The National Prayer Breakfast Presents a Savior

February 7, 2015

by Avi Davis

The National Prayer Breakfast is an annual event held in Washington, D.C., hosted by the United States Congress on the first Thursday of February each year.  The event is  held in the Hilton’s International Ballroom with invitees from over 100 countries. It is designed to be a forum for the political, social, and business elite to assemble and build relationships.

Every U.S. president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 has participated in this annual event.

 

President Barack Obama was there on Thursday and addressed the gathered crowd.  Among the many words spoken by him that morning, was this gem:

 ” But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge — or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon.  From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it.

So how do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities — the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religious for their own murderous ends?

 Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.  

So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith. In today’s world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try. And in this mission, I believe there are a few principles that can guide us, particularly those of us who profess to believe.

And, first, we should start with some basic humility. I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt — not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth.”

In case the comparison is lost on anybody, the President, in his expression of a piece of naked politically correct nonsense, was making a direct analogy between the depredations of 21st Century barbarians who decapitate and immolate their victims with 12th and 15th Century Christians who were engaged for their own defensive and political reasons in the protection of their realms.

One would have hoped that the President of the United States would have had a more sophisticated and nuanced understanding of history. One would hope that he could express a little more faith in his own civilization, founded incontrovertibly on the principles of the Christian faith and seeded with Judeo- Christian humanistic values and ideals.

 

But before jumping in to address the President’s obtuse and dangerous moral relativism, lets get some important historical facts straight:  The Crusades were largely defensive campaigns, sanctioned by the Pope to turn back the tide of Muslim aggression and imperialism.   The Inquisition was largely political in motivation, an attempt to secure Christian Spain against the resurgence of the Islamic caliphate which had previously governed Spain for 300 years.  And the campaign to destroy the institution of slavery was mostly led by devout Christians such as William Wilberforce in the U.K. and former President John Quincy Adams in the United States  – and without their moral force, slavery would never have been abolished.

This is not to say that there were not attendant evils associated with all of these campaigns and institutions.  But it is important to grasp the reasons they occurred – and not just their outward manifestations.

The President’s high school level appreciation of history might have been bad enough. But in addition he seemed to embrace the notion that there is no absolute truth to which we all can subscribe –  that in fact, there are many varieties of truth which can compete against one another.  This is of course a rephrasing of the same cant which appeared in the President’s Cairo speech in June, 2009  and in his embarrassing statement before the United Nations in September, 2012 in which he declared, among other things that ” the future does not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”  It is all a piece with the President’s penchant for defending Islam and offering himself up as such an expert on that subject that he can confidently declare ISIS and the assorted other Jihadist factions rampaging across the Middle East and Africa as somehow opposed to the genuine tenets of that faith.

Of course as a Muslim apologist – and defender of their faith, he fails to reveal that the handiwork of Islamic State is vouchsafed by Muslim clerics from London to Sydney.   And that sanction for the decapitation of infidels can be found deeply and consistently embedded throughout Islamic scripture.

The canard that Christians can be just as bad as Muslims however flings a shocking insult at the thousands of Christian communities which have been attacked and viciously put to the torch by jihadists who are conducting their campaigns in the name of Islam.  Let the President be aware that there are no counter offensives from Christian communities against Muslims; there are no midnight burnings by Christian insurgents of mosques with their desperate congregations still trapped inside; no mass beheadings  by Christians of Muslim townsfolk; no Muslim children buried alive by marauding Christian militia and no sudden assaults on innocent villagers who run the risk of evisceration if they fail to convert to the Christian faith.

The Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, was therefore correct in declaring that the Medieval Christian impulses to rampage and pillage are well under control.  Perhaps it would be appropriate to also remind the President that Christianity has evolved somewhat since the Crusades and Inquisition – having passed through a reformation and intense periods of self reflection and contrition.  Since at least the 19th Century, Christianity has overwhelmingly operated a civilizing influence on the societies wherever it has been introduced –  earning its credentials as a true religion of peace.

Can the same be said for Islam?

The President of the United States, leading a Christian nation, something he unashamedly admitted himself in his same 2012 speech before the United Nations, needs to stop talking about extremism among all religions, and focusing on the depredations of one – Islam, which threatens the lives and welfare of peoples all over the world as no Christian Crusade, Spanish Inquisition or  even the institution of slavery itself ever did.

