Cartoons that Mock Cartoons that Demonize

Can someone explain to me why the leaders of the West don’t say to the Muslims: “You can ask us to show respect for you, but not if you don’t show respect for us. When Muslims stop producing grotesque and savage cartoons not just mocking but vilifying other religions, then we will show Islam the respect it craves.”

Okay, not “craves”… “desires.”

Why are we so careful about their desires and not careful to ask them to meet the standards they want us to meet in their regard?

See LGF on the same subject.

6 Responses to Cartoons that Mock Cartoons that Demonize

  1. Al Tira says:

    I think there is an double standard (possibly caused by an incipient racism [or religious prejudice?]) in the West going back many generations, in which some Muslims are viewed as incapable of meeting the enlightened norms of the western world. As a result, the strained logic goes, they should not be held accountable to the same standards of responsibility.

    okay, let’s say that there is a certain niceness to the logic. granted it conceals deep condescension and contempt — which i think arabs feel and resent all the more — but it is giving the guy a break. the question is, at what point does that logic reveal itself (or do we figure out that it’s) unworkable, even destructive? and when people begin to realize it, as they are, and begin to communicate about it in the new and coolest form of communication ever invented since language itself (100,000 years ago?), how quickly and how intelligently does the realization spread?

    This thinking has permeated well into our society, affecting even intellectuals such as Dr. Daniel Pipes (for whom I have a great respect), who recently argued publicly, on traditional and cultural reasons alone, that Iraq could not function as a democracy, but rather requires a “strongman” to keep it in order.

    i think i agree with Daniel Pipes here. telling the Arabs that they have a long way to go can be a mark of respect, a realistic assessment, instead of the equivalent of a mother squealing about her teenage daughter’s mediocre art — “i know you have a vibrant civil society and can pull off this difficult experiment no problem. after all, Edward Said told us there was no difference btw us and you guys. the Arabs have much cultural work to do before they’re ready for democracy, before they have shaped a polity that refuses the temptation of using so precious a gift to elect people who worship death.

    The responsibility and accountability assigned a person or group is a direct reflection of the regard in which this person or group is held. As such, one can only conclude that the West has a superiority complex feeding its inability to hold certain Muslims responsible for their actions.

    and, by your logic if i understand correctly, a correspondingly powerful inferiority complex vis-à-vis jews, for whom they have incredibly high expectations and demands for accountability. that’s part of what’s so astounding about the left’s moral failure ca. 2000. sure it had been doing bad for quite some time, but to glorify suicide bombing? that was a sign of pathology from which we continue to suffer. look at how the threat of suicide bombing is used now to threaten denmark. that approval (after all it was the israelis, and they probably deserved it) has created a monster, a hydra.

  2. Antidhimmi says:

    The cartoon campaign has already succeeded. If western news organizations print anything remotely critical of Muslims or Islam, a firestorm of anger can be expected blended with a few well-placed death threats and official sanctions. As for me- I’m mad as hell and I feel like shouting it from the windows.

    with the rallying of the european newspapers, there may be something, but i heard the newpaper editor saying he’d be careful before doing this again. this is a turf fight, and a european/western failure to respond is very bad… very bad. Michele Malkin has a great piece on this.

  3. Philip says:

    I think that this one may just turn out to be a bit of a wake up call for the west.

    I can remember how the BBC’s coverage of Robert Mugagbe suddenly changed from vague and equivocal to sharp and incisive when Mugabe set his goons on one of their reporters.

    can you be more specific? i don’t remember this.

    This might be a similar pivotal event for the western press, as it finds its much cherished freedom of expression suddenly under threat. The rallying of papers across Europe in support of the Danish suggests that Islamofacism might have overstepped the mark here and finally found a small amount of “spine” somewhere in Europe.

    well, as antidhimmi puts it, it’s going to happen sometime. this is actually a nice point for a turning — the ability to speak freely — since that is at the core of civil societies. we become prisoners of their need to get honor at any cost, even — especially — death. better we respond at the level of discourse — where i still think it can be won — than waiting so long that you get a fascist abreaction from the west. part of the moral failure of the left, is that this is precisely where it should be leading, and instead makes itself toadies of everything it claims to hate.

  4. Ivy says:

    It’s born of one of two things. Take your best guess.

