When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published several cartoons that depicted the image of Mohammed, back in 2005, the Islamic world responded with violent demonstrations around the world. More than 250 were killed in these demonstrations. Danish diplomatic missions were attacked, as were Christian churches (and Christians themselves).

We’ve come to understand that such behavior is to be expected from the Islamic world. Yes, it’s only the “extremists” who descend to violence – an assertion that’s more tautological than anything else – but the balance of Islam argues not for the principles of free speech that absolutely and foremost protect criticism, dissent, and blasphemy, but rather for deference to their aniconism. Even in secular lands, the expectation is that their tenets are to be respected even by nonbelievers. Again, this is totally antithetical to free speech and freedom of religion.

There were condemnations put forth by the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and countless other religious leaders, as well as the US State Department and countless politicians. Condemnations of… wait for it… the cartoons and the decision to publish them. Moreso, to my knowledge, not a single major US newspaper published the cartoons, even in a “this is what the fuss is about” form. They all chose deference to the Islamists’ “rioters’ veto” over liberty.

A couple decades earlier, we witnessed the same behavior in the aftermath of Salman Rushdie’s publishing of “The Satanic Verses” (a work of fiction, by the way), and the Ayatollah’s religious fatwa calling for Rushdie’s murder.

Fast forward to present-day culture, and contemplate the illiberal Left’s attitudes toward ideas and language that are either critical of their positions or that they have simply decided shall not be uttered. While the boundaries of the violence they consider acceptable don’t quite reach as far as homicide, they are expanded in the other direction, toward the “softer” side, with the various forms of cancellation (de-platforming, loss of job, lawsuits and other forms of economic ruin, social expulsion, direct and indirect harassment) running against the Western tradition of free speech.

Apologists will disingenuously argue that cancellation is its own form of speech, knowing full well that intimidation is not protected speech. These same apologists, quite ironically, stand as allies with Islam, despite the fact that Islamic teachings (and law in many nations) are directly oppressive to the identity groups that the Left champions. So much so, that Islam is to be more protected than women or the LGBTQ community. Islam, as most of you (should) know, subordinates women, denounces homosexuality, and in some versions calls for the murder of both.

That the other religions of the world, as well as the leaders of Western nations, chose to side with the violent illiberalism of (radical? – again, tautology) Islam rather than foundational principles of liberty is paralleled by today’s Left siding with (sometimes violent) censorship and intimidation rather than foundational principles of liberty in its advocacies is all cut from the same cloth: the solidarity of those with coercive power in rejecting those who oppose it.

Why would the Pope condemn blasphemers against Islam? So that he could also condemn blasphemers against Catholicism. Why would political leaders side with the censorious? So that their critics can also be quashed.

Today’s leftism, the witch’s brew of postmodernist relativism, identity-baiting, divisiveness, various Critical Theories, and insatiable lust for OPM, has elevated itself to the status of religion. Failure to abide is heresy, departure from its folds is apostasy, and vocalization of criticism is blasphemy. Richard Delgado, the godfather of Critical Race Theory, declares rejection of the foundational principles of liberty, born of the Enlightenment, the bedrock of America and Western political thought, as part of CRT dogma. Thus, to advocate for free and unintimidated speech is to blaspheme.

We know from history, old and recent, what religious fanatics want to do to blasphemers.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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