March 7, 2008

They sense our soft underbelly...

From John Howard's Irving Kristol Lecture at the AEI...

....In the protracted struggle against Islamic extremism there will be no stronger weapon than the maintenance by western liberal democracies of a steadfast belief in the continuing worth of our own national value systems. And where necessary a soaring optimism about the future of freedom and democracy.

We should not think that by trading away some of the values which have made us who we are will buy us either immunity from terrorists or respect from noisy minorities.

If the butter of common national values is spread too thinly it will disappear altogether.

We should not forget that it is the values of our societies that terrorists despise most. That is why we should never compromise on them.

It is not only their intrinsic worth that should be staunchly defended. It is also because radical Islam senses – correctly – that there is a soft underbelly of cultural self-doubt in certain Western societies.

There are too many in our midst who think, deep down, that it is really “our fault” and if only we entered into some kind of federal cultural compact, with our critics, the challenges would disappear.

Perhaps it was this sentiment which led the Archbishop of Canterbury to make the extraordinary comment several weeks ago, that in Britain some accommodation with aspects of Sharia law was inevitable.

It is fundamental to the continued unity and purpose of a democratic nation state that there not only be respect for the rule of law but the state have but one body of law, to which all are accountable, and from which all are entitled to an equal dispensation of justice....

Like I said...but never so well.

* Update: The page from The Australian that I copied John Howard's speech from had a good example of our "soft underbelly" (and of why I hate "journalists.") There was a box displaying the latest headline, and it read: "Eight dead in school gunbattle." As if maybe two equivalent factions had starting shooting at each other. It should have read, "Terrorists Murder Eight Students in Cold Blood." But that would imply an acceptance of Western values. And imply that we ought to be defending them. Posted by John Weidner at March 7, 2008 5:46 AM

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