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What is the Future for a Post-Liberal Europe?

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Law and Liberty’podcast with Danish journalist Flemming Rose, publisher of the 2005 Muhammed cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, took place in November. The occasion of our interview was the publication by the Cato Institute of Rose’s book The Tyranny of Silence, about the consequences he experienced after the cartoons were released. Rose’s voice is obviously powerful given what he endured, but he is also incredibly thoughtful on Europe’s post-liberal order. Europe, he says, now struggles to understand what it is about save for its thin belief in transnational EU governance and a nearly blinding commitment to egalitarianism, itself a contributing factor to the rise of politically correct curbs on speech in many European countries. And in this confusion many fail to see the point of defending free speech now that it comes with a cost.

The murders yesterday of 12 French journalists of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in France for publishing similar cartoons and images have, unfortunately, proven Rose to be prescient. The weaknesses displayed by many in the defense of free speech, and of the institutions that regularly exercise and depend on that right, has not led to greater peace or to tolerance. The killing of journalists working for a newspaper long known for its satirical work in a ruthlessly efficient, military-style operation is nothing less than a direct attack on the essence of a free society.  Many of us would prefer to engage radical Islam with philosophical and theological dialogue rather than satire. But that seems almost beside the point in the aftermath of this attack.

As he limns a Europe that no longer knows its inches, Rose also pinpoints a new phenomenon: of certain Islamists viewing Europe as now falling within the Islamic world. He quotes his conversation with leading Muslim scholar Bernard Lewis in 2006, where Lewis stated that

I don’t think anyone would say as much, but there seems to be an underlying assumption that Europe is now a part of the Islamic world or at least is becoming as such. It is in a state in which a country can be categorized as neither infidel nor Muslim, a state in which it is populated by infidels and governed by infidels, yet has made a treaty with the Islamic state. This was the case in some countries in Europe bordering the Ottoman Empire. But it’s odd inasmuch as Europe has a long tradition of insulting the Prophet, and that has never before triggered this kind of reaction, because what the infidels do in their own lands is basically no business of Islamic law.

If Lewis is right, the business of Islamic zones in French and other European cities, where governmental authority does not run, is only the tip of the iceberg. French leaders now bear an immense burden. One early sign that corrective action is being taken will surely be if the rising departures of that nation’s Jewish citizens to other lands ceases.

Reader Discussion

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on January 08, 2015 at 13:02:08 pm

" And in this confusion many fail to see the point of defending free speech now that it comes with a cost." - and that is precisely the Mohammedans objective!

"Many of us would prefer to engage radical Islam with philosophical and theological dialogue rather than satire. But that seems almost beside the point in the aftermath of this attack." - perhaps it is time to get Biblical - an eye for an eye - at least something a bit more forceful than the usual handwringing and diplomatic verbiage!

" because what the infidels do in their own lands is basically no business of Islamic law."
Not quite correct. Witness what the Mohammedans had done during their sweep across Northern Africa, the Levant and later Europe. Their first method was to spread fear and terror into the hearts of those living in the lands that they wished to occupy (remembering, of course, that the Umma must be achieved as universal), followed by death and destruction. Look closely and you will see, contra Lewis, that this bears a striking resemblance to their practices for over 1.5 millennia.

As for me, I await the arrival of a new Charlemagne! - and will take my guidance on Mohammedan practice and intent from Bat Ye'Or rather than Lewis.

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gabe
on January 08, 2015 at 13:03:47 pm

The descent of Western Civilization into the abyss of postmodernism is becoming more evident everyday, and the consequent of disaster for all of mankind is knocking at the doors of intellectual idiocy, the idea that wealth should control scholarship for its own security while rejecting the biblical ethos simply because it interferes with their hedonistic lifestyle as one its puppets put it in the 1800s.. However, as someone put it, wrong might be on the throne and right on the scaffold, but the eternal is standing in the shadows keeping watch over his own. The enemy has come in like a flood, but the Lord will raise up a standard, a counter flood, a greater flood against him, one that shall take the whole earth and all of the planets to which mankind is even now beginning to spread. After all, if we have the means to take E.T. home, as one has stated, one can believe those means are being made use of for the purpose of seeking out new worlds, boldly going where man has never gone before. Even so supernaturalism of the scriptural kind will soon began to be manifested, and postmodern, post-liberal Europe along with American and elsewhere on this globe, will be transformed for the better. Even now that reality is coming at us with a speed unimaginable and unpredictable, but so utterly winsomely.

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dr. james willingham
on January 08, 2015 at 13:53:59 pm

One further thought lest we become lost in the "free speech" narrative.

Most assuredly, the recent horror in Paris is an assault upon free speech but that is like saying that the downing of the Twin towers was an assault upon the plumbing.
No, it is, and historically has always been, an assault by a pre-medieval ideology (and a totalitarian political one) upon the civilization of the West with nothing less than its ultimate surrender as its objective. It feeds on the fear, dissolution and self-delusion of those residing in the "fertile fields", as Machiavelli suggested, who have become idle, corrupt and self serving and no longer possess the will to defend that which had previously been sacred to them.

Quite distressing!

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gabe
on January 12, 2015 at 08:00:49 am

[…] What is the Future for a Post-Liberal Europe? Richard Reinsch, Library of Law and Liberty […]

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PowerLinks 01.12.15 | Acton PowerBlog
on January 12, 2015 at 20:55:02 pm

[…] What is the Future for a Post-Liberal Europe? […]

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Image of Islamic Moderates and Extremists - Freedom's Floodgates
Islamic Moderates and Extremists - Freedom's Floodgates

Law & Liberty welcomes civil and lively discussion of its articles. Abusive comments will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to delete comments - or ban users - without notification or explanation.