The reality is that he is unlikely to ever consent to do this this since he has staked his presidency on the same moral relativism which equates America’s role in the world over the past sixty years with the Communists of the U.S.S.R. and the mass murderers of China.  His entire foreign policy is actually driven by the notion that the United  States has not entirely been a force for good in the world but has often perpetrated the same kind of evil as the regimes it opposed.

That kind of rhetoric may get him standing ovations at the United Nations and in the lecture halls of many of our America-despising universities, but it is no way to inspire and lead a country which has unquestionably, over the past 225 years, provided a guiding light for humanity, propagating values and ideals which have been uncompromisingly drawn from the well of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of  the Intermediate Zone

 

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Don’t Worry France, the Obama Administration Loves You

January 17, 2015

by Avi Davis

I had to rub my eyes to make sure that I was not viewing an SNL spoof.

Here was John Kerry, Secretary of State of the United States, speaking to a gathering of French dignitaries in the wake of the most deadly Islamic terrorist attack in France in modern times, an atrocity which took the lives of 17 and whose shock wave has not yet even receded.

After sounding the obligatory notes of condolence and emphasizing  America’s steadfast support for France, Kerry turned the stage over to twee voiced troubadour James Taylor who proceeded to croon the Carol King song ” You’ve Got a Friend” for the assembled Frenchmen.

Earlier Kerry had said: “I really wanted to come here and share a hug with all of Paris, with all of France.”   There was more awkwardness when Mr Kerry, several inches taller than the French president, did attempt to hug Francois Hollande in the courtyard of the Elysee presidential palace.

Is it just me or others utterly perplexed by this abdication of good sense and absence of seriousness on the part of the Secretary of State and the Administration he represents?  Already reeling from criticism that the United States could not bring itself to send a senior member of the U.S. government to the 3 million person solidarity march in central Paris last week, the Obama Administration had an opportunity to demonstrate forthrightly that it was prepared to resume the war against Islamic terror and to make all of its resources available to European countries to execute it effectively.

Instead it resorted to banal and trite words of condolence, the kind of tribute that high school students in the United States would offer one another.

I have nothing against James Taylor, nor the song.  But can anyone say, in the light of the devastating massacre in France last week, that singing this song (in English, mind you, not French) with a microphone that was way too short for the 6′ 3″ Taylor  –  whose thin voice hardly carried for the first 30 seconds of his performance –  was any way to express rock solid solidarity with the French people and mourn their very significant loss?

It would be as if the French had sent us a box of chocolates after  9/11 with a casual note reading ‘Get Well Soon.’

The episode betrays a fundamental problem with the West’s response to the events of January 7th and 9th in Paris.  There is still no evidence that French or American leaders get it: they continue to fall back on old prescriptions for dealing with their internal Muslim problem – including better education for Muslims and reaching out to Muslim leaders in an effort to have them control the epidemic of extremism which has spread throughout their communities.

Meanwhile it should not be lost on anybody that the 3 million person crowd last week contained proportionately very few French Muslims;  that the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo – featuring a teary eyed Mohammed on its cover was widely condemned by Muslims around the world who did not voice their approval, as expected, of the exercise of French free speech but condemned it;  that the spotlight has been shone of Belgium, which interdicted a terrorist attack last week  – and Sweden and Norway, where Muslims have been celebrating the massacres as just retribution for  the defamation of the prophet.

It should lead to a thorough questioning of why French leaders’ search for answers for the racial problems which have beset their country consistently leads back to the French peoples’ own bigotry – a situation which can only be addressed by a greater level of openness and tolerance.

Or why the French still remain so mystified by the riots of 2005, which ransacked France for three entire weeks, and was met then with resolutions by the government to simply increase funding for the banlieus that ring Paris and other major French cities?

In this willful blindness, they truly do have a friend in the White House – a man who insists that his underlings never speak the words ” Islamic”  and ” terrorism” in the same sentence and who has gone to tremendous lengths throughout his Presidency to avoid any sense that Islam – not ‘radical’ Islam nor ‘militant’ Islam – poses the greatest threat to the survival of the civilization of which he is the reputed leader.

Four years years ago, Treasury Secretary Larry Summers upon resigning his office, commented that from his perspective there did not seem to be any grown ups running things at the White House.

