A lively discussion is going on at the moment at Ann Coulter’s forum, but you need to register to see it (note: you can’t use a free e-mail address to sign up – the joys of capitalism!). The debate was on the – you guessed it – Muhammad cartoons issue, which was commented on by Ann in a column titled “Calvin and Hobbes- and Muhammad”.
My initial post went as follows:
Interesting column, although I disagree with most of its contents (not to talk about the manner it is written in).
First of all, allow me to demolish once and for all the argument that the Danish newspaper should’ve published the Jesus cartoons some time ago in order to prove that it believed in freedom of speech. The thing that many critics (Muslims, liberals, or other) of the Danish newspaper miss is that freedom of speech/expression is not about publishing everything; it is about publishing what one wants to publish… *
While I find the Western justification hypocritical (to say the least) – because you cannot have different standards for material on Islam and material on the Holocaust for example – I also find liberals’ and Muslims’ calls for censorship disgusting. Going around and saying ‘either censorship for all or freedom for all’ is utterly unprincipled, something the liberals and Muslims accuse the West / Europe of… So they should make up their minds, either they believe in freedom of speech AT ALL TIMES and FOR ALL PEOPLE, or they believe in CENSORSHIP AT ALL TIMES and FOR ALL PEOPLE.
And that’s about all I can say that might be applauded by the neo-cons (trust me, I am not saying all this to please you – just take a look at my username).
* I have changed my mind on the issue. Here is what I said on this issue a few days ago. Nothing wrong with changing one’s mind. It’s not a shame to rethink things through, quite the opposite, ruling out any challenge to one’s position is the epitome of ignorance. But let me clarify that I still think that the “freedom of speech” argument being made in Europe is hypocritical in light of the fact that there is no freedom of speech when it comes to expressing unpopular views on the Holocaust (a pretty damning example, which is why I mention it).
The first response I received was the following:
What you are basically saying is that someone was arguing the “scattergun” approach to publishing anything-and-everything inclusive, so as to avoid offending anyone?
(Not that anyone without a lobotomy would think this was a point worth arguing, mind you).
I think the point of Ann’s column (and the uproar surrounding the publishing of the cartoons) might have been the violence and rioting present in the population the humor was aimed at, in sharp contrast to even liberals, who seem to manage to have thicker skins and avoid burning down a Starbucks every time they see a cartoon making fun of Hillary Clinton. My (neocon) point being that sooner or later someone is going to write or say something offensive. The test of the argument is not whether or not something is offensive, the test is how the offended responds. (emphasis mine)
So since the issue is about how the offended responds, I point out to this name-calling neo-con (I did not include that part, but you can go see for yourself) the following:
It seems to me you not only have a problem with how the Muslims acted (burning down embassies) but also with the fact that they even reacted to the cartoons. Now you have moved from criticizing them for being “uncivilized” and barbaric, to criticizing them for feeling offended. I did not know that such an ardent defender of Western standards of freedom and democracy would find anything wrong with voicing the fact that one felt offended by something (let’s just say those Muslims have no sense of humour whatsoever – what, you are going to bomb them into having one?). It seems like you missed the 500,000-strong peaceful protest that took place in Lebanon a couple of days ago. 500,000 is far more than 2000, don’t you think? At least that is what my Maths professor taught me. So, can you count? Because I need you to tell me how many thousand (or hundreds of thousands of) Muslims burned down embassies and how many did not. Since you insist that the point is about how Muslims reacted.
Now for the reply I get:
Your math is impeccable. Now let’s look at what you’re counting … the people who didn’t react violently — right? Is this like the vast majority of Japanese that didn’t do violence in WWII — or the vast majority of Germans that were not killers? Sort of like the 99.9% of Americans not fighting in Iraq? Now that we know you understand big numbers, feel free to add to the list.
When you’re done counting, you might want to include a point as well. (emphasis mine, just to show the level to which those people would stoop to make a “point”)
Conservatives tend to have a thicker skin, we’re used to it. It’s rather amusing to me how the Muslim world can go out and make some of the statements they make about the Western Culture, God, and Jews, but once they have their precious religion criticized in a cartoon drawing they’re all up in arms over it and acting like barbaric bafoons. They have the right to be offended, they don’t have the right to start inciting violence because of it.
It’s simply showing the hypocrisy, we can have open season on Christianity, but God forbid anyone say anything about another religion or depict it in a negative light.
500,000, huh? What are we calling it? The Half-Million Muslim March? I’m sure those numbers aren’t inflated. It’s amazing how much Liberals like to inflate numbers, but that’s beside the point….
I don’t speak for Smartso, but I am under the impression her point wasn’t that all Muslims were involved in the destruction of property, but that that nearly none of them decry the behavior either. The silence of the Muslim world about this kind of behavior has been deafening. Much like the dancing Muslims in the streets when the donkey arrived to tell them that they took down 2 of the most important financial buildings in the United States. Once again, it’s not all of them, it’s most of them, but apparently you’d rather make excuses for them, after all…it’s Islam, not Christianity we’re talking about. No, then it’s art and how dare we object to the content of their messages.
And I reply to both (it might not be clear to which point I am replying, because I am not repasting their quotes, see above for those):
Actually, I was not even talking about the people in general who didn’t react violently. I was only talking about those who protested peacefully. Something that Ann fails to address, and you want to divert attention from.
Actually, those numbers were by no means put by the liberals, they were put by the Lebanese press (by right-wing and sectarian, mostly Christian and Sunni), which is mostly run by pro-Western, pro-U.S figures (at the moment). It was a predominantly Shi’ite “march” that took place on the occasion of Ashura, and it was peaceful.
I assume you went and interviewed all those who didn’t go out to burn embassies and instead sat at home and watched it all on TV. I assume you know what they were thinking; surely they were, deep inside, supportive of it. That’s why they didn’t go out to express their anger. Yup. And that’s why some 90% of Americans were definitely supportive of dropping bombs on innocent Iraqi civilians (no matter how noble a purpose it was for). And that makes the American people what, legitimate targets of attack, or is the word of the month “barbarian”?
That is terrible. I don’t rule out that there were many who did that (there were also Israelis who did that just a few blocks away from WTC, by the way. In case you failed to take notice of it). But it in no way represents what the average Muslim thinks or feels. Maybe Muslims don’t like your country’s policies but the mass murder of innocent people is just outrageous and immoral. Maybe some of you neo-cons shouldn’t have been cheering for USA as it dropped bombs on innocent Iraqis in the name of liberating them (again, regardless of what the cause was – obviously views differ on whether or not it was justifiable, but I will not go there). That makes you what, exactly? Any different from those Muslims who distributed sweets and danced on the streets on 9/11? (emphasis added, see below)
And another replies to the parts in bold:
The big difference here is that al Qaeda purposely targeted innocent American civilians on 9/11, whereas the Americans were aiming exclusively at military targets when it invaded Iraq (Thanks to our smart bomb technology that was about all that was damaged). There are always going to be some innocent civilian deaths in any war, but you’re comparing apples to oranges here. There is just NO valid moral equivalence to be found therein.
And here is my reply to that:
No, the difference is that I am not justifying Al-Qaida’s murderous actions while you are justifying the U.S’s murderous actions. In both cases thousands of civilians were killed, both are equally wrong (no matter in whose name it is and what excuses are used to justify it). I am afraid that you cannot set the standards. Either there is one universal standard that everyone falls under, or there are multiple standards. In the latter case you would have no point. In the former you have justifiable grievances, as do we, as Middle Easterners.
This made my day. 😛
And it’s getting even hotter by the minute, folks! Stay tuned for updates!