Take, for example, the newspaper Politiken. It is The New York Times of Denmark, a repository of the conventional wisdom, the place to look for a reliably politically correct opinion on anything and everything.
But not always. Recently there have been cracks in the liberal monolith that is Politiken. The feature article translated below is unusual, and rings out as a voice of sanity in the politically correct wilderness.
Our Danish correspondent TB volunteered to translate the article, and has this to say about it:
Something has definitely changed among the people in charge of this paper. A year ago you would never have seen an article like that in Politiken. Actually the most insane editor in Denmark, Thøger Seidenfaden, walked out on all of us last time there was a meeting of Trykkefrihedsselskabet [the Press Freedom Society], the one in support of Lars Vilks, telling everybody in the room that they were a bunch of misusers of freedom of speech. He was especially targeting Flemming Rose, Vilks, and the creators of the Mohammed cartoons. It was hilarious…
Maybe they have now seen the signs…? One can only hope.
And now for the article itself.
Now, What If…?
Now, what if our ideals destroy our sense of reality and lead us down the wrong path? What if Bush is really a great president?
By Mogens Rukov
What if Bush…? What if Islam…? Think, what if the intelligentsia…? What if multicultural…? Think, what if Arafat…? What if my a.. was…? What if you could go on forever?
Now, what if there existed the equivalent of contrafactual history writing? What if there were the equivalent of hypothesizing what the world would be like out if history hadn’t turned out the way it did?
What if Hitler had won the war? What if the Iron Curtain had never been imposed on Europe? What if the incandescent light bulb had never been invented?
What if the mind could entertain these kinds of questions, which are counterfactual to the conventional wisdom.
What if some are more concrete, others more fluid. But what if all of them now work for the sake of clarifying reality, of the facts, of the sum of what we know about reality. What if we can open up a perspectives on an alternative world of thought to the one we already agree about?
What if many of them lead us directly into paradise or hell? What if they individually put history on a knife’s edge, where it balances and where it could have fallen out differently than it did?
Contrafactual questions shake the way we, by habit, react to the course of history. They are part of history’s teaching.
Aren’t there also questions which can shake up our thinking, so that it doesn’t become habitual thinking?
What if you could ask contra-conceptual questions instead of contra-factual?
To think new thoughts one often has to change concepts. Such a change of concept lies in the contra-conceptual.
Concepts are our prisons, our direction, and our freedom. They are our dreams and our nightmares.
Contra-conceptual questions do not have to be wise, or logical, or rational. Actually, they have to be the opposite. They have to be stupid, unthinkable, to the verge of ignorance.
What if Bush was a great president?
Is that unthinkable? Reagan was called a fool too, an actor, parvenu. Nor could he read — as Bush is said not to be able to — Reagan didn’t have any experience in foreign policy, should never have been in The White House. All these kinds of things they said, our foreign policy experts, many of our politicians, the intelligentsia, the intellectuals, the writers.
Now he is called a great president. By the same people, or among the same people who have little interest in what happens around them.
In those days you where taken as a big idiot if you said anything else except that Reagan was a big idiot. People laughed at you if you didn’t laugh at Reagan. But the experts say that it was Reagan’s policy that ended the Cold War, that it was his stubbornness that won it.
The man who didn’t know anything about politics, the ridiculous fool who could not read, the actor, won the biggest political fight in modern time, after forty years of cold war.
Do you have to be illiterate to become a great politician? Do you have to be a Western politician not to understand a thing?
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What if the Iraq war is a real war?
The Korean war was stupid. The Vietnam war was insane, all the good people said as much in those days. But both wars stopped communist aggression. Both served in part to hasten the fall of communism.
What if the war in Iraq will lead to a new balance in the Arab world, if it is a probe thrust into the Muslim sea?
What if it is only a temporary fiasco, what if it becomes a success? What if it made Libya give up its weapon of mass destruction program in December of 2003 as a reaction to the war in Iraq, or if it is true, made Iran to halt its development of nuclear weapons in 2003, also for that very reason. Is that not enough to call the war in Iraq a good war?
