We Can Handle The Truth

The Boston Phoenix gives us a refreshingly and brutally honest editorial on why they won't reprint the Mother of All Cartoons.

There are three reasons not to publish the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed with his turban styled as a bomb ... and the other images that have sparked violent protests and deaths throughout Europe, the Middle East, West Asia, and Indonesia:

1) Out of fear of retaliation from the international brotherhood of radical and bloodthirsty Islamists who seek to impose their will on those who do not believe as they do. This is, frankly, our primary reason for not publishing any of the images in question. Simply stated, we are being terrorized, and as deeply as we believe in the principles of free speech and a free press, we could not in good conscience place the men and women who work at the Phoenix and its related companies in physical jeopardy. As we feel forced, literally, to bend to maniacal pressure, this may be the darkest moment in our 40-year publishing history.

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Interesting, but I put a

Interesting, but I put a steep discount on any article containing "Islamofascist."

Would you have added a

Would you have added a discount had they used the term Muslim instead?

Frankly, I discount such articles too, since they try to sanitize the ideological differences between mainstream Muslims and the ones burning down the buildings. When I see them talking about Islamofacists I think they are trying to make a distinction between a presumed minority of intolerant Muslims and the assumed vast majority of enlightened Muslims. Frankly, the evidence really doesn't back such a distinction. The majority of these Muslim countries have blashphemy laws, often with the death penalty. Apostates are killed. Women are stoned for getting pregnant, or killed by their own families for dating Christians. The do not allow the building of churches, arrest people who have bibles, don't allow non-muslim immigration (not that there is a stampede), etc.

So I'm all with you. Let's use the term Muslim.

There are valid historical

There are valid historical reasons to refer to much of what we see in the Middle East as fascism with Islamic overtones (i.e Islamofascism). Many of the modern extremist movements and governments in the ME have close ties, or even roots in, the fascism of the 1930's. The view of Jews as being less than equal humans has close ties to Nazism. Like Germany and Italy in the 1930's, the reality is that the so-called moderate Muslims do not oppose the goals of the extreme Muslims. Instead, they oppose the methods used to attain those goals. Much like "moderate" Germans did not oppose Hitler's goal of defeating France and Russia (and oppressing the Jews), although many of them didn't like going to war in 1939 to attain those goals.

I don't see any reason to avoid referring to Salafist adherents, especially, as Islamofascists. It's rather accurate. Although, as Brian points out, there does seem to be a desire by those using the term to create the idea that there is a large majority of tolerant, liberal Muslims who are silent. This is, as far as I can tell, simply not true. Tolerant, liberal Muslims are a distinct minority. See this article for examples of what supposedly moderate Muslims have to say about tolerance of free speech.

"Fascist" is an over-used,

"Fascist" is an over-used, under-defined word used more to convey a muddled cloud of emotional "badness" than any concrete idea. And jumping from anti-Semitism to Nazism to get to Fascism is, well, a few too many jumps. Words mean things.

[...] gious expression to

[...] gious expression to oppose the forces of darkness and evil in the Islamic world. Hat tip: Catallarchy Overlawyered notes that there may be liability consideration [...]

Danish cartoons and freedom

Danish cartoons and freedom of speech
Frankly, I’ve been inclined to resist the notion that the general disinclination by the American press to publish the Danish cartoons of Mohammed that have caused so much outrage (manufactured or not) in the Muslim world constituted prima facie e...

Cornelius, it's not jumping

Cornelius, it's not jumping randomly or using the words improperly. Rather, it's not spending 20 paragraphs to fully discuss the issue. Then again, there's really no reason for me to write all of those paragraphs when others have done so already. But, to summarize:

1. The governments of the Middle East are, nearly all, both Islamic and Fascist. And those words are being used correctly.
2. The governments of the Middle East (except Israel, obviously) and the cultures, are highly anti-semitic.
3. Nazism is a subset of Fascism. One of the core principles of Mazism is anti-semitism.
4. Historically, the foundation of many movements that later came to be governments and organizations of power in the Middle East were closely aligned with the Nazi's during the 1930's and 1940's, both ideologically and because of opposition to Britain and France.

Because of these things, the term Islamofascism is precise and useful. It describes a subset of Fascism that is associated with the Islamic religion, has a core principle of anti-semitism and has ties to the Nazi's.

You usage makes no

You usage makes no distinction between fascism and other authortarian states (unless anti-semitism is your yardstick). It's a muddled phrase that foments muddled thinking.

At least they have the

At least they have the courage to admit their cowardice, unlike most of the American media.

