The Times especially was chock full of good stuff. Minette Marin takes on the Muslim demand for respect, and blames, at least in part, the West itself.
It is a failure for which we in the West — we in this country — bear a great deal of responsibility. Until very recently, the doctrine of multiculturalism reigned supreme here. For at least 15 years public services and the liberal media have been riddled with the idea that all cultures are equally deserving of respect, and that the values of the host culture are not supreme, but on the contrary, rather racist and oppressive (so possibly not equally deserving of respect)...Quite why large sections of the host culture here were taken in by the confused claims of multiculturalism remains a mystery to me. But the consequence is that many Muslims (among others) have come to believe that we agree that their religion and culture are entitled to unquestioning respect.In another article, which oddly doesn't appear to be on-line, Amir Taheri points out that:
Today, the visible Islam, the loudest Islam, is a political movementHow wonderful.
masquerading as a religion...Not long ago when I asked an imam in a London
mosque why it was that God hardly featured in his sermons, he thought I
had lost the plot. "What matters today is the suffering of our brethren
under occupation," he snapped..."We have no religious grievances in this
country," said Azam Tamini, a pro-Hamas British Muslim scholar. "Here we
can practise our religion with more freedom than in any Musilim-ruled
country. It is therefore natural that we should focus on political rather
than religious issues."
Rod Liddle mentions the BBC's wistful look back at the halcyon days of the radical left with the show Lefties, and makes the sad but true observation that:
The consensus is that the left was trounced, good and proper, in the middle of the 1980s. Certainly the economic arguments were won pretty convincingly by the right...But as the mere existence of the BBC’s series might suggest, the consensus is flawed. For if the right won the economic argument and the cold war, the left won everything else. The followers of Lady Plowden and Shirley Williams still control our education system; children are ill-disciplined and the educational emphasis is on interpretation rather than learning facts.
Popular culture, too. Find me a right-wing Hollywood film, if you can. Or a right-wing play in the West End. Or a pop star who wishes to give less money to Africa and thinks the war against Iraq was just fine and dandy. Or a right-of-centre novelist up for the Booker prize.
Or, indeed, a programme on the BBC that presents a right-wing point of view without irony or downright condemnation. One suspects that over there in Wood Lane they were all, like me, lefties themselves. And maybe still are.
And, speaking of lefties, Martin Kettle at The Guardian warns his capitalist- and US-hating "brothers and sisters" not to find themselves - yet again - on the wrong side of history.
Will they listen?
After 1956 it was no longer intellectually honest or true (if it had ever been) to use the cold-war syllogism that my enemy's enemy is my friend. Those who saw history as a long war between good (the left, socialism, the future, the Soviet Union) and evil (the right, capitalism, the old order, the United States) were no longer entitled to swallow their doubts. It was no longer sweet and noble to kill for the cause. A few, of course, still said it was. Even to this day one occasionally encounters the old lie that the Hungarian rising was a counter-revolution.
But the cold-war syllogism lives on today in a new guise. Too many haters of capitalism and the United States still cram everything into the frame of untruth and self-deception that says my enemy's enemy is still my friend because, even if he blows up my family on the tube, murders my colleagues on the bus or threatens to behead me for publishing a drawing, he is still at war with Bush, Blair and Berlusconi. It is 50 years this month since that simplistic view of the world lost whatever moral purchase it may once have had. It is time such thinking was, to choose a sadly appropriate word, purged. Too long, my brothers and my sisters, too long.