The New Free Speech Movement

Today is Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, a completely made-up satirical “holiday” dedicated to the concept of drawing Mohammed cartoons, as a way of making a statement about freedom of speech.

Not everyone agrees with this idea, however. And I’m not just talking about the expected naysayers — that is, fundamentalist Muslims (who demand that no one be allowed to depict their prophet) and progressive multiculturalists (who run interference for fundamentalist Muslims by insisting that we all obey Islamic demands or risk being branded as racists).

No, even some level-headed conservative-leaning pundits have begun to cast aspersions on this whole Mohammed cartoon thing. Most notable among them is J.E. Dyer, whose recent article posted at HotAir entitled “Provocation isn’t the highest form of free speech” made the argument that mocking Mohammed is basically pointless “provocation” and that, although provocative speech is protected, it is the embarrassing stepchild of the noble, high-toned political speech imagined by our forefathers, and as such should be avoided lest we come off as brutes and rubes. To quote the key passage of Dyer’s thesis,

The right to offend others is something that gets a pass because of the good that comes from the better, higher, more important right to make our own philosophical decisions. The right to be deliberately offensive is a parasite, not a first principle.

I disagree. Strongly. And I’ll tell you why.

Who Decides What Is Provocative?

Protesters in Pakistan yesterday, angry about the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day Facebook page

This is not an argument over the right to be “provocative” or “offensive”; rather, is it something much more significant — an argument over who gets to determine what counts as provocative or offensive in the first place. The Western world dragged itself out of the church-dominated Dark Ages and into the Enlightenment in part over this precise issue: the freedom to engage in speech and actions which formerly had been classified as the crime known as “blasphemy.” It seems such a trivial and quaint issue in retrospect, and hardly worthy of note from our hyper-secularized 21st-century perspective, but tell that to the millions of people who for centuries lived under the yoke of governments which used accusations of blasphemy and other religious misbehaviors as a primary tool of tyranny and oppression. The modern world dawned with the American and French Revolutions and the emergence of the explicitly secular state — the Americans rejecting the Church of England as Britain’s legally enforced national religion, and the French shrugging off centuries of acquiescence to domination by the Catholic Church in civil affairs. In both cases, new governmental paradigms were established in which there was an inviolable separation of church and state, which in practice meant no civil laws enforcing religious doctrines and (most importantly for our discussion) no laws against blasphemy.

The original “Draw Winky” ad from a 1971 comic book

We’re now so accustomed to this liberated society that we have all but forgotten how horrible it was in the Bad Old Days before our Founding Fathers (wipes away tear) created a safe haven for the human mind, a place called the United States of America. The laws and punishments of the Puritans and of the Spanish Inquisition and all the rest were decisively and emphatically swept off the table and replaced with a simple principle: personal freedom. Freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech.

Everybody Expects the Islamic Inquisition

Well, the Spanish Inquisition may be a distant memory now relegated to Monty Python skits, but the self-appointed Islamic Inquisition is threatening to take its place. Remember that the Spanish Inquisition (and the much larger papal inquisition which preceded it) existed for the purpose of enforcing religious dictates on the general populace, including and especially religious crimes such as heresy, blasphemy, and apostasy. Punishment for these deeds could be severe and often as not included torture or execution. This is exactly what the Islamic fundamentalists want to impose on us in the 21st century: Obedience to religious dictates, enforced where necessary by violence.

Luckily, outside of a few Middle Eastern countries, the Islamists do not have the power to enforce their hellish vision of society. But that doesn’t stop them from trying. Where they can’t impose their religious rules by force, they try to impose them by fear and intimidation. Since we have our freedoms permanently etched into our Constitution, the Islamists are going to have little luck getting blasphemy laws passed in the U.S. Yet they can achieve the same result if they can use terror to bring about our own self-censorship. Which is exactly what they have set about doing, the most recent round starting with the murder of Theo Van Gogh in 2004 and reaching the boiling point with the Danish Cartoon Controversy in 2006. The pot hasn’t stopped boiling since. The Islamists’ strategy is to kill, or threaten to kill, anyone who gets media attention for “disrespecting” Islam or Mohammed — thereby convincing the rest of us infidels to remain silent if we know what’s good for us.

