"One day the British foreign secretary will wake up and discover that, in practice, there's very little difference between living under Exquisitely Refined Multicultural Sensitivity and Sharia. As a famously sensitive Dane once put it, 'To be or not to be, that is the question,'" writes Mark Steyn, reminding us of our own "to publish or not to publish" post of a couple of days back. It all comes down to the issues we discussed in another post two years ago, "Fear societies, heavy and lite," where we quoted former Soviet dissident and political prisoner Natan Sharansky:
Fear societies are inevitably composed of three separate groups: True believers, dissidents and doublethinkers. True believers are those who believe in the ideology of the regime. Dissidents are those who disagree with that ideology and are prepared to say so openly. Doublethinkers are those who disagree with the ideology but who are scared to openly confront the regime.
As we said then, "democratic Europe's go-along-to-get-along types in turn call to mind those members of academia who go along with politically correct groupthink they may not agree with in order to protect their careers":
Call it "Fear Society Lite." Sharansky's "mechanics of tyranny that sustain such a society" are at work in those lofty intellectual bubbles just as surely as they were in the old Soviet Union and are today in the Arab tyrannies. A repressive society is a repressive society, wherever it may fall on a continuum of brutality and thought control. The crushing of dissent brutalizes the human spirit. Sharansky's optimism encourages the human spirit to soar
"It is whether respect for other religious beliefs, traditions and practices really applies to everybody, including Muslims," writes Christopher Caldwell in Financial Times:
It would be nice if that were true. But there have been enough similar episodes to make clear that self-censorship is at stake here: the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, the murder of Mr Rushdie's Japanese translator and his Norwegian editor, the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in 2004, the insistence on anonymity of all translators of the Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and so on. Bill Clinton, the former US president, and German Muslim leaders have also likened the cartoons to historical anti-Semitism. But this is cant. The worst threats and most unruly demonstrations did not object to any demeaning "message" in the cartoons. They objected to the sacrilege of depicting Mohammed at all. This is not a demand for respect or fair treatment. It is a demand that non-Muslims live by Muslim religious rules.
As our blogfriend neo writes today, "Tolerance should not be tolerant of intolerance, or it sows the seeds of its own destruction." Fear-society/politically correct themes have been woven throughout this blog from day one. As we've said before in these pages, "it's hard to tell the difference between the fundamentalists' no-prisoners approach and that of the P.C. thought police on the other side of the cultural divide." This from last spring:
We remember reading -- with disbelief -- the obscenely anti-American rantings of the Susan Sontags (RIP) and Noam Chomskys of this world in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 -- Why do they hate us? -- feeling confident their delusions were isolated mind droppings destined for the dustbin of history. But no. As we ALWAYS say, the forces of darkness -- of whatever feather -- are forever lurking just beyond the campfire. These people and their disciples are not going to go quietly into that dark night. We can never let down our guard.
TigerHawk will never let down his guard. He's been keeping his eye on the left blogosphere so we don't have to:
The real reason the left is quiet is that this crisis is a lance at the heart of modern identity politics. It has exposed the stupidity of hate crimes legislation, and made us all aware that our devotion to "tolerance" -- the true god of the Western lefty -- cannot be reconciled with an allegedly victimized group that is itself intolerant. The only solution is surrender, and the left does not want to admit that. So it pretends the story isn't happening. We'll let them know when its over.
Even as the forces of darkness gather beyond the campfire, TigerHawk makes our heart sing with this "importance of being noticed" footnote:
Is there anything more annoying than your blog going dark on a day when Glenn Reynolds has linked? If your answer is "I can think of lots of things," then you just don't get it. (Which, I might add, is to your credit.)
Then there's CAD (Catblogosphere Addictive Disorder). Mr. Gato, distinguished feline associate of our dear blogfriend Barry Campbell of enrevanche, hosts this week's 98th Carnival of the Cats:
The Super Bowl of Catblogging. Over 60 (!) entries this time around! Yowza.
Or perhaps Meowza.
A new category at Pajamas Media. We've been enjoying the PJM editor's playful use of images to add something extra to the mix of late. Take the current post, "Que sharia, sharia," for example. PJM couples it with a photograph of Doris Day singing "Que sera sera" in "The Man Who Knew Too Much." We love stuff like that.