What if there is no such thing as a legitimate war, as some opponents of the Iraq war claim because they see the war in Iraq as illegitimate.
What if legitimate war is only a concept which has been invented by some bureaucrats as a concept that allows them to make wars that are just as insane as any other war but which they would not be able to do without the juridical term “legitimate war”, partly because they don’t have the power, partly because there is no reason to do it?
What if “legitimate war” leads us into the most insane wars because some insane states in the UN vote for it?
What if UN with all their perception and legitimacy are leading the world into Armageddon, if it becomes an instrument for powerless madness.
What if the fight against Islam is the big European war right now?
What if it is the new Thirty Years War that replaces the old one prior to the peace of Westphalia, which is now defines Europe?
The European establishment, the European debate , treats Islam as if it was only a religion.
Think — what if Islam is only a religion if seen from the perspective of the individual Muslim?
What if Islam is already at war from within the mosque and further up in the hierarchy. And think — what if it actually already is at war from the viewpoint of the individual Muslim believer.
What if the order in the Quran about killing or dominating the infidel (non-Muslim) is part of the doctrine that the individual Muslim recognize?
What if the Muslim terrorists are only the storm troops in the war, those who commit the commando raids in the broader fight?
What if the only way the war can be won for Christian Europe is by prohibiting Islam and sending all Muslims back to Islamic countries? What inhumane conduct does the war not impose on us?
What if all European countries develop Muslim no-go zones as already exist in Great Britain?
What if the Bishop of Rochester is right, and the problem is the political establishment, as the chairman of the Muslim Forum, Manzoor Moghal, has replied: “No matter how much his (the Bishop’s) opponents are rumbling against his accusations, the fact is that the determination with which some of my Muslim kinsmen stick to a specific lifestyle, specific habits, language and way of living has led to create neighborhoods where non-Muslims would feel uneasy, and might even get attacked.”
What if the rising violence in our streets is actually making no-go time zones? Will the politicians still talk about freedom of religion, about tolerance towards different ways of thinking, when they speak of Islamophobia?
What if any generation of Muslim immigrants in reality functions as occupying troops?
What if the positive results of multiculturalism do not exist. What if the brotherhood, mutual understanding, deeply felt empathy, and cross-fertilization are only part of the mental activity of some members of the intelligentsia?
What if multiculturalism dissolves society?
What if the big survey of multiculti societies by Robert Putnam — who has studied 41 multicultural areas in the US — is right? What if it is true that diversity not only reduces the so-called social capital between different ethnic groups but also inside the groups themselves?
What if multiculture not only dissolves society, but destroys it.
What if the problem of multiculture is not the ethnic conflicts or the difficult race relations, but the fact — as the survey shows — that confidence in society, and “the others” in society, is lower. What if — as was reported — altruism, which the distribution of burdens in the welfare society is built upon, is reduced.
What if such a simple thing as friendships between likeminded men and women is not as frequent in a multiculti society. “In plain speech, people who live under ethnic diversity ‘keep their head down’, hide like a turtle”.
What if many Muslims throughout their childhood have been raised to show more solidarity towards the Quran than towards the country where they were brought up?
What if it is a fact that “the terror threat does not come from marginalized citizens with a pure Danish or Dutch background, it comes solely from citizens with Muslim background,” as Ayaan Hirsi Ali says?
What if that is what we have seen in the last few years?
What if the divide in opinion surrounding the Mohammed Cartoons was a consequence of this diversity. What if the violence in Nørrebro and the violence in general is a consequence of this?
What if the tough debates are coming from this? If the tone in the debate is not a consequence of anybody’s cynicism, but a consequence of the destruction of our society?
What if the knife-stabbers understand more about multiculturalism than the guys behind “Images of The Middle East”?
What if a festival with title “Images of The West” could win the curiosity of the intelligentsia?
