Remembering the Inkifada

|

The Boulder Weekly's Pamela White has a long sitdown with a guy who really should be someone's man of the year, Danish newspaper editor Flemming "Wanna see my cartoons?" Rose.

BW: I'm a card carrying left-wing nut cake, but I was surprised when I originally wrote about the cartoons to find that almost no one on the left wanted to comment. Why, in your opinion, are the issues surrounding the publication of these cartoons such an uncomfortable topic for the left? Few on the left want to talk about this.

FR: I think the left has betrayed its own ideals in this case, because the publication of the cartoons is exactly about what the left has been fighting for in the past 150 years—free speech and the right to challenge religious authority and to challenge a religion that, in fact, favors the oppression of women. [Muslim extremists] do not accept the equality between the sexes. They do not accept equality from representatives of different religions. They specifically say, "Our religion is better and should have favorable treatment compared to other faiths."

But I think it has to do with the fact that the left—at least in Europe, I can't speak about the left in the United States—views the Muslims as the new proletariat. They're the new oppressed minority that they have to defend. It shortcuts all rational thinking. [Islamic radicals] can say and do almost anything, and it will be explained away by saying, "These people are victims."

It also has to do with the legacy of the Second World War and the Nazis and the establishment of the United Nations and the fact that it became taboo to speak about cultural differences in Western Europe because of the imperial legacy. It's very sensitive to be critical toward a culture. It's taboo, no matter how oppressive that culture might be in itself.

Much more over at the Weekly's site. Bruce Bawer saw the Inkifada coming back in 2005, and Brian Doherty followed the story on Hit and Run.

NEXT: James Brown on Gerald Ford

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “These people are victims.”

    That about says it all. To be a ‘victim’ in today’s political and social environment confers a sort of plenary indulgence on any atrocity one may choose to commit.

  2. I wonder what the actual words replaces with [Muslim extremists] were.

    Those people?

    Muslims?

    What?

  3. Probably just “they”.

  4. David,

    So, in context, he’s saying “Muslims,” without modification.

    Muslims can say or do anything…

    Waah, those darn minorities can get away with anything…

    Gee, I wonder why The Left isn’t rushing to this guy’s defense.

  5. Aresen,

    You are confusing me with obfuscation again.

  6. They specifically say, “Our religion is better and should have favorable treatment compared to other faiths.”

    Admittedly, we say the same thing. Maybe substitute “philosophy” instead of religion.

    Westerners consider the right to insult someone’s religion to be more important than the right to not have one’s religion insulted. Muslims appear to believe the opposite.

  7. Good old joe.

    Seeking offense where none was intended. How liberal.

  8. What scares me the most is that the left is not in any real way “Marxist” anymore. Certainly, Marx had no use for religion and the 20th Century Marxist movements waged war on traditional religions in the third world. A real dogmatic Marxist would view radical Muslims as the enemy. Not that I have any sympathy for Marxism, but at least Marxists had a coherent ideology and there were some devils against which there could be common cause. The hard Left now is just the leftism of the underdog. The underdog is always on the right side. The Palestinians are the cause de jour because they are the underdog. The facts that they as a people refuse to live in peace with Israel and engage in the ugliest most barbaric forms of warfare known to man, mean nothing. They are the underdog and therefore most be right. Muslims in Europe are the underdog and therefore must be embraced regardless of their violent, misogynistic and dysfunctional cultures. Everything gets thrown over the side for the perceived underdog. Most disturbing is the European Left’s willingness to consign woman to ashes of Islamic misogyny There was a string of gang rapes in London a few years ago that were perpetrated by young Pakistani men. I can’t find the link to it, but I remember a columnist in the Guardian writing that the victims were at least partially to blame for wearing revealing Western clothing in front of these men and that woman were going to have to learn to be more sensitive of other cultures when they went out in public. As bizarre as it sounds, some day when Muslims are the majority in Europe, it will be some European women who claim to be liberated feminists who will be the first to embrace the burka in the name of cultural sensitivity.

  9. “Muslims appear to believe the opposite.”

    No. Muslims reserve the right to insult all religions sans Islam. The same Muslim who will burn down a newspaper for printing a cartoon of Muhamad in the name of tolerance will refer to all Jews and Christians as pigs and monkeys unworthy of full recognition in society. This has nothing to do with respect for religion in general and everything to do with Islam.

  10. John,

    The Soviets often backed radical jihadists in their fights against Western-oriented governments. Fighting against cultural backwardsness was something commies did when they took over, which is completely in keeping with their philosophy that class/economic concerns are the foremost drivers of history, and culture falls in line behind them. Marxists have always sided with the underdog, despite cultural and philosophical differences.

    At this point, you should probably have a lot more question marks in your comments about leftist philosophies, and a lot fewer periods. Hasn’t it occured to you by now that you don’t know very much about the subject?

  11. Not necessarily, joe. It’s just an excerpt, so he could have said “Muslim extremists” or something like it earlier in the interview and they substituted that for the first they.

    Anyway, if his point is that Muslim groups in Europe don’t get as much criticism for attacking other faiths, lifestyles, etc. as others do for attacking Islam, it might be a fair one.

  12. If Muslims become the majority in Europe, wouldn’t the European left then champion Christians, since they will be the underdog?

  13. David,

    Look at that second paragraph in the final answer that Weigel posted, and substitue “They” for “[Muslim extremists].” The antecedent is pretty clear.

    Curious,

    You mean like the Left rallied to the aparteid regime in South Africa? It’s not about numbers.

  14. This is little different than in the 80’s when being “anti-apartheid” was the **cough** brave thing to do.

    Never mind that non-white African dictators were at the same time savagely oppressing their populations, if not committing outright genocide, but we digress. Can’t have a faddish social movement without a convenient and easily identifiable boogeyman.

    Commit all the human rights atrocities you want, as long as you ain’t whitey doing it.

  15. “The Soviets often backed radical jihadists in their fights against Western-oriented governments. Fighting against cultural backwardsness was something commies did when they took over,”

    They only did so as a pure cynical act of global politics. The Soviets certainly did not embrace the culture of radical Islam the way that the European Left does today. You make a fair point but as usual make it in such an insulting way that it is really not worth engaging you on the subject. I really wouldn’t mind having a serious conversation about the subject, but you, as evidenced by your “you really don’t know much” comment are apparently incapable of doing so without engaging in juvenile name calling. Are you really that insecure and afraid to confront me on substance Joe or are you just a jerk or both?

  16. Whoa joe, you must have heard me coming.

    Anyway, a timely rebuttal.

  17. “Commit all the human rights atrocities you want, as long as you ain’t whitey doing it.”

    That hits the nail on the head. After the two World Wars and Imperialism, Europe in particular lost its self confidence to such an extreme that from now on nothing the white man does can ever be right and nothing anyone else does can ever be wrong. Mugabe is one hundred times worse than the Apartheid South African government ever did. Mugabe of course is welcome in polite company in Europe and good luck finding any “de-invest in Zimbabwe” movement.

  18. joe

    Really whats your point?

    So it is clear that [what is in these brackets] is unfavorable to you. What does that have to do the very real problem that multicultural Europe must face, as pointed out in the interview. i.e. How do you promote tolerance of a minority that is inherently intolerant?

  19. Guy:

    “You are confusing me with obfuscation again.”

