17 June 2005 - Friday

Two things I read earlier today

Here's one of them:

But here again we confront the very uncomfortable, very unwelcome, but very real dilemma that Islam presents to a Christian country that has always cherished religious pluralism. My own view is that even absent the irritant of Islam, religious pluralism would be a problem; indeed, it is one of the great problems of human politics, and anyone who says otherwise is a dangerous fool. But Islam exaggerates it. Whether we like it or not (and most of us do not), its emergence in America will cast us inevitably back into a quarrel between civilizations that is older than virtually anything else on earth. That our lovable secularists will never comprehend it makes it no less real; that our hidebound multiculturalists detest it makes it no less valid; that our ahistorical Christians have forgotten it makes it no less urgent; that our Liberals (including many who fancy themselves Conservatives) think it quite unreal makes it no less vexatious. A freshman at the school exhibits more wisdom than most Western commentators: “Muslims try to be American, but we don't know how. The cultures are so different."

The question we must face is whether we want to let this quarrel become an ever-larger part of our own character and destiny as a nation. If we continue to insouciantly let the world come to America, America will soon become the world; and for 1,400 years a conspicuous feature of the world has been the confrontation between Islam and Christendom.

And here's the other:
Indeed, if we consider his origins and his type, he has been simply tactless; he did in the Army what he would have done in a bank or at a racetrack: he sold information to the competition. He has abused the confidence placed in him, but he has not committed any crime against the country. In order to betray his country, he had to have one, and a country is not acquired by means of an act of naturalization. One's country is the land of one's forefathers, the land of one's ancestors: Dreyfus's ancestors were not of our land; they were everywhere wanderers and nomads, and their sons had no notion of what a fatherland meant.

Barrès put it beautifully:

One understands by nation a group of men united by common legends, a tradition, customs formed in a common milieu during a more or less long series of ancestors. Naturalization is a legal fiction which allows for sharing in the advantage of a nation but which cannot give it character.

You have been criminal in relying on these strangers. To these itinerants, to those who in Rome are called peregrini, you divulge your most sacred secrets. You are ridiculous in judging those who have abused your idiotic lack of foresight in the name of an ideal, traditions, conceptions, which are not theirs.

The first quotation comes from Paul J. Cella at RedState.org, a Republican community blog. The entry refers to a Time photo-essay on an Islamic school in Illinois.

The second quotation comes from Édouard Drumont, founder of the Anti-Semitic League in nineteenth-century France. It comes from a newspaper article, "The Soul of Dreyfus" (1894), in which Drumont explained his anti-Semitism. [Trans. by Leslie Derfler in The Dreyfus Affair (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2002) 121-123.]

I just happened to read both articles today, that's all.

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