Monday, February 06, 2006
Going From Bad To Worse
While we are on the topic of pure insanity....
Shrinkwrapped on the cartoon wars, The Anchoress raises a perturbed eyebrow, and SC&A has been writing splendidly and in depth on the topic, as well as finding others who have something worth saying. It's considerably more enlightening than the Boston Globe, which I suppose causes my BAD to get worse.
2.77 trillion. Granted, it's only a 2.3% increase from last year, but 2.77 trillion? Excuse me while I reel at the prospect of ever-increasing federal budgets and ever-increasing red ink. An awful lot of these huge budgets are taken up by entitlement programs, so there is no real prospect of anything but continuous increases.
But coming back to the 'toon wars, I think Protein Wisdom is right. Relativism is the problem. Western open societies are rooted in certain rules, and the rule about freedom of speech and conscience is one of them. This reaches all the way back to John Wycliffe, who argued for the separation of church and state and said that translating the Bible would enable people to govern themselves . The separation of church and state has led to new successes for both church and state. We cannot back off from such principles, but we still do have the ability to be reasoned in our freedom. It's our freedom and the debate about ideas which can only take place in a free society which has spawned these moderate sensibilities.
The problem is not religion - it is the clash between open societies and closed ones. Read Big Pharoah, who is sounding the call to "Buy Danish" and is appalled that the Jordanian editor who printed the cartoons was fired and arrested. He mocks anti-Semitism. The struggle between open cultures and closed ones is crossing religious lines and national borders. Big Pharoah:
Ladies and gentlemen, do you really want to know why we will stay in this abyss of stupidity and irrationality for so long? It's not because we don't have those who think rationally, it's because those who think rationally and force us to look in the mirror are often persecuted and banned. The editor of this Jordanian paper was fired today!But it's not as if we in the west don't have our own idiots. All cultures have them; some cultures follow them and some don't. The debate over free speech versus politically-correct speech is raging at DU. There are the usual dingbats who claim that Bush did it, but many others are arguing out the principles of free speech. (See also Pedro The Quietist on the KOS Kidz.) This entire issue poses a huge challenge to DU, because they have pretty much adopted the idea that Bush is the main cause of Islamic terrorism. I suppose it's comforting, but it's certainly hard to maintain when reading the news nowdays.
We need to show solidarity for their right to be Danish and their right to exercise free speech according to the rules of their society. It's very ironic that the Danish people, who have provided refuge and support for so many Muslim refugees, are being targeted this way. We need to keep explaining how free speech works in the west, and that the ability to criticize Islam comes along with the freedom to practice it.
I don't think the western countries should allow themselves to be singled out one by one for the failure to enshrine Islam in specially-protected status. So I am buying Danish.
But I still say that Muslim countries have the right not to buy Danish if they feel that Danes are too offensive. And I have the right to buy Danish in support of the Danish people's right to speak freely. Burning embassies is quite another thing.
The US is now pointing out the hypocrisy demonstrated by countries who are running wild over cartoons they don't like, while banning the free exercise of other religions within their own borders. This is what every western country should do (along with buying Danish).
In other words, take Muslim concerns seriously and accept them at their word. Then demand they live up to that word.
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