How do you feel when you hear that a judge in Massachusetts has ordered a landlord convicted of assault and battery to “learn about Islam” as a condition of being paroled?
If you’re a leftist, you may very well think that’s a great idea. Why, the landlord’s victim – a tenant – is a Muslim! Requiring the landlord (who happens to be a Christian pastor; seemingly a rather strange one) to learn about Islam is the therapeutic approach, right?
Or, even if you don’t claim to think it’s a great idea, you at least see an opportunity to disparage Fox News pundits for decrying the judge’s order as unconstitutional. Not that you make any actual argument against the pundits’ point. No, you just highlight that the victim is a Muslim, and sit cross-armed in a Q.E.D. huff.
A rightist will say, “The landlord was in the wrong to attack the tenant, but it doesn’t matter what either party’s religion is. If the tables were turned – if it were a Muslim landlord and a Christian tenant – no one would support ordering the Muslim landlord to take lessons about Christianity as a condition of parole. And that’s as it should be. Therefore, no such order should be issued for the opposite situation. That’s what ‘equality before the law’ means.”
But leftism, in cases like these, is all about giving government the power to hold the people endlessly at risk with no accountability. Once you give up the principle of equality before the law, and judges can base parole orders on unequal premises about important things like what religions people practice, you’ve taken away all accountability. Judges get to be as prejudiced, emotional, and one-sided as they want to be. No unbreachable principle of law will keep them in check.
Conservatives (or classical liberals) are appalled by this idea of how state power should be wielded. But it doesn’t bother modern leftists. Which is why they are doing so much to prepare the West for dhimmitude.
Dhimmitude – the condition of non-Muslims in a Muslim-ruled, and particularly a sharia-ruled, society – is about unequal treatment by the public authorities. It’s about privileging Islam and Muslims in the public square – with dhimmis, by contrast, subject to de-privileging, required to pay a special tax (the jizya), restricted as to where they can live and what occupations they can hold, historically required to wear identifying colors or garments, and other forms of prejudicial distinction.
Western leftists have long favored policies that are effectively forms of dhimmitude, for members of the public who object to big-government mandates.
A limited-government person – a true classical liberal – would say, for example, that the question of participating in a contraception funding scheme should never even come up for an order of nuns. Governments shouldn’t be big enough to make that situation arise. If it does arise, government has created a form of unacceptable dhimmitude for people who don’t want – for whatever reason – to participate in a contraception funding scheme.
But leftists today are basically OK with that. The concepts of inequality, arbitrary privileging, and dhimmitude are just fine with them. The only questions are which people or policies are to be privileged, and which are to be subject to the dhimmi’s yoke.
So in a West increasingly ruled on leftist principles, it must be no surprise that a British grandmother has recently been sentenced to 100 hours of community service for criticizing Islam.
An eccentric great-grandmother who sent a letter to the headmistress of a top Islamic girls school claiming ‘all Muslims worship Satan’ has landed herself with a criminal record for ‘causing harm.’
Devout Christian Rose White, 68, typed the three page note saying: ‘I was saddened to see you enforce full Muslim dress and force pupils to accept the role of Satan’ after seeing photos of pupils dressed in burkhas on the school’s website.
Accompanying the letter was a 23-page cartoon-strip booklet titled, ‘Is Allah Like You?’ showing a Muslim family with a cruel father who then becomes kind after turning to Christianity.
The letter said schools would ‘have a nice future under Jesus and not Satan or Mohammed or whatever they call him’.
Police were called in…
Was it a good idea to send such a letter? From the standpoint of using state power and wielding the armed fist of law enforcement – what response did it merit?
Maybe people at the school could sue Ms. White for mental anguish. Have at it. They could probably obtain an order in an American court prohibiting her from contacting them again.
But the court giving her a criminal citation and community service, over a letter that accused Muslims of worshiping Satan? Does the local government have an official position on Satan? On Satan and Islam? Does it claim to be certain that Ms. White is in error, or that talking about who worships Satan is a form of direct, actionable threat?
Today’s young leftists may be unaware of this, but the whole point of separating church and state was getting the state out of the “who worships Satan” business. Human government is incompetent to form a judgment on that matter: incompetent to say there is a Satan, that there isn’t one, or what it means to allege that someone else worships him.
That’s one of the main reasons government should be limited: because things like that cannot legitimately be made the basis of policy, or enforced. To say it’s inherently abusive or harmful to allege that someone worships Satan is to go beyond the competence of human government. Governments can judge patterns of harassment, but not the merits of allegations about religious figures. Writing or speaking about someone else and his relationship to Satan should basically never be the subject of a criminal complaint. There should have to be a material threat or pattern of harassment to trigger the criminal justice system.
There are ways to exert community leadership other than exercising the armed power of punishment. Perhaps something like Ms. White’s letter could be addressed through public affirmations by the mayor – statements at press conferences, taking opportunities to stress and model impartial respect for everyone in the community.
But if you think local authorities should have the power to criminally punish someone for sending a letter that was ill-advised, but contained no realistic or actionable threat, congratulations. You’re probably a Westerner – by geography – if you’re reading this, but you have no idea what the basis of freedom actually is. You have the mindset of dhimmitude. By agreeing to this mindset, you may imagine you’re protecting someone from theoretical mental pain, but you have actually already signed your own freedoms — and theirs — away.