mandag, januar 30, 2006

Kollektiv psykose

Store dele af den arabiske verden er gået i selvsving over affæren med JP og Muhammed tegningerne (somjeg tidligere kort har omtalt her). Arla-ansatte er blevet udsat for fysiske angreb, Dannebrog afbrændes offentligt i Gaza-striben, danskere og Danmark udsættes for trusler om terror fra terroristorganisationer og danske virksomheder udsættes for omfattende boykot. Samtidig harcelerer arabiske stater, som Saudi-Arabien, Libyen, og Kuwait over den danske regerings manglende undskyldning, og de to førstnævnte lande har tilbagekaldt deres ambassadører. Der er endog tale om en FN-resolution med Danmark.

Kynismen hos disse mellemøstlige styrer, der aktivt udnytter JP sagen til at indsmigre sig hos de fundamentalister der truer deres magtbase, overgås kun af de samme staters hykleri.

Det amerikanske Udenrigsministerium udgiver hvert år ”Country reports on Human Rights Practices” og ”Country reports on Religious Freedom”, for hvert eneste af klodens lande (undtagen USA).

Af førstnævnte rapport vedrørende Saudi-Arabien fremgår det bl.a:

(Det skal for en god ordens skyld nævnes, at jeg har udeladt passager der tyder på, at der i det små er sket forbedringer i Saudi-Arabien, som også kan aflæses i Freedom House’s 2006 Global Survey)

The Government enforced most social and Islamic religious norms, the
Government's interpretations of which are matters of law (see Section 5). Women
may not marry noncitizens without government permission; men must obtain
government permission to marry noncitizen women outside the six states of the
Gulf Cooperation Council. In accordance with Shari'a, women are prohibited from
marrying non-Muslims; men may marry Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims.
Tradition and culture, not law, restrict marriages between Sunni and Shi'a
citizens, and the Government does not refuse marriage licenses between Sunni and
Shi'a couples

The Government owned and operated most domestic
television and radio companies. Government censors removed any reference to
politics, religions other than Islam, pork or pigs, alcohol, and sex from
foreign programs and songs. There were several million satellite-receiving
dishes in the country, which provided citizens with foreign television

Abuses of Freedom of Religion
During the period
covered by this report, the Government continued to commit abuses of religious
freedom. However, reports of abuses often are difficult or impossible to
corroborate. Fear and consequent secrecy surrounding any non-Muslim religious
activity contribute to reluctance to disclose any information that might harm
persons under government investigation. Moreover, information regarding
government practices is incomplete because judicial proceedings generally are
closed to the public, although the 2002 Criminal Procedural Law allows some
court proceedings to be open to the public.
Magic was widely believed in and
sometimes practiced; however, under the Government's interpretation of Shari'a,
the practice of magic was regarded as the worst form of polytheism, an offense
for which no repentance was accepted, and which was punishable by death. There
were an unknown number of detainees held in prison on the charge of "sorcery" or
the practice of "black magic" or "witchcraft." The press reported several cases
in which police arrested persons accused of sorcery, including a case in
September in which three African women were arrested in Jeddah. There were
reports of Shi'a Ismailis (Seveners) in Najran charged with practicing magic;
however, the Shi'a Ismailis maintained that their practice adheres to the
Seveners interpretation of Islam. There was no information available on prison
time or punishment.

There were reports that Christians were
detained for practicing their religion. During the year, there were scattered
raids, arrests, and detentions of Christians throughout the country, although
fewer than in the past. In February, the Government deported a resident
Christian after he provided an Arabic Bible to a citizen. In November, the
Government deported an Indian Christian arrested in April. There were credible
reports that Mutawwa'in arrested him for religious reasons after a dispute with
his employer. According to other reports, the Mutawwa'in beat him on the day of
the arrest and confiscated his personal property, including two Bibles, compact
disks, a personal computer, and religious videos.
Proselytizing by
non-Muslims, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such
as Bibles, was illegal. Muslims or non-Muslims wearing religious symbols of any
kind in public risked confrontation with the Mutawwa'in.

