Thursday, March 16, 2006

Muscular liberal conspiracy

After saying yesterday I'd not be blogging much for a while, I'm already bactracking.

Mainly, I wanted to note a new member of the Axis of Bob: the Muscular Liberals blogspot, which has been going since November somehow without me noticing. They are involved in the March for Free Expression (which I blogged about here).

The march is now endorsed by people I trust. LGFWatch, for example, a blog I've been meaning to add to my roll for ages - and Jew90, another member of the Axis of Bob. It is also endorsed by Freedom for Eygptians, the Religious Policeman and Ekklesia. (Not to mention Soldatka, one of the Suicide Girls.)

At the same time, though, I am not wholly in favour. I do not think that free expression is an unalienable right. Like the Chief Rabbi and Tariq Ramadan, I believe in responsible speech. I believe we need to cultivate a form of civic behaviour based on respect, including respect for religion. I don't want anyone stopping the Danish cartoons getting published, for example, but I don't really want them published and don't feel moved to march for them.

So I think I won't be joining any bloggers' get-together for the march, flattered as I am to be asked. But another Axis of Bob member, Richard of Bagrec, is.

***

On this topic, read this great post from Pickled Politics, which starts thus:

There are some people who cannot see a conspiracy without Jews behind it, others who cannot see a society without emphasising racial discrimination. There are also those who cannot see a Muslim without talking about terrorism / ‘Islamo-fundo-krypto-stupido-fascism’, and the ones who make it their business to scream Islamophobia at every given opportunity.

Where would we be without these career agitators who would have nothing to do with their lives if the world was a happy place? A lot better off, that’s for sure.

***

P.S.
So, Alan Johnson and Jane Ashworth of Democratiya/LFIQ have pulled out from the march, not liking the fact that Nazi fellow-travellers the Freedom Association are involved. AWL are also cautioning against it. Fuel for the ex-WRP uber-leftists at IslamophobiaWatch. Make up your own mind! (By the way: great new issue of Democratiya now out, featuring Andre Glucksmann, Oliver Kamm and others.)


[Treyf Suicide Girl links from the judeo-blogosphere: YNet Nice Jewish girls: Jezebel, Daily Jews same title same model, Adam Goldberg: the Hebrew Hammer, JewSchool: Naked and Profane (Katya - IDF soldier), a real Suicide Girl (intense shit), Jewlicious: Matisyahu and the Suicide Girls]
Previous: The bikini behind the Burka, Defending the Enlightenment, Free speech fundamentalism

Tags: , Islam, Denmark, Free Speech, Muslim, Cartoons, Jyllands-Posten

1 comment:

Dan said...

Hi Bob.

Glad to see you provoking some debate on this.

However, I think you're confusing a couple of issues.

When you write:

At the same time, though, I am not wholly in favour. I do not think that free expression is an unalienable right. Like the Chief Rabbi and Tariq Ramadan, I believe in responsible speech.

are you suggesting that you are in favour of freedom of speech, as long as it doesn't criticise religion or leave those with a religious conviction feeling offended?

With that attitude, Galileo would never have taken on the Church. After all, there were plenty of fundamentalist Christians about in those days ( i.e. almost all of them) and to support Galileo's challenge to Church orthodoxy (even on something as trivial to us as the Earth revolving around the Sun) would have been the height of blasphemy, offending most in Christendom.

Would it have been better for Galileo to have kept quiet? I don't think so.

This where your argument falls down in my opinion.

Civility is something to be applauded. However, from your comments you seem to be suggesting that cartoons criticising those who bastardise Islam to condone or conduct terror attacks ought not to be published.

Your statement:

I believe in responsible speech. I believe we need to cultivate a form of civic behaviour based on respect, including respect for religion.

is laudable, yet presents an uncomfortable problem. Does the following hadith sound like "responsible speech...based on respect, including respect for religion" to you?

"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews."

Because if it doesn't, I guess by trying to protect the rights of Muslims not to be offended by cartoons you end up asking them not to publish their own holy works.

You also state:I don't want anyone stopping the Danish cartoons getting published, for example, but I don't really want them published and don't feel moved to march for them.

Perhaps we haven't made it clear enough that this march is just as much about the right of people the world over to criticise those they feel are hindering their progress, whether that be governments, organisations or belief systems. Such dissenters deserve our full support and ought not to have to go into hiding in fear of their lives for what they have said.

It's a little disappointing that the 5% of you that was against the march when you first posted on it has won you over. But that's freedom of speech and expression in action. I hope you change your mind, but understand if you don't.