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The heroine is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, whom Peter Robinson featured along with Peter Berkowitz on his latest Uncommon Knowledge program. It was a pleasure listening to these three thoughtful, serious people discussing timeless ideas of overwhelming and immediate importance. It was also a stark reminder that in this hyper-political moment, but also in our general age of facile discourse and ceaseless sensationalism, not everyone is obsessed with the shallow hyperbole of contrived identitarianism and manufactured grievance: there remain enduring and worthy ideas, and people of substance continue to engage them.
I have followed the career of Ayaan Hirsi Ali since the English-language publication of Infidel, her autobiography, in 2007. This is a woman who has experienced the oppressive and crushing ideology of political Islam; lived it, escaped it, and then risked her life to expose it. As people are murdered in France this week for the crime of insulting the barbaric doctrines of an intolerant faith, Ms. Ali and a handful of people like her accept the very real risks of being prominent and outspoken critics of sharia law and Islamic supremacism.
The pissant is Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and legions of smug self-righteous censorious cowards cut from the same cloth. These people, and Dorsey is merely the most blatant example of a contemptible lot, enjoy positions of security and privilege extraordinary by any historical or contemporary standard. Yet, while Hirsi Ali heroically fights to share ideas the expression of which invite a murderous fatwa, these spoiled apparatchiks of a ruling high-tech elite casually silence ideas they deem in violation of the prevailing orthodoxy. Rather than brave a real threat of physical violence in retaliation for their bold speech, they fear the expression of competing ideas and the possibility of an open and robust dialog.
The cowardly thought police of social media and the leftist press, in their eagerness to suppress any challenge to their preferred orthodoxy, have much in common with the jihadi enforcers of Islamic orthodoxy: they are all intolerant, close-minded, self-righteous betrayers of the west’s noble intellectual tradition. And their conduct makes them unworthy of that tradition.Published in