21 February 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury Doesn't Get Britain

Who would have thought that the Head of the Church of England would fail to understand why people want to live in Britain.

I have read a number of stories about the Archbishop Rowan Williams' comments that the adoption of aspects of Shari'a law was "unavoidable". It occurred to me that it was entirely possible that the writers had missed some important contextual aspect of his speech. Then I found a copy of the full text of his lecture on Islamic Law in Britain and got the full blast of his intent. It is a bit of a tough slog as he is quite obtuse in his pseudo-dialectic. I really do not feel that he wants to Islamize Britain but he fundamentally fails to understand why it is Britain is a place that people want to live and want to go to and live.

The Archbishop of Isengard, as I have come to think of him, appears to be under the typical Left Wing belief that we in the West have stumbled on a great place to live in a land of milk and honey through no effort of our own or our ancestors. We [that is our ancestors] haven't gone through tremendous difficulties to arrive at a model of society that permits us to live in conditions where even our poor and disadvantaged would be envied as aristocrats by most of the world. It is this ludicrous assumption that leads to the equally banal conclusion that British Common Law as "A" form of Law but it is not the only form of law that should be considered in Britain.

What he the other of his ilk of moonbats don't realize is that British legal tradition is the reason that the most successful Western societies are able to advance and foster the dynamic flow of ideas and energy that drove us to the top of the food chain. We are not locked in the 7th century because we did not limit ourselves to Shari'a based medievalism. The Islamic world regressed from their Golden Age because they reverted to the primitive tribalism that forbids modern interpretations of Shari'a and growth beyond the desert.

Don't get me wrong. It is not that Shari'a would merit the force of law outside of the dusty oil patch if it modernized. The real basis of the success of the West is that the Law is based on the secular enlightenment principles that moved it forward and permitted the modern liberal democracy. There is not place for a legally binding decision from anywhere other than the legally constituted State. That includes Shari'a Courts, the Orthodox Jews that the good vicar harped on about or any other non-state agency. There is nothing wrong with people freely going to a priest, rabbi, or imam to mediate a disagreement but when the resulting decision becomes legally binding that is Wrong! The province of Ontario rightly came to that conclusion when the same question arose. All religious legally binding arbitration was banned in September 2005.

Ontario moves ahead one step. Canterbury's Britain moves two steps back. I thank God that the Archbishop has none of the authority that some of his predecessors had.