    But it’s so easy, and so much fun! 😉

    John’s comment @ 11:24 lays it out more explicitly. If one can claim to be a ‘victim’ – a status no healthy white male not living in poverty can aspire to – one is excused from all standards of behaviour.

  20. “They only did so as a pure cynical act of global politics.”

    Er, no, they recognized that popular uprisings against imperialist, feudal, or capitalist governments were almost always colored by local culture, and saw this as part of the “natural” course of history they believed in. The Bolshies themselves marched behind Russian Orthodox priests in the early days, don’t forget.

    “The Soviets certainly did not embrace the culture of radical Islam the way that the European Left does today.” The European Left does not embrace “the culture of radical Islam.” You just have troubled recognizing political dynamics more complicated than elves vs. orcs.

    And my comments were both insulting AND substantive, thank you very much.

  21. “Commit all the human rights atrocities you want, as long as you ain’t whitey doing it.”

    You don’t suppose that South Africa’s status as our ally, to whom we and our European allies gave military and intelligence aid, played any role in encouraging Americans to feel more responsible for the regime’s behavior than for, say, some dictator who was actively allied with the Soviets?

    Nah, it’s just that white people are always being picked on.

  22. When is the West going to stop self-flagellating and stand up for itself? OK, so the history of the Western World is not perfect but no society has a perfect history. We need to recognize that if we do not stand up for the fundamental principles of freedom and yes, secularism, we are going to be living in a caliphate within a few generations.

  23. Inkifada”?
    I thought it was the “Intoonfada”.
    Or is that title sooo 2006?

  24. “You don’t suppose that South Africa’s status as our ally, to whom we and our European allies gave military and intelligence aid, played any role in encouraging Americans to feel more responsible for the regime’s behavior than for, say, some dictator who was actively allied with the Soviets?”

    Joe that statement is dumb even by your admittedly low standards. First, the people who objected to South Africa were hardly the ones who supported the alliance with them during the cold war. If what you were saying were true, it would have been the cold warriors in a fit of guilt who wanted to divest from South Africa. Second, it wasn’t just that the people who screamed about South Africa ignored the dictators in Africa, they actively supported them. It was the left who objected to South Africa while excusing every murdering leftist dictator on the continent. You really don’t know much about he Cold War or South Africa do you? You might want to put some question marks in your statements so perhaps you could learn something.

  25. steveintheknow,

    My point is that I lack sympathy for people who deliberately provoke and stereotype minorities. Would you like me to generalize from John to all small-government advocates?

    This isn’t a minor point, btw, to your big question – how should liberals (broadly speaking) deal with illiberal elements in society without violating the tenets of liberalism? An important part of that answer is to avoid the distinctly illiberal sins of stereotyping based on group identity, or baiting the most radical elements of a group in order to smear the entire group with the resulting actions.

    The task of encouraging moderate voices and encouraging a rapproachment isn’t made any easier by people who give radicals and excuse to act out, and then proclaim that the whole group is uncivilized.

  26. Nah, it’s just that white people are always being picked on.

    Nah, it’s just that the left’s obsession with race and identity politics blinds it to the bulk of human rights atrocities on the planet. If not for religous efforts, few would have heard of Darfur.

    But let’s not bother lefties with minor complaints as this whilst they pave the road to Hell.

  27. “First, the people who objected to South Africa were hardly the ones who supported the alliance with them during the cold war/

    By “we,” I was referring to the United States. In case you haven’t noticed, liberals feel that our nation as a whole is responsible for actions taken by our government in our names, even if the administration that takes those actions is not liberal.

    “Second, it wasn’t just that the people who screamed about South Africa ignored the dictators in Africa, they actively supported them.”

    Names?

  28. “The task of encouraging moderate voices and encouraging a rapproachment isn’t made any easier by people who give radicals and excuse to act out, and then proclaim that the whole group is uncivilized.”

    God you are on a roll today Joe. An “excuse to act out?” WTF? Yes, don’t stand up for any principles or say that anything is wrong or try to tell people that there are standards of behavior in a free society or you will just give the radicals “an excuse to act out.” Joe it is people like you who give encouragement to radicals by confirming all of their worst suspicions about a decadent and degraded West. Sitting around and worrying about the sensibilities of religious fanatics is not the way to stop said fanatics.

  29. “They only did so as a pure cynical act of global politics.”

    It’s a damn good thing WE never stooped so low. We might have created an unstable, heavily armed, jihadist training facility.

  30. The left has a serious problem on this issue. Acceptance of all cultures as equals is very important, but the left has forgotten about acceptance of all individuals as equals. Peace is a paramount concern, yet rioting because of a cartoon (i.e., an idea) is acceptable. When does the left finally say, “don’t riot, it’s counterproductive” or “hey, Palestinians, maybe you should take the land deal, build up power, then renegotiate,” or “the Muslim masses will never raise their standard of living using violence.” Do we want Muslims to live better in peace, or do we want them to continuously destroy their own economies through violence? I wish the left would be just as skeptical of Islamic dictatorships and radical imams as it is of corporate hegemony in the US.

    Like Joe, I don’t buy into the accusations that the left is anti-whitey and anti-western. Just because the right wing gives whites a pass regarding the same stuff it condemns non-whites for, doesn’t mean the left is anti-white. It just means that the left is trying to be coherent. The way I see it is that the right can’t sell its imperialism to the masses, so it uses the terminology of the left for political marketing purposes. Since the right’s ideas can’t be reconciled with left wing terminology, there is a serious hypocracy that the left loves to highlight. We’re going to lecture other countries on human rights when we have the highest incarceration rate in the free world? Yeah right. The US never engaged in cynical politics? Pfft.

    On the other hand, as I said, the left has abandoned the individual in favor of non-judgmental acceptance of all other cultures, regardless of where that leaves the individuals of those cultures. Aside from economic issues, it sounds a lot like the rhetoric of marxism.

  31. Oh Yeah! [waving fist]

    I luvs me a John vs joe cage match. Ize tell ya, if it were a PPV event I’d order it. My hope is that they annihilate each other in a glorious photonic discharge, like a matter/anti-matter collision.

  32. “Er, no, they recognized that popular uprisings against imperialist, feudal, or capitalist governments were almost always colored by local culture, and saw this as part of the “natural” course of history they believed in. The Bolshies themselves marched behind Russian Orthodox priests in the early days, don’t forget.”

    Keerrapp.

    The Bolsheviks, the Soviets and the Communists used populist movements for nothing more than cover. As soon as they gained power, they turned on their non-Communist supporters. Trotsky’s famous “Dustbin of History” phrase was directed not at capitalists, but at the Social Democrats when they were being driven out of the Soviet Government. Likewise, Castro proceeded to purge the Provisional Government in Cuba of all but the Communists as soon as they began to object to the mass executions.

  33. “In case you haven’t noticed, liberals feel that our nation as a whole is responsible for actions taken by our government in our names, even if the administration that takes those actions is not liberal.”

    Joe, you really can’t be that fucking stupid. Really? Go find me one example of anyone in the 1980s who supported devestiture because the U.S. was responsible for South Africa. They supported it because it was a white regime opressing a black minority. To claim otherwise is to just live in bizaro world, which is of course where you live.

    “Second, it wasn’t just that the people who screamed about South Africa ignored the dictators in Africa, they actively supported them.”

    Names?”

