Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Freedom and discretion

Posted by pennywit on March 28, 2008

On my blog, I take aim at a recent column by Peter Hoekstra.  On a broader note, I find it mildly disturbing that in the current political climate, we Americans focus excessively on rights, but we seldom take into account the corresponding responsibilities, or even ruminate on the perfectly resonable consequences of those rights.  Avery Doninger, recently cited by Ron Coleman, is a prime example.  When you call somebody by that kind of epithet in a public forum, you face consequences that flow from the exercise of that speech.  And the student there disagrees.

 Why is there so little focus on responsibility?  Is this endemic to some sort of “rights culture” or an entitlement complex among the younger generation?  Is it endemic to Americans?  Or is it just people with not enough time on their hands?

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5 Responses to “Freedom and discretion”

  1. Jack said

    Well, if you’re asking my opinion, then this all kinda reminds me of an old, old story…

    SOMETHING LIKE A HOLE

    The modern man can Right himself whenever he is wrong
    The modern man can short himself if ever work is long,
    The modern man can ask himself if consequences kill
    The modern man can anything except the Act of Will,
    The modern man’s responsible for everything he likes
    And for the stuff he doesn’t he’s convinced it’s rather trite,
    The modern man on internet can argue at the moon,
    But if he’s asked to ruminate then later’s never soon,
    An easy answer to the day is what he most wants best
    A night to wrestle in the dark is not his good bequest,
    And duty, vow, and honor, are just terms his ancients’ thought
    That interfere with license when he’s mostly overwrought,
    So man the walls a’station to defend your public rights
    A private deviation is your ticket to delight,
    Men who strong attach themselves to master decency
    Are as an age anachronistic with blind stupidity,
    For one thing modern men abhor as if it were the plague
    Is to find themselves avast a’drift while busy at their play,
    So if you ask me why it is that modern men are so
    I’ll tell you just to look within, you’ll find it in their soul,
    For every man that demands rights without the right control,
    Will find that what is left to him is monstrous to behold.

  2. mary said

    Pete Hoekstra suggests another reason why people might not choose to show a work like Fitna, or to sell a book like the Satanic Verses:

    Criticism of Islam, however, has led to violence and murder world-wide. Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie over his 1988 book, “The Satanic Verses.” Although Mr. Rushdie has survived, two people associated with the book were stabbed, one fatally. The 2005 Danish editorial cartoons lampooning the prophet Muhammad led to numerous deaths. Dutch director Theodoor van Gogh was killed in 2004, several months after he made the film “Submission,” which described violence against women in Islamic societies. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Dutch member of parliament who wrote the script for “Submission,” received death threats over the film and fled the country for the United States.

    If we’re going to discuss our rights and our responsibilities under the law, we should ask ourselves – why were the issuers of these death fatwas never punished for what was, under our laws, a crime? Khomeini broke many of our laws. Every imam who issues one of these fatwas has committed a crime. Don’t we have the responsibility to enforce our laws, and to protect our citizens from sharia laws and their homicidal enforcers?

    If western governments are not enforcing our laws, and if they’re not protecting their citizens, we have to ask ourselves why.

  3. Jack said

    There is an old saying:

    “the Law will go where the law will go when the lawman will go there…”

    Or put another way, “The Law is an ideal whose shield is all of vapor, and whose arm is all of wish.”

    It is the lawman who embodies what will, and will never be, of order and justice.
    All things are of who will have courage to do them, or doing not, what will never be.

  4. pennywit said

    Mary:

    Your attitude precisely mirrors the attitude Westerners like Hoekstra — and I, incidentally — deplore in radical Islamist leaders. You write:

    Khomeini broke many of our laws. Every imam who issues one of these fatwas has committed a crime. Don’t we have the responsibility to enforce our laws, and to protect our citizens from sharia laws and their homicidal enforcers?

    When Khomeini “broke many of our laws,” he did so in Iran, his country, where the laws are different from Western laws. If a person in Iran is jailed or worse for insulting the prophet Muhammed, it may violate that person’s rights from the Western perspective, but that detention is not illegal. Western laws apply in the West. It is one thing for Western powers to condemn an intolerant state’s actinos in international forums. But it is quite another for a Western nation to claim its laws have been violated in a nation where the West lacks jurisdiction. Such action is equivalent to an imam calling on Danish Muslims to murder a Danish cartoonist in Denmark.

    –|PW|–

  5. mary said

    When Khomeini “broke many of our laws,” he did so in Iran, his country, where the laws are different from Western laws..

    Actually, the kidnapping of American consulate members was a violation of law, but it was also an act of war. Technically, the attack on Pearl Harbor was also a violation of one law or another, but it was also an act of war. We chose to respond to one act of war but not another, and as a result, the government failed to carry out what is, literally, it’s only reason for existing – protecting its citizens.

    I’m not sure which laws a Pakistani Imam is violating when he orders a hit on a cartoonist in Denmark or a filmmaker in the Netherlands. But when these hits are carried out, it’s proof that the governments are failing to protect their citizens. If current laws don’t give us a way of dealing with or prosecuting people for issuing murder contracts on local citizens, the laws need to be revised.

    The current method of coping with these death threats (running and hiding, or refusing to publish all information about a news story because of a fear of reprisals) has proven to be both ineffective and stupid.

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