All around the Western world freedom is under threat. It is often at the hand of radical minority groups that these threats are coming. Militant Muslims, radical feminists, or activist homosexuals are some of the groups whittling away our freedoms. Sadly very few Westerners are standing up to these assaults.
Increasingly what once made the West great is being undermined. Faith, family and life are three such values all subject to ferocious attack. The trouble is many do not see the urgency of the hour, or the need to take a stand. Many do not know that we are heading towards the precipice as a culture.
The problem is these attacks come along bit by bit, and the cumulative effect is not always felt or understood. But as Thomas Sowell noted, “Dangers to a society may be mortal without being immediate”. Deadly viruses working their way through the system may be largely undetectable, but the bitter end will still be there.
Let me give a very ordinary and practical example. At my very rare trip to the dentist yesterday I was told that had I acted earlier, I could have saved a tooth. But by putting things off and ignoring the warning signals, it may now be too late. Because I did not see the warning signs and act sooner, I will now have to pay the price.
Societies are like that as well. We ignore the signs of decay all around us, and then all of a sudden discover that things are too late. We have far too few watchmen, and those we do have are mainly ignored or scoffed at. We all pay the price in the end for such indifference and neglect.
One watchman who has been speaking out loud and clear – and paying a price for it – is Dutch politician Geert Wilders. As many of you would know, he has been on trial in the Netherlands for warning about the Islamist assault on Holland and Europe. For speaking out he now has to pay the price.
Just two days ago he gave his final remarks at his trial. I here present a number of quotes from this important talk. We do well to heed his words. He says, “The Netherlands is under threat of Islam. As I have argued many times, Islam is chiefly an ideology. An ideology of hatred, of destruction, of conquest. It is my strong conviction that Islam is a threat to Western values, to freedom of speech, to the equality of men and women, of heterosexuals and homosexuals, of believers and unbelievers.
“All over the world we can see how freedom is fleeing from Islam. Day by day we see our freedoms dwindle. Islam is opposed to freedom. Renowned scholars of Islam from all parts of the world agree on this. My witness experts subscribe to my view. There are more Islam scholars whom the court did not allow me to call on to testify. All agree with my statements, they show that I speak the truth. That truth is on trial today.
“We must live in the truth, said the dissidents under Communist rule, because the truth will set us free. Truth and freedom are inextricably connected. We must speak the truth because otherwise we shall lose our freedom. That is why I have spoken, why I speak and why I shall continue to speak.”
He continues, “Freedom and truth. I pay the price every day. Day and night I have to be protected against people who want to kill me. I am not complaining about it; it has been my own decision to speak. However, those who threaten me and other critics of Islam are not being tried here today. I am being tried. And about that I do complain.
“I consider this trial to be a political trial. The values of D66 [a Dutch leftist liberal party] and NRC Handelsblad [a Dutch leftist liberal party] will never be brought before a judge in this country. One of the complainants clearly indicated that his intentions are political. Even questions I have asked in parliament and cooperation with the SGP are being brought as allegations against me by Mr Rabbae of GroenLinks [the leftist Dutch Green Party]. Those on the Left like to tamper with the separation of powers. When they cannot win politically because the Dutch people have discerned their sinister agenda, they try to win through the courts.”
He concludes with these words: “Mister President, members of the Court, though I stand here alone, my voice is the voice of many. This trial is not about me. It is about something much greater. Freedom of expression is the life source of our Western civilisation.
“Do not let that source go dry just to cosy up to a totalitarian ideology. ‘Freedom,’ said the American President Dwight Eisenhower, ‘has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed – else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.’
“Mister President, members of the Court, you have a great responsibility. Do not cut freedom in the Netherlands from its roots, our freedom of expression. Acquit me. Choose freedom. I have spoken, I speak, and it is my duty – I cannot do otherwise – to continue to speak. Thank you.”
This is one man who is willing to speak out, even though it is very costly. Who else is willing to take a stand? Who else is willing to pay the price for faith, freedom, and the many values we take for granted in the West? Who else will say, “Enough is enough”.