There’s always a “but” when it comes to Islam

May 9, 2015 • 11:30 am

Here’s a melange of media commentary on the Texas cartoon shootings. The first part of the video shows the dutiful nods to free speech, the second the inevitable “buts”. There seems to be much more passion in the second bit!

If you consider the two discussants in the video below, the rest of the media have paid far more attention to the woman on the left than to the man on the right. What is wrong with that picture? And doesn’t it make you worry about the Left’s attitudes toward free speech when someone like Sean Hannity actually seems reasonable?

h/t: Malgorzata, Ben Goren

65 thoughts on “There’s always a “but” when it comes to Islam

  1. I’m a big supporter of the progressive and liberal ideals we inherited from the Enlightenment and the New Deal and the Civil Rights movenemnt, but I just can’t fucking stand the Islamophile asshats leading the illiberal left these days.


    1. I feel the same way Ben. I’m constantly frustrated by the failure of so many liberals to stand up for liberalism, and their inability to understand the concepts surrounding the principle of free speech.

    2. I think there are actually a TON of us out here; we just need to be heard. Although if that means immediately getting into a row with the illiberal left…not sure I have the fortitude for it.

      1. I have a confession: though a registered member of the Green Party, I’m not all that keen on accepting the invitations to local party meetings. I’ve been to one or two…and that sort of thing just isn’t my thing.

        So, I try to push the Overton Window in places like this and hope that I’ll convince some more sociable people who will get involved in that sort of thing.


        1. Same here. Well, except for the bully pulpit bit. Which seems to leave…uh, nothing.

          *guilt attack*

    3. Back in the Enlightenment, “liberal” meant something totally different. Today’s liberals are about as liberal (in the old sense) as the German Democratic Republic was democratic.

    1. People standing up for crazy muslim ideas probably have similar crazy ideas of their own which they are scared could be mocked too.

  2. From video 1:

    Pamela Geller seeks to divide people

    Yes, absolutely. We should be dividing people. I want to know – everyone should want to know – who thinks it’s acceptable to react violently to those who draw cartoons of Muhammad. And what better way than provocative speech?

    And then the guy who equates insults to Islam to a “poke in the eye”. Well, no. That’s obviously a violent act. And certainly not an example of free expression. And not OK. This is another common pattern utilized by the illiberal left: the equivalence of disliked speech with violence.

    Video 2 – Sean Hannity: Voice of Reason. **shudder**

    What’s next? Ted Nugent: Paragon of Logic?

      1. An SJW once made the argument that sexual violence = refusing to sex0r your partner when they want it.

        Of course, this didn’t apply to men wanting sex from women, because that would be wrong, no, it is only “violence” if the woman’s needs are unfulfilled.

    1. I noticed that poke in the eye thing, and the agreement from the interviewer just before the cut.
      It is a nasty false equivalence.

  3. Re Sean Hannity.

    A clock that is stopped is correct twice a day.

    Hey, come to think of it, a clock running !*backward*! is correct !*four times*! a day!!

    1. Depends what speed it’s running at. If it runs backwards fast enough, it’ll be correct on every second.

      1. That’s amusing. Most watches, that move in one-second increments, are correct at best once every second. However, a clock running backwards, sufficiently fast, is guaranteed to be correct once per second, so is arguably a better timepiece. It also never needs to be set, and works in every time zone!

        This makes me want to get a Bulova. I was looking at one in a watchcase the other day, thinking they are kind of eerie. Still, it’s arguable watches that go forward are never correct. (But most of the time they are closer to correct than backwards-going watches.)

        1. However, a clock running backwards, sufficiently fast, is guaranteed to be correct once per second, so is arguably a better timepiece. It also never needs to be set, and works in every time zone!

          Nice. Now, I just need to figure out how to read hands moving that fast, and I’ll revolutionize watch-making.

  4. “I told her if she didn’t keep her mouth shut she was gonna get one right in the kisser. She knew the consequences. Her fault, not mine.”

    “She was walking down the dark alley wearing a miniskirt. She asked for it. Her fault.”

    I’m going to go ahead and start saying rapistaphobia and wife beateraphobia.

    1. Not only was it her fault she got one in the kisser, she was inciting violence by speaking. I heard that argument actually made by a local Muslim spokesman in Texas, and two other Muslims in a CNN interview. The other guest was Alan Dershowitz who tried, not very successfully, to explain to them that’s not how inciting violence works.

    2. You just might be the next Mickey Spillane. (Can you do “I tore off her kimono and pulled her down on the Persian rug” or “I gave a kick and the fat face in the fedora crumpled under my heel”?)

  5. Is this an episode of Who’s a Bigger Asshat? At halftime (can’t bear to watch it in one sitting), the Muslim guy’s overwhelmingly in the lead, but she doesn’t waste any time blaming Obama (1:19) and so gets some points for that.

    I’d love to see Obama and Geller together on Coffee Talk.

  6. I posted this comment on an earlier story, but it applied here too:

    It’s like there’s some kind of template that’s been distributed amongst the no-so-liberal left:

    Step 1: Start with a brief and platitudinous condemnation of violence

    Step 2: “But…”

    Step 3: Describe how Muslims are a disenfranchised/victimised/oppressed group

    Step 4: Insinuate that the victims of the attack had it coming because they angered/provoked/insulted/offended Muslims

  7. For all of the cases of the ‘yes, but’ crowd, one can still find media opinions that recognize the right to free speech. CNN has a recent opinion piece about current great acts of hypocrisy. There are several, but among them the columnist, Frida Ghitis, does a pretty good job at blasting the writers who chose to boycott the PEN award session. She also describes Pamela Geller, the organizer of the draw ‘Mo contest in Texas, as a hypocrite but she cites pretty good reasons for that.

    1. I don’t think that piece says anything other than the same, free speech but position that is under discussion.
      I didn’t find any “pretty good reasons” for calling Geller a hypocrite.

      1. Agree. I was also disturbed by the cited calls to Geller to “act Christian”. I suppose that those who made this appeal didn’t know that she is Jewish, but nevertheless…

  8. I’d like to declare a fatwa on all three of the self-promoting louts on the triptych screen in the bottom video, enforceable by a custard pie to the face.

    Of the three, of course, Anjem Choudary, in center screen, is indisputably in a category of his own — a miserable wretch who has lost his mind, been driven bat-shit crazy by the arsenic-laced tenets of his Islamic faith, a “true believer” in the most abject sense.

    He reinforces my suspicion that it is the very implausibility, ridiculousness even, of religious dogma that both binds its believers together and gives the worst of them the strength of their unfortunate convictions — the power of shared psychosis, a toxic combination of hysterical contagion and folie à deux spread wide.

    True believers are like Cubs fans on Opening Day at Wrigley reveling in their mutually reinforcing delusion that “this is year” the Cubbies will finally capture the World Series, but on some exponentially stronger, mind-poisoning super-steroid.

    1. That should be “this is the year” (which then transmogrifies into “wait until next year” sometime in September for Cubs fans).

  9. How to declare war on 1/6th of the planet in one easy lesson.

    Anjem is refreshingly honest: he doesn’t even bother to wheedle about Sharia conditions being met.

    And he just issued a fatwa against the Roman Catholics: you can’t move for pictures of Jesus in an RC church.

    Sheesh, it’s been a bad 2 days to be British.

    Does any British legal expert know whether what he said counts as the crime of incitement to violence, when he confirmed that Geller should be done over? That looks like a very credible threat. I’m thinking of Part 2 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007.

    Dermot C x

    1. I wonder if he’d get away with it on the grounds that he said that she should be tried in a sharia court, and, if found guilty, executed.* Seeing as there are no sharia courts in the UK or US with the authority to try capital crimes, he could claim he’s just speaking hypothetically.