From John Kerry’s juvenile attempts to console a grieving France to his and his bosses’ adamant position that Islam itself remains a religion of peace and could never condone the depredations we witness daily on our television screens, we have more proof than we have ever needed that his assessment is correct.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of  The Intermediate Zone

 

 


Duke University and the Politics of Inclusion

January 15, 2015

The last time Duke University made national headlines was when members of its lacrosse team were cleared of all charges regarding an alleged sexual assault said to have occurred on that campus in 2006.

By the time the North Carolina Attorney General got around to dropping all charges against the three men, Duke’s reputation for fairness and even handed dealing with all its students was in tatters.

Its professoriate, many of whose members had signed paid advertisements decrying the lacrosse players’ racism and misogyny, was revealed as thoroughly riddled with prejudice.  The University administration, which had failed to pay even the scantest lip service to the notion that the three students were innocent until proven guilty, was pilloried for having failed to protect the students’ rights and siding, unapologetically, with their discredited accuser.

In all, it was a black day for the University  – a stain on its credibility as an open institution which seeks both truth and to foster harmony between all its students.  One could hardly imagine it getting much worse than this.

But it has.

On Tuesday, January 13, the University announced that a Muslim weekly call to prayer will be heard on campus.  Members of the Muslim Students Association would chant the call, known as the adhan or azan, from the Duke Chapel bell tower each Friday at 1:00 pm.   The university decided upon the new allowance in the spirit of religious pluralism:

” This opportunity represents a larger commitment to religious pluralism that is at the heart of Duke’s mission,” said Christy Lohr Sapp, the chapels’ associate dean for religious life. “It connects the University to national trends in religious accommodation.”

 The response to this decision, issued while the Western world is still reeling from the massacres in Paris by Islamic assassins, was immediate.  Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse was livid. He systematically took to the airwaves and social media to denounce the decision and to urge donors to withhold their support from the University until the policy was reversed.  On Thursday, January 16th, the University, bowing to enormous pressure and outrage, cancelled the policy deciding that the Muslim students, rather than issuing the call to prayer from the bell tower, would instead meet in the quadrangle in front of the chapel.   No word has been given on whether the adhan will still be amplified.

What is most interesting is the logic Lohr Sapp employed to justify the University’s decision:

”  The chanting of the adhan communicates to the Muslim community that it is welcome here, that its worship matters, that these prayers enhance the community and that all are invited to stop on a Friday afternoon and pray. From ISIS to Boko Haram to al Qaeda, Muslims in the media are portrayed as angry aggressors driven by values that are anti-education and anti-western.”

Duke University was founded in 1838 by Methodists  and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity. Since the 19th Century it has had many names – Brown School, Union Institute, Normal College and Trinity College before adopting the name Duke in 1924 in honor of Washington Duke who had  begun the University’s endowment fund with a substantial donation.  Its original charter called for “the establishment of a Christian college which would promulgate values consonant with the  Christian belief.”

How different that mission looks today.  If Lohr Sapp is to be believed, the University has an obligation not just to propound Christian values but to aggressively defend and protect Islamic values as well – even when those values might be in conflict with its own.

No doubt the university believes that in allowing the Muslim group to broadcast the adhan – or to gather in the quadrangle outside the chapel as is its wont- it is conforming to the institution’s proud tradition of openness, tolerance and inclusion.

But are they aware that what  happened in France was a direct consequence of the same multicultural policies adopted by universities, governmental institutions, entertainers and the media in that country?

For years it was believed that if France allowed other cultures within it to flourish, the mother culture would be rewarded in return with the flowering of diversity and enriched by the exchange of cross cultural values which would eventually shave off Islam’s rough edges.

How naïve those policies look today.

Muslims in France were happy to take the license Europe lent them to live with their own customs and norms – which included misogyny, wife beating, female circumcision, honor killings and summary execution for those who defamed the name of  the Prophet  – without being prepared to give back anything at all.  They came to despise the very freedoms they had been given to advance their own civilization and then used the eventual separatism that this engendered to plot the means by which Islamic culture and values would one day overwhelm – and eradicate –  secular French culture itself.

This is the tragedy of multicultural France which began with twee liberal sentiments as expressed by Lohr Sapp and ended last week with the bullet riddled corpses of the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff and dead bodies lying on the floor of Hyper Cacher supermarket in East Paris.

