It is too easy to look at Europe and despair at how easy it is for free people to surrender even their most basic liberties in the face of the bizarre prevailing political culture of the hour or even to outright physical intimidation. People of the fashionable left who march in the streets of London or Paris behind banners that glorify Hamas or the "Palestinian Resistance" or which proclaim "We are all Hezbollah Now" have already lost any respect for themselves and the vast cultural achievements of their countries. Little European countries that prosecute politicians for "hate speech" for making some observations about the dangers of Islamic extremism while savagely defending and protecting the worst forms of genocidal racist incitement from Islamic extremists have already primed themselves for another Nazi occupation.
This is why it is gratifying to be reminded that there are still some liberal democracies in Europe that have enough respect for human rights and their own nationhood to actually support liberal democracy abroad and enough courage to stand up to the ugly fanatics who want to see it torn down at home and to recognise them for who they are. It should come as no surprise that these tend to be countries of liberal tradition that not only had to endure fascist occupation seventy years ago but also had to throw off Stalinist rule within the living memory of most.
The Czech Republic is the prime example.
Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Prague with seven Cabinet ministers. Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas took the opportunity to tell the Israeli press that the Czechs had “a special feeling” for Israel.
“We’ve got a special feeling for Israel’s situation – that of a small nation surrounded by enemies. We remember our situation in the 1930s, when the small democratic Czechoslovakia had neighbors that wanted to destroy it or take part of our territory.”
In 1938 Czechoslovakia not only was an advanced liberal democracy but had a strong and professional military and a world class armaments industry. This did not prevent the cowards of London and Paris in charge of the two leading democracies of Europe selling out the country to the Nazis in a midnight meeting with Hitler while the Czech delegates were forced to wait outside the door to hear the fate of their nation.