When Pope Benedict deplanes in Great Britain, he should probably wear a gas mask, and keep it on all through his visit. Sure, it might mar his public appearances, making the Vicar of Christ seem even more alien than he already does, on an island whose sense of national identity was formed in large part by its rejection of popery for potpourri. Just for fun, I think that Il Papa’s first remarks to the Prime Minister, wheezed through the gas-mask, really should be: “Luke . . . I am your father.” That might even tickle poor Christopher Hitchens.
Why should the pope wear protective breathing gear? To preserve his good health and sanity from the Pink Cloud of “human rights” unanchored in any responsibilities that hangs over the island from Cornwall to the Orkneys — and which pumps energetically from every bodily orifice of Prime Minister David Cameron. The leader of that kingdom’s once-great Conservative Party has worked energetically to remake it in the image of Tony Blair’s New Labour, whoring after strange gods such as “multiculturalism” and “diversity,” two postmodern euphemisms for national suicide.
That same Cloud hangs thick as incense around the archbishop of Canterbury. It billowed skyward when he squinched up his furry face to embrace sharia law in Britain, and it leaks out from under his skirts whenever he reassures Britons that when Islamic clerics call for universal Islamic law and for “death to the unbelievers,” what they really want is tolerance and peace. Like laughing gas at the dentist, the Pink Cloud eases the pain. It blurs your thoughts about the drill and the blood, and reminds you that everyone else is really just like you. Orthodox Muslims may think that they favor honor-killing, female genital mutilation, polygamy, jihad, and second-class citizenship for “unbelievers.” But if you grant them all their political demands, and speak to them in a calm, reassuring voice, they will in time come to see that all they really want is a good, starchy meal, a pint of decent ale, and a football match on the telly. They just don’t realize it yet.
I’ve huffed this cloud myself, eager for reassurance that implacable enemies of the Western way of life — with all its flaws, damn it, it’s ours — are in fact, behind their henna beards, just folks. I’ve read endless paragraphs of anaesthetic blather emitted by the Catholic B.S. Generator on the subject of Islam, by liberals who view Muslims as ersatz Mexicans wearing differently shaped hats, and by conservatives who fantasize that someday imams will help us round up and behead all the abortionists. Such daydreams can lull anyone into a mellow, alpha-brainwave, second-joint-in-Southern-California stupor, which can last for up to 20 minutes — after which you’ve forgotten about the whole question of Islam engulfing the cradle of our civilization, because you’re Googling the latest Lady Gaga video.
I’ve argued elsewhere, echoing the great Russell Kirk, that most of what is wholesome in American culture and politics descends directly from the English love of liberty. But that heritage long pre-dates the reign of Elizabeth I, with her secret army of priest hunters, laws preventing Catholics from teaching their children the Faith, and racks for torturing housewives for the “crime” of attending Mass. Our American liberties, as even the anti-Catholic David Hume recognized, date back to the papist Saxons, whom the recusant J. R. R. Tolkien brought back to life in the form of the Riders of Rohan. Through one of the ironies of history that remind me of God’s snarky sense of humor, it took the rebellious Puritans, clinging to these liberties against the encroachments of tyrannical Anglican kings, to preserve them in an age when absolutist monarchs were reviving the pagan privileges of Roman emperors and trampling over subsidiarity and Catholic common law.
All of this determines how our children will live and the causes for which we should be willing to die. But all of it will be washed away very soon in a human flood if Cameron has his way and Turkey is admitted into the European Union. As I warned here just two weeks ago: “Because in the EU residents are free to move about, resettle, work, and collect welfare benefits, every single villager in impoverished Anatolia would be free to pick up and move to Paris. Or Dublin. Or Rome.”
Why should other Europeans let Turkey become, all at once, the largest state in the E.U.? Here’s how Cameron explains it: Orthodox Muslims are becoming increasingly powerful in Turkey, ripping away large chunks of that country’s secular constitution, imposing more aspects of sharia law on the country’s hapless religious minorities, and hardening the country’s line against Israel. In other words, the country is reverting — after an 80-year Jacobin detour—to its roots as a hard-line Islamic state . . . the same country that invaded, conquered, and enslaved a third of Christian Europe. How do we stop this? For Cameron, the answer is to “anchor” Turkey more thoroughly in European values — by granting Turkey all its demands. The West tried such a strategy in 1938 with Hitler and in 1945 with Stalin, motivated by the same cringing terror at facing the truth:
Not everyone wants the same things we do. Some people are willing to kill and die to impose their worldviews on us, and if we’re not willing to risk our lives fighting back, then we will be their slaves. And we will deserve it.
If cowards like Cameron have their way, today’s Irish, Italian, and German children will grow up to face an ugly set of alternatives: Go out with a whimper, and live as cringing serfs in their own countries, or rise up and act like Saxons.