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Tuesday, November 09, 2004


van gogh

many have followed the story of the murder of dutch filmmaker theo van gogh by islamist fundamentalists as retribution for defaming islam via his films. as reprehensible as that crime is, the government reaction to it has been fascinating and disturbing.

via andrew sullivan, news that a simple mural became a human rights flashpoint and was sandblasted by the dutch government as "racist". this betrayal of free expression has been followed by the EU's effective dissolution of a leading conservative flemish political party on grounds of "racism", due to its advocacy of immigration restrictions that border on xenophobia.

certainly, europe's 20th c history with right-wing xenophobic nationalism has given them justification to overcompensate. but it has to be apparent that such political correctness has become repressive of legitimate public opinion, and as such is fuelling the movement it seeks to limit.

more than that, though, there is an underlying permissiveness on the european left regarding human rights that social conservatives find hard to believe. britain's belmarsh prison, for example, is constructing a $3mm mosque in response to the complaints of islamist terror suspects held there that the non-denominational facility was insufficient. what can be said of that?

sullivan's quote regarding the sandblasted mural is crystalline:

It is as if liberal society wants to commit suicide.
indeed, i think, that is what it is doing.

the rise of far-right parties in europe and christian cultism in america are reactionary movements defined by what they oppose -- individual emancipation so untrammeled as to amount to a complete abandonment of any social responsibility or coherence, yielding only absurdity. this is easily contextualized within the framework of western decline, as i've often blathered, which has in its extreme put the individual above all else regardless of the sense that can be made of the consequences. since the traumatic dislocation of 1914-18, our civilization has been, in the main, fleeing its traditions in every way possible, reducing thoughtful traditional conservatism of the kind advocated by burke to a lost footnote, overwhelmed by the left-progressive idealism that was embodied in socialism. that void of tradition is now being filled by these reductive cults.

these are the consequences of our hyperindividualist religion; even beyond the apparent fear and revulsion islamist fundamentalists feel toward our antisocial liberalism, there are radical changes taking place in our own societies about which we feel we can do nothing -- muster no defense of our traditions, our society or our civilization. those who do stand against decline -- bereft of any connection to their intellectual heritage and instead immersed in revisionist, reductive, almost thoughtless opposition to change -- are too frequently ridiculous on their face, deplorable and vile.

this is decadence -- the loss of the vital cultural exploration of ideas that have been taken too far and resulted in stalemate.

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