(Old News) I Stand With the Danish Cartoonists

The fact that anyone would possibly condemn the printing of an image more harshly than perpetrators of murder driven by the “offense” caused by said images is absurd. The reaction in some parts Islamic world to these images shows a poor understanding of what is meant by “freedom of speech.” Freedom of speech means freedom of speech for everyone for one very important reason: if speech is to be limited, the limitations of speech must be imposed by some human entity (they surely aren’t given from the heavens), and how do you suppose such entity would impose these limitations? And how would it find the authority to decide, conclusively, what can be said? There is no reason to believe anyone who claims to have such authority. In a free intellectual society good ideas and bad ideas are not simply dictated to the masses. Ideas compete with each other. Good ideas withstand scrutiny, and bad ideas crumble in light of reason – that is how we move forward.

In a totalitarian society – a society ruled by brute force – the persistence of an idea is removed from its merit, and becomes the function of who has the largest army or the most powerful weaponry or the most easily mobilized hoards. The aniconism of Mohammad, as anything more than a personal and private belief, is not a “good” idea. It would not survive the market place of ideas, because it is based on shoddy, non-existent evidence. Nobody has any obligation to give any credence to or respect to that “rule.” The violent reaction of some Islamic fundamentalists – while wholly reinforcing the danish artists’ point – was patently totalitarian or fascist or brutish or monarchial or tyrannical. Whichever term you like.

The charges against the Danish newspaper of cultural insensitivity or prejudice are false, and even if they weren’t, they would be entitled to their opinion – just as the Islamic community would be entitled to a non-violent rebuttal. Yes, making unsupported claims and sweeping generalizations about arbitrary classifications (like race) is wrong. But it is important not to confuse this with rampant moral relativism. The cartoonists are not stereotyping. They make no sweeping generalizations about Arabs or the Middle-East, because they don’t need too. Their targets are adherents to a specific religion which already has the platforms of its ideology in print. Islam, like the other monotheistic religions, is a violent religion. It calls for forced conversion, and promises a fleshly paradise for martyrs. It makes claims that are incompatible with well-reasoned secular society, and it isn’t content with only believing these claims in private.

I stand with the Danish newspaper’s decision to print those cartoons. If I did not agree with them, I would stand by their right to print those cartoons, and expect rational rebuttals and non-violent confrontation. Freedom of speech is essential to any free society, and to silence free speech through force, or fear of violence, is strictly totalitarian. The asymmetry of the “crimes” committed is so stark that the galvanizing act is no crime at all and the response – which shouldn’t have escalated past the point of an angry letter to the editor – was veritable atrocity. In this situation, the only party worthy of harsh condemnation is that which intends to violently force its views on others – in this case, Islamic extremists and the dangerous dogmas they follow.

5 Responses to “(Old News) I Stand With the Danish Cartoonists”

  1. thesouthtoday Says:

    Can you find any photos of the Iranian cartoon contest?

    Since you are so carried away with the idea of freedom doesn’t that mean that the people of Islam are free to believe whatever they please and to object to the cartoons. The fact that the cartoons were published in the first place was to provoke the people of Islam so they accomplished what they were intended to do.

    Are you free to attack Jews? Are you free to attack Israel? Isn’t free speech in the United States conditioned upon Jewish approval and if anyone criticises Jews are they not labeled anti-semitic.

    Since our country is dropping 500 pound bombs on the people of Islam when they have done nothing to us don’t you suppose they might have gotten the idea from dropping bombs that others hate them and that they certainly didn’t have to wait for cartoons to get that message.

    Dropping 500 pound bombs upon Muslims is tolerated as though it is nothing but attack Jews verbally and see what happens to you.

    Rounding Arabs up and locking them away at Gitmo without due process and torturing them does not raise one eyebrow but deny “the” holocaust and see what happens to you.

    What do you know of freedom. What you are spouting is the accepted dogma of today. Try going against the grain if you wish to learn about freedoms.

  2. secularstudentslb Says:

    yes, islamists are free to believe whatever they like and even object to the cartoons. They are not free to murder 130 some odd people to drive home their objection. The government of Iran was not free to attempt to murder Salman Rushdie and actually murder some of his associates for writing a book.

    Yes I am free to attack Jews or more accurately believers in Judaism: like the Islamists, they believe in idiotic bronze age myths. They are free to believe them, but not to impose them on me, or on anyone. Same goes for believing Christians.

    I think Israel’s occupation of palestine is abhorrent. I think they used excessive amounts of force against Lebanon. I know claiming that “the bible says so” is not a legitimate reason to occupy a territory.

    The murder of Danish people at Danish embassies after Danish printers printed cartoons has nothing to do with the Iraq war, which I do not support in any way. Nor do I support the abhorrent policies of the United States regarding Gitmo.

    Denial of the Holocaust is idiotic and flies in the face of mounds and mounds of evidence. But, deniers have the right to their denial – but not to force it on me. Likewise, I expect every rational human being to speak out against those who would deny the holocaust – but I would not, and do not, believe they should be jailed or made quiet through the use of force.

  3. secularstudentslb Says:

    You do bring up a good point about the Iranian cartoon contest. It should not be the right of governments to censor those drawings through coercion, either.

  4. Alan Says:

    Make more posts.

  5. Amartvenita Says:

    you definitely love for gift for less

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