A stimulating analysis of the broader historical backdrop to these clashes, and how little right Europe has to be smug and sanctimonious in all this. Read the whole thing. [HT: Hikm]
Europe has never had to worry too much about context or effect because for around 200 years it dominated and colonised most of the world. Such was Europe’s omnipotence that it never needed to take into account the sensibilities, beliefs and attitudes of those that it colonised, however sacred and sensitive they might have been. On the contrary, European countries imposed their rulers, religion, beliefs, language, racial hierarchy and customs on those to whom they were entirely alien. There is a profound hypocrisy – and deep historical ignorance – when Europeans complain about the problems posed by the ethnic and religious minorities in their midst, for that is exactly what European colonial rule meant for peoples around the world. With one crucial difference, of course: the white minorities ruled the roost, whereas Europe’s new ethnic minorities are marginalised, excluded and castigated, as recent events have shown.[…]
Old attitudes of superiority and disdain – dressed up in terms of free speech, progress or whatever – are still very powerful. Nor – as many liberals like to think – are they necessarily in decline.