk about anymore, but thank God we can go home and talk back, and heap scorn on the cowards and idiots running this rapidly wearing-out formerly Constitutional Republic.
Charles T. writes:
The observations in this post are accurate and disturbing.
Last year I remember a Michael Chertoff radio interview which further illustrates the point. The host pointed out to Mr. Chertoff that our own President—G.W. Bush—had asked Americans to be on guard for Islamic terrorism and immediately to report suspicious activity on our airliners, in our cities, etc. Yet, when Americans did so, they were subjected to accusations of racism at the least. The host pointedly asked Mr. Chertoff why our government was behaving in such a contradictory manner. Chertoff said something like—yeah we need to look into that. Mr. Chertoff was very dismissive of this issue. The host did not press the point and I believe he should have until Chertoff either squirmed or gave a more definitive answer.
David Levin writes:
A wonderful piece by Diana West and you! I’ve been passing it around among my circle of friends.
Posted January 12, 12:35 a.m.
My friend running for Congress in So. St. Louis, John Wayne Tucker, and I have been having a discussion about this issue so I sent him your piece. He wrote:
“My wife was born in a Muslim country that was part of the USSR. They were driven from the country after sleeping with guns and fearing for their lives. They moved to Vladivostok because it was as far away from Muslims as they could get.”
He told me that his Arnold, Missouri minister (John is himself a retired Southern Baptist minister) has two armed guards with him in church and elsewhere—in St. Louis! Not so much because of Islamic terrorists, but for nutcases out there who are into blowing away pastors. A fellow pastor-friend of his pastor’s was murdered in church in another state by some nut job, so he’s not taking any chances. When John told me this, I couldn’t believe it, but there it is.
We are prisoners in this “free” society.
Bat Ye’or writes:
Dear Lawrence, I am thankful that you reproduced this farsighted analysis of Diana’s. It is true that she mentioned me but she also developed with profundity this theme relevant to an unconscious accepted dhimmitude. Bush wanted to fight against it by bringing the war and fear to jihadist lands. But the incredible puerility of the policy—“winning soul and heart,” as if it were a matter of smiling and offering cakes and not a 1.300 years of global jihad-dhimmitude ideology—made free and proud America into Eurabia’s image.
Good luck to America
Rick U. writes:
Very interesting notions about our current state. Interestingly, What does “our” government say in response to terrorist attacks? “Don’t jump to conclusions,” “We don’t want any retribution” and so on. Even after 9-11, there was no large scale retribution against Muslims, and yet we heard the same thing after the Ft. Hood shootings last fall. So, with each incidence of violence against us we are asked to obfuscate, cower, adapt, devise new systems err bureaucracies and in liberal speak this is good. Now, if we could just get those pesky cartoonists from drawing or criticizing Allah, we would have it made!
That’s my First Law of Majority-Minority Relations in Liberal Society, which is basically Marxist forced equality applied to culture: the more Muslims attack us, the more we must call ourselves racist for entertaining the slightest hint of a suspicion that Islam is the cause of these attacks.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 11, 2010 02:12 AM | Send