    Mugabe. He has been in power for 26 years and was the darling of the European left up until the last few years when his policies became so oppressive and embarassing that they had to start ignoring him.

  34. John,

    What principle is being stood up for by making fun of someone’s religion? By asserting that all followers of that religion are violent lunatics? What “standards of free society” are being insisted upon by showing Mohammed with a bomb in his turban – not bin Ladin, but Mohammed? It’s not an anti-violence message; it’s an anti-Muslim message. Screw that, attacking people’s religion – not even particular religious beliefs, but the idea of the religion itself – is the antithesis of the liberal values you pretend to support when it’s convenient.

    John, it is people like you who encourage radicals to believe that the West is anti-Muslim, not just anti-violence and anti-oppression, with your insistence that there is no difference between the two, and your willful inability to realize that praying at a mosque does not necessarily make some a religion fanatic, or your enemy.

  35. joe

    True, true, I see your sentiment clearer now. The task isn’t made easier when radicals are given the excuse, but was that the case in this situation? Or was it the radicals who gave themselves the excuse, thus making it the liberalized west’s responsibility to restrict its own values of free speech.

    It should be pointed out that Flemming Rose does describe, in the first question of the interview, how the controversy gave the moderate Muslim’s the opportunity to distance themselves from the typically more vocal extremist Imams, and how he supports them.

    Nowhere in this interview, or from what I ever gathered from the whole controversy did I get the feeling that he or his newspaper were among those who “deliberately provoke and stereotype minorities”, as you have described it. At least not for some nefarious reason as would be implied by said description.

  36. Acceptance of all cultures as equals is very important…

    I’d say that said cultures, especially those that embrace Wahabism and/or Sharia law, manage to find their way out of the 12th century and start to approach standards that don’t involve smiting thine enemies of just about anything is a bit more important.

    Stop behaving like barbarians in blue jeans and then we can start considering them as equals.

  37. Here’s a question: if you find it acceptable to lump in radical Muslims with peaceful ones, can you blame radical Muslims for lumping peaceful Westerners in with radicals (like the US neocons)?

  38. The task of encouraging moderate voices and encouraging a rapproachment isn’t made any easier by people who give radicals and excuse to act out, and then proclaim that the whole group is uncivilized.

    Whoa, whoa. A cartoon is an excuse to riot? Are you serial?

  39. Dear John,
    They supported it because it was a white regime opressing a black minority.

    Surely you meant to say black majority. You did, didn’t you?

    Dear joe,
    What “standards of free society” are being insisted upon by showing Mohammed with a bomb in his turban?

    How about freedom of speech and press?

  40. Lamar,

    I have never seen a leftist describe rioting over a cartoon as acceptable, just predictable and understandable. The former expresses an opinion about the act’s moral status, while the latter two – this is the important part – DO NOT.

    Arensen,

    Your observations about how communists treat their erstwhile allies, while true, does not contradict anything I said. Marxism posits a progressive history, with society moving from one stage to another. Obviously, the forces that move it from A to B to C (say, nationalism or religious seperatism) are not always going to be consistent with Marxist class-consciousness (which they see as moving history from Y to Z). Nonetheless, Marxists did view forces that moved society from one earlier stage to another with genuine support. That they would turn on the grouops who (in their view) moved things from B to C when it came time to move from E to F only demonstrates their ruthlessness, not their hypocrisy. Marx wrote quite honestly when he praised the bourgeois of the Middle Ages for their efforts to move society from feudalism to capitalism, for example.

  41. “What principle is being stood up for by making fun of someone’s religion?”

    The marketplace of ideas.

  42. What “standards of free society” are being insisted upon by showing Mohammed with a bomb in his turban – not bin Ladin, but Mohammed? It’s not an anti-violence message; it’s an anti-Muslim message.

    The standard of free society is that is acceptable to express one’s opinions whether or not people will be offended by them.

  43. “just predictable and understandable.”

    When there isn’t a strong condemnation, me’s a gets confused.

  44. Joe

    In addition FR makes a valid, if not totally accurate point, in the following paragraph that by treating any minority with a special privileged status immune from the offenses of free speech is, in it of itself, discrimination.

    “We make fun of Jesus Christ, and we make fun of Hindus and Buddhists and the [Danish] royal family and politicians. When you’re saying, “No, you should be careful. You should treat them differently,” this is, in fact, very humiliating, because you are saying, “You are so weak. You are so different that we have to treat you like small children and not grown ups who have to think and be responsible people.””

  45. “we are going to be living in a caliphate within a few generations.”

    how?

    if one wanted to make a jump and say “at war with a caliphate” then maybe you might have some room, at least as far as what if history means. but how the living fiddle fuck dee dooh is a non-christian autocratic/theocratic government going to take over the united states? this is one of those weird victimhood fantasies that seems to dominate american public life, especially given our propensity for manichean ad hominems against opponents. it’s totally redonkulous, especially in light of all these catholic immigrants from mexico and the southern americas – we’re more likely to have a homegrown falangista movement than a jihadist one. (cue lonewacko in 3-2-1…i don’t think either is very likely, obviously.)

    at some point this will become a problem that certain european countries will be forced to address in severely overt ways. some will be repressive. hopefully others will be less so.

  46. John,

    “Go find me one example of anyone in the 1980s who supported devestiture because the U.S. was responsible for South Africa.”

    OK – me.

    JW,

    You can differtiate between a descriptive statement and a normative one, right? You know that the statement “A leads to B” is not the same as “It is good for B to occur in response to A,” right?

    Warren,

    “How about freedom of speech and press?” Nice dodge – you don’t even have to address the content with that quip. Let me make it easier – what liberal values are advanced by showing Mohammed as a terrorist, rather than as a guy picking flowers?

    steveintheknow,

    Imagine if I printed a cartoon of Ronald Reagan in Klan robes, lynching a black man. How much credit would I earn by declaring my sympathy for moderal conservatives in the aftermath? There most certainly has been a racist problem with the “southern strategy” Republican party in the second half of the 20th century, one that was roughly as widespread as the violence problem among Muslims. Would depicting a revered Republican leader as a murderous terrorist be justified by the involvement of some number of Republicans in racist acts? Or would I just be an obnoxious troublemaker trying to start a fight?

  47. “what liberal values are advanced by showing Mohammed as a terrorist, rather than as a guy picking flowers?”

    Truth. Mohammed was a warrior, not a gardener.

  48. “Or would I just be an obnoxious troublemaker trying to start a fight?”

    I guess the question is, would conservatives riot in the streets?

  49. dhex

    “we are going to be living in a caliphate within a few generations.”

    how?

    I would guess that is meant as an overstatement. I highly doubt that anyone thinks that we will be truly living in a caliphate. However what is not as unlikely as you think is to have separate aspects on Islamism gradualy encroach on Western lifestyle.

    For example in Ontario (Canada) there was a recent push to allow Sharia to be practiced (legaly enforacable)in family law arbitrations. The argument for that was that Ontario already allows Catholic and Jewish ‘religous’ arbitration, so why are Muslims being disriminated against?

  50. You can differtiate between a descriptive statement and a normative one, right? You know that the statement “A leads to B” is not the same as “It is good for B to occur in response to A,” right?

    Uh, yeah. Rioting in repsonse to a cartoon should be considered neither predicatable nor understandable.