Af sidstnævnte rapport fremgår det bl.a., at:

Freedom of religion does not exist. It is not recognized or protected under
the country's laws, and basic religious freedoms are denied to all but those who
adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam. Citizens are denied the
freedom to choose or change their religion, and noncitizens practice their
beliefs under severe restrictions. Islam is the official religion, and all
citizens must be Muslims. The Government limits the practice of all but the
officially sanctioned version of Islam and prohibits the public practice of
other religions. During the period covered by this report, the Government
publicly restated its policy that non-Muslims are free to practice their
religions at home and in private. While the Government does not always respect
this right in practice, many non-Muslims engage in private worship without

Hindus are considered polytheists by Islamic law, which
is used as a justification for greater discrimination in calculating accidental
death or injury compensation. According to the country's "Hanbali"
interpretation of Shari'a, once fault is determined by a court, a Muslim male
receives 100 percent of the amount of compensation determined, a male Jew or
Christian receives 50 percent, and all others (including Hindus and Sikhs)
receive 1/16 of the amount a male Muslim receives.

Under Shari'a,
conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime
punishable by death if the accused does not recant. There were no executions for
apostasy during the period covered by this report, and there have been no
reports of such executions for several years. During the period covered by this
report, a schoolteacher was tried for apostasy, and eventually convicted in
March of blasphemy; the person was given a prison sentence of 3 years and 300
lashes. The trial received substantial press coverage.
The Government
prohibits public non-Muslim religious activities. Non-Muslim worshippers risk
arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging
in religious activity that attracts official attention. The Government has
stated publicly, including before the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva,
that its policy is to allow non-Muslim foreigners to worship privately. However,
the Government does not provide explicit guidelines--such as the number of
persons permitted to attend and acceptable locations--for determining what
constitutes private worship, which makes distinctions between public and private
worship unclear. This lack of clarity and instances of inconsistent enforcement
led many non-Muslims to worship in fear of harassment and in such a way as to
avoid discovery. The Government usually deported those detained for visible
non-Muslim worship after sometimes lengthy periods of arrest during
investigation. In some cases, they also were sentenced to receive lashes prior
to deportation.

The Government officially does not permit non-Muslim clergy to enter
the country to conduct religious services, although some come under other
auspices, and the Government generally has allowed their performance of discreet
religious functions. Such restrictions make it very difficult for most
non-Muslims to maintain contact with clergymen and attend services. Catholics
and Orthodox Christians, who require a priest on a regular basis to receive the
sacraments required by their faith, particularly are affected.

Under the provisions of Shari'a law as practiced in the country, judges
may discount the testimony of nonpracticing Muslims or of individuals who do not
adhere to the official interpretation of Islam. Legal sources report that
testimony by Shi'a is often ignored in courts of law or is deemed to have less
weight than testimony by Sunnis.
Customs officials routinely open mail and
shipments to search for contraband, including Sunni printed material deemed
incompatible with the Salafi tradition of Islam, Shi'a religious materials, and
non-Muslim materials, such as Bibles and religious videotapes. Such materials
are subject to confiscation, although rules appear to be applied arbitrarily.
Sunni Islamic religious education is mandatory in public schools at all
levels. Regardless of which Islamic tradition their families adhere to, all
public school children receive religious instruction that conforms to the Salafi
tradition of Islam. Non-Muslim students in private schools are not required to
study Islam. Private religious schools are not permitted for non-Muslims or for
Muslims adhering to non-Salafi traditions of Islam. Shi'a are banned from
teaching religion in schools.

Tegningerne af Muhammed, som vel at mærke blev bragt i en privatejet avis, er naturligvis på ingen måde sammenlignelig med den behandling den saudiske stat systematisk udsætter religiøse ”afvigere” for. En lang række af verdens stater fra Europa over Asien til Afrika kunne (og burde) med rette rejse en sønderlemmende kritik af Saudi-Arabiens totalitære religiøse undertrykkelse af deres statsborgere bosiddende i kongedømmet. Hvordan Saudi-Arabien med ovenstående fakta på bordet overhovedet tør stikke hovedet frem er en gåde.

