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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mark Steyn: You Can't Believe Your Lying Eyes

I will repost the whole thing because it's great from beginning to end.

The Islamoschmoozing has gone into full gear. What's the harm? This is how nations die

Within a few hours of those arrests from the -- what was the phrase? -- "broad strata" of Canadian society, I had a little flurry of emails from radio and TV producers inviting me to toss in my two bits. But my two bits on Toronto is pretty much the same as my two bits on London and Madrid and Bali, and that's quite a mound of quarters piled up over the past five years. What's to say? The best summation is a line I first quoted in 2002, when a French oil tanker was attacked off the coast of Yemen. Back then, you'll recall, the French foreign minister was deploring American "simplisme" on a daily basis, and M. Chirac was the principal obstructionist of the neo-con-Zionist-Halliburton plan to remake the Middle East. If you were to pick only one Western nation not to blow up the oil tankers of, France would surely be it.

But they got blown up anyway. And afterwards a spokesman for the Islamic Army of Aden said, "We would have preferred to hit a U.S. frigate, but no problem because they are all infidels."

No problem. They are all infidels. In the scheme of things, launching a plot to behead the Prime Minister of Canada would not seem to be an obvious priority. No doubt they would have preferred to behead the President of the United States. But no problem. We are all infidels.

The multicultural society posits that each of its citizens can hold a complementary portfolio of identities: one can simultaneously be Canadian and Jamaican and gay and Anglican and all these identities can exist within your corporeal form in perfect harmony. But, for most Western Muslims, Islam is their primary identity, and for a significant number thereof, it's a primary identity that exists in opposition to all others. That's merely stating the obvious. But, of course, to state the obvious is unacceptable these days, so our leaders prefer to state the absurd. I believe the old definition of a nanosecond was the gap between a New York traffic light changing to green and the first honk of a driver behind you. Today, the definition of a nanosecond is the gap between a Western terrorist incident and the press release of a Muslim lobby group warning of an impending outbreak of Islamophobia. After the London tube bombings, Angus Jung sent the Aussie pundit Tim Blair a note-perfect parody of the typical newspaper headline:

"British Muslims fear repercussions over tomorrow's train bombing."

An adjective here and there, and that would serve just as well for much of the coverage by the Toronto Star and the CBC, where a stone through a mosque window is a bigger threat to the social fabric than a bombing thrice the size of the Oklahoma City explosion. "Minority-rights doctrine," writes Melanie Phillips in her new book Londonistan, "has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a 'victim' group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the 'oppressive' majority." If you want to appreciate the forces at play among Western Muslims in societies enervated by multiculturalism, Londonistan is an indispensable read. "It is impossible to overstate the importance -- not just to Britain but to the global struggle against Islamist extremism -- of properly understanding and publicly challenging this moral, intellectual and philosophical inversion, which translates aggressor into victim and vice versa."

That's true -- although I wonder for how long even our decayed establishments can keep up the act. After the London bombings, the first reaction of Brian Paddick, the deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, was to declare that "Islam and terrorism don't go together." After the Toronto arrests, the CSIS assistant director of operations, Luc Portelance, announced that "it is important to know that this operation in no way reflects negatively on any specific community, or ethnocultural group in Canada." Who ya gonna believe? The RCMP diversity outreach press officer or your lyin' eyes? In the old days, these chaps would have been looking for the modus operandi, patterns of behaviour. But now every little incident on the planet is apparently strictly specific unto itself: all jihad is local.

The other day, listening to an interview on America's National Public Radio with the mayor of Toronto, I was laughing so much I drove off the road. David Miller warmed up with a bit of boilerplate Islamoschmoozing: "You know, in Islam, if you kill one person, you kill everybody. It's a very peaceful religion. And they're as shocked as Torontonians are. And . . ."

Renee Montagne, the anchorette, instantly spotted the ghastly breach of PC etiquette and leapt in: "Well, they sort of are Torontonians," she pointed out.

"Sorry," gulped the mayor, hastily re-smothering Muslims within the great diversity quilt. "They're shocked as every Torontonian is . . ."

Thereafter, Ms. Montagne expressed bafflement that these allegedly alleged fellows would have wanted to commit a terrorist atrocity in what was, compared to the Great Satan next door, "a very open society, very liberal immigration policy, very good social services."

Mayor Miller agreed: "More than half of the people who live in Toronto, including myself, were not born in Canada. And I think that's why Canada works."

"Although it didn't work in this case," Ms. Montagne pointed out, somewhat maliciously.

"Well, we don't expect these kinds of occurrences, exactly because of our public services, because of diversity," blah, blah. Insofar as there's any relation between jihadists and "good social services," the latter seem to attract the former -- at least in the sense that Ahmed Ressam, Zac Moussaoui, the shoe-bomber, the tube bombers, etc., were all products of the Euro-Canadian welfare system. But go ahead, pretend that these guys were upset about insufficient "social services," that they wanted to behead Stephen Harper to highlight the fact that wait times for the beheaded at the Toronto General are now up to 18 months, and they don't always reattach the right head. It's easy to scoff that a chap who can be bothered blowing up the Canadian Parliament must be insane, but, if you were a jihadist sitting in the cave back in the Hindu Kush listening to Renee Montagne and David Miller, wouldn't you conclude that they're the ones who are nuts? The Islamic Army of Aden PR guy seems by comparison to have a relatively clear-sighted grasp of reality.

Melanie Phillips makes a point that applies to Britain, Canada and beyond: "With few exceptions, politicians, Whitehall officials, senior police and intelligence officers and academic experts have failed to grasp that the problem to be confronted is not just the assembly of bombs and poison factories but what is going on inside people's heads that drives them to such acts." These are not Pushtun yak herders straight off the boat blowing up trains and buses. They're young men, most of whom were born and all of whom were bred in London, Toronto and other Western cities. And offered the nullity of a contemporary multicultural identity they looked elsewhere -- and found the jihad. If we try to fight it as isolated outbreaks -- a suicide attack here, a beheading there -- we will never win. You have to take on the ideology and the networks that sustain it and throttle them. Does David Miller sound like a man who's up to that challenge? A reader in Quebec, John Gross, emailed me to distill the mayor's approach as: "Don't get mad, get even . . . wimpier."

Well, if Hizzoner wants to make himself a laughingstock, what's the harm? Only this -- that the more rubbish spouted by officials in the wake of these events, the more the averagely well-informed person will resent the dissembling. In that sense, Mayor Miller, M. Portelance, commissioner Paddick et al. are colluding in the delegitimizing of the state's institutions. That doesn't seem like a smart move.

One final thought: Miss Phillips is one of Britain's best-known newspaper columnists. She appears constantly on national TV and radio. No publisher has lost money on her. Yet Londonistan wound up being published first in New York, and its subsequent appearance in Britain is thanks not to Little, Brown (who published her last big book) but to a small independent imprint called Gibson Square. I don't know Miss Phillips's agent, but it's hard not to suspect that glamorous literary London decided it would prefer to keep a safe distance from this incendiary subject.

That's how nations die -- not by war or conquest, but by a thousand trivial concessions, until one day you wake up and you don't need to sign a formal instrument of surrender because you did it piecemeal. How many Muslims in Toronto sympathize with the aims of those arrested last week? Maybe we could use a book on the subject. But which Canadian house would publish it? And would the faint-hearts at Indigo-Chapters carry it?

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