    Meebee you should spell it out for dunces like me. Who’s in the wrong here? Somone expressing an idea or someone threatening to kill them for doing so?

    I’ll save you time. “Both” is the wrong answer.

  51. joe

    I beg to contradict you.

    Marx did indeed praise capitalism because, in his view, it moved forward from feudalism. But he utterly rejected nationalism as a step backwards and did not want Communism associated with it. The Soviets used nationalism (or ethnic “causes”) for nothing more than cover. I will grant that there are socialist movements which are nationalist (hmm – National Socialist, where have I heard that before?), but they cannot truly be described as Marxist.

    Further, Marx also stated that freedom of speech was essential in a Communist society. Modern leftists have conveniently forgotten that.

  52. “Rioting in repsonse to a cartoon should be considered neither predicatable nor understandable.”

    Irrational, counterproductive and embarassing come to mind, though. Spurred on by religious leaders seeking to consolidate their own power rather than empower the masses also comes to mind.

  53. Let me make it easier – what liberal values are advanced by showing Mohammed as a terrorist, rather than as a guy picking flowers?

    Yeah, I’m still going with free speech and press. Imagine you had printed “a cartoon of Ronald Reagan in Klan robes, lynching a black man”. Now imagine the the apocalyptic fits O’Reilly and the rest of the Fox crew and AM radio crowd would throw condemning you. Now contrast that with people rioting in the streets. See the difference? No? Think harder.

  54. Lamar

    “Mohammed was a warrior, not a gardener.”

    A little nitpick: I believe he was a merchant before he “got the call.”

    I suspect that the jihadists and Muslim radicals would consider portraying him as a gardener to be equally an insult, which I see was an implied point of your next post.

  55. Lamar,

    “I guess the question is, would conservatives riot in the streets?”

    That is one question, but it is not the only question.

    If conservatives were rioting in the streets, would that make the publication of my Reagan/Klan cartoon good? It would, after all, further free speech, the marketplace of ideas, and truth just as much as depicting Mohammed with a bomb. You, too, JW. Since it is not possible for something to be wrong if the response is also wrong (God, that is an idiotic idea), I guess my proposed cartoon would become right, so long as it inspired a single act of violence.

    That’s a great philosophy you’ve got there, btw. Tell me, would it be wrong of me to publish such a cartoon, right up until some Reaganite with a mean streak broke a window, and then immediately become wrong?

  56. John,

    In your earlier post you offered the view that liberals view the underdog as thier main cause such as the Palestinians. Well, if this is the reason why the “left” sides with Palestin then the logic is flawed.

    I side with Palestin because they are in a position of power and are not the underdog.It is absolute stratic folley to side with Israel as they are greatly outnumbered by Muslims in the region. Eventauly they will be destroyed. It would be better stategy for the US and the rest of the world be on the “winning” side in this conflict. Even better if the US stayed out completly. Then see how long Israel is around.

    Any who, the threat from radical Muslims to the every day American is very very slight and way to much exposure to this minor threat is in the media. That is what this moron from Denmark was shooting for. More exposure to a minor threat to magnify it in the world view. This way it must be dealt with by bullies like Cheney and Bush.

  57. Arensen,

    Marx denounced nationalism as a force in contempory western politics, among the populace of independent states, as a step back from internationalism and class consciousness. But at an earlier stage of history – for example, when colonized people were rising up against European occupiers – Marxists very enthusiastically supported those movements. Please keep in mind, the terms “earlier” and “contemporary” are used here to refer to positions on the Marxist “march of history” narrative, and are not meant to be chronological.

  58. Whether the response is rioting in the streets or not, being able to publish the cartoon is good.

  59. Correct me if im wrong here.

    But is joe not completly obfuscating the issue here. The rioting, burning and destruction was infact a response to the fact that Mohammed’s likeness was printed at all and to one other cartoon which wasnt actualy printed.

    The fact that there was a bomb in his turban, which is joe’s central argument, was completly secondary, and it received some finger wagging from moderate muslim voices.

    Again that was my take on the issue. And testing just how free is free speech, was the sole intent of that cartoon series.

  60. Warren,

    “Imagine you had printed “a cartoon of Ronald Reagan in Klan robes, lynching a black man”. Now imagine the the apocalyptic fits O’Reilly and the rest of the Fox crew and AM radio crowd would throw condemning you.”

    OK. So there’s a big hissy fight between liberals and conservatives about symbolism, personality, and partisanship. Where, exactly, is the advancement of any positive values in here?

    And no, I’m not terribly interested in the childishly simplistic observation that physical violence would set back liberal, western values EVEN MORE – the answer to which is a deafening, “Well, DUH!”

    You (several of you, actuallly) made the statement that such cartoons positively advance our values. I’m still waiting for something approaching an argument that backs that up.

    Hint: “yeah, well, we’re better than Muslims who riot!” isn’t such an argument.

  61. David,

    Being able to publish the cartoon is indeed good. My question is not about the goodness of the Danish government refusing to censor cartoons.

    My question is about the goodness of publishing that cartoon in the first place – the individual (and corporate) act by the writer, editor, and publisher to put it out there.

    I could run a cartoon of a hooked-nosed Jew strangling a child a bakery before Passover. It is good that our government would not forbid its publication. AND YET, I feel that there is another moral question worth asking here.

  62. joe,
    OK I’ll type slow and use small words.

    The idea is, you can print what you want and that in and of itself is a good thing. Even if what you print is bad, your right to print bad things is good.

  63. Since it is not possible for something to be wrong if the response is also wrong (God, that is an idiotic idea), I guess my proposed cartoon would become right, so long as it inspired a single act of violence.

    OK, maybe I’m not the dunce here after all.

    S-l-o-w-l-y now: Free speech is never wrong, no matter what is said. Threatening (or committing) violence upon the speaker is.

    If some cultural throwbacks find said speech is so offensive that they *must* riot, that’s their problem. That doesn’t make the original speaker wrong. Wrong-headed maybe, ill-conceived perhaps, but not wrong for speaking in the first place.

  64. I find engaging the marketplace of ideas to be a neutral act, neither right nor wrong. Muhammed with a bomb makes a powerful statement, not all true but not all false. It cries out for definition, engagement.

    In your Reagan/Klan hypothetical (a href=”http://www.infowars.com/images2/ps/Bush_-_HitlerFake.jpg”>sort of like the various Hitler/Bush posters/cartoons?), the rightness or wrongness of the expression is not clear cut.

  65. Warren,

    I’ll use smaller words:

    That is not the question I’m asking.

  66. joe,
    This is the question you asked:
    “What liberal values are advanced by showing Mohammed as a terrorist, rather than as a guy picking flowers?”

    And the answer remains “Freedom of speech and press”

  67. “Free speech is never wrong.”

    Yup, you’re the dunce here, JW.

    Was writing and publishing Mein Kampf wrong? Not the government allowing it to be published, but Hitler’s act of dictating, publishing, and distributing it. Did that advance free speech and the marketplace of ideas?

    Why is it so hard to get this simple idea across?

  68. joe

    “Would depicting a revered Republican leader as a murderous terrorist be justified by the involvement of some number of Republicans in racist acts? Or would I just be an obnoxious troublemaker trying to start a fight?”

    Actually your character may have had a legitimate point, especially since political cartoons tend to the absurd. But either way the distinction of intent is still irrelevant, free speech should be protected no matter what the offense. Best example, holocaust denying? Or what some atheists say about all religions, particularly Christianity.

