February 05, 2006

To Publish or Not to Publish

Many who have reported on the offending cartoons are beginning to self-examine and question whether their publication was justified or whether it was a deliberate and unacceptable provocation of practicing Muslims. While it is clear to see that they have done just that, I argue their publication is not only justified but necessary.

Anti-idiotarians in the blogosphere and in the media have effectively made the case that Islam is incompatible with the liberal freedom which have evolved in Western societies, in particular, the notion of a free press and the right of free speech. Over the last few days, I have heard numerous quotes from Muslims in the MSM. Even those who appeared the most calmly rational still failed to grasp the most fundamental understanding of these rights. To paraphrase most interviewees, “I believe in freedom of speech except when it offends my religion.

I have never heard anything resembling this argument in any of the controversies like Mapplethorpe’s photos or Serrano’s Piss Christ. Nobody I recall talked about banning their right to express, what was objectionable were the government subsidies involved. As an aside, I have always believed that government a necessary corollary top the freedom of religion is that the government ought not be in the business of subsidizing speech which offends religion. I would make that argument be the art anti-Christian, anti-Muslim.

Ironically here, the Muslim protesters are holding governments accountable for the actions of private individuals. The Danish government should be applauded for not meeting with the Middle Eastern ambassadors because of this very point. No dialogue is necessary.

All of the world’s Muslim leaders and imams need to be dragged into a stadium, told to sit down, shut up, and scolded – “This is freedom and this is the way it is going to be.

Absent that they need to be provoked and exposed as the enemies of freedom. When the world sees them burn embassies, threaten a holocaust and kill and maim innocents over a few cartoons, the sane people of the world will realize that our tolerance is too high and our vigilance too low.


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