Right now is when the more civilized world needs to stand up and make it clear – in words and deeds – that the savages won’t take our freedoms, no matter what they do.
We need to use the “teachable moment” supplied by the terrorist attack that took four American lives in Libya and the latest eruption in the Muslim world, to prove our resolve to live free in modernity is at least as strong as theirs to imprison us all in a dark cloud of medieval radical Islam.
Even though it appears to have been proven that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist operation timed to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity, it was at first blamed on a YouTube video disparaging Islam’s founder. It’s our reaction to reports that something someone in the U.S. “said” had “touched off” Muslim riots that’s at issue.
This is not the first time some perceived slight has set the Muslim world off the tracks, and it’s incumbent on the rest of us to make it clear that the barbarians won’t be allowed to dictate how we live. The Muslim world often goes nuts over what we in the West would consider very small potatoes, issuing Fatwas, or contracts on the lives of people who write books or draw cartoons or make speeches of which they don’t approve. They have even been known to murder the makers of such offensive material.
But the civilized world needs to somehow either show the savages that there are better ways to voice their displeasure or prove to them they will pay extremely dearly if they bring their barbarism to our doorstep. We must either civilize the savages or declaw them.
In the past, like when the Arab world went ape-poop over those Danish cartoons, most of the civilized world stood up to the barbarians. The alternative is caving in, which would be tempting if there were any chance at all that doing so would stop the violence. But it wouldn’t. It would only quell it temporarily and we’d have lost most of what makes life worth living.
We need to stand strong against the drive to dismantle our free speech rights in light of the consequences paid for a stupid video, while still showing the world that we can disapprove of something without outlawing it.
We need to really live the words about not agreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it. It’s the principal that lead Jewish lawyers to defend the American Nazi Party’s right, as ugly and distasteful as it was, to March through a heavily-Jewish Illinois neighborhood in the 1970s.
It’s the essence of the right of free speech, and what we’re experiencing now is likely the most direct and dangerous threat to it we have ever encountered.
While few people here could care less about some ridiculous, badly-made YouTube video, the fact that much of the Muslim world erupted in violence over it, thrust the issue into the forefront, where it must be dealt with.
If a set of parents or a school teacher has a child who lashes out violently over the slightest provocation or no provocation at all or when he simply doesn’t get his way, there are basically two possible responses – give him what he wants or don’t. Any psychologist worth his salt will tell you the long-term consequences of the latter are much preferable to those of the former.
If you give in to the maniac’s demands, he will remain a maniac, but will now armed with the knowledge that his bad behavior can get him what he wants. That is a terrible message to send a schoolyard bully, an international rogue state, violent, intolerant religious fanatics or anyone else.
And even if the rest of the world capitulates to the irrational barbarism of radical Islam, we in the United States must remain firm in defense of our right to make a jackass out of ourselves with offensive movies and otherwise, or surely lose it.
Of course, our leaders should say publically that we find the film or cartoon or whatever, distasteful and that they had no part in its production, but they must also acknowledge that the makers, as Americans, have the right to make this kind of fools of themselves and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
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