I know that many of you who received our invitation were expecting to be greeted by Ward Connerly as our Master of Ceremonies tonight. Well I am sorry to inform you that Ward was not able to make it. But we are blessed, with the attendance of his twin and even better looking brother, Joe Hicks , a formidable former radio talk show host and co founder of Community Advocates. And we will be meeting him in just a moment.
Tonight’s dinner comes in the midst of two of the most important anniversaries in the history of the modern world.
The first is the 65TH Anniversary of D -Day. The second is the 20th anniversary of the massacre of students in Tiananmen Square in China.
These two epochal events, one where freedom was fearlessly defended and other where it was brutally extinguished, should give us pause today when considering the challenges to freedom around the globe.
Because wherever we look on the world’s map, freedom is under assault. Not just in world capitals, such as Beijing, Moscow and Teheran - but in places far closer to home – in our universities, in our media and among many of our leaders, all who blindly ignore the reality of the world in which we live.
Twenty years after the screams and blood and slaughter at Tiananmen Square, the People’s Republic of China is still a great dungeon. The unchanging key to all Beijing’s policies is that the nation is ruled by a Leninist dictatorship and intends to remain as such.
That was the truth in 1989. It remains the truth today.
We should see China in the context of recent developments around the world. In the twelve months that have passed since our last Heroes of Conscience Dinner, the world seems to have been upended. An economic collapse, unlike any since the Great Depression; a financial scandal which destroyed the portfolios of thousands of American individuals and organizations; the fragmentation of venerable American institutions in the banking, automotive and brokerage industries – all have seemed a portent of an end of the fabled ‘American century’.
But those who are writing off American power, prestige and resilience are very much mistaken. Recovery from these setbacks may be slow and painful, but there is no doubt a resurgence will occur. Signs are already emerging of an American recovery and the thought of a black night of permanent recession will soon be behind us.
Yet as America makes its steep climb out of its troubles, it should be remembered that even if our financial models have changed, certain other paradigms have not. These include the fact that in radical Islam, our civilization is confronted with an implacable, remorseless foe determined upon our defeat. In mosques and Islamic community centers throughout Europe and America – in Africa and even Australia, that movement sees in economic disarray great opportunity and gains ground daily as it feeds off multicultural openness, cultural relativism and moral confusion.
The Islamicization of Europe, the collapse of academic freedom, media bias and the global governance movement – these are all are the portals through which Islamic fundamentalism is seeking to penetrate and destroy our civilization and quash freedom. The approach might be opaque and hidden, but no one should be deluded that it is still extraordinarily sophisticated in its planning and in its scope.
And it is illustrated by some of the oddest anomalies the West has ever encountered:
- How, is it, for instance, that a Geert Wilders, a man who stands for the very values which have given Western civilization its greatness, could be debarred from entering Great Britain, the fount of modern European democracy, for fear that the expression of his views might lead to criticism and civil unrest?
- How can Alan Craig, a passionate believer in peaceful coexistence, be vilified as a bigot and racist for merely pointing out that one of the most dangerous Islamic sects in his country is seeking to build a monumental edifice close by the site of 2012 London Olympics?
- How is it possible for the Dutch-born Ian Buruma, one of the West’s intellectual darlings, to describe Ayaan Hirsi Ali as a “enlightenment fundamentalist”, as if her belief in Western values and Western ideals should cast her in the same rejectionist mode as Islamic imams who preach intolerance, violence and destruction of Western institutions?
- How could the Archbishop of Canterbury , the highest prelate in the United Kingdom, call for the embrace, by the English legal system, of aspects of Shaaria Law as if there is no fatal conflict between those two systems of jurisprudence.
Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen. Western civilization is battling for its own survival. The freedoms and liberties that we take for granted are under threat and that challenge is being aided by the naivety, moral blindness and cowardice of Western intellectuals, our media, our academies of higher learning and certain elements within our political leadership.
At the American Freedom Alliance we recognize these enormous challenges. And tonight we are going to show you exactly what we are doing to address them.
Many sacrifices were made so that we could savor the kind of freedoms we enjoy today. So as we join together tonight in celebration of the Heroes of Conscience, lets not forget the sacrifices made on the beaches of Normandy, 65 years ago. And in that spirit I wish invoke the words of Ronald Reagan himself, spoken on the 40th anniversary of D- Day in 1984:
“ But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it. We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago – the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality.
Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.”
No truer words that can be spoken about the world in which we live today.