Terrible Essay in The Guardian
Kurt Westergaard and his granddaughter were attacked on New Year’s Day. The would-be assassin hoped to punish Westergaard for his 2005 depiction of Mohammed wearing a bomb as a turban. As the 74-year old artist and his granddaughter hid in a panic room, police shot and arrested the criminal. Of course, I fully support Westergaard’s right to make a cartoon espousing any position at all; I feel like an idiot just for saying that he should be able to do so without fear of being murdered.
But many members of my species do not agree with freedom of speech. If someone insults them, their idol, or their entire religion, he must die. Every clear-thinking member of a Western democracy must condemn such ideas and behaviors in the name of civilization. People who would kill cartoonists because they don’t like cartoons must be marginalized until they wake up from the Dark Ages.
Today, Richard Dawkins’ website linked to an essay from The Guardian that makes a mockery of free speech. The author contends that the knowledge of how insulting Westergaard’s cartoon would be to Muslims should have prevented his newspaper from publishing it. Its publication can be taken as evidence of Denmark’s pervasive prejudice against religion. Even if she is correct, so what? Why does the nation of Denmark have to protect the tender sensibilities of the Muslim world or else face attacks on its embassies and artists?
Apparently, Danish police now protect every Dane named Kurt Westergaard, as they have all faced threats from Muslim fanatics. This fact is an indictment of Muslim fanatics, not Kurt Westergaards. Or even just one Kurt Westergaard.
Ideas are ideas, and they must be exchanged in the light of day. Even boorish ideas. To make excuses for those who react to ideas with violence is to betray a value closely associated with freedom itself.
Behead those who speak against the freedom of speech.