Douglas Murray, a writer and thinker who is consistently intelligent and just, declares – optimistically – that Britain will not succumb to sharia law.
One by one, the East End parishes and boroughs of London are becoming small de facto Islamic Republics. The latest – not the only or the first as this report suggests – is Tower Hamlets. The police fear to act in them. Sharia law is enforced in them.
From the Telegraph:
Britain’s poorest borough … has elected [Lutfer] Rahman as its first executive mayor, with almost total power over its £1 billion budget. At the count last night, one very senior figure in the Tower Hamlets Labour Party said: “It really is Britain’s Islamic republic now.”
Lutfer Rahman has links with “a Muslim supremacist body, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) – which believes, in its own words, in –
transforming the “very infrastructure of [European] society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed… from ignorance to Islam.”
He won a democratic election, standing as an Independent, but –
We should be clear what this result was, and was not. It was a decisive victory. But it was not much of an endorsement by the borough’s people. Turnout, at 25.6%, was astonishingly low, with most voters (particularly the white majority, and they still are a majority) unaware of, indifferent to or turned off by the process. Lutfur’s 23,000-odd votes are only about 13 per cent of Tower Hamlets’ electorate.
It was not a victory for any sort of democracy.
Was it not? Okay, not a “victory” for the electorate, in the sense that most of the local population probably don’t want a jihadist in power, but if most of them couldn’t be bothered to vote then democracy hands the victory to those who do bother.
It was the execution of a careful and sophisticated plan by a small, well-financed and highly-organised cabal to seize control of a London borough. It deployed not just volunteers from the IFE and other bodies but also people paid to campaign by Lutfur’s business backers. Someone also paid for tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of copies of the most pernicious literature ever seen in a British election, in which [Lutfer Rahman’s Labour Party opponent] Mr [Helal] Abbas was falsely smeared as a wife-beater, a bankrupt, a racist and and an insulter of Islam.
Britain has dhimmified itself. It has capitulated to jihad. Most Britons, of all classes, either passively accept Islamization or actively promote it. Prince Charles loves it. The Archbishop of Canterbury worked to have sharia law “partially” adopted, and succeeded.
Fear of offending Muslims holds the nation in thrall.
That is real Islamophobia. Unfortunately there is all too little of the alleged sort – criticism, derision, outspoken rejection, organized opposition – that Muslims whine about. A cowering Western nation is a triumph for the jihadists, proving the efficacy of their terrorism.
So this is what the nation of Nelson and Wellington has come to? No spirit to resist? No pride, no courage?
[Photo: John Lawrence]
Antony Flew, the philosopher, atheist, and defender of freedom, died on April 8, 2010, at his home in Reading, England. I knew him, to my pride and delight, for many years. We would meet a few times a year (we both served on the Council of the Freedom Association, as I still do), and wrote to each other frequently about books, events, issues, campaigns, tactics. On politics and religion we saw eye to eye. We were both atheist conservatives. He was a classical scholar, more widely and deeply erudite than anyone else I’ve ever known. And he had the humility of true greatness. When I asked him to write the introduction to a new edition of a book I was editing on, and against, Karl Marx (The Red Prussian, by Leopold Schwarzschild) he told me that he was not the best person for the task, and gave me a short list of experts who, he insisted, knew more than he did and whose names would better grace the book. Only when they’d all declared themselves unable or unwilling, Antony said he would “do his best” to write a good introduction – and a very good introduction it is.
Obituaries on both sides of the Atlantic say that Antony Flew was the world’s most famous atheist, and that he suddenly changed his mind and declared that God exists after all.
It is true that he did say this. But he never said it when he was in his right mind.
It would have been unkind of me to write what I am about to write while he was alive. Yet I think it is absolutely right that I say it now, because it’s necessary to do him justice. So I declare that the reasoning by which he arrived at his certainty that God does not exist was never cancelled or reversed by the sloppy arguments of his senility.
Of his many books, the one that matters most for his reputation as an atheist is God & Philosophy. It was first published in 1966. Later editions appeared at intervals, the last in 2005. To judge by the new introduction he wrote, he was as sure of his atheism then as he had been in 1966.
In 2007 a new book appeared under his name titled There is a God. The subtitle crows: How the world’s most notorious [sic] atheist changed his mind. The authorship is ascribed to Antony Flew “with Roy Abraham Varghese”. But no one who has read God & Philosophy with attention could possible believe that There is a God was a product of the same intelligence. Either the powers of Antony Flew had faded away, or some other mind engendered this work. In fact, both those things happened. It has emerged that he did not write it. He had spoken, and other hands had written. He could not even remember what was in it. And of that failure of memory and general weakening of his mental faculties, the actual writers had taken advantage.
