Europe has gone crazy. Yes, there are the terrorist attacks. But it’s the political correctness and censorship, too. Governments in Europe are literally sacrificing their citizens for the sake of not offending Islam. Here’s an example.

Anti-Islam firebrand Geert Wilders went on trial last Friday for allegedly inciting hatred against the Dutch Moroccan minority. State prosecutors say Wilders asked a crowd of supporters in March 2014 whether they wanted more or fewer Moroccans, in the Netherlands triggering the chant: “Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!” to which a smiling Wilders responded: “We’ll take care of that.”

Here’s how Wilders defended himself, in a publicly released statement:

How and why do I want to get fewer Moroccans in our country has already been written down in the PVV election platform since 2006: We want to stop immigration from non-Western immigrants, and therefore also of Moroccans, to promote voluntary repatriation, and to denaturalize criminals with a dual nationality and expel them from the Netherlands. And before, during and after the contested election night, I have repeatedly explained this in front of many cameras and microphones. I did not say “All Moroccans must leave the country” or “Moroccans are no good,” but I advocated “fewer Moroccans”. Because that is my opinion, that is what I want, and what many millions of Dutch want together with me.

We wonder why brutal attacks and explosions keep happening in Europe, in the name of Islam. What you think of Wilders’ comments is not the point. The point is that he’s entitled to say them, publicly, on his own property (or the property of others who authorize him); at his own (or willing others’) expense.

I recognize that in Europe there’s no First Amendment. That’s what makes Europe so vulnerable. If governments may use their powers to intimidate or silence those who disagree with government authorities, then government is free to make bad policies. Whether restricting immigration is a good policy or not is a debate reasonable people can have. But to silence opposition guarantees, particularly if the government is wrong, that the worst policies will be implemented.

Even more important, all human beings have a right to hold and express their views, on their own property, without coercive retaliation from others. Geert Wilders is on trial not for his actions, but for his opinions. That’s dictatorship, no matter how much you gloss it over with reasonable-sounding platitudes.

In America, the same idea of “hateful speech” as worthy of prosecution is gaining ground. Our own Attorney General has threatened to retaliate against citizens who cross over her personal line when it comes to “hate speech” against Islam. What about “hate speech” against non-believers? Or against Christians? Or against Jews? Why do we moralistically thunder against hate speech when it comes to Muslims, but not at all when it comes to everyone else? What are such progressive-minded people (they call themselves that) really protecting? Who benefits and who is actually harmed by their policies?

Among Obama-supporting progressives in America, I hear more and more people saying things like, “Why should hate speech be protected? If hate is evil and irrational, and can only lead to no good, then why protect it?” And the talk about “inciting violence” is coming from all sides. Charges of “inciting violence” only seem to occur when the person speaking is someone you do not like.

The question of regulating “hate speech” never occurred to America’s founders and the American citizenry at the time. They never would have considered how or when government should judge the content of speech as acceptable or not. So long as the speech did not violate another’s property or individual rights (as in slander, fraud or yelling “fire” in a crowded theater), speech is protected.

The moment we accept the idea that individuals are not sovereign over their own bodies and minds is the moment we pave the way to anarchy and dictatorship. Islam is a theocratic force designed to exploit the lack of certainty and principle in those who still retain elements of freedom in their countries. In Europe, it’s working. In America, not quite as well, but better than ever before.

Abusers attack those they deem self-doubtful. Brutal thugs, which Islamic radicals are, sense and detect moral uncertainty. It’s hard to imagine a more vivid example of moral uncertainty than the self-destructive apologies for the violent ideology of Islam made by European governments on a daily basis. America is almost as bad, and getting worse all the time.

If we want to defeat terrorism, we must — as a country — grow a spine. It starts inside. The necessary military actions will follow, but only then.

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Dr Michael Hurd

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

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