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

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Losing Our Spines

The furor of Gert Wilder’s controversial film, Fitna has died down in most Moslem countries, although many continue to ban the Internet outlets that allow users to view the film. Prior to Fitna’s release, the Dutch government, the EU and the UN all condemned the work. The film juxtaposes actual acts of extreme Islamist violence and terrorism with quotes from the Koran that are, I think it’s fair to say, less than conciliatory to those who may choose not to adopt Islam as their religion.

In a lengthy commentary on Fitna entitled “Losing Our Spines to Save Our Necks” Sam Harris explores the non-Islamic response to the film. It appears that like the Europeans, many in the U.S. MSM are now perfectly willing to forget freedom of the press and free speech, not to mention the bullying (or worse) of journalists who try to report accurately. Harris comments:
Wilders, like Westergaard and the other Danish cartoonists, has been widely vilified for "seeking to inflame" the Muslim community. Even if this had been his intention, this criticism represents an almost supernatural coincidence of moral blindness and political imprudence. The point is not (and will never be) that some free person spoke, or wrote, or illustrated in such a manner as to inflame the Muslim community. The point is that only the Muslim community is combustible in this way. The controversy over Fitna, like all such controversies, renders one fact about our world especially salient: Muslims appear to be far more concerned about perceived slights to their religion than about the atrocities committed daily in its name. Our accommodation of this psychopathic skewing of priorities has, more and more, taken the form of craven and blinkered acquiescence.

There is an uncanny irony here that many have noticed. The position of the Muslim community in the face of all provocations seems to be: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we will kill you. Of course, the truth is often more nuanced, but this is about as nuanced as it ever gets: Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say that it isn't, we peaceful Muslims cannot be held responsible for what our less peaceful brothers and sisters do. When they burn your embassies or kidnap and slaughter your journalists, know that we will hold you primarily responsible and will spend the bulk of our energies criticizing you for "racism" and "Islamophobia."

The reason, I think that many on the Left have lost their spines in order to save their necks is that they truly do believe that if we’re really, really nice and really, really understanding, and really, really accepting, that Islamists will somehow moderate their tone and their actions. If we work to appease every grievance, no matter how unfounded the grievance may be, Islamists will reject terror as a strategy and live with us in peace. And, as Barack Obama advocates, if we talk calmly and openly with them, they will recognize that we represent no threat, and they will join the community of peace-loving people. There is, of course, nothing in past behavior to indicate that any of this would happen, but no matter -- it's a plan.

The plan is simple enough, but there's a problem – it represents tacit acceptance of extortion.

Let’s assume for just a moment that we ban every article, cartoon, documentary, editorial, speech, blog, or other mode of communication that criticizes Islam. Let’s further assume that the MSM never reports any Islamofascist act of violence (there have been 11,039 terrorist acts< worldwide since 9/11). Would we be safer?

Some believe that the answer is “yes.” In their through-the-looking glass world, they’re perfectly willing to suppress the truth to save their necks. Problem is, with every attempt to suppress the truth, the blade comes ever closer to their necks. Their pathetic acceptance of extortion may someday doom us all.