      *I think that’s what he said anyway. I can’t be bothered to re-watch.

      1. No, nightglare, Choudary dispensed with any mention of sharia law: there was no hypothetical involved in the discussion. It was a straight up threat. That’s what surprised me. x

        1. Michael, I looked into sharia courts in the UK about a month ago, and there almost definitely are. It was CEMB, I think, which looked into the question and they pointed out how difficult it is to get accurate stats on the question, since sharia courts are not recognized in British law. So they are covert.

          But there are plenty of indications that sharia is used, particularly the elements which deal with family law: and you can only shudder at what that means for the well-being of Muslim women and girls.

          The figures for British FGM, which I think I obtained from the British Humanist Society or the Secular Society are in the low tens of thousands over the last few years. Anecdotally, my multicultural school, half a mile from where I grew up, has a ‘report suspected FGM’ poster in its foyer, this in England’s second biggest city.

          The Law Society, the professional body of barristers, solicitors and lawyers, very high status, establishment in short, late last year kicked out an attempt to have elements of sharia enshrined in UK law: an attempt which Rowan Williams, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury, supported.

          Dermot C x

          1. Thank you for the reply.
            I do shudder for what that may mean for women and girls.
            There would be many who may swallow there cultural indoctrination and they will still suffer, but I really worry for those of an independant mindset who may want to be freethinking, or secular or an atheist.
            What a nightmare it would be to then be subject to that backward mind set with even more obstacles to escape .

            This is precisely where the left and liberalism has betrayed its values.
            This does seem to be a real thing and it is one hand surprising and on another hand not surprising the an ex Archbiship would support it. Good old god eh.
            I hope that real liberal reasoning will prevail.
            Maybe the route of the left in the elections there will be a wake up call.

  10. I am not trying to detract from any of the discussions about the shooting, however, whenever I hear the words “Texas cartoon shootings” the first image that comes to mind is Yosemite Sam from the old Warner Bros. cartoons.

    1. Let’s hope Foghorn Leghorn doesn’t get caught in the crossfire. (“That’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke, son.”)

  11. Last night on Real Time, Bill Maher talked about Gellar and how she’s, in his words, “kind of a loon” but that he supports her in provoking and in drawing the cartoons. He also said that there were lots of Muslims who supported her so why aren’t we getting on the side of those Muslims? Here is the discussion transcribed somewhat.

  12. I’d just like to make a point abut the order in which apologists for violent actions always make their claims:1) I don’t approve of violence but 2) the original act was provocative. Why not: 1) The original act was provocative but 2) I don’t approve of violence.

    The order reveals the agenda.

  13. “And doesn’t it make you worry about the Left’s attitudes toward free speech when someone like Sean Hannity actually seems reasonable?”

    I don’t know why you frame this as the ‘the left’ having a problematic attitude to free speech when you seem to concede that left-wing commentators agree that Geller and others have the right to say what they want to say. Criticism of her speech is not an attack on free speech.

    1. We’ve already repeatedly made the point. It’s the “but” in the middle of their words. “Ms. Gellar has the right to free speech, but she should know better than to give Muslims a good reason to try to kill her.”

      Or, as others put it, any time there’s a sentence with a, “but,” in it, everything before the, “but,” is irrelevant.


      1. It’s “atheist buttery” all over again. They want the sheer gleeful warm glow of pontificating to the outspoken “bad guy” of their ideology, but need some legalistic defence they can throw at anyone who points out their chutzpah.

        Of course, it’s about as convincing as saying “I’m not angry” when you’ve already smashed up the furniture, broken a window, shouted at anything that moves, and punched a loved one in the eye. After said loved one nearly got killed earlier for saying someone’s religion was stupid and ridiculous.

