Firebrands Unite

From this morning’s New York Times: the print headline reads: “Anti-Muslim Firebrands Are Arrested in Britain.” For what? Well.

Paul Golding, the leader of Britain First, was detained in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the group said, where he was accompanying his deputy, Jayda Fransen, to her court hearing on earlier charges related to using “threatening, abusive, insulting words or behavior” during an anti-Islam speech in August that prosecutors said could qualify as incitement to racial hatred. She has denied the charges.

Shortly after her court appearance, British news media said she was arrested again, this time as part of a police investigation into “an incident at a peace wall” in Belfast on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said on Twitter that detectives investigating speeches made at the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism Rally on Aug. 6 “have arrested a 35-year-old man in the Belfast area today.” The post did not identify Mr. Golding or the offense.

Gee, sounds familiar in a weird, mirror-image kind of way. Naturally, it’s completely unclear what the suspects did or said: the police won’t say, the journalists don’t know, and so, the rest of us are in the dark. “An incident at a peace wall.” What kind of incident? “An incident at a peace wall” almost sounds like a second invasion of Poland. Never mind, though: this sort of opacity is Standard Operating Procedure for the 21st Century Thought Police. And there are people who like it this way. Some even regard themselves as bien pensant liberals.

Consider, though, what these law enforcement officials are saying about the last time this dynamic duo got in trouble with the law: they gave a speech “that prosecutors said could qualify as incitement to racial hatred.” How inciting can speech be if the best that can be said for prosecution is that it could incite someone to something? I guess our prosecutors have been studying modal logic. And incite someone to what? To an emotion. So forget the actus reus requirement for the commission of a crime: it’s now a crime to feel an untoward emotion, or to incite someone to feel one. What next?  A criminal code based on David Lewis’s modal realism? “You’re under arrest for a crime you committed in a nearby but real possible world.”

It all sounds like a joke, but this is what one of them is reported to have said:

According to British news reports, a video recorded earlier this week in Belfast and in which Ms. Fransen spoke of the “Islamification of the mainland,” had been posted on the group’s Facebook page. She also described the Belfast Islamic Center as a “den of iniquity.”

Excuse me–big fucking deal. Maybe they said something else of a “threatening” nature, but if this is the caliber of what is regarded as a “threat” in Britain, my advice would be to remove the Queen and just put plain old chickenshit on the throne. To equate statements like the preceding with a “threat” is undiluted cowardice: there’s no other word for it. We appear to be watching Britain’s descent from triumph in its “darkest hour” to abasement at the hands of its dimmest minds.

But leave it to a bunch of anti-Islamic fanatics to ruin the moment.

Shortly after, Ms. Fransen thanked the president on Twitter. “You’ve shed light on my plight here in Britain, in that I am facing prison for giving a speech in which I criticized Islam,” she wrote. “This is evidence that Britain has become Sharia-compliant,” she added, referring to the Islamic legal code.

So is my recent detention evidence that the United States has become Islamophobia-compliant? I’m sure Ms. Fransen has other things on her mind right now, but I invite her to spare a moment to reflect on the matter.

For Allah’s sake, let these people go. Yes, they’re assholes, but if we put every asshole in jail for being one, who would be free?

I give Nietzsche the last word on this one:

My brother, have you ever known the word ‘contempt’? And the anguish of your justice in being just to those who despise you? (“Of the Way of the Creator,” Thus Spoke Zarathustra).

Well, maybe not exactly the last word. I don’t feel “anguish.” I find it all kind of funny. We’ve gotten the world we deserve. And there’s humor in that. Gallows humor, maybe. But humor nonetheless.

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