“I’ve studied totalitarianism for four decades and I know how it starts: it starts with restrictions on freedom of speech.”
– Professor Jordan Peterson
“And up go the placards, and up go the yells and the howls and the screams: ‘Behead those’ – this is in London, this is in Toronto, this is in New York, it’s right in our midst now – ‘Behead those who cartoon Islam!’ Do they get arrested for hate speech? No. Might I get in trouble for what I’ve just said about the prophet Muhammad? Yes, I might. Where are your priorities, ladies and gentlemen? You’re giving away what’s most precious in your own society, and you’re giving it away without a fight, and you’re even praising the people who want to deny you the right to resist it. Shame on you while you do this. Make the best use of the time you’ve got left. This is really serious.”
– Christopher Hitchens
I have only just heard of the M103 motion to be discussed in Canada this week and it’s lofty goal of condemning ‘Islamophobia’, due to Professor Jordan Peterson’s newest video. This trend isn’t going away and any and every attempt at this, successful or not, can only keep making me think these things:
The increasingly convincing threat of the reckless institution of an absolute insult to all that which, there amidst the sordidtry ever eminently easier to highlight, is so profoundly good about the West. Half a generation, enabled by their all too numerous inept and failing forebears, pushing all away like a spoilt child who is all too soon to face the rudest of awakenings and pangs of fair and fervent regret over its dearth of appreciation.
A most egregious, a truly deep insult to those Muslims and ex-Muslims, those wish-they-could-be-ex-Muslims, those reformist Muslims, those want-to-simply-just-peacefully-be-Muslims, a pure betrayal of all those in the Islamic world who wish nothing more than the freedom to think just exactly what they wish and to say just exactly what they think about their religion, any and all of it’s elements, about any and all of its proponents and opponents.
What might the Christians and the Jews of north Africa and the Middle East think, were they to hear, piercing somehow through the terrible noise of their current persecution, the perversely proud bleating expounding this cowards way out, this disgraceful clutching at the easiest – and most doomed to fail and exacerbate – of answers? There are others clutching for more of the easiest answers down the other end of this spectrum, and you do not hesitate to enlighten them of your scorn. How can you do the same in different form and not see it?
You cannot condemn Islamophobia. Islamophobia is an extreme fear of or aversion to Islam. Stop using that word. Condemning Islamophobia would be thought-policing. From another of my blogs, the most recent but for this one, in fact, on the fears of facing Islam:
“And one has to wonder, to turn their own most pernicious label back around to face them: over and upon the thoughts and behaviours of just exactly whom does Islamophobia hold the most sway? Upon the one who sincerely speaks up and out with the intent of the good for all people, within and without the Islamic world – lest we end up with increasingly little of the latter – or upon the one who stays absolutely quiet, and, muzzle pressing the small of their back of the gun gripped and pointed by a crowd of interests under, each, their own Sword of Damocles, strongly suggests that you consider doing the same?”
Don’t. Flirt. With blasphemy laws.
It is fear that is driving this, and it is fear that it creates, and it is fear that it confirms. You fear for people and you find yourself protecting ideas. Paved with good intentions is the path, but there is only one place it leads. The issue of Islam, and everything which that little phrase entails and includes, is intensely difficult: do not treat it as if it were otherwise. It is not a problem that you are afraid: everyone is afraid in myriad ways on this, this issue of our century. Being afraid is not what makes you a coward; a state of fear provides you the opportunity for bravery. It is not the fear that dictates whether the outcome manifests as bravery or cowardice, it is what you do with it.
And what are you doing with it?