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Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Offense Test

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.

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.

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.

Under the honor-shame code, an insult can be worse than a threat, because to deprive a man of honor, is worse than killing him. And that honor derives from his tribe, his family and he is perceived. Under honor-shame codes, when a man's wife, daughter or other female relative disobey him, they shame and dishonor him, and he may mutilate or kill them to regain his honor. Similarly, if an outsider ridicules his god, the insult must be repaid with blood. To fail to do so is to live with shame in his own eyes and those of his compatriots.

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.

Yet 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.

10 comments:

Dallas said...

Islam does not put value on human life. The mythology does not have its roots anything like the Judeo-Christian core belief of being created "in the image of God", as is the case in the West, even the secular West.

Earthly life has little or no value in Islam and the destruction of other humans creates no internal disquiet. "Honor" killers therefore never show remorse. Palestinians hand out candy at the destruction of Jews and other kuffar.

Honor (appearances) trumps human compassion. How sick, how shallow an approach to life, how caustic is this attitude to the civilized world.

Keli Ata said...

A few years ago I received a book at work to review. It was guide to Islam. One of the quotes from the Koran cited in the book was about terrorism. The Koran basically says not to go to war with those who do not fight with Muslims over religion.

That's the problem. Everything we do is perceived as an insult to their religion.

The Muslim version honor is no different than the warped version of "disrespect" common street gangs kill over.

As if killing someone who is direspectful isn't...disrespectful at all.

cruft said...

"conscience does make cowards of us all" apply said as seen in the "guilt" industry so victorious; ps can't seen to paste it so google the inital quote. worth the doing. things never change.

Paul said...

"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."

"Muslim immigration has not spread tolerance, but intolerance, not love but fear, and not knowledge, but ignorance."

You have it right there. But why all the rest? How can you throw out another chance? Are you seriously sitting back waiting for Muslims to make some kind of awakening? It's not going to happen. Islam is the problem and the scriptures that dictate it in the Koran. As long as Muslims value their own beliefs, there is going to be this problem.

You say we live in a "multicultural society". Well, this is the job of multicuturalism, if multiculturalism is to have any value. By coming to live in a society governed by freedom of belief, you expose yourself to other beliefs and your own beliefs inevitably are called into question. Their very validity is challenged. Either your beliefs must have some validity, or they must have some vitality, or you must stand the fool for having such beliefs. Nobody is obliged to respect you for your beliefs if there is nothing to respect about them. This is the importance of living in a society where people have the freedom to believe what they want to believe. Those beliefs most in tune with reality endure and spread and promote the general welfare with the new and better certitude they provide the people with.

New beliefs and certitudes are what lay the foundations of this country and its revolution. Our founders knew this and made sure that their heirs would not be forced to challenge some enforced authority of old beliefs if new and better beliefs emerged in the future.

Islam is a false system of beliefs with no validity or vitality and only naked violence to preserve them or advance their cause. There is no time to waste promoting some kind of second chance for Islam, it must be confronted with its own fundamental failures. Muslims are not wasting time waiting for nonbelievers to come around to their way of thinking and we should not waste any time waiting for them to come around to any other way of thinking besides Islam.

crockwave said...

The Offense Test is a brilliant editorial. I am in awe of the clarity of your arguments. You have made it easier to educate the ignorant masses. Thank you.

OEFOIFVet said...

"Under the honor-shame code, an insult can be worse than a threat, because to deprive a man of honor, is worse than killing him. And that honor derives from his tribe, his family and he is perceived. Under honor-shame codes, when a man's wife, daughter or other female relative disobey him, they shame and dishonor him, and he may mutilate or kill them to regain his honor. Similarly, if an outsider ridicules his god, the insult must be repaid with blood. To fail to do so is to live with shame in his own eyes and those of his compatriots. "

Hello everyone, and thank you Mr Greenfield for your interesting blog.

I believe that the paragraph has an answer in it that so far I have not seen anyone pick up on. So if we insult Islam the Muslims will go beserk. If someone burns Korans the Muslim world will riot.

I think what we American citizens need to do is insult Islam every chance we can. I think next summer all family BBQ's should be started by the fire of a Koran.

Take the Koran burning pastor story for example, Obama and even some of our Generals "claimed" that burning the koran was going to put US troops in danger. Yet in the aftermath of the incident no US troops were in any more danger then they were previously. Secondly, since our politicians and media still cannot figure out the link between islam and terrorism then why should we believe anything they say regarding how Muslims are going to react to anything.

