Tuesday, February 14, 2006

One lone Canadian magazine speaks out

The Western Standard published 8 of the terrible, awful cartoons. Much more importantly, IMHO, they take the western media in total to task for being a bunch of childish, scared wimps. The point in this exercise is not whether the Danish paper should have run a contest to see if they could find illustrators for a multi-cultural children's book. The point isn't the ethics of publishing things which offend the sensibilities of reasonable people. If that were the case the western press would not have published many things, in words and cartoon, that they have in the past month alone. The point is that you either value freedom of speech or you don't. The point is that if you knuckle under to "pressure" in the form of barbaric behavior you are a wimp, particularly when you have the US armed forces on your side.

I don't want to see regular publications of the Muslim prophet. I also don't want to see pictures of the Virgin Mary covered in imported dung. If the majority of the western press had chosen for reasons of responsibility not to publish anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and anti-pick-your-favorite-religion stories and depictions I would be all for it. The fact is that the western press has only chosen not to republish the cartoons because they are a bunch of yellow bellied chickens who have been pushed against the wall not by the threat of local and immediate violence but by barbaric behavior ten thousand miles away. And in the midst of it, they have republished the pictures of the Virgin Mary in dung. I am not buying what they are selling and neither is the Western Standard.

North American Muslims have shown a great deal of restraint in the face of this controversy. For this, they should be praised, but we should not be surprised. Their numbers have not completely integrated into our culture yet but they do seem to understand the trade-offs involved in a free society. Hooray for them! Seriously. This is the ultimate goal of any free society. I am sure many of them wish the cartoons had never published because they found them profoundly offensive. But they appear to find the love of freedom of religion on their individual terms more compelling than the desire to be barbaric in defense of religious sensibilities. How, I ask, are they in any fundamental way different than any other group of recent immigrants to our shores in this respect? People come here for the freedoms and they are willing to live with the level of inconvenience that it necessarily means in order to have the luxuries both monetarily and socially that it provides. Sound familiar?


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