© 2006 Ross Williams
The Conservative US government has issued its official position on The Danish Cartoon Controversy, courtesy of the State Department, by saying, essentially: "We believe in freedom of expression, however..."
Yes; "however", you don't. Not if you're willing to rescind it the moment people beyond your control are willing to go on a rampage.
The US Liberals, not having a leader to speak of, and relying upon grassroots input to determine which way the wind is blowing, I figured that perhaps, just perhaps, the Liberals might actually prove they have some substance in their spine besides half-formed Jell-O®. If any do, they seem to be silent.
The Liberal comments I've been reading in online message boards are taking a different path to the same conclusion made by the Bush Administration. "We believe in freedom of expression, however..."
Yes, "however", you don't.
But – and this is apparently critical – not because freedom of expression should be rescinded because people beyond Liberals' control are willing to use their offense-taking as an excuse to go on a rampage. Instead, and pay careful attention to the wording here, freedom of expression should be rescinded because people beyond Liberals' control have no choice but to use their offense-taking as an excuse to go on a rampage.
Yes, we're back to American Liberal excuse-making for third-world hooliganism.
A smattering of rationalizations found in public commentary:
"if one is so insensitive as to desecrate the core beliefs of another's faith, then they'd better be ready for the repercussions, as horrible and unlawful as they might be. Shame on those that created these atrocious, hate mongering depictions." - "M.Black"
Yes, if she only hadn't worn that provocative skirt, she wouldn't have been raped ... Shame on her!
"I believe the danish paper shouldn't have published those unfair depiction of muhhamad since they are not simply criticism on Muslim faith, but unfair allegations that all muslims are terrorist and that their faith encourages them to act violently, something for wich there's no proof" - "Paul"
Nope. No proof at all, Paul, unless you accept exhortations from their clergy to act violently as encouragement to, like, act all violent or something. Except for being wrong, you're absolutely right.
"it has nothing to do with cartoons or religion, but with accumulated resentmemt against the West because of suppression and broken promises. Period." - "Tarjei Straume"
Right, Tarj; Greater Islamia is perfectly justified in being resentful of the West for continually refusing to quietly submit to repeated attempts at islamist domination for 1,300 years. How dare we defend ourselves!
"If you defend the 'right' of the cartoonists to 'express' their 'beliefs' by drawing these cartoons, then you must defend the 'right' of those Muslims who choose to 'express' their 'beliefs' through violent means." - "Bill"
Yep, you "heard" it here first: "rioting", "firebombing" and "murder" are "First Amendment" "issues". They're just expressing themselves. Awwww. Ainnit cu-u-ute.
"I'm afraid that the story isn't about freedom of expression vs respect for religious beliefs, but rather that when moderates protest peacefully nobody cares." - "Carlos"
In other words, capitulate to our totalitarian demands for you to stop saying we’re violent or else we’ll get violent.
"Before you group all muslims together due to the extremists you have to also remember, every religion\society has its extremists. ... Look at the abortion doctors that have been killed by right-wing extremist here in the US. Also consider Timothy McVeigh." - "Greg"
Indeed they do, "Greg". But at last count there's one religion/culture which uses the auspices of that religion/culture to exhort extremism. It ain't the US; we prosecute anti-abortion murderers and domestic terrorists.
"I don't condone the response of our Muslim sisters and brothers, but I understand it. Moreover, the inability of many Westerners to understand is, of course, part of the clash between the cultures." - "Bill" [again]
I don't condone the actions of my children when they kick each other and punch each other and pinch and smack and slap each other in the back seat. Furthermore I understand it as well. The understanding goes as follows: they are children acting childishly. Understanding their childish actions does not preclude me, their father, from stopping the car and swatting a fanny. I am obliged to take some tangible action to enforce that which I've declared to be the ground rules of being my child. Refusing to do so is irresponsible of me; ducking behind the mere abstract refusal to condone their actions is an academic dodge.
I further understand the puerile pan-islamists: they are childish ideologues acting childishly, and often with high-caliber weapons. That understanding does not preclude me from calling it what it is, nor should it preclude our government[s] from doing the same. We either have freedom of expression or we do not; if we do, then it is our individual and collective responsibility to support it. If we subordinate our freedoms the first time someone threatens mass violence in response to "rude", then we are ducking our responsibility. And probably out of fear. Which means we just lost our rights.
"above and beyond the legalities, some things are too hateful to say- it's just *wrong*." - "Jim"
Thanks for doing our thinking for us, "Jim", and being our moral arbiter. You wanna do our breathing for us, too? How about paying our bills for us as well, since you're all-fired hot on treating us as the children the pan-islamists are acting like...
"Had some arrogant editors in Europe thought about that for a bit, there might be a few more people alive today." - "Chris"
Those who are dead are, to date, protesters who were storming embassies and military bases, and were killed by riot-control or fellow protesters. To consider their deaths to be the direct result of "arrogant editors" is to remove responsibility from any individual who takes righteous indignation to violent extremes. We have just declared the pan-islamist rioters to be less than juvenile; they are now brainless automatons who have no control over their actions, or responsibility for themselves.
It is well-known in the psycho-sociology of infantilism that one child looking at another is a High Crime. Maybe my youngest daughter is right; when her older brother looks at her and she hits him for it, it is his fault.
"Within the historical context of Western atrocities against Islamic peoples and the current economic and political oppression by Western powers..." - "Michael Bissett"
Crack a history book, there, "Michael". One that discusses Middle Eastern history prior to 1948.
"Free speech doesn't mean there won't be consequences to your expressions, but that is what good manners are for. I believe it's called being civil. That said, I must admit that good manners can be deceiving. The British were some of the most civilized barbarians ever to roam the planet." - "Jack O'Boyle"
I just thought this one was amusing and deserved a reprint. Thumb's up, "Jack".
"What positive social, economical, or political result was to be elicited from the cartoons? ...there should be some positive output to any expression, and if that was not the case here, then the authors of these cartoon were nothing more than 'provocateurs of violence', and instruments of hate-mongering." - "Faye"
What positive social, economical [sic], or political result might be garnered from your comments, "Faye"? Without some sort of positive output from your statement, I can only conclude that you are a provocateur of violence, and mongering hate.
What’s good for the goose, toots.
The longer we rationalize why some people don’t need to act civilized, the longer they won’t. The longer we refuse to defend ourselves and our way of life, the longer we’ll be in someone’s crosshairs. And probably the crosshairs of those who refuse to act civilized.