Midt i denne deprimerende tid, er der dog tegn på, at den selvstændige tankevirksomhed har overlevet blandt visse mennesker i Mellemøsten, som visse af disse øjenvidneberetninger fra Danskere i området vidner om. Endvidere er det vel positivt, at den kollektive psykose (indtil videre) ikke har spredt sig til den øvrige muslimske verden, herunder stater baseret på en demokratisk styreform som Tyrkiet, Indonesien og Senegal, hvilket sandsynligvis siger en hel del om, at en øget grad af politisk og borgerlig frihed medfører en øget grad af tolerance og frisind (og humor).

onsdag, januar 18, 2006


Jeg lovede i min seneste postering ikke at skrive mere om Islam-debatten i et stykke tid. Men her bare 6 dage efter mit løfte må jeg bryde det. Til mit forsvar skal det siges, at baggrunden for løftebruddet er glædelig, men jeg skal alligevel gøre det kort. JP bragte i tirsdags 49 almindelig muslimers holdninger til torvs. Ingen rasende imamer, fatwaer eller lignende, blot ganske almindelige mennesker, som tillige er muslimer. JP havde desuden en fornuftig leder i gårsdagens udgave. At sådanne tiltag har virkning kunne ses allerede blandt dagens læserbreve, der jo ellers overvejende har et noget andet indhold. Hatten af for JP, som jeg ellers har været lidt efter. Det ser ud til at JP ikke længere spiller blindt med på den kultur-konservative agenda, hvor religion og kultur opfattes som fuldstændigt absolutte størrelser, som opvejer og går forud for hensynet til individdet.

Kan man i øvrigt finde JPs leder eller artikel på Polemiken, Minut, Uriasposten eller Angantyr? Gæt selv kære læser.

torsdag, januar 12, 2006

Mere optimisme

I gårsdagens postering henviste jeg til et af Ronald Reagans yndlingscitater:

"you can go to live in France but you cannot become a Frenchman, you can go to Germany but cannot become a German[...]But anyone from any corner of the worldcan come to live in America and become American."

At den indstilling der underlægger citatet har spillet en afgørende rolle for den grad af loyalitet mod USA som også mange muslimske indvandrere føler, demonstreres i praksis af et par vigtige organisationer (der ikke står alene). Jeg har ofte henvist til Freemuslims. Men også American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) er værd at bemærke. AIFDs founding principles lyder som følger:

Mission: We proud citizens of the United States of America join together
as devoted and patriotic citizens and as devout Muslims in this forum in order
to serve as a vehicle for the discussion and public awareness of the complete
compatibility of America’s founding principles with the very personal faith of
Islam which we practice.
Core Principles and Goals:

1) To be a voice of

Muslim American citizenry in strong support of the following:

a) The devout practice of Islam and the Islamic concept of consultation and
consent (shura) as being wholly compatible with the American form of

b) The support of the separation of religion and
state as being perfectly non-contradictory with Koranic principles.

c) As United States citizens we support our American armed forces.

d) As United States citizens we support absolute and literal adherence to
our citizenship pledge.

e) We support our American interests,
domestic and foreign.

2) To raise the public consciousness regarding
the core principles above and the following additional goals and

a) We will promote tolerance in Islam as being a
fundamental principle of the Holy Koran.

i) We recognize the fact that there are no clergy in Islam and we accept the Koran as
our main reference for discussions regarding our faith.

ii) We as a group in recognition of democratic principles believe
that each Muslim is equally entitled to their opinion concerning the religion of

b) We will work to educate the public regarding the
existence of a special relationship between Judaism, Christianity, and

c) We will work to educate the public regarding the
current threat to America of radicals who exploit Islam through

d) We explicitly refuse to acknowledge the
justification of any form of terrorism (the targeting of civilians and

e) We believe in that religion is a matter for
individual beliefs without any role for the direct involvement of religion in

f) We believe in the equality of the sexes which is
well established in the Koran.

g) We will work to promote and
enhance the understanding of Islam in America.

h) We will work
to express the consistency of the principles of Islam with economic principles
of free markets and capitalism.

i) We will work to promote and
enhance the education of Muslims in their history and development as it relates
to American democracy and freedom.

j) We will work to promote
the appreciation of the integral role of American patriotism and nationalism in
the life of Muslim youth in America.

k) We will work to
stimulate the principles which bring about increased understanding and
involvement of American Muslim citizens in American life

l) We will work to formulate expressions of positions on specific areas of American
foreign and domestic policy as they relate to American interests and as relevant
to the discussion of Islam and democratic principles

m) While as Muslims and American citizens we will take stands on many of the diverse foreign policy positions of our government, we feel it is necessary to make a
foundational position statement regarding the state of Israel. We stand in
support of the existing unqualified recognition of the state of Israel behind
internationally recognized borders.

n) We also separately stand in recognition of the need for the completion of the
formation of an independent Palestinian state on the current “occupied
territories” living side by side next to the established state of Israel.

