Saturday, February 25, 2006

Cartoons of Muhammad: “Both Sides” Should Exhibit Restraint?

From columnist John O’Sullivan in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

. . . a dissection of the argument that “both sides” in the conflict over the cartoons of Muhammad should exercise restraint.
As the riots spread through the Islamic world, the British Foreign Secretary, the U.S. State Department, the United Nations Secretary General, various responsible Muslim organizations, many commentators in Europe and the United States, including some distinguished conservative commentators, are calling for restraint on both sides.

What both sides would those be then? Well, one side has published a handful of cartoons, arguably blasphemous and certainly insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, and the other side has burned embassies, taken hostages, murdered three people suspected of being Christians and/or Danes, shot at Danish soldiers helping children in Iraq, marched through London with banners threatening further bomb attacks on the city, and attacked and beaten people whom they suspected of some vague connection with, well, with Europe or Christianity.

Suppose both sides listen to these calls for restraint. What would happen? I suppose that one side would stop burning embassies and murdering people and the other side would no longer publish cartoons to which the murderers might object. That would mean the murderers had obtained their objective and the Danish newspaper that first published the cartoons had been defeated in its campaign against the unofficial Islamist censorship that in recent years has spread across Europe by murder and intimidation.
O’Sullivan then goes on to talk about. . .
. . . the uselessness of appeasing their demands for censorship. If they are granted, our concessions will merely be the springboard for a further attack on Western liberty. And if we disobligingly refuse to furnish them with a pretext, the Islamists will manufacture one as Hitler used to manufacture border incidents in order to justify his planned aggressions. So we might as well fight in the first ditch rather than the last.
The secondary argument that we must all censor ourselves to avoid offending others in a multicultural society is a highly ironic commentary on the liberals’ promise that multiculturalism meant a more lively, colorful, and argumentative society. We are now told that it means holding our tongues on sensitive issues and telling young women not to dress in ways that might provoke a pious Muslim to rape them.
This argument applies exactly to the claims made in the name of “diversity” on college campuses.

While the proponents claim that they favor a wider range of viewpoints and arguments, they in fact have always set about trying to stifle any expression that they consider contrary to “diversity.” Thus people who oppose racial preferences are told they are “offending” or creating a “hostile atmosphere” for minorities. People who oppose the agenda of the gay lobby are called “bigots” and silenced.

The politically correct fascists on college campuses are not quite so violent as the Islamic mobs, but they are equally intolerant.


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