A fascinating review by Canada's favourite neocon writer Mark Steyn who writes the forward to Geert Wilders' new book "Marked for Death". I thought, and I still think now, that some of what Wilders says is distasteful and not entirely justified by the available facts. Nevertheless, you can't deny that the man has the courage of his convictions. The horrible end of Theo van Gogh, fellow Dutchman and critic of Islam was evidence enough that a small but violent section of Holland's Muslim population were not going to bear quietly criticism of their religion.
Steyn accurately and painfully pillories the Dutch attitude to the evident problem with some of their immigrant population:
The geniuses at the University of Amsterdam concluded that the attackers [of a gay USA newspaper editor in Amsterdam] felt "stigmatized by society" and "may be struggling with their own sexual identity."Before we start getting too smug about the Dutch problems, it's also worth noting that the UK isn't that hot on Wilders' free speech:
Bingo! Telling Moroccan youths they're closeted gays seems just the ticket to reduce tensions in the city! While you’re at it, a lot of those Turks seem a bit light on their loafers, don’t you think?
The British Home Office banned Mr. Wilders as a threat to "public security" — not because he was threatening any member of the public, but because prominent Muslims were threatening him: The Labour-party peer Lord Ahmed pledged to bring a 10,000-strong mob to lay siege to the House of Lords if Wilders went ahead with his speaking engagement there.I can see why the Home Secretary wasn't keen to have riots in London because of the turbulent speech of a visiting foreigner, but I can't help feeling that political calculation in this case played into the hands of Lord Ahmed and his chums who will now feel emboldened in their ability to shut down free speech with which they don't agree.
Steyn puts his cards on the table:
It’s not "ironic" that the most liberal country in western Europe should be the most advanced in its descent into a profoundly illiberal hell. It was entirely foreseeable, and all Geert Wilders is doing is stating the obvious: A society that becomes more Muslim will have less of everything else, including individual liberty.And, in common with most of what Steyn says, you may dispute the detail of his conclusions, but it's darn hard to argue with the facts he has clearly laid out to this point.
I'm still not sure whether I'll order Wilders' book. However, given the list of unsavory characters who would threaten me if they knew I was thinking of such a purchase, the Imp of the Perverse on my shoulder is making me want to click the Amazon link, and let them be damned.