Cornelius- Volkish,

Cornelius-

Volkish, crypto-religious state ideologies dependent upon the demonization of an alien "other" in the service of restoring a bygone "golden age" of dominance to which the people, by dint of ethnicity or race, are entitled, seem to pretty much fit any academically meaningful definition of Fascism in my book. Iran, the PA, Pakistan, the Taliban in Afghanistan, & Saddam's Iraq (the so-called secular tyranny that put "god is great" on its flags and sponsored militant sunni islam within the broders), all qualify, and they base their state dominance ideology explicitly upon Islam.

So if they do not qualify as fascist regims, then fascism really DOESNT mean anything; and in fact, it therefore wouldn't even describe Italy or Germany in the 30s and 40s.

Now if only newscasters

Now if only newscasters would admit the truth about why they don't burst out laughing when talking about the latest BS from the White House or Congress.

Cornelius, Brian did a good

Cornelius, Brian did a good job of making the distinction. That said, I saw no reason to write since, as I said, it has been quite well written by others. Is there some reason that isn't sufficient? Taliban Afghanistan, Ba'athist Iraq and Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Iran and Saudi Arabia certainly all qualify as fascist in nature. Since their particular brand of fascism is based around Islam, they would qualify for a distinct subset of fascism that is most accurately described as Islamofascism.

Al-Qaeda, Hamas and other Salafist organizations certainly also qualify as fascist, although they don't currently hold governmental power.

By the way, anti-semitism is an important component, given fascism's reliance on hatred and fear of the alien "other", but it is not the only component. Basing the authoritarian government on a religion does not suddenly make it "not fascist".

Is there some reason you are so strongly resisting the idea that these countries and organizations are fascist? It seems to me that the use of fascism has been misappropriated by the left to describe their right wing opponents and thus can't be used to describe actual fascists now?

Or as Dissident Frogman put

Or as Dissident Frogman put it:

So that’s the difference between extremist and moderate: the extremist Muslim wants to behead you, while the moderates simply want to lynch you.:behead:

Sheesh! What have you guys

Sheesh! What have you guys been getting up to in my absence?

Look, all this smarmy grandstanding notwithstanding, especially by the Silly Drama Queenery of the Boston Phoenix, THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Like we needed the Jyllands-Posten to show us that most Muslims live in societies where religion takes precedence over free speech...

What we're talking about here is Double Standards. We're talking about Europe here! Hel-LO, people! I'd have thought people at THIS blog at the very least would clue in. Hate speech laws, anyone? We're talking about a newspaper that nary a few months before didn't print some caricatures of Christ because they were too offensive.

Because, you know what? We've never had freedom of speech, and we never will. Aside from *formal* freedom of speech---that has AFAIK has only existed in the US to its credit---there've always been consequences and violence threats at some point or another. I say this as a supporter of formal guarantees of free speech AND as a Muslim myself---booga booga booga!---AND as the pinko commie you've all come to know and love, at least those of you around a few months ago.

And hence it's totally reasonable to protest and boycott the newspapers. The people committing acts of violence are---get this---a miniscule fraction of the total Muslim population. And NO, I'm not saying the rest of them are all nice liberals or something, but most of them understand perfectly well that it's happening in a foreign country.

But everyone in the Muslim world is painfully aware of the double standards the media-which-has-never-been-free applies to Muslims.

Because you know what this has been about, at its most proximate causal roots? Power. It was a power play between mild Danish xenophobes and the Danish internal Muslim minority. To put it *most* charitably (towards the Jyllands-Posten primarily), the Danish media and the Muslim minority were poking each other in the eyes with progressively larger sticks. And it spun out of control as foreign governments and movements found it useful.

But rather than actually, like, *thinking* about the context of all of this, you guys seem to be glued to the made-for-TV violence, and you proceed to comfortably set yourselves into progressively more bizarre discussions about irrelevant abstractions of Freedom of Speech---and about whether Muslim==fascist or something, bearing very little connection to reality.

Brian, et al. It's sad how

Brian, et al.

It's sad how you've been hoodwinked by popular misdefinition, and neo-con newspeak. Fascism means something more specific than totalitarianism (whichmore accurately defines the institution to which you guys are actually referring). Here's a hint... it has something to do with economics. I understand the desire to paint anything one dislikes with a Nazi-tinged brush, but let's not get carried away.

Cornelius, That answer is

Cornelius,

That answer is quite simply baloney. Fascism does not require an explicitly economic component and I suspect you know that, too. Though, I will point out, Hussein's Iraq, the Mullah's Iran, Ba'athist Syria, Talibanist Afghanistan, and Musharraf's Pakistan all are or were state-run and planned economies with provisional (at best) property rights and absolute authority wielded by the center state.

