“A Culture of Cowards”

This isn’t going to be about Iceland, or about online porn, but there’s a reason nonetheless to start with the news that Iceland’s government – apparently satisfied that it’s safely pulled out of its financial crisis – has turned its attention to a feminist proposal to block online porn using the same technology that China uses to limit its own subjects’ Internet access. This is not good news – for a couple of reasons.

The first, and more frivolous, reason is as follows. I’ve been to Iceland. It’s an interesting place to visit – fascinating, actually – but you wouldn’t want to live there. No, honest – you really, really wouldn’t want to live there. I’m not saying it’s awful in the same way as, oh, Tanzania, where albinos are poached like animals because it’s believed that if you cut off one of their body parts it can bring you power and riches. Or Angola, where the police, if you can call them that, look away from the widespread violence against suspected witches (some of them mere children) because they’re scared of having a spell cast against them. No, Iceland is tough going in a different way. The landscape looks like the surface of the moon. There are almost no trees or other vegetation. Even well-to-do residents of Reykjavik live in ugly, bunker-like concrete structures built to withstand the brutal winters. The population is so small and inbred that when you glimpse somebody on the street whom you find attractive, chances are pretty good that it’s your cousin. The grim, dull life of even the chilly capital’s cooler denizens was captured nicely in the novel 101 Reykjavik by Hallgrímur Helgason, who gave the distinct impression that the only thing more boring than living in Iceland is living in Iceland without online porn.

But my topic here, as I say, is neither Iceland nor online porn – for the blocking of which, I suppose, there are reasonable arguments. The problem is this. If Iceland did opt for such a ban, legislators in other countries would immediately want to get into the act. And for the kind of busybody politicians who consider it their job to sit around thinking up things to regulate, censor, and prohibit (all in the name, naturally, of the common good and their own concept of virtue), such a move would only be a first step. It would – and this is where the subject at hand shifts from frivolous to deadly serious – invigorate the already quite robust crusade to impose government or U.N. controls on the Internet, the principal goal of which, needless to say, is to scrub the Web clean of “Islamophobia” and any other Thoughtcrimes that impede global harmony. As any reader of this site well knows, there are those among us – and above us – who long for the ideological tidiness of the pre-Internet era, when the mainstream news media could have kept a story like, say, Benghazi from ever becoming a story at all, and, more broadly, deluded almost all of us about the basic facts of sharia, jihad, and other pillars of Islam.

It’s alarming how many Americans, more than a decade after 9/11, are still living in La-La Land where Islam is concerned. But imagine how much worse the situation would be if we didn’t have the Internet – if, in other words, pretty much all of our sources of information about Islam were MSM-approved whitewashers like Karen Armstrong and John Esposito. If the Internet has been a crucial asset for Americans in the years since 9/11, moreover, it’s been even more of a boon for Europeans – and a thorn in the side to many European public officials, who recognize, and despise, it for what it is: a First Amendment zone in countries that have no First Amendment and that are, in principle, despite their purported devotion to democracy, firmly opposed to unlimited freedom of expression.

Before the Internet came along, how many of us really grasped just how heavily and systematically the mainstream media filtered their reporting on current events – ignoring some developments entirely, giving others outrageously short shrift, and spinning others in order to ensure that their stories reflect a certain worldview? Now, in any event, we know. And for those of us who no longer rely exclusively on the traditional news media to find out what’s going on in the world, nearly every day brings yet another reminder of just how much important news those media deem unfit to print. I wrote here last month about the shameless effort by the Norwegian Broadcasting Company (NRK) to pass off a convicted accomplice in a multiple child-rape case as a sympathetic victim of anti-gypsy prejudice. NRK, which years ago would have gotten away with such a subterfuge, was caught red-handed not by other members of the cozy mainstream-media club but by an independent news and opinion website, document.no. Not that NRK has learned its lesson. Just the other day it presented a “documentary” whose manifest purpose, just as with the bogus gypsy tale, was to challenge what those in power plainly view as “prejudice,” this time against the niqab; as Hege Storhaug put it in a scathing critique, the show depicted the niqab as a “liberating” garment that makes the young women profiled on the program not just happy but “euphoric.” Whitewashed throughout the presentation was these young women’s unsavory jihadist connections.

So it goes. I live in Europe, but if not for a U.S. writer reporting last week here at all-American Front Page, I probably wouldn’t have heard a peep about Germany’s latest “hate speech” conviction.

