Saturday, November 13, 2004

Free Speech is such a nuisance

I take it for granted that everyone knows about the murder of Theo van Gogh. If not, go here, here and here. Van Gogh was murdered, but long before this, many other people, of occupations like journalism, politics and science have gone underground or stopped giving whatever (perceived) offense there was.

Since the murder, there's been a lot of discussion about what a person should be able to say, and what not. It seems to me Muslims are not the only ones unable to grasp the concept of "sticks and stones". This discussion also takes place in Dutch parliament, and clearly the God of Political Correctness dictates that the person who repeatedly shot van Gogh, then drew a knife and nearly cut his head off Al-Zarqawi style and ended by sticking a knife in the dead man's chest with a note attached to it (for partial translation go
here), this person is not totally to blame. It seems there are some things a person cannot and should not say. Cross the line, and the consequences are to some degree your own fault.

Well actually, this is obvious. So obvious in fact that we have laws that enable the people to procecute anyone that incites hatred, or preaches racism, or in any way provokes violence and what not. Theo van Gogh might well have been a prime candidate for such prosecution. He offended nearly everyone in Holland. Nobody ever took him to court.

Somebody put seven bullets in him and then nearly sawed his head off though.

So now the Dutch government is considering taking off the shelves an ancient law against blasphemy. Yes, you read it right, blasphemy. So you see, we'll still have free speech, but there's an EXTRA law that says you can't say anything mean about Islam. I realize blasphemy covers all religions, but let's face it, in Holland we couldn't care less about Jews or even Christians, and blasphemy would never have been an issue if it hadn't been for the fact that people are becoming wise about Islam. Christianity has been the subject of ridicule and insults for at least as long as I've lived, and no one has ever suggested reinstating blasphemy legislation.
  • A contemptuous or profane act, utterance, or writing concerning God or a sacred entity.
  • The act of claiming for oneself the attributes and rights of God.
It becomes especially ironic when you're like me and don't believe in God. I feel no need to deliberately offend those who do, but to me blasphemy is less evil an offense than is jay-walking. Most of Holland is for all intents and purposes secular (although Islam is rapidly changing that!), and so for most Dutch, it is actually impossible to offend God, because they don't believe He exists!

Reinstating blasphemy laws is a way to rationalize the silencing of criticism of Islam. Plain and simple.

Van Gogh's been dead for a week and a half now, and already the time for indignation has passed, and the time for
dhimmitude has returned. Nice going, Balkenende.


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