Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Let's Take Them On!

Ayaan Hirsi Ali spoke to a libertarian audience today, at the Waldorf-Astoria. Her opening line was: if I were talking to a Muslim audience the first thing I would say is “Islam is bad for you.” But instead she wanted to remind us about what is right about the West and why we need to fight for our core principles.

The freedom of Holland allowed her to leave Islam and live a much better life. Yet she told a story of how young Moslem women in Holland are held back not so much by the state but by the chains of religion. Islam is a “superstition” that relies on “fear” of divine punishment. It teaches women to submit and children to obey; the fear of God is ultimately ingrained in the willing believer. The “individual” learns to conform to the “collective.” She stressed repeatedly that individualism is the enemy of Islam.

We must maintain our “vigilance.” “Individual happiness” and “individual freedom,” which we enjoy in abundance, “can’t be taken for granted.” Our “Enlightenment” heritage is threatened by “irrational” superstition that seeks tosubordinate the individual.” She ended her speech with a firm call to arms: “Let’s take them on!”

In her answer to questions she touched upon Holland’s “welfare system,” alleged “hijacking” of Islam, the limits of democracy, the inherent contradiction between Islam and liberalism, the hopelessness of Islam as a doctrine, and the hope for Muslims as a people.

When asked about encountering religious Americans she said that in the “seven to eight months” here she has “not been confronted with that much religiosity” because here you can “choose who to associate.” She said that most of what she hears about American fundamentalists doesn’t bother her except for the prospects of teaching “Creationism” in the schools. You should not teach “superstition in the science class.” Otherwise, she says, here you are free to go your own way mainly because we are not forced together by an overbearing state--in contract to Holland.

The theme of individualism, both personally and politically, was woven through out her speech and answers to questions. The audience was quite receptive.


Blogger madmax said...

Wow. That's great news. I wonder, if individualism is so stressed in her speech, is she partially influenced by Ayn Rand? After all, there are not many pro-individualist thinkers in the conservative movement.

5/8/07, 5:07 PM  
Blogger SNAKE HUNTERS said...

James Madison quote:

"The only hope for religious liberty in any society is a multiplicity of sects. Where there is such variety, there cannot be a
majority of any one sect to oppress
and persecute the rest".

That might slow down those looney Shia & Sunni in Bagdad, and Hamas &
Fatah in Palestine. reb


5/9/07, 12:26 AM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

Individualism is also the enemy of Marxist waterfowl. Islam and Communism seem to have many similar themes.

5/9/07, 6:47 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Otherwise, she says, here you are free to go your own way mainly because we are not forced together by an overbearing state--in contract to Holland.

What a wonderful sentiment from Ayaan Hirsi Ali!

The left hurls insult after insult in her direction. So much for the left's so-called concern about human rights!

5/9/07, 8:40 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

Hmmmm, "let's take them out". Would it be possible for one of you to describe what you mean by that?

Make muslims less militant by turning their countries into crapholes as we've done in Iraq? We felt the Islamic courts should be dispersed in Somalia and now there is far more instability. Has female circumcision declined with the removal of that stability? I doubt it.

Then we have a country like Iran with a very young west leaning population. That population isn't going to take the mullahs nonsense forever. Ten years and the hardliners will be a distinct minority but I think Jason's plan is to "take them out" and strengthen the hand of nationalist hard liners as long as possible.

As I have said, the far right are very poor tacticians.

So while you all congratulate yourselves for your support of a self serving gadfly what do we do in the meantime to identify and support movements within Islam that can bring change? The dutch broad is hardly the first to speak about these issues. There have been several films documenting the abuse. A Senagalese producer was killed years ago. It goes on.

I diubt the right will bother to pay attention. Rather they will flock around this self serving medicine show peddler.

5/10/07, 2:31 PM  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I was also at the Cato event at the Waldorf Astoria and blogged about it here:


5/10/07, 7:48 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I was impressed with her talk. I've noticed changes in her ideas (generally for the better) and sense her thoughts have yet to stabilize; it will be interesting to see how she develops. I've tried to present her speech as accurately; I'm confident I got the main emphasis of her talk.

I took her call to arms to be for an intellectual defense of the distinctive core values of Western civilization: reason and individualism. She uses the term individualism in the broad sense of "independent thought" and "individual liberty." She captures both the psychological, ethical, and political senses of the concept. Besides Rand, few people use the word in such a broad fundamental sense.

I'll have to check out her book.

5/11/07, 4:14 PM  
Blogger Tommykey said...

You captured what she said pretty good Jason. I was so focused on trying to take a good picture of her that I did not absorb everything she said. It was hard to get a good shot in the dining hall because the light was dim and there were mirrors on the walls that reflected the flashbulb. I will have to see how the pics turn out when I get the film developed.

I was hoping Cato would have the audio up on their web site but it appears that they won't.

I distinctly remember the Muslim man in the audience who was making a rather lengthy commentary and some guy was shouting at him at the end to be quiet.

5/11/07, 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not surprised that internal voices of reason originate from among the ladies -- it is they, after all, who suffer most under Islam. This is an excellent post, Jason. Thank you for taking the time to summarize her comments.

5/11/07, 9:54 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

What else makes Ducky read Jason's "let's take them on!" as "let's take them out!" other than the atrociously dismal level of reading comprehension skills common to every leftist walking the planet right now?

Why are leftists the only people who really go out of their way to convince you that all leftists are idiots?

5/14/07, 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But instead she wanted to remind us about what is right about the West and why we need to fight for our core principles."

The most worrisome thing is that we need to be reminded. Thanks to several influences, including Horace Mann et al., our kids are no longer exposed in the schools to "what is right about the West and why we need to fight for our core principles."

Instead, they are taught... Well, you know.

5/16/07, 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not Ann; Cubed.

5/16/07, 11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, if the Islamic fundamentalists she's talking about threaten us with physical force, wouldn't we be justified in "taking them out"? And not to dinner and a movie either. Just wondering.

5/16/07, 3:25 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

Her's the real thing

5/21/07, 4:11 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

She's a brave woman who's fighting a just battle. One wishes her well.

I reported two years ago, how Afghanistan isn't shaping up to be a liberal democracy. It's so foreign to their mindset that it isn't likely to happen for decades. While we shouldn't condone their illiberal regime, reforming their culture isn't our battle.

This is the tough decision we always face. Our defense only requires that we support the side that doesn't give harbor to our attackers. Such regimes are often oppressive but often there is no good viable choice. In Afghanistan we sided with the Northern Alliance who was known to be the previous fundamentalist regime in Afghanistan. In Iraq we wanted to construct a new liberal order from scratch. Notice that Iraq has been a greater problem for us than Afghanistan.

She has a tough battle ahead but she'll have to go it alone. Wish her well!

5/22/07, 8:22 AM  
Blogger Rancher said...

She gets it better than most Americans.

5/22/07, 1:29 PM  

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