Tuesday, February 07, 2006

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh

So said Voltaire, of course there is no god. It is also sad that the audience includes most New Zealand politicians. Helen Clark, Chris Carter, Winston Peters, Don Brash, Rodney Hide, Peter Dunne, Keith Locke - all too afraid to laugh, in public at least, all too afraid to stand up against the violence now being perpetrated against Danish, Norwegian and other European targets. Testicularly challenged the lot of them.
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Libertarianz is the only NZ political party to have supported the right to publish the Danish cartoons. ACT and National should hang their heads in shame, gutless in defending values against the mindlessness of religion fueled hatred.
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Well we know what the government thinks - Chris Carter saying:
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"It is hard to see why the publication of cartoons known to be deeply offensive to Muslim communities is such an important point of principle to the New Zealand media who have published them." This coming from a man who played North Korean propaganda songs when he hosted the Labour Party show on Radio Liberty on Sundays when it existed in the mid 1990s.
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Helen Clark expresses an opinion, when she should have just shut up - it is inappropriate for the government to express a view on what newspapers publish. She isn't expressing outrage at embassies being torched, she should simply have said the papers have a right to publish what they wish, New Zealand is an open an tolerant society and debate on this issue should proceed without the interference of politicians. That is broadly what the Australian Labour Party Foreign Affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd said:
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"These decisions should be made on their journalistic merit by Australia's news media, we should not be kowtowing to anybody when it comes to freedom in this country."
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What the HELL is it going to take for the National Party to speak up?
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The National Party remains silent - probably trying to figure out whether or not to follow the populist view of supporting freedom of speech or fearing being branded racist and bigoted for doing so. United Future is also doing so, given that it incorporated an immigrant party some years ago, Peter Dunne wouldn't dare saying anything. DPF reported Winston talking about how the Arab world had been insulted, showing his difficulty in comprehending that Islam is bigger than the Arab world, and the Arab world is more diverse than Islam. ACT, well I would hope Rodney Hide would have said something by now.
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Pita Sharples has shown the Maori Party's preciousness about insults by saying:
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"It's one thing to promote freedom of the press and freedom of expression, but quite another to use those rights to justify the decision to insult religions and beliefs"
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In other words, freedom of the press does not exist. Why can I not insult anyone believing that there is a teapot orbiting the earth where there is a genie who is a god? Why is Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or any other form of ghost worshipping different?
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Keith Locke on the other hand showed that the Greens are with Labour in its hand wringing, mealy mouthed appeasement of bigots and violence mongering. Although the Frogblog comments show Green supporters more split on this than you may think:
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"Rather than blame Muslims for their reaction, we should strive to make our community more tolerant of Islam, and see it as a peaceful religion. We can’t judge Islam, or any other world religion, by the small minority of extremists within its ranks."
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Ok let's not blame Muslims? Why not? If one of the thugs who protested in London calling for the beheading of anyone who offended Islam (are you on that list?) actually carries out this act will it be because he has a psychotic commitment to his religion, or is it the fault of the USA and global capitalism, or did I do it? This is akin to blaming a rape victim for looking too sexy for the rapist - he's peaceful usually, just you provoked him!
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Some on the far left are claiming the cartoons are a fascist conspiracy because the newspaper that first published them was pro Nazi in the 1930s. They also claim this is part of an anti-immigrant agenda in Denmark. This may be true, but it has unlocked a belief in violence that the cartoons could never demonstrate. As far as fascist credentials are concerned you may as well talk about those on the left who defended Mao, the USSR, Pol Pot, Ceausescu and other evils. Keith Locke's youthful exuberance for Pol Pot and the USSR are well known.
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This "small minority of extremists" that Locke claims exist - are enough for 14 governments to officially condemn it and call for action - enough for the Syrian government to sit back and let embassies be torched - in a totalitarian state where dissent is not tolerated. While he is right that you cannot judge all Muslims according to what a small number say, I dont see protests in Muslim countries defending freedom of speech and calling for debate about Islam - you wont, it isn't allowed. I don't see Arab Muslim run newspapers agreeing to stop printing antisemitic cartoons.
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If there was a cartoon lampooning the National Front and National Front members torched the publisher of the cartoon - the Greens would not say "you can't judge the National Front by this". Similarly, the Greens would be the first to claim that environmentalist Volkert van der Graaf who murdered semi libertarian gay Dutch politician Pym Fortuyn, did not represent how peaceful environmentalists are.
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The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand naturally want the cartoons withdrawn and apologies made, saying that freedom of expression does not include mocking other religions and their beliefs. Well actually it does!
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Beyond all that, I thought some quotes from Voltaire would be enlightening at this point:
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"Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."
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"One hundred years from my day there will not be a Bible in the earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity seeker." (if only he were right and that goes for the Koran too).
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"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
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Finally, Lindsay Perigo has called for Islam (as a belief system) to be put to death by shaming - not its adherents put to death - but the religion and the ideas it promulgates. He calls on Muslims to discover rationality and decency, and for those who defend the values of Western civilisation to do the very same.

2 comments:

Antarctic Lemur said...

You missed Rodney's post late this evening:
http://www.rodneyhide.com/index.php/weblog/cartoons1/

libertyscott said...

Indeed, it is a good one, which I will be endorsing.