Perhaps the administration of Duke University does not believe that by simply allowing students to publicly announce the Muslim call to prayer it is doing anything other than reaching out a hand to a defamed and misunderstood minority.  Unfortunately, as Frenchmen, Englishmen, Swedes, Norwegians and dozens of other Western populations have discovered, the hand so enthusiastically extended is not only bitten in return, but savaged and mutilated.

Duke University has no obligation to shield Islam from the calumnies heaped against it;  nor does it have any responsibility to rebut the negative stereotypes pouring forth out of Europe, Africa and the Middle East as armies in its  name commit atrocities that we in the West regard with revulsion.

That responsibility rests exclusively with Muslims themselves.

They can do this, not by announcing themselves a religion the equal of any other on the campus, but by forthrightly and adamantly distancing themselves from anything to do with the decapitations, sex slavery and violent conquest we witness repeatedly in our media, while at the same time acknowledging that, sad as it is to admit, this behavior derives from the religious precepts  and current practices of their own religion.

They can also use their newly granted platform to demand reform of Islam and demonstrate to their fellow students that the religion they wish to practice so publicly is capable of propounding the same values of openness, tolerance and inclusion as their host civilization.

Seven years ago Duke failed the test of defending its own students against accusations that proved false.  It does not make up for that lapse by now excusing accusations which happen to prove true.

Perhaps, then, no one expects the Muslim students of Duke University, with their new license to practice their religion so openly, to transform overnight into savages rampaging through the campus and eviscerating anyone who refuses to abide by their cultural norms.

But as the unfortunate example of Europe has proved, the call to revolt can often begin with a call to prayer and we would be fools not to heed this warning.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles and the editor of The Intermediate Zone

 

 


European Governments and the Rise of the Far Right

January 12, 2015

As the blood is mopped from the floors of the editorial meeting room of Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher grocery store in East Paris this week, the socialist government of François Hollande must be looking nervously over its right shoulder.

For there it will see standing Marie Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front, nodding furiously that she had predicted this mess for years and that no one had been listening.

Of course she is right.  Le Pen and other nationalist leaders in Europe have vociferously pounded out a persistent drumbeat concerning the collapse of national identity and the apparent willingness of French politicians to surrender to multicultural demands.

But the prescription she is offering to cleanse the country of its Muslim problem is not one that her countrymen have been willing to hear and the government has responded by practically sentencing Le Pen to an inner exile.   She was barred from joining in the 3 million person strong gathering in the Place de la Republique on Sunday and was forced to conduct her own memorial in the country’s south.

Across France, however, there is a painful awareness the growing  fearlessness of Muslim attacks and a impatience with the weakness of governmental response.   After the events of January 7th and 9th in Paris, no one can ignore the fact that the French Fifth Republic is itself wobbling under its failure to adequately address the growing restiveness of its Muslim population.  A general consensus is emerging that a lawless population in the country’s heart is no longer an issue to be debated but one to be confronted.

Which leads to the question of what happens now?  If an even bigger event is on the horizon (something intimated by the terrorist Ahmed Coulibaly to his hostages in the super market on Friday) then Hollande’s socialist government will come under unrelenting pressure to resign and the ensuing elections  will almost certainly bring the Far Right into contention as a significant electoral player.

So liberal France faces one of its dystopian nightmares – the possibility that the country may swing hard right, which might lead, if history is any guide,to the steady erosion of democratic values and the rise of some form of autocracy.

It is not as if there is no precedent for it.  The Directory of France in late 1799 turned to a thirty-year-old general to restore a level of order and a semblance of normalcy to Revolutionary France.  Within a year, Napoleon Bonaparte had transformed his shared power arrangement into a virtual dictatorship.  Fifty years later the Second Republic elected his nephew, under similar circumstances, to the Presidency and merely shrugged when he crowned himself Emperor in 1852.  The defeated Third Republic collapsed in 1940 when it preferred the autocratic puppet regime of Marshal Petain to the direct rule of Nazi Germany.

Over the past 225 years there have been five republics in France – while only one in the United States – and for a very good reason:  the French have never been entirely comfortable with the exercise of democratic principles and have struggled to shake off an addiction to autocracy as modeled by the ancien regime.

The Russians and Germans are not much better: the Weimar Republic in Germany folded from an economic failure and social dysfunction allowing a convicted criminal to take power in 1933. Vladmir Putin took advantage of social and political malaise in Russia to win power and cement his eventual dictatorship over the course of several years.

Are there other nascent Bonapartes and Putins waiting in the wings in Europe to take up the ultra-nationalist cause?