The competition is stiff. But surely the most inexcusable recent attempt by the mainstream media to deep-six a development they preferred not to acknowledge was their reaction to what any objective reporter with half a brain would recognize as a sensational and deeply consequential story – namely, the foiled attempt, apparently by a Danish Muslim, to murder in cold blood Lars Hedegaard, Denmark’s most prominent critic of the Religion of Peace. To be sure, as I wrote on February 6, the silence was not universal. In Scandinavia, the media were all over the story. And why not? The shooting provided Lars’s ideological enemies in the journalism community with an excellent opportunity to get in a few kicks of their own, calling him a racist and misrepresenting his views. Not surprisingly, the abuse was worst of all in Sweden, which seems determined to become the first sharia-run nation in Western Europe. (In fact – not that it will make the slightest bit of difference – Lars has filed libel charges against Swedish TV and several Swedish newspapers.)

Still, at least in Scandinavia the news about Lars’s unexpected visitor got out – and those who know what’s what (which is, believe me, a lot of people) understand what it means when a newspaper like Denmark’s Politiken or Sweden’s Aftonbladet calls somebody like Lars a racist. No, what’s far worse than this fatuous Nordic name-calling is that only a tiny percentage of people beyond Scandinavia heard about this story at all. Yes, it was accorded perfunctory mentions by the BBC, the Washington Post, Le Monde, and a couple of other places on that scale. But while Fox News reported on it, searches of the other U.S. broadcast networks’ news websites turned up nothing. Ditto MSNBC. The New York Times? Nada. (If Google can be trusted, Lars’s name has never appeared in the Times.) On CNN’s website, the only mention I could find of the crime was a four-line summary buried near the bottom of something called “Belief Blog’s Morning Speed Read for Wednesday, February 06, 2013.” As Douglas Murray noted in The Spectator, only a few “U.S. conservative blogs” seemed “willing even to report” on the story about Lars’s close call. “We live in a culture of cowards and hypocrites,” Murray raged. Indeed, by staying mum about an event that seemed instantly iconic of our times, the great majority of the mainstream Western media explicitly rejected their only calling – to strive to tell the world the vital truths about itself.

Which is why we so desperately need the Internet, and why we must recognize any threat to absolute Internet freedom as an insidious attempt by those cowards and hypocrites, as Murray rightly calls them, to stifle the telling of uncomfortable truths – an attempt, indeed, to turn the main historical narrative of our era upside-down, and thus put at risk the lives and liberties of every citizen of every free country on the globe. How many Americans have heard so much as a word about what happened at Lars Hedegaard’s front door in Copenhagen late on the morning of February 5 – an occurrence that, frankly, has a major bearing on their own futures, and those of their children and grandchildren? Precious few. Now imagine if there were no Internet at all, or only a castrated version thereof – in other words, a media landscape in which virtually none of us would have heard of this unspeakable atrocity. Are there very many scarier thoughts?

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  • David M

    Sweden (like Norway) is in a very bad shape. Every one right of Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot is considered a bigot, racist, Islamophobe and misogynist by feminists, journalists, politicians, trade unions and the church. Sweden has no Bruce Bawer or Lars Hedegaard or Geert Wilders but a lot of Marxists, anarchists and imams pretending to be politicians, priests, journalists and "human rights activists".

    • Mary Sue

      and when such people immigrate to Canada, they vote NDP forever. Ugh.

      And when they get to USA they're Democrats for Life if they're not flatout communist. Or even if they are.

  • Michael Copeland

    When British television presenter Jill Dando was shot on her door step it was all over the media for days, and a frenzied witch-hunt began. When former Beatle George Harrison was attacked by an intruder inside his own house – the same. They were Celebrities. When a Danish defender of Free Speech is attacked on his doorstep – no interest, no mileage. The Last Days of Rome: the proletariat have to have Circuses.

