Two different stories from two different countries highlight two different aspects of a single theme: the West’s growing lack of cultural confidence.

First, this story from The Telegraph:

Islamic sharia law is gaining an increasing foothold in parts of Britain, a report claims.

Sharia, derived from several sources including the Koran, is applied to varying degrees in predominantly Muslim countries but it has no binding status in Britain.

However, the BBC Radio 4 programme Law in Action produced evidence yesterday that it was being used by some Muslims as an alternative to English criminal law. Aydarus Yusuf, 29, a youth worker from Somalia, recalled a stabbing case that was decided by an unofficial Somali “court” sitting in Woolwich, south-east London.

Mr Yusuf said a group of Somali youths were arrested on suspicion of stabbing another Somali teenager. The victim’s family told the police it would be settled out of court and the suspects were released on bail.

A hearing was convened and elders ordered the assailants to compensate their victim. “All their uncles and their fathers were there,” said Mr Yusuf. “So they all put something towards that and apologised for the wrongdoing.”

And so under the guise of “Legal Pluralism,” we see a western nation begin to give up the ability to fairly and equally apply the law to all of its citizens – although this doesn’t seem to concern the chap quoted in the article:

Mr Yusuf told the programme he felt more bound by the traditional law of his birth than by the laws of his adopted country. “Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law,” he said. “It’s not sharia, it’s not religious — it’s just a cultural thing.”

A “cultural thing,” indeed – I’d say that a large immigrant population that doesn’t feel bound by the laws of their new country is a pretty serious cultural problem for Great Britian.

Meanwhile, back in the good old U.S. of A, our defenders on the left are back at it, working to slay the evil Wal-Mart dragon, this time in San Diego, California:

The City Council here voted late Tuesday to ban certain giant retail stores, dealing a blow to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s potential to expand in the nation’s eighth-largest city.

The measure, approved on a 5-3 vote, prohibits stores of more than 90,000 square feet that use 10 percent of space to sell groceries and other merchandise that is not subject to sales tax. It takes aim at Wal-Mart Supercenter stores, which average 185,000 square feet and sell groceries.

Well, thank goodness! I can’t imagine what sort of havoc would be unleashed on the city if these new jobs were made available to job seekers. And hey, doesn’t everybody know by now that Wal-Mart is bad for the poor?

In sum: Western culture continues to be attacked from within and without. Our legal foundations continue to be undermined in the name of multiculturalism, and we continue to shackle our economic systems in the misguided belief that doing so will help the poor and downtrodden. My friends, we live in interesting times.