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Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Orwell Can Tell Us About the Liberal Appeasement of Islam

Suppose there were a worldwide movement which openly proclaimed its goal of taking over in your country and every country with the purpose of imposing its system on every human beings on earth. Also suppose that this movement had carried out murders and terrorist attacks in your own country, that members of this group promoted violence while gaining political influence. Suppose also that is was highly unfashionable and politically incorrect to speak out against them.

I am not speaking of Islam here, but of Communism. The current wave of censorship and denial toward Islam is not a new development. It is rather a very old one. Islamophobia, like Red-Baiting, is a political term that serves the function of cutting off any discussion of the subject. It precludes any listing of the facts or debates on the issue, by declaring it to be off-limits. To raise the issue is to expose yourself as a bad person whose ideas are unacceptable for public distribution.

When George Orwell was struggling to find a publisher for Animal Farm, he was repeatedly turned down on the grounds that the book would offend the Soviet Union. One publisher wrote to Orwell that he had been dissuaded from publishing the book by an important official in the Ministry of Information (an agency that would become the Ministry of Truth in his novel, 1984) who had told him that publishing such a book would be ill-advised at this time. That official was, incidentally, a Soviet spy.

The publisher went on to say that the book might be acceptable if it applied generally to dictators, but not specifically to the USSR. Finally the publisher added, "It would be less offensive if the predominant caste in the fable were not pigs. I think the choice of pigs as the ruling caste will no doubt give offence to many people, and particularly to anyone who is a bit touchy, as undoubtedly the Russians are."

Change around a few names and this is exactly the rejection letters that courageous books critical of Islam have received. It's fine to make general criticisms of religious fanaticism, so long as those criticisms are universally applied, and do not offend those touchy people who religious fanaticism occasionally expresses itself in dangerous ways.

In a generally deleted preface to Animal Farm, Orwell wrote, "The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact."

There are quite a few sensational facts and news items that are kept out or minimized in our own media because it would not do to mention them. There are rarely any government officials dictating this censorship, certainly in the United States there are no legal codes that make it mandatory, but this censorship is voluntary. It consists of people censoring themselves, of publications censoring people out of fear of violence, of publishers who feel that this is an ill-advised time to stir up tensions and of a larger body of liberal thinkers who feel that we should sympathize with Islam and ignore any of its violent and supremacist activities.

"At this moment what is demanded by the prevailing orthodoxy is an uncritical admiration of Soviet Russia. Everyone knows this, nearly everyone acts on it. Any serious criticism of the Soviet régime, any disclosure of facts which the Soviet government would prefer to keep hidden, is next door to unprintable," Orwell wrote in his Animal Farm preface titled, Freedom of the Press.

"Hardly anyone will print an attack on Stalin, but it is quite safe to attack Churchill...  throughout five years of war, during two or three of which we were fighting for national survival, countless books, pamphlets and articles advocating a compromise peace have been published without interference... So long as the prestige of the USSR is not involved, the principle of free speech has been reasonably well upheld."

So too we still have freedom of the speech. We are encouraged to attack our own government, though not the liberal wings of it, but it is still a safer thing to do, so long as the prestige of Islam is not involved. Only when Islam is offended, does the principle of free speech come apart.

It was always safe to attack Bush, but an attack, even on Bin Laden, was considered tacky at best. And an attack on more "moderate" figures, like Tariq Ramadan, was borderline unprintable. While it was ridiculously easy to publish an essay depicting Bush as a war-crazed chimp invading Iraq for oil, Haliburton and Christian fundamentalism, the cultural elites insisted that doing so was an act of great political courage. Meanwhile publishing an essay critical of Islamic figures was next to impossible and dangerously perilous. And those same elites treated it as a despicable abuse of freedom of speech.

The poisonous vein here goes deeper. With the rise of the Bolsheviks there was a vigorous debate over whether or not to recognize the Soviet Union. Two administrations, Wilson and Hoover, chose not to do so. Their reasoning was fairly straightforward and is best expressed in the words of Bainbridge Colby, the Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson.

Colby was a liberal who had co-founded Roosevelt's Progressive Party and befriended Mark Twain, nevertheless he laid out a clear rationale for extending no diplomatic recognition to the Bolshevik terrorists. "We cannot recognize, hold official relations with or give friendly reception to the agents of a government which is determined and bound to conspire against our institutions, whose diplomats will be agitators of dangerous revolt, whose spokesmen say they sign agreements with no intention of keeping them."

