Free Speech vs. Blasphemy: Thoughts on the Danish Cartoons of Mohammed
The pit felt at the bottom of many stomachs over this new demand of the Muslims is fear: fear of mindless retribution, of death and destruction. It causes those who feel it to shut up in the name of “respect” for Muslim beliefs. This is the true nature of the “respect” of major American news organizations, such as CBS, when it refused to show a single cartoon.
The pit felt at the bottom of other stomachs is resolve, of a determination to stand up now for the freedom to say what one thinks, with the knowledge that if the West capitulates to Muslim demands, it will have surrendered the key freedom that permits the fight for all the other freedoms. Many European newspapers have defied Muslim “sensibilities” and reprinted the cartoons.
Islamic spokesmen called this action a “provocation.” But what is it that is being “provoked”? Violence. Property destruction. Kidnappings. Murders. The initiation of physical force and terror. All in the name of Mohammed and Allah. Hardly the behavior of a “pacific” religion that would persuade one that it just wants to “get along.”
Implied in the claim that images of Mohammed constitute blasphemy, is that anyone who creates such an image is guilty of blasphemy. What the Muslims are demanding is that non-Muslims accept that religious tenet. Thus, “respect” by non-Muslims of the tenet, at the price of surrendering the right to criticize Islam, means virtual conversion to Islam, a major step in the direction of actual conversion.
Islamists see the implications of multiculturalism and “diversity” much better than do the advocates and practitioners of these secular “creeds.” Islamists are infamous for not subscribing to multiculturalism and diversity. They might claim that it is not conversion they seek, but “respect.” But if one does not “respect” a belief, it is one’s right to question it, or to criticize it in a book, essay, speech, or cartoon. However, if one “respects” it, then it becomes a taboo subject, off limits to reasoned enquiry and civil discussion. One tells oneself: I have no right to say anything about it. And if one is prohibited, under penalty of prosecution, intimidation, or physical violence, from saying or writing anything about it, then there is no reason or point to thinking of it, either.
What a formula for thought control!
The Islamists know it. Most Western politicians and intellectuals do not.
Read it all, for Dude gets it.
(Hat tip: egoist)