   Updated 2010 version of “Draw Winky” (parody by buzzsawmonkey)

And here we come to the crux of the matter. Which side in this conflict gets to determine what counts as “disrespectful” (a contemporary euphemism for “blasphemous”)? In the jihadists’ view, any depiction of Mohammed — even a positive or honorific depiction — is deemed blasphemous. It’s our religion, they say, so we get to say what’s offensive. Yet if we grant them this inch, they’ll take another inch (it’s also disrespectful to write Mohammed’s name without a worshipful “PBUH” after it), and another inch (it’s disrespectful to criticize Islam in any way), and before long it’s the whole mile, and we once again will be living in an intellectual Middle Ages in which religious tyrants dictate our every thought and action.

So you can see the urge of every sane-minded Westerner to say a hearty Fuck you! to anyone who tries to erode away the bedrock of our free society. The more insistent (and violent) these attempts at erosion, the less civil the resistance will become. Which is exactly as it should be. If the Islamists want us to to stop mocking (or even questioning) Mohammed, they can achieve this goal quite simply: Just go away and leave us alone. Don’t bother us, and we won’t bother you. Seriously, 99% of non-Muslims don’t give a good goddamn about Mohammed one way or the other, and we’d gladly ignore him and his followers until the end of time – if they’d just stop trying to boss us around. But if someone comes to our safe haven and tries to impose a repressive or restrictive rule on us, then that is the exact rule we’re going to flout until the interlopers learn their lesson: We don’t take kindly to bullshit medieval religious oppression in these parts.

And so we return to J.E. Dyer’s essay, where she essentially argues that freedom of speech is simply the vehicle through which we can express our political ideals without fear of reprisal. While that may be true, it leaves out the final piece of the puzzle: Freedom of speech itself is our highest political ideal. We need freedom of speech not merely so we can discuss Aristotle and the Teapot Dome Scandal and non-proliferation treaties, but more importantly we need freedom of speech so we can defend the unconditional right of freedom to speak — or think, or draw, for that matter. As soon as someone comes along and says (as Dyer does) that some forms of speech are “better” or “higher” than others, the implication is that the the low-class expressions are somehow less worthy of defending. But that way lies the road to ruin. We would soon begin to slide down what I call Niemöller’s Slippery Slope, which in this instance would begin, “First they came for the cartoonists….”

It is precisely the most offensive speech which needs to be defended, because that is the only speech which ever gets challenged in the first place. If we cave in on this seemingly trivial issue, we have already lost.

Mario Savio in 1964 helped launch the Free Speech Movement into national consciousness by climbing atop a police car at U.C. Berkeley and denouncing campus rules which prohibited political speech

The New Free Speech Movement

And it is often on the most trivial of points that history pivots. Take, for example, the original Free Speech Movement of the mid-1960s, which was the fuse that ignited the social transformations in the second half of that decade. At first, the initial dispute was over something as ridiculous as which student groups were allowed to have a literature table on U.C. Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, and whether or not the sidewalk bordering the campus counted as university property (where leafletting would be banned) or city property (where it would be allowed). Hardly something worth getting worked up over. But the students pressed the issue, and pressed, and eventually an utterly trivial local dispute became a not-so-trivial local dispute, and when the University caved in, it opened the floodgates to student activism and social upheaval first at Berkeley and eventually across the nation (and world, for that matter).

I posit that this cartoon fiasco may look as trivial now as did the silly Berkeley sidewalk dispute back in 1964, but it could very well morph into a new Free Speech Movement which could affect the course of history just as much as did the first one.

The Mohammed cartoons — whether they appear in a Danish newspaper, on South Park, on Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, or anywhere else, are basically our way of saying, Bring it on. They are an intentional goading to accelerate the inevitable clash of civilizations: totalitarianism vs. democracy, religion vs. secularism, repression vs. freedom, Islam vs. the liberal West — choose your definitions. It’s coming, whether we like it or not. And it’s quite apparent to the Mohammed cartoonists and their supporters that, currently, Team Islam does not have the tools to win. Philosophically, militarily, financially, analytically, morally and in just about every other way they have a losing hand. But the crazy part is, they don’t seem to realize it quite yet. So, from a strategic standpoint, if your opponent is overconfident and bound to lose yet still itching for a fight, it’s best to let him engage now and get defeated, than wait for some future day of conflict where the outcome may be in doubt.