What in fact happened over the threat to burn Korans was for riled up Muslims to go crazy in their own countries and kill other Muslims.
So we should use Islams threats against us against them. Openly insult Islam, and openly provoke Muslims. We are protected by the first amendment to provoke and insult.

For those of us who realize that Islam has declared war against us what reason is there to remain civil? Some PC liberal toad will call us racists? Hell they do that anyways, so in reality there is nothing to stop us from provoking the Muslim world.

Marie said...

Hey Daniel, I started reading this after a link took me to the Canada Free Press site and about half way I'm thinking, "This is so beautifully written and so astute, who has written it?", so I scroll to to the top and there you are! I can recognise your genius anywhere! Thanks for a great essay. As always, you see things, and articulate them, clearer than anyone else on the problems we face.

wanumba said...

The other day, a group of ROTC students we know were handling parking chores for a local community art show. One of the cadets waved for a woman to stop, as she was going right into on-coming traffic. After she didn't react and was continuing to move, his hand signals became waves, his voice rose to shouting and she finally stopped. She rolled down her window and chastised him for and that he'd "tarnished her day" by his rude actions.
The cadets there stared at her as she sniffed her way out of there. They were going thru years of phsyical and mental training for the military to make sure her days are never 'tarnished' by warfare on her front lawn and she was lecturing them that they'd spoilt her harmony ... for stopping her from getting into an accident. The entire community there, wealthy, sheltered and indulgent is permeated with that attitude.

If it was just Muslims acting on the tactic of being perpetually offended, I think we'd be in better shape, but this country now has a sizable segment of the population which has a self-righteous attitude, a narcissist self-importance of also perpetually offended - or rtaher very quick to be offended.
Plus, A day and a half's drive from Texas where military is common, to wealthy burbs of Colorado is like going from safe ground to enemy territory. Soldiers in BDU or dress uniform in the Southern states get a constant stream of "Thank you for your service" but in other communites, the people turn their heads to avoid making any eye contact and whine about being 'uncomfortable."
We just did that circuit and saw it with our own eyes - and have seen much of it, alas.
If our pioneers were as fussy and self-absorbed as these people have become, they wouldn't have made it to the west bank of the Mississippi, much less Scott's Bluff. So, the problem is, only half the country understands what's at stake with radical Islamic expansionism, the other half is not just clueless, but undermining of the half that 'gets it.'

On the bright side, "You tarnished my day" is the new ROTC joke around here.

Paul said...

wanumba,

When you are performing duties as a parking attendent, then you are obliged to conduct yourself like you are a parking attendent, even if you are wearing what looks like some kind of military uniform. Especially if you are a parking attendent at some community art show. Notice that actual law enforcement was not present to direct traffic. Under some circumstances, their presence would have been required. Assuming an attitude beyond what is genuinely required for such a simple task might also qualfiy as self indulgence.

The problem is not people who are easily offended or lie about being offended. The problem is people who really are violently offended with no real justification.

These people are serious. They will kill cartoonists who portray Muhammad. Do you know why? It's not because they are offended by what the cartoonist has to say. It is because the cartoonist has made the image of Muhammad which is a sacriligious act in their eyes. To them no one should be allowed to do that. That is the cartoonist's first crime. Of course they are in additional trouble if there is any criticism implied. It doesn't matter to them where it is done, to them it is still a capital crime to be punished by any Muslim who wishes to consider themselves a Muslim.

wanumba said...

Ah, there were no uniforms in the parking arena, just college students. The student had to make a scene to literally save the driver. It wasn't the fact of disrespecting uniforms in that case, it was the total sef-absorbed attitude of the woman, which we've found by hard experience permeates the entire community in that area. It was the condescending attitude that the world owed that woman perfection, and she felt totally justified in reaming out a guy to correct him for upsetting her "balance." The students inadvertently got a small taste of it. But that attitude conveys thru a segment of our modern society as an outrage that our military is somehow provoking terror, "tainting" the harmonious existence of people who've never seen strife or hardship or violence for that matter. It's safer to undermine, to handicap, to harass our own people, civilian or military for the uncomfortableness of conflict rather than the ones who actually provoke it.
It's hard to fight as one has to fight when one's own people are stabbing one in the back.

Finding too many Americans totally unequipped to understand what has to be done. It didn't used to be this way, but decades of PC have had an effect.

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