    The Danish cartoons may, or may have not been wrought with the ill intent that you perceive, but there is little evidence based on the openness of Danish society to assume that they were. Especially if you READ or LISTEN to what the editor of the paper has to say about them. Or who the intended audience was, and how the cartoons were intentionally exploited by certain extremist religious leaders to provoke the international Muslim society.

  69. joe,

    “‘How about freedom of speech and press?’ Nice dodge – you don’t even have to address the content with that quip. Let me make it easier – what liberal values are advanced by showing Mohammed as a terrorist, rather than as a guy picking flowers?”

    Warren’s comment wasn’t a dodge. Freedom of expression is supposed to be a liberal value, isn’t it? And we especially need to defend the most abhorent forms of overly-broad, crude, and offensive speech, from anti-muslim cartoons to the Onion to Mel Gibson blaming the Jews for inflation.

    When we say that some speech is off limits based on its content, we give prior authority to some easily-offended minority and to the government censors/police who back them up. There’s nothing liberal about that, as long as you conflate the European meaning with the American one.

    So we’re not obliged to defend the content in order to support the publication of the images.

    But, since you asked, “what liberal values are advanced by showing Mohammed as a terrorist, rather than as a guy picking flowers?”

    How about the value of “all men are created equal”? If we are all reasonable people, approximately equal in our ability to take and receive criticism, then portraying the Prophet thusly is a form of criticism.

    The reason that the image resonates more than an image of a Buddha with a bomb-belly is that there are people in the world who blow things up in the name of Mohammed, and none that I know of who do so in the name of Buddha.

    Is the cartoon overly broad? absolutely. Does it at least partially hit its mark? yes. Does it justify violence as a reaction? Under no circumstance.

  70. S-l-o-w-l-y now: Free speech is never wrong, no matter what is said. Threatening (or committing) violence upon the speaker is.

    Having the ability to publish what you want without government cencorship = good.

    Choosing to publish insulting and innflammatory pictures just because you can can is bad.

    It’s not an either / or proposition.

    I don’t see why that’s so complicated. Free speech is not the only issue that should be discussed. How people choose to use that right should also be discussed. Why is it that most libertarians refuse to have that discussion??

  71. Choosing to publish insulting and innflammatory pictures just because you can can is bad.

    Because….

  72. steveintheknow,

    I’ll rephrase one more time, because you were polite.

    I’m not asking about government policy towards censorship – of course free speech should be protected. That’s not the question.

    I’m asking about actions taken by private individuals.

    You know why people keep scoffing when libertarians insist that they’re not without values, but simply big on freedom? Because of discussions like this. Nobody will even admit that there is a question about individuals ethics, comoletely unrelated to government policy, being asked, nevermind formulate a position on that question.

  73. “Was writing and publishing Mein Kampf wrong?”

    No. Mein Kampf is wrong, but writing and publishing it is not.

  74. btw

    I posted that last bit before I saw your reply.

  75. but how the living fiddle fuck dee dooh is a non-christian autocratic/theocratic government going to take over the united states?

    Foreclosure.

  76. Was writing and publishing Mein Kampf wrong?

    No it wasn’t. Reading it and concluding “Hey that Adolf really knows what he’s talking about” is a different matter.

    Free speech is never wrong.
    Why is it so hard to get this simple idea across?

  77. Was writing and publishing Mein Kampf wrong? Not the government allowing it to be published, but Hitler’s act of dictating, publishing, and distributing it. Did that advance free speech and the marketplace of ideas?

    Yes, because present and future generations can read and see for themsleves how nucking futs he was. Other speakers can refute it and propound better actions.

    Besides, without free speech, would we have such timeless lines as “I hate Illinois Nazis.”

  78. Eric,

    Define “when we say that some speech is off-limits.”

    I don’t believe that Nazi-style cartoons should be censored any more than Casablanca. And yet, I believe the distributing the latter is good, while distributing the former is bad.

    Is there anyone reading this who can get their head around that distinction?

    “If we are all reasonable people, approximately equal in our ability to take and receive criticism, then portraying the Prophet thusly is a form of criticism.”

    So a cartoon of a stereotypical hooked-nose Ariel Sharon killing Palestinian children to make Passover matzo would be a good thing, so long as it was inspired by criticism of Israel? I don’t think it would be – I think it would be gratuitously insulting towards Jewish people, and to the extent that it influenced the disucssion of Israel’s policies, it would set back that discussion.

  79. Warren supports publishing anti-semitic cartoons.

    He doesn’t want people to draw bad conclusions from them, mind you. But putting them out there is a good thing. Have I got that right?

  80. Choosing to publish insulting and innflammatory pictures just because you can can is bad.

    Who the heck here got upset when some Iranian newspaper had a cartoon contest about denying the Holocaust? Most of us here thought it was the appropriate response.

  81. joe

    In the context of nationalism, don’t conflate Marx with Marxists. Marx actually approved of imperial adventures in Africa on the grounds that the Africans were too backward to make full use of the resources in their countries, while the European powers were in a position to do so for the general advancement of the society.

    My familiarity with the Marxist “stages of history” is limited to the “Communist Manifesto” – I’ve only read exerpts of “Das Kapital” – but I can find nowhere that Marx approves of the use of nationalism as a tactic.

    Even if there is such a citation, it is moot. Modern leftists use nationalism as a means of gaining and holding power or attacking Western Civilization; their concern for the feelings of minorities is nothing more than a cynical ploy. They show no sign of respecting human rights or understanding that human rights reside with the individual, not the collective.

  82. Lamar | December 27, 2006, 11:55am | #

    Lamar is Cathy Young!

  83. OK, I made an HTML boo boo and will now quietly go die.

    Bush and Hitler appear in cartoons together, sometimes as the same person. Is that wrong? Or is it OK because it happens to conform to your politics?

    Like I said, I’m taking a HTML-infraction time out.

  84. Warren believes that the Holocause denial convention in Tehran is good, because it is creating speech that people can read.

    Have I got that right?

    Warren believes that the protests Jesse Jackson stages outside the corporate HQs of various companies are good – he doesn’t just support the Rev. Jackson’s right to stage the protests, he thinks the protests themselves are a good thing.

    Have I got that right?

    Warren believes that the press conferences Al Sharpton held about the Tawana Brawley case were good, because…well, because Shaprton said things, and speech is always and everywhere good, regardless of its content.

    Have I got that right?

  85. Is there anyone reading this who can get their head around that distinction?

    I think we get it. A long time ago.

    Someone else here is having trouble with other distinctions.

  86. The task of encouraging moderate voices and encouraging a rapproachment isn’t made any easier by people who give radicals and excuse to act out, and then proclaim that the whole group is uncivilized.

    It. is. a. cartoon.

  87. Warren supports publishing anti-semitic cartoons.

    Put me down on that list too. But, let’s not stop there, I support publishing anti-[insert anything here] cartoons, blogs, emails, skywriting, fortune cookies, etc.

    I also support publishing pro-[insert the same damn thing here] too.

    It’s not up to me as to which are bad and which are good and which are worthy of publishing and which aren’t. That’s your part.

    Work it out joe, c’mon now, work it out.

