This is the first of a four-part series running over consecutive Sundays about how the secularised West has opened the door to Islamism (and barbarity and de-civilisation), and how intolerance is defeating the West’s hard-won tradition of toleration.
WE MAY not like it but our culture is changing dramatically. The evidence is clear. Over the past few weeks thousands of people throughout the West have marched in support of Palestinians with the cry of ‘Palestine free, from the river to the sea’, a call for another Holocaust, the extermination of the Jewish people.
They are mostly young, idealistic, passionate and sincere, and few are Palestinian. Yet they want the extermination of the state of Israel: according to them Palestine must be Judenfrei. How did we get to the situation where our young people take to the streets with cries last heard on the lips of Nazi genocidal mass murderers?
They have been taught to think in this way, and how we think and what we think determines how we act and what we do. A typical example of teaching prevalent in Western universities comes from Tommy Curry. This radical black philosopher holds a Personal Chair in Africana Philosophy and Black Male Studies at Edinburgh University. I studied there, as did both my sons. Today I find it difficult to admit any connection with an institution which, like so many Western universities, has abandoned its intellectual heritage to pursue a destructive racist neo-Marxist ideology.
For Professor Curry, notions of objective morality such as the Ten Commandments are ways of controlling the weak and should be rejected. Instead his students are taught that good and evil are Western myths, and that moral right and wrong comes down to the group’s relationship to power: ‘The mythology of good and evil allows powerful groups and nations to construct weaker groups, nations, or races as inferior or evil.’ This teaches students to think that good and evil are determined not by individual acts, but by group identity such as race, gender or sexual orientation and who holds the power.
Thus we have students earnestly expressing solidarity with terrorists who killed defenceless families, decapitated babies, raped women next to the bodies of their murdered friends, tortured and burned others alive. According to their view, the Palestinians are oppressed and therefore good, the Israelis are powerful and therefore wicked. Consequently anything the Palestinians do is justified as an expression of the desire for their liberation from oppression. This way of thinking is prevalent throughout the mainstream of Western thought. The West has lost its moral compass.
This common teaching filters down from universities to schools and throughout society. We see the effects around us in many areas. ‘Affirmative action’ teaches us that to combat racism and discrimination we must practise racism and discrimination. Because those who have power are racist, the way to defeat them is to give the oppressed power, and we do this on racial and other identity grounds. Thus we have hiring practices based not on ability to do the work but on racial, gender and sexual orientation quotas.
Individual responsibility has been replaced by group identity. Martin Luther King may have wanted his daughters to be judged on the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. For Professor Curry, his fellow teachers, and the millions they have indoctrinated, what matters is not their character but the colour of their skin.
The West has abandoned that which made us a distinctive culture and the greatest force for advance there has been. We have decided instead that we are the source of the world’s problems, that if there are situations of injustice and inequality it must be because we in the West who hold the power have created these situations. As a result we continually surrender our values.
The major problem we face is the advance of radical Islam, which specifically targets the West because we represent all that it despises. The values we hold to be important and which have shaped our culture, such as personal freedom and individual responsibility, are antithetical to an ideology which emphasises absolute obedience.
We should not hesitate to say that our Western system is superior in many ways. It opens up far greater opportunities for individual innovation than Islam or communism, both of which reject freedom in favour of control. Our freedom has given rise to scientific and technical advances which have brought about relief from famine and the alleviation of grinding poverty for billions throughout the world. Without free speech this would not have happened, yet the removal of free speech and enforced compliance with approved thought and expression is one of the main planks of the woke ideologues emerging from our universities and schools.
The culture the West has created emerged from biblical principles, such as all human beings without exception being made in the image of God, and the responsibility of the individual before God. When you abandon these biblical principles in favour of a thought system developed from a Marxist understanding of the power struggle between economic classes for supremacy, what emerges is destructive.
We have recently witnessed the West in thrall to Black Lives Matter. Buildings lit up, marches through our cities, politicians, sports players and police kneeling, riots, sections of US cities taken over by anarchists, cries to defund the police taken seriously, and all because a drug-addled violent criminal died in an altercation with police. That George Floyd was killed is regrettable, but that his subsequent lionisation became the cause of such chaos is even more regrettable.
We must accept that the West is falling. Undermined and weakened, it appears no longer willing or able to defend itself and the values which created it and which have brought so much benefit to the wider world. The question we face is whether we are resigned to allowing it to fade into the sunset, a beautiful memory, or whether we are willing to face up to our responsibility to future generations to pass on to them something worth defending.