There is a God is distinctly written for an American readership. It refers, for instance, to the Red Sox. I’d have bet a mint that my friend Tony Flew had no idea who the Red Sox are – Chinese school-boys, he may have supposed.
According to Dr Richard Carrier, who tried to ascertain from Professor Flew himself whether he had really “found God”, the authors of There is a God are Roy Abraham Varghese who is known for his work on “the interface between science and religion”, and Pastor Bob Hostetler – two people with a big blunt axe to grind.
Carrier’s detailed account of how Flew claimed he was, but then again was not, converted to belief in a creator-God when certain scientific facts were brought to his attention, makes the whole sorry story plain. Carrier records that the philosopher admitted to finding the subject “too hard” to deal with; that he failed to remember anything about There is a God; that he repeatedly contradicted himself. He tells us about the bewildered old man being awarded a prize by an Evangelical Christian University. (The Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth, bestowed on him by the university of Biola at la Mirada, California.) The prodigal son returned! Much rejoicing in Christian circles. As if the willingness of a senile man to concede – on and off – the existence of a creator-God, were all the proof they needed to shout in the face of atheists and sceptics: “There, you see? If even he can see it now, you should not have the hubris to think you know better and continue to deny it!”
How insecure these believers must be in their belief!
Carrier writes: “It is certainly possible that Flew looked at ten drafts [of There is a God]. I see no reason to believe Flew was able to understand or even recall what he read.” Flew admitted to having “a nominal aphasia”. But it was more than “nominal”. “Flew could not even recall the arguments of the book , not just who made them or what his sources were.”
Carrier found that whenever Professor Flew himself stated his position, it was always to reaffirm his atheism. Statements to the contrary were never made by him directly, though one at least, firmly insistent that he really had changed his mind, was put out by the publisher on his behalf.
However, I know it was not a total scam. I know that at times he did think he had changed his mind.
I saw him soon after the book appeared and asked him was it true he now believed in God.
“Yes,” he replied, “but not the Monster”.
I understood of course what he meant by “the Monster”. He had rejected the Christian God while still in his teens because he could not reconcile the evil in the world and hell after it with a beneficent deity. Such a deity could only be a Monster. His father, a Methodist minister, was distressed by young Antony’s rejection of his faith, but Antony said, as he was to repeat throughout his life, that he had to go “where the evidence leads”. Now he told me, only the existence of “an intelligence” can explain the nature of the universe. This intelligence, this non-monstrous god, made the laws of nature and then had nothing more to do with his creation – the theological position known as deism.
In God & Philosophy, there is a section on “Order and Design”, in which the author asks the question: “Does order in nature itself presuppose an Orderer?” Elegantly and fully he reasons over a few pages that it does not. (This is not the place to quote his reasons, but I hope to whet some appetites for seeking them in the book.) “So we conclude that order in the universe by itself provides no warrant whatsoever for trying to identify an Orderer.”
The meticulous arguments are abandoned as though they had never been made, in the later book There is a God. The reason given there for belief in a creator God, is that the author has learnt about DNA, about its “enormous complexity”, and sees that there must have been an Orderer who made the universe! He also sets out the “fine-tuning” argument. Both the arguments, from “irreducible complexity” and “fine-tuning” have been thoroughly refuted.
Then there is the “Stratonician presumption”, as Flew himself named it after the Greek philosopher Strato of Lampsacus, the third head of Aristotle’s Lyceum, who formulated it. The presumption is that in explaining the world you can do without entities that are not necessary for the completeness of the explanation. In God & Philosophy, Antony Flew does not find it necessary to call in God or gods.
But suddenly, in There is a God, such a supernatural being becomes essential to explain the world’s existence. *
From Antony’s point of view these pressing believers had not done him a disservice. He told me that there was to be a TV documentary about him and his conversion. He was innocently surprised at the attention he was getting, and the unexpected windfall it brought with it. He was paid what seemed to him a very large sum of money. He had never been a rich man, and he was happy for his wife and daughters that they would have this fund at their disposal. (This most generous-hearted of men was painstakingly frugal: every letter he posted was in a re-used envelope with a label stuck over the old address.)
