The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Toying with Us

It appears that the Teddy Bear “outrage” has finally come to a conclusion. President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, taking a few moments out from encouraging the murderous Moslem gangs in Darfur, has pardoned Gillian Gibbons, an elementary school teacher who named a teddy bear, Mohammed.

David Warren comments on the events leading up to the pardon:
From the BBC's reports, we read the signs and hear the shouts from that mass rally: "No tolerance." "Execution." "Kill her." "Kill her by firing squad," etc. The paradox is that the idea of "zero tolerance" came from the politically-correct West, just as the idea of "tolerance" came from the civilized West before the era of political correctness.

The British Foreign Office is naturally on the case, and doing what it can to free Mrs Gibbons, and get her out of that murderously dysfunctional country, which anyone of charitable intention (teachers, missionaries, the deliverers of food aid, invited foreign "peacekeeping" troops) enters at his own risk. A country in which slavery is still openly practised, and slave raids against Christians and Animists have been documented. Let us not be diplomatic when speaking of Sudan, or of the vicious government that has created not only the conditions for massacre and rapine, but also, the administrative problems that have followed from these. And which expects the world to solve its problems.

I suspect the Brits groveled at the appropriate moment and expressed regret for this latest “outrage.” They’d argue that it was necessary to ensure the release of Ms. Gibbons.

But when do we in the West push back? When do we say “enough” to the Islamists who manufacture outrage to suit their purposes? How far do we allow the multicultural philosophy (all cultural norms must be respected, even when they turn violent and threaten hard won values in our culture)to govern our actions? How much erosion to our basic freedoms of speech, expression, and religion can we tolerate?

Wretchard of the Belmont Club discusses the path the West is taking:
It's an elementary negotiating tactic for one side to manufacture an intentional grievance in order to use it as a bargaining chip. In this case President Omar al-Bashir made Britain jump through hoops so that he could authorize the release of a teacher six days early for the crime of asking her students to name a teddy bear. Al-Bashir gets something for nothing. It would be ludicrous if it weren't so effective.

There now will follow the ridiculous spectacle of European heads of state, religious leaders, celebrities and parliamentarians tripping all over themselves to express gratitude that his excellency Omar al-Bashir was benevolent enough to save Gibbons from maddened lynch mobs or being flogged within an inch of her life.

How far ahead does the intellectual light of the West shine? Can it see where it is going? Down and down it traipses along "the stairway which leads to a dark gulf. It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning, but after a bit the carpet ends. A little farther on there are only flagstones, and a little farther on still these break beneath your feet ..." Will they care? Will they even notice?

And today, Kes Grey, an author of children’s books in the UK, has unilaterally decided to rename an animal character in one his books so as not to cause offense. The character was named to foster diversity, one of the West's cultural values. But no matter, it might offend, so …

The character’s name? “Mohammed Mole.”

And the stairway narrows as self-censorship slowly erodes our freedoms. I submit that we’ve already gone past the broken flagstones. Now we’re walking on eggshells.