  88. I think JW & Warren have a point. Saying that the ideas behind Mein Kampf are bad and wrong reflects a certain belief. The belief expressed boils down to basically, “I think other people should think like me.” There is nothing metaphysically you can point to that will serve as a valid universal ethical premise. So we need to engage in a dialogue to see what kind of agreements we can come to about the nature of right and wrong.

    Obviously Hitler didn’t think his book was wrong, and he would have been most displeased to hear joe’s suggestions to the contrary.

    But the beauty of it all is that we can read Hitler, contemplate what an evil man he was, and try to live our lives as little like his as possible.

  89. Arensen,

    You’re now arguing my point. Changing societies from an earlier stage in the Marxist historical narrative to a later form was supported by the Marxists (including Marx), even when that change was brought about by forces and movements whose internal beliefs contradict those of Marxism. Imperialists dragging a society from feudalism to caplitalism are an example of what I’m talking about, not a rebuttal.

    The Communist Manifesto was written at a particular time, in a particular place, for a particular audience, and concerned itself with the peculiarities of that situation. As I wrote before, in 19th century Europe, nationalism had played itself out as a progressive force (from the Marxist perspective), having already slain the feudalist enemy it replaced.

  90. Lamar,

    I don’t think Bush/Hitler cartoons accomplish much that is positive, but instead set back any discussion they touch.

    In case it wasn’t clear, I think it would bad to show Ronald Reagan as a muderous Klansman, as well.

  91. It’s hard because Joe is focusing on the insult implicit in the cartoons.

    The problem as that great homespun American philosopher Dr. Phil would say is the reaction of the “victim” is so outrageous that it overshadows the initial offense.

    Once the Muslim mobs stop blowing people up and rioting over ink then maybe we would focus on whether or not the cartoons should have been published as a matter of etiquette.

  92. “In case it wasn’t clear, I think it would bad to show Ronald Reagan as a muderous Klansman, as well.”

    okay, but why?

  93. joe

    OK cool.

    I understand where you’re going.

    “Nobody will even admit that there is a question about individuals ethics, completely unrelated to government policy, being asked,”

    I agree that there is on a personal level, ethical determinations to be made. Honestly I am ambivalent about the cartoons myself. However after reading the interview that this thread is supposedly about, I think that the editor who published them would actually agree with you, and doesn’t feel as though the cartoons crossed that line. Again, the contexts in which they were published, and the way they were exploited should be taken into consideration.

    Oh, and thanks for being respectful youself.

  94. joe,
    Praise Allah! You’ve got it now.

    Now we can move on to lesson two:
    What To Do When Others Use Free Speech In Ways You Don’t Like

    You see the great thing about free speech is that everybody gets to use it. So when somebody like Al Sharpton starts flapping his gums, you can tell everybody what a poo-poo he is for being such a hate mongering dingle-berry and saying all that bologna. What you are not allowed to do is get start fires and break things.

    Are you with me joe, or am I going too fast again?

  95. JW,

    “It’s not up to me as to which are bad and which are good and which are worthy of publishing and which aren’t.”

    How sad, that you find yourself unable to make moral judgements. Why bother to argue anything at all?

    Eric,

    It is good that reading Hitler’s writing had those effect on you.

    Can you think of any other effects produced by Hitler’s writing, speeches, and other speech acts?

  96. So we need to engage in a dialogue to see what kind of agreements we can come to about the nature of right and wrong.

    No we don’t. We need to leave each other alone until our anger subsides.

  97. Having the ability to publish what you want without government cencorship = good.

    Choosing to publish insulting and innflammatory pictures just because you can can is bad.

    It’s not an either / or proposition.

    I don’t see why that’s so complicated. Free speech is not the only issue that should be discussed. How people choose to use that right should also be discussed. Why is it that most libertarians refuse to have that discussion??

    Self-sensorship is the first step towards the acceptance of the idea that people have a right not to have their feelings hurt and eventually towards government censorship.

    That’s why publishing cartoons with the intent to piss off 8th century savages is a brave and noble thing.

  98. So, Warren, “disliking” what Al Sharpton had to say in the Tawana Brawley case is just, like, your opinion, man? It’s not actually good or bad?

    OK, try to follow me here: would it have better if Adolph Hitler had never given a speech or written a book? Or is the world a better place because of his speech?

  99. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your death for saying it.

  100. would it have better if Adolph Hitler had never given a speech or written a book?

    According to fundamentalist Muslims, the answer is NO. They feel Hitler was too moderate.

  101. “would it have better if Adolph Hitler had never given a speech or written a book? Or is the world a better place because of his speech?”

    joe

    False dichotomy. The world is a better place because he could speak – a freedom Hitler never recognized.

    The speech and the book were evil. But suppression of them is a greater evil still.

  102. I’ll bite.

    It’s a better place because of it.

    If Hitler had gone to art school and never rose to power, Anti-semitism would have continued as an undercurrent in European, American, etc life, perhaps with little or no challenge. Because of Hitler, we see the potential results of hatred and bigotry, not to mention unchecked government power. We might not have reached that conclusion without such a striking example. Maybe we would have, but as long as we’re engaging in pointless counterfactuals, why not?

    Cold comfort I’m sure to the 6 million+ souls who had to die for it, but people die for the wrong reasons all the time, since the beginning of time. We see what happens as the result of our beliefs and correct them accordingly.

    Would Jesus have been as meaningful a figure if he had taken a queit teaching job in Jerusalem? Who knows.

  103. Eric,

    It would be bad to publish my Reagan/Klan cartoon for two reasons:

    1. Because it unfairly insults the subject, and those non-violent, non-racist Republicans for whom he is a symbol of their beliefs and idendity as Republicans.

    2. Because, in doing so, it damages our ability to have a constructive discussion about issues related to race and how Republican politics effect race relations and African American people.

    Look at the wonderful outcome Warren points to from the Al Sharpton press conferences – we get to call him a poopy-head. Hooray! Isn’t it wonderful that discussions of police/community relations, black/white relations, and the treatment of black victims by the legal system in New York spent five years revolving around the essential question of whether or not Al Sharpton is a poopy-head!

    And, as an added bonus, some people were moved to violence and vandalism by Al Sharpton’s words, and that white lawyer got to spend a decade clearing his name of charges that he was a rapist! Hooray, all speech is good all the time!

  104. OK, try to follow me here: would it have better if Adolph Hitler had never given a speech or written a book? Or is the world a better place because of his speech?

    You think the Third Reich could have been prevented if Adolf had died in WWI? Maybe, but what would have replaced it might have been worse. The problem wasn’t little Adolf scribbling in his cell and barking on soapboxes, it was all the people in rapt attention.

  105. Arensen, props for this seemingly simple admission “The speech and the book were evil.”

    People like Eric, who like to fancy themselves to be the great defenders of morality in this discussion (because they, apparently, have a monopoly on believing that rioting and murder are bad), can’t even admit that.

  106. Put me down on that list too. But, let’s not stop there, I support publishing anti-[insert anything here] cartoons, blogs, emails, skywriting, fortune cookies, etc. I also support publishing pro-[insert the same damn thing here] too.

    Add me to the list.

  107. Warren,

    “The problem wasn’t little Adolf scribbling in his cell and barking on soapboxes, it was all the people in rapt attention.”

    The problem was both. Was there going to be a blow-up in Europe? Absolutely. Did it have to be accompanied by the Final Solution? No, that came about because of specific decisions made by specific people, and they would not have been in a position to do so with Hitler’s speech acts.

