Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bruce Bawer on Bill Moyers

Ah, so much to do, so no posting, but I hope to do this once a month from now on.

Recently Bruce Bawer appeared on Bill Moyers’ show on PBS. You can find the link from Bawer’s blog. It was a surprisingly sympathetic interview; I expected Moyers to hammer him, to express skepticism of his book, all the sorts of things you expect from public television on any anti-jihad subject.

At one point, Moyers talks about a ‘paradox’ that we cannot allow Muslims in Europe and the West the tolerance to ‘be who they are’ and ‘do their own thing.’ (I cannot remember the exact quote, but that’s close enough.) The trouble with Moyers’s observation here is that there is no paradox; he is failing as so many do to make a distinction between public and private life, and the Muslim colonies that are being built in the West. He seems to subscribe to the idea that there is such a thing as group rights, which is nowhere to be found in Enlightenment ideas that undergird all of Western society.

I’ve written before: Any Muslim who wants to keep his religion in his private life only, as a matter of his private conscience, then I’ll have no problem with him. Any Muslim who wants his religion to extend beyond that, so that Islam becomes the law, the government, the constitution, the design of society, is someone I cannot live on the same planet with and breathe the same air. One of us will kill the other.

Tolerance, Mr. Moyers, means I tolerate your private life, your private property. I cannot tolerate, even a little bit, the intrusion of Islam into public life. Islam is an imperial religion, born in conquest, and it makes imperial demands. Islam is going to have to discard these imperial demands to fit into the West. Everyone, everyone, has to subscribe to a plural, secular society and government, like it or get out.

Also, I also cannot tolerate the idea of ‘group rights.’ Islamic society means that the individual rights of non-Muslims, women, and children can be violated in ways that no Western society can tolerate. We cannot in any way, Mr. Moyers, let them ‘do their own thing’ when it comes to the way they treat women, children, and non-Muslims. Sometimes the argument is brought forward that the ‘group rights’ of Muslims somehow trump the ‘individual rights’ that are guaranteed to every citizen, that we have to overlook things like forced marraiges because their rights as a group need to be respected, we have to let them ‘be who they are.’ There could not be a more anti-Western idea, that somehow the rights of an individual can be cast aside to satisfy the needs of the group—that’s called the tyranny of the majority, go look it up. Every Muslim woman living in the Netherlands, for example, needs the absolute protection of her rights, regardless of custom or religion, that every other Dutch citizen receives. There’s no ‘paradox’ here.