What if those writers — good writers of fiction — who warned against the sharpening of the tone and the exclusion of the Muslims especially by that tone, by supporting the multicultural development themselves actually bring the sharpened tone into society accompanied by the use of sharp knives?
These “Now, what if…” questions are aiming at exactly these kinds of circumstances. On the absurd reverses of events, reality’s grotesque play between surface and foundation.
What if now the fulfillment of intentions tends to produce the opposite of what was intended?
What if we are on the verge of a world war?
Consider whether such a war is as all other wars: the solution to conflicts that politics cannot cope with.
What if the politicians had taken care of the conflicts without war, and with the consent of the populace. Which social development is prevented by the intelligentsia, DR, Politiken and Information [PC Danish media outlets]?
What if it’s true that war solves insoluble conflicts, but that negotiations do not.
What if it is violence and negotiations together that solve the conflicts? First violence, then negotiations.
What if those who speak of peace actually generate wars.
What if the biggest threat to peace is to focus on peace, while focusing on war preserves the peace?
What if those people who speak of peace (with Islam) only promote our defeat, and the victory of Islam?
What if paradoxical preparations for war are exactly preparations for peace?
What if immigration is actually occupation?
What if the Muslim immigration into Christian Europe constitutes an army of occupiers, even if the individual Muslim does not want to be a soldier in that army, but just wants to be a respected settler.
What if the Jewish settlers on the West Bank are nothing but immigrants?
What if the world’s problems with these Jewish settlers are the same as our problems with integration?
Now, what if the Palestinians have developed a strategy that makes them the gangsters of the world?
What if the Palestinians suffer due to our massive aid to the Palestinian areas ($6 billion over three years), where the help up until now has only turned the whole population into social clients, while their leaders have ruled with corruption and lawlessness — just like a bunch of mafia bosses?
What if the Israeli attacks into Gaza should be the model for Århus in dealing with Gellerupparken [Muslim ghetto outside Denmark’s second largest city]?
What if Arafat was a mafia boss of the magnitude of Saddam? What indicates otherwise?
And what if there actually were no Palestinian problem, but that a Palestinian problem has been created by the Arab side going all the way back to the 1920s, and that it is inspired by the Nazis’ anti-Semitism?
What if there still exists only an Islamic/Jewish problem? And that what we see around Israel is of the same character as what is about to happen in Europe: The Muslims everywhere invent their “legitimate” rights.
Now, what if.
What if Europe is a huge West Bank? If neighborhoods such as Gellerupparken and Mjolnerparken are only Arab settlements in Denmark.
What if Israel’s military strength — as weakened as it may be by now — is its only possibility of survival in an Arab world, and that it is now equally necessary for the military to be raised in European countries and turned against other usurpers?
Now, what if we have a common foe, Islam?
What if Huntington is right about the clash of civilizations, and that is what we see in the Arab-European space; as opposed Fukuyama’s end of history, “the point in human ideological evolution and the universalization of the liberal democracy of the West as the final form of governance”; as with any other fascist development, in this also the religious foundation must stand up against it and fight.
What if sharia should replace Roman Law? Have we no rights? Shall tolerance make room for Allah and Mohammed?
Shall experiments and innovation be succeeded by a literal reading of primitive scriptures?
Now, what if the control whose intended imposition on the public, instead of enhancing efficiency of public affairs, drains it of energy?
Is it not what we see in connection with aid to the elderly, help in the home, in the hospitals, and in the schools?
What if our habits have destroyed our foresight?
What if our ideals destroy our realities? What if our ideals actually mislead us instead of showing us the right way?
What if tolerance, for example, is not a universal notion but only valid under circumstances which have disappeared — even though we thought that it was universal?
Now, what if our language has thereby been emptied?
Now, what if our language only has meaning in the most banal circumstances, and no longer serves to express actual careful thought?
What if fiction is now the proper form for a clarifying documentary realism?