February 8, 2006
We Need to Make Life Miserable for the Puppeteers
furor is no longer about Them. It's about Us, and how we're going
to respond to Them. By "Us," I mean people who support
the Western ideal of free speech, even when it offends.
over a cartoon in a Danish newspaper greatly clarifies things,
especially for Europe. It used to be commonplace that a flawed
American foreign policy was the root of most Muslim unhappiness.
Now, the poster children for peace-loving Continentals -- Denmark
and Norway -- are having their embassies torched across the Muslim
states where people get shot for holding up the wrong sign, crowds
are given free rein to smash up European consulates and Christian
churches. The puppet masters have big agendas. And for them, stirring
anger against the West does have its uses.
end the violence? Want the proclaimed boycotts against Danish
goods to go away? It's simple. Launch a reverse boycott against
the elites of the countries whose citizens are now taking out
their ignorance, envy and self-pity on European institutions.
various strongmen, sheiks and clerics that they may no longer
partake of the pleasures and comforts of the West, while inciting
the masses at home. Henceforth, Saudi princes may not come to
the great medical centers of Berlin or Boston to have their cancer
treated. The militant mullahs can't send their children to private
schools in England. The men who cultivate anti-West paranoia among
their impoverished masses may not own villas on the Cote d'Azur.
And their wives may no longer shop on the Via Veneto.
could also ban direct imports. The European Union has already
told Saudi Arabia that a boycott of Danish goods would be regarded
as a boycott of the European Union. That's a good start -- and
far more self-respecting than the craven response of our own State
Department. Not a few red-blooded Americans cringed at hearing
department spokesman Justin Higgins call the cartoon "unacceptable."
media's generally spineless response has been likewise embarrassing.
As of this writing, only one major U.S. paper, The Philadelphia
Inquirer, has published the offending cartoon (which shows
the prophet Mohammed with a bomb as a turban). Papers that ran
cartoons of pedophilic Catholic priests chasing altar boys would
not print the Danish drawing.
media were no better. The editor at The Independent gave
as his singularly lame excuse that it was not a "good"
cartoon. This is the same newspaper that portrayed a naked Ariel
Sharon eating a Palestinian baby. The Independent's cartoon
judgment is clearly based not on what offends an audience, but
on which audience it is afraid of.
newspapers in France, Spain and elsewhere on the Continent showed
solidarity for their besieged Danish colleagues by publishing
the cartoon. The Italian daily La Stampa put it on its
knows, the cartoon is important not because it was a good cartoon,
but because it is news. That America's great dailies forced their
readers to go to the Drudge Report to see what the story was about
will be discussed for years to come.
boycott against the leading promoters of anti-West hatred, Iran
and Saudi Arabia, presents obvious problems, because their chief
export is oil. The Europeans have already greatly reduced their
reliance on oil by taxing the stuff and otherwise discouraging
consumption. On this score, Americans have done next to zero.
Their passivity is insane in that their oil guzzling habits are
paying for the terrorism being directed against them.
most problems, President Bush prefers to let future generations
solve this one. The mostly toothless energy proposals listed in
his State of the Union Address were similarly "forward-looking."
Barron's columnist Alan Abelson envisioned Bush comforting
the Saudi ambassador by pointing out that they would both be old
men "before any of his energy proposals had the faintest
chance of bearing fruit."
must be clear that we establish our own rules about what's acceptable
in our own countries -- and that the job of defusing the crazed
masses belongs squarely with their manipulators. The West, after
all, can make life a lot less pleasant for the puppeteers.
2006 Creators Syndicate