So, it would seem that you are insisting that fascism is *by definition* European, as that is quite literally the *only* substantive thing different between the iterations in Italy and Germany and the ones listed above.

Mandos- Though you have

Mandos-

Though you have fielded a rather impressive army of straw men to knock down, I'm afraid that very little of what you wrote actually applies to anything we've (a) said or (b) implied in argument on post or in comment.

Brian, Not necessarily

Brian,

Not necessarily European-only. 1930's America is but one example. I can think of many more.

- Nationalistic (not theocratic)
- Strong popular leader, dictator (not king nor Pope nor mullah)
- Government control of the privately-owned means of production

Again, words mean things.

Cornelius- FDR was

Cornelius-

FDR was quasi-fascist, yes. What's your point? Clearly the New Deal fails on several other important aspects of fascism:

1. A regime not based on an ideology of total mobilization/exultation of war (indeed the New Deal coincided with very isolationist & pacifist views amongst the public)

2. New Deal did not depend on the demonization of an ethnicity or class to motivate popular support.

3. FDR, while tempted to pack the court, did not order the court shot and arrested when they struck down major portions of his program (try that in Italy, Germany, Iran, or Hussein's Iraq, for example), which is but one example of the continued rule of law vs. rule of dictatorial exception even in the worst of FDR's excesses.

4. Maintenance of rule not dependent upon brutal police state methods, no state-enforced cult of personality, no systematic crushing of political opponents aside from normal democratic politics.

5. Even FDR had respect for the states' traditional and customary spheres of autonomy, which would not be tolerated in a fascist/totalitarian state. All fascist states are totalitarian, not all totalitarian states are fascist. All fascist states are authoritarian, not all authoritarian states are fascist (which is why I disagree with calling Saudi Arabia a fascist state, they are merely authoritarian).

Yes, words mean something- which is precisely why one *must* call Iraq's old regime fascist, as well as the mullahcracy of Iran & Afghanistan, and Syria. Pakistan used to just be authoritarian but has drifted into outright fascism. I find it interesting that you have not even attempted to define fascism yourself, merely asserting 'Iraq/Iran/Syria ain't'.

If the definition of Fascist is so precious and "words mean things" then pray tell, what is the essential definition that must not be diluted by association with iraq/iran/syria, and (upon elucidation) that is clearly separate and distinct from fascism proper as understood in the 30s.

Right, when you have no

Right, when you have no reply, say the response was irrelevant. WHENCE this bizarre, irrelevant discussion of fascism? WHAT does it have to do with *anything*?

Mandos, If you

Mandos,

If you insist...

What we’re talking about here is Double Standards. We’re talking about Europe here! Hel-LO, people! I’d have thought people at THIS blog at the very least would clue in. Hate speech laws, anyone? We’re talking about a newspaper that nary a few months before didn’t print some caricatures of Christ because they were too offensive.

Had you actually been reading the blog, you would have noticed Patri calling Europe on their double standards here and here. However the point is not the offensiveness/inoffensiveness of the cartoons- even a stick figure with the name "mohammed" underneath it is considered "offensive", a standard so risible and broad as to be beneath contempt. As you can see from the list, most don't go beyond a general arab-esque look, and one is explicitly depicting a white caucasian dane. And when doing things like that (unlike the fakes foisted by islamists which had a caption of "this is your prophet" under a pig's image) leads one to fear for their lives, then you're damn right its a matter of free speech.

Because, you know what? We’ve never had freedom of speech, and we never will. Aside from formal freedom of speech—that has AFAIK has only existed in the US to its credit—there’ve always been consequences and violence threats at some point or another. I say this as a supporter of formal guarantees of free speech AND as a Muslim myself—booga booga booga!—AND as the pinko commie you’ve all come to know and love, at least those of you around a few months ago.

Aside from being a complete non-sequitur, violence is *never* an acceptable response to offense. Period. End of story. If you disagree, fine, but that pretty much is the boundary between a civilized person and a barbarian. Choose wisely.

And hence it’s totally reasonable to protest and boycott the newspapers. The people committing acts of violence are—get this—a miniscule fraction of the total Muslim population. And NO, I’m not saying the rest of them are all nice liberals or something, but most of them understand perfectly well that it’s happening in a foreign country.

Yet another non-sequitur, and an irrelevant response. Nobody is suggesting that protesting and boycotting *the newspapers* is illegitimate. But nobody in the soi-disant muslim world is doing that, they're engaging in what can be charitably called collective guilt, conflating the Danish people with a newspaper and the Danish government with a newspaper, calling for the death (the death) of Danes and boycotting ALL Danish products. This is not the reaction of a sane or frankly adult person, but rather of deranged children. I do not respect the rantings and tantrums of deranged children, nor will I ever, nor should the West (as it is collectively being attacked) sit back and accept this violence as though "we were asking for it".

