Sunday, December 26, 2004

Canadian freedoms?

Damian Penny runs a Canadian website called Daimnation. It's very much right-liberal in its politics.

As we know, left-liberals are keen to declare "I am ashamed of my nation because we aren't yet free and equal". Right-liberals like Penny are different. They declare "I am proud of my country because it embodies liberal freedom."

At one level, the right-wing form of liberalism is more appealing to conservatives. It at least allows for a bit of national pride. Unfortunately, though, it has a negative side. It leads a lot of right-liberals to define whatever happens in their society as a positive example of human freedom. Even hopelessly corrupt things are treated as important aspects of liberty.

For instance, Penny recently discussed the case of Kassim Mohamed. He is a former Muslim resident of Canada who returned to make some videos and was arrested on suspicion of being a terrorist. His defence was that he was taping some of the decadent aspects of Canadian culture to prove to his family the benefits of returning to a Muslim country.

For Penny this was proof positive that the "Islamofascists" hate the West because of our "freedoms". Penny wrote "I defy anyone to read this article from today's National Post and still deny that Islamofascists do have a problem with the free, open societies of the West."

The problem is that many of the things Mr Mohamed objected to are indeed examples of Western decadence: he didn't like a billboard of a naked woman being hung over a Toronto mosque, prostitution, drug addiction and Canadian men abusing young girls in the Caribbean.

For Damian Penny the fact that Mr Mohamed objects to these things is enough to prove that he is an "Islamofascist" who hates the "freedom" of the West. So we are supposed to embrace things like drug addiction and prostitution and sex tours as proof positive of our Western liberty.

Better just to admit that the modern West does have corruptions and decadence. It doesn't mean we have to become self-hating left-liberals. There is the option of doing what our ancestors were forced to do often enough: to undertake long-term reforms to improve the situation.

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