Ben Stein is an interesting guy. I once interviewed him. It was during my senior year of high school but that is a post for a different day. I think that he makes some good points in this essay.
“Greeting, fellow Americans. I have some serious news for you about the war against the terrorists, the war we are fighting to protect our liberties and our Constitution against Islamic totalitarianism. We’re losing, big time. I don’t mean we’re losing in Iraq, where our brave men and women are fighting well in difficult conditions and with the home grown doubters at their heels. Nor in Afghanistan, where our men and women in uniform are also fighting brilliantly.
No, we are losing our freedom here at home, and in a particularly nasty way. It has to do with those cartoons mocking Mohammed that were published in a Danish publication and have excited riots and burnings across the Moslem world and fear and terror in Europe.
The problem here is that some students at the University of Illinois’ student newspaper thought — with some reason — that the cartoons are newsworthy. They published six of them along with a written statement of why the cartoons were offensive. A few Moslem students complained, which surely is their right. The university officials stepped in and the student editors were essentially fired. Yes, because a student publication might cause offense. Imagine that.”
As I have written on many occasions I don’t see a need to go out our way to offend people but I don’t see a reason why we should be forced to wear a sweater because someone else is cold. I think that we have made some terrible mistakes in how we have handled the whole cartoon affair.
We should never allow the Muslim world to think that violence is a legitimate form of protest. I wouldn’t stand for it from Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists either. This is not going to make things better and it could definitely make things worse.