As you know, there was a terror attack in Paris earlier this month. 12 people were initially murdered as Muslim extremists shot up a satirical newspaper that printed drawings of Muhammad. More died later when the gunmen took hostages in a Jewish grocery store.
This tragic event has dug back up the arguments over free speech and immigrants in society. You can practically replay all the old footage and discussions from the last time cartoons and religious violence were in the news. (See: Danish Cartoons) I feel the narrative around this whole situation, that is to say, they way people tend to think, is that you’re either pro-immigrants on the left, or racist Nazis on the right. There really isn’t any room for a different view. The whole time the casualty of this view is freedom of speech and the protection of a free society.
The problem is, when you have a view that doesn’t fit into that black or white thinking, people desperately try to label you one or the other. If you say “I think there is a group of people who are a legitimate threat to western society.” then you’re a Nazi. Their mistake, and this is a the difficult part that they can’t wrap their heads around, is that they think you take issue with the attributes of a group, rather than what that group is doing.
Does that make sense? Here’s an absurd analogy: Say a group of blue people move into a city and decide that toasters are offensive to them. “Bread is not meant to be toasted!” they say. Some of them go around and start vandalizing places that serve toasted bread and intimidating the other residents of the city. Some extremist anti-toasters even murder some cartoonists at a newspaper for drawing pictures of toast.
My issue with the above people in the analogy is their treatment of other people who choose to toast their bread. I do not care about the fact that they are blue. I don’t even really care about their view on toast. I personally think it’s bullshit, but whatever, to each their own. The only thing I care about is how they start treating other people. In this case, intimidating them and even murder.
When discussing radical Muslim immigrants, people often focus almost entirely on the wrong thing. For example, if I were to speak out against the anti-toasters, people would say that I’m just racist against blue people. That’s exactly the same kind of misdirection you face when trying to talk about radical Muslim immigrants.
I don’t care about them being Muslim. I don’t care about them being immigrants. I don’t care about them being of a different ethnicity. I don’t care about where they come from.
If you could look past all those attributes for a moment, all I care about is how people treat each other.
Is there a threat to free speech in the western world? Yes. Free speech is under attach all the time from all angles. Western governments are a threat to free speech. Radical religious zealots are a threat to free speech. Right wing anti-immigration conservatives are a threat to free speech. Left wing appeasement advocates are also a threat to free speech.
What do you do when one group of people move into a society they fundamentally disagree with? (Remember! Don’t get hung up on attributes like blue!) What do you do when members of this group start to mistreat people not of that group? You have to push back, but only in a way that targets the perpetrators. There are lots of people in this group who don’t mistreat others. It’s too easy for some to just paint all of them with one brush.
My main issue with people on the left is that there are some who I feel would follow a policy of appeasement. I’m talking specifically about anyone who feels that some speech should be made illegal based off of how other people feel about that speech. That or people who believe that we should tolerate separate laws for separate groups within society. There can be no justice that way.
Lets flip that example around. What if I’m offended by people who try to limit free speech? Why do I not get special laws to limit those people? Why don’t I get to have a separate legal system so I can live in a parallel society? Because I’m not threatening violence.