Organisationer som AIFD og Free Muslims understreger klart behovet for at skelne mellem muslimer og bedømme det enkelte individ på dets handlinger og ord, ikke dets religiøse tilhørsforhold. Dette burde være naturligt for borgerlige, når man tænker på socialismens absurde opdelinger af mennesker i klasser og de blodige konsekvenser deraf. Men ak, der er desværre stadig ”socialists in all parties”, hvorfor der stadig er god grund til ikke at være konservativ.

En person der formår at skelne mellem fundamentalister og almindelige muslimer uden at ty til apologi, er Stephen Schwartz, der på Techcentralstation, har skrevet en glimrende artikel kaldet ”What is a moderate muslim?”.

Schwartz skriver bl.a.:

As we enter 2006, Islamic radicalism remains no less a challenge to the
world than it did four years ago. One of its chief aspects involves how
non-Muslims, who typically have little knowledge of Islam, may accurately
identify Muslim moderates.

Muslim moderation is defined by attitudes and
conduct, not by abstractions or historical precedents, which, as with all
religions, may be interpreted to support any ideological position. Observing and
analyzing Sunni Muslims by such positive, practical criteria is extremely easy.
There are more than a billion Sunnis in the world, and they are not all
jihadists or fundamentalists, so telling them apart should not be difficult with
a little effort. Identifying moderate Shia Muslims is harder, but one thing may
be said immediately: those who follow Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Iraq prove their
moderation daily, by their silent but effective support to the U.S.-led
liberation coalition.

[…]It seems unnecessary to add that those who
try to disclaim a link between Wahhabism and al-Qaida, or who blame al-Qaida on
American machinations, cannot be considered moderates. If a Sunni denies that
Wahhabism exists by saying “there is only Islam,” or tries to cover Wahhabism
with an ameliorative term like “Salafism” -- a fraudulent effort to equate
Wahhabism with the pioneers of the Islamic faith -- the individual is an
extremist. Such a radical will not, under any circumstances, declare his or her
opposition to Wahhabism per se. They may even claim that the whole concept was
invented by Westerners such as myself.
A parallel example may be cited from
the history of Communism. Stalinist Communists would repudiate the charge that
they were Communists, calling themselves progressives, liberals, or socialists.
They would deny that Communism intended anything malign toward the U.S.,
portraying America as an aggressor (something Islamists and Stalinists have in
common) but nonetheless claiming loyalty to it. They would often argue over
whether Stalinism even existed. And they would never denounce Stalin, even
though the entire planet knew about the atrocities of the Soviet regime. Neither
will Islamist radicals denounce Wahhabism.

Moderate Muslims may also be
identified by what they do not do, to contrast them with radicals. And at the
top of that list comes the practice of takfir, or declaring Muslims unbelievers
over differences of opinion. Takfir also includes describing the ordinary,
traditional Muslim majority in the world as having fallen into unbelief.
Takfir is used to justify the radical Sunni massacres of Shia Muslims in
Iraq. It underpins the ideology of the Saudi-Wahhabi sect, the extremist Sunni
Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, and the bloodthirsty Sunni jihadist movements in
Pakistan. It also serves to bind together Muslim extremists through the illusion
that they belong to a purified elite. Islam is not, and never was, a radical or
fundamentalist religion in its mainstream practice, regardless of the fantasies
of Islamist fanatics and Islamophobes alike.

Moderate Muslims do not engage
in takfir. Shias shun takfir, including radical Shias, and Shias fighting
against Sunnis who persecute them do not practice takfir against their foes.
Enemies of terrorist Wahhabis do not accuse them of unbelief, but of
criminality. Traditional Muslims avoid accusations of unbelief, as they were
counseled to do by the Prophet Muhammad. The Prophet never anticipated that
Muslims would fall into unbelief.
Moderate Muslims, including Shias as well
as Sunnis, also do not refer to followers of other religions, especially Jews
and Christians, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Buddhists, as unbelievers. The Koran
never refers to Jews and Christians as unbelievers, but as People of the Book,
worthy of respect and protection. Moderate Muslims adhere strictly to this

[..]Moderate Muslims also do not reject allegiance to non-Muslim
governments. According to current interpretations of Shafi’i sharia, a major
school of Islamic jurisprudence through history, there are no countries where
Muslims are not required to obey local governments, for the security of their
communities. Moderate Muslims do not proclaim public loyalty to such governments
while privately counseling that Western governments are inferior to Muslim
religious decrees. They do not invent civil rights violations as a political
means of fighting Western authorities. Moderate Muslims recognize that Muslims
have more rights and opportunities for advancement in most Western countries
than in most Muslim lands.
Finally, moderate Muslims are not Arabocentric or
trapped in the rhetoric of Pakistan and elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent.
They recognize that the styles, idioms, and spiritual practices of Islam differ
considerably from Mali to Malaysia and from Bosnia to Botswana. Moderate Muslims
accept that such diversity should also exist among Muslims in the West; that
there can and will be an Islam that is fully American in its culture, as
Bosnians and Indonesians reflect the customs and cultures of their

[…]Is the Islamic establishment in the U.S. -- the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA),
and the Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA) -- moderate?
No, it is not. Not one of these three groups has ever identified or criticized a
Muslim radical in the U.S., except to slander authentic moderates by trying to
portray them as extremists. To cite a few notable examples: the aforementioned
organizations, which I have called “the Wahhabi lobby.”

Jeg vil i øvrigt bestræbe mig på, at skrive om andet end Islam i det næste stykke tid. Debatten hænger mig rent faktisk ud af halsen. Men når nu så få borgerlige her i landet er tro mod egne principper når det kommer til dette emne, har det optaget mig en del. Der er rent faktisk mange andre emner, der interesserer mig langt mere og dem vil jeg søge at dyrke mere. Lars Hvidberg og jeg arbejder i øvrigt på et nyt koncept, som forhåbenligt bliver endog rigtigt spændende. Men mere om det på et andet tidspunkt...

onsdag, januar 11, 2006

Borgerligt lys i udlændingedebatten

Det ser ud som om, der blandt visse borgerlige politikere er sket et holdningsskifte i indvandrerdebatten og at man begynder at indse, at det at lægge sig i Dansk Folkepartis slipstrøm udover at bryde med klassiske borgerlige dyder såsom respekt for individet, tillige er ufrugtbart.

Peter Norsk har været en kærkommen stemme i JPs endeløse række af forudsigelige læserbreve og debatindlæg, hvor MUSLIMERNE i Danmark i selvretfærdige toner får læst og påskrevet om hvor tilbagestående, intolerante og samfundsskadelige de alle er.

Peter Norsk påpeger, ligesom jeg selv har gjort, at integration af muslimer rent faktisk i høj grad er lykkedes i U.S.A. :

Det er der to væsentlige grunde til: For det første, at man i USA har lov at
leve, som man vil med den religion og den påklædning, man nu en gang ønsker,
således at alle borgere føler sig respekteret af det omgivende samfund, og for
det andet, at udbetaling af sociale ydelser er begrænsede, således at man i
højere grad end i Danmark er tvunget til at arbejde.
Derfor er den bedste
integrationspolitik simpel: 1) Udvis respekt over for alle borgere uanset deres
etniske og religiøse baggrund, 2) ansæt i højere grad borgere med indvandrer- og
flygtningebaggrund i både private og offentlige stillinger og 3) begræns mest
muligt de passive overførselsindkomster.
Respekt og arbejde er den cocktail,
som vil mindske integrationsproblemerne.

Peter Norsk har med forslag 1 og 3 ramt ned i kernen af hvad, der skal til for at ændre på tilstandene herhjemme. Et af Ronald Reagans yndlingscitater som han ofte brugte ved offentlige lejligheder vedrørte netop indvandring:

"you can go to live in France but you cannot become a Frenchman, you can go to
Germany but cannot become a German[...]But anyone from any corner of the world
can come to live in America and become American."

Der er (uden sammenligning i øvrigt) lidt af Reagans ukuelige positive tone i Norsks indlæg, som gør godt midt i den negative strøm.

