Thursday, February 09, 2006

Time to Stop Running the Mohammad Cartoons -- PART TWO

Yesterday I wrote that publications should stop running the Mohammad cartoons. This was met with a lot of disagreement, most notably from two bloggers I greatly respect, Shay at Booker Rising and Michael Reynolds at Mighty Middle. Many people in the comments also opposed my post. It was enough to make me question the wisdom of my position. But, after more thought, I simply can’t change my mind. Although I clearly need to clarify:

Many have misinterpreted my call to stop publishing the Mohammad cartoons as a call for appeasement. That’s not what I’m suggesting, although I can see how it would appear that way. What I’m actually saying is that these cartoons have run their course and no longer serve any useful purpose. We can have the civility to say “enough is enough” without committing an act of appeasement.

Yet I do believe these cartoons have served an important purpose and were right to publish. First, they proved without question that Europe’s growing Muslim population is going to be a very real problem unless radical elements are dealt with. Secondly, they demonstrated that the radical Islamic culture does not hate us solely for our military actions and support of Israel. They hate us because, simply, we’re not radical Muslims. Anyone who has argued that we’d be ok if we just left the Middle East alone needs to stop and take a good hard look at the violence spawned by these cartoons.

The mass republishing of the cartoons also served a good purpose as it showed the radical Muslims that our culture of free speech cannot be subdued—that we as Westerners are united in our commitment to freedom and condemnation of radical Islam.

I am glad for the original publication of these cartoons and glad they were republished all over Europe, America and elsewhere.

But the usefulness of these cartoons has ended. We’ve proved how incompatible much of Islam is with Western values. We’ve proved our commitment to free speech. Now we’re just poking a rabid dog with a sharp stick. There’s no sense to that.

Many have argued that if we stop running the cartoons the radical Muslim leaders will claim victory and resort to rioting even quicker the next time they perceive an offense. And that next offense could be something worse, like the fact that our women don’t wear head scarves or that we permit the practice of other religions besides Islam. The argument being, if we don’t draw the line now, things will only get worse. This is a good argument on its face, but falls apart under analysis.

Eventually, the cartoons will stop running. When they do, we all know that radical Imams will claim victory. Let them. It doesn’t mean they’ve actually won. In fact, they’ve already lost. We’ve once again clearly glimpsed the dark aims of this dark culture. Their deplorable, uncivilized reactions do nothing but remind us that we must continue to forcibly and ceaselessly confront them. The line has already been drawn. We know their aims and we won’t bow down.

But making this confrontation about cartoons is pointless. This war will not be won with doodles. We aren’t going to break their will through cartoons. And there are much stronger ways to stand up for our freedoms than by merely insulting our enemy.

Let’s begin by more clearly calling radical Islam what it is: an inferior culture whose abuses to women, oppression of freedom and hatred of others is incompatible with the modern world and should not be tolerated. How we wage this fight is up for debate. Whether we fight is no longer the question. They clearly want to supplant our culture with theirs. But ours is the superior way of life and we should not hesitate to make that point again and again.

But these cartoons don’t make that point. Their usefulness has run its course. We are the civilized ones. Let’s be civil and stop needlessly provoking violence. Leave the cartoons on the Internet so those who haven’t seen them may take a look, but stop publishing them day-in and day-out in newspapers. The time has come to move on and come up with truly effective ways to combat radical Islam.


Blogger cakreiz said...

Callimachus at "Done with Mirrors" wrote a poignant piece concerning your thoughts. It's worth a read.

10:03 PM  
Blogger JBD said...

Looks like Daniel Schorr agrees with you, Alan. As do I (sorry to have not chimed in sooner, but I do think that freedom of speech also implies a certain level of responsibility ... and even restraint when necessary.

6:58 AM  
Blogger Callimachus said...

Thanks, Kreiz, I was looking for the trackback function here, but I see you got here first. And if there's anything I hate, it's agreeing even for a day with that pompous old windbag Schorr.

10:29 AM  
Blogger cakreiz said...

Not a problem, Cal. Your post captured my intuitive sense toward Alan's second cry for tolerance- but I was incapable of reducing it to writing- so I appreciate your ability and hard work.

LOL, re: Daniel Schorr.

10:42 AM  

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