Radical Islam has won a major victory in its war with the West. This triumph did not take place on the battlefield. A bomb was not detonated. A treaty was not signed. Hostages were not taken. Rather, it involved the surrender of a government - and an entire nation - to the dark clutches of political correctness.
Britain’s new coalition government, led by Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, has decided to uphold the ban against Michael Savage, the popular talk-radio host. Mr. Savage, who is based in San Francisco, has more than 8 million listeners on about 400 stations. His is the third most highly rated talk show in America. (Full disclosure: I have guest-hosted for Mr. Savage’s show on numerous occasions.) London announced that the ban will not be lifted until Mr. Savage repudiates “previous statements” considered to pose a “threat” to public security.
Mr. Cameron is perpetuating the decision made by his leftist predecessor, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to place Mr. Savage on a “least wanted” list - one that prevents the fiery conservative from entering the United Kingdom. This enemies list also includes notorious Islamic extremists (including a Hamas terrorist), neo-Nazis, a former wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Russian skinheads who murdered more than 10 immigrants. According to British officials, Mr. Savage is on the list for one reason: inciting “hatred” and “inter-community violence.” He is a public menace who must be kept away from Britain’s shores.
The ban represents a fundamental assault on freedom of speech. In Britain’s brave new world, the words of a talk-show host are akin to suicide bombers and gangsters. Ideas must be outlawed. Thought crimes suppressed.
Moreover, there is not a shred of evidence that Mr. Savage has ever - even once - incited hatred or called for violence against anyone. The charges are not only baseless but slanderous. They are lies.
For years, liberal hate groups such as Media Matters have sought to portray Mr. Savage - and other conservative radio hosts (including yours truly) - falsely as virulent neo-fascists who hunger for a right-wing apartheid regime that kicks around women, minorities, gays and Muslims. This is the twisted, perverse caricature peddled by leftists - and willfully swallowed by the British government.
Unable to win the battle of ideas, they resort to smears and cheap demonization. The goal: to delegitimize and criminalize conservative thought. Today it is Mr. Savage. Tomorrow it will be Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity who will be on a government-sanctioned enemies list.
By deliberately putting Mr. Savage’s name beside those of murderers and criminals, London has painted a massive target on his back. Deranged Islamic extremists might be tempted to assassinate him, striking a blow for jihad. Mr. Savage is a hunted man. Fatwas have been issued against him. He is the Salman Rushdie of our time.
Mr. Cameron’s decision signifies that Britain has surrendered to the rising tide of radical Islam. In government e-mails released last year, it was revealed that British officials - with ties to Mr. Brown’s office - originally decided to place Mr. Savage on the list only to “balance” the high number of Muslim militants. This was not about protecting Britain; rather, it was about assuaging the sensitivities of the country’s growing - and increasingly assertive - Islamic community. Mr. Savage has been sacrificed on the altar of liberal multiculturalism.
For many Beltway conservatives, Mr. Cameron is a model for the GOP. He is an attractive policy wonk who has transformed the Conservative Party into a big-government, pro-environment and socially liberal party. He is a self-styled “centrist” who appeals to women, suburbanites and minorities. He represents Labor lite: red Toryism without Mr. Brown’s heavy-handed incompetence. Mr. Cameron wants to inject billions more into education and health care. He is calling for tax increases to reduce Britain’s staggering deficits. He also refuses to take a stand against massive illegal immigration and the threat of political Islam.
“Even before I was told the Conservatives in England would continue the ban against me, I knew this day was coming,” Mr. Savage said in an interview. “Apparently, there’s been nothing more than a change of department-store dummies in England.”
Mr. Savage is right. Mr. Cameron is a phony conservative - a milquetoast leftist masquerading as a modernized Thatcherite. His political success should stand as a warning to American conservatives. A European-style social democracy leads to the creation of a permanent liberal regime. The only argument between the major parties is not whether the nanny state should exist, but who is more capable of managing it. It is a dangerous omen that many Republican strategists are heralding Mr. Cameron’s brand of conservatism.
Since the end of the Cold War, the GOP and the Democratic Party have increasingly morphed into a statist corporatist oligarchy that champions open borders and free trade. The result has been the gradual dissolution of America. Our borders are a bleeding sore; uncontrolled immigration is rampant; our industrial base is dwindling; factories and jobs are outsourced overseas; the middle- and working-classes are shrinking; government spending is out of control; the national debt is exploding; and special interests dominate Washington. Traditional America is dying.
Unlike most conservatives, Mr. Savage is not a globalist. He is a blood-and-soil nationalist who understands that America’s salvation rests on returning to its enduring Judeo-Christian roots - constitutional government, family, faith and patriotism. He is unwilling to accommodate either economic globalization or the myths of multiculturalism.
This is his real crime. To the internationalist left and globalist right, his traditionalist views are out of fashion and out of date - even dangerous. Ultimately, that is why Mr. Cameron decided to preserve the ban. It also is why most Republicans and conservatives maintain a deafening silence: He is not one of their own. Hence, they will not lift a finger for him. His flinty nationalism is not welcome in today’s GOP of Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh.
“This should be a lesson to anyone who thinks that if the Republicans get in this November there will be any real change,” Mr. Savage said. “Just like the conservatives in England have continued the failed policies of the leftist Gordon Brown, most Republicans will continue most of the same destructive policies that [President] Obama started.”
If that is true, then the Republican Party deserves to go into the ash heap of history. The GOP should insist that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pressure London into rescinding the ban. Freedom of speech and expression are the cornerstones of Western civilization. Unless they are defended, they will die a slow death - another casualty in the relentless march of Islamist conquest.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist for The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the host of “The Kuhner Show” on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570 .com) from 5 to 7 p.m.