Islamic extremists still seem to think that banning Facebook or threatening to kill the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day organizers will somehow make the problem of blasphemy go away. They don’t yet understand that we in the West have spent the last 600 years not merely earning the right to be blasphemous, but more importantly creating a society and a worldview in which there is no such thing as blasphemy, because all forms of speech are permitted and religious bullies no longer get to determine what is forbidden.

Now get out your pencils and start drawing.


UPDATE

Over the last few hours I’ve received an avalanche of Mohammed cartoon submissions in response to the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day “contest.” And even though it isn’t a real contest (and even if it was a competition I am not the organizer nor any kind of “judge”), I did just receive a submission which stands out as far and away the most eye-catching of the bunch. If I was a judge, this Mohammed cartoon, by an anonymous artist who wishes to go by the name “Tad Pole,” is currently my favorite to be deemed the “winner” of today’s Draw Mohammed contest:

48 Responses to “The New Free Speech Movement”

  1. 1RoboMonkey on May 20, 2010 at 4:12 am:

    Will you be adding the flood of new drawings to your Mo image archive?

      

  2. 2zombie on May 20, 2010 at 8:01 am:

    RoboMonkey:

    I’m already inundated with far more than I can handle! I’ll probably end up getting overwhelmed and not get around to making any additions or new posts today, but I imagine in the fullness of time I’ll do my best to gather all I can and add them — or links to them — to the Mo Archive.

    Which is sad, because some of the ones sent to me are simply great. Sigh. So little time, so much to do!

      

  3. 3Ringo the Gringo on May 20, 2010 at 8:40 am:

    Well said, zombie.

    Here’s my picture.

    I still don’t feel compelled to draw anything overtly offensive, mostly because the threats and intimidation over mild, or even respectful, depictions of Mohammed are even more telling.

      

  4. 4CattusMagnus on May 20, 2010 at 11:01 am:

    =-o * * * (((:~{>

      

  5. 5Fenris on May 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm:

    If you get enough submissions together, do you think it’d merit a new section in the Muhammad Image Archive?

      

  6. 6Fenris on May 20, 2010 at 4:37 pm:

    Update: The Facebook page has been deleted.

      

  7. 7CLN on May 20, 2010 at 6:08 pm:

    Facebook deleted the EDMD page but not the site for Holocaust deniers….free speech for anti-semites only?

      

  8. 8Dane on May 20, 2010 at 7:58 pm:

    CLN: Facebook deleted the EDMD page but not the site for Holocaust deniers….free speech for anti-semites only?

    Presumably Facebook, Inc. has concluded that they don’t have to worry about the ADL blowing up their offices.

      

  9. 9jhana jian on May 21, 2010 at 5:25 am:

    The best article I’ve seen yet on this whole Draw Muhammad Day mess! Well done, dude!

      

  10. 10blangwort on May 21, 2010 at 8:20 am:

    Facebook could do a lot to keep this on track. Deleting EDMD shows weakness.

    This is what we fight against. If Radical Islamists insist that they should draw a picture of Mohammad, then fine, they shouldn’t draw a picture of Mohammad. However, insisting that NOBODY should draw Mohammad is morally corrupt and downright evil.

    We reserve the right to express ourselves and to tell them that we think their religion needs a tuneup to bring it inline with with current millennium. If they choose to think otherwise, then we choose to police them should they move here.

    We in the west do not take kindly to those who think they know what’s best for us.

      

  11. 11zombie on May 21, 2010 at 8:25 am:

    Fenris: If you get enough submissions together, do you think it’d merit a new section in the Muhammad Image Archive?

    That’s going to have to be the only solution. Most of the existing pages at the Mohammed Image Archive are already pretty much full to capacity — I don’t want to have pages with 200 jpegs on them. So if I’m going to try to add the NUMEROUS Draw Mo Day pix to the Archive, the only way to do it is to add a whole new section devoted to nothing but those images.

    Unfortunately, that’s a bit more complicated than it sounds, because each page in the archive links at least once and in some cases twice to every other page, so if I’m going to add a new section, I’m also going to have to update every single every other page too.

