Intolerant of Intolerance:

This spectacle of mobs in various Muslim countries turning violent against the Danes (and, in some places, other Scandinavians) because of the publication of several nasty anti-Muslim cartoons in a Danish newspaper has a peculiar kind of viciousness and idiocy behind it. Forgive me, but my strong suspicion is that the folks who have burned the Danish embassy have tolerated, for many years, the most appalling anti-Semitic (and, of late, anti-western and anti-US) garbage, day in and day out, in their hometown papers without much protest. I was reminded of a discussion I had with some Dutch friends several years ago, after the assassination of Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch "right wing" leader who had campaigned against immigration, and in particular against Muslim immigration, into the Netherlands. Fortuyn, though he was portrayed often as some kind of fascist (along the lines of Le Pen in France), was in fact campaigning on behalf of tolerance -- and the particularly benign and benevolent tolerance for which the Dutch pride themselves. There are people out there, Fortuyn warned, who are not tolerant, and if we let them into the Netherlands they will transform our society into one that is not tolerant, so if we want to retain a society that is tolerant of the views and beliefs of others we will need (perhaps paradoxically, but truly) to be intolerant of those who are intolerant.

Pete Freans (mail):
Prof. Post's article points to larger questions that are quietly baffling many civilized governments: how do you neutralize these irrational and barbaric impulses among Arabs? More importantly and most unsettling is if it is now a lost cause.

I think many in the West underestimate the intense anti-Semitism that underscores much of the "debate" in Arab circles. If more speeches by major Arab leaders, clerics, and commentators were translated and published in the West, I think the anti-Semitic invective would stun non-Arabs. This sort of intolerance however has become boiler-plate language in the larger context of an Islamic resurgence or modern-day Caliphate. Many western governments &commentators have accepted this racism and passively justify it. I'm afraid we are unwittingly fueling the fires.
2.7.2006 10:21am
magoo (mail):
If the Europeans are so open-minded, so committed to Western liberalism and free expression, so tolerant of everything except intolerance, why do they keep expelling Muslim girls from school for wearing a headscarf?
2.7.2006 10:25am
Humble Law Student:
Unfortunately, Prof. Post's rationalization of being "intolerant of intolerance" is the same false justification used today by liberals against conservatives in the academic world and in broader society.

O, you're against affirmative action? You must be intolerant. Therefore, I don't have to tolerate you. You want to have an affirmative action bake sale to express your views? Too bad, I've defined you as being intolerant, so now I'm justified in discriminating against you. And so on...

I understand Prof. Post's point, but in his system whoever controls the ability to name one group as being "tolerant" and another "intolerant" holds far too much power for my own taste.
2.7.2006 10:27am
M (mail):
That's perhaps not a totally unfair way to summarize Fotuyn's position. And he certainly wasn't a stereotypical "right winger" (I believe he'd been an animal rights and environmental activist for some time.) But, he also seemed to think the best way to achieve his goals was by just keeping all the darkies out in a rather sweeping and crude way. Obviously he should not have been murdered, but his view was at least somewhat less benign than this post would lead one to believe.
2.7.2006 10:36am
Humble Law Student:
Oh god, forgive me. I mean Fortuyn's rationalization, not Professor Post's.
2.7.2006 10:47am
nn (mail):
M is correct that Fortuyn's views may have been "less benign" but it is reasonable to ask: If you can't make sure that the groups you admit will be assimilated on crucial margins, then the lesser evil may well be NOT to admit any of them. To argue only from ideal policy is foolish, and even suicidal. Judging by European continental failure to integrate these groups it becomes easier to see how good people would be attracted to demagogues much more sinister than Fortuyn. Not to find an effective solution is to hand over policy to the extremists. The only way to be liberal is to succeed. Otherwise you're letting good intentions trump good outcomes.
2.7.2006 11:05am
frankcross (mail):
The problem is one of rule utilitarianism. You need a firebreak rule of tolerance. Without that, as Humble Law Student points out, the exception for intolerance of intolerance is easily manipulated by those in power to throw anyone in jail. The whole point of having rules is because, in our Madisonian way, we don't place trust in the discretion of those in power. Creating such an exception grants enough discretion to destroy the rule.
2.7.2006 11:08am
David Sucher (mail) (www):
Is there some sort of duty to allow unlimited numbers of people from a foreign culture into one's own country? I don't see why such limitation as Fortuyn urged is even remotely "intolerant."
2.7.2006 11:19am
Dr. Sanity has an interesting post about how a shame society, like Islamic society, works. Scary.
2.7.2006 11:26am
3L LSU (mail):

Pim Fortuyn was NOT against admitting 'darkies' into the Netherlands. He was against bigotted and agressive Muslims. He in fact had 'darkies' in his political party.