    Maybe what would have come instead would have been just as bad, maybe it wouldn’t have. What we know for sure was that the Holocaust happened; it happened because of Hitler; and Hitler would not have come to power without his book, speeches, and movies.

  108. How sad, that you find yourself unable to make moral judgements. Why bother to argue anything at all?

    Now, who’s having trouble with normative statements?

    When did I say that? Should I assume that it’s OK for me to make moral decisions on your behalf, as well as on my own?

  109. JW,

    This is a normative statement:

    “It’s not up to me as to which are bad and which are good and which are worthy of publishing and which aren’t.”

    Yes, it is. You are making the moral statement that you are not responsible for differentiating between what is good and what is evil.

  110. JW,

    If I were to write, “It is not up to me to decide whether rioting and murder should occur when a cartoon is published,” you would call me amoral and a fool. And you would be right on both counts.

  111. I’d like to see a newspaper publish a series of cartoons honestly depicting city planners. As neanderthals.

  112. Arensen, props for this seemingly simple admission “The speech and the book were evil.”

    If Hitler had never risen to power, this would have been not even a footnote. Evil? Yes. But if a tree falls is a forest….

    Maybe I missed it joe, and if so, mea culpa, but I’m still waiting for you to say the same of the muslim rioters and those who threatened death upon Flemming and his paper for the audacity of offending them.

    You dance all around it, but keep coming back to the cartoons. So, which is the greater evil?

  113. I would say that many Muslims are in fact victims. When you add up the body count, OBL, Saddam, Hamas, Hezbollah, and their ilk have killed far more Muslims than anyone else. The people who stand in the gravest peril from Muslim extremism are any Muslims who don’t conform to the particular brand of religion that the extremists in question are demanding.

    If the lefties in Europe truly cared for the welfare of Muslims, they would dedicate themselves to toppling the dictatorships, theocracies, and medieval monarchies which afflict most of the countries of the middle east.

    -jcr

  114. “The argument for that was that Ontario already allows Catholic and Jewish ‘religous’ arbitration, so why are Muslims being disriminated against?”

    which is a reasonable question, of course. either you let everyone do this kind of arbitration or no one gets to do it.

    it is entirely possible to be anti-modern and still get along to some degree with modern society. i may weep for women born into the hacidic communities of brooklyn, but i would not wish the nypd to break them up forcefully or relocate them, even if they’re going to live as second class citizens in creepy wigs.

    and actually gets to the root of joe’s particular example, or at least my answer for it. the issue is not that speech is good because it exists, but that it is necessary because otherwise you leave a hole for the government to stuff full of itself and its agents.

    and yes, the holocaust thing in iran was “good” or at least not as harmful as one might think because if such attitudes exist, being out in the open is a great way to add to the clusterfuck of information that people need to be literate in to have a reasonable semblance of a self-directed life. such is the age we live in.

    and there is something to be said for the light of day on the effects of vile speech – i.e. stuff groups would say “among themselves” in a publication is no longer “among themselves” in an age of digital distribution.

  115. it is sort of dehumanizing, on the other hand, to say “we have to tiptoe around muslim beliefs because they are dangerous,” and for everyone involved it is not necessarily a good thing.

  116. It would be bad to publish my Reagan/Klan cartoon for two reasons:
    1. Because it unfairly insults the subject, and those non-violent, non-racist Republicans for whom he is a symbol of their beliefs and idendity as Republicans.
    2. Because, in doing so, it damages our ability to have a constructive discussion about issues related to race and how Republican politics effect race relations and African American people.

    Mainstream media cartoonists don’t have problems identifying their ideological opponents as Klans types.

    Take a look at this cartoon

    http://cagle.msnbc.com/news/Halloween2003/halloween/fairrington.gif

    and note the lynching noose in the background.

    “Also note the tying of the word ‘sniper’ to our rural, pickup-driving, NRA-supporting caucasian friend,” rather than the black Muslim the Beltway Sniper turned out to be.

  117. If I were to write, “It is not up to me to decide whether rioting and murder should occur when a cartoon is published,” you would call me amoral and a fool. And you would be right on both counts.

    Well, I’ll call you a fool no matter…/jk

    I can decide for myself what I consider to be immoral, amoral, evil and wrong, good and rightous. It ends there. I cannot make a determination for all whether or not some speech is good or bad.

    In this particular case, the cartoons were not evil, bad, nor immoral. Nor was the publishing of them. The reaction from the muslim community, however, was all of the above.

    Is that clearer?

  118. There’s only one effective way of limiting someone’s speech.

  119. OK joe, let’s break this thread, as you have seen it, down to its simplest terms: some speech is good and some is not; some of it is downright evil. Regardless, it should not be censored by the state.

    Fine. I think we can all agree to that.

    Let’s assume we have speech that a consensus has pronounced as evil and wrong. We’ll never have unanimous agreement, but let’s assume we have 75% of the population in agreement. The other 25%, the 75% has determined, are fringe nutjobs and should be ignored.

    What to do about it, “it” being the speech?

  120. If the Jews would’ve just left when Hitler asked them to, the whole problem could have been avoided.

    Buuuuuut NOOOooo. They had to stick around and defend their silly little “principles” and “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion”. Arrogant bastards couldn’t just calmly accept their limitations and live peacefully so they got exactly what was coming to them.

  121. Shadow Hunter,

    “Once the Muslim mobs stop blowing people up and rioting over ink then maybe we would focus on whether or not the cartoons should have been published as a matter of etiquette.”

    On this most Gerald Fordian of says, I submit that we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

  122. Arrogant bastards couldn’t just calmly accept their limitations and live peacefully so they got exactly what was coming to them.

    Of course, one must first buy into that kind of logic before one can dream of being a city planner.

  123. Gerald Fordian? Given the number of posts on this one very fine point I submit you ask too much. Today we’re all Gerald Ford.

  124. JW,

    Committing acts of violence in response to cartoons is evil, more evil than the cartoon themselves. Would it be ok, pretty please, if we talked about something that isn’t flagrantly obvious to a four year old?

  125. John C. Randolph,

    That whole “toppling Muslims’ governments for them” thing hasn’t worked out so well for the Muslims in question. Is it possible that there’s another reason why people don’t think we should “dedicate ourselves” to repeating the Iraq War ad infinitum? One other than a lack of convern over the well being of Muslims?

  126. dhex,

    Aaarrrggghhhh! Can’t YOU, at least, see the difference between the regulation of speech, and the speech itself?

    Yes, when there is vile speech, it is good for it to see the light of day. That doesn’t make the vile speech itself good.

    The speech itself is not necessary to avoid the “hole” you mention – lack of suppression of speech is necessary. But if there was no one out there calling Muslims, Jews, or black people inferior, parasitical sub-humans, the world would be better off, not worse.

  127. JW,

    “What to do about it, “it” being the speech?”

    Exactly what I have been doing about the anti-Muslim cartoons: condemn it.

    TPG, Russ2000, your surrenders, though uncivil, are accepted. Losers.

  128. Committing acts of violence in response to cartoons is evil, more evil than the cartoon themselves. Would it be ok, pretty please, if we talked about something that isn’t flagrantly obvious to a four year old?

    If it was obvious, we wouldn’t have wasted all this time and spilled so much ink, right? You would have gotten the point right away.

