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February 21, 2006

Hitchens On Cartoon Wars: Stand Up For Denmark

He's in fine, angry form. Why is he able to refrain from losing his shit when he's angry when Andrew Sullivan isn't?

The incredible thing about the ongoing Kristallnacht against Denmark (and in some places, against the embassies and citizens of any Scandinavian or even European Union nation) is that it has resulted in, not opprobrium for the religion that perpetrates and excuses it, but increased respectability! A small democratic country with an open society, a system of confessional pluralism, and a free press has been subjected to a fantastic, incredible, organized campaign of lies and hatred and violence, extending to one of the gravest imaginable breaches of international law and civility: the violation of diplomatic immunity. And nobody in authority can be found to state the obvious and the necessary—that we stand with the Danes against this defamation and blackmail and sabotage. Instead, all compassion and concern is apparently to be expended upon those who lit the powder trail, and who yell and scream for joy as the embassies of democracies are put to the torch in the capital cities of miserable, fly-blown dictatorships. Let's be sure we haven't hurt the vandals' feelings.

And it's happening here, too, but more subtly:

The silky ones may be more of a problem in the long term than the flagrantly vicious and crazy ones. Within a short while—this is a warning—the shady term "Islamophobia" is going to be smuggled through our customs. Anyone accused of it will be politely but firmly instructed to shut up, and to forfeit the constitutional right to criticize religion. By definition, anyone accused in this way will also be implicitly guilty. Thus the "soft" censorship will triumph, not from any merit in its argument, but from its association with the "hard" censorship that we have seen being imposed over the past weeks. A report ($$) in the New York Times of Feb. 13 was as carefully neutral as could be but nonetheless conveyed the sense of menace. "American Muslim leaders," we were told, are more canny. They have "managed to build effective organizations and achieve greater integration, acceptance and economic success than their brethren in Europe have. They portray the cartoons as a part of a wave of global Islamophobia and have encouraged Muslim groups in Europe to use the same term." In other words, they are leveraging worldwide Islamic violence to drop a discreet message into the American discourse.

If you bend to another's will out of fear of violence, are you still free?


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posted by Ace at 02:35 PM

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