    Furthermore, I’ve gotten about 100 new “letters to the editor,” and all sorts of new image submissions not directly related to Draw Mo Day, so I’ve got a big job awaiting me when I update the Archive. Yet…my free time is severely limited. So, I get the feeling that my update is not going to come any time soon. And by the time I do it, most everyone will have already forgotten about Draw Mo Day.

    Sigh. Them’s the breaks!

      

  12. 12michael j contos on May 21, 2010 at 8:33 am:

    I agree with the right for you to say anything you want, but do we have to poke someone in the eye to get them to see? Trying to be civil, I don’t think I would want to make fun of, or ridicule, a Jesus, a Buddha or a Moses.

    I did not like Larry Flynt when he published in “Hustler” a cartoon of Jesus on the cross with a woman wrapping her legs around him screwing the son of God. I would have liked to punch out both the publisher and the illustrator, but I was in Vietnam at the time fighting for their fucking right to cause all the pain their First Amendment speech protection allowed.

    Forty years later, I still want to hit ‘em upside the head.

    Show some love and compassion for another’s religion, will you? I don’t care what religion it is.

    The extemists might want to take a little more action than simply smacking someone in he head. But, two wrongs never made a right.

    michael j
    Conshohocken, PA USA

      

  13. 13Pvt Bin Jammin on May 21, 2010 at 10:49 am:

    I understand that one of our old buddies at some other blog has had his facebook page taken down over this Draw Mo thing. Unbelievable.

      

  14. 14Starless on May 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm:

    How did go? Oh, yeah: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits.

    michael j contos: Show some love and compassion for another’s religion, will you? I don’t care what religion it is.

    I’d suggest you look up the word “dhimmitude” because that’s what this is about.

      

  15. 15Scott on May 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm:

    Zombie has a point, but I wonder why it is, particularly in the past 50 years, that people don’t seem to know how to control themselves anymore. This is a variation on the yelling “fire!” in a crowded movie house argument. Do we have the right to do that? I think so under absolute freedom of speech. Should we do that? Obviously not. I am not a fan of religion because of the exact dogma Zombie points out, and I get the argument. But it probably makes sense to restrain oneself where it comes to making insulting depictions of anyone’s “God” or savior. Should we restrain ourselves because of these Isalmofacists threats? Nope. But to make bad artwork like Lars Vilik to become some folk hero for free speech people seems…cheap. Lars can keep making bad art…but nobody should pay attention or buy it because it is…well, in poor taste. See what I mean by controlling oneself?

      

  16. 16blangwort on May 23, 2010 at 7:13 am:

    michael j contos: Show some love and compassion for another’s religion, will you? I don’t care what religion it is.

    The extemists might want to take a little more action than simply smacking someone in he head. But, two wrongs never made a right.

    First of all, thank-you for the service to our country.

    I do not enjoy looking at cartoons of another’s religion. It often highlights a difficult perception that stresses one’s faith. I say this even though I may not be of the religion of those being cartooned. One would like to think that all religions espouse peace, honesty, respect, and so on. Such cartoons often shake our faith in others to the core. Nevertheless, we are not guaranteed a stress free life.

    Radical Islam has taken a hold over the world that simply has no parallel in history. These are fanatics. They have gone well beyond ordinary religious behavior and become raving lunatics. If they take offense at a stick figure with the name Mohammad underneath it, or even a teddy bear named Mohammad, then there is a problem.

    The mockery is not pretty to watch. I take no joy in watching it happen. However, their rage would be expended against many things. This at least directs their rage toward something that they may learn from. If they can’t do that much, then theirs is not a true faith of any sort. It is a cult. If that’s the case, we should firmly, and gently bring them back to reality.

    The alternative is allow them to inflict harm, and then to retaliate. I would rather not go there. This is the lesser of two evils.

      

  17. 17jhana jian on May 23, 2010 at 11:21 am:

    re: Michael Contos

    Sorry, Michael, but I think a correction is in order here. You were not in Vietnam protecting the First Amendment rights of Americans or anyone else. You were in Vietnam trying to prevent the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia.