His whole deal was, "you better respect that I'm gay or you have no place in the Netherlands".

Remember Pim Fortuyn!!!
2.7.2006 11:34am
Tony (mail):
The whole way "tolerance" is thrown about is a little dishonest. Tolerance is not, and is almost never genuinely held as, a true principle. It is an attitude that is struck in order to advance other goals. Many of those goals are very desirable - to grant the same opportunities to everyone in a society, to reduce conflicts, and avoid violence. But "tolerance" is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end, and can be deployed or withheld as appropriate. So "tolerance of intolerance" is nothing more than a word game; what matters are the goals behind the words.

Of course, in a democracy, clearly stated goals are anathema; only vague notions like "tolerance" or the dreaded "family values" are palatable enough to rally support. And the reason they are palatable is that everyone brings to those terms their own favored interpretation, so when we talk about "tolerance" we are really talking about a variety of different ideas, with the conflicts between those ideas being masked by the vagueness of the language being used.
2.7.2006 11:37am
David Post (mail) (www):
magoo write: "If the Europeans are so open-minded, so committed to Western liberalism and free expression, so tolerant of everything except intolerance, why do they keep expelling Muslim girls from school for wearing a headscarf?"

Your point being?? It's unfortunate, in my view, that in some countries (France, for instance), Muslim girls can't wear headscarves to school. Are you implying that this somehow approaches the sort of intolerance one finds in, say, Yemen? Or Saudi Arabia? Or, God help us, Iran? Puh-leeze ...
2.7.2006 11:52am
Duncan Frissell (mail):

"if we want to retain a society that is tolerant of the views and beliefs of others we will need (perhaps paradoxically, but truly) to be intolerant of those who are intolerant."

Dealing with problematic cultures is actually fairly simple. Apply sufficient force to the culture to break it and force the psychological surrender of its members. Worked with Japan and Germany.
2.7.2006 11:55am
Pete Freans asks "How do you neutralize these irrational and barbaric impulses among Arabs?" Good question. I would note that democracy is relatively new in the area including Egypt, the Arabian peninsula, Iran and Iraq, and moreover, that the population of those countries is relatively young--the median age is near 25. Our experience in America suggests we may expect an over-abundance of passion in political discussions in such a population. Now, I would agree with Brit Hume, who commented over the weekend that perhaps bombing a wedding party should also have generated protest, but I do not think we can ever expect to neutralize the area. For good or for ill, what we do in the area will long be remembered, and we need to set the best possible example. As a justice of the Israeli supreme court once noted--Democracies fight with one hand tied behind them, but it is the upper hand with which we fight. Quick fixes--not likely. However, just as they buy Danish products, so too do Americans buy Arabic ones--oil--and if we dislike boycotts of Danish products, we need to redesign our economy to take our business elsewhere. That is perhaps a quicker fix than trying to win hearts and minds in the area by reading out lessons on freedom of the press, but we're still talking in terms of years.
2.7.2006 12:01pm
Cold Warrior:
Tony said:

Of course, in a democracy, clearly stated goals are anathema; only vague notions like "tolerance" or the dreaded "family values" are palatable enough to rally support. And the reason they are palatable is that everyone brings to those terms their own favored interpretation, so when we talk about "tolerance" we are really talking about a variety of different ideas, with the conflicts between those ideas being masked by the vagueness of the language being used.


I recall touring Los Angeles with a Jewish friend (from out of town) quite some time ago. We passed the freeway exit for the "Museum of Tolerance." He commented that it was a strange name for a museum, calling to mind the old saw, "Well, I don't like them but I will tolerate them."

Fortuyn's basic premise -- that Dutch citizenship, and/or the invitation to outsiders to stay and live in the Netherlands indefinitely, should be restricted to those who accept certain core Dutch values -- should now be seen as more important than ever.

