Thursday, February 09, 2006

Good essay

Can be found here, on the whole uproar over the Mohammed cartoons. (Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan). An exerpt:

On the contrary, what’s happening here is that a gang of bullies—led by a country, Saudi Arabia, where Bibles are forbidden, Christians tortured, Jews routinely labeled “apes and pigs” in the state-controlled media, and apostasy from Islam punished by death—is trying to compel a tiny democracy to live by its own theocratic rules. To succumb to pressure from this gang would simply be to invite further pressure, and lead to further concessions—not just by Denmark but by all of democratic Europe. And when they’ve tamed Europe, they’ll come after America.

After all, the list of Western phenomena that offend the sensibilities of many Muslims is a long one—ranging from religious liberty, sexual equality, and the right of gay people not to have a wall dropped on them, to music, alcohol, dogs, and pork. After a few Danish cartoons, what’s next?

It just gets battier and battier. I confess to being profoundly disappointed that Louise Ann Arbour, former Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, now United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is about to take "action." Apparently we need to be "respectful."

I won't deny that, yes, sometimes one should attempt to be vaguely sensitive. However, there's no absolute requirement of that. I accept the right of people to publish nasty cartoons and articles about gay people, since accepting that also gives me the right to ridicule the publishers and authors. I have the right to be offended as much as I have the right to offend.

However, the right to be offended does not mean that I have the right to violence, to murder, and to force others not to offend me.

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