That policy persisted under two administrations, including that of President Hoover, who had personal experience with the Soviet Union during the Russian relief effort which bailed out the Communists at a crucial time. It was the FDR Administration which was stuffed full of Communists that abrogated it. FDR became the first American president to directly communicate with a Soviet leader and in his first year of office he invited the Soviet Foreign Minister to Washington D.C. and recognized the Soviet Union.

To achieve that recognition, the Soviet Union pledged not to promote or harbor any groups with the aim of "the overthrow or the preparation for the overthrow of, or bringing about by force of, a change in the political or social order of the whole or any part of the United States, its territories or possessions." This agreement was never honored in any way, shape or form.

Colby went on defending his policy until his death in 1950 as the right thing to do. And the pace of events only proved him right. The USSR used diplomatic recognition to extract aid, plant saboteurs and conduct espionage. It kept agreements only for so long as they suited it.

The pro-recognition lobby backed of diplomats, businessmen and politicians exploiting argued that only engagement would reform the Soviet Union. That same argument was still being made during the Reagan Administration which was berated for its warmongering obstructionism every time it refused to give in to Soviet demands.

We are back to that same debate today between engaging our enemies or accepting their hostility as a fact. The modern diplomatic corps is full of advocates of engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood, with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. There isn't anyone they won't engage with so long as they hate the United States and seek to destroy it.

Four years of Obama has shown once again that engagement does not work. Not only doesn't it work, it actually emboldens the enemy and allows the enemy to infiltrate deep within our societies and to corrupt our institutions. That very engagement leads to censorship in the name of friendship. It leads to news articles and books that cannot be printed because they might sabotage the chances for peace.

The hope for peace is the greatest force of censorship there is. Once engagement is passed off as a fairy that you must believe in lest she will die, then censorship becomes absolutely mandatory to keep peace alive. If a book critical of Communism might offend the USSR then it is best not to print it or to water it down. If Muslims riot over cartoons of Mohammed, then it is a civic duty not to print them in the name of peace and understanding.

When we marvel at the Dhimmism in modern cultural life, at the extent to which Islamic viewpoints are presented unchallenged as the establishment devotes its fullest efforts to inveighing against any opposing views, this too has its red precedents.

"The servility with which the greater part of the English intelligentsia have swallowed and repeated Russian propaganda from 1941 onwards would be quite astounding," Orwell wrote. "On one controversial issue after another the Russian viewpoint has been accepted without examination and then publicised with complete disregard to historical truth or intellectual decency."

Modern day examples of this surround us on all sides and as a doctor of totalitarianism, Orwell aptly diagnosed the corruption of the elites and their descent into totalitarian expediency.

"If the intellectual liberty which without a doubt has been one of the distinguishing marks of western civilisation means anything at all, it means that everyone shall have the right to say and to print what he believes to be the truth... It is only, or at any rate it is chiefly, the literary and scientific intelligentsia, the very people who ought to be the guardians of liberty, who are beginning to despise it, in theory as well as in practice.

"The word ancient emphasises the fact that intellectual freedom is a deep-rooted tradition without which our characteristic western culture could only doubtfully exist. From that tradition many of our intellectuals arc visibly turning away. They have accepted the principle that a book should be published or suppressed, praised or damned, not on its merits but according to political expediency."

That principle is now the primary one on the left. This totalitarian cowardice that Orwell inveighed against has been elevated to an unchallenged moral standard. Animal Farm is widely reprinted, but without Orwell's preface. Like 1984, a book whose composition effectively killed him, it has been treated according to the original plan of that publisher, stripping away most acknowledgements that it is a vicious satire of Soviet Communism, rather than a generic commentary on tyranny.

Orwell's preface, so rarely published, concludes with his motivation for writing it, "It is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect."

27 comments:

Cobalt-Blue said...

Very well put. The communists are now fully in control of the White House and the Press. The so-called press has long ceased to be the Fourth Estate and has become a Fifth Column.

Anonymous said...