Forslag 2 som jeg læser som en opfordring til indførsel af positiv særbehandling kan jeg derimod ikke bifalde. Man skal som ”gammel dansker” naturligvis ikke straffes for sin herkomst således, at ringere kvalificerede indvandrere ansættes på bekostning af bedre kvalificerede gammel danskere. Dette ville netop bryde med princippet, om at præmissen for at indvandre hertil er at man klarer sig selv på lige vilkår med alle andre. På denne måde fjernes tillige en del af grobunden for modvilje overfor indvandrere, hvoraf en stor gruppe jo i dagens Danmark unægteligt belaster de offentlige kasser

Netop denne forståelse virker som kernen i et forslag, som Søren Pind og Irene Simonsen fra Venstre netop har offentliggjort, og ifølge hvilket velkvalificerede indvandrere skal have lov til at komme til landet for at søge arbejde. Forslaget virker rent faktisk til at være blevet vel modtaget på Christiansborg (med undtagelse af DF selvfølgelig).

Ovenstående formel (minus Norsks forslag 2) der ville søge at modvirke de værste konsekvenser af indvandring samtidig med at velfærdsstaten blev formindsket burde tiltrække borgerlige i langt højere grad end konfrontationskurs med et stort mindretal.

mandag, januar 09, 2006

Frihed vinder terræn i Mellemøsten

I slutningen af december 2005 udgav den amerikanske NGO Freedom House deres Global Survey for 2006. Freedom House rapporter er værd at læse fordi de modsat andre NGOer indenfor demokratisering og menneskerettigheder alene kæmper for det liberale demokrati og klassiske negative frihedsrettigheder, ikke social retfærdighed i form af positive socio-økonomiske rettigheder. Freedom House’s rapporter er ligeledes fri for den ulidelige politiske korrekthed parret med anti-amerikansk og anti-kapitalistisk retorik, der præger typiske NGO’er indenfor samme område.

2006 rapporten er især bemærkelsesværdig fordi den vidner om små men signifikante landvindinger for frihed i Mellemøsten. Af rapporten fremgår det bl.a.:

The global survey, "Freedom in the World," shows that although the Middle East
continues to lag behind other regions, a measurable improvement can be seen in
freedom in several key Arab countries, as well as the Palestinian Authority. In
another key finding, the number of countries rated by Freedom House as Not Free
declined from 49 in 2004 to 45 for the year 2005, the lowest number of Not Free
societies identified by the survey in over a decade. In noteworthy country
developments, Ukraine and Indonesia saw their status improve from Partly Free to
Free; Afghanistan moved from Not Free to Partly Free; and the Philippines saw
its status decline from Free to Partly Free.

According to Thomas O. Melia, acting executive director of Freedom House, "The modest but heartening advances in the Arab Middle East result from activism by citizen groups and reforms by governments in about equal measures. This emerging trend reminds us that men and women in this region share the universal desire to live in free societies."
"As we welcome the stirrings of change in the Middle East," said
Mr. Melia, "it is equally important that we focus on the follow-through in other
regions and appreciate the importance of the continuing consolidation of
democracy in Indonesia, Ukraine, and other nations.

[…]Although the countries
of the Middle East lag behind other regions in areas such as adherence to
democratic standards, independent media, the rights of women, and the rule of
law, the past year witnessed modest positive trends. Lebanon experienced the
most significant improvement; its status improved from Not Free to Partly Free
due to major improvements in both political rights and civil liberties that
followed the withdrawal of Syrian occupation forces. Elections exhibiting
increased competition in Iraq, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories; the
introduction of women's suffrage in Kuwait; and improvements in Saudi Arabia's
media environment are among other encouraging signs in the region.”

Det er også værd at bemærke at verdens folkerigeste muslimske land Indonesien er gået fra at være "partly free" til "free". Indonesien er altså mere frit end en række kristne latin-amerikanske lande såsom Ecuador, Colombia, Paraguay, og interessant nok også friere end europæiske Rusland.

Som jeg også har skrevet om på Punditokraterne er der altså grund til at nære optimisme med hensyn til udbredelsen af basale frihedsrettigheder i den muslimske verden. Bevares, der er lang vej igen og udviklingen kan vende, men som den amerikanske konservative debattør Michael Novak, citerende Solzhenitsyn, udtalte det i sin åbningstale til the “Hayek Lecture”: "the idea of truth is more powerful than all the arms in the world, and what he [Solzhenitsyn] wrote seemed in 1977 so unlikely of realization - and yet we saw the Soviet tanks halt before flowers held by civilians in 1991."