But everyone in the Muslim world is painfully aware of the double standards the media-which-has-never-been-free applies to Muslims.

Not to whip out the world's smallest violin or anything, but GMAFB. Piss Christ? Feces Madonna? Gay Jesus? No paper in the US ever shied from those pictures or discussing them, etc. Christians got angry, but nobody's heads rolled, nor buildings burnt. Yet aside from one or two alt dailies, NO MEDIA in the United States has published the cartoons. There is a double standard alright; Muslim attitudes must be handled with kid gloves, while Christians may be mocked without mercy. Guess what? I don't care about the latter and none of us should care about the former. Gratuitous slams on religion and petty blasphemy show one to be an uncultured ass, but one should not be prevented from advertising that fact.

Because you know what this has been about, at its most proximate causal roots? Power. It was a power play between mild Danish xenophobes and the Danish internal Muslim minority. To put it most charitably (towards the Jyllands-Posten primarily), the Danish media and the Muslim minority were poking each other in the eyes with progressively larger sticks. And it spun out of control as foreign governments and movements found it useful.

Power? Wha? How is it an exercise of power over the muslim minority to publish caricatures of Mohammed? Other than, I suppose, to illustrate that they live in a liberal democracy and not a shariat theocracy and thus people have a right to nonviolent visual, textual, and verbal expression. If that's the case- that they're angered that they can't impose by force their view of rectitude on the Danish people- then pardon me if I have no sympathy for the hurt feelings of would-be tyrants. Otherwise, the cartoons were not in support of internment camps, stripping muslims of civil rights, deporting them, launching a pogrom, etc. Instead, they were in reference to the now obvious fact that a significant fraction of muslims feel they have a right to use violence whenever they feel "slighted" and that bullying fear causes self censorship, which is anathema to a free society. And lest we forget, someone amongst the Danish imams forged an actual blasphemy to send back to be published in the middle east; and they called for the country-wide boycott, not just against Jyllands-posten.

But rather than actually, like, thinking about the context of all of this, you guys seem to be glued to the made-for-TV violence, and you proceed to comfortably set yourselves into progressively more bizarre discussions about irrelevant abstractions of Freedom of Speech—and about whether Muslim==fascist or something, bearing very little connection to reality.

This is ridiculous. Doug, Patri, and Sean have all addressed the issues fairly straightforward; just because you don't like the conclusion drawn by liberals doesn't mean we're not thinking about the context. In fact, *every single post* has been about the context- that non muslims are under attack in the muslim world while Danes are mostly bending over backward to accomodate the angry imams. Who's under threat here?

And frankly, your offensive and bizarre claim that we're somehow equating all muslims as being fascists is *bullshit.* The governments are fascist, but at no point have I ever equated muslims & Islam with fascists & fascism, either as identity or as similarity in program.

Brian wrote: "If the

Brian wrote: "If the definition of Fascist is so precious and “words mean things” then pray tell, what is the essential definition that must not be diluted by association with iraq/iran/syria, and (upon elucidation) that is clearly separate and distinct from fascism proper as understood in the 30s."

I believe the answer is clear Brian, and I have made this argument many times, not just in the comments here. Fascist is a term used with precision by the left to describe their right wing opponents within the Western political context.

I'm also curious why we can't say that the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Hamas, Egypt, Syria, Iran, Ba'athist Iraq and Pakistan are fascists with an Islamic twist. Fascist is much more broad than Cornelius is trying to make it. I would argue that you need to look at the Salafist movement in Saudi Arabia to understand why I refer to SA as Fascist, not the monarchy. The monarchy is trying to stay on the back of the tiger.

Fascist is a term used with

Fascist is a term used with precision by the left to describe their right wing opponents within the Western political context. "

Say what? Do you mean like when they say "_____ is a fascist" substituting whatever republican in the limelite at the moment. I'm not sure the left is precise with any term. Although "the left" is a pretty broad category.

Heh, I should have put that

Heh, I should have put that in a "sarcasm" bracket.

Want to see real freedom of

Want to see real freedom of speech, and the results of the Hamshahri contest at the same time. Then check out this offering from the Israel news agency, which is reprinting (with some editorial comments and some shocking pictures from the Holocaust) the leading entries so far.

See it here: http://www.israelnewsagency.com/iranholocaustcartoonsisraelseo48480207.html