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.