    Exactly what I have been doing about the anti-Muslim cartoons: condemn it.

    That’s it? Jesus-ever-loving-motherfucking-Christ-on-a-crutch. What a circle jerk this has been.

    OK joe, you win, you condemned it first. Alert the muslims.

  129. But if there was no one out there calling Muslims, Jews, or black people inferior, parasitical sub-humans, the world would be better off, not worse.

    Oh you think so? So a world without Mel Brooks’ Blazing Sadles would be better off??? That’s just crazy talk.

  130. JW,

    “If it was obvious, we wouldn’t have wasted all this time and spilled so much ink, right?”

    It was obvious. The ink we’ve spilled was about a different question. I can’t believe you still haven’t gotten that through your skull.

  131. “That doesn’t make the vile speech itself good.”

    in some ways, i would disagree. the existence of vile speech is a way of seeing someone’s true colors. that is both a feature and a bug.

    “The speech itself is not necessary to avoid the “hole” you mention – lack of suppression of speech is necessary. But if there was no one out there calling Muslims, Jews, or black people inferior, parasitical sub-humans, the world would be better off, not worse.”

    it sure would. so would candy in every unicorn and rainbows in every pocket.

    sadly, this is a feature of human nature – even if we were all grey colored goo of similar height and weight, certain groups would be victimized and villified for various traits. maybe being middlemen, or having more or less resources, or holding the wrong opinion about off-grey goo, etc.

    the problem being, then, that the hole will exist because hateful fuckfaces will exist. and since the spirit of our age is towards larger government, that is what will step in, often with shitty consequences. i do not think, for example, germany’s laws against nazi symbols actually help supress hatefulness. nor do i think the headscarf ban in france helps promote social unity. nor this uk ban on insulting religion, aka fuck free speech. european governments manage to be just as stupid, if not stupider, than our own.

    i think the cartoons were dumb. and probably a great recruitment tool. but the reaction of many, especially on the left and all across america, was vile. had this been christians rioting, there would be no end to the condemnations, especially if a freedom of expression wedge issue existed. (and i have no doubts many republicans would rise up and defend – or at least equivocate – the rioting as many on the left have)

    if theo van gogh had been gay, he’d at least be a somewhat interesting figure in agitprop (if only to say see what america did?); had he been gay and murdered by a christian nutbag, or just a right wing anti-immigration type, there’s be statues and pictures of him all across new york city. he would have been a great symbol of the injustice of the religious mindset. (salman rushdie’s experience of being told to sit down and shut up and not bother the crazy people comes to mind.)

    but islam is the protected species right now and as such, feet get dragged, excuses are made, and equivocations for fundamentally un-fucking-acceptable behavior and attitudes are heard.* and the subtext that muslims are somehow less able to control themselves because they have no notion of pluralism doesn’t do anyone any favors.

    then again, to pull a cathy young, islam is the hunted species for those “a jihad in every pot” types and the coming american caliphate victimhood masturbation fantasy. so what should be a nuanced discussion is turned into a game of retard flag football.

    *you should hear some of the shit coming from people in new york when trying to explain how severe anti-gay paranoia in african-american religious communities in brooklyn – the ones organizing marches and shit against gay marriage – is somehow the fault of republican agitation/whites in general/”real christians” i.e. white ones. no, really. there’s plenty to be said about the fear of effeminacy, racial imperialism, the effects of “racial emasculation” etc but c’mon, these people are fucking assholes, just like when white people march against gay marriage.

  132. What can I say joe? You want to believe that everyone should be nice to one another, that no good comes from conflict (obvioulsy the case with this thread) and that it’s wrong to offend the impossible-not-to-offend.

    Flemming was right to publish the cartoons, if the goal was to crticize the radicals. Even if not, there was nothing to condemn. There was nothing immoral about the act or content, quite the contrary in fact.

    The muslim community was wrong to react the way they did. If they can’t take cartoons, FUCKING CARTOONS, that critcize their beliefs without burning cities to the ground, then it’s obvious that they aren’t ready to join the 18th century, let alone rest of us in the 21st.

    No one should ever be afraid to speak their mind for fear of being killed for doing so.

    Do you get that, joe?

  133. JW,

    “The muslim community was wrong to react the way they did. If they can’t take cartoons, FUCKING CARTOONS, that critcize their beliefs without burning cities to the ground, then it’s obvious that they aren’t ready to join the 18th century, let alone rest of us in the 21st.”

    Some problems with this statement…

    “The Muslim community” did not riot.
    “burning cities to the ground.” who has done that (or at least come close) recently? Hmmm… let me think.

    “the rest of us in the 21st” You seem stuck in the 20th to me.

    “No one should ever be afraid to speak their mind for fear of being killed for doing so.”

    So true. And no one should ever be afraid to identify themselves and conduct themselves according to their religious beliefs for fear of being confused with rioting idiots by 20th century savages.

  134. Exactly what I have been doing about the anti-Muslim cartoons: condemn it.

    Just to make sure that we’re on the same page, you’re talking about these cartoons, right?

    Well, I’m sure the unnamed person who condemns these anti-Muslim cartoons has also condemned “Christ in a Jar of Piss,” “Mary with Elephant Shit,” and various episodes of South Park in the past. OK, I don’t really believe that at all. Not for one second.

  135. Little late to the party MSM. You do have something to contribute to the conversation other than school-marm snarks?

    I’ve lurked here long enough to know of your penchant for precision, so I won’t quibble with your corrections.

  136. C’mon, I screwed up some HTML, can’t the admins go in a fix it? I mean, jeez, when did H&R stop revolving around Lamar’s take on things? 🙂

  137. I’m sorry to see Joe descend to the level of John and everyone else try to tumble along.

    These cartoons were originally published to little outcry. Months later, Danish imams began distributing the cartoons along with additional, fake cartoons meant to be far more infuriating. Suddenly, there were protests, riots, and threats. Then the grievance spread though Muslim countries as those cartoons – including the faked ones – were distributed and protests were whipped up by governments and paramilitary groups.

    The people complaining about the evil right-wing newspaper are just as willfully ignoring the facts as the ones ranting about evil Muslims going into a frenzy. The riots were not a spontaneous event provoked by the newspaper – they were an orchestrated response capitalizing on a months-old stunt by dirty infidels who thought they could blaspheme in their own country. Illiberal regimes in Muslim countries exploited the controversy because such regimes find it useful to provide external enemies for their people to rage against (instead of against those regimes).

    I’m not dropping any secrets on the room. These things were known – these things were discussed here – when this story first broke. I guess it’s just more convenient for the partisans to drop such complicating details in order to come up with more workable narratives.

  138. Would it be ok, pretty please, if we talked about something that isn’t flagrantly obvious to a four year old?

    We were waiting for you to stop. It’s flagrantly obvious to a four-year old that sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me. Yet you keep pranging away at the concept of “the morality of speech”. Ask Theo Van Gogh if the pen is mightier than the sword.

    Most people here have learned to ignore you because your debates, while often starting off on the right foot, usually devolve into YOU escalating the ad hominem attacks. It’s absurdly entertaining to see you “condemn vile speech” while you then proceed to spew insults.

    In the language of a four-year old: I don’t want to play with you anymore, joe.

  139. TPG, Russ2000, your surrenders, though uncivil, are accepted. Losers.

    Mission accomplished, eh joe?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.