We know why the government, taxpayer funded schools refuse to teach history as the government and the schools are controlled by the useful idiots who have always been the backbone of tyrants. It didn't take long for those of us over the age of 40 to understand the reincarnation of the days of FDR and his Communist sympathies and sympathizers even before Bush claimed Islam was a religion of peace. The writing has been on the wall for decades and both the leadership of the Democrat/Communist Party and the Republican Party has been working to transform the U.S. into a Socialist country while working in the halls of the United Nations to create a one world government. Agenda 21, the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into the government, schools, corporations, public-policy making institutes, the media-every place with power, money and influence to gather together the conditions for their stated goal-worldwide Islamic Law.

Only the players are different. But the playbook and the acts of the "peaceful" Muslims is so much more demonic than the USSR and Communism, that it may be we see the end of the world, at least the end of human life.

American Genie said...

Elaine, please cite your source for that 99%.

Great piece, Daniel, thank you.

Bilejones said...

I am not speaking of Islam here, but of Communism.

The system that not only poses the threat but has very largely succeeded is global corporatism.

EbonyRaptor said...

@Bilejones

Spoken like a true Bolshevik.

Empress Trudy said...

I am not so sure it's cowardice or self loathing. That's true in part but it's more insidious than that. I have these sorts of 'arguments' with far leftists all the time and dare I point out that such and such of their heroes was brutal tyrant who gleefully murdered millions their response is generally "Well that's ok" or "Good". Same with the far left who never saw a fascist Islamic antisemitic wife beating child molesting genocidal maniac they didn't like. This is actually what they believe too. They don't embrace Noam Chomsky's heroes in spite of what Pol Pot did but BECAUSE of what he did. And it stands to reason if Mao Zedong could get millions to follow him there, the same world view is in play over here too. Certainly there's always going to be a few useful idiots who'd rather prostrate themselves at the feet of Holocaust inspired Islam because they don't stand for or care about anything. But there's a far larger number of collaborators who collaborate because they are true believers. Remember some of the most vicious Nazis of all were Dutch, Serbian, Latvian and Ukranian SS volunteers who truly wanted to out Nazi the Nazis.

And then of course there's the faction no one talks about. The paid provocateurs and lobbyists for Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, Assad and others. Does anyone actually believe that the general consensus at Huffington Post and Alternet in favor of the Assad regime, in favor of the Ayatollahs, in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban is some kind of spontaneous upwelling of like minded fine liberals? Of course not that would be stupid.

JWM said...

Finally.
(had to use internet explorer to get to the comments)

There has been a near complete media blackout of the attacks on the Bastion base in Afghanistan. Six Harrier jets were destroyed by suicide bombers.

The military death tolls which were trumpeted by the press and electronic media as so much blood on GWB's hands are never mentioned despite the fact that more of our soldiers have died under Obama than in two terms under Bush.

Liberals excoriate Republicans for conducting a war on women. I have seen women in full burkhas walking meekly behind their keepers on the beaches in Santa Monica CA, one the most "liberal" towns in left wing California. Imagine being in a head to toe black bag in the California summer sun. You could smell the poor things from twenty feet away. (I do not exaggerate) Not a single liberated feminist liberal female raised an eyebrow. No one spoke up. Yet they mock the street evangelist trying to win a few souls for Jesus.
Orwell would be horrified at being so vindicated.

JWM

Joseph.E said...

The diffusers of illusions; no like gravity

Rita said...

@JWM:

the party of bra burning has become become the party of the hijab.

Rita said...

"...The hope for peace is the greatest force of censorship there is...

BINGO!

I just understood what this useless hope of the cowardly West reminds me of:

I once worked in a "Womans Refuge". We had some women who went back to their violent husbands again and again, hoping that apeasement would eventually make the violence go away. It did usually the opposite and some of them (one even in the short time I was there) died of it.

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention Communist China. Isn't "engagement" why we have permitted a continuously escalating trade deficit with that country over the lat 40 years? Aren't they equally touchy?

adagioforstrings said...

I suppose the policitally correct distinction is that Obama appears to be appeasing not the moderate Muslims (aka people who accept the US Constitution as written) versus the intolerant militant Muslim Supremacists (people who want our Constitution to become Sharia compliant).

Hanoi Paris Hilton said...

Ferociously brilliant essay, Mr. Greenfield, as nearly always with you. And as also nearly always, depressing as hell that it generates only a handful of feedback postings. One can only hope that your actual readership is vastly disproportionate to the usual suspect respondents to your blog. Keep it up, keep it up! Amazing and heartening how Orwell (and de Tocqueville) have become intellectual touchstones for the conservative intelligentsia.

