18 September 2006

Letting the Offended Inherit the Earth

Claudia Rosett nails it:

It's a good rule of thumb that there is no one more easily offended than your average despot and surrounding acolytes. Tyranny by nature requires grand fictions, and when anyone dares point out that the emperor has no clothes, or the emperor is living it up while dressing his minions in suicide belts, or the emperor is murdering his own subjects and honing technologies and methods to blackmail, subjugate or kill anyone else in reach, then the emperor and his cohorts take huge offense. If you happen to live under their sway, they chuck you in prison. If you are outside the immediate reach of their secret police and terror squads, they do what they can to maneuver the debate onto their terms. They - who apologize for nothing - demand apologies.

What does it take for the democratic world to understand? With their constant demands for apologies - over cartoons, over speeches, over you-name-it - the chronically offended tyrants of our time, armed with guns and bombs, are on a very real offensive. Against us.
For the bulk of an entire religion to be so offended at something so insignificant, to get so bent out of shape and fail to grasp context and to react with both violence and protest signs (pre-printed in perfect English for the benefit of Western media) is to be simultaneously savvy and naive. And suspicious. And not trustworthy.

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