Quite possibly.  Desperate situations bring out the inner autocrat in most ambitious men.

But while these men and women of destiny might feel compelled to apply very draconian measures to address the dangerous demographic problems and security threats of Europe, we would be mistaken to believe that they would not come without a steep price: the assault on individual freedoms and liberty, the institution of witch hunts and the ineluctable rise of anti-Semitism.

The soft democracies of the European continent will be looking to France in the coming twelve months to see how it handles the very complex problems posed by Muslim separatism.   Anything less than an aggressive stance, which sends an unequivocal message that force will be met with brutal force, will only encourage the attraction of voters to the far right and the likely drift of the electorate in that direction.

If you want a sense of what this might eventually mean for  France – and Europe – remember this:  One of Napoleon’s first actions upon his appointment as First Consul under the Directory was to shutter over 300 newspapers and periodicals.

If this ever happened again the rather endearing refrain “Je Suis Charlie” will echo down the decades as a symbol of deep irony rather than one of calibrated resistance to the assaults on a free press and the challenges to western liberties.

 

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance and the editor of The Intermediate Zone


Teaching Islam to Our Children in the Los Angeles Suburbs

November 14, 2014

If there is one word certain to make my friends and colleagues roll their eyes it is the word Dhimmitude.  The expression, which is defined by the Swiss based writer Bat Ye’or, (perhaps the world expert on the subject) as “behavior dictated by fear  pacifism  servility and  peaceful surrender to the Islamic conquerors who demand  either conversion, payment of a excessive poll tax or death for their vanquished captives.”  Around the world today the term is used to denote instances where Western civilians blithely acquiesce to  demands from their Muslim minorities out of a desire to appease their grievances.   The reason my friends seem to greet the word with such indifference is that there are few, (to their minds at least), concrete examples of such acquiescence in their own cities.

Of course they are wrong.   While the United States is several steps behind Europe in this regard, there are thousands of examples throughout our continent of judges, city officials, police commissioners and financial institutions undertaking the same kind of obsequious submission to Muslim demands as we see so blatantly operative in Europe.

And school boards too.

One egregious example came to my attention this week. In an article published at Breitbart Calfornia  following a news report by Los Angeles news station  KTLA,  the father of a boy enrolled in Manhattan Beach Middle School pulled his son out of class because the school was teaching him the tenets of Islam.

In an article posted anonymously by the father on Freedom Outpost, he explained that:

It was the end of said day, that part when we check our emails or read the news, the kids are finishing up their homework, and everyone’s stomach is making strange noises. I was at my computer when my son came in the room, “Dad, can you help me with my homework?”

“Sure, buddy. Whatcha got?”

He handed me five pieces of social science paper, and when I’d read through them all, my face was flushed and my heart was beating fast.

“Do not write another word on this paper!” I said. “This teacher is teaching you the faith of Islam, and she isn’t supposed to do that.”

The teacher had indeed given out an assignment under the guise that she was teaching Middle Eastern history, but the last time I checked, asking children to write down the Five Pillars of Islam and the Shahada had nothing to do with history.

One of the questions on the assignment asked, “What are some of the teachings of the Quran?”

Underneath the question were several ovular bubbles where students were supposed to write their answers. My son had already written, “Allah is the one true God” in one bubble and “People must submit to Allah” in another. I turned a few pages over, and there was a page with several columns where the children were being asked to write down the Five Pillars of Islam. Again, what does this have to do with history?

In a later report the father said:

“The audacity of this school, to think that they can sit these children down and teach ’em whatever religion they please; it’s preposterous. This is illegal, basically. You can’t teach religion in schools any more, but apparently, in this particular school, at least, that’s not the case.”

Where did this curriculum come from?  Did the teacher just make it up, inserting her own materials instead of using the school’s?  And did the teacher intend to cover the world’s other major religions in as complete detail ( the children spent THREE WHOLE WEEKS on Islam!).

Apparently not.

Inquiries to the principal by the father were answered with the comment that:

After reviewing the curriculum, I was wrong about what comes next in 7th grade. Almost all of the Judaism and Christianity lessons are in the 6th-grade curriculum. You can take a look at the 7th-grade social studies book you have at home and see what is coming up in the future. But it looks to me there is nothing very controversial in the remaining chapters. If there is something you see that you need more information on, let me know and I will see if Ms. Smith has any information on the subject. We will be updating the absences when your son returns to class. As far as I know, the test is still scheduled for Thursday. Once the test is over, we do need to get your son back into class.”