Anonymous said...

So Al Queda spiked the ball on Barry in Libya, but our agenda-driven media wishes to avoid dissecting this, and the ultimate failure of Obama's M.E. policies at all costs. Obama, by his idelogical nature, must appease, to do otherwise would give primacy to the white, colonial world history he detests, and with it engrained concepts such as basic civilization, (albeit with failings, error, and greed). No, one must support the third world narrative of the proud and angry native,(in this case Islamists), justified in whatever he does as a result of (blank) oppression. Yadda-yadda. Its very tired intellectually and inconcievable with a sophisticated take on things. We will however trudge on with such worthless intellectual claptrap advanced as policy unless Romney wins.

I would find it immensely entertaining if during the debates Romney would suggest that if elected he would return the bust of Churchill to the Oval office. But probably no such luck. One has to be overly correct.

Ravis said...

Good article, per usual. But I too think the motivation of the silencers isn't an urge for peace and conciliation but a desire to censor the domestic opposition and control public speech. Islamism is an opportunity for power. If the terrorists were extremist Christians or Jews, they'd be silencing the conciliators. So please don't excuse them so easily by assuming they're well-intentioned. A few deluded souls, maybe, like liberal Christians, but not the rest.

mindRider said...

@ Hanoi Paris Hilton What you mentioned concerning the relatively small number of comments to Daniel's great blogs is perhaps not that bad: The filth spewing haters luckily so commonly present at many other conservative blogs stay away, the intellectual left knows it's out-gunned on this blog because of the solid argumentation and Daniel so precisely formulates his thoughts that most agreeing readers can do without further questions on the subject. In most cases the comments are only to express gratitude to Daniel for his fine work of daily coming up with a new thought articulated so beautifully.

mindRider said...

......luckily stay away.......

Anonymous said...

Mr. Knish you have a staggering knowledge of history.

AskTheReferee said...

I am Irish. The Irish know a little about religion and oppression. Ireland is a predominately Catholic country and has, as a nation, successfully unshackled itself from the repression of many hundred years of religion. We don't reject religion, but, we recognize it for what it is. More evil and harm has been committed in the name of religion than all other factors combined.
I remember a key entitlement from the days of my Catholic indoctrination. It refers to “the age of reason" and theoretically Catholics achieve this around the age of 7. When we reach the age of 7 we are entitled to think for ourselves and permitted by the Church to question religion, dogma and anything associated with these.
I have traveled the world. I am still a Catholic and appreciate all the elements of Catholicism and Christianity which make sense to a questioning human being. I practice treating my fellow man as I expect him to treat me, every day. I reject and ignore what does not make sense.
People of my generation and the generations around me remember what caused WW2 and its consequences. I continue to study history and educate myself every single day. I learned about the Jews and Israel. One of my countrymen, Chaim Herzog, became the 6th President of Israel. Imagine that! An Irishman, president of the Jewish state. His father was Ireland's chief Rabbi from 1918-1937 and Chaim became President of Israel in 1983 and served for 10 years.
My first best friend is Catholic; my second Protestant and my most enduring is a Canadian Jew (I was the only Gentile in his wedding party). I was the only Gentile living on a otherwise Jewish street in Toronto, Canada. There were 7 Holocaust survivors on the street. Yes, Mr. Ahmadinejad, it really happened. There was a Rabbi and a Cantor. The friendship and acceptance extended to me by them influences me daily. Israel must survive, not least because it is the only beacon of tolerance and reasonability in a very unreasonable and dangerous area of the world.
In order to criticize any institution, one must first study it. I began taking a close look at Islam about 10 years ago. I had some vague notions about it prior. What I have learned about it shocks and appalls me. It is literally a death cult, with no redeeming qualities. It is symbolized by a pathetic, murdering, perverted, misogynistic, child molesting and crazed lunatic misanthrope. To believe in Islam is to deny all the evidence of documented history as well as science. It is literal insanity, rigorously supported by hordes of indoctrinated, ignorant, psychopaths; unaware, or interested in anything other than what is written in a rambling, disjointed, disturbing rag called the Quran. It is contradictory of common sense and human instinct. It is intolerant of anything not contained in it. It is a mockery of intelligence.
The prevailing wind of Political correctness insists we accept and tolerate Islam. I cannot comply. Islam must be eradicated not tolerated. If it isn’t it will result in more carnage, destruction and misery than it is possible to describe with words currently extant in the English language.
I support Pamela Geller and the current minority, cogent and brave enough, to stand up to the gravest threat to the survival of the inhabitants of our sorry planet.

