City Journal Winter 2016

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Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt
Rejecting the Spark-and-Fire Metaphor « Back to Story

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Notice how every time a White house spokesperson, reporter, or cable news person, at least the left of center ones, mentions the video they have to clear the air with the assertion "my personal opinion is that it was a reprehensible and disgusting video." That was secretary Clintons exact words on Pakistani TV. I watched only the first couple minutes of the video, got bored, and it froze on my slow connection, so I quit watching. And as far as I can tell, the only thing "disgusting" about it is the blasphemy of having an actor play Muhammed.

But that's only blasphemous for Muslims. If Clinton actually watched the video, then she was not personally disgusted.

Do these Democrats think through the possible consequences of sucking up to fanatics. What if Bill Maher's anti-religion movie is judged too blasphemous and "disgusting"? Is Obama going to give him a pass because he donated 1m to his campaigne?

In speeches lately, both Obama and Clinton have spoken out against defaming religious beliefs of others. Many things defame the religous beliefs of others: birth control, obortion, the Piss Christ, Bill Maher's movie. Speaking out against it only obfuscates that blasphemy is not intolerance towards religious beliefs, but enforcing bans on blasphemy is intolerance against religious belief.
I have seen personally how these events chill speech even of normally outspoken moslem friends living in the US. I've asked my Egyptian friend to comment and she simply states that she "do[es] not know what is happening." She is, however, well-informed by al-Jazeera and other int'l outlets and simply refuses to comment/opine. The net result is that she is just more isolated in the West, and cannot take advantage of our free speech here.
And the current U.S. administration immediately grasped the spark-and-fire metaphor and has steadfastly refused to let go, because it avoids debating whether and how American interests and our resulting policies inevitably clash with the most retrograde elements of the Islamic world.
The violent elements in the Muslim community are of limited numbers, these numbers will grow each time the violent minority are successful.
We also need to stop talking about Muslims, break it down into Sunni and Shitti, this then reduces their strength. Anti-Muslim builds support from the moderates.
The two Muslim fractions are about as close as Catholics and Protestants were two hundred years ago.
Better to divide and conquer, that united and make a small elements appear with much greater strength then they have.
How much better for the Press to report "small, extremist, violent group made up mostly of young men to unskilled to obtain work".. this takes away power. Reporting that makes it appear these few are the spokespersons give them great power.
Like some of the other commenters below have noted, its not the west but western liberals that have their heads deep in the sand. The general public seems to have a better understanding of the Islamic world then those at the state department and the White House. They may have their political reasons for that policy, but we pay deeply for that naive stupidity. The Muslim world has a very violent part, where negotiating will never work. That religion has a nasty streak of violence, and why we think we need to cover that up, is stupid and shouldn't be done.

These Muslims need no spark to bring violence against any non-Muslim. Just being non-Muslim is good enough reason. To many Muslims they still think it is their duty to kill the infidels, no negotiation. We have every right to protect ourselves from these leftovers from the 7th century.

Muslims do not respect weakness. "Apology" tours show weakness (frankly Islam should be the ones apologizing, we have nothing to apologize for). There is a reason why the hostages in Iran were released when Reagan was sworn into office after Carter was unable to do anything. Iran knew that Reagan meant business, where squirrelly Carter wanted to negotiate till the cows came home.

The Muslim world is very weak militarily, both nations-states and Islam terror groups. There is good reason why Israel still exists in spite of being surrounded by hostile states. Frankly the threat of striking back is often enough to stop most. We do not have to tolerate any form of violence from Islamic terror.

Doing what liberals have done by kowtowing, only insures that the rest of Muslims will do nothing to stop the violent ones. Violent Islam doesn't care about the victims, and many are Muslims. If there is no support of those who don't want violence (which I hope is most Muslims, but a large percentage support violence for some reasons) they will let the violent continue what they do.

Obama reaction to this crisis is the worst we could hope for. It is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
Fascinating article - some comments:

1. If these demonstrations involve relatively small numbers of people, who are demonstrating for reasons other than what is being told to us, why are Clinton and Obama bowing, scraping and apologizing? It accomplishes nothing and is seen as a sign of weakness.

2. Are Obama and Clinton going to grovel every time the Muslim fanatics perceive something else as insulting to Islam (or whatever)?

4. Under our system people could burn Korans and make anti-Islamic videos every day of the week (and probably will after this for the attention) - given the Democratic media's constant need to stir the pot, they will no doubt be covering it all while making phony hand wringing gestures.

5. As for Marina Ottaway and others seeking to ban "hate speech" - whatever that is, maybe she , and they could put on a burqua and practice not using hate speech in Iran.

6. Why is it that Democrats preach tolerance and freedom of expression, but are the first ones to seek to repress liberty when what's being said is disagreeable to them? Such hypocrisy is hard to stomach.

7. Maybe Obama is pandering for votes in the American Islamic community - would be typical.
The problem is not with "the West" but with Western liberals, who continue to view the world through a solipsistic prism that enables them to see the West as the cause of every ill, and the source of every solution: by changing our behavior (curbing our right to free speech, whatever) we address the "causes" of Muslim violence against the West. Thus they never have to engage the world on its own terms, and try to find workable --even partial-- solutions to difficult problems.
Well and truthfully put.