Hate Speech, Holocaust Deniers, And the “Innocence of Muslims” Video
Once again the civilized world reacted with shock and dismay as it found its institutions and related entities under violent attack by large numbers of individuals claiming to represent the Muslim World and, more specifically, the religion of Islam. The purported root cause of this violence, not so coincidently occurring on 9/11, was the release of a video entitled the “Innocence of Muslims” which was widely viewed as being anti-Islamic in its intent and presentation. The final chapter of how recent events will affect the future relationships between the various parties involved has yet to be written, but the events themselves can certainly provide some instructive insights.
Perhaps the most interesting lesson to be learned, and you can bet that many from the Muslim World are not learning it for the first time, is that too many Westerners continue to show no inclination of learning any new lessons at all. These are the ones that continue to make excuses for those perpetrating the violence while finding ways to blame the Western World first, second, and third. This group has the unenviable task of holding the societies of which they are apparently unwilling members to Western standards of acceptable behavior, while defending the actions of those who would do them harm by rationalizing the suspension of those very same values. In other words, these anti-Western Westerners are constantly attacking the Western value system and claiming it is morally bankrupt and does not reflect their views while, at the same time, and without any apparent sense of irony, fully embrace the tenets of that very same value system in an effort to support and advance their views. Unfortunately for the United States, and the Western World in general, those who seem to have some deep-seated need to blame the West first are well represented in the present administration.
In an attempt to address the various sub-topics in isolation, without considering the context, many commentators and policy makers seem determined to leave unanswered the wider and more fundamental questions. This is not completely surprising, or necessarily without some merit, as the problem with honestly answering one of the most fundamental questions is that the answer is that the “War on Terrorism” is much more extensive than many Westerners wish to believe. There are fundamental and irreconcilable differences between the value system promoted most prominently by the West and the alternative system being proposed and forcibly installed by those claiming to be following the admonitions of “Allah”.
One can only understand the issues, which admittedly fall under the “sub-topic” label, alluded to in the title, if one fully understands the context and conceptual basis on which the rest of this discussion is predicated.
If we begin the discussion by looking at the concept of criminalizing “hate speech” we find that conservatives are really the only ones who understand and support the concept of free speech. To my knowledge, those who are protected under the auspices of “hate speech” legislation include just about everyone but those who support the concept of free speech in the first place. The idea that an individual supports the right of others to speak as they wish, regardless of the content, seems to be increasingly confined to the Western Conservative, primarily Christian, individual. The danger inherent in the liberal view that the limits of free speech should be determined by others is becoming increasingly obvious.
It is no coincidence that Western Liberals are often on the same page as the more radical warriors for Islam. In effect, the similarities between the Liberal and Islamic world view are not so incomprehensible when one looks at the salient facts while understanding that both hate Western Civilization and look forward to replacing it with a system more to their liking. The acceptance and institutionalization of liberal ideas in the West has ironically supported the rise of radical Islam in various ways that may or may not have been foreseen. The ill-effects related to the misuse of the term “democracy” have been discussed in previous articles and thus the focus here will be on the ill-effects of the acceptance of the concept of “hate speech”.
Muslims in particular, not to exclude other groups, can be forgiven for wondering why a video they find offensive is not censured when the principle of outlawing hate speech is one that has found much support in recent decades. Liberals should be held fully responsible for leading us down this dangerous road. If Muslims, and others, can be held legally liable for comments denying the Holocaust, does it not logically follow that anything they find similarly objectionable should receive the very legal censure? What so many from the West seem unable to comprehend is that it is liberalism, not conservatism, that leads to the lack of respect and downright hatred on the part of so many Muslims in today’s Islamic World.