It is easy to get discouraged in the many battles we face, and one can easily be tempted to think that he or she is alone in these wars. Indeed, one can become overwhelmed and feel quite alone in these struggles. But the truth is, there are many others who are standing up and fighting the good fight.
I often take comfort from rereading the books or re-watching the films of The Lord of the Rings. Frodo too felt alone, outnumbered, and rather hopeless. As Frodo once said, “I suppose I must go alone, if I am to do that and save the Shire. But I feel very small, and very uprooted, and well – desperate. The Enemy is so strong and terrible.”
But he was not alone: “‘And now,’ said Gandalf, turning back to Frodo, ‘the decision lies with you. But I will always help you.’ He laid his hand on Frodo’s shoulder. ‘I will help you bear this burden, as long as it is yours to bear. But we must do something, soon. The Enemy is moving’.”
And so it is in the real world. The battles are many, the opposition seems to have all the advantages, and our side seems so useless and asleep. But there are many who are seeking to make a difference. And sometimes they are doing such a good job, it is simply worth pointing them out.
Many can be mentioned here, but let me single out just one. Mark Steyn is a Canadian-born, American-based writer and commentator who has done much to defend our freedoms against the various assaults – be it Political Correctness, Big Brother Statism, or the radical Islamists.
He has written much in defence of the values we hold to, and is always worth reading. One of his most enduring works is his very important 2006 volume, America Alone. My review of this excellent book can be found here: billmuehlenberg.com/2007/02/02/a-review-of-america-alone-by-mark-steyn/
Steyn always has something worthwhile to say, and with a terrific writing style and fantastic sense of humour, he is never boring to read. And he has the courage of his convictions as well. For example, he was taken on by the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2007 for his remarks about Islam.
But Steyn is not one to back down, and will always stand up for what is right, even if there is a cost to pay. His insights and clarity of thought are a welcome change in a world turned upside down. His biting political and social commentary is always a delight to read and ponder.
Indeed, his newest piece is the occasion of this article. There is so much intelligent commentary and incisive reflection found in this piece, that the best thing that I can do is use the remainder of this article to quote large slabs of his piece. Here then are some more words of wisdom from the indefatigable Mark Steyn.
His September 27 article is entitled “Bowing to Islam’s view of us”. As usual, he sees the threat of totalitarian Islamism as one of the most pressing concerns facing the free West today. And he sees the absolute weakness and inability of the West to see this danger as one of our biggest worries.
Says Steyn: “Too many people in the free world have internalized Islam’s view of them. A couple of years ago, I visited Guantanamo and subsequently wrote that, if I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new copy of the Koran in each cell: To reassure incoming prisoners that the filthy infidels haven’t touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Korans are hung from the walls in pristine, sterilized surgical masks. It’s one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it’s hard to see why it’s in the interests of us infidels to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry. What does that degree of prostration before their prejudices tell them about us? It’s a problem that Muslims think we’re unclean. It’s a far worse problem that we go along with it.
“Take this no-name pastor from an obscure church who was threatening to burn the Koran. He didn’t burn any buildings or women and children. He didn’t even burn a book. He hadn’t actually laid a finger on a Koran, and yet the mere suggestion that he might do so prompted the president of the United States to denounce him, and the secretary of state, and the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, various G7 leaders, and golly, even Angelina Jolie.
“President Obama has never said a word about honor killings of Muslim women. Secretary Clinton has never said a word about female genital mutilation. General Petraeus has never said a word about the rampant buggery of pre-pubescent boys by Pushtun men in Kandahar. But let an obscure man in Florida so much as raise the possibility that he might disrespect a book – an inanimate object – and the most powerful figures in the Western world feel they have to weigh in.
“Aside from all that, this obscure church’s website has been shut down, its insurance policy has been canceled, its mortgage has been called in by its bankers. Why? As Diana West wrote, why was it necessary or even seemly to make this pastor a non-person? Another one of Obama’s famous ‘teaching moments’? In this case teaching us that Islamic law now applies to all? Only a couple of weeks ago, the president, at his most condescendingly ineffectual, presumed to lecture his moronic subjects about the First Amendment rights of Imam Rauf. Where’s the condescending lecture on Pastor Jones’ First Amendment rights?
“When someone destroys a Bible, U.S. government officials don’t line up to attack him. President Obama bowed lower than a fawning maitre d’ before the King of Saudi Arabia, a man whose regime destroys Bibles as a matter of state policy, and a man whose depraved religious police forces schoolgirls fleeing from a burning building back into the flames to die because they’d committed the sin of trying to escape without wearing their head scarves. If you show a representation of Mohammed, European commissioners and foreign ministers line up to denounce you. If you show a representation of Jesus Christ immersed in your own urine, you get a government grant for producing a widely admired work of art. Likewise, if you write a play about Jesus having gay sex with Judas Iscariot.
“So just to clarify the ground rules, if you insult Christ, the media report the issue as freedom of expression: A healthy society has to have bold, brave, transgressive artists willing to question and challenge our assumptions, etc. But, if it’s Mohammed, the issue is no longer freedom of expression but the need for ‘respect’ and ‘sensitivity’ toward Islam, and all those bold brave transgressive artists don’t have a thing to say about it.”
And Steyn is spot-on to complain about “one-way multiculturalism”: “As I said in America Alone, multiculturalism seems to operate to the same even-handedness as the old Cold War joke in which the American tells the Soviet guy that ‘in my country everyone is free to criticize the President’, and the Soviet guy replies, ‘Same here. In my country everyone is free to criticize your President.’ Under one-way multiculturalism, the Muslim world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance, and, likewise, the western world is free to revere Islam and belittle the west’s inheritance. If one has to choose, on balance Islam’s loathing of other cultures seems psychologically less damaging than western liberals’ loathing of their own.
“It is a basic rule of life that if you reward bad behavior, you get more of it. Every time Muslims either commit violence or threaten it, we reward them by capitulating. Indeed, President Obama, Justice Breyer, General Petraeus, and all the rest are now telling Islam, you don’t have to kill anyone, you don’t even have to threaten to kill anyone. We’ll be your enforcers. We’ll demand that the most footling and insignificant of our own citizens submit to the universal jurisdiction of Islam. So Obama and Breyer are now the ‘good cop’ to the crazies’ ‘bad cop’. Ooh, no, you can’t say anything about Islam, because my friend here gets a little excitable, and you really don’t want to get him worked up. The same people who tell us ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ then turn around and tell us you have to be quiet, you have to shut up because otherwise these guys will go bananas and kill a bunch of people.”
I of course strongly encourage you to read his entire article. Indeed, read all of his articles and all of his books. He is one of the few voices of sanity left in a world gone completely bonkers. And if we don’t start reading people like Steyn, and spreading his message around, soon we will not have the luxury of reading such people at all.