My favorite portion of the piece is close to the beginning:
That day at the Dudok, several dozen vocational students were taking up the main restaurant, so she and her guards parked at two tables near the bar. Hirsi Ali had her back to the restaurant when one of the students, apparently a Dutch convert to Islam, tapped her on the shoulder. ''I turned around,'' she recalls in her elegant English, ''and saw this sweet, young Dutch guy, about 24 years old. With freckles! And he was like, 'Madam, I hope the mujahedeen get you and kill you.' '' Hirsi Ali handed him her knife and told him, ''Why don't you do it yourself?''
How is it that the entire progressive cause has been hijacked by lunatics who can no longer even spot a progressive cause? Are the revolutionaries really revolutionaries anymore? Or are they the new conformists, masking as the grand arbiters of change? And was that too many rhetorical questions for one post?
Once again, INFDL must point out that the Life of Brian proves a prophecy:
In her 2004 book, ''The Cage of Virgins,'' she wrote, ''When a 'Life of Brian' comes out with Muhammad in the lead role, directed by an Arab equivalent of Theo van Gogh, it will be a huge step forward.''
I think it strange how there seems to be a tendency amongst those concerned with the spread of freedom to use the mighty Python as a rhetorical tool, but I digress. She makes a strong point on the natural magnetism between freedom and progression (aka. arts and social causes):
''The Netherlands is an art country,'' she said. ''If the citizens of Amsterdam, 60 percent of whom will soon be of non-Western origin, are not made part of that, all of this will decay and be destroyed. When the municipality has to vote on whether funds go to preserve art or build a mosque, they may ask, 'Why should I pay for this stupid painting?' They may do a host of other things that are undemocratic, illiberal and unfriendly toward women and homosexuals and unbelievers.'' Hirsi Ali fears that inaction will be grist for the mill of an extreme right that is on the rise. ''If we don't take effective measures, now,'' she said, ''the Netherlands could be torn between two extreme rights'': an Islamic one and a non-Islamic one.
While I was reading this piece, I had a thought. All of us have been back and forth looking for the "root cause" of all these clowns running around with machetes, kidnapping helpless GI Joes and such. I guess in all my brain-wrangling, I never considered a basic fact; in strict Islamic societies, women are relegated to, at best, indentured servitude and, at worst, unending slavery. They have no contribution to society in the scientific and academic fields. They have no say in the formation of government. They aren't allowed to publish works or display poetry or make music. You get the point-- women, in many important aspects of these societies, are non-citizens.
My apologies for one more rhetorical question and another colon: what if the major reason for the faded power of Islamic societies can be directly traced to the number and variety of brains it has working for it? If more than half of the population is regarded as sub-human, then you have that much less brain-power at work and less advancement in all of the important fields. It's this very concept that makes the information revolution so powerful. If you have a brain, why not use everybody else's as well? It's basic math.
Update from Sean: I swear on John Stockton's grave (if he were to die) that I didn't read Wretchard's Belmont Club post about the same thing (and in almost identical order) before posting this. Besides, I just read it and his post is way better.