"Tolerance" of fundamentalist Muslim lifestyles may express such a core value, but only in a very limited sense: i.e., we (the non-Muslim Danish) will not burn down the mosque or arrest muslims and throw them in jail if they publish anti-infidel cartoons in their newspapers. "Tolerance" in a broader meaning -- that we will make no moral judgments regarding the appropriateness of their behavior, or that we will forbid people from creating an artistic representation of Mohammed because it is offensive to muslims -- is simply not such a core value. We accept that it is not a good thing to bait people of a different religion through such editorial cartooning, but the core value of freedom of expression trumps that in Western society.

Some of the cartoons are stupid and vulgar. The cartoonist who drew them should be chastised for substituting the stupid and vulgar for clever insight. Some of the cartoons upset people simply because they depict Mohammed. Well, I'm sorry you're offended. But my answer is this: (1) you shouldn't be offended, any more than certain orthodox Jews should be offended that their local newspaper prints the word, "God," rather than "G_d." (2) even if you are offended nonetheless, you must accept that the right to offend others is something we accept in this society; you cannot defend your right to say, "atheists will go to hell," and somehow want others to be prosecuted for saying, "Muslims are living a fantasy."
2.7.2006 12:04pm
Houston Lawyer:
We are indeed fortunate that Mexico and points South are Christian countries. As a result, those who leave those countries to live here are quite easy to assimilate despite the efforts of multiculturalists to preserve their previous culture and language.

We are also fortunate that the vast majority of those who come from non-Christian cultures came here to embrace the American way of life.

This country is not obligated to allow anyone to immigrate here. Historically, we have allowed immigrants since we are all descendants of immigrants and immigration has been a boon to the country. I see no problem in excluding from this country (either as immigrants or visitors) those people who are openly hostile to our way of life.
2.7.2006 12:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
IMO, the reason the French forbid the headscarf is related to Ataturk's mandating rather than recommending certain dress regulations.

The old bastards back in the 'hood wouldn't allow a woman to make a choice of whether to go covered or not.

The French regulations also take away the choice, but they do so in a manner which forces the society to contemplate the question; Is it really so bad to go without? Eventually, if this is ever a free choice, the lesson will have been learned and some will and some will not.

Since dress is usually not a matter of life and death for a woman at the hands of her friends and neighbors, not to mention her immediate family, a new approach has to be taken with regard to a new situation. Might be right, or wrong, but it seems as if it may reduce some of the power of the haters in the banlieus, eventually.
2.7.2006 12:51pm
Noah Snyder (mail):
Magoo, worth keeping in mind that France and the Netherlands have very very different approaches to religion. In France the ideal is a completely secular public society, hence no headscarves. In the Netherlands they have a totally different approach known as the Pillars, whose idea is that each religion forms its own pillar and society rests on top of all of them. In the Netherlands not only can you wear a headscarf to school, you can go to a state funded officially muslim school.

Tolerance is a much more important virtue to the Dutch than it is to the French.
2.7.2006 12:56pm
Mr Diablo:
Of course we should be intolerant of intolerance. The line of tolerance has limits -- when a faith calls for murdering people who criticize it and begins widespread riots and a draw your favorite Holocaust cartoon contest, when a bunch of white-sheet wearing Neanderthals calls for denying basic freedoms and procedural rights to black Americans, when religious fundamentalists joke that 'everyone has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex, gays just want special rights to marry someone of the same sex' and defend their denial of equity with a quip about some prophet who may not even have existed and certainly has no foundation in modern law -- we should be dismissive/intolerant of letting them prattle on further, pretending that their contribution to the debate is serious.
2.7.2006 12:56pm
Mr. Diablo, nice bit of moral equivalency in that post to tumpet your own political cause. Murder, Holocaust, opposition to SSM. You do realize you don't serve your cause well with this garbage, right?
2.7.2006 1:29pm
Dick King:
Does anybody but me find it hilarious that people are committing violence to protest the depiction of Mohammud and Islamites as violent people?

2.7.2006 2:26pm
The Orginal TS (mail):
First, it's very important to keep in mind that there is no monolithic "Islamic world" anymore than there is a monolithic "West." Our perception that the entire Muslim world is up in arms is an artefact of the way the news business works. There is a lot of unrest in some Islamic countries and very little in others. 200 million Muslims in Indonesia did nothing at all. 200 Muslims in Indonesia trashed the lobby of an office building in "protest." Which of these made the headlines?

