Sunday, August 13, 2006

The disenfranchisement of muslims?

In this morning's Chicago Sun Times, Mark Steyn writes:

"The pan-Islamists do act. When they hold hands and sing "We Are The World," they mean it. And we're being very complacent if we think they only take over the husks of "failed states" like Afghanistan, Somalia and Lebanon. The Islamists are very good at using the principal features of the modern multicultural democracy -- legalisms, victimology -- to their own advantage. The United Kingdom is, relatively speaking, a non-failed state, but at a certain level Her Majesty's government shares the same problem as their opposite numbers in Beirut: They don't quite dare to move against the pan-Islamists and they have no idea what possible strategy would enable them to do so.

"So instead they tackle the symptoms. Excellent investigative work by MI-5 and Scotland Yard foiled this plot, and may foil the next one, and the one after that, and the 10 after that, and the 100 after those. And in the meantime, a thousand incremental inconveniences fall upon the citizen. If you had told an Englishman on Sept. 10, 2001, that within five years all hand luggage would be banned on flights from Britain, he'd have thought you were a kook. If you'd told an Englishwoman that all liquids would be banned except milk for newborn babies that could only be taken on board if the adult accompanying the child drinks from the bottle in front of a security guard, she'd have scoffed and said no one would ever put up with such a ludicrous imposition. But now it's here. What other changes will the Islamists have wrought in another five years?

"Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we're about to witness the unraveling of the world. "

Driving back from Heathrow on Saturday morning, where I had just had to pick up a relative who had flown in from the States, I reflected on similar lines: it seemed we were just months away from being required to strip at airports prior to donning airline-distributed plastic jumpsuits in which nothing could be concealed, our clothes to be packaged in the aircraft hold; yet, the jihadis would find a way around that, just as with packets of medicine and bottles of 'water' they seem to have found a way around the prohibition on nail clippers and corkscrews.

No, these, our reactions are no more than that. They play the other side by its own rules. Which brings me back to Steyn's point: "[we] don't quite dare to move against the pan-Islamists and [we] have no idea what possible strategy would enable them to do so. ... Absent a determination to throttle the ideology, we're about to witness the unraveling of the world. "

Just so. Which brings me to my point: has the time come to consider the disenfranchisement of British Muslims?

Yes, I did just write that.

The last time this was tried was with Catholics after the establishment of the Church of England. Like the British Muslims, Guy Fawkes and others considered themselves as 'British' (or perhaps more specifically, English), and their fellow subjects to be misguided. Like the British Muslims, a significant number were willing to consider mass murder to overturn the established political settlement and replace it with their preferred variant. And like the British Muslims, many Catholics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (they were of course proscribed until after this, but by then disenfranchisment had mostly done its work) could not otherwise have been rendered safe for the rest of the population - nor indeed could their own safety have been much better secured - without disenfranchisement. This could mean the loss of the power to vote, possibly to hold property or public office, and so on. It was, and may yet be, the least worst option.

Undoubtedly this is a drastic response but it seems to me to be a rationale one - at least where the majority population and, just as important, its political elite, possess the will to survive.

Above, I wrote that our present reactions to jihadism play the other side at its own rules. But given the faineant characteristics of much of the majority British population and its political elite, our reactiveness and its default lack of success point not merely to cluelessness but to the fact that so few of us are willing to identify any that might be termed 'the other side'.

If anyone has a better idea how to tackle 'Britons' who wish to murder their fellows in the name of Islam and a worldwide Caliphate, I'm listening....

Oh, no, wait, I forgot: ask the majority lefties for a 'solution' and it's invariably 'more education', 'cuz how could you ever have too much of that? And how could its utility ever be disproved where the obvious rebuttal is 'spend more on education'?

So I retract that. I am not listening to anyone with a bottomless faith in education. Otherwise, suggest away...


UPDATE: I have just run a Google search on the phrase 'disenfrancishement of muslims' and it's come back with a load of subjectivist moody about 'the sense of disenfranchisement felt by British muslims', etc. etc.

No, no, no: that's not what I mean at all. I mean: what about actually, really disenfranchising them? And hell, if they already feel that way, what have we got to lose?

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