Saturday, February 04, 2006

More Thoughts on the Cartoon-gates

Wonk blogged up a storm this week and intends to take it easy this weekend unless prompted by a fresh outrage. Of course, the current cartoonish "gates" are running full tilt in the WaPo today (re: Tom Toles' offensive cartoon) even as the Islamofascists around the world are working themselves into a froth over the Danish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.

The silver lining in the ongoing cartoon flaps is that they pose two overlapping dilemmas of prudence and balance that are nearly impossible for moral relativists on the left to grasp. In the context of U.S. jurisprudence, at least, neither Toles' cartoon nor the Danish caricatures would be out of line here, although they could easily be deemed offensive, which they are. Yet, what comes into play is the conflict between what is permissible (quite a lot) and what is probably not a good idea in the context of accepted local or national community standards, like dissing the DoD and our soldiers when they're still in the line of fire, or taking an offensive whack at an organized religion's core dogma.

Here at HazZzmat and elsewhere in the blogosphere and in the op-ed pages of newspapers, people who are fed up with the cynical and anti-American attitudes of the hard left as represented by Toles, are doing what they do best: writing negative letters to the editor, signing critical group letters, and putting out nasty blogs on the Internet. And, to be honest, plenty of folks supporting Toles and his position are firing back. What's likely to happen is that people will have their say, life will go on; and Toles will be a tad more careful on some topics, although no doubt the devil will make him sin again. But in an environment where free speech is permitted and religions are honored but not "established" by the state, that's generally the way it goes. The system has social checks and balances which have the general effect at the end of the day of steering things fairly close to the middle ground where people of differing but defensible points of can co-exist with relative comity.

In the roughly 8th century world of the Islamofascist, such accomodations with the opposition are unthinkable. The concept of a secular state still does not have much traction in the world of Islam for whatever reason. Religion is strongly established and cannot be unwrapped from government. It must have been the same way many centuries ago in some sense when the Vatican controlled the papal states and possessed at least moral suasion over the evolving Holy Roman Empire. This eventually proved to be untenable and unworkable, at least for the rapidly civilizing Europeans. And today, the only vestige of this era is the Pope's political dominion of the artifact known as Vatican City.

It's clear that an outcome like this is unthinkable for Islamofascists. Government as well as individual lives must conform to the dictates of mullahs who still imagine that their predecessors' ouster from Spain centuries ago was but a temporary detour on the road to world domination. The West, particularly leftist intelligentsia, find this fact almost impossible to grasp, perhaps because they themselves do not see that their own parallel conviction—that one-world socialism will someday dominate this planet—has also ended up on the trash heap of history along with any number of other negative utopias.

And yet dogmatic convictions such as these are extraordinarily challenging to turn back once they've gotten fired up. For the proceed from the passion of faith and dogma rather than stemming from logic and reason.

When Western media and governments can be induced to offer abject apologies to Islamofascists rather than stand their ground, they cede their own logic and traditions and appease the forces of irrationalism. I've been reading where we need to be more "sensible" and "moderate" in our approaches in order to avoid "inflaming" the Islamofascist element in the Middle East and elsewhere. And indeed, it makes no sense to deliberately provoke anyone under any circumstances.

But in circumstances where your opponent will kill you simply because you're a Jewish reporter (Danny Pearle) or will blow up people enjoying a cup of tea in a restaurant just to sow mayhem, we fail to see where any accomodation at all with the enemy makes a particle of sense. For accomodation or compromise with one's opponent assumes that the opponent, like you, is rational and can be persuaded to adopt some kind of middle ground for the sake of peaceful co-existence.

But it is abundantly clear that with the Islamofascists, we are not dealing with anything rational at all. We are dealing with xenophobia and intolerance driven by mullahs who put a vicious spin on religious dogma to achieve their own totalitarian aims. The Muslim demonstrations against the Danish cartoons thus ring hollow. They make for great TV, and no doubt today, Al Jazeera is enjoying some of its best ratings since the night we attacked Baghdad.

But there is simply no reason to appease these people at all. They show our way of life no respect whatever. They cannot be appealed to by reason. They have no desire to live side by side with us in peace. And they want every one of us dead, or at least maimed. They will deserve no respect from us at all until they demonstrate a willingness to return the favor.

Europe appeased a nasty little Austrian with a mustache once because they thought that if they did, he'd settle down and stop being mean to everybody. We saw how well that worked. Are intellectuals in Europe and the U.S. actually proposing a re-run of this movie?

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