Anonymous said...

Go Bilejones Go

Rita said...

Further to Hanoi-Jane ;) Paris-Hilton's points: I really really really would LOVE the Sultan's outstanding essays in a book!

Dear Sultan Knisch,

For when that book????????
You surely do have enough quantity, but more importantly, lots of quality too!

SoCal Observer said...

It is obvious that a great deal of thought goes into these posts, and sometimes there is not much to add. What made the West great was the force of truth penetrating the darkness of the church-state alliance that sought to maintain the feudal monopoly on knowledge, wealth, and power. The Saudi-Wahabi alliance is just another incarnation of that same delusion. Somehow, by keeping the masses indoctrinated, intimidated, impoverished and ignorant, the ruling elite hopes to maintain its grip on the masses. Once the printing press came along and ideas and knowledge were disseminated for others to read and discuss, the end of the western version of church and state monolith was certain. Note that the (protestant) christian church as well as the western european states became more vibrant (and wealthy) once the monopoly was broken. Now, it seems as though the elitists and oligarchs are at it again. Some buy their way to power with bread and circuses, others bully with fatwas and terror, but the end is the same. Orwell was ahead of his time and his warnings unheeded. Daniel, you are much like the voice crying in the wilderness. Unfortunately, history shows that such voices are not often honored or appreciated. That gets us to why certain patriots insisted on 10 basic amendments now known as the Bill of Rights.

Edward Cline said...

For anyone interested in the original preface to Animal Farm, it can be found here:

http://www.orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/efp_go

Edward Cline said...

For anyone interested in Orwell's original preface to Animal Farm, it can be found here:

http://www.orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/english/efp_go

Greenfield is correct in his assessment of the principles expressed by Orwell; substitute Communism with Islam and other contemporary terms with Islam-rooted ones, and the subject of the preface may as well be about the self-censorship of the Western press and our intelligentsia about Islam. What we observe in the Western press and the political and cultural "elite" today is nothing new; only the names have changed to identify and indict the guilty. And the names are legion.

Pano said...

From when communism and islam are the same?

Linda Rivera said...

Brilliant analysis, Daniel!
Islam is one billion times worse than communism. Non-Muslims live in hell every day in Muslim countries. The once beautiful SAFE and peaceful Europe has been transformed into a living hell by millions of hostile, infidel-hating, jihad-rape waging Muslims. Europeans and Brits who were able to have fled their countries.

Islam-loving, infidel-hating, FREEDOM-DESTROYING British ruling elites/police viciously persecute courageous, patriotic Brits who protest against the Islamification of Britain and stand up for the human rights of non-Muslims.

Linda Rivera said...

This is how EDL/BF PEACEFUL human rights activists were treated by police at a demo in England:
British Freedom: We were at the meeting point, and there were some 500 Islam/lefties just 15 feet from us. Bricks, bottles etc. were thrown...all violence came from the UAF and the Muslims, and the police arrested no one...
• A man bleeding from deep gashes to the head (believed to have been inflicted by Muslim protestors) in clear view of dozens of officers, offered no medical aid, not even basic first-aid.

• A heavily pregnant woman kettled in and detained with the others and released only after dark. (There were reports that she had been vomiting, having being denied access to water and toilet facilities for many hours.)

• People having to remain on their feet for eight hours or more.

• People complaining to police officers of chronic pain due to not being able to relieve themselves.

• Others, unable to contain themselves any longer, forced to endure the humiliation of urinating or defecating in full sight of the crowd, in a busy public place.

• Those who could stand no longer forced to sit by puddles of urine in the confined space.

• Reports of women being left by the police in unfamiliar locations in dead of night.

The cops have changed tactics on us. We were kettled from 1pm till 9.50pm, at which point they arrested all of us on breach of the peace, handcuffed and driven to King’s Cross.
By the time we were let off the bus and de-arrested the last train home had gone...
Critics of Islam are fair game for the lefty thugs and the mujahideen. And the police..
http://britishfreedom.org/walthamstow-a-lesson-in-powerlessness/

Coming to a country or city NEAR you soon.

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