  • N. T. Riisgaard

    I believe the last days of Rome resembled – in some ways – what's happening in Europe these days: Cowards in power all over, no respect for former virtues incl. courage , wide spread denial of the state of affairs, propaganda, cultural relativism. As to the attempt to shoot journalist Lars Hedegaard the overall reaction in media is that Hedegaard had it coming, had asked for it himself. That's what offended me most. It's scary. Frankly, I had often thought of him and his security. I took it for granted that he had received a good piece of advice from the police. The many dissapointing Public comments bring memories of opportunistic attitudes toward the resisters to Nazi occupation of Danmark and their fates (executions, KZ camps, long term imprisonment, scarred for life): They knew the consequencences, they had been warned, they behaved unwisely, they had it coming. I hope America will stay courageous and stick to its traditional values in the coming confrontations with Islam, even though American leaders have difficulties pointing out the enemy.
    Best wishes
    N.T. Riisgaard. DK

    • Drakken

      If you want to survive and thrive you are going to have to activly resist and that means fighting for what you believe, or lay down and invite the enevitable slaughter that is coming, you chose and you decide your fate.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    When it comes to protecting those who are on the front lines against Islamic infiltration and penetration, an omerta has descended – an iron curtain. This leftist silence is met with the iron fist of Islamic jihadists, a match made in the bowels of western hell – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/09/the-silencing

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • SoCalMike

    Media, officialdom and law enforcement ALL find it easier to blame those is us for speaking the truth about jihadi Islam because they have invested in their “ROP” lie for so long and deep they won’t let go.
    So by extension if you point out the motivation and action of Islamic Jihadis, officialdom, media and law enforcement will blame innocent people for speaking the truth because they prefer to blame others for telling the truth than accepting the fact that they are wrong.
    After all from their point of view they live off other people’s money and get paid to write factual diarrhea for a living so they must be perfect. Our Best and Brightest parasites.

  • Chezwick

    Another great article from Bruce.

    Folks, we should all anticipate the day when the "international community" finally DOES wrest control of the internet from its current authority, whose sole prerogative is to register domain names. It might indeed occur within the next four years….and Obama will obviously be complicit. Given the suspicion of any overt constriction of internet freedom, our young people will likely rebel (it's the one issue they actually cogently comprehend). But we can anticipate the Democratic nominee in 2016 repudiating Obama's betrayal of internet freedom in the rough and tumble of the campaign, and then doing absolutely nothing about it after winning.

    These are the wild-West days of the internet, before the "rules" were established. Someday – sooner than later – there will be "order"…..and web-sites like FPM and Jihadwatch will be effectively silenced. THAT is the future I see.

    I'm not a raging pessimist, nor am I clairvoyant…I'm just analyzing the global disposition of forces today (the forces of freedom, represented by the West, are sclerotic and mortgaged; the forces of tyranny, represented by Islam, are relatively young, robust, and in absolute ferment)….and extrapolating from this the likely course of future events as they unfold.

    I hope to God I'm wrong.

  • Philo Vaihinger

    Once upon a time, libertarians and liberals agreed decriminalizing porn was a good thing, despite the outrage to American clerical opinion. Then feminists decided men looking at pictures of naked women and getting aroused thereby was creepy. And liberals decided women in sensible shoes can criminalize what bishops cannot. Phooey.

  • pierce

    How about the stifling of the news of the 4 dead Americans in Benghazi. Hardly any one knew about it from the Main Stream Media, because the media and the White House were to busy trying to hide it.
    It is truly a shame, 1st there was Susan Rice giving a false narrative, then there was Barack and Hilary greeting the plane carrying the dead bodies, and don't forget Candy what's her name not knowing what was up, or was it down. Oh, and don't forget Hilary's indignation when responding to Senator Johnson during her swan song testimony. Lastly there is our President, still trying to blame George W. What a scenario.

  • JacksonPearson

    I'm Islamophobic, aware of it's evil, and proud.
    Why?…Because in my opine, Islam is the most evilest and most vilest of so-called religions on the face of the earth. No matter how much lipstick or makeup, Islam can't be made into anything different than what it is.

  • Gary Reid

    Excellent article, Bruce. I did a Google search of major Canadian media (newsprint and TV) just to see what they said about the incident. The story was carried coast to coast in all of them except the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which is publicly subsidized to the tune of more than a billion dollars a year and is supposed to emulate (sort of) the BBC (and has exactly the same lefty bias as exibited by the Beeb — funny how taxpayers' dollars always seem to list to the left) and in print it wasn't covered by the Globe and Mail which is an historic newspaper that claims to be "Canada's National Newspaper", but should be consigned to a museum. I have not read it for years and cannot figure why others still bother.

    • Mary Sue

      The only Canadian Media that is consistent on reporting stuff like this is Sun News.

      The Globe and Mail has been liberal for years. It's like the New York Times of Toronto.

  • Spider

    Someone at FP needs to find the sourse of and BLOCK THIS BOT