Sunday, February 15, 2009

Good for the Danes

The homeland of my Danish ancestors still has some sense. This editorial from the country's largest newspaper, with HT to Gates of Vienna.

Editorial: Dangerous Feelings

It should be self-evident that in a democratic country everyone is allowed to debate all kinds of matters freely and make harsh statements and mercilessly analyze anything, even if it involves strong emotions.

Something that comes naturally for native Danes, but not for immigrants and their descendants born in Denmark.

A study by CEPOS (Center for Political Studies) shows that half of immigrants and their descendants hold the opinion that criticism of religion in, for example, books and movies should be forbidden.

These appalling figures show once again that the nation’s timid and cautious attempts to familiarize certain foreigners with Danish ideas and values have failed miserably. Had it only been about some uprooted youths from immigrant ghettos trying to establish a sort of identity and self-respect, the task would probably be manageable.

But it’s much worse. The problem must be viewed in a global perspective, in which old, deep-rooted European democracies pathetically submit themselves to Muslim intolerance and jeopardize basic values.

It seems that politicians dare not face the fact that a dark, destructive force is at work here, pretending to be something most people in the civilized world, at least until recently, associated with some sort of friendliness.

However, the kind of religious view we see here reveals itself as a clear and present danger to democracy. If these dark forces ever really gained power they would be able to stop any new idea, any new philosophical trend or knowledge, and any new advance in science by shamelessly claiming a right to define what constitutes illegal criticism of religion. The right to define insult will always be claimed by those who feel themselves insulted.
The British Empire, with its proud democratic traditions, is now a pathetic, servile lackey and forbids an elected Dutch parliamentarian to visit the country. It’s beyond pathetic, and should rightfully trigger a common European protest. But that remains to be seen, because the democratic foundations of Holland itself are in deep trouble. There the authorities brutally persecute a cartoonist who works in full compliance with the principles of public debate in a democratic society.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) tries to take over the agenda at the UN’s so-called Durban-2 Conference this April and compare criticism of religion to racism.

According to the CEPOS study, those dark forces have evoked so much response among immigrants and their descendants in our country that they advocate criminal sanctions for people who call things by their right names. Democracy must defend itself, draw a line in the sand, and oppose such tendencies. First and foremost by scuttling the so-called blasphemy clause, secondly the racism clause.

Not because the criticism of religion and religious people is a goal in and of itself in order to make way for defamatory utterances against groups — but because opinions must be met with opinions. Not violence, imprisonment or public flogging.

We should have come further than to discuss such obvious matters. But it appears that we have not.


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