Once again, Alex Massie is spot on:
One of the recurring arguments against the plan is that, however well-intentioned its backers may be, it represents an unfortunate and unnecessary “provocation”. Even if those involved mean no harm and don’t mean to “provoke” they should have been wise enough to appreciate that their proposal was bound to provoke a hostile reaction. Which means they should think again.
That’s certainly an argument; I just don’t think it’s a very good one. It is a familiar one, however. Cast your mind back 20 years and remember the rumpus that erupted when Salman Rushdie had the temerity, the gall, the bare-arsed effrontery to publish The Satanic Verses. There were those – including plenty of so-called liberals – who effectively sided with the book-burners and maniacs who protested against Rushdie (and the Penguin group) calling for the book to be banned.
Rushdie, you see, should have appreciated that publishing was bound to provoke people and, this being so, he should have been wise enough to pulp his novel. Yes, yes, of course we all believe in the right to freedom of expression but, in this instance, is it really sensible to insist upon it in such a provocative fashion? If there’s a backlash, well, poor Rushdie has brought it upon himself hasn’t he? He should have known better.
You will not be surprised to hear that most people now complaining that GZM is a “provocation” were also arguing earlier that Muslims should learn to provocative works like Rushdie’s books. There is no reasoning with such people really.
Meanwhile – the Democrats have lost any spine they had. I am now officially depressed with the Obama administration for doing exactly what they accused previous Democrat administrations of doing – leading by polls and ineffective triangulation rather than taking strong stances and having the strength of their convictions. I hope the Labour party will learn from this, but I doubt it will.
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Current affairs,United States