At the outset, Uncle Cephas condemns the bombing and killings. If Norwegians don't like the Socialist Left Party of Kristin Halvorsen, they can vote it out. Among the things which conservatives ought to conserve are rule of law and government by political compact. Restraint of government power is sensible only in a context in which citizens practice a high degree of self-restraint, too.
This is what Uncle Cephas has to say about the Norwegian bomber: Mannen er en Kriminell, ren og enkel.
Google translation tells me that that's how they say "The man is a criminal, pure and simple" in Norwegian. Anyone who knows Norwegian is invited to offer correction.
Anders Behring Breivik, the man arrested for the bombing of Norwegian government buildings early this week and shooting a group of socialist youth at their summer camp, is now being cited as an example of home-grown conservative Christian terrorist. Further, since Breivik claims to have read Robert Spencer's Jihad Watch, Bat Ye'or's Eurabia, and other blogs and works critical of creeping Islamic influence in the West, AP and the New York Times have indicted there authors as being complicit in the killings. Having read Spencer's blog and some of Bat Ye'or's writings, I can only say that such finger-pointing is extremely unfair, and reflects a knee-jerk political posturing rather than real analysis. By the same token, the New York Times itself should be held accountable for the mass murders of the Chinese Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian democide under Saloth Sar, since in the wake of Nixon's visit to China, the Times' staff all the way up to James "Scotty" Reston himself were absolutely ga-ga over Mao.
The blog tempest that has blown up in the aftermath of the Norwegian bombings is quite revealing of our times. At first, an Islamic terror attack seemed the most likely scenario; and the Jihadi blogosphere immediately began crowing. However, things got uglier when the police arrested an indigenous Norwegian by the name of Anders Behring Breivik.
The rapidity with which the mainstream media blamed the anti-Jihadi blogger Robert Spencer for the actions of the bomber reveals much about how the world is now seen. Having followed Spencer's blog, I have never seen him or his writing staff argue for counter violence against either Muslims or the Western enablers of Islamic terrorism. But, apparently, there are many who believe that the effectiveness and importance of a piece of writing is measured by the anger and political violence it launches.
This, perhaps, is why the Left has feted Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Franz Fanon, Che Guevara, Malcolm X, and the young Eldridge Cleaver. No-one can deny that the readers of these authors took the writers' ideas and ran--amuck--with them. It may also be the reason why there is a Red-Green [Islamic] Alliance growing; since Islam, alone of the major religions, is unashamed of violence, and may offer the needed warrior manpower now that Socialist Europe is graying. Apparently, since Breivik cited Spencer and Bat Ye'or as influential in his thinking, editors and writers on the Left are fearing that someone on the other side is becoming "effective", too--even if Spencer is no advocate of violence.
More troubling is the picture of the reading public, especially since Uncle Cephas likes to read, and does it in English, Chinese, Ancient Greek, and sometimes Hebrew or French. Apparently, the average man who gets his hands and eyes on a piece of substantial critical writing is supposed to immediately go out and DO something because of what he has read. The ideal reader is apparently someone like one of the various criminals of the 1950's and '60's who claim they were driven to their acts by reading Salinger's _Catcher in the Rye_.
The reader is therefore supposed to respond only as a volitional and emotional being, not as a thinking one. The punditry seems to think that there is no room for reflection or interrogation of texts by the common reader. Hence, writing itself is degraded to the level of propaganda; and a responsible, reflective, reading citizenry is relegated to a quaint era of horses and buggies.
This is insulting, to say the least.
I hope that Bat Ye'or and Robert Spencer get a lot of free publicity out of this tempest. Both writers have substantial knowledge of the Arabic language, have read extensively in the field of Islamic studies, and have come away with a keen awareness of the more disturbing side of Islamic doctrine and ethics. Bat Ye'or is herself a child of the expulsion of Egypt's millennia-old Jewish community in 1957, and has first-hand experience of the dhimmi status of which she writes.
As a social studies teacher, Uncle Cephas himself is bothered by the image of Islamic "tolerance" presented in school books, when Islamic law has always mandated that the testimony of a dhimmi (tolerated non-Muslim) is worth only half that of a Muslim; when orthodox Islamic doctrine sees close proximity to a kufr as defiling; and when war and the abduction of non-Muslim women are legitimate, normative activities for Muslim men. The pressures on the Christians and Jews of Spain under the Almoravids and Almohads is as much part of the history of Andaluz as the relative tolerance of the 'Ummayad period; the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by the Fatimid Caliph part of the narrative of the Islamic Middle East; and the periodic massacres of subjugated non-Muslims that punctuated the histories of Muslim-ruled lands as much a part of the record as any Spanish Inquisition or Russian pogrom. These are things of which many have become more and more aware since 2001. Such awareness certainly demands neither bigotry against modern-day Muslims in the West nor political violence, but it does justify a certain watchfulness which the major media and parties of the Left have mistaken for bigotry.