PORTSTEWART, Northern Ireland
Everywhere one looks in Europe, there are signs that free people are prepared to surrender without a fight to those who would place them in bondage.
In England, a new government-backed study has found that British schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons. Teachers are afraid to teach about the Nazi atrocity because Muslim students might take offense.
The study also discovered resistance by teachers to cover the 11th-century Crusades, when Christians fought Muslims for control of Jerusalem, because the lessons contradict what Muslim students are taught in mosques. The sacrifice of truth in favor of propaganda for fear of violence is the first step on the road to enslavement.
It gets worse. A new survey by the respected YouGov organization has found most Britons want to scale down their country's involvement in world affairs at a time of great international challenge. Fifty-five percent of respondents said they oppose Britain ''punching above its weight,'' trying to have more influence in the world than its military and economic strength would seem able to support.
Sixty-five percent of respondents say Britain is already overextended and should reduce its overseas commitments, spend less and not have as much military influence in the world as it now has. Worse, 69 percent say they would not want their son entering the armed forces and 75 percent oppose their daughter entering the military. Free people won't long remain free if people are unwilling to fight for freedom against those who would take it from them.
Joining in the surrender syndrome is the once-respected BBC. A headline in the London Daily Telegraph reads, ''BBC Approves 'Dumbing Down' At Expense Of Current Affairs.''
Senior BBC bosses think their current affairs programming, including its award-winning ''Panorama'' show, is too dull. The BBC is beginning to favor more entertainment while current affairs programming has fallen to its lowest prime-time level in more than 50 years. More rock stars in rehab and other distresses; fewer programs about the growing threat to Britain from Islamists; more bottom feeding, less brain food. In this, the BBC is emulating American television.
In Belgium, a newspaper has published a copy of the Quran in French and offered free coupons for a Flemish language translation of Islam's holy book. The paper also published a book called ''Islam Now,'' which presents a history of the religion up to the modern era. I haven't seen it, but would be willing to bet it contains little, if anything, about the terrorism carried out in the name of Islam by fanatics.
All of this is appeasement in the extreme. In post-Christian, and in many cases anti-Christian, Europe, (don't look for reprints of the Bible or an accurate newspaper story about the Resurrection of Jesus at Easter), nations that have allowed the immigration of large numbers of Muslims have failed to deal with the radicals among them. The radicals have deliberately refused to be ''westernized,'' or assimilated, and Europe is now trying appeasement in hopes of pacifying people whose goal is not getting along, but obliterating them and their way of life.
All of this - with surely more on the way - comes from the flawed Western point of view that others will be nice to us if we are nice to them. If this were true, the prisons would be empty and there would be no need for burglar alarms and firearms to protect us from criminals. Evil exists and must be defeated, or evil will triumph.
One of the consequences of Europe's growing secularization is its jettisoning of the moral and theological concept of evil. Self-focused and intent only on pleasure, Europeans can no longer focus on much outside of their own personal worlds. This is like refusing to be interrupted when your house is on fire because you don't want to miss your favorite TV program.
The world is on fire, but Britain and much of the rest of Europe are not paying attention - but its enemies are noticing. And while Europe's enemies arm themselves for war, they regard the European attitude toward them as unilateral surrender. Winston Churchill would have called it the gathering storm. As it has done before with severe consequences, modern Europe prefers to ignore the clouds.
E-mail nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have any thoughts about this column? Share them with us at email@example.com. Letters should be no more than 200 words and are subject to approval by the publisher. Letters may be edited for style and space requirements. Please sign your name and provide an address and a daytime telephone number. Address letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor, Gwinnett Daily Post, P.O. Box 603, Lawrenceville, GA 30046-0603. The fax number is 770-339-8081.