      

  18. 18TJ McGee on May 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm:

    jhana jian: re: Michael ContosSorry, Michael, but I think a correction is in order here.You were not in Vietnam protecting the First Amendment rights of Americans or anyone else.You were in Vietnam trying to prevent the spread of Communism in Southeast Asia.

    Also:

    Considering that Hustler magazine wasn’t first published until 1974, did not even begin to get a nationwide audience until starting in 1975 and probably did not publish the Jesus-sex cartoon until long after that; and considering that there were basically no US troops on the ground fighting in Vietnam after 1973, and NO Americans of any kind after April of 1975…then Michael is either making stuff up for a good story or has a faulty memory of his personal timeline in the 1970s.

      

  19. 19buzzsawmonkey on May 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm:

    Scott: This is a variation on the yelling “fire!” in a crowded movie house argument. Do we have the right to do that? I think so under absolute freedom of speech. Should we do that? Obviously not.

    Let me remind you that the original quote refers to falsely shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater—i.e., behaving maliciously to create a panic—as an example of speech unprotected by the First Amendment. There is not only nothing wrong with shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater when there actually is a fire—you have a duty to do so in order to warn the other patrons who are not yet aware of their danger.

    Drawing a picture of Mohammed is not “falsely shouting fire”; indeed, the entire point of zombie’s essay is that there is a “fire” that threatens to consume free speech, and that free speech can, in the end, only be preserved by recognizing that nobody has a right to not be offended—and that vetoes of free speech by threats of violence are not acceptable.

      

  20. 20Starless on May 24, 2010 at 4:17 am:

    buzzsawmonkey: vetoes of free speech by threats of violence are not acceptable

    Or actual violence. Do those who think we should be all high-minded and civil recall videos and images of Westerners getting their heads sawn off in the name of Allah? The message was clear: “We don’t like you and your way of life and this what we’re going to do to you if we catch you”.

    In what J.E. Dyer has written, I’m seeing a David Brooks-like call to suppress the knuckle-dragging masses. This is the busybody element of the Right — those whose first instinct is to say, “There outta be a law”. You find Larry Flynt abhorrent and offensive? Fine. Go ahead and criticize him but there are two things that are out of bounds in the country where freedom of speech is the paramount right of its citizens: threatening him and crafting laws which punish him if he doesn’t shut him. Even more insidious is saying that one piece of self-expression is more worthy of protection than another based on a subjective assessment of the piece’s quality. Maybe Lars Vilk’s art is crap but that doesn’t make it any less worthy of protection than Michelangelo’s David. I thought Serrano’s Piss Christ was idiotic and childish and I dismissed it as such. You don’t like what Vilks has to say? Don’t listen to him and don’t buy his illustrations. You think Flynt is a perv? I’d say: well, duh?! This is the same guy who purportedly claimed to have had sex with a chicken. As long as he doesn’t come around trying to molest your livestock, how do you have the right to call for physical assault against him?

    The First Amendment was specifically crafted to protect the extremes of speech and Dyer is completely off in her analysis. Once you start to qualify what’s good speech and what’s bad speech, you head back down the slippery slope to tyranny. They didn’t know it at the time but the colonists, a few of whom were my own ancestors, did indeed fight in the American Revolution so that some idiot could depict “George III as a pederast surounded by his catamites”. (Oo, “catamites”, how erudite!)

      

  21. 21Scott on May 25, 2010 at 5:53 pm:

    Starless: You are absolutely right. Here you are hitting the nail on the head: “I thought Serrano’s Piss Christ was idiotic and childish and I dismissed it as such”. Exactly. Sure, Serrano has he right to produce such “art”. The problem is that “art” has become a bid for undue attention. Couldn’t Serrano invest the same amount of time in a properly rendered landscape? Or perhaps an abstract, imaginary but skillfully rendered sculpture? Of course he could. If he and Lars Vilik can invest the time to draw attention to themselves with tasteless drivel, then they can also (assuming they are skilled artists with true knowledge of their craft) do tasteful, less-controversial pieces. But It is apparent that they are doing this a-religious (anti-religious?) activity to be “controversial”, which puts them on the map, so to speak.

    Absolutely, I agree they have every right to “perform” this “art”. That the subject matter is potentially blasphemous to people of certain faiths is irrelevent. But they can find more constructive outlets for their craft. Should they be intimidated by the jihadist fascists? Nope. But there are 10,000 better ways to express themselves.

