Well, the country that supposedly champions life, liberty and property has surrendered. Or, at least, our government has tucked its tail and run. They remind me of Sir Robin-the-not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Launcelot in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “…when danger reared its ugly head he bravely turned his tail and fled…”
From this Reuters story we find out that a U.S. State Department had this to say (emphasis added in bold):
These cartoons are indeed offensive to the belief of Muslims,” State Department spokesman Kurtis Cooper said in answer to a question. “We all fully recognize and respect freedom of the press and expression but it must be coupled with press responsibility. Inciting religious or ethnic hatreds in this manner is not acceptable.”
Translation: Say whatever you want as long as it is politically correct, inoffensive and bland. And remember that responsibility thing when you talk about the U.S. government. Oh yeah, don’t talk bad about Christians either. Or anyone else that might be upset by it.
The U.S. Government is empowered by the people of the United States to adhere to the U.S. Constitution, including this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Instead, we are surrendering in a most cowardly fashion to a bunch of whiny children throwing a tantrum.
Now, I’m starting to get mad. I’m sick and tired of people telling me I have to keep my mouth shut and not say something because other people might be offended. From Reuters:
“Freedom of satire that offends the feelings of others becomes an abuse, and here we are talking about nothing less than the feelings of entire peoples who have seen their supreme symbols affected,” he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
It’s not abuse. Being responsible about freedom of speech means accepting the consequences of saying something. It doesn’t mean keeping my mouth shut because I might hurt your feelings. Knowledge is power. Forcing people to keep their knowledge isolated by muzzling their speech takes their power away and collects it in the hands of the few. Whether that few is the Catholic church, Muslim priests or Presidents and Prime Ministers. I refuse to shut up. I will not take those cartoons down. If someone is offended, that is their issue. I accept the fact that they may be offended, I’m sorry that they are offended, but I will not stop because of that.
Aside from all of that, could someone explain to me, aside from being courteous and polite, why I have to follow the rules of a religion I am not an adherent of? If I were in an Islamic church, I would not do something that was against their religion. Same goes for a Catholic church. But, I’m neither Islamic, nor in their church. I am under no obligation to adhere to their religious law. Am I?
I had planned on writing a big post on this topic. But, I’m not quite motivated to write it yet. But I’m still thinking about it. And wondering how anyone can not see the violent and oppressive nature of the Middle Eastern culture. Sure, the cartoons weren’t all that nice and would make you upset, if they were about your religion. But, let’s be bluntly honest. I don’t recall a time during my life when Christians, Buddhists, Jews or Hindus reacted, in general, with the level of anger and violence that Muslims are reacting with in response to this editorial cartoon. In fact, their reactions merely proved the cartoonists to have valuable insight (they depicted Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, in ways that indicate he and his religion are violent ones).
The French press has shown that they don’t have the gumption to be a free and independent press, there have already been two editors fired over this. The Danish and Norwegian press are hanging tough, at least so far, which is great. The AP refused to print the cartoons because they deemed them to be offensive. Many Muslims are claiming that this is similar to the behavior of the German press in the 1930’s, when Jews were constantly depicted as evil because they were Jewish. The difference, of course, is that Jews weren’t beheading kidnapped hostages on camera, blowing up civilians in local marketplaces, flying planes into buildings, blowing up airplanes and so forth. If you don’t want to be perceived as violent, don’t act with violence.
There’s a lot more that I could write, so many things are brought to light by this incident. And I’ll try to get to it soon.
Update: Because the American press is unwilling to exercise their freedoms for fear they might offend someone (in other words, they have surrendered), I am publishing the cartoons here.
So I’m getting ready to make dinner, and one of my favorite ’80s teen romps comes on, Summer School. It’s a pretty baaaad movie, but there were some great moments, mostly provided by the dialogue of one Francis “Chainsaw” Gremp, A.K.A. Dean Cameron.
Actually the movie has quite a lot of actors who actually had carreers, like Mark Harmon, Courtney Thorne Smith, Patrick Labyorteaux, and the aforementioned Cameron.
He’s also one of Sean Penns best friends; but I’ll try not to hold that against him too much; since he’s a hardcore libertarian, and has spoken at the last two national conventions (not a Big “L” libertarian here, but hey, it’s better than being a liberal).
Huh… think I need to check these out… So I hit the website and see these:
“What is the “Bill of Rights – Security Edition” ?
The Bill of Rights: The First Ten Amendments to the constitution of the United States printed on sturdy, pocket-sized, pieces of metal.
The next time you travel by air, take the Bill of Rights – Security Edition along with you. When asked to empty your pockets, proudly toss the Bill of Rights in the plastic bin.
You need to get used to offering up the bill of rights for inspection and government workers enforcing the USAPATRIOT ACT need to get used to deciding if you’ll be allowed to keep the Bill of Rights with you when you travel”
I bought the five pack, and I’m sending them to certain selected friends. Frequent travellers who can appreciate the sentiment, and dont mind pissing off the TSA.
I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.
Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra