Perhaps the greatest secular gift to the world by Judeo-Christian civilization is its seminal concept of the individual, which it raises above the tribe or the collective. In Genesis, we are told that man is made in the image of God. Deuteronomy tells us that "each human by his own sin is to be judged" and "do not punish children for the sins of their fathers." And of course, the biblical life and teachings of Jesus reflect the deep importance of the individual. Thus was planted in the soil of the West our uniquely heightened respect for the individual.
It is impossible to imagine Western civilization -- and particularly America -- without the existence in our culture of the instinctive respect for the individual to offset the more general human instinct to be subordinated in the tribe or the group.
Conversely, there is no more dangerous incubus inserted into a Western nation than hostility or indifference to the inherent value and rights of the individual.
But radicalized Islam places little value on the individual, while holding up for supreme value the interests of the group, particularly their view of the group called Islam. And it is this aggressive, assertive insistence by radicalized Muslims in the West to subordinate our inherent rights to their collective demands that slowly and more or less quietly is forcing Westerners to take sides in the radicals' demands. The resolution of this developing conflict -- if not managed by the elites in Western countries on behalf of indigenous Western rights -- inevitably will result in unnecessary violence.
A recent example of such intimidation was reported in The Washington Times Monday: Muneer Fareed, head of the Islamic Society of North America, is "demanding" that Sen. John McCain stop using the word "Islamic" to describe terrorists who are radical Islamists. He insists that McCain (and all others) just call Islamic terrorists "criminals." "That is more acceptable to the Muslim community," Fareed said. McCain, being as tough as nails, has said he has no intention of submitting to Fareed's demand and will continue to use "Islamic" to describe Islamic terrorists. But it will be interesting to see what the two Democratic candidates for president choose to do about this demand.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Mark Steyn awaits trial before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal for the crime of committing hate speech by writing a book and a magazine article that warned against the dangers of Islam overwhelming Europe (No. 1 best-seller in Canada; New York Times best-seller in the United States).
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.