The Cold War was about freedom vs. tyranny: the belief that individuals had certain inalienable rights vs. the belief that the state was omnipotent. We won, right?!
You wouldn’t know it by looking at trends in Europe, where tyranny is on the rise. It’s not in the direct form of Soviet gulags, military parades or police beatings on the street. But it comes instead packaged in laws and intimidation by the left. There are some things you just shouldn’t say in Europe. And if you do? You might get prosecuted, or even murdered. Don’t believe me? Consider some developments in different corners of Europe.
In several European countries, as Bruce Bawer powerfully points out in the Wall Street Journal today (subscription required), it is against the law to raise questions about the teachings of Islam. He writes: “Criticizing Islam is now a punishable offense in several European countries. In the past few months alone, a Danish court fined writer Lars Hedegaard for talking about Islam’s treatment of women in his own home, and activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff was found guilty of lecturing about Muhammad’s marital history in what an Austrian court considered an inappropriate tone.” Bawer has a powerful new short book available on Kindle out on the subject. He appropriately titles it: “The New Quislings: How the International Left Used the Oslo Masssacre to Silence Debate About Islam” I urge you to get a copy.
In Italy, as Walter Olson writes at cato-at-liberty.org, Labor Professor Pietro Ichino, who challenges the power of Italian labor unions, fears for his life and has lived under armed escort for the past ten years. He drives around in an armored car and has two plainclothes policemen always nearby because people on the left want to murder him for his views. This is not paranoia: as Olson points out, two other labor law professors, Massimo D’Antona and Mario Biagi, who held the same views, have been murdered.
We hear European nations criticize American jurisprudence all the time. For example, they express their opposition to America’s use of the death penalty. American political figures need to denounce these repressive actions in Europe. We need a Europe that is free and loves liberty. If the slide to soft tyranny continues, Europe will be an economic trading partner, but not much else. And it is worth fighting to save Europe. If for no other reason, think of self-interest: It is very hard to fight alone in the world.