Talen der i høj grad omhandler hvad der taler henholdsvis for og imod det liberale demokratis udbredelse i muslimske lande er i øvrigt interessant læsning og, dybt kristne og konservative, Novak konkluderer, at der en grund til behersket optimisme. Hvis bare danske kultur-konservative udviste samme tro på de grundlæggende idealer som de kritiserer muslimske lande for at mangle. Men man skal nok ikke regne med at se Freedom House’s rapport citeret på Uriasposten, Polemikken, Angantyr, Filtrat, Minut eller de øvrige kultur-konservative blogs, hvor den negative automatpilot er sat til og ensidigheden (med ganske få undtagelser) råder frit.

søndag, januar 01, 2006

Liberalisme i praksis

I Weekendavisen kan man læse en forfriskende artikel om Estland og den frie økonomi, som hersker der. Artiklen kan ikke helt slippe den lidt ironiske og overbærende tone som danske medier ofte anlægger når det handler om den ”åndløse og materialistiske” liberalisme og kapitalisme. Artiklen undlader heller ikke at fortælle, at uligheden er stor mellem rig og fattig i Estland, men man får til gengæld ikke at vide hvad gennemsnitsindkomsten for en fattig ester er. Mon ikke den er højere end i nogle af de omgivende lande, hvor ligheden bliver tvangshåndhævet af politikere?
På trods af ovenstående kan artiklen ikke skjule, at Estland er en solstrålehistorie og den bramfrie måde politikerne omtaler problemer såsom bureaukratiseringen og centralisering i EU, skatteprocenter og overførselsindkomster på kan man som dansker kun misunde, når man er vant til vores hjemlige politikere, der får nervøse trækninger så snart der stilles spørgsmål ved velfærdsstaten. Her lidt pluk fra Artiklen skrevet, der er af Klaus Wivel:

Da Sovjetunionen kollapsede i 1991, var Estland en socialistisk ruin, og her
kunne nationen være gået i stå i salvelsesfuld national selvretfærdighed og søgt
sympati hos omverdenen for de mange års brutale kolonisering. Andre lande, ingen
nævnt, alle glemt, bruger stadig et kolonistyre, som ikke har været der i
årtier, som undskyldning for det forfald, de er havnet i.De kunne også have
ladet en korrupt tyran tage over. Man skal ikke særlig langt syd eller øst på,
til Hviderusland eller ja, Rusland, før skræmmeeksemplerne springer op ad æsken.
Ikke engang ’den orange revolution’ i Ukraine ser ud til at have ført landet ud
af sumpen. Esterne ved godt, at det kunne have set meget anderledes ud.I
stedet... ja, i stedet har esterne bygget dette pragtværk af en mall, åbent til
sent lørdag aften, åbent til sent søndag aften, imødekommende og grimt, ingen
arkitektonisk lir, men masser af gode tilbud, alt hvad du behøver, demokrati og
kapitalisme for fuld udblæsning.»Når Estland er det af det tidligere østlande,
der klarer sig bedst, skyldes det to ting: De finske turister, som står for over
en tredjedel af vores økonomi. Og den ekstremt liberale økonomi. Estland har opbygget en nation, der er et omvendt spejlbillede af det kommunistiske.«

I dag kalder liberale tænketanke Estland for et af de økonomisk set frieste lande i verden, helt sikkert det frieste i EU. Da Sovjet faldt, blev 90 procent af alle
statslige virksomheder privatiseret, og man skal ikke betale skat, hvis man vil
investere i firmaer. Derfor er der mange udenlandske forretninger, som slår sig
ned i Estland, og Tallinn har da også fået sin del af spritnye høje
spejlglasbygninger i mærkelige trekantede former, som åbenbart er obligatoriske
for enhver by i vækst.Esterne har en skatteprocent på 24, den såkaldte »flade
skat«, som flere andre østeuropæiske lande har indført. Det vil sige, at moms,
indkomstskat, osv. er den samme - man betaler ikke procentvis mere i skat, jo
mere man tjener.

