Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Too Titillating!

Saudi Lawyer Takes On Religious Court System (H/T: Crossroads Arabia):
Lahem, a 35-year-old father of two, contends that the police oppress people in the name of religion and act as if the law doesn't apply to them. He wants to prove them wrong.

"If we win this case, it will have more of an impact than a dozen lectures or newspaper articles," he said. "It will send a powerful message to them, and to the public, who view men of the cloth as untouchable. It will prove that nobody is above the rule of law."

Over the past three years, Lahem has taken on the country's most controversial and sensitive cases and turned them into high-profile indictments of the justice system. He has been thrown in jail several times and banned from traveling abroad. But he continues to fight what he considers an antiquated judiciary, out of step with basic human rights.

Congratulations, Saudi Arabia. You are now where the West was 250 years ago, just before John Wilkes successfully challenged the British system of general warrants. After that freedom of the press was secure and orders to government officials had to be specific and they were henceforth legally responsible to the courts for their actions; the law now applied to everybody. Abuse of governmental authority was thus drastically reduced, and freedom of the press assured. American Revolutionists who supported Wilkes enshrined his victory in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids invasive search and seizure without a judicial warrant.

Unfortunately this important episode in the history of civil rights is not commonly taught in schools, probably because the specifics of Wilkes' case were not just political but also pornographic. Sometimes history is just too titillating to be taught!

Monday, December 25, 2006

"Why Germany Endures Hitler"

Davids Medienkritik, the English-language German media review blog, has unearthed this 1934 article from The American Mercury:
Why have not the Germans risen up against the crazed gangsters who have made the name of their fatherland a byword in the civilized world – who have placed a stain on it which a whole generation will not be able to wipe out? The history of most European countries and even of little Ireland is full of the names of voluntary martyrs, of men and women who deliberately courted death in opposing despotism...

Optimists who believe that Hitler may eventually modify some of the laws against this people have no conception of the extent to which the Germans’ minds have been poisoned against the Jews for nine centuries. Anti-Semitism, the chief point in the Nazi leader’s program, appealed to a greater part of the German people than did any other point. In almost every department of life the Jews were represented out of all proportion to their numbers. This was especially true in the arts, sciences and learned professions. Only 1% of the whole population consisted of Jews, but 28% of Germany’s Nobel Prize winners belong to that race. The explanation lies, of course, in the Jews’ greater intellectual alertness, persistence and energy, but a people taught to regard itself as the real Chosen People, and at the same time burdened with the inferiority complex engendered by their long history of travail and disaster, could naturally not accept such a conclusion. For them the explanation lay in Jewish dishonesty, tricky and unfair dealing...

“But if Hitler goes, what then?”
Communism? Civil war? Chaos?
A people accustomed to freedom would not hesitate. But the Germans have never known freedom as it is known by politically enlightened peoples...

Highly recommended.