‘The Islamic Society, which runs Denmark’s biggest mosque and played an important role in stirring up passions against the cartoons of Muhammad, swiftly condemned the attack on Mr. Hedegaard. It also said it regretted its own role during the uproar over the cartoon, when it sent a delegation to Egypt and Lebanon to sound the alarm over Danish blasphemy, a move that helped turn what had been a little-noticed domestic affair into a bloody international crisis.’
Well, good for the Islamic Society. If you need a little background on the Hedegaard case, click through. We Americans are fortunate to have much stronger legal, political, and cultural traditions of free speech.
“The assassin came to his home dressed as a postman. When the historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard opened his front door, the man — whom Lars describes as ‘looking like a typical Muslim immigrant’ in his mid-twenties — fired straight at his head. Though Hedegaard was a yard away, the bullet narrowly missed.’
This blog hopes Europe has reached a tipping point when it comes to standing up to violence and threats of violence to individuals, no matter the source. There has been an alliance between semi-integrated Muslims who incite and commit violence when their religion and prophet are criticized, alongside a deeply liberal, morally relativistic establishment (by American standards socially democratic or further Left).
The only way to protect Hedegaard is through public support, so others like him aren’t magnets for righteous holy warriors. He’s a polemicist, but judge for yourself whether or not he’s ‘hateful’ and what the interests are behind ‘hate speech’ laws. Europeans admittedly, have had a tough time integrating Muslims. You may not agree with everything he says, but as Hedegaard points out, if you can’t even talk about the problems of integration that Europe is facing, and tolerate voices of dissent like his, how will you begin to solve those problems?
Here’s a broader point to make about Western trends of thought, that highlight some problems and limitations in the culture.
Terry Eagleton is a British cultural thinker in the humanities, and he’s an actual Marxist. Rarely is it actual Marxism we’ve been importing into the United States, especially by way of our humanities departments, but rather more Continental European thought in general. Post-modern influences in the humanities often include feminists, race theorists, anti-colonialists (wikipedia), the Existentialists, some products of the generation of ’68 (wikipedia), the works of Michel Foucault (wikipedia) and Jacques Derrida. Generally, all of these influences aren’t necessarily seeking a Marxist overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat, ready with their own top-down program for life, but they’re rarely traditionalists either. Some are quite deep and of potentially lasting value.
These influences generally seek to challenge traditional moral thinking, question the roots of legal, social and political institutions, and are not fans of organized religion. Most of them have their own theories and ideas that vary from anarchic to semi-anarchic, anti-establishmentarian to anti-capitalist, to top-down rationalist and nihilistic.
I think the video below might offer ideas on how we decide what’s important to read, to think about, and which ideas to pass along. In it, Eagleton is debating Roger Scruton, a British philosopher focusing on aesthetics and the humanities, and who is generally conservative: What do British universities keep, and what do they leave behind? What is culture, and what should one read, think, and feel in order to pass that culture on?:
This blog’s theory (take it, leave it, critique it) is that American culture since the rise of the 1960’s has been deeply influenced by post-modern thought, and that it’s been spilling out into the culture and our politics. There has also, perhaps, due to technology and a freer flow of goods and information, been a convergence of ideas in the Western world.
Here’s a quote:
‘The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool.’
Related: It’s the fierce critic of religion, new Atheist, and 68er Christopher Hitchens who has defended free speech most vigorously: Repost-From Beautiful Horizons: ‘Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ramadan at the 92nd Street Y’
A British Muslim tells his story, suggesting that classical liberalism wouldn’t be a bad idea…as a more entrenched radical British Left and Muslim immigration don’t mix too well: From Kenanmalik.com: ‘Introduction: How Salman Rushdie Changed My Life’… Via YouTube: ‘Christopher Hitchens Vs. Ahmed Younis On CNN (2005)’…
Free speech (used both well and unwell) meets offended Muslims: ‘Mohammad Cartoonist Lars Vilks Headbutted‘During Lecture’……From The OC Jewish Experience: ‘UC Irvine Muslim Student Union Suspended’…From Volokh: ‘”South Park” Creators Warned (Threatened) Over Mohammed’
Don’t get Borked, at least if you’re openly religious and aiming for higher office: Bork had his own view of the 1960′s: A Few Thoughts On Robert Bork’s “Slouching Towards Gomorrah”