      2. “I agree that Geller has the right to say what she likes about Muslims, but I think that what she say is divisive/inflammatory/bigoted/unhelpful in the current climate”

        What do you mean when you say that the ‘but’ makes everything that goes before irrelevant — that the person making this claim doesn’t really believe the first part of the sentence?

        1. He means that, if you truly support free speech, you would support Gellar exercising her free speech and not those attempting to silence her free speech.

        2. What do you mean when you say that the ‘but’ makes everything that goes before irrelevant — that the person making this claim doesn’t really believe the first part of the sentence?

          Yes, of course. Classically demonstrated in sentences such as, “I’m not racist, but I think Blacks need to stop being such lazy Welfare queens.”


          1. In that sentence the speaker claims not to be racist, then goes on to reveal that he has racist attitudes (which he might not recognise as such). So in that case the qualification leads us to dismiss what goes before the ‘but’. The reason is simple: the speaker flat out contradicts themselves.

            But in the case of the left-wing commentators, they’re saying “I believe in free speech, but I don’t believe that anyone should say X, Y or Z”. Or “I believe in free speech, but anyone who says X, Y or Z is a terrible person.” What goes after the ‘but’ doesn’t undermine what goes before it. There is no contradiction between the first and the second part of the sentence, so the onus is on you to provide some other reason for us to conclude that the speaker doesn’t really believe the first part of the sentence.

            1. Free speech equals the ability to say X, Y or Z.
              I believe in free speech but I don’t believe that anyone should say X, Y or Z.

              Equals, I believe people should be able to say X, Y or Z but not say X, Y or Z,

              Sounds like a contradiction to me, rendering the first part irrelevent. Or more accurately, complete nonsense.

              To say nothing of the blame attributions and false equilelencies with violence and so on.

              1. It’s not at all contradictory to believe that people should have the *freedom* to do certain things but that they nevertheless should not do those things.

                A happily married man should have the freedom to divorce his wife, but he shouldn’t divorce his wife.

                Adults have and should have the right to drink a bottle of whisky every night, but no one should do that.

                Everyone has and should have the right to express racist/sexist/homophobic opinions, but no one should do that.

                These claims are not at all contradictory. Saying that no one should say X, Y or Z is a way of criticising people and attempting to influence what they say, not a way of silencing them, or taking away their freedom of speech.

              2. It’s not at all contradictory to believe that people should have the *freedom* to do certain things but that they nevertheless should not do those things.

                That’s the point where you’ve gone off the rails.

                The Nazis had the right to march on Skokie, and they were absolutely in the right to exercise that right.


              3. nightglare, I think your examples are a bit weak and category shifting, however, if what you are saying is simply that, while you have the right to say X, Y, Z, I do not have to like or approve of X, Y or Z, and I can also critisize X, Y and Z, we are in agreement.

              4. Also, why ‘should’ someone not drink a bottle of whiskey every night?
                Who are you to say that?
                I have revised my opinion and still think you are being contradictory.

                We may need to refine what we mean by should and shouldn’t.

  14. I must say, although I’m not really aware of Geller’s antecedents, that she comes off best in this ‘discussion’. Chowdry embodies the spirit of evil there,IMMO, wed to a rigid ‘law’, unable to see it differently and wanting to exterminate anybody who disagrees with him. I think he’s a dangerous man, not himself as a person, but the effects his words will have on theologically unsophisticated (:) ) youth.

  15. My philosophy is based on simplicity, there are no complicated questions when the subject is an argument about whether it is acceptable to insult people and their beliefs versus whether it is acceptable to murder people who disagree with your beliefs.
    It is simply true that in the civilised world we are free to insult whomever we please. We are not actually as free as we should be to do that, many religions are protected in many countries.
    It is simply true that murder is not acceptable, it is a crime. We are not allowed even to kill people who have killed or maimed our family. Revenge however justified, is not acceptable.
    Insults are painless, religion is the least valid reason for violence, it ranks with wife beating and BTW that’s not acceptable either.

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