Second, most of this unrest isn't spontaneous. In most cases, neo-salafi elements and certain governments (I'm looking at you, Syria) have exploited the controversy for their own ends. In other words, much of the more histrionic outrage is largely artificial and/or officially encouraged. For neo-salafi extremists, any excuse to be offended is a good one.

With respect to "tolerance" space doesn't really permit a full discussion on the meaning of tolerance in a just society. Suffice to say that the Danes need make no apologies for how their society is organized. If people, Muslim or otherwise, find Danish freedom of expression offensive, they shouldn't move to Denmark.
2.7.2006 2:40pm
Riskable (mail) (www):
I just want to make a note about the French headscarf issue: I was lead to believe that the reason why headscarfs were banned in French schools was to prevent girls from being indoctrinated into a submissive, misogynistic culture. An extreme measure to forcibly change a small aspect the brutal treatment women receive in the slums ("Get em' while they're young"). I personally don't think this is the right way to go about it, but it was a reaction to quite a bit of injustice.

To a liberal French woman, a headscarf is really no different than a slave collar. At least, that is the impression I've got from reading the news as of late. In the U.S. we ban children from wearing gang-related symbols and clothing in our schools. How is that any different? In my opinion, the slums in France may be predominantly Muslim, but they act more like gangs than members of some sort of lager religious society.

"I have a license to kill -9"
2.7.2006 2:48pm
Ross Levatter (mail):
David Sucher asks: "Is there some sort of duty to allow unlimited numbers of people from a foreign culture into one's own country?"

Congratulations to Mr. Sucher on actually owning an entire country. For those of us less affluent, the more relevant question is "Is there some sort of duty to allow others to sponsor putatively peaceful people to enter THEIR property or work on THEIR property or to allow new arrivals to this place to BUY property of their own from those who own it, without prior government approval?" The answer to that question is "Yes; it is the duty of civility we owe to our neighbors, even the ones who look and think differently, as long as they remain peaceful." Civility follows from property rights, which admittedly is less of an issue if you own the entire country.
2.7.2006 2:55pm
Tbag (mail) (www):
I believe the colloquialism is "dishes it out but can't take it."
2.7.2006 3:45pm
Mr Diablo:
Cabbage, that you see it as moral equivalency is really a reflection of your own values and your own distaste for particualr groups rather than a reflection of anything I said. You do realize that you do yourself no favors by shooting off from the hip and pretending that you know what someone else is saying.

Also, nice that you tossed in the Holocaust there -- if you perhaps followed the news a little closer, or learned how to read, you'd understand the reference point that comes from a widely read Iranian newspaper today. And if you read the WSJ this morning, you'd understand the murder reference.

Garbage like your post serves only one thing: to prove you're not serious.
2.7.2006 3:54pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
I believe if you *are* something, I need to be tolerant of that. But if you *do* something, I get to be as intolerant as I want.

We frequently confuse "be" and "do" in various memberships. We say someone "is" a particular religion or political affiliation, for example, when these things are fundamentally choices. The difference is whether you can *change* these things. What you cannot change, others must tolerate. What you refuse to change or deny the ability to change - these things need not be tolerated.

And when you REMIND me of someone I don't have to tolerate, you get the unfair disadvantage of having to apologise and atone for the distasteful actions of someone else. But think about this: if I meet fifty people of a particular sort, like (say) Australians who drink Bud Lite, and all of them steal from me... what the hell kind of idiot would I be not to expect it from the next one? When *should* I stop expecting them to steal from me? When I meet one who doesn't? Ten? Twenty? Where exactly should I decide "oh, they're all individuals and I can't discriminate"? And who are YOU to tell me where that line is?

I think that's *my* line, dammit, and I get to draw it. If you don't like it, go somewhere else. Nobody is *forcing* you to hang around with me.
2.7.2006 4:55pm
Like Cabbage, I feel that the stretch to same sex marriage was a bit much. I believe that marriage has too much religious significance to many people, and the government should therefore extract itself. Civil unions having the same legal benefits and burdens should suffice. Does that make me intolerant or my post garbage?

World of difference between that and a supposed duty to tolerate extremist who answer editorial speech with arson and threats of murder or kidnapping.