So there’s the picture. A pair (or more?) of American Christian Evangelicals (and a Jewish theologian and physicist, Gerald Schroeder) had worked on him rather than with him, when he had become mentally frail, to produce this cancellation of a lifetime’s thought. In his dotage, these Evangelicals battened on to him, dazzled him with science that was utterly new to him – the big bang, DNA – and rewarded him like a Pavlov’s dog when he gave the response their spin elicited. He was subjected to intellectual seduction, much as Bertrand Russell was by Communists in his senile years.
What seems to me intolerably sad and wrong is that the reputation Antony Flew ought to have, as an atheist philosopher who brilliantly defended atheism throughout his long and distinguished professional life, is now to be replaced by a phony story that he who had been a convinced atheist changed his mind. Is the man who defended atheism better than anyone since David Hume, to be remembered as a deist?
Is this to be allowed to happen – that he be remembered as a man who saw the error of his atheist ways and became persuaded that there was a God – simply because he suffered a softening of the brain in his last years? The truth is that the Antony Flew who conceded the existence of a “creator-intelligence” was not “the Flew” – as he liked to allude to himself – that he had been at the peak of his powers. His faculties were deteriorating, his memory came and went unreliably, he was confused, bewildered and – because he was in a state of decline – taken advantage of.
His handwriting became shakier. He put letters to other people in envelopes that he addressed to me. (They probably got the letters I was supposed to receive.) When I sent him the print-out of an article I had written deploring the Islamization of Britain, he sent it back to me a few weeks later as an article of his own that he would like me to comment on. When he was to meet me and a few colleagues at a certain old club on Pall Mall (the famous street of clubs in the heart of London) which he must have visited dozens or even hundreds of times, he couldn’t find it. A search party rescued him and brought him to the meeting. He had become unsure of himself. He did not always remember, or possibly even grasp, points put to him in a discussion.
But what an enthusiast he forever was for ideas! His face would light up, his voice grow urgent with excitement. A passionate intellectual who was always gentle, always courteous even in the heat of argument, Antony Flew was the epitome of a reasonable man. Or I should say that is what he had been, and that is the way he should be remembered, this great philosopher and atheist. (His country bestowed no honors on him. I think he should have been made Companion of Honour, which is in the sole gift of the sovereign. England deserves her great men ever less!) Even those who disagree with his atheism must surely acknowledge in the name of justice and decency that his achievements, not his late and lamentable capitulations which seemed to cancel them, should be what he is remembered for.
Jillian Becker April 18, 2010
*Here is a sample of the “reasoning” of these Christian ghosts, writing in the name of Professor Flew:
“I put to my former fellow-atheists the simple central question: ‘What would have to occur or to have occurred to constitute for you a reason to at least consider the existence of a superior Mind?’
Easy reply: manifest purpose.
They state in his name that the immaterial, ie mind, cannot come out of the material.
Reply: How can the material come out of the immaterial – ie matter out of “Mind” or “God”?
It looks very much as if the Conservative Party (the Tories) will be returned to power in this year’s general election under the leadership of David Cameron.
It will not be a big change. Such differences as there are between Cameron’s Conservatives and Brown’s (or Blair’s) New Labour socialists are small and few. The Conservative Party of today bears little resemblance to that of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.
Our British editor, Sam Westrop, has posted two articles in which he expresses his disappointment with the character and behavior of several people who may well be future leaders of the Conservative Party, not this year but in a few years from now.
While this is chiefly of interest to our British readers, it does give Americans a glimpse into what is happening in the political arena over there.
The only Party which could make a difference if it came to power is the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which wants above all to detach Britain from the undemocratic, politically-correct, incorrigibly collectivist European Union (EU), governed by ukase from Brussels. But although UKIP might win some seats in Parliament, it cannot hope to become a governing majority.
The greatest threat to the nation is Islamization, but no political party is willing to tackle it, or even talk about it above a low murmur, except the British National Party (BNP), which is neo-Nazi (and not so very neo). The refusal of both the major parties, the Conservatives and New Labour, to formulate policies that might deal effectively with it, is driving many voters into the arms of the BNP.
The result is highly likely to be civil strife, violent and bloody.
The left passionately desires to reduce the First World to the level of the Third World and destroy the nation state. That is the ideal in the minds of Obama and his henchmen, and it explains his foreign policy.
