Sunday, September 12, 2010

ZenTiger Koran Burning Off - Flag Burning On

The American Pastor who was planning to burn the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has been roundly condemned by assorted Americans from the President down, so he's called it off. Isn't it great that asking nicely still works on some people?

Meanwhile, a UK Muslim is planning to burn the American Flag in protest, and is urging others to do the same. From Reuters: Choudary said the date of the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington had become symbolic of "the conflict between Islam and the enemy of Muslims, nowadays represented by the American regime, and manifest in their occupation of Muslim lands".

Most of what I wanted to say on the matter is on a thread at No Minister, which I should transpose here just to serve as a record....maybe later.

Freedom is not absolute .... and neither is the slippery slope we place it on.

[A bit later]
OK, here's some of it:

So when do we arrest Trey Parker and co, and lock them up until after we move out of Afghanistan on the off chance they offend some less moderate Muslims?

And what if Jay Leno makes a wise crack that sets them off? Let's keep him off air, or at least check every script prior to screening.

And what if Hollywood's A-list don't run with an anti-war protest fast enough to please Taleban? That could send the wrong signal.

And maybe we shouldn't interfere in local Iranian judicial issues and let the stoning of that adulterous women go ahead for fear we overstep our mark?

Most of all, we need to shut down the ENTIRE USA Media, because had they not broadcast the story of the Koran burning plans, we could breathe a sigh of relief that freedom is safe.

Just as during WW2 when members of the British Union of Fascists were interned under Regulation 18B as posing a danger to the war effort.

Yep, and if we stay in a state of war for the next 100 years, all of my above suggestions become even more reasonable.

On the other hand, the fact that this book burning pastor has brought condemnation upon himself from a huge swathe of Americans from the President down, plus the condemnation of many Westerners around the world will send a strong signal to the Taleban that not all people are that stupid or intolerant.

And I'm sure being the reasonable people you wish them to be, they will take that into account.

Because if they don't take that into account, I fear that no amount of capitulation will suffice. And with our most potent peacekeeping capability thus disarmed, where would that leave us?

And here's another bit, which I think (other than asking nicely not to do it) would be a better solution than invoking provisions of war to let the Government lock up anyone who seemed troublesome

Another tangent to take this discussion in is the changing of the law to make the desecration of a flag or religious icon or artifact illegal (ANY, not just the Koran). I think it was in the USA in 2006 an amendment was put forward to "protect" the American flag in this way, but it didn't get the vote. If it had, then it still wouldn't have "protected" the Koran but it would probably have focused the debate in getting calls for it "just like the flag".

Given that neither are so protected, I think that leaves us accepting the principles of freedom include putting up with nutters, and an expectation Muslims and others can make a loud but peaceful protest. Because violence and threats in response should not be tolerated, excused or shied away from.

15 comment(s):

ZenTiger said...

Of course, I'm missing the other side of the debate - a valid point from the Veteran that burning the Koran is going to do a special kind of "piss the radical Muslims off in an even worse way", and therefore further endanger our troops on the ground in Afghanistan. I'm not sure much can be done about that, given that we can't go around locking people up for expressing an opinion that may inflame radicals, other than my law change suggestion above (and do we really need to go that far?)

ZenTiger said...

And the latest news reflects the nub of the matter - the Pastor backs down and others step in (not related to the Pastor) and burn the Koran anyway.

And I suspect some people who feel passionate enough about an issue would ignore the law too (if it was illegal to burn the book or flag) and go ahead anyway.

So what could you do about it? Either nothing, or become totally fascist in an attempt to preempt this.

I'm listening to talk back radio and they've labelled the American Pastor as equivalent to terrorists who murder people. Except that he's backed down and promised to never burn the Koran. Sounds like he was ignorant of the consequences, has been educated and adjusted his attitude. That's not the same sort of dogmatic profile we see in fundamentalist terrorists prepared to maim and kill to advance their aims.

NLW said...

You probably won't enjoy this, but what the hell: If Our Historic Heroes Returned as Tea Party Members"Mr. Gorbachev, scream at this wall!”

ZenTiger said...

I quite liked this one:

"A two-term Obama presidency and death are the same thing – only that in death there is no suffering." – Teddy Roosevelt

Francis W. Porretto said...

Inasmuch as rights are absolute, then freedom, which is merely your latitude to exercise your rights, is equally absolute.

A "non-absolute right" is called a "permission."

KG said...

Quite. And there are an awful lot of people unable (or too afraid) to distinguish between what they have permission to do and true freedom.

NLW said...

Is it illogical to say that there are fewer actual freedoms than there are theoretical freedoms? For example, in theory, anyone has the freedom to burn whatever book they want. In real life, you still have the option but you also face the consequences of that action. Being able to distinguish on a per-case basis what is and isn't a productive use of "freedom" is a virtue that seems to be eroding. (And there's a hell of a tangential topic – freedom versus virtue.)

KG said...

Is there such a thing as consequence-free freedom NLW?
Freedom carries it's own consequences and costs, (as well as duties) so we're obliged to weigh those against our personal valuation of freedom.

Any person who values freedom highly enough will surely be willing to endure the costs. The problem as I see it is that the virtues of freedom are being deliberately downplayed and devalued even as our masters are making the costs inherent in exercising it higher.

NLW said...

KG, no. There is not such thing as a consequence-free freedom, but if you look out your window you'll see examples of people doing stupid $H!T that makes them look like idiots, so my question was meant as a reminder that one ought to think about what they're doing (particularly when it is "in the name of" something else).

I consider myself an intelligent person, but after four read-throughs I still can't find the meaning of your last statement: "The problem as I see it is that the virtues of freedom are being deliberately downplayed and devalued even as our masters are making the costs inherent in exercising it higher."

Our masters are increasing the costs of exercising freedom? Meaning there are more consequences?

Please clarify.

KG said...

Meaning that the net of bureaucratic regulation is being drawn ever tighter, and people are being conditioned--and kids indoctrinated--with the pernicious idea that liberty is somehow a "gift" of the State.
Those bureaucratic regulations are now making it all but impossible to disobey the petty edicts of our grey suits, edicts often dreamed up on the whim of some statist apparatchik, since they cover everything from the houses we "own" to our personal--and notionally private--financial transactions.
To disobey one is to invite punishment via a host of others.

NLW said...

Bureaucratic regulation...such a funny term. Funny in that without it there would be no regulation whatsoever. Or it would be privately/corporately controlled. I would prefer the bureaucratic version to the latter (corporate/none) option.

KG, perhaps you should move to America. Haven't you heard? It's the land of the free and home of the brave! Unfortunately for those of your political persuasion, it's still a land that allows a wo/man to be free ONLY because the state upholds the liberties set forth in the Constitution.

KG said...

Oh, rubbish!
And no answer at all to what I wrote above.

NLW said...

No answer at all to what you wrote? I didn't see a question...just thought you were rambling about excessive regulation and how government somehow decides what is and isn't freedom – in other words, stuff that again fits into that practical versus theoretical category.

KG said...

*shrug* I simply don't find you interesting enough to debate the question.

NLW said...

I can't remember the question either. *shrug*

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