Victory Awaits France <br>In the Pending War, <br>Its Long History Suggests
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
As I was sitting down to write about the atrocity in France, my wife Barbara hove into view, always a delicious sight, and announced that she was writing elsewhere on the same subject and that I could not do it. So I will not, other than to say that France had to admit in the mid-1960s more than a million Algerian Muslims, who had been loyal to France in the savage war of independence in that country, as well as a million European Algerians. It has been comparatively indulgent of Muslims since then, but this incident, or a few others like it, will motivate France to lead the Western counter-attack against militant Islam that should have been launched by our united civilization many years ago.
Just as the French periodically become bored with life in their legendarily rich country of fine weather, food, and wine, and tear up paving stones and hurl them across barricades at the police until bourgeois fear of economic loss reasserts itself and reaction takes over; when French possession and enjoyment of their country is threatened, the national faith in liberty, equality, and fraternity will give way to more systematic repression of violent Islamists than would be acceptable in an Anglo-Saxon democracy.
When the Islamist threat is no longer theoretical or just a matter of ethnic slurs or offensive caricatures, and that time should have come after the massacre of 10 journalists in a newspaper office and of two policemen guarding it, in France there will be none of the faddish and abusive meddling of human rights commissions such as persecuted Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant in Canada. Since the barbarians comingled with the Romanized Gauls 1,500 years ago, no one has displaced the French from their complete cultural occupation of la douce France.
Those who have tried, including the Moors, the Plantagenet kings of England, and the German Empire and Third Reich, were a great deal more formidable and comparatively numerous than the venomous rag-tag of contemporary Islamist terrorists. Vive la France, which now awaits the continuator of Charles Martel, Joan of Arc, and Charles de Gaulle; a relatively easy victory awaits him or her.
Since I have been cyber-gagged from pursuing this subject further, I will retreat to a related one. In the weeks since Christmas, I (like so many others) have been forced to follow the stern counsel of our bathroom scales. My shapely spouse (who could eat an entire Black Forest cake without putting on more than eight ounces) has aided me in my efforts: As I was writing this column, I sauntered into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. There I found Barbara watching a television program about obesity which, she cheerfully volunteered, I might find useful. (This was perhaps a bit gratuitous, as the program was about 600 lbs. people.) Still, the just-concluded Christmas season, with all its excesses, provides us a welcome opportunity to consider the current status of Christianity in the West.
In the commercial coruscation of Christmas, with incitements to buy accompanying all the deferences to non-Christians, the forgotten fact is that Christianity is a much greater force in the world than Islam. It has 50% more nominal adherents, hundreds of millions more communicants, 600 years more history, and an infinitely greater intellectual and cultural basis. Although it has been used as a pretext for group violence in recent memory, as in Ireland, no serious Christian authority counsels or condones violence other than in personal or societal self-defense. Islam lifted the monotheistic concept from the Judeo-Christians and even claims that none other than that frequent flyer Gabriel imparted the divine message to the Prophet, Muhammad.
Militant Islam had a spirited try at routing Christianity, and when it was repulsed from France and Spain, it returned in strength 800 years later as a largely secular Turkish force under Sulieman the Magnificent. It laid siege to Vienna in 1529, and again in 1683, but was repulsed on both occasions, the latter by Poland’s King Jan Sobieski. Turkey lost its bid for control of the Mediterranean at Lepanto in 1571.
No sane or civilized Westerner would dispute Islam’s historic significance or the right of anyone to practice that or any other religion. But many sane Westerners have together achieved the startling and unfortunate feat of establishing the politically correct fiction that the West is not Christian, and that it is the duty of all to avoid disparagement of extreme Islam, even after decades of endless provocations. The real problem of Western Islam is the failure of the Islamic peoples at self-government and the recourse, not uncommon for people who have been unsuccessful, to pious fervor and a nostalgic yearning for the days of triumphant militancy.
But that is not a valid answer to Islam’s problems. As an entire and tolerant civilization, it is our duty to ourselves, and even to the Islamists who fancy themselves to be our enemies, to crush and exterminate this malignant and evil force as soon and thoroughly as possible.
We must stop hiding our Christian light under a bushel, and end this imbecilic fantasy that indulgence of those who would kill or subjugate all of us and anyone else deemed ambivalent in their hydra-headed jihad will achieve anything except the encouragement of their violent contempt. The two most populous Western countries, the United States and Brazil, are overwhelmingly Christian. A very inquisitive person would ransack the Western media to discover this, but a bone-crushing majority in both countries embraces the principal tenets of Christianity.
Extensive research by the very rigorous Pew Research Center disclosed a month ago that 73% of American adults believe that Mary was a virgin when delivered of Jesus, that 75% believe in the story of the Three Wise Men, 81% that Jesus was placed in a manger, 74% that angels announced His birth to shepherds, and 65% of adult citizens of the United States believe all of the above. The figures for belief in the four tenets mentioned above among Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 are, respectively, 70%, 74%, 80%, and 69%. Even among the millions of Americans with post-graduate degrees, from 53 to 65% believe each one of these traditional assertions.
This is not remotely the version of public religious faith anyone would deduce from the mainstream U.S. media. Brazil is a good deal more fervent, in Christian terms, than the United States, the more so from the Roman Catholic conversions to evangelical Protestantism of about 20% of the country when the Liberation Catholics were presenting Christ as a Marxist who sanctioned violence for social aims. (The process of erosion from Rome to Christian fundamentalism effectively stopped when Pope John Paul II excommunicated the principal Liberation theologians.)
The Canadian figures would be somewhat, but not unrecognizably, less robust than the American. Even Western Europe, though there would be extensive erosion of the faith in most of it, is unambiguously Christian by cultural and traditional criteria. The fact that Western society is so commendably tolerant does not give us a dispensation from protecting our heritage from assault. Pope Francis, who receives much greater respect and admiration from the Western (and the whole) world than our secular leaders, has endorsed military action against military Islam.
Let us hope, and those so inclined may legitimately pray, that the outrage in Paris will assist the Judeo-Christian world in seeing violent Islam plain, and in responding to it with the force that it has successfully employed against earlier, and in all respects, greater, threats. Otherwise, servile appeasement and cowardly silence in the face of the persecution of Christian minorities will eventually produce another Crusade, and that would be, as our friends in the atheist, self-hating left would say (though they are the chief practitioners of it), an overreaction.
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Eddie Greenspan was a good lawyer and entertaining companion. He did not overcharge his clients and believed passionately that everyone was entitled to a defense. He will be missed by many and will be long remembered.
firstname.lastname@example.org. This column first appeared in the National Post.