I welcome anyone to criticize cartoons, and I reserve the right with other voters to not welcome violence into our homes. Perhaps Islam will feel less victimized by prejudice when it becomes as vocally self-critical as this country.
2.7.2006 4:55pm
Yes, the French should probably let girls wear head scarves, but then most predominantly Muslim countries should let girls not wear headscarves.

Also be careful not to imply that Islam requires girls to wear headscarves. I've known practicing Muslims who swear that the headscarf is not religiously required--it's only required by local culture. I know that many Muslims say it's required, but that's a debate among Muslims.

It's unfortunate that the Muslims I have known who are both deeply faithful and moderate (even feminist) have virtually no public voice in their faith.
2.7.2006 4:59pm
Mr Diablo says "You do realize that you do yourself no favors by shooting off from the hip and pretending that you know what someone else is saying."

I'd say you've got yourself a problem if people on here aren't supposed to know what you're saying from the words you type. I'd like to know how your post above didn't lump together calls for murder and calls against SSM into the same group of speech not worthy of our tolerance.

Sorry for jumping in, Cabbage, I'm sure you can defend yourself just fine, but this isn't the crap I come here to read.
2.7.2006 5:05pm
Anomolous (www):
The Orginal TS wrote:

First, it's very important to keep in mind that there is no monolithic "Islamic world" anymore than there is a monolithic "West." Our perception that the entire Muslim world is up in arms is an artefact of the way the news business works. There is a lot of unrest in some Islamic countries and very little in others. 200 million Muslims in Indonesia did nothing at all. 200 Muslims in Indonesia trashed the lobby of an office building in "protest." Which of these made the headlines?

Undoubtedly, there is a large grain of truth to that. But I'm curious about the reverse siutation. Flag burning seems to be almost a national pastime in some Mid-East countries. But I don't see as much flag burning in western countries. For instance, Iran has pretty much been hinting that they'll be nuking Israel. Yet I haven't seen any Israeli demonstrators burning Iranian flags. A number of reasons for this disparity spring to mind:

1) I live a sheltered life.
2) The news sources I pay attention to tend to downplay American/western misbehavior and/or over-emphasize misbehavior in other cultures.
3) Americans are fat and happy and aren't inclined/too-lazy to protest.
4) Citizens living in Muslim countries are seething with rage over their mis-managed governments, and anything can spark a riot.
5) Social norms regulating public behavior are different between the East/West.
6) ???

Probably all of the above factors are at work, but I'm skeptical that the protesters/demonstrators/vandals are as small a percentage of their country's population as we'd like to believe. Am I wrong?
2.7.2006 5:07pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I think there are some larger truths to be drawn from the recent controversy regarding the anti-Islamic cartoons, the violent demonstrations they have provoked, Fortuyn's assassintation (and Theo Van Gogh's murder):

1. There is a large strain of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiment in Western Europe (there is in the U.S. too, but we have fewer Arab Muslims as a percentage of our population). The cartoons reflect that popular sentiment. I heard that the Danish paper that originally ran these cartoons refused to run cartoons depicting Jesus Christ in an offensive way. I have also heard well-educated Europeans say very intolerant things about Arabs and Muslims.

2. The violent demonstrations indicate a lack of tolerance for "offensive" speech, predominantly by citizens of countries that have no historic traditions of institutionally recognized free speech protections.

3. The violent nature of the reactions in part may stem from a collective "inferiority complex" of the Arab and Muslim world vis-a-vis the West. Many in the Arab and Muslim communities feel aggreived by the West, and they perceive this as yet another outrage that the West has perpetrated on them. Yet, they have been unsuccessful in all military confrontations with the west (see all of the Israeli-Arab wars), and feel their culture invaded by what they perceive to be corrupt US and Western morals and values.

4. I also imagine that some of the violent demonstrators are being manipulated by political leaders into these outbursts, both as a way of increasing their own bona fides as leaders willing to stand up to the West (see Iran's reaction) and to deflect criticism from their own shortcomings.
2.7.2006 5:25pm
Anomolous (www):
oops, also wanted to include...