It is the ideal of the British Labour Party. Throughout their long years in power, that socialist cabal worked to achieve the destruction of Britain, and they have succeeded to such a degree that the damage is probably irreversible. They’ve done it by admitting Third World immigrants in massive numbers.
Melanie Phillips writes:
So now the cat is well and truly out of the bag. For years, as the number of immigrants to Britain shot up apparently uncontrollably, the question was how exactly this had happened.
Was it through a fit of absent-mindedness or gross incompetence? Or was it not inadvertent at all, but deliberate?
The latter explanation seemed just too outrageous. After all, a deliberate policy of mass immigration would have amounted to nothing less than an attempt to change the very make-up of this country without telling the electorate.
There could not have been a more grave abuse of the entire democratic process. Now, however, we learn that this is exactly what did happen. The Labour government has been engaged upon a deliberate and secret policy of national cultural sabotage.
This astonishing revelation surfaced quite casually last weekend in a newspaper article by one Andrew Neather. He turns out to have been a speech writer for Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.
And it was he who wrote a landmark speech in September 2000 by the then immigration minister, Barbara Roche, that called for a loosening of immigration controls. But the true scope and purpose of this new policy was actively concealed.
In its 1997 election manifesto, Labour promised ‘firm control over immigration’ and in 2005 it promised a ‘crackdown on abuse’. In 2001, its manifesto merely said that the immigration rules needed to reflect changes to the economy to meet skills shortages.
But all this concealed a monumental shift of policy. For Neather wrote that until ‘at least February last year’, when a new points-based system was introduced to limit foreign workers in response to increasing uproar, the purpose of the policy Roche ushered in was to open up the UK to mass immigration.
This has been achieved. Some 2.3million migrants have been added to the population since 2001. Since 1997, the number of work permits has quadrupled to 120,000 a year.
Unless policies change, over the next 25 years some seven million more will be added to Britain’s population, a rate of growth three times as fast as took place in the Eighties.
Such an increase is simply unsustainable. Britain is already one of the most overcrowded countries in Europe. But now look at the real reason why this policy was introduced, and in secret. The Government’s ‘driving political purpose’, wrote Neather, was ‘to make the UK truly multicultural’.
It was therefore a politically motivated attempt by ministers to transform the fundamental make-up and identity of this country. It was done to destroy the right of the British people to live in a society defined by a common history, religion, law, language and traditions.
It was done to destroy for ever what it means to be culturally British and to put another ‘multicultural’ identity in its place. And it was done without telling or asking the British people whether they wanted their country and their culture to be transformed in this way.
Spitefully, one motivation by Labour ministers was ‘to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date’.
Even Neather found that particular element of gratuitous Left-wing bullying to be ‘a manoeuvre too far’.
Yet apart from this, Neather sees nothing wrong in the policy he has described. Indeed, the reason for his astonishing candour is he thinks it’s something to boast about. Mass immigration, he wrote, had provided the ‘foreign nannies, cleaners and gardeners’ without whom London could hardly function.
What elitist arrogance! As if most people employ nannies, cleaners and gardeners. And what ignorance. The argument that Britain is better off with this level of immigration has been conclusively shown to be economically illiterate.
Neather gave the impression that most immigrants are Eastern Europeans. But these form fewer than a quarter of all immigrants. [Most are Muslim – JB]
And the fact is that, despite his blithe assertions to the contrary, schools in areas of very high immigration find it desperately difficult to cope with so many children who don’t even have basic English. Other services, such as health or housing, are similarly being overwhelmed by the sheer weight of numbers.
But the most shattering revelation was that this policy of mass immigration was not introduced to produce nannies or cleaners for the likes of Neather. It was to destroy Britain’s identity and transform it into a multicultural society where British attributes would have no greater status than any other country’s.
A measure of immigration is indeed good for a country. But this policy was not to enhance British culture and society by broadening the mix. It was to destroy its defining character altogether. …
They were, he wrote, reluctant to discuss what increased immigration would mean, above all to Labour’s core white working class vote. So they deliberately kept it secret.
They knew that if they told the truth about what they were doing, voters would rise up in protest. So they kept it out of their election manifestos. …
For years [Britons] have watched as their country’s landscape has been transformed out of all recognition — and that politicians from all mainstream parties have told them first that it isn’t happening and second, that they are racist bigots to object even if it is.
Now the political picture has been transformed overnight by the unguarded candour of Andrew Neather’s eye-opening superciliousness. For now we know that Labour politicians actually caused this to happen – and did so out of total contempt for their own core voters. …