Wednesday, September 12, 2007
More Muslim Outrage
The Muslim world is outraged... again. And my stars!... the last country containing containing artists with the balls to dare offend them is Sweden. And now, as if burning embassies, rioting, murder, and vicious threats of violence weren't sufficient displays of arrogance, a dispatch of ambassadors from Muslim countries is demanding that Sweden enact laws to protect them from offense. They suggest something along the lines of, "the protection enjoyed by Jews and homosexuals," which is entirely appropriate as this happens to be nothing.
Hopefully the Swedish authorities will channel Teresa Heinz and tell them to "shove it" but I am not hopeful. The entirety of this episode could be solved by telling these representatives that in a democracy a government has no responsibility to police the thoughts expressed in its nation's privately owned publications but such principles seem to be derogated when the offended group has utterly no comprehension of or respect (something they feel due to themselves) for the concept of free speech, and as such have no comprehension of why in such a society blasphemy is not a crime.
But alas, as we are unceasingly reminded, we must respect people of faith. And in that spirit of respect the Swedish Prime Minister has agreed to meet with Muslims to discuss the criminalization of satirizing Islam. One would be tempted to think this a quite insidious threat to a free press, but this concern has escaped the Muslim representatives, and their proclamations that "work needs to be done," "comprehensive measures are needed," and that "students should be taught to express themselves in ways that don't cause offense or hurt." If their is anything I hold dear it is the freedom to say anything I desire about their illiterate, epileptic, and sanguinary prophet but I along with the people of Sweden will undoubtedly find it in ourselves to refrain from rioting and arson in the face of this utterly castrating arrogance.
I don't know how any sane reader can see this as anything but a direct demand that free speech be abridged. Whether the cartoon is compatible with the perceived journalistic responsibility of the newspaper is irrelevant as a private newspaper has the right to publish anything it pleases, and yes this includes a right to insult. Liberals, Conservatives, gays, and Jews are not protected from offense and the fact that blasphemy is not a crime is indicative of nothing more than the fact that we are not a theocracy- a form of government so natural to them that they have no comprehension of how a people could value a system of government when they don't believe the creator of the universe endorses it.
Is there any way to express this to them? Is there any way to convince them that if they want to end criticism of their religion it is to argue against it or reform? No there isn't and it is stupid to try. This is a threat equal to the threat of terrorism which underlies all their paroxysms of outrage, and it seeks to undo everything that is worth saving in our culture.
The Algerian ambassador called his meeting with the Swedish PM "was an excellent initiative taken in a spirit of appeasement." They're not even trying to hide the creepy historical parallels anymore.