    Either it’s a matter of maintaining a moral upper hand, which in itself is suprisingly mature for late twentieth and early twenty-first century politics. That someone else does something inappropriate or reprehensible is not carte-blanche to go do the same thing ourselves.

    okay, fairly conventional liberal thinking. but as a number have remarked, concealing deep condescension and contempt. and at what a cost! you maintain your self-image as having the moral upper hand by associating with people who are so far beneath you that you can condescend to them, encouraging their worst instincts, and distance yourself from people who try desperately, even suicidally, to fulfill the highest standards of enlightened morality. and all that just to look in the mirror and say, “mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most moral of them all?” in reality the Arabs and Muslims have contempt for people who think like that, because they become useful idiots, encouraging enemies, and then turning around with twisted judgments and moral hysteria to chase out their natural positive-sum ally in the great experiment of civil society.

    Or it’s a matter of common sense. Religion has a funny way of making otherwise decent people do things they would normally consider horrifying. See the Inquisition. See the Crusades. In the name of a religion that is supposed to be peaceful, government leaders and citizens that prided themselves on their morality and piety tortured and slaughtered innocent civilians, including infants. If I were living in the twelth century, I wouldn’t bash Christianity publically.

    i’d prefer to say “theocratic religion” or theocracy, the desire to shove your religion down the throats of people whom you can intimidate with impunity. not all forms of religiosity go that way. i work on demotic religiosity and that’s a pretty healthy form, indeed, i’d argue one of the healthier forms of responsible life in civil society. it’s the apocalyptic crises that tend to provoke violent swings from passive cataclysmic (terrible destruction comes, we are the subjects of its powers) to active cataclysmic (we are the agents of the vast destruction that’s coming).

    We’re facing the same thing now with Islam, only where the Roman Empire ruled the world of the time, the Islamic world doesn’t command nearly as much power. I hope that alone will keep this from raging for centuries.

    it always strikes me when i hear “the muslim world needs a reformation like the one europe went thru in the 16th century” i think: “that led to well over a century of abominable religious wars.” anyway, as far as i can make out Wahhab is Luther — back to the quran, everyone has access, read it as alone true, and relive the lives of the original disciples of the religion’s founder. the only way to keep it from raging is to show wisdom, and now that the left has made the arab-israeli conflict the “key” to what ails us globally, wisdom lies in reconsidering the nature of the arab israeli conflict.

    Not all Christians were monsters then; not all Muslems are monsters now.

    that’s the core of the transformative vision — we can work this out by a discourse of fairness. but if you show condescending cowardice and moral hysteria in dealing with the arab-israeli conflict, how will a discourse of fairness appear. we can’t live at peace with a muslim world that teaches its children to hate and nurture dreams of genocide. they can’t live with each other when they’re like that, just like we (europeans) couldn’t live with each other for most of the last millennium.

    when you think of it, the moral condescension of the west is particularly misplaced because it refuses to ask of the muslims what it has asked of itself — not an easy thing as the history of modernization (1500-2000) shows. as one historian of violence in the protestant era remarked: tolerance was a loser’s religion. when you were the minority, you wanted tolerance, when you won power, then god told you to shut everyone else up. the usa is the first time in Christian history that tolerance was a winner’s creed. it lies at the core of civil society. we need to ask the muslims to step up. they have to want to do it, but at least we don’t have to pretend that they’ve already done it, when on the contrary, the worst kinds of theocratic dreams are running rampant, jacked up by each encounter with a weak and pusilanimous culture in power. to come back to your analogy, perhaps this is how some Christian bishops felt about the Roman empire, ripe for the picking.

    History, however, will scarce be interested in the sweet old ladies knitting scarves in their parlors.

    you’re right, sooner the sweet old ladies who knitted from the hairs of guillotine victims during the terror.

    you touch on “the end of history” which was supposed to end in a whimper, in mediocre, average, isolated, affable, bourgeois, unheroic, uninteresting. but i think the battle for civil society is truly heroic, and instead of the “end of history,” the 21st century has opened with is a clarion call to defend civil society. the annals of civic heroism have hopefully only just opened a new chapter. who knows, maybe some muslims will be willing to die for civil society — real pacifists, not the fakes certified by ISM. then perhaps we wdn’t have to look at a people only capable of generating sacrifice and commitment in the service of paranoid dreams of revenge, destruction, and dominion.

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