Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Putting reason above lunacy

U of T's The Strand has publilshed a recent editorial from Flemming Rose, Culture Editor, Jyllands-Posten on why he published those nasty little cartoons:

I acknowledge that some people have been offended by the publication of the cartoons, and Jyllands-Posten has apologized for that. But we cannot apologize for our right to publish material, even offensive material. You cannot edit a newspaper if you are paralyzed by worries about every possible insult.

I am offended by things in the paper every day: transcripts of speeches by Osama bin Laden, photos from Abu Ghraib, people insisting that Israel should be erased from the face of the Earth, people saying the Holocaust never happened. But that does not mean that I would refrain from printing them as long as they fell within the limits of the law and of the newspaper's ethical code. That other editors would make different choices is the essence of pluralism.

As a former correspondent in the Soviet Union, I am sensitive about calls for censorship on the grounds of insult. This is a popular trick of totalitarian movements: Label any critique or call for debate as an insult and punish the offenders. That is what happened to human rights activists and writers such as Andrei Sakharov, Vladimir Bukovsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Natan Sharansky, Boris Pasternak. The regime accused them of anti-Soviet propaganda, just as some Muslims are labeling 12 cartoons in a Danish newspaper anti-Islamic.

The lesson from the Cold War is: If you give in to totalitarian impulses once, new demands follow. The West prevailed in the Cold War because we stood by our fundamental values and did not appease totalitarian tyrants.

Read the rest of it here.

1 Comment:

Jersey Dave said...

Exactly right. I recall a quote that freedoms, like muscles, stay healthy through exercise....

Also, if the lefties who regularly attack Christianity refuse to allow lampooning of Islam because they are scared of it, it shows they are only cowards, attacking Christianity not because of some grand cause of free speech, but because they are too cowardly to lamopoon something else that may be more deserving but might cause real backlash.