7) The demonstrations/riots are staged propaganda events for international/domestic consumption.
2.7.2006 5:27pm
machs (mail):
Don't forget to watch al-Jazeera's pre-Olympic special. Wide World of Wahhabic Sports!
2.7.2006 5:34pm
About those head scarves. An Iranian author, Amir Taheri, has been telling the world that the so-called hijab was invented in the 1970s by a mullah named Mussa Sadr, and was based on depictions of the Virgin Mary and other women in classical western art. For an example of his views, you can go
here. What the current state of this question may be (that was from 2003), I don't know, and if anyone has seen further commentary, for or against Taheri's view, I'd appreciate knowing it.
2.7.2006 5:37pm
Mr Diablo:
Nor do I come on here to read crap like HLSLibertarian's, but I'm forced to from time to time.

A shining example of the shallowness that tends to consume modern "libertarians" -- when that party went from being one of limited government everywhere to a party that cared only about how much it could pad its wallet, is the day that I stopped taking them seriously. That any libertarian, with a striaght face, can pretend that the social values war waged by some in this country, with a foundation and basis empty of law, is something that should not make every libertarian recoil (what point is economic freedom of some people are ineligible for complete access to engage in that freedom?), is truly a mark of a movement that is devoid of ideas, and drowning in ideology.

It is a fool's errand to be tolerant of those whose intolerance denies others basic liberty, privileges and procedural due process. That some people on are able only to see and understand it when those intolerant ones are Islamist fanaticals, is no surprise at all. Your pseudointellectual inconsistency never fails to entertain me.
2.7.2006 5:48pm
Diablo: I'm not sure how my saying that incitement to murder and opping SSM are different things makes you ascribe to me the entire agenda of both the social-conservative right and some fictional money-grubbing libertarian party.

I don't believe in gov't involvement of any sort (licensing, tax law, etc.) in marriage. Yet I'm able to see how silencing debate of the SSM issue is different from silencing threats of murder. For that matter, this discussion wasn't really about silencing either - just about the danger of labeling "intolerant" ideas not worthy of free speech protections.

You believe that your political opponents' ideas have, as you call it, a "basis empty of law." That's fine. But you also think that because you've made this judgment, those ideas should be removed from the public square. That's not quite as fine.

Once you start talking censorship, I start talking about the necessity to differentiate between calls to murder and calls to question the wisdom of SSM laws. How's that for "pseudointellectual inconsistency"?
2.7.2006 6:03pm
Mr Diablo:
You find when I've started talking censorship, and I'll give you a cookie. I said that the arguments aren't serious and should be dismissed. I didn't say that we should censor anyone. Why is there no half-a-loaf with libertarians....from the ideology that fails to understand any sort of the complexity that makes liberty so wonderful, to your insistance that because I said we should be intolerant of those who are intolerant, I must have meant censorship. I'm not sure why you are talking about censorship, as you said, this conversation isn't about silencing. That you've made a judgment to mischaracterize everything I'm saying is not quite as fine.

No one serious thinks anything should be yanked from the public square... and I think that even applies to the free speech of Islamists. But the volume of scorn and ridicule from those who disagree with Islamists is quite loud and easy to hear. What I'm waiting for is the level of scorn from people who masquarade as libertarians to reach a similar pitch when confronting restraints on social liberty as they already apply when confronting restraints on another buck. I've met lots of libertarians, in law school, in college, in New Hampshire, who get quite riled about the cost of X or the regulation of Y and how it constrains them, and seen them want to take up arms against those no-good government oppressors. But when it comes to a fundamental denial of liberty based on sexual orientation, the message usually is "uh, yeah, we're really mad about that too, hopping, we should dissolve marriage rights, and I'll get to that, as soon as I carry out my quest to end zoning regulations as we know it."

Calls for murder, calls for discrimination, calls for slavery, calls for evangelism, calls for any kind of infringement on the liberty of another based on the words and opinions of an invisible force or presence from a centuries old logically inconsistent fiat, are more the same than you realize. It's easy to see it when it is as disgusting as a fatwa, the question is are we willing to look more critically at Westerners and their own offensive traditions? Not likely.
2.7.2006 6:20pm
The Orginal TS (mail):
First, to clear up an apparent misconception, the Fortuyn, the Dutch right-wing politician, was murdered by a white, vegan, animal-rights activist. We can't really lay that one at Islam's door.

I'm skeptical that the protesters/demonstrators/vandals are as small a percentage of their country's population as we'd like to believe. Am I wrong?