In other words, his concerns were not addressed at all and the school had no intention of changing or challenging its State mandated teaching schedule for the 7th graders.

Many questions arise from this story, the principal ones being who wrote the curriculum that this school so faithfully follows and why are the parents of the other students in the class not in a similar uproar?

After all, if the same time and effort had been lavished on Judaism or Christianity there would have almost certainly been picketing outside the school and many more children not showing up for  class.

The Manhattan Beach Public School Board seems just as blithely disinterested in the controversy.  When several of us attended their meeting on Wednesday, November 5th, the issue was more or less tabled for further review and little action seemed to be forthcoming.

Where , one might ask, is the ACLU and the other organizations in this country so committed to the proposition that religion cannot be allowed in the classrooms of our public schools?

I will tell you where they are.  They  have conveniently found the First Amendment right to free speech to be of singular convenience in these instances and they cower behind it, afraid to address Muslim issues for fear of being branded racists.

They, sad to say, much like the teacher and principal at the  Manhattan Beach Middle School – and perhaps even the other parents – have become dhimmis, willful instruments in the slow accretion of Islamicization in our society.

We cannot afford to avoid a confrontation with those who would seek to undermine our society and civilization.  But incidents such as occurred at this school, point to an apathy and lack of awareness that will be as devastating to our future as any direct assault by a Muslim army.


Scotland Takes the Morning After Pill

September 22, 2014
On Friday morning the Scottish people must felt like the failed suicide who awakes in hospital the next day and wonders to himself: ” Now why in the hell did I do a stupid thing like that? ”

The convincing drubbing that the independence movement took on Thursday should have made most Scots aware of how facile and threadbare were their ideas of separation.

Without a solid financial structure, with the threat of the U.K. withdrawing the usage of the English pound and with the EU ‘s own President declaring how difficult it would be for Scotland to gain entry into the European Union, there was, in the end, really no doubt about the result. Secession would have brought  economic and political pain beyond endurance.

Suicide averted and now life can move on.

But the foolish Scottish secession movement may be a harbinger of more drastic things to come.  Put simply, the drive to break up great nations has not ended; it has only just begun.

Catalonians and the Basque in Spain, Quebecois in Canada, the Flemish in Belgium, the Faroe Islanders in Denmark, Venetians in Italy and Bavarians in Germany have all contracted something of the same secessionist bug.
Which is not to mention  Wales, Cornwall, Northern Ireland in The United Kingdom, Silesia in Poland, Frisia in Netherlands/ Germany, Corsica in France, Aaland in Finland and Kashmir in India .  These countries all sport incipient movements that call for breaking away from the motherland.  And over time, the movements will only gain in strength as the nation state as we know it comes under relentless pressure to fragment.

One of the causes of this process of dismemberment is the resistance to the intense globalization which has affected the economies, social structures and political climates of all Western oriented nations.  As these countries see more of their jobs outsourced to Asia; as they feel their own wealth drained by supra-national entities or else by heavy taxation from a central government which sends back very little in return or as their distinctive cultural identity is eroded by an invasive English language- based  culture , there is a tendency to wish for the days in which one could claim to actually belong to something other than a nominal state, whose political  and economic frontiers are fast disappearing to the point of invisibility.

There is also no doubt that the emergence of the European Union has significantly sliced away at the distinctive cultural identities of Europe’s nation-states.  In the effort to meld 28 European states into a cohesive economic unit, the Brussels based bureaucracy has gingerly skipped over the significant cultural, political and historical differences that divide its constituent members, imposing a rather bland and impersonal ” “European” identity to which few can truly connect. There is, after all, no distinctively European language  ( the experiments in Esperanto having miserably failed) ; nor is there a universal cultural affiliation which is

uniquely European – and no significant effort to create one either. There is, in short, no such thing as a ‘ European’ – and nor is there likely to be in the near future.

The decline of nationalist spirit, evident throughout the West, is really an issue of collapsing identity.  I discovered this first hand in a walk through southern England in the summer of 2008.  There I met villagers who complained to me that they were mystified about who they were supposed to be – were they British, European or world citizens?  Their pubs were now served by Polish barmaids who barely spoke English;  their cars serviced by Czech mechanics who knew very little about their British made cars and even their parks and wild lands managed by immigrants from Bangladesh.  England, I discovered, was a place where multiculturalism and an attempted integration into Europe was eating into the very fiber of British identity, stripping away centuries the view of Great Britain as one of the great civilizing forces in world history. .

