Posted by: bridget | 13 February 2008

Answering the Call

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Yesterday, five men were arrested for plotting a terrorist assassination of Kurt Westergaard.  Mr. Westergaard penned the above cartoon in 2005.  The jihadists believe that the cartoons are an offence to their religion and have called for the deaths of those who drew them.  Michelle Malkin has called for “sammenhold”: a show of solidarity around Mr. Westergaard, by reprinting the cartoon. 

While the cartoons are not particularly amusing, and, but for the threats of violence or death following them, would have received little attention, they are an exercise of free speech and merit no punishment, state or social.  Free speech, especially political speech, ought to have the most sacred ground in our society: it is one right by which all others are secured.  Distasteful speech may be punished through the mechanisms of polite society – shunning the speaker, ignoring the speech, or engaging in responsive speech – but not by the police nor death threats.  Our lives are not hostages in a political battle, the ransom of which is the abdication of our fundamental liberties.

Ironically, jihadists themselves believe in offensive, politically-motivated speech

Hat tip: Stubborn Facts.

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Responses

  1. Ah! Something on which we can agree! It does seem odd to me that these people take so much offense over these cartoons. A far more worthy target for their anger would seem to be the appaling human rights record of states such as Saudi Arabia, (human rights abuses commited on fellow Muslims).

    And on a semi-serious note, when the original demonstrations took place in Countries such as Pakistan, where on Earth did everyone come by Danish flags so easily? Do they have flammable National Flag shops in certain Countries?

  2. “Our lives are not hostages in a political battle, the ransom of which is the abdication of our fundamental liberties.”

    No, not yet (although we have given up a few since 9/11) but I think we can’t ignore the fact that there are an uncomfortably large number of people in the world who would like to make it so. And they are not all Muslims and some of them are Americans.

  3. Lucy,

    I think the answer to your last question would be: 1. the internet, upon which you can find everything, and, most flags are probably flammable, anyway.

    SST,

    I meant that in a literal sense: not in a “You’re going to die if you do this!” hysteria, but a “I will kill you if you do this”.

    As Ben Franklin once said,

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    Note the “essential” and “temporary” parts. Crazy libertarian that I am, I will note that he was not talking about superficial liberties, or massive intrusions into safety.

  4. Typical immature attitude of freedom for us (we’ll burn your flag), but none for you. After all, I don’t think Islam prohibits flag burning. ;-)

  5. The international outrage was a staged event. Due to that flags,crowds and coverage were all lined up. Are there nuts out there ? Oh yeah ! Everyday they look for something to use for their cause. For our part we should live our lives in the pursuit of freedom especially free from fear.

  6. TT – I agree.

    In2theFray – whose outrage? Theirs? That’s not a surprise. They are like three-year-olds who don’t start crying after they fall until someone is paying attention.


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