Are Crikey’s limp-left readers Noel Coward fans? Their splutterings sound like the lyrics of “Don’t Let’s Be Beastly To The Germans”:

We must be kind
And with an open mind
We must endeavour to find
A way-
To let the Germans know that when the war is over
They are not the ones who’ll have to pay.
We must be sweet-
And tactful and discreet
And when they’ve suffered defeat
We mustn’t let
Them feel upset
Or ever get
The feeling that we’re cross with them or hate them,
Our future policy must be to reinstate them…

The trouble is, Coward was talking about when the war is over. Crikey readers just hope that by being nice, everything will go away.

Free speech, people, free speech. If yesterday’s quotes from Anne Applebaum weren’t to your taste, suck on this:

[N]othing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it’s time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to “hate” Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn’t the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain’s chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them — simultaneously?

The limp left can’t fault the anti-fascist credentials of Oriana Fallaci, the journalist and commentator who died last week. She was fighting Mussolini’s regime at the age of 14. She knew threats to liberty when she saw them – and last year she said:

“We seem to live in real democracies, but we really live in weak democracies ruled by despotism and fear.”

Fallaci warned that Western elites are paralysed by fear, afraid to speak out against the life-destroying aspects of the Sharia law that Islamic jihadists want to impose on the rest of the world. The risk of offending Muslims is, in their calculus, apparently greater than the risk of national or civilizational suicide.

Fallaci’s reading of de Tocqueville taught her that in dictatorial regimes, despotism strikes the body: the dissenter is tortured into silence. But in democratic regimes that have succumbed to corruption, despotism ignores the body and strikes at the soul. One is not tortured for dissent; instead, one is discredited for it. To affirm the patent fact that Islam is not a religion of peace today renders one “unelectable” or “bigoted”, or beyond the bounds of what is fit to print, Fallaci said.

If Fallaci’s too much for you, try Maryan Namazie, an Iranian feminist and communist. “Cultural relativism is not only a prescription for inaction and passivity in the face of the oppression of millions of people struggling and resisting in the Middle East and here in the west but is in fact racist in and of itself,” she says. And George Pell haters note. She also adds “All religious establishments must be registered as private enterprises, taxed.”

And one final quote on the head in the sand left, from Sam Harris, the author The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. He says Western civilization really is at risk from Muslim extremists:

Two years ago I published a book highly critical of religion, “The End of Faith.” In it, I argued that the world’s major religions are genuinely incompatible, inevitably cause conflict and now prevent the emergence of a viable, global civilization. In response, I have received many thousands of letters and e-mails from priests, journalists, scientists, politicians, soldiers, rabbis, actors, aid workers, students — from people young and old who occupy every point on the spectrum of belief and nonbelief.

This has offered me a special opportunity to see how people of all creeds and political persuasions react when religion is criticized. I am here to report that liberals and conservatives respond very differently to the notion that religion can be a direct cause of human conflict.

This difference does not bode well for the future of liberalism.

And that should worry every Crikey reader.

Peter Fray

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