Thursday, February 09, 2006

No Apologies, No Backing Down

Mike’s Eyes makes some excellent points about the Danish cartoon story, among them:

I heard they don't want to print the cartoons out of respect for Muslim "sensitivities." Right! When someone tells you not to print something or they will burn down your building, and then you don't print it, that's not respect, that's obedience.

We must stand up to their intimidation; it is the only way we can defeat militant Islam. That is also the only chance the moderate Muslims have of reforming their culture. If we cave in moral cowardice, the worst elements of Islam will be emboldened and the best will be forced to continue cowering in shadows, afraid to speak their mind.

This is why Hugh Hewitt is wrong to argue that the cartoons have hurt our war effort:

There are hundreds of thousands of American troops deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the globe among Muslim peoples who they are trying to befriend. The jihadists like nothing more than evidence that these troops represent a West intent on a new crusade and a new domination of Muslims. Idiot cartoonists make our troops' jobs more difficult, and the jihadists' mission easier.


So, did the cartoons and their aftermath make it easier or more diffcult for Musharraf of Pakistan to continue to guide his country away from the lure of the jihadists? Easier or more difficult for Turkey to remain a friend of the West's? Easier or more difficult for the pro-Western people of Iran to summon the courage to change their government? Easier or more difficult for Jordan's King Abdullah to continue his course, which has included support for the reconstruction of Iraq even in the face of Zarqawi's murderers?

If the Muslim masses are so irrational that cartoons can hurt our war effort, then Islam is beyond hope. But in fact, the cartoons themselves are of little importance. What is important, and what good Muslims are watching carefully, is if the USA has the moral backbone to stand up against the Islamic fundamentalists. Reprinting the cartoons is an act of defiance that shows we will not tolerate threats of force against free speech.

I linked to a story in December about Muslims trying to shut down a play by Voltaire about Mohammed. Are we supposed to avoid plays by Voltaire for fear that they will anger 1.3 billion Muslims and harm the war effort?

Acts of appeasement hurt our war effort, not cartoons. The State Department hurts our war effort. Steven Spielberg’s Munich hurt our war effort. And Hugh Hewitt’s lack of confidence in the rationality of 1.3 billion Muslims hurts our war effort more than any stupid cartoon could.

This is about more than cartoons, it’s about fighting a totalitarian ideology that has been intimidating the West in the name of multiculturalism. They are using our New Leftist ideas against us. In the long run, we must change our culture’s philosophy to survive. In the short run, we must find the courage to stand up against their bullying. Hugh Hewitt’s fretting about the tender sensitivities of the Muslim world only get in the way.

For more, see JunkYardBlog.

UPDATE: Alex Epstein of the Ayn Rand Institute says “Muslim Opinion” Be Damned. I came upon this via Thrutch. Onkar Ghate writes about The Twilight of Freedom of Speech. I found this one via NoodleFood. And Gus Van Horn is all over this issue.


myotherfellow said...

Europeans say they have a right to freedom of speech and even to "blaspheme" and Muslims, traditionally conservative, must be understandingly tolerant.

I embrace the belief that in an open society, nobody is above the law and nothing is exempt from critique. "If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things," says the great thinker Rene Descartes.

I can't embrace the belief that in an open society, you are allowed to doubt things selectively and hypocritically.

In nine European countries, a shred of doubt about the Nazi Holocaust of Jews can easily put the suspect behind the bars. British PM Tony Blair last week called Iran's plans to hold a so-called academic conference on the topic as "ridiculous and stupid."

Sound minds condone neither Mr. Blair's blind reasoning nor Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's branding Holocaust a "myth."

Challenging taboos is admirable since it serves the human race, but please do it respectfully. And without grudge.

EdMcGon said...

You won't hear me quoting Ann Coulter often, but she assessed the problem perfectly in her column yesterday: "Largely unnoticed in this spectacle is the blinding fact that one nation is missing from the long list of Muslim countries...with hundreds of crazy Muslims experiencing bipolar rage over some cartoons: Iraq. Hey -- maybe this democracy thing does work!"