Freedom of Speech and the Islamic Threat
In Europe, the threat is so great that Geert Wilders’ film can not be shown in public. After van Gogh’s death, no one will sponsor a showing. Even the Internet isn’t exempt from the threats of jihadists. His film was removed from several venues because of the threats to the families of the owners of these websites. But it keeps reappearing. At the moment it is here (hat/tip FPM). Watch it; it is powerful!
It’s important to stress that liberty requires that we defend those who speak whether we agree with them or not. Freedom won’t be there for us if we don’t defend the speakers today that some find objectionable. The debate must proceed if we are to judge the truth. A government that fails to protect the individuals who step forward to speak in the public square fails in its most important function: securing our freedom to talk, think, and reason. We can’t live in an intellectual vacuum. We need to breath the air of liberty if the ideas we require to survive are to grow to maturity.
Update: Paul Belien has an excellent article on appeasement in the Brussels Journal. He reviews the pre-WWII suppression of those critical of Nazism in his native Belgium: “Belgium’s submission to the Nazi demands, however, did not prevent Hitler from invading the country in May 1940. The only result of the Belgian authorities’ appeasement policies was that many ordinary Belgians, at the behest of their own government, had not been able to read articles critical of Hitler.”
How is this different today? “Geert Wilders … has made a 10-minute movie, called ‘Fitna’ (the Arabic word for ‘ordeal’). Releasing the movie has become Mr. Wilders’s ordeal. Whether or not Mr. Wilders is right about Islam is a matter of opinion. The way in which he is treated by the political establishment, however, is eerily reminiscent of the way in which democratic governments such as Belgium’s gave in to Nazi bullying in the 1930s.”
Update2: Superlative coverage on the file Fitna at Gates of Vienna including translations into several languages and internet venues with dubbed copies.
Update3: OK ... I didn't think of this angle.
Update4: Rule of Reason on Wafa Sultan: "If Wafa Sultan is not free to speak her mind, than neither you nor I are free to speak ours. None of us can tolerate this encroachment upon our ability to communicate our ideas."