This is a few days old (ancient in blog years) but it’s instructive nevertheless:
This position is the inevitable refuge: simple denial. Once it becomes clear that a truth cannot be assimilated into his leftist worldview, he simply Ministry of Truths it out of being. There is a lot of whitewashing going on during this euphemism-prone administration, but self-appointed Imam Alan Colmes’ declaration of final arbitration on who is allowed to believe what about their own faith really takes the cake.
Today, many blogs and websites are participating in “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” Some object on the grounds that deliberate offense is ugly and nothing to celebrate. That argument takes place in a vacuum, however. The kind of vacuum Religious Scholar Alan Colmes and many of his fellow travelers are desperate to maintain.
I’m bored with death threats. And, as far as I’m concerned, if that’s your opening conversational gambit, then any obligation on my part to “cultural sensitivity” and “mutual respect” is over. The only way to stop this madness destroying our liberties is (as Ayaan Hirsi Ali puts it) to spread the risk. Everybody Draws Mohammed Day does just that. Various websites are offering prizes.
Spreading the risk is an important point. The west bows ever lower before the demands of Islam, both radical and vanilla. The fewer who have the courage to resist, the easier to hurt the few who have it. But I also think the mutual respect point is exceedingly important. If we are at a ball game and I accidentally step on your foot, I’m going to say “sorry.” But if your response is to try to kill me, well you just lost your right to sorry. Welcome to [words I can’t post at RedState] you!
At the L.A. Times these arguments lost out to one main consideration: We don’t know what sets these people off, so who are we to play with fire by gratuitously inflaming them with crudely provocative art? Or in the case of Comedy Central these days, with something so offense-less as discussion about the controversy?
This well-intended paternalism is where the argument gets a bit personal for me. What kind of undifferentiated mass of simmering, modernity-hating humans have we allowed ourselves to believe the world’s billion-plus Muslims have become?
We are having an Everyone Draw Mohammed Contest tomorrow not to gratuitously insult my old pals or any other practitioners of a richly diverse religion, we are doing it as a simple declaration that depiction and caricaturization is within the bounds of acceptable discourse, that nobody owns the images of historical figures, and that free-speech backsliding in the West ultimately threatens all of us much more than isolated acts of semi-suicidal bravado from the pathologically aggrieved. I refuse to believe we are sharing the planet with 1 billion sleeper agents, ready to be activated by a cartoonist’s pen.
Is this not a point compatible with progressive values? Even the moronic religious proclamations of the learned Alan Colmes (peace be upon him)? Colmes is saying Radical Islam isn’t even Islam. By that calculation, ought he not support the solidarity with the cartoonists and the spreading of risk, the standing for freedom in the face of tyranny? After all, those who would respond in violence don’t even count, right Alan? They’re not “real”.
I find the arguments of progressives with regard to terrorism and radical Islam to be exhausting and more than a little disingenuous. That is, unless I missed all the pleas for mutual respect and understanding regarding tea partiers. No? Didn’t think so.
Sigh. But there are those with sincere objections. From Ann Althouse:
People need to learn to deal with getting mad when they hear or see speech that enrages them, even when it is intended to enrage them. But how are we outsiders to the artwork supposed to contribute the the process of their learning how to deal with free expression? I don’t think it is by gratuitously piling on outrageous expression, because it doesn’t show enough respect and care for the people who are trying to tolerate the expression that outrages them.
It is a fair point that if indeed an image is deliberately sacrilegious or deeply offensive, it’s antagonistic to wave it in the face of those who are making their best effort to tolerate it. In a vaccuum, this might be the deciding point. But again, we are not in a vacuum. We are where we are. It has come to this. There are lots of things we wish weren’t so, but that doesn’t make them not so.
Steyn is correct. In light of the rioting and death and destruction, in light of the bullying and threats, in the context of all that has gone before, it is time to say enough. And Everybody Draw Mohammed day does just that.
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