Sunday, February 12, 2006

Toons and the future of Western Civilization

Via Real Clear Politics, Mark Steyn and John Leo see the cartoon controversy as much more than a disagreement over free expression.

Steyn's lead (it gets even better from there):

From Europe's biggest-selling newspaper, the Sun: ''Furious Muslims have blasted adult shop [i.e., sex shop] Ann Summers for selling a blowup male doll called Mustafa Shag."

Leo seeks the proper question and arrives at a vital one:

Is the biggest issue in the cartoon controversy free expression, sensitivity or fear? One vote here for none of the above. The key question may be this: Are Muslims in Europe going to live by the rules of the West, or by the rules of Islam?

This reading leaves me with two questions: First, how can a civilization that produced Shakespeare, Mozart, Gibbon, Voltaire, Wilde and Peter Sellers bow in the hot wind of a group who has given little hint that it possesses traces of a sense of humor? Second, if you rid Europe of its crucifixes and images of Dante through whatever means necessary, what would lead you to think that it would stop there?

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