Toldtariffer og andre hindringer for udenlandsk handel er blevet fjernet, et andet internationalt særsyn. Samtidig blev det nationale budget holdt, og arbejdsløsheden er i dag nede på syv procent. Estland var det første baltiske land, som overholdt de krav, EU havde sat for medlemskab

Da overmagten forsvandt, stod Estland med en lang række
politikere og embedsmænd, som var gamle og dovne. De talte russisk og tænke
sovjetisk - det, de kunne, var der ingen, der havde brug for. Det stik modsatte
var påkrævet: Man skulle kunne tale europæisk og tænke amerikansk. Det blev de
unge i 20rne og begyndelsen af 30rne, som fik poster som ministre, borgmestre og
bankdirektører. For dem var statsmagten ikke nødvendigvis nogen godgørende
forening. De byggede bankvæsnet op fra grunden, reformerede økonomien til
ukendelighed og stablede en hær på benene. Ironien er, at det ikke bliver
Rusland, som sætter en stopper for himmelfarten. Det bliver Gamle Europa.»Efter
vi er kommet med i EU, vil det hele nok gå lidt langsommere igen, for vi behøver
ikke længere være så paranoide over, om russerne skulle finde på at besætte os

«De unge estere ser på EU på samme måde som briterne. De går ikke ind for
et stærkt EU, og de ønsker, at landbrugsstøtten skal fjernes.»Det er paradokset:
Vi ønskede brændende at blive en del af EU, men nu ser vi, at unionen kan skade
vores økonomi og trække os i en mere socialistisk retning
. EU har kun en vækst
på 2-3 procent, men vores for øjeblikket er mellem dobbelt og fem gange så
høj.Vi fatter ikke, hvorfor EU smider så mange penge efter landbruget. Det
smadrer jo markedet. Og nu bliver også vi nødt til at tage imod EU-penge til
landbruget. Indtil nu har vi været det eneste øst-europæiske land, som ikke har
subsidieret vores landbrug.«For Lauri Luiki er der faldet en stor skygge ind
over udsigten til et endnu mere liberalt Estland.»For tre år siden var jeg
svoren tilhænger af EU-medlemskab, men i dag er jeg kommet stærkt i tvivl. Det
er jo helt vildt, så bureaukratisk EU er, så langsommelig. Vi er ved at bevæge
os i en mere socialistisk retning, og det er EUs skyld - selv inden for vores
eget parti er man begyndt at slække på ideologien. I Estland skal man ikke
betale skat, hvis man vil investere i virksomheder, men det er forbudt ifølge
EU, og fra 2009 er vi tvunget til at ændre den lov.«Jeg fortæller ham om Søren
Pinds 10 teser - de teser, en gruppe liberale i Venstre omkring Københavns nu
tidligere borgmester lavede for et par år siden. En af teserne var blandt andet,
at skatten i Danmark ikke skulle overstige 50 procent. Anders Fogh Rasmussens
reaktion var nådesløs: Gruppen blev totalt frosset ud.Lauri Luiki ser forarget
på mig:»Det er jo sindssygt. Der kunne jeg ikke tænke på at bo. Hvorfor er
mennesker, der tjener penge, suspekte? Hvorfor skal de betale så meget? Mon ikke
vi hver især bedst selv ved, hvad vores penge skal gå til?«

Paavo Pärn tager over:»Vores overbevisninger er stærke, fordi vi ved, hvad vi ikke vil have. Og vores liberale ideer har vist sig at bære frugt. Vi vil undgå de fejl, de
europæiske velfærdsdemokratier har begået
. I Europa er der masser af mennesker,
som ikke arbejder, fordi det ikke kan betale sig. Understøttelsen er simpelt hen
for høj.«»Hvorfor er det gået Moldova dårligt og Estland godt? Det er aldrig
lykkedes for Moldova at slippe af med sit kommunistiske regime efter
Sovjetunionens fald. I dag er Moldova nøjagtig samme sted, som Estland var for
15 år siden. Det er gamle, korrupte mennesker, der bestyrer landet -
præsidentens søn er for eksempel den rigeste forretningsmand i landet. Den
politiske elite har ikke villet privatisere, og de har ikke villet forynge den
politiske elite.«

Estlands eksempel er væsentligt at huske på, når liberale får skudt i skoene, at liberalismen fører til den sociale massegrav, er irrelevant i postindustrielle videnssamfund eller er udtryk for abstrakt utopi på linje med socialismen hvis indførelse vil medføre samfundets undergang. Freedom matters!