    Let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Foreign-based muslim benefactors are financing the construction of a huge mosque in lower Manhattan, where real estate tends to be crazy expensive. Could they construct that mosque elsewhere? Yep. Should they construct it elsewhere, especially since it is so close to ground zero? Could they make it smaller? Oh, and their target opening date is 9/11/11. What do you call that? In your face bird flying. But they have every right to build that mosque, as long as they follow the law and finance it themselves. Control. Too many people lack it. The artists need to find a better way to perform. The muslims need to find a better place to build that mosque that truly serves the needs of their constituents. Instead, we get “Piss Christ” and a giant mosque next to ground zero opening 9/11/11. We all need to ignore these people.

      

  22. 22Starless on May 26, 2010 at 3:45 am:

    Scott: But It is apparent that they are doing this a-religious (anti-religious?) activity to be “controversial”, which puts them on the map, so to speak.

    Yeah, what you’re talking about is actually fashion dressed up as art. Even more pervasive than religion-bashing pieces is anything “about gender” (or race). Whenever you see an artist put those two words together to describe his or her work, you know that that artist has run out of ideas, or never had any to start with, and is just pandering to a particular group of patrons.

    Scott: The muslims need to find a better place to build that mosque that truly serves the needs of their constituents. Instead, we get “Piss Christ” and a giant mosque next to ground zero opening 9/11/11. We all need to ignore these people.

    I think the response needs to be more-in-sorrow-than-anger. The old motherly advice that if we just ignore them, they’ll go away doesn’t cut it — ignoring a provocateur or responding with threats will just egg him or her on. The distinction is that the government — that is, the government which is supposed to follow the US constitution — cannot suppress their freedom of speech no matter how odious that expression may be.

    What you seem to be calling for is higher quality in art and I can sympathize. There are times when I think the world would be much improved if we went back to a model of millionaire patronage in the art world to weed out the crap. The trouble is that that model is very undemocratic and anti-entrepreneurial and, IMO, doesn’t fit with what it means to be American. If the market will pay for it, let people like Flynt waggle their bare asses in public or let charlatans like Christo cover an entire city with fabric and then let the critics savage them, but don’t merely pretend to adhere to the principles of the freedom of expression and then start making exceptions and qualifications particularly if those exceptions and qualifications depend on subjective assessments like taste or what feels provocative.

      

  23. 23Scott on May 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm:

    Starless, I agree all around. I’m not a fan of tasteless art, but then tasteless is in the eye of the beholder. People pay for weird things, and yes, they should have the ability to do that. And I really wasn’t implying that ignoring them will make it go away…of course not. But radical muslims win when not only do they abuse the freedoms they are afforded in our country, but also get a lot of attention for building their party palace next to ground zero. If I must give them the freedom to build their house of worship wherever they choose, I would also prefer not to give them undeserved attention. Kinda my point with Piss Christ, etc…go ahead, produce crap and sell it. Just don’t make me mad by rubbing my nose in it.

    My broader point is that I wish individuals could govern themselves…like the muslims building the mosque. “Uh, maybe it is insensitive of us to build a giant house of worship right next to the site of one of the world’s greatest tragedies. Hey, I know, we’ll build it somewhere else and save money, too!” They don’t do that. Instead it’s “in your face, infidel! And to the American people, hey, there are 200 mosques in NYC, so what’s the big deal (snigger) about (giggle) another one?” People, in general, need to do better, but they need to decide this for themselves. That’s all I’m saying.

      

  24. 24Starless on May 27, 2010 at 4:19 am:

    Scott: If I must give them the freedom to build their house of worship wherever they choose

    You don’t have to give them the freedom to build their house of worship wherever they choose. Where I’m coming from on this is that it’s a local matter — I don’t live in NYC and I didn’t know anyone who died in the 9/11 attacks so my criticism only goes so far. If the local planning board goes ahead with the approval of this obvious dick-move by the developers, then it needs to be made clear to the board that their decision is guaranteed to turn around and bite them in the ass.

