Friday, January 9, 2015

In praise of insolent French cartoonists

So in France a group of cartoonists (and some others) have been gunned down by some Muslims who felt offended by their satirical cartoons.  It might be tempting to blame the victims, and say that the cartoonists deserved what they got for daring to offend Islam, but I disagree.  The cartoonists may have been jackasses, but they did us all a favor, in showing the true face of modern Wahhabist Islam.  It is a culture of violence and hate and aggression, and it spreads by assaulting and killing and driving away all others.

‘Islam is a religion of peace and all who say different must be killed.’  Well, that pretty much sums up Islam, doesn’t it?

Now every culture will have a few lunatics in it.  If someone goes on a shooting spree, people are often quick to judge an entire culture, but we should not be so hasty.  A little while ago in Japan a cult leader made some crude nerve gas and killed and sickened a bunch of people in a subway.  That is unfortunate, but modern Japanese culture is essentially peaceful – this was an outlier.

The trick is that with Islam, is that it’s not an outlier.  Consider that in France there are large ‘no go’ areas where non-Muslims cannot walk.  Even the police and firefighters can’t enter without military-style escorts!  This does not occur because of a few bad apples.  This occurs because hatred and violence is endemic in Islamic culture, and anyone entering a ‘no go’ zone will be insulted and assaulted and maybe killed, by the collective action of the entire population.

If a Christian walks through a Jewish area of France, they don't get stoned or shot or spit on.  (OK some of the ultra-orthodox Jews can be dicks, but mostly they just ignore you).  Ditto if  a Jew or a Muslim walks through a Christian neighborhood.  Wahhabist Islam is endemically violent, and in a way that is very different from other modern cultures.

Or consider the Islamic treatment of women.  Now perhaps Western women have gone too far on this equality thing, and many if not most women would be happier if they spent more time raising families and less time at work.  Or perhaps not. Regardless, no woman is voluntarily going to want to become a third-class citizen.  Dress modestly?  That might be a good idea.  Wear a bag over your head and be a dehumanized piece of property?  Not be allowed to drive, or go shopping on your own, or go to college if you want to?  Or take a job, if you want to?  Or have no legal rights if your husband decides to divorce you?  No.  Women in Islamic countries put up with this because if they don't they will be beaten.  Not by a lone random nut job, but by their husbands and fathers and neighbors.  Because modern Islam is a religion of hatred and violence and oppression, at the most basic level.  (Sure, most Islamic women say they like being treated like animals - because they will be beaten if they don't!  And then there is the Stockholm Syndrome to consider, where prisoners maintain their sanity by adapting to their circumstances.  But no, the low status of women in Muslim societies is not voluntary.  It is enforced by direct violence).

Other religions don’t go on murderous rampages because of a single stupid cartoon somewhere.  The trick with Islam, is that murderous rampages are the core of the society.  Muslims take any affront to Mohammed as a cause for deadly violence.  But it doesn’t stop there.  They take seeing a woman not covered in a bag or driving a car as a deadly insult.  Or seeing a Jew, or a synagogue, or a Christian church, or a bible…   Islam spreads through violence and intimidation.  Just ask the Macedonians, who were stupid enough to let some Islamic people settle in part of their country not so long ago, and now non-Muslims cannot enter these areas…

Imagine that you had a neighbor, and it was known that if anybody said anything bad about him or his house that he would lay about him and slaughter everyone in sight with automatic weapons.  Or imagine that you had a co-worker, and it was known that if anyone critiqued his job performance in any way that he would kill you.  Would you accept this as his right?  I mean, if he feels that strongly surely his feelings must be respected and people should just be careful to never say anything bad about him.  Or would you regard this person as a dangerous psychopath and greatly prefer that he might be somewhere else?

I am all for civility and manners.  I personally have no desire to insult the prophet Mohammed (people who murder innocents in his name are another matter).  But when a religion reacts to a disrespectful cartoon somewhere as if it is the final battle, well, something is wrong.  These insolent French cartoonists did not provoke murderous reprisals from Catholics, or Jews, or Buddhists, or Hindus.  That’s because these cultures, although they may not be perfect, are based on more than hatred and they can shrug off minor insults from minor people as just the friction of living in a messy world. 

Some say that they support the right of people to have free speech, even if the speech offends them.  Here is another angle on the topic.  We should not allow limits on free speech to be defined by those who use violence.  Allowing murderers and terrorists to define what is or is not offensive is a bad idea, and this has nothing to do with showing people respect.  Such people do not deserve respect.  And if you let governments to define what is or is not 'hate speech', well, it will start out by banning insults to Mohammed.  And then it will move to banning any discussion of the negative effects of rapid population growth, or the incidence of wife abuse in Muslim families, or whether the latest five-year economic plan is working...

Here's something to remember: the attacks in Paris didn't just kill cartoonists who insulted Islam - they killed jews because they were jewish.  We are suppose to put up with this because there are limits on free speech?  What?  That makes zero sense.

Free speech requires the toleration of offensive speech, not because offensive speech is wonderful, but because if offensive speech is banned than all else soon follows.  And many things in this world are in fact offensive, and if talking about them causes those responsible  to become angry, tough.

They say that free speech does not allow you to cry 'fire' in a crowded theater.  Wrong.  Free speech allows - and duty requires - that one cry 'fire' in a crowded theater... if there really is a fire.  With Wahhabist Muslims, there really is a fire.

Refusing to criticize Wahhabist Muslims will not buy you peace.  As they encroach on your lands, they will resort to violence just because you exist – you insult them by having been born, and they will convert or kill or drive you away.  These insolent French cartoonists did us a favor, they provoked the Muslims into showing their true face before they had achieved so much power that they cannot be resisted.  These cartoonists should be honored for their courage, and let us hope that those who follow are not intimidated by the bullies of Islam.

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