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Thursday, January 08, 2015

‘I will only take on targets that won’t kill me, but steer clear of those who just might?’

A great piece by Nick Cohen in the London Spectator.
As there is much, much more in this vein coming, I offer you 10 truths that ought to be self-evident.
  • A religion is not a race. Sometimes, not always, it is a system of violent beliefs that claims the right to subjugate others – most notably its ‘own’ coerced adherents.
  • Undoubtedly there are white racists and Hindu nationalists who treat religion as a race and hate Muslims because they are Muslims. Their existence ought to present no problem to principled people, who should fight, criticise and satirise them with the same force and for the same reasons they fight religious obscurantism.
  • Criticism of religion – including bawdy irreverent criticism— is a defence against oppressive power.
  • In our time, the most oppressive religious movements are variants on radical Islam. That may change. You only have to look at Hindu fundamentalism in India or anti-Muslim Buddhist fundamentalism in Burma to see how. But for the present we must fight the enemies in front of us. What other choice do we have?
  • It is not ‘Islamophobic’ to satirise radical Islamists and their beliefs – the main targets of radical Islamists include other Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Yazidis and secularists.
  • Even if in your confused liberal mind you think that it is, no one has the right to stop satire or criticism because they are offended.
  • No one has the right to kill those who offend them.
  • If they claim that right, they are the most deserving targets of satire and criticism imaginable.
  • And if you do not then satirise and criticise them because you are frightened of ending up like Charlie Hebdo’s dead journalists, or of taking a whipping in a PC backlash, how can you in conscience satirise left or right wing politicians you despise, or the evangelical Christians, Jewish fundamentalists, Catholic reactionaries, Russian orthodox Putinists you deplore?
  • Are you not saying, if only when you are by yourself and think no one is listening: ‘I will only take on targets that won’t kill me, but steer clear of those who just might?’
Read it all. (There's much more).

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