More. It keeps getting worse and worse and worse, as more people drop to the ground and display their pale soft bellies beseechingly, all the while crooning melodic horseshit about their profound respect for free speech as long as no one ever actually uses it for anything.

The Guardian.

The Guardian believes uncompromisingly in freedom of expression, but not in any duty to gratuitously offend…To directly associate the founder of one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions with terrorist violence – the unmistakable meaning of the most explicit of these cartoons – is wrong, even if the intention was satirical rather than blasphemous.

Freedom of expression, huh huh huh, but don’t go gratuitously offending now. Don’t offend unless somebody gives you a lot of money for it, and it’s absolutely safe to do so, and no one will be offended except one very small dull ineffectual person that no one pays any attention to. And what’s this crap about ‘one of the world’s three great monotheistic religions’? What’s so great about it? What’s so great about any of them? Why are we expected to grovel before them and defer to them and refrain from saying anything disrespectful or accusing about any of their ‘founders’?

In this country concerns about Islamophobia have been accompanied by increased sensitivity to the feelings of Muslims…The extraordinary unanimity of the British press in refraining from publishing the drawings – in contrast to the Nordic countries, Germany, Spain and France – speaks volumes. John Stuart Mill is a better guide to this issue than Voltaire.

‘Increased sensitivity’ resulting in increased social pressure to shut up shut up shut up – to refrain from ever under any circumstances saying anything skeptical or critical about Islam. Increased sensitivity is not always an unmixed blessing.

To be fair, the leader gets better after that, but that’s a remarkably bad beginning, I think.

For refreshment, turn to Ibn Warraq – who also cites Mill, but with an implication contrary to the Guardian’s.

The great British philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty, “Strange it is, that men should admit the validity of the arguments for free discussion, but object to their being ‘pushed to an extreme’; not seeing that unless the reasons are good for an extreme case, they are not good for any case.” The cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten raise the most important question of our times: freedom of expression. Are we in the west going to cave into pressure from societies with a medieval mindset, or are we going to defend our most precious freedom — freedom of expression, a freedom for which thousands of people sacrificed their lives? A democracy cannot survive long without freedom of expression, the freedom to argue, to dissent, even to insult and offend…Unless, we show some solidarity, unashamed, noisy, public solidarity with the Danish cartoonists, then the forces that are trying to impose on the Free West a totalitarian ideology will have won; the Islamization of Europe will have begun in earnest.

Matthew Parris in the Times also refreshes.

I’m afraid we really do have to decide whether the demand is reasonable. I do not think it is. I am not a Muslim. Nor am I a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu. Now it’s very easy to murmur “I am not a Muslim/Christian/Jew/Hindu” as though not being something was terribly inoffensive – a sin, at worst, of omission; a way of avoiding an argument – the suggestion, perhaps, that “your” religion may be “true for you” but, as for me, I’ll sit this one out. But let us not duck what that “I do not believe” really means. It means I do not believe that there is one God, Allah, or that Muhammad is His Prophet. It means I do not believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, or that no man cometh to the Father except by Him…In my opinion these views are profoundly mistaken, and those who subscribe to them are under a serious misapprehension on a most important matter. Not only are their views not true for me: they are not true for them. They are not true for anyone. They are wrong.

Just so. And since they are wrong, we should not be expected to obey them or defer to them. And yet it is only these wrong views that we are expected to defer to and be ‘sensitive’ about. Robust views that have some contact with the real world are expected to take care of themselves; it’s the mistaken ones that race around screaming for respect.

Cutting through the babble of well-meaning souls who like to speak of the “community” of belief among “people of faith”, this must also be what the Muslim is saying to the Christian, Jew or Hindu; or what the Christian must be saying to the Jew, Hindu or Muslim. These faiths make demands and assert truths that are not compatible with the demands and truths of other faiths. To assert one must be to deny the others…People of faith and people of none cannot escape attaching themselves to claims that are inherently offensive – and at the deepest level – to other people. But offence implicitly offered, and offence actually taken, are two different matters.

And if we embark on this course of threats and arson, firings and imprisonment, beatings and killings, every time anyone is offended by anything – why, it will be hardly any time at all before there is nothing left of this particular species but six and a half billion rotting corpses. So let’s not do that.

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