Nov 22 2010
The Offense Test is very simple. If another driver on the highway flashes me the middle finger, it is generally accepted that he is a jackass. If I try to kill him in response, it is generally accepted that I am unfit for civil society and should be locked up.
CANADA FREE SPEECH – But the Offense Test is more than just a way to screen out homicidal maniacs, it also screens out groups that are incapable of reconciling themselves to free speech. And in Europe and America, from the days when Salman Rushdie had to live in hiding to the present day, when Molly Norris has had to abandon her career as a cartoonist and go into hiding—Islam has failed the Offense Test in the worst way possible.
Barbaric honor-shame codes of the tribal society.
Living in a free society that is not rendered artificially homogeneous by speech codes and guardians of morality, means being willing to ignore offensive speech against your person and your beliefs. That means setting aside the barbaric honor-shame codes of the tribal society, with its value system in which every man is only worth as much or as little as the honor of his tribe and his family, for the ability to distinguish threats from insults.
Operating under the honor-shame code, in a free society where women are considered to have equal rights and free speech is more sacred, than sacred icons, the Muslim man is constantly on the verge of inflicting violence inside and outside the family. It takes only a straw to break the camel’s back, his daughter kissing a strange boy, a Fatwa about foreign troops in his country or a bad day at work. It’s not so much the nature of the actual offense that matters, only the religious and cultural “hair trigger” that Islam cultivates in its followers. And while the honor-shame code is not limited to Muslims, only the Muslim world has managed to turn the honor-shame trigger into a global tripwire, with cartoons in Denmark leading to killings in Pakistan.
Muslims may decry talk of plans for the Caliphate as a conspiracy theory or Islamophobia, but when they act collectively through the UN via the OIC and through violence and intimidation to restrict any speech that they dislike, then they are effectively attempting to impose the speech codes of their religious legal system on the entire world.
And billions of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and others, should not be expected to react well to the imposition of a system that leaves them as second class citizens, liable to be demonized as infidels, idolaters and the children of pigs and apes, without the right or freedom to respond.
Western apologists for Islam insist that tolerance lies in not offending Muslims, but that is not what tolerance is. Tolerance means that we tolerate the offensive, not that we have it cleared away from us by the censorship of the state or the violence or the mob.
There is nothing wrong with being sensitive to other people’s feelings, when such sensitivity is mutually reciprocated, and when it is not dictated by fear of violence. But when sensitivity is motivated by a fear of violence, then it is no longer an act of empathy, but of cowardice. There is nobility in not stepping on the downtrodden, but none in cringing before an angry mob. To censor free speech in the face of anguish may be a kindness, but it is a crime in the face of bloodshed.
Yet the same liberals who insist that WW2 GI’s were fighting for the right to gay marriage, insist that we must censor anything that offends Muslims in order to protect US soldiers in Afghanistan. Yet, what if anything, are American soldiers fighting for if not to preserve such a basic freedom. What could we hope to gain by appeasing the Muslim world that would outweigh our Bill of Rights? Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer appears to disagree, reviving WWI era arguments about shouting fire in a crowded theater. But the question here is not one of censoring speech in the name of patriotism, but of avoiding violence by suppressing speech that might trigger the murderers to kill.
No free society can exist by allowing the murderers or would be murderers to set the terms of its free speech.
To do so is to submit tyranny. If we allow that to happen, then we no longer have either a Constitution or even self-government, all our laws and practices would be subject to review by any Muslim cleric with a microphone and a grudge. That is the system that the vaunted European “tolerance” has ushered in, where 3 year olds in England are being monitored for racism, Jews are fleeing Europe at a rate unprecedented since the rise of the Nazis, and dogs are barred from buses. But despite the fearful shadow of this draconian tolerance, matters are no better. Once the murderers are allowed to determine what freedoms a society will have, the killing never stops. Not until all the freedoms do.
That is why the Offense Test is so crucial, because it screens out people and groups who think this way. It is possible to live without the Offense Test, but only as a homogenized society in which speech is tightly controlled, and every man is expected to be ready to kill for the slightest offense, and every woman must be escorted everywhere by her husband or father. But such a society will be not be a multicultural one, it will have one dominant religion, culture and gender—with all others reduced to second-class citizenship. Muslims have already set up such societies all across the globe, and they are welcome to live in them, at least until they choose to reform them into some semblance of civilization. But instead they propose to remake the First World along the same lines, and they have no shortage of Western apologists who are eager to help them achieve that goal.
Their argument of the apologists always comes down to blaming the victims of Islamic violence for the initial offense. Not only does this argument come down to the same position taken by the Grand Mufti of Australia, when he declared that rape victims were “uncovered meat” who were just asking for it, but even were it true that Muslim violence is only a response to some provocation or offense, then that alone demonstrates that Islam is incompatible with participation in civil society.
If Muslims cannot see a woman in a short skirt without trying to rape her, then they are unfit to be members of society in which women have the right to dress as they please. If Muslims cannot see a cartoon of their prophet, without trying to murder the artist who drew it, then they cannot be members of any society with free speech. And if Muslims cannot give their loyalty to the country that they live in, rather than to the angry clerics of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, than they had best move back to where their hearts truly lie. Otherwise their new country will be forced to judge every foreign policy decision not based on its own interests, but on whether its citizens will be subject to terrorist attacks from its domestic Muslims.
For Muslims, the Offense Test will serve to determine, whether they can live outside the Muslim world. For now, they are failing the test, and failing it badly.
Muslim immigration has not spread tolerance, but intolerance, not love but fear, and not knowledge, but ignorance. It is up to Muslims themselves to reverse that trend, by either passing the Offense Test and proving that they can tolerate being offended by the variety of views and images in a multicultural society, or disengaging from a non-Muslim world whose freedoms and perspectives they cannot learn to tolerate. The choice is simple enough, and the choice is theirs.