I write these words, of course, at the time of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, a conflict spurred, in large part, by escalating, unfettered nationalism.  The Europeans’ answer to the ‘nationalist’ problems of the 20th Century was to de-emphasize the nation-state in favor of the collective. The irony, of course,  is that in doing so, they have tampered with the basic human need  for paternalistic symbols – whereby one shapes his or her identity – and perhaps even existence – by reference to a defined sovereign entity, which reigns over our individual lives beyond family and beyond our immediate communities.

The problem of failed identity in a world without frontiers will bedevil the citizens of the 21st Century.  The governments of western countries must therefore recognize that the utopian drive towards integration and collective identity – and the inherent emptiness of that enterprise-  will necessarily stir to life the dormant, but very real attachments citizens have to their language, culture and history.  There can be no surprise then when a country such as Scotland, for 300 years a peaceful, if not exactly placid, constituent member of the United Kingdom, suddenly rebels against British dominion and demands independence.  Strengthening the spirit of nationalism, drawing on a nation’s rich history and collective memory, emphasizing national uniqueness and pride as well as the nation’s special mission, is a task worthy of any Western leader.  The question remains whether we have any leaders left worthy of the task.

Avi Davis is the President of the American Freedom Alliance in Los Angeles , the coordinator of the AFA  Identity Crisis Conference in Rome in 2008 and the moderator of the Outbreak of the First World War and its Consequences conference held on September 21, 2014.

Rising Resentment in Europe

October 9, 2010

German Chancellor Angela Merkel seems to have developed a fitful case of the John-Howards this week.   Much like the former Australian prime-minister, she found herself being forced to publicly confront the reality that a large swathe of the Muslim minority in her country has no interest in assimilating into German society.

Germany has been roiled over the past month after the publication of former  Central Banker Thilo Sarazzin’s book Deutschland schafft sich ab “Germany Does Away With Itself” in which Mr. Sarazzin alleges that Germany’s immigrant Muslim population is reluctant to integrate and tends to rely more on social services than to contribute productively to their society.   Furthermore, he calculates that their population growth may well overwhelm the German population within a couple of generations at the current rate. He proposes stringent reforms for the welfare system to rectify the problems. The first edition of his book sold out within a few days.

The political uproar occurred when German president Christian Wullff responded to Sarazzin with a plea for greater tolerance of Muslim sensitivities. That pushed members of Merkel’s governing conservative coalition, the Christian Democratic Union, to call on the president to show her conservative muscle and counter Wulff’s apparent words of appeasement.

Increasingly, European leaders are being forced to state openly what isolated members of their conservative constituencies have been saying for nearly a  decade – that  Europe has a Muslim problem that is not going away any time soon.  Men and women who have  been brave enough to defy politically correct prohibitions have suffered for their convictions. Pik Fortuyn and Theo Van Gogh were murdered;  Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch legislator, was forced to flee and Geert Wilders, the leader of the second largest party in the Dutch parliament, is currently standing trial for incitement.

But the fact there is a movement afoot to confront the realities of a restive, unassimiable minority of Muslims in the midst of Europe, cannot now be denied.  Last December the Swiss voted to ban the construction of further minarets in their country; the French have been debated the banning of the burqa for nearly two years and the Italians, whose problems are not quite as severe, nevertheless have developed stringent judicial responses to honor killings and wife beating incidents in Muslim homes.

Now its Germany’s turn.  The German journalist Henryk Broder, who appeared at the first Collapse of Europe conference in June 2007, once explained to me that German passivity was a result of its disinclination to be regarded in any way as racist.  Its own history with racism has inoculated it, he said , against any notion that other groups should be coerced into accepting Western values.

Its not quite good enough any more.   Over the next five years European political leaders will come under increasing pressure from their constituencies to make bold statements, much as Ms. Merkel did this week.   They may not be quite as brave as John Howard, who, in 2005, faced down multicultural pressure to state assertively that Muslims who do not subscribe to Australian values or choose to place their religious convictions above the Australian constitution, will be stripped of their citizenship.

But that day might be coming to Europe sooner than anyone expects.


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