Debasing John Stuart Mill’s Western legacy ?
“In government, perfect freedom of discussion in all its modes – speaking, writing, and printing – in law and in fact is the first requisite of good because the first condition of popular intelligence and mental progress.”
Commenting on this story posted at Robert Spencer’s invaluable website Jihad Watch, about Dutch government discussions to ban the showing of Geert Wilder’s short film , “Fitna,” the brilliant polymath Hugh Fitzgerald observes,
Read the remainder of Fitzgerald’s comments, as well:
This has to be understood. If the Netherlands, if the countries of NATO (who are now involved), cannot permit, and will by fiat end, freedom of speech when it comes to perfectly legitimate criticism of Islam, then the civilization of the West will have suffered.
Not everyone will mind, or even notice. Some will tell themselves that this “right-wing” Wilders was looking to stir up trouble by criticising Islam. And if he was? Isn’t it better that the “trouble” be stirred up now, while the West can still defend itself, especially within its own lands, but can do so only if it recognizes the meaning, and the menace of Islam?
And others will say something like “oh, but there will be greater danger to Dutch troops” in
And perhaps that is true, though if it is true, perhaps it is NATO forces that should rethink their “mission” in Afghanistan, and what is achievable, and whether “helping” people who would eagerly kill them because of the refusal of the Western world to abandon freedom of speech in the case of a fifteen-minute film in the Netherlands, tells us something about the nature of the people, in Afghanistan, or any other Muslim state or society, whom we complacently or desperately assume are not our sworn enemies, are not hostile to the non-Muslims of the world (and that hostility can exist side-by-side with a desire to get from the West all the benefits that West clearly offers, including every sort of aid, and even in moving to, settling within, that same West — by those who leave the misrule of Islam, but unlike refugees from the Nazis or the Communists or other examples of misrule, bring with them, in their mental baggage, the very thing, Islam, whose effects, especially those of political despotism, and economic paralysis, are what caused them to leave such hell-holes as, say, Somalia, or Pakistan, or the Maghreb, in the first place.
This suppression, by the Western world, of free speech — for if this movie is suppressed, one assumes that all other such movies will be suppressed, and the demands, by Muslims inside and outside of Europe for still more to be censored, including the written word, will only increase, with that well-known triumphalism that feeds each new demand, so that Muslims will never be offended, not in their own lands, and not within the historic heart of the free and advanced West — no, not to be offended, for otherwise — and it need not be soldiers in Afghanistan, it could be, say, the threat to blow up one of the Oxford colleges, or the Louvre, or the Alte Pinakothek, or the Uffizi or the Vatican. Oh, it could be any number of things. Do what we want, submit to our Diktat….or else!
Not later. Later will be too late.