    That being said, what I think should be equally clear is that creating a law which bans mosques on that particular piece of real estate would be un-American. What people like Dyer don’t understand is that when they start to talk about “civility” they’re starting the slippery slope of codified thought control (think of the harassment and “hate” laws of the Clinton era) — something which fits in very nicely within Sharia. Sharia is all about banning behaviour and speech which self-appointed social betters have decided is distasteful.

    Scott: I would also prefer not to give them undeserved attention.

    They’re going to get it one way or another. Since the ’70s they’ve understood that all they have to do is be as irritating and destructive as they can to garner sympathy from geopolitical power players. They’ve also discovered that by being supposedly non-state actors and playing the victim, they can tie the US government in knots.

    Scott: They don’t do that. Instead it’s “in your face, infidel! And to the American people, hey, there are 200 mosques in NYC, so what’s the big deal (snigger) about (giggle) another one?”

    Actually, from what I can tell, they’re doing you one better on that by saying in essence, “If you don’t let us build a mosque here you will prove America’s intolerance and then the terrorists will have won”. It’s a very clever argument which leaves the Left utterly defenseless.

      

  25. 25Tim on Jun 2, 2010 at 5:04 am:

    Is it wrong of me to juxtapose your urgent need to offend, with your offence at the Fagan poster opposite the Jewish building? (http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=1520)

    I mean, it’s just an offensive poster, no? Isn’t that how it works? Even in the unlikely scenario they’d planned the production of Olivedr just to piss off their neighbours, that’s no different from an offensive picture of Muhammed, surely …

      

  26. 26zombie on Jun 5, 2010 at 7:14 am:

    Tim: Is it wrong of me to juxtapose your urgent need to offend, with your offence at the Fagan poster opposite the Jewish building? (http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?p=1520)
    I mean, it’s just an offensive poster, no? Isn’t that how it works? Even in the unlikely scenario they’d planned the production of Olivedr just to piss off their neighbours, that’s no different from an offensive picture of Muhammed, surely …

    The difference, Tim, is that my “response” to my noticing the Fagin poster is to write a short blog entry about it, and speculate as to whether or not it was intentional. That’s it.

    Did I issue a fatwa?
    No.
    Did I riot in the streets?
    No.
    Did I threaten anyone?
    No.
    Did I injure or kill anyone?
    No.
    Did I call for censorship or a boycott?
    No.
    Did I even assume that it was made intentionally to offend?
    No.

    I did nothing but express my opinion.

    If Muslims worldwide responded to Mohammed pictures as passively and peacefully as I responded to the Fagin poster, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

    That’s the whole point.

    Everyone is free to be offended. Everyone is free to express their opinions. Where that crosses the line is when people threaten and censor and use violence to “express” their “opinions.”

    So, thank you for pointing out how my response was the exact kind of reasonable response that the Muslims should be taking to something they deem offensive.

      

  27. 27Tim on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:21 am:

    I disagree. You’ve chosen (in the Mohammed piece) to take the view that it’s your right to cause the maxmimum level of offence to Muslims. I agree, that taking offence over a caricature is really quite silly, but we all know that religion – of pretty much any ilk – is not usually subject to reason.

    At least the producers of Oliver might be able to claim that no offence was intended. (Although it seems pretty unlikely that they’ve not noticed who lives across the road, or that they’ve noticed how thoroughly stereotyped Dickens’ Fagin is (I’m thinking of the sneering ‘hooknosed’ descriptions which turn up every few pages).

    Whereas you, knowing someone might be gravely offended by the production of such pictures – have gleefully encouraged and endorsed it.

    It’s not that I’m denying the protection of speech and thought, bbecause in general I’d completely support thee basic principles you’ree discusssing, but don’t you sometimes think to yourself: do I need to do this? Do I prove anything by purusing such a thing to its logical conclusion? What will I achieve (beyond a listed blog post) by being so needlessly hateful?

    (Does hateful sound like a soft, pathetic way to describe it? Perhaps it is – they’re pictures, after all – but a little pleasantness goes a long way, I find.)

      

  28. 28شات كتابي on Sep 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm:

    They’re going to get it one way or another. Since the ’70s they’ve understood that all they have to do is be as irritating and destructive as they can to garner sympathy from geopolitical power players. They’ve also discovered that by being supposedly non-state actors and playing the victim, they can tie the US government in knots.

      

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