Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Calling Voltaire

The Moose decries politicians who treat a faith like children.

The international jihad against the Danish cartoons continues. And few Western leaders have taken an unambiguous stand against the violence and defense of freedom of expression. Instead, pusillanimous politicians employ moral equivalence between the violence and the cartoons. These politicians are insulting Islam.

These politicians are treating Islam as though Muslims are not comfortable enough with their faith to do accept ridicule. They are condescending to a religion by suggesting that it cannot tolerate the give and take of Western freedom - a central feature of which is the right to offend. These politicians think they are being politically correct and sensitive. They are not. They are both condescending and they are capitulating to the extremist effort to exploit a great faith.

The Islamic world "handles" quite a bit without protest. It can accept rampant tyranny and vile anti-Semitism and anti-Christian persecution without rioting. It can accept beheadings, the persecution of women and gays without taking to the streets. It can accept the destruction of ancient shrines by the Taliban without a mass disturbance.

And yet some Western politicians assert that the Islamic world cannot handle a few cartoons. They practice moral equivalence between the cartoons and violence. The Jihadists are winning.

This was particularly disturbing from the Sunday London Telegraph,

"The cartoons, you see, have not been published in this country, and the Government has been very critical of those countries in which they were published. To many of the Islamic clerics, that's a clear victory...

"Dr Sookhdeo adds that he believes that "in a decade, you will see parts of English cities which are controlled by Muslim clerics and which follow, not the common law, but aspects of Muslim sharia law."

The broader point is that Western leaders are sending the wrong message to Muslim moderates. When the West is not confident of its freedoms, it is communicating that freedom is not that precious. Islam should be treated with respect, as should all religions. But, Islam should not be accorded a special dispensation from criticism by a free press. Heaven knows that in this Christian majority nation, the Christian savior has been savaged even by government subsidized "art."

This is from the DLC's statement on the matter,

"On the subject of freedom of speech, we stand with the Danes and other Europeans who rightly refuse to carve out a special dispensation for Islam in the universe of beliefs, traditions, ideas and opinions that must stand on their own in the arena of free inquiry."

There cannot be any appeasement in the defense of Western freedoms in this fight. To do anything else is not just a betrayal of our rights, but it abandons those in the Islamic world who struggle to enjoy the same freedoms as the West.

The Moose continues to be struck by the general silence or acquiescence of much the left. If there was ever a case of the liberal ideal of freedom of expression being under attack - this is it. Liberal publications which adamantly defended the right of the NEA to subsidize anti-Christian art, refuse to publish the offending Danish cartoons. The left is generally tongue tied by either obeisance to multiculuralism or political correctness.

Frost was right - liberals won't take their own side in a fight. Voltaire - call your office.
-- Posted at 8:13 AM | Link to this post | Email this post