I think it largely depends on the country. There was a great deal of unrest in some countries but hardly any in a great many more. Many, if not almost all, Muslims find the cartoons in bad taste but only a very small minority, overall, find it necessary to riot.,,3-2024273,00.html
2.7.2006 6:40pm
Diablo says: "You find when I've started talking censorship, and I'll give you a cookie."

I was inferring that from this statement: "[W]e should be dismissive/intolerant of letting them prattle on further..."

Your condemnation of "letting them" speak led me to believe you were advocating not letting them speak. If this isn't what you were implying, my apologies.

Further (and skipping over your interesting tidbit, "No one serious thinks anything should be yanked from the public square,"), it seems your real problem is with how libertarians order their political priorities. You're mad because the libertarians you've met (not me, mind you, the ones you've met) express real outrage at zoning laws and Muslim hatred, but only token outrage at marriage restrictions.

In reality, your argument hasn't budged since Cabbage called oyu out on questionable moral equivalence. You want me and my libertarian friends to condemn Christian opponents of same-sex marriage as loudly as we condemn Muslim opponents of free speech and/or Jews being allowed to live.

Well, I'm sorry if we don't pick and choose the volume of our outrage to your liking. In your last comment, you equate "calls for murder" (to be clear, killing people) with "calls for evangelism" (to be clear, advocating, usually peacefully, for the gospel). Would you still say that our finding of inappropriate moral equivalency in your posts is a result of our "own distaste for particualr groups," or perhaps of yours?

Personally, I sometimes get angry at the religious right, and, like you, I don't tend to give much credence to arguments that rely on faith over facts. However, I'm gonna go ahead and reserve the right be a little more angry at the people who don't think I should be alive.

PS: If you've been paying attention to this blog, you know that there are ways to discuss issues like SSM that don't just involve tolerant liberals vs. the oppresive wrath of god. I've not been persuaded by any of these arguments against SSM either, but it's a shame that you won't even hear them.
2.7.2006 7:04pm
Mr Diablo:
More than paying attention to this blog and more than read and commented on the lengthy discourse on same-sex marriage, including frequent rebuttal of the complex arguments against SSM that seemed to keep boiling down to the tried and tested principle of: "Because that's the way it is." It was really quite painful to observe the bending and twisting.

Never meant to imply censorship, my apologies if I was misleading in my selection of language. I think there are plenty of ways to be intolerant of intolerance without censoring.

But I'm afraid I still don't see what I've said above as moral equivalence, and I worry by now the point about how all of these alleged thoughtful ideas came from specious sources that I was trying to make is quite lost.

And, to be fair, I really only fret about libertarians in their frequent silence when push comes to shove on non-economic issues. Maybe you're the exception, and I don't think it is a party-wide philosophical decision, but again, an my evidence is anecdotal and free to discount, I've met lots of libertarians who were more than happy to bitch and moan as though the sky were about to come down when it was about Kelo, or taxes, or Grutter... but I am generally amazed at the silence on social issues affecting the liberty of discreet and insular groups to even have a chance to access and make their own complaints about things like Kelo, Grutter or taxes.

Muslim fanatics might seem like a more prescient issue to you, and they are to me as well, but there's going to be Muslim fanatics for a very long time, past your lifetime and past mine. I've got other concerns in the interim that stem from a decidely less dangerous, but by no means less meaningful variant of the same kind of basic intolerance appropriated as an 'free-to-be-you-and-me' ideology, grounded in a law that is as relevant to fundamental human liberty as Sharia.

I trust that clarifies.

And no, of course no one is morally equating evangelism and its unintentioned atrocities with homicide, except maybe Christopher Hitchens. But I'm pretty sure this entire blog would be deemed beneathe him. I think you can separate the moral atrocities from one another and still realize that the root causes underlying them are connected to the same tree.
2.7.2006 7:43pm
Diablo: Ok, I think I have a better idea of what you're trying to say and taht we've settled (most) our differences. I do agree with you the the things you and I may find inconsistent and illogical with religious beliefs on a philosophical level can lead to illogical and oppresive political stances across the board.

And yes, I agree that, at times, this means that the policies of the Muslim Mid-East and the Western Christian Right are wrong for the same fundamental reason, namely reliance on what